December 31, 2006

December 29, 2006

December 27, 2006

Silly Season Science

“About 40 per cent of the world's population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, including about eight million Australians.”
As most pregnant woman would be aware, Toxoplasma gondii is the parasite that can be picked up from cats, and raw or undercooked meat.

A study from the Czech Republic offers a list of 'symptoms' caused by the parasite – let’s just remind ourselves, that this is in 40 per cent of the world’s population, not to mention eight million Australians – symptoms which read much like your average generic star sign profile:
"Infected men have lower IQs, achieve a lower level of education and have shorter attention spans. They are also more likely to break rules and take risks, be more independent, more anti-social, suspicious, jealous and morose, and are deemed less attractive to women. [Sagittarius]

On the other hand, infected women tend to be more outgoing, friendly, more promiscuous, and are considered more attractive to men compared with non-infected controls.” [Scorpio, with a Leo rising]
Playing fast and loose with cat metaphors, Australian scientist Dr Boulter summarizes the situation thus:
"In short, it can make men behave like alley cats and women behave like sex kittens".
This is considered an infection now???!!!

As is so often the case, mice have not escaped from lending a helping hand with these investigations, confirming that their behavior too was altered when they were infected with the parasite, for example:
“The mice were more likely to take risks that increased their chance of being eaten by cats, which would allow the parasite to continue its life cycle.”
Right, so we have kamikaze mice, under compulsion from the resident parasite, sacrificing themselves to be eaten by cats.

Alas, no information is offered by our scientists on how they might extrapolate this finding to humans, or if they have, perhaps, already obtained anecdotal evidence of humans shamelessly throwing themselves in front of hungry cats, in the hope of being eaten.

December 23, 2006

Christmas Words

In our ongoing campaign to improve the world’s vocabulary, I offer two words for you to sprinkle liberally on Christmas day:

Osculate – Verb

To come together, to contact (as two osculating circles); to kiss, kissable.

Suggested Usage:

No Timmy, you do not have to osculate Aunt Mabel if it impinges on your personal comfort zone.

Kath, please assure me that the osculatory couple under the bushes wasn’t you and Justin.

How wonderful the entire family is on osculating terms this year.

Popinjay Noun

1. A vain, conceited, pompous person, a coxcomb, a fop.

2. A loquacious, talkative person, a blabbermouth.

Suggested Usage:

I’m so pleased that the family only produced one popinjay; otherwise the rest of us would never get a word in.

A fine popinjay in his youth, cousin Justin is now an accountant.

Your neighbors are the perfect strutting popinjay pair.

December 22, 2006

Coming Good?

Perhaps a girl can’t spend her entire life getting by on an old stain of the President’s semen, no matter the color of the – surely by now – threadbare dress. (Actual dress … )

Monika Lewinsky has graduated in London, with a Masters of Science degree in Social Psychology.

Good for her.

Her thesis, "In Search of the Impartial Juror: An exploration of the third person effect and pre-trial publicity”, is a tad obvious, however, given that she knows more than a thing or two about being judged by others, perhaps the topic provided her with an intellectual grip, of some kind, on her own past.

When presented with her award, the audience “erupted in spontaneous applause”.

Now that’s something she hasn’t had before.

Let's hope the newly educated Lewinsky, and her smaller hair (yet still the same oddly large head), can move persistently and firmly into anonymity, with a little decorum.

Duck Friday


Update - don't forget to visit Jacob, for an excellent Christmas Goat Friday.

December 20, 2006

Festive Season Greetings

From the wisher (me) to the wishee (you) please accept without obligation implied or implicit my best wishes for an environmentally conscious socially responsible, politically correct low stress, non-addictive gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious and or secular persuasions and or traditions of others or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I wish you a financially successful personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year of 2007 but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects having regard to the race creed colour age physical ability religious faith choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms:

This greeting may be subject to further clarification or withdrawal.

This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the propriety rights of the wisher are acknowledged.

This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes.

This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

The wisher warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Any reference in this greeting to "the Lord", "Our Saviour", "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" or any other festive figures whether actual or fictitious dead or alive shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting and all propriety rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.

Have a great holiday. Whatever Christmas means to you, I hope you and those dear to you have an enjoyable time.

Avatar Briefs Pty Ltd No Liability

As old as time

Happy snaps - the way we were, 13 billion years ago.

" ... the glow from the first things to form in the universe, more than 13 billion years ago. Snapped by NASA's Spitzer space telescope, the bizarre objects must have existed within a few hundred million years of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago."
Read the rest ...

December 17, 2006

'Twas the night

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves".
"Vertically challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Human Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with four pigs, you know that looked stupid.

The runners had been removed from his sleigh,
the ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A..

And people had started to call for the cops
when they heard roof noises up on there roof tops.

Smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was called "unenlightened".

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf would sue o'er the use of his nose.

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
asking for millions of dollars in due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,

joined a self help group, and left in a whiz,
demanding from now one her title be 'Ms.'.

And as for the gifts, he'd ne'er had a notion
that making a choice could cause such a commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
which ment nothing for him and nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim and nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored and made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, nothing for just boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike and so, non-pacific.

No candy or sweets... They were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales too, while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie ... (just better off hidden).

For they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who said the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, not football ... some one could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to the dirt.

Dolls were too sexist, and should be pass
And X-box, 'twas found, rots your brain cells away.

So Santa just stood there, dishelved, perplexed;
He just couldn't figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, he tried to be gay,
(but you've got to be careful with that word today).

His sack was quite empty, lay limp on the ground;
No suitable gift for this year could be found.

Something special was needed,
a gift that he might
give to all
without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
each group of people and every religion;

Every ethnicity, each color and hue,
everyone every where... even to you.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth!"

December 16, 2006

Just say no

The opportunistic capitalist-mongers cashing in on climate change and all variety of environmental hysterics is growing as quickly as my carbon emissions.

Back in November Tim Blair had this post about buying wind power cards.

Now Blair brings us news of an even more preposterous green scam.

[Go on, off you go – read both of the posts you lazy buggers!]

The above actions, ostensibly offering you, the consumer, opportunities to “help” the environment are nothing more or less than the equivalent of buying a pet rock or a troll doll.

There are millions of entrepreneurs out there, all wanting to fleece you of your hard earned money. By all means allow yourself to be fleeced by spending your life’s savings on a giant energy guzzling flat screen teevee that will be technologically out of date long before the warranty expires, but for goodness sake do NOT, do NOT EVER hand over your money to provide profits to these delusional-feel-good and utterly useless businesses – you will not be helping the environment; you will be helping some total ass to your open wallet.

BEWARE.

JUST SAY NO.

UPDATE: Truly, it does get worse:

"Saving the world can take up a lot of space.

Greenfleet, one of the nation's leading organisations helping individuals and companies offset carbon emissions, has for nearly three years been unable to find enough NSW land to plant the trees its subscribers have paid for.

As new subscriptions flood in, the not-for-profit group is searching for landholders willing to join the scheme and establish forests on their property.

At first, Greenfleet told the Herald it had a NSW backlog of about 88,000 trees that needed to go in the ground in the name of climate change prevention.

Some subscribers signed up as long ago as early 2004 but because of the land shortage and ferocity of the drought, tree planting has been severely curtailed.

But after learning of the Herald story Greenfleet said that in the late 1990s, before its incorporation in 2001, some 170,000 extra trees were planted. Greenfleet said this meant it was ahead in its commitments.

There have been few if any inspections to see how these 1990s plantings have fared, and Greenfleet still intends to plant new trees for new subscribers.

In October alone, Greenfleet committed itself to planting another 96,000 trees nationally. It was more subscriptions than Greenfleet has taken in the equivalent month for all of the past five years."

Read the rest.

Also via Blair
.

Let them snort cake

If you look very carefully, and if you have the brain of a demented sparrow, you will conclude that Paris Hilton has an unused snuff of cocaine still sitting in her nostril. Or, if you and the trash mags prefer to describe it, “white residue” up her nose.

A Hilton PR flunky, apparently with no knowledge of the tricks a camera flash can play, particularly when a car window is involved, mindlessly proffered that Hilton had enjoyed her lunch dessert in such a manner that a small portion of the dessert remained obstinately stuck up her nose, or perhaps she ate her dessert in a normal manner and then cleaned her fingers with her nose.

"I can tell you Paris does not use narcotics. I would imagine [it's] something like whipped cream or a sugary substance from dessert. Something that naturally might have found it's way to onto her face if she touched her nose or whatever. I'd label it a stray dessert."

Yes, that's so much cooler than having people think you snort coke.

I’d label her spokesman a stray idiot.

The pic was taken after Hilton and Brandon Davis has eaten a $2600 lunch, during which they had Caesar salads followed by two $1050 dishes of Kobe Steaks with white truffles. They drank coca-cola and mineral water. (No dessert.)

Perhaps the wealthy like to fill up on some good tucker before chowing down on a nose full of seriously appetite suppressing narcotics. Somehow I doubt it.

(Wonder how many of our trash mags will be dumb enough to run with this amazing story of light reflecting from a car window into Hilton's unfortunately beaky nostral?)

December 15, 2006

Duck Friday

It’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas.

Quack, quack, quack, quack !!!!

December 13, 2006

Einstein Factor

Introductory blurb from news highlights in the online Age today:

UK police fear murdered prostitutes may be victims of a serial killer.”

They reckon, maybe????!!!

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean a man beheaded a 21 year old woman in front of a group of horrified normal people. No motive has been identified at this time.

How shocking.

Update: Hollywood director Oliver Stone has shocked a celebrity crowd with an off-colour joke about the murders of five suspected sex workers in eastern England.

Stone quipped to the British Comedy Awards audience in London:
"It's great to be back in England. I feel like Jack The Ripper days are back. Nothing ever changes here."
The stunned crowd responded with jeers, gasps and boos.

How old?

I’m worried about the Jolie-Pitt children, even though they’re only little tikes, and one is barely out of the womb.

Perhaps my concern is wildly displaced and my ignorance of the US education system is to blame, or maybe my calculator isn’t working today.

From her most recent interview, Mother Jolie is quoted as saying:

"I'm starting to be able to see being 50 years old with the kids graduating from high school."

As we speak, Jolie is a mere young ‘un herself, at 31 years old.

How long do they keep children in school over there?!

Let’s hope Jolie doesn’t decide to home-school, or the kids will never get past primary school maths.

December 11, 2006

How attractive

Now you can make your anti-war / anti-American statements part of your everyday accessories, while still looking rooly cool.

Only a very unattractive mind could have come up with such a perverted idea and sales slogans like these:

"Strike back against intimidation - Wear American Gulag"

"Fight against the lies and fear-mongering. Flaunt your outrage - Wear American Gulag"

Billy Bob Unwittingly Saves World

Tim Blair reports on The Guardian’s George Monboit’s attempt to save the world by abolishing sports – being an obviously unsustainable and useless form of mere entertainment:

"Perhaps we should recognise that some sports are simply too wasteful to be sustained. It is, after all, just entertainment. Can we really live with the idea that we might destroy the planet for fun?" [Yeah, sure, why not - ed]

Monboit offers a singular alternative to all known sports:

"For years a group of us struggled to find a sport that everyone could play. The young men were happy with football, but women, children and older people got hurt in collisions. We tried hockey, with disastrous results. Cricket and rounders lacked excitement. Then someone suggested ultimate frisbee and we have never looked back ...

It’s a great sport - I don’t why it isn’t played more widely."

If he’d done a modicum of research, Monboit would have known that Drunka and Billy Bob have been collaborating as planet saviors for quite a long time now.

Our favorite redheads

Contrary to the newspaper heading, the US has not banned Pauline Hanson (ah, poor New York, we send our sympathies, truly we do). She has to front up at the Sydney embassy with the paper work to prove that her jail conviction was quashed, then she'll get her visa.

(There must be all manner of social interfaces during which we could utilize the word “quashed”, with a certain zesty delight, yet we fail to avail ourselves of such.)

In case anyone was wondering why Hanson is so desperate about reaching the Big Apple for the holiday season, instead of staying in her beloved homeland – that same frothing homeland of which she is determined to save from Asians, Muslims and disease riddled Africans – this is why:

"I want to enjoy that real Christmas feeling. You don't really get it in Australia.”

Onya Pauline, that’ll fetch a lot of votes if you run in the next election.

On the other hand, Hanson has said she might not make a comeback if “a wonderful man could come and take me away from all this."

Please, someone find her a man – now!

Can't fault her solid logic though: err, what will I do today (a) find a boyfriend; or (b) run for parliament. See, these are the types of challenging decisions modern women have to make every morning.

Meanwhile, our other favorite redhead is suddenly being photographed with her boyfriend everywhere she goes, which is very peculiar, as I don’t ever recall seeing a photo of Gillard with any of her personal male escorts before. Is this an all too obvious PR exercise to convince the electorate that Gillard is not some raving-feminist-lesbian, despite being the owner of an unused uterous? Future boyfriends beware: you will be expected to become camera candy.

Regardless of the joyous pictures of Gillard and her hairdresser boyfriend, she insist that she will resist social pressures to make an honest man of him, even if she becomes deputy prime minister next year. I’m still scratching my well-groomed head over that one. Since when did any of us have expectations of our pollies and leaders celebrating electoral victory by getting married? It's generally prostate wrenching enough that they insist on dancing like giddy teenagers on election nights - that sight alone sends most of us into therapy until the next election.

Far more alarming, at least momentarily, was Gillard’s revelation that she had no plans to have children – already being well settled and comfy in her personal life and all.

Alarming? Yes, indeed.

I find it alarming that a 45 year old woman makes passing comments about not having plans to give birth any time soon, as if, on this planet, and in this galaxy, that possibility is both plausible and probable.

Hell, the woman is right around my age, and I’ve been a happy little grandmother to The Golden Child for nigh on 23 months now.

So, to journo’s across the country: if you must go the usual boring and demeaning path of personal questioning with Gillard, for gawd’s sake, at least be sensible and ask her what plans she has for menopause, or whether, in the light of public opinion, she’s going to change hairdressers. Please, please don’t keep carrying on like a bunch of drongos, as if a woman her age still has a whole bunch of happy healthy and willing eggs in her basket. It’s dumb, really it is.

(Now, should I start taking bets on when the first journo will ask Gillard about the possibility of an overseas adoption?)

December 10, 2006

Victoria sizzles and burns

As fires continue to rip through densely forested and rugged areas of Victoria, the temperature hits an unhelpful 42 degrees.

Last news report that I heard: 270,000 hectares burned, and counting.

All pictures via The Age.

An unnaturally large plume of smoke.

Skippy makes a daring run for it.

That's the sun trying valiantly to shine on central Melbourne.

No, that isn't how the horizon usually looks. For a start, we can normally see it.

December 9, 2006

Rusty

Lovable beast and devoted best friend to my darling Mum.

Today we’ll have cake and tea and say goodbye to Rusty, after 16 faithful years at my Mum’s side, and under foot, and on laps, and on the warmest bits of the bed.

Rusty the wonder dog – it’s a wonder we have any photo’s that don’t include him.

On Monday he will leave this mortal coil, for a much needed and prolonged rest, but for today we will have a final gentle cuddle, we will cry, we will send him on his way with love, as best we can.

Sleep well Rusty, sleep well.

Cheesy, huh?

For some it will be a dim and hungry weekend, not because of the bushfires raging across some areas of Victoria; not because of sudden unemployment or illness; no, it would seem there are real people who will attempt to leave “no environmental footprint” for an entire weekend. The time commenced at 8.00 pm last night, and, as is obvious, I have not joined this frivolous experiment.

No numbers are available on how many households have signed up, and perhaps the organizers will never divulge the real figures.

I’m trying not to think about the volume of food in refrigerators thrown out prior to “switch off” time. Or did they pop everything into a neighbors fridge, ‘eh? I’m trying not to think about the number of energy-guzzling unplanned babies that may be born nine months hence. I’m trying not to think about the lunacy of believing that if you don’t walk into any business or shopping centre then you have reduced your environmental footprint. Last time I checked, shops tend to keep all of their power and equipment running, no matter if one or 100 customers are lurking about the place.

Mostly, I’m trying not to think about this bit of condescending PR fluffery:

“This is an invitation to stop consuming energy for two days and to think about it.

It's also about the joys of getting back to basics and finding out what you can do when you're not using power. Hey, you might even find yourself spending more time with family and friends. Crazy, huh?”

Think about it?

Anyone who has ever had a temporary blackout – and that’s everyone – already knows exactly what it’s like to suddenly be thrown back into the stone ages, albeit, with a comfortable bed, a box of matches and books to read.

The joys of getting back to basics? Really? Since when were any of the current generations, living in developed countries, even remotely acquainted with “basics”.

“Basics” would be having no home, having no food, having no income. Basic would be not being able to miraculously ramp your energy consumption back to 100% on the dot of 8.00 pm Sunday night. Basic is having to hunt and forage for your own food and kill animals for skins to make your clothes and shoes.

Spending more time with family and friends? Forgive me if I do not need a superficial and deluded environmentalist to tell me what my priorities in life should be, or how I should spend my time.

This is as artificial as it could possible get.

This is like taking the family camping for a weekend; a bit of tickle and fun, rather than a hardship. This is yet another token gesture of the modern Western age, where environmentalists can sit in comfort while demanding that the poor and starving be deprived of industry, because, you know, it’s so darned romantic to be cold and hungry and starving and living on a dollar a day.

This is the watermelon* syndrome at its worst and most insulting.

[*Green on the outside, red on the inside - as coined by James]

Blah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so disgusted with this I can’t even write an entire post about it without turing into a blithering idiot.

Did I forget to mention that Melbourne has predicted temperatures of 37 and 35 degrees Celsius for the weekend?

SUFFER with your bags of ice!

Huh!

Oh, was that “basic” and non energy consuming produced ice, was it now?

Update: Am I only person who has ever wondered how PETA members and vegetarians would have managed with just the basics, back in the dark ages, when the only clothing and footwear available was of the animal / fur variety?

December 8, 2006

December 5, 2006

Prison News

Prisoners in Canada have lost their access to free tattoos.

Meanwhile, a young lad in the US was sentenced to 22 years behind bars for alleviating his boredom by killing a homeless man.

The lad in question has now spent an entire eight months in jail. Confronted with 22 years of unrelenting boredom in the absence of homeless people, he boldly went to court to ask to be released, as he

The lad in question has now spent an entire eight months in jail. Confronted with 22 years of unrelenting boredom in the absence of homeless people, he boldly went to court to ask to be released, as he

The lad in question has now spent an entire eight months in jail. Confronted with 22 years of unrelenting boredom in the absence of homeless people, he boldly went to court to ask to be released, as he feels he has already learned his lesson and wants to go home to help others. "I want to be an inspirational speaker for troubled teens."

Sensibly, “The judge and the state both argued that being deprived services and being locked away is precisely the point of prison.”

Italian criminals have taken a turn toward legitimizing their business interests. Parmesan cheese is the new hijacking good of choice for organized crime. Perhaps they got the idea from shoplifters, who, in Italy, are more prone to nicking a packet of parmesan than any other item.

December 3, 2006

Something about Julia



I’m already coming over all queasy at the Rudd and Gillard roadshow.

It’s looking an awful lot like we’re about to be suffused with a Ma & Pa we never knew we needed or wanted.

Before long, we, the infantilized electorate, will be braiding each other's hair and suffering all nature of sugar related health problems, not to mention many a night of tears before bedtime and vomit inducing homilies.

Know thy self

You very likely already know what fruit you are, and which famous person, or whether you’re a libertarian or a loony.

Now you can obtain a measure of your attitudes to race, nationalism, sexuality, age, weight and gender by doing various Implicit Association Tests, from Harvard University.

They don’t take very long to do and I struggle to think how anyone could cheat their way into a 'good' or 'bad' outcome.

Your results might surprise you ... or not.

In this week’s eSkeptic, they have reprinted Michael Shermer’s opinion editorial which first appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, November 24, 2006. Kramer’s Conundrum - What the Michael Richards Event Really Means. (You'll need to scroll down; it's the third article.) This piece will also give you some insight into how the Harvard tests work, and why it would be difficult to lie your way to a pre-determined result.

December 2, 2006

Sexual Consent

Responsible adults should always use sexual consent forms.

Glumbert.com - Sexual Consent

If only this couple had gone to the trouble of negotiating a sexual consent form.

Glumbert.com - How to [make love] to my wife

December 1, 2006

November 30, 2006

Commenter Award of the Week

This is a beautiful thing.

Commenter Pentcho Valev, who appears not to have a blog of his own, although perhaps he should - on the other hand, it appears he has more important things to contemplate [oh, really? - ed] – has left a dash of depth, to test our synapses and metaphysical thoughts, on an earlier post about Dark Matter.

No, no – you don’t have to click on the link, unless you want to, I’m posting his magnificent input in full, for your enjoyment and personal illumination:

THE STRANGEST DILEMMA IN PHYSICS

Cosmological concepts like dark energy etc. are all based on frequency shift data and therefore the equations

c = Lf ; c' = L'f'

where c is speed of light, L is wavelength and f is frequency, are crucial. If c'=c=300000km/s we have

c = L'f' /1/

If the speed of light is variable and, as Einstein showed in 1911, obeys the equation c'=c(1+V/c^2), where V is the gravitational potential, /1/ is wrong and we have, instead,

L' = L ; c' = Lf' /2/

Clearly /1/ and /2/ are incompatible and here the strangeness begins. Physicists usually assume that /1/ is true but rarely say /2/ is wrong. Sometimes they give praise to Einstein's 1911 equation c'=c(1+V/c^2) and therefore implicitly assume that /2/ is true and /1/ is wrong. Yet physicists would never openly discuss the implications of /2/: they suspect that this particular discussion has something to do with a prophecy of Einstein's:

"If the speed of light is the least bit affected by the speed of the light source, then my whole theory of relativity and theory of gravity is false."

Pentcho Valev
pvalev@yahoo.com

THANK YOU PENTCHO!

November 29, 2006

Wild fish are not organic

Farm-raised? Wild-caught? Or farm-raised organic?

Your natural fish is the best, particularly for nutrients (only wild fish have high levels of your absolutely-beaut-for-everything-omega 3s), but over in America the intricacies of what does or doesn’t constitute “organic” fish continues with an alarming trove of odoriferous manmade logic.

Way back in 2000, a task force ruled out the possibility that wild fish could be labeled organic.

Why, you may ask. Indeed, go ahead, you may ask!

“What it comes down to is organic is about agriculture, and catching wild animals isn’t agriculture.”

The task force recommended that farm-raised fish could be labeled organic as long as their diets were almost entirely organic plant feed."

The problem of “organic” fish has now been revisited, with expanded possibilities, but still not a wild fish in sight.

“This year, the group recommended far less stringent rules, including three options for what organic fish could eat: an entirely organic diet; nonorganic fish during a seven-year transition period while fish farms shift to organic fish meal; or nonorganic fish meal from “sustainable” fisheries. Sustainable fisheries are those that ensure that their fish stocks do not become depleted.”

This rules out your omega rich wild salmon.

“Fish that are carnivores — salmon, for instance — are a different matter because they eat other fish, which cannot now be labeled organic.”

-------------------------------------

Organic

Relating to, derived from, or characteristic of living things;

Living organisms made up of carbon-based compounds;

Occurring or developing gradually and naturally, without being forced or contrived;

Forming a basic and inherent part of something and largely responsible for its identity or makeup;

Consisting of elements that exist together in a seemingly natural relationship that makes for organized efficiency;

Agriculture relating to or employing agricultural practices that avoid the use of synthetic chemicals in favor of naturally occurring pesticides, fertilizers, and other growing aids.

-------------------------------------

Meanwhile, the new blogger is trying to beat me into submission, with ever larger pages, reminders and cheerful notes appearing, encouraging me to make the move, irrevocably, every time I go to post anything.

Shopping till they drop

We haven’t progressed much from the stone age, when foraging was rather time consuming for women. Which is probably why women seemingly age in a less glamorous manner than men: they spend at least 8 years of their lives shopping, and that’s if they live to only 63. If they make it past that relative young age, they can expect to be shopping upwards of 10 years.

Based on an average working day, by the time they have reached 63, most women will have spent around 3148 days trudging around shops, which is about 8 and a half years.

November 28, 2006

Operation Noble Euphemism

From The Borowitz Report

Bush: US Committed to Finding New Synonyms for Civil War

Launches Operation Noble Euphemism

President George W. Bush said today that he would not allow a civil war in Iraq to erupt on his watch, and said that in order to prevent that from happening the United States would aggressively search for new synonyms for the phrase "civil war."

In order to seek out the most sanitized alternatives to that phrase, the president announced that he was launching an ambitious new mission called Operation Noble Euphemism.

Showing his trademark steely resolve, Mr. Bush told reporters at the White House that the US was prepared to hunt down every last thesaurus on Earth and would not quit until the job was done.

As if to demonstrate the high priority he was placing on finding new synonyms,
Mr. Bush said that the government would spend $12 billion, most of which had been previously earmarked to find Osama bin Laden.

But critics of Operation Noble Euphemism were skeptical of its outcome, particularly after the White House unsuccessfully launched a slogan contest last month to replace the phrase "stay the course."

That contest, which was announced with much fanfare, was abandoned after a leak revealed that the top contender was "slog through the mire."

White House spokesman Tony Snow attempted to quiet those critics today, saying that "the United States is committed to finding a lasting euphemism for civil war in
Iraq."

Mr. Snow refused to say which if any euphemisms were under consideration, but did say that the White House had already ruled out "Shiitepalooza."

Elsewhere, getting obese children to exercise can improve their sleep habits, according to a study published today in "Yeah, That'll Happen" magazine.

November 27, 2006

Near and Present Danger

I wonder if we will ever get to see this on our television screens? [The preview clips are brief and need to be loaded individually. Link at the top left navigation provides the introduction, alas, not the whole show.]

Certainly we can’t ever expect to see this one, or anything remotely like it. [The download shows 40 minutes of running time, but only the first 7 minutes of the program are available.]

Two new books* of Australian fiction jump into the fray with apocalyptic versions, not so much of the future, but of the present. The worst these authors can dredge from their imaginings is the here and now – our own leaders and countries the archetypal genesis of fascism, oppression, brain washing, manipulations, random and conspiracy-riddled violence perpetuated by Western governments against their own people.

That’s pretty much it: John Howard and George Bush, or proxies for such, are the worst they can imagine for the world and for humanity. Well, those two, plus capitalism, and the silliness of anyone objecting to terrorism – real terrorism.

I wonder when our intellectuals and creative communities will stop wringing their hands and clucking over the supposed threat from within and start portraying the threat from external fascism.

At what point will they be prepared to open their mouths and stand up to the increasingly virulent intolerance and race hatred that is the antithesis of the values that we and many countries have sent their own to fight and to die for during that last 100 years. If they ever do work up the gumption, whose intolerance and whose hatred will they identify as being the real and present danger to the world?

[*RICHARD FLANAGAN: I wanted to write a book that was a mirror to these times and a book that I hoped might be a warning to people about what I feel are a series of frightening tendencies in our society.]

Also well worth reading the link provided by Nick & Nora, on the media’s role in modern warfare, but in reading, I think it’s only fair and reasonable to consider the piece more widely, and even question whether the starting point is, in fact the media, or does defeat start with the intellectuals, the artists, the perpetually appeasing left, those who insist and believe they are radical thinkers, post-modernist with a monopoly on clear sighted understanding and capability to manage the human condition – perhaps with a good dispute resolution manager, a group bonding exercise, and a smorgasbord of multicultural food.


November 26, 2006

It's not easy being silly

Beijing volunteers for the 2008 Olympics have already commenced taking smiling lessons. The difficulty of this cultural shift has been eased, if only slightly, with one university establishing a debriefing room, where smiling volunteers can distress after a long day of grinning.

“… the students said that it needed a lot of practice to be able to smile three metres away with ease and calm …

During a recent international softball game, student volunteers found their university had set up a special room for them to discuss their experiences after work, so they would be less stressed out and could smile from their hearts.

“At first, I thought you might find it difficult to smile after you became tired. But later I realized if you don't treat smiling as a work assignment, but as a something normal, you may find it very easy to smile all the time.”

The plastic baby was also unharmed

“The pastor at Anchorage First Free Methodist Church was mystified. Why was the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chastising him? No animals are harmed in the church's holiday nativity display. In fact, animals aren't used at all.”

“Jackie Vergerio, PETA's captive animals in entertainment specialist, said her organization tracks churches nationwide that use real animals in "living nativity scenes."

Apart from their nasty habit of killing abandoned but adoptable animals, and successfully blackmailing governments and entire industries, PETA demands that we all become vegetarians and stop using wool.

Anything acrylic is okey dokey though. I guess that would be acrylic food and clothing, in some regards.

PETA love animals, so they tell us, (including the ones they kill?), yet seem to have trouble sorting through the cognitive dissonance they suffer when it comes to their own kind. Not to mention their quirky, yet not at all cute, difficulties with nativity scenes.

November 25, 2006

Patently Stupid

McDonald's wants to own the rights to how a sandwich is made.

In a 55-page patent application, filed in both the US and Europe, McDonald’s lays claim to a "simultaneous toasting of a bread component" (which sounds suspiciously like one of these), as well as a unique garnish delivery system, which entails garnishes being inserted into the sandwich cavity in a “sandwich delivery tool. Huh?

The folk at McDonald’s are beginning to sound like total tools.

November 24, 2006

My, my, what a big baby

In an act of self sabotage, we upstage Duck Friday with an in utero elephant calf.

Duck Friday


Who’s a pretty boy then?

November 23, 2006

Tough call?

For many people, if they live to the nice old age of 92, they are not necessarily equally blessed to still have their hearing and eye sight intact, let alone their target shooting skills.

Not so, it would seem, for the 92 year old woman shot dead by police in America.

Yes, I know: it sounds like a bad PR exercise, an impossible situation, a potentially monstrous basket of recriminations for the police.

Yes, Reverend Markel Hutchins, a civil rights leader, has said that the [the woman’s] family deserves an apology.

"Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age," Hutchins said.

Really Reverend; you’re serious?

This wasn’t a tough call for the police, all three of whom were shot by the nonagenarian, before she was felled.

“One was hit in the arm, another in a thigh and the third in a shoulder.”

When three police officers have been shot, should they really feel obliged to request age identification before deciding whether to fire back, with lethal force?

I don’t think so.

November 21, 2006

More Teleco Device Harassment

The following email was sent by the The Great Marquee Company in Auckland - to an already lost potential customer. It was written by the office manager and wife of the business owner. Hubby has since, sensibly, sacked his wife.
"Hi Steve, Thanks for your reply. Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upper class clients which unfortunately you are not.

"Why don't you stay within your class level and buy something from payless plastics instead. Kindest Regards, Katrina."
When are people going to figure out how email works, hey?

November 20, 2006

Weasel Words Hit New Low

First the bad news: people in struggling and developing countries still go hungry, despite the world producing far more food than is needed for every person on the planet.

Now the good news: no one in the United States of America goes hungry, not anymore. Instead, 35 million Americans last year suffered "from “low food security,” meaning they chronically lacked the resources to be able to eat enough food. Of these, 10.8 million lived with “very low food security,” meaning they were the hungriest among the hungry".

Currently running at more than double the target, the sterling goal is for no more than 6 percent of the population of America to suffer from "low food security" at any given time.

Show of hands for volunteers?

[Ideology may be dead, but isn’t it nice to know that the euphemism breeds and thrives – ed]

Bad Thoughts

I know it’s wrong of me and I should neither think this nor air my unseemly thoughts in public, but if someone needs a size XXXXXXXL personal floatation device, I don’t want them on my plane, or on my boat.

I don’t care if they bring their own seat belt extender [“no one to tell” – yeah, no one will ever guess you needed it – ed], or if they come fully equipped with their very own portable health profile on a natty little USB [don’t forget it includes their living will – ed], or their no bend toenail clippers and sock aids, or a watchband long enough to act as a parachute for 12 passengers [now let’s not get carried away, it only goes up to a size XXXXL; five passengers, tops – ed], I’d rather they put down the XXXXXXXL burger and chips, get off the couch a bit, and not potentially prevent the smooth and happy execution of any emergency procedures.

It all comes down to health and safety – mine. Nothing personal.

Now jail the judge

I admit total ignorance of laws relating to illicit drug possession and use in Britain, but no matter what they are, I’m thinking it’s time the judge who keeps babying Pete Doherty should step aside, or face a charge of some sort herself.

This dope of a man – and we don’t use that description flippantly in his case – has been arrested again, for the umpteenth time this year, on suspicion of possession of yet more crack cocaine.

For the most part I don’t have strong views on drug use, other than total distain for illicit drug abusers who believe they’re way-cool; and a passing distain for licit drug abusers who believe they’re not one.

Yet, one has to draw the line at drug abusers who are unrelenting, unrepentant dickheads, such as Doherty.

It’s criminal enough that Doherty is a spectacularly repulsive looking man, in an ashen-swollen-faced way, with what appear to be rotting teeth, infrequent attention to morning or evening ablutions, along with wanton infliction of sartorial abuse on an innocent public, but add to this that he keeps fronting up to some frou-frou of a judge who insists on praising him – even when his rehabilitation efforts result in positive drug tests and more and more arrests – surely someone in this publicly played-out pathetic micro-drama should be thrown in jail for a goodly spell.

At various court appearances during this year, and despite his twice failing drug tests in a single month Magistrate Jane McIvor has oozed all types of praise in Doherty’s direction:

You’re doing quite well, but you need to keep it up.”

"It is very good progress and clearly a positive start. It seems that his determination is increasing." [His determination in relation to what? - ed]

"It is not expected to get a negative test in the first review period but I hope that opiate replacement will happen in the next period."

"It's a long, slow process, but you are showing sufficient signs of compliance and effort," Magistrate McIvor cooed, having been particularly tickled-pink that Doherty hadn't been arrested (at that stage) for drugs since Jan. 14. Oh bravo! I think that lasted for about five minutes, or five days – whichever is shorter in Pete Doherty-land.