December 30, 2005

Here's to us - 2006

Happy new year !!!!!!






December 21, 2005

Silent Blog, Holy Blog

Airservices Australia will be making sure that Santa has safe and efficient passage through Australian airspace this Christmas. You can keep track of Santa's progress at the special blog set up at Santa 05.

Merry Christmas to everyone, but most especially my little C, baby A, and big M; and to G and L, and baby M; and to G & A and their little C; and to F & J and their little ones L & P; and to R & the gels, and E, and to my K – with love, always.

Merry Christmas to everyone in the blogosphere, with special wishes (but no favorites!!) to Evil Pundit, Mr and Mrs Drunka, Nick & Nora, Jai, Nilk & Magilla, Accidental Taorist, ekw (if you happen to drop by), Jolanda & family, Cube, Zydeco Fish, Craig.S & his boyz; and not the least, James –somewhere freezing in China.

And not forgetting the magnificent and charming captain [pseudonym - psycdoc] (Bugger, I knew I'd forgotten someone.)


December 18, 2005

Still Silly

Succession planning

From “Ibex” (pseudonym of counter terrorist and insurgency specialist – I want a job title like his) writing in The Weekend Australian:

“Terrorists are showing the energy of desperation. Zarqawi sends out his closest lieutenants as suicide bombers – not much of a succession plan.”

I’ve worked in a few companies just like that.

Cleaning up hard drives

Not convinced that overwriting the files on your hard drive 164 times has quite done the trick of erasing your computing foot steps?

Try the method used by many military organizations, which have far more interesting top secret stuff to destroy than you, so they have far more convincing methods of destruction.

First, remove the iron-ore-covered discs from your hard drive assembly; second, grind the disks into powder; then mix the power with cement; then hand over your enhanced cement power to a local construction company to use in the foundations of new buildings.

Your used up magnetized iron ore is now safe and no-one will ever know your secrets.

Flush

Proportion of surveyed Americans who flush the toilet while sitting down on it – one in three.

Why?

Memories

In the interests of recording and preserving first hand accounts of historical events, anyone can now add stories of interest at memorywiki.org

Blogging the old fashioned way

The retired King of Cambodia has a very popular blog, upon which he personally adds posts, from time to time, such as this recent entry.

Death defying business ideas

From Alan Rutman, in Victoria, in a letter to the editor of The Age, bemoaning the well-known warped reporting priorities of the MSM, that is, their tendency to report trivia instead of matters of substance and significance. Mr Rutman concludes his letter with the dazzling money-spinning and news enhancing suggestion:

“I urge all journalists, editors, producers to spend some time reporting on events that may not sell newspapers.”

Yes, that should fix everything.

Happy Stuff

A new site for folks in search of the good news, of which the MSM ignore, unless they are in need of a “dead donkey” filler on a quiet news day - try the happy news site.

December 15, 2005

Silly Season

At this time of the year you can’t expect too much from people, and you can’t expect too much from your friendly local blogger either, so this is the best I can scrape together, with my dwindling reserves of energy and brain cells.

Celebrity Baby Names Explained - Finally

From Greg Gutfield, British editor of Maxim magazine:

“Stars are exactly like children, in that they play all day and never buy stuff like light bulbs. That makes them susceptible to destructive stuff like New Age religions and Michael More movies. It’s why stars give their kids such funny names. Those are exactly the names you’d give your kids, if you were, say, a kid! Naming a kid, to them, is like naming a turtle. A box turtle.”

And you always thought there was only one reason to buy your own groceries and to be sure of including light bulbs on the list.

Academics Contributing to World Knowledge

Glasgow University, in Scotland, must be extremely proud of at least two of their students.

Armed with a grant of a mere $326,000, to find out why people visit cafes, said students concluded – after spending, we presume, around $300 K of the grant allocation on visiting cafes to buy sandwiches, cold drinks, coffee, a bag of chips, read a free newspaper; with the remaining $26 K spent on a survey and data analysis – that people visit cafes “because they enjoy others’ company over a latte.”

One of the researchers, Eric Laurier, modestly conceded that “there’s nothing to make you say “gosh” in the study”.

Gosh, no Eric, there really isn’t.

Pissing It Up Against a Wall

We all know how business really operates, but now we can start making it official.

From the Global Language Monitor :

Some wags have suggested that “brainstorming” should be replaced with “thought shower” or "word shower”, so as not to offend those with brain disorders such as epilepsy.

If you’re still trying to remember the last time any friend with a brain disorder referred to their illness, or an episode, as “brainstorming”, then yeah, so am I. The only geniuses who have ever used the term “brainstorming” with total sincerity and conviction are “consultants” and “managers". Such people are very fond of another sophisticated activity too – “gap analysis” – now, if only they could identify the biggest gap of all, and then fall, silently, through it.

Just a Naughty Phase

From the same source, we have the number one politically correct idiocy for the year:

In an attempt to strip away all emotion by using what it considers a neutral description when talking about those who carried out the London train bombings, the BBC came up with “misguided criminals”, rather than the more dramatic, but nonetheless entirely accurate “terrorists”.

The BBC denied any such silliness, but the term was still sitting on their Internet coverage of the event, for the entire world to see.

Christmas Kisses

During a kiss we exchange as many as 278 bacteria colonies. Not sure if that’s 278 colonies a piece, or a total of 278, in equal, or perhaps unequal, portions.



December 13, 2005

Line in the Sand


We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity.


That’s why we now have riots in Cronulla, Sydney.


December 10, 2005

Cool

Ever wondered what it would be like to win a Nobel Prize?

According to one half of Australia’s latest Nobel Prize for Medicine winning duo, Barry Marshall, it’s great fun to join the illustrious gallery of laureates.

“You can’t imagine how terrific it is, you can dream about the Nobel prize all your life, but you can’t imagine how much fun it is to actually have it.”



Marshall won the prize, together with fellow Australian Robin Warren (both pictured), for pioneering research into stomach ulcers, proving they are caused by bacteria and therefore treatable with antibiotics. Of course, no-one believed them.

So now we know: being tenacious and clever can have a really, really, fun ending. That’s pretty cool.

December 8, 2005

Festive Season Conversation Assistance


The English language is renowned for - if nothing else - being a hussy when it comes to appropriating words from other languages.

In his new book, Adam Jacot de Boinod, raises the curtains to display the dazzling array of words that we should have stolen from other languages, but didn’t.

However, it’s not too late: a small platter of words from this most excellent book, The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World, to assist with your festive season social chatter. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

Narachastra prayoga (Sanskrit) – men who worship their own sex organ

Koro (Japanese) – the hysterical belief that one’s penis is shrinking into one’s body

Zakilpistola (Basque) – a sufferer from premature ejaculation (literally, pistol prick)

Menggernumut (Indonesian) – to approach somebody quietly in the night for sex

Neko-necko (Indonesian) – one who has a creative idea that only makes things worse

Wamadat (Persian) – the intense head of a sultry night

Torschlusspanik (German) – the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older

Termangu-mangu (Indonesian) – sad and not sure what to do

Mukamuka (Japanese) – so angry one feels like throwing up

Sekaseka (Zambian) – to laugh without reason

Nedovtipa (Czech) – one who finds it difficult to take a hint

Aka’aka’a (Hawaiian) – skin peeling or falling off after either sunburn or heavy drinking

Chakwair (Zimbabwe) – walking through a muddy place making a squelching sound

Shwutair (Zimbabwe) – walking naked

Tabvuk (Zimbabwe) – walking with such thin thighs that you seem to be jumping like a grasshopper

Tingo (Pascuense) – to borrow things from a friend’s house, one by one, until there’s nothing left

Egkoniomai (Ancient Greek) – to sprinkle sand over oneself


I can't tell you how many times in my life that I needed "egkoniomai" in my vocabulary, or how often I wish I'd had "neko-necko" at the tip of my tongue, and with which to flatter any number of work associates.

But really, picking any favorites is too difficult.


December 4, 2005

Anyone's Blood?


I have never given blood. I have never received a blood transfusion or blood products. If I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to start donating my blood I would be banned from doing such for another six years, or thereabouts. Apparently – and I’ve never gone to the trouble of confirming this – anyone who has had a tattoo cannot donate blood for a period of seven years from receipt of the tattoo, at least here in Australia. If I get a new tattoo at some point, which I might, the seven year clock would start again.

It may come as an enormous surprise to some of you, but I don’t feel at all aggrieved about this pre-emptive rejection of my blood. I don't feel the need to stomp my feet to protest that my blood is just as damned fine as the next person’s; and I don’t feel the urge to write to my local member to demand that my blood be foisted on some unsuspecting emergency room patient; nor do I feel any desire, at all, to bleat or wail about the injustice of it all; or to demand that my right to give blood to all and sundry be recognized and actioned immediately!

The same, however, cannot be said of some of the gay folk in our community, who, for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom, feel discriminated against for being denied the earth-shattering, world-changing, wondrous and fulfilling opportunity to plonk down the odd pint of blood for someone else’s use when the urge to do so strikes them. Being denied the opportunity to share some of their bodily fluids is, they are claiming, DISCRIMINATION.

Yes, here down under, the Red Cross’s restrictions on gay blood donors are being challenged under the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The gay lobby has been angered by three leading AIDS groups who have come out in support of the Red Cross policy.

The Red Cross policy is that anyone who has had male-to-male sex in the last 12 months is turned away from donating blood.

Research in Britain shows that removing the “gay ban” would increase the risk of HIV entering the blood supply by 60%, but some twat in Tasmania is screaming “discrimination”. His argument is that gay men who practice safe sex should be allowed to donate blood. He wants donors to be “screened according to the safety of their sexual practices, not the gender of their sexual partner”.

Let’s see now: he wants us to believe that gay and bisexual men never forget and they never lie about sexual practices? By the same argument, I should be able to fill-in a donor form and declare that my tattoos were all carried out safely, and then give my blood. Likewise, an intravenous heroin user should be permitted to fill in the same form and declare that they only ever shoot up in a clean and safe manner, and then give their blood. Yeah, sure, I’ll gamble other people’s lives on all of these assertions – what the hell, live on the edge!

To be fair, it would be a monumental lie to suggest that heterosexuals do not engage in unsafe sexual or drug taking activities, but I would hazard a guess that everyone fills in an identical form, with identical questions, and on that basis, some heterosexuals would rule themselves out, with many more not presenting themselves to fill in the form in the first place. It’s called self-knowledge and self-screening; a bit like job applications: there’s a great deal of trust that people have enough neurons operating to opt in or out in an intelligent and appropriate manner.

[Key points and a brief quote about the case are taken from a small piece that appeared in The Age, 20 November 2005, which I can’t link, as they seem to be archiving material into the “pay for it” box after only eight days. For the same reason, I can’t link to details of the following letter to the editor, which appeared in The Age on 27 November; they seem to archive, or remove, the letters in less than 8 days.]

In a letter to the editor, a member of the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group concludes (among other things):

“The Red Cross screening process is window dressing.

To the casual observer it makes the blood supply look safe, but it does not actually have that effect.

We hope AIDS councils will spot the con and join the push for improved blood screening.”

In other words, by some convoluted and ill-considered logic, our letter writer links the ‘furphy’ of safe blood supplies as, in some weird and wonderful manner, being the killer argument for allowing gay men to donate their blood: the blood supply is not safe anyway so let everyone give blood. Just before you screech, incredulously – WTF! – and in fairness to the writer, he seems to be trying to argue that because the blood supply is not safe, and because there are new “improved screening methods that are focused on safe sex”, such screening would, therefore, allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, as well as making the blood supply, in total, safer than it is now. Well, something along those lines.

Okay, so we come back to trusting the assertions of individuals about their sexual practices, and while we’re at it, let’s create an underclass of “unsafe” gay and bisexual men, and a blood-giving upper-class of gay and bisexual men. That should go down well in the gay community.

I am still none the wiser on how the Red Cross could better screen donors for their safe sexual practices. How could any bureaucracy validate such a thing?

The gay rights group seems very concerned about the “shortage” of blood, that is, they harbor the belief that public is much in need of gay blood donors. Really? Contrary to the myth of gay men and women making up, on average, 10% of the population, the real figure is, apparently, 2-3%. When you take into account the number of gay men in that figure; then the number who can prove they practice safe sex 100% of the time; and then consider the number who fall into both sub-sets who also feel compelled to donate blood, well, you can see where I’m heading – that’s not a huge number of new blood donors is it; not enough to make an appreciable difference to safe supplies.

Besides if the gay rights group is genuinely concerned about the present safety of blood and blood products, and genuinely concerned about the shortage of blood, their money would be better spent on providing funding for more research on the best medical methods to reduce the unnecessary use of blood transfusions, rather than paying the legal costs for a fatuous discrimination case, being fought on illogical grounds – the case is vexatious, I believe.

An extraordinarily high number of blood transfusions are unnecessary. In addition, there are already many well established and much safer treatments to assist the body to increase it’s own blood cell production. The risks involved in blood use are not, as some may think, confined to a small worry over contracting hepatitis, or HIV, or ‘mad cows disease’. Blood transfusions can lead to all kinds of problems, including death, if a person has a negative reaction. If the gay rights group in Tasmania feels so strongly, and is so worried about the shortage of blood, they should be doing something far more constructive, with a far more significant outcome, than the line they are pursuing. If they win their discrimination case, the resulting few hundred pints of blood each year will achieve absolutely nothing, and it may still expose recipients to unnecessary health risks. Their legal challenge is selfish, irresponsible, and anti-community.

Blood screening is not and can never be perfect, so harm reduction by disallowing some individuals, and even entire groups of people, must be part of the screening regime. It may be a blunt, and necessary, instrument, but the damage or loss to the potential, but rejected, donor is utterly immaterial. There are a million ways to be altruistic; giving blood is not the pinnacle of community spirit and giving.

December 2, 2005

Gratuitous Cat Pictures

This is a cat ...



So is this ...




And this ...



And this.



Purrr, purrr, purrr, purrr.

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Update - Like me - err, no, well, I'll correct that; not like me at all, but seemingly having vaguely similar difficulties in coming to terms with this whole hideous "cat thing" - Drunka is struggling with the concept of cat blogs, even more so than I am. He's close, but no cigar. I do, however, admire his thinking and can see how he is subtly and slowly turning the blogosphere into a safe haven for doggies - and we'll all be better for it, amen.