August 31, 2005

Nudity Warning!

With more than 87 million Internet users in China, one of their local researchers has warned of a new threat to public health and morality. Apparently up to 20,000 Chinese Internet users are hopping into chat rooms each night and, via their web cams,, sharing themselves in various states of undress, along with array an of “provocative poses”.

This disturbing finding was reported earlier this week in the Shanghai Daily newspaper, with the authoritative figures generously provided by. Liu Gang, a China Youth Association researcher.

The research would tend to confirm that Chinese youth are, indeed, associating, in their own weird and naked fashion, but no details were provided on how Mr Gang arrived at a number of 20,000 naked people, or whether it was one particular group of 20,000 naked people, or if that figure refers only to the number of webcam-owning-Chinese-folk who happen to be romping about naked and online during any given evening.

While the concerns over public health are not to be sniffed at, particularly given the number of accidents that could occur while trying to talk and pose provocatively at the same time [warning kids: do not try that at home], this finding does at least go some way toward alleviating concerns over the health and wellbeing of many tens of millions of young Chinese men would otherwise never have the opportunity to both see and speak to a real life naked women in their lifetime – given that the one child policy has put the kybosh on a suitable number of little girls who would otherwise have grown up to be girlfriends and wives.

We’ll leave the last words to the brave researcher:

"At first, we thought if was merely a game for a few mentally abnormal people," the paper quoted Liu as saying. "But as our research continued, we found the problem was much larger than expected". Hmmm...indeed.

August 27, 2005

Gods and Underpants

Do gods - inclusive of any deity of your choice, whether omnipotent or omnipresent - have to wear underpants?

If so, which type and what colour?

August 25, 2005

Potato Turnovers

Australians are being vigorously urged to boycott McDonald’s French fries and hash browns, because they will no longer be made with Aussie potatoes.

However, in showing support for Australian produce and products, and the humble spud in particular, no-one is bothering to mention the McDonald’s apple turnover.

By all means boycott the fries and the hash browns, but don’t forget that the McDonald’s apple turnover is filled with apple flavoured potatoes! There is not even a token whiff of apple to be found in their famous turnovers!

So, give up the fries and the hash, but don't forget to boycott their Potato Turnovers too!

The Sounds of Silence … sigh….

Okay, I tried and failed.

If the silent majority were all talking in a forest would anyone hear them?

Apparently not, with the very thoughtful exception of our friend “Bird”, who offered an unexpected twist – in
America, the silent majority are compelled to maintain their silence about hating George W Bush and about not going to church.

Not what I was expecting, so I did learn something! Thanks Bird!

August 20, 2005

The Silent Majority

One of life’s mysteries or myths...

Given that the silent majority is silent, how has anyone been able to establish that are a majority?

How do we know that the silent majority exist, when they insist on being silent?

Are they a majority of the population or a majority of the silent people?

How many members of the silent majority would it take to speak-up before the became a silent minority?

If the silent majority all decided to talk, would they become the loquacious majority?

Would they still be a majority of anything, or would they lose their special status?

What would happen if we found out that they had never been there all along, and that politicians were using the silent majority as a kind of rent a crowd of invisible friends upon whom they can heap blame for pretty much everything?

Are you one of the silent majority? If so, are you allowed to say anything - ever?

Have you ever met members of the silent majority?

What do they look like; what do they wear; where did you find them?

Did they speak to you? Did they say anything at all???

August 18, 2005

The Evolution in Teaching Mathematics since the 1950s

From somewhere in America comes the following true story, which tells us something about broken but well intentioned education systems everywhere.

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Teaching Mathematics in 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Mathematics in 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Mathematics in 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Mathematics in 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20

Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Mathematics in 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and nconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20.What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question:

How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Mathematics in 2005

Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la producción es $80...

August 17, 2005

Non-Drivers Cause 50% of Accidents

Despite not being allowed to drive, studies have revealed that women are involved in around 50% of traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia.

Quite remarkably, one of the reasons given for the high percentage of accidents caused by women was “their lack of knowledge of road rules and regulations”.

Hmm… time, perhaps, to allow them to drive, and thus allow them to learn how to do so, within the boundaries of the road rules? Just a thought.

On the other hand, if they really are causing 50% of the accidents while not allowed to drive, this would not auger well for traffic accidents if they are ever permitted on the roads. Imagine the carnage!

The explanatory notes add further intrigue, suggesting that another key reason for the high number of accidents caused by women is “marital quarrels”. This would tend to suggest that their husbands collude in allowing their wives to flout the law (what, he didn't notice she was the one behind the wheel - oops?), but then provide their wives with a few too many helpful tips on how to execute the task, although, one can understand their nervous disposition.

Hit and run accidents were cited as a major problem, especially inside cities and neighborhoods, and outside schools and shopping centers, with more than seven thousand people being run over each year. No school zones then? The little kiddies get their daily exercise by jumping and running for their lives.

Wearing a burqa while driving was not cited as a cause of bad driving or accidents.

August 16, 2005

Arresting Appeal

It would seem that being jailed in Bali has done wonders for Schapelle Corby’s sex appeal – having just been voted one of Australia’s (or should that be Bali’s?) sexiest women. Alas, her ranking won’t ever be published as the pollsters at FHM are concerned about a public backlash.

It would also seem that men’s magazines FHM and Ralph have both had requests from their male readers to do a Schapelle feature. How the eager males hoped that any magazine would be able to arrange suitable sexy photo opportunity with the relatively indisposed Ms Corby is anyone’s guess.

If Corby is released, any time soon, the bidding war for a sultry spread (with or without boogie board?) could go as high as $500,000, which would provide a nice healthy start toward getting her life back in order.

But, the editor of FHM, John Bastick, is a rather pragmatic man stating: “By the time she comes out she might be 50, so they might not be so interested then”.

Perhaps the editor has looked at the charms of the new defence lead, Hotman Paris Hutapea, and is not taking any bets on the likelihood of an early release.

August 14, 2005

Quote of the Week

War sure isn't what it used to be.............

From the New York Times 13 August 2005

...But wherever possible, the current generation of young soldiers - like its predecessors in Vietnam and other conflicts - has sought the succor of the familiar, and resourceful soldiers in this war have taken this quest to astonishing levels, accumulating all the accouterments of home: personal electronics, bed linens, furniture, household appliances and beauty products.

Gadgetry, in particular, proliferates among the 138,000 troops stationed in Iraq: laptop computers, MP3 and DVD players, digital cameras, televisions and video game consoles. On bases in greater Baghdad, many soldiers have cellphones and some have satellite dishes that pull in scores of stations. Personal DVD collections numbering several hundred are not uncommon; the legendary ones top 1,000.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much stuff been acquired by so many soldiers in so little time.

One Louisiana National Guardsman stationed on Camp Liberty converted his trailer into a recording studio, and a New York National Guardsman living nearby has spent some of his free time during the last year producing a record by a singer in New York using an electric keyboard, sequencer, laptop computer, sampler, drum machine and mixer in his room; he and the singer use sound files sent via the Internet to exchange musical ideas and recorded tracks.

"I don't know how they managed to acquire so much audio-visual machinery," said an amused Lt. Col. Geoffrey J. Slack, 48, commander of the First Battalion, 69th Infantry, of the New York National Guard, which is garrisoned on Camp Liberty with the Louisianans.

And just in case you want to know how the soldiers acquire all of their stuff.

Some of these luxuries came with the soldiers, but most are purchased from departing troops, in stores (the one at Camp Liberty sells at least 11 different makes of television, including a giant $2,999 42-inch JVC plasma television) or over the Internet (the United States Postal Service charges domestic rates for packages sent to troops in Iraq).

August 9, 2005

Jumping the Couch

In a well deserved and overdue tribute to Tom Cruise, we have an excellent addition to the lexicon, and it’s one for which there are daily opportunities for putting it to good use.

Jumping the Couch

Meaning One – The defining moment when you know someone has finally gone off the deep end, never to return.

Meaning Two – To openly express your love or infatuation with someone. Couch jumpers are usually rich actors who appear on a nationally televised show to show off their new girlfriend.

August 5, 2005

Divorce – The Healthy Alternative

With the billions spent on advertising campaigns to promote various political and social agendas, it is now long over due for the health and social benefits of good old fashioned no-fault-divorce to be vigorously promoted.

It would seem that divorce has developed a taint, a bad reputation, such that many people will go to extremes to avoid being a divorcee. Divorce needs to be given a polish, a facelift, a new spin to make it a really attractive first port of call when one or other spouse decides that the end is nigh.

At a committal hearing this week, the already jailed lover of a man charge with the attempted murder of his wife, mused, amidst the other evidence on offer, that she didn’t understand why her lover couldn’t just leave his wife like other “normal men”. Apparently she had the wherewithal to comprehend that there are normal people who end their marriage by, well, just leaving.

And yet, this same woman, finding it odd that her lover couldn’t find the gumption to leave his wife, was not in the least incredulous that the logical and sensible alternate course of action was murder.

She did not, apparently, consider it odd to slip on a balaclava - kindly supplied by the soon to be free husband - hide in garage, strangle the competition and dump the body in the boot of a car. She questioned why he couldn’t just leave his wife, but didn’t question how sensible, necessary, or normal it may be to kill someone's wife as an alternative to the slightly longer wait, but less strenuous action of getting a divorce.

In the meantime, over in Florida, a young man, only 28 years old, having decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore, and obviously being very reluctant to take on the role of “dumper”, came up with some ammunition to help compel his wife to do the dumping.

He confessed to his wife that he was a cold blooded killer and petty thief. (Confessing to an affair must have seemed a bit too subtle for this lad.) Now, such a confession is not always successful, so he was taking a risk here, because women have been known to marry convicted murderers without the slightest qualm. But, lets give him some credit, and assume he knew that his wife was not that kind of women. His calculations were right, since the wife, presumably equally fed up with this marriage, promptly dubbed him into the police. Or maybe the idea of being married to a convicted murder was an attractive concept, but whatever her reasons, she did alert the police.

The husband, so keen to have the marriage done with, continued with his plan and, after his arrest, made a full confession to the police – a confession that included stealing from, and murdering, a hitchhiker. The police investigation found the hitchhiker alive and well, and the husband finally owned up that he was only trying to encourage his wife to leave.

There’s a lot to be said for having a chat from time to time, and one can’t help but think that if only this couple had sat down for a few minutes they could have established that neither of them wanted to be married to the other and they could have proceeded to step two: an amicable, uncomplicated, quite divorce.

Notwithstanding the many extraneous complications and living standard effects, the cost of a divorce is dirt cheap, at a mere $288 to lodge the papers. Sure, you have to spend a little bit of time to fill in the forms, but they aren’t complicated. You only need to know your own name and address; the name and address of the person you want to divorce; it’s handy to know if there are any shared children between the two parties; the names and ages of said children; and it’s useful if you can think of a few words to say about their future, such as that you both aspire to all of your children finishing primary school. That’s about it really. Not difficult; not time consuming.

It’s time to promote the nicer aspects of divorce. It’s time to take away the stain and stigma, which, apparently, make it even less appealing than going to jail for real or invented crimes. It’s time to jazz it up as being a good and wholesome activity, a normal part of adult life.

Divorce – the safe, healthy, economical alternative to ending a relationship.

Well, safe, healthy and economical, compared to ... well ... compared to pretty much the full range of other options available to the overly imaginative.

August 4, 2005

Busy Bees Well Paid

Child labour and underpaid piece workers may be an abhorrent reality to the upwardly mobile - although I must confess that it never stopped me from buying Nike – but there is good news among all that global exploitation.

Bees, it would seem, are extremely well paid for their efforts, which I can only deduce stems from having such a enormous pool of highly trained workers, all of whom must be fully paid members of the worker-bee trade union.

Not sure why they need such high salaries though, perhaps to pass onto their endless relatives, or maybe to buy teeny weenie plasma TV screens, or perhaps those teeny little black and yellow jumpers are really expensive ... who knows.

I only found out how well the bees are doing, salary-wise, because I innocently bought a couple of beeswax candles the other day; finding out at the register that it would set me back a whopping $40 – that’s right $20 for each candle!!

The sales women chirped at me, justifying the pricey but rather ordinary items, that they were “all handmade”. So, I’m thinking, OK, they’re nice candles and all, and I’m sure it took the bees a really long time to make them, because they’re a decent sized candle, and bees only have really little hands....

It’s not that I begrudge the bees a fair price for their labours or anything, I think I’m just envious that they have such a great trade union, and I’m wondering how I can qualify to join. I bet I could do wonders for production too, because I have much bigger hands.

August 3, 2005

Young Toorak Libs Running Free

Our very own Victorian Young Liberals have presented some lovely fresh ideas at their council meeting.

First up, and it would seem, vehemently supported by both the youthful men, but most especially the youthful women, is the proposed abolition of the Liberal Parties principle of mandatory gender equality in the party – on the basis that women were "more than adequately represented".

Gender equity? What a pesky and quaint notion. So outdated, especially in an era when women occupy less than 9% of executive positions in the workforce (and falling) and things are obviously progressing so well without any interference from anyone.

Secondly, and this reflects the innovative, fluid and delightful thinking of our young and future leaders: the Young Liberals also passed a motion calling "for the Australian Government to train undercover agents to kidnap or kill those responsible for the Bali bombing". What no torture?

Aren’t they just precious little darlings?

I truly believe that the Young Libs are all fundamentally stable and secure, and are, therefore, definitely eligible to audition to appear on one of those child-busters programs, just a soon as someone can accommodate a large enough naughty corner.

Sourcing Stable Brats

It’s both pleasing and encouraging to know that television production continues to adhere to high ethical standards, especially when dealing with real-life children.

Child-busters have become very popular on television this year, albeit without the singing, umbrella and witchcraft that made Mary Poppins such a treasure around the family home.

As much as we may gasp and wince at some of the children placed in the naughty corner, it would seem that these precious specimens have actually been screened by qualified professionals to ensure that only the rather normal well adjusted kiddies end up on screen.

"The families are screened by trained counselors," said Mr. Jackson of "Nanny 911." "We look for children who are fundamentally stable and secure and won't be badly influenced by the experience." (New York Times, 2 August 2005)

It’s wonderful to know that only the stable and secure, yet remarkably vile, obnoxious, histrionic, uncontrollable, petulant, nasty, rude, willful and uncontrollable little kiddies are carefully selected to appear on the super child-buster shows.

Alrighty then.

August 2, 2005

Zen for those who take life too seriously

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2 A day without sunshine is like, night.

3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

4. I just got lost in thought. It wasn't familiar territory.

5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

8. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

9. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

10. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

12. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

13. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

14. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

15. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your week.

16. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

17. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

18. Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!

19. Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

20. Always try to be modest, and be proud of it!

21. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

22. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

23. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

24. How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

25. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

26. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

27. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

28. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

29. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

30. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

31. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

32. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

33. I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

34. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

35. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

36. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.

37. Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

38. Light travels faster than sound, which is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.