Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm Beached Bro!

From late July to September is whale season. Usually Southern Rights or humpbacks make their way down the eastern coast of Australia after months of starvation and giving birth into the balene heaven that is Antarctica. Krill to kill. Occasionally one or two find their way into Sydney harbour and Mingaloo is also a regular visitor. Being white, his progress is mapped from the north western states of America to Antarctica . . .he is spectacular!

I have vowed for about 10 years that I should go on a Whale Watching tour . .this year I am going to do it. (Researching how and when right now). Often a mother and calf will interrupt the ferry service and breach or schloop well inside the heads . . .the rocky outcrops that enclose the harbour.

Crowds of people will accumulate to see the sights but thanks to work, it's impossible for me to get down to West Head in time to see their antics:

I saw a Humpback and calf breaching many years ago in the Bass Strait whilst ferrying across to Tassie but never up close. Today, my friend Kenton AKA Stan the Man, sent me this from Murawai beach on the North Island of New Zealand.

It was a joke (not the dead whale unfortunately, which is actually a Sperm Whale and not necessarily part of the current migration). He appeals to my silly side, then we share a particular sense of humour. So while eating your fush and chups and contemplating sux acluck dunner!

Watch this:

And you'll appreciate the humour in this:

He's still my gorgeous beach bum and soon-to-be Dishy Daddy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wireless Wednesday

I was going to post about Alien Detention. No not the Roswell white googly-eyed types but about the fact that Australia is finally going to release it's remaining detainees . . .but hey, it's Wednesday, hump day, 'Spicks and Specks' day . . it's meant to be happy, jolly, trivial so . . .

We were slow starters but we're catching up. I only bought mobile phones in 2000 because the Olympics was on and my 16 year old wanted to party hard in the city . . I didn't get Internet until 2002 because my 18 year old needed it to access her biology text . .weird how the worm has turned. I'm now an email communicator, Blog junkie, Facebook addict, MSN chatterbox, constant Skyper and Flickr fanatic (I've resisted Twitter because I don't think anyone's interested when I clean my teeth or take a dump or pour my first glass of wine or hit the sack).

My first Mac was an A4 screen . not just one of the first Mac's but one of the first PC's . . yeh I'm THAT old! We were talking about typewriters today and only one of my peers remembers being whacked across the knuckles on a manual typewriter for looking at the keyboard. Hey, life before backspacing was bloody hard not to mention the pain in the pinkey's learning how to type "j j j j :::: jjjj ::::" but being a QUERTY typist has helped me no end as far as the social networking scene is concerned. (Ahem . . it helped me type quickly!)

I'm not IT savvy but I'm quite proud that at the ripe old age of 51 I can download an upgrade, organise my PC, talk reasonably sound techyspeak with nerds (except the one that does our IT maintenance I don't understand a word he says). I'm among few in my social set who can insert a sound card or even know the difference between a USB and Ethernet cable. (Mattie would disagree but I actually only ask him to do things that I'm quite capable of doing because it gives me the chance to havachat!)

DrummerBoy in true form has spent his entire tax return on gadgets but then added "My stuff is your stuff mum!" Yayayaya! Soon I will be able to play with but not own one of these:

But I think I'll have more luck at actually getting a guernsey with one of these!

Ostensibly bought 'for the new business' his little Macbook 160G has a webcam so that Clare can remember what her mother looks like (however everyone else will have to put up with photoshopped pictures on Facebook and Skype!). Why he bought a white one, I'll never know . .the man's a LANDSCAPER! Hello!, filthy hands, filthy boots, filthy clothes! (And yes Bird Anonymous, I reckon our two boys could have a 'stink off' when it comes to feet!)

IT, of course has wireless capability . . the only problem *wild sobbing ensues* . . . the only wireless connection we can receive at home is to our printer! Sucks living in Brigadoon!

If I'm a good girl, a very good girl, and speak nicely and politely and make his favourite dinners, he might let me play with it off site one day while he's digging ditches and building retaining walls . . .I LOVE Mac's . . .erm but it's been a few years since I've properly used one . . . Crispy and BenchWarmer . . I may need a couple of tutorials!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Terms of Endearment

I don't know when I started this silly 'pet name' thing. Clearly as I approached the age of Grannydom. Australians are famous for their nicknames and we shorten or lengthen or create something completely out of the blue rather than call someone by their correct name. Clare is Clarence, ClareBear, Baino (which causes confusion for obvious reasons) Adam is AB, Ads, Chicken Lips et al. I'm Baino, Nell, Nellie, Hells, Bubbles, Elephant Brains and Ma! Stressany is constantly called the 'Buzzard' or 'Dahlsey' by BabyBro in a totallly tongue in cheek fashion, who alternatively is known as Dunny, Poider or Baldy. Babysis and ThePlummer are for God's sake, Doo Doo, Gockle, Twon and Twonneth (yes she's mad). Hannah is Hannahbanana of course or Winky. Rebecca is RED or Becs. James seems to have escaped lightly with Jimmy. Even my dear departed was known as Choo-Choo . . a derivative of that great Mexican golfer Chi-Chi Rodruguez. My best friends refer to each other as "Bogth" - dunno where that came from either!

When my nephew Jack was little, he was convinced that his Grandad's name was "Darls" thanks to my mother-in-law constantly referring to Spunky Art as "Darls". At 15 he still refers to his Grandad as 'Darls'. That word too has now crept into my vocabulary, largely as a joke but I use it more often than I should and for some reason "Shugga" is dropping in thre as well. Go fizzle ma shizzle!

Silly names are exacerbated by a particular someone I correspond with who calls me a barrage of weird names, and I him. We've run through the Fior, Sweet Prince, Baby Blue, Pookie, Princess, Poppet, Petal, Helen of Sydney (and or Troy) and the various Chicken nom de plumes and on to Schnooks.

I'm a chronic user of "Darling" and "Sweetheart" to pretty much anyone younger than me or in my family. It can be a great patronising cut-down if enunciated correctly "Surely you don't believe that rubbish d-a-h-l-i-n-g" but I usually mean it in an affectionate tone. Sweetie is a fave when talking to young girls but not in a patronising way. DrummerBoy and the Fringelet are a 'honey' couple. (God it sounds odd hearing your progeny use terms of endearment)

Further odd names are of course perpetuated through blogging by trying to retain the anonymity of those who wish to remain anonymous such as Struth Ruth, TheBenchwarmer, Crispy and the like.

Apparently it's socially acceptable for 'older' people to refer to their juniors with pet names but not in reverse. Must admit I don't take to kindly to young shop assistants calling me 'Dear' or 'Love' or Darlin'I might make an exception for JD who has a 'Darlin' problem but then he's from South Carolina and also calls me M'aam. (which makes me feel strangely superior and powerful)

Even genitalia is not immune to embarrassing pet names such Wissy and Po-po , pee-pee, diddles and doodoos (you work out which is which)

I've never been one for babyish lovey-dovey kinda names other than extremely tongue in cheek or unless it involves animals "Who's a bewfulls, schnookie pookie puppy den". Clearly this is directed towards Lily, The Princess or bloodydog. (even she has nicknames)

I can't imagine anyone thinking of me as a 'Tweet squishy hottie buns' as this little generator seems to think! Although I'm quite fond of my Facebook Stripper name "Ashley Sugarlick" Frankly I don't care what you call me as long as you don't make love with your socks on!

Pet names? Nicknames? Terms of endearment? Got any apart from the obvious?(I know that despite his mother's unusual choice of name, Thrifty is not his real name and Quickroute isn't alluding to a moment of spontaneous and speedy sexual activity.

What 's your nickname and how do you refer to your particular Love Chunks! (your partner, not your bits!). C'mon now . . . spill . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've had four of the laziest days ever and am TOTALLY chillaxed so I'm picking up on a little photo meme and colour theme from Grannymar. Like her, I am still learning with my Canon 400D SLR, and no Clare, I haven't enrolled in the bloody course yet . . . but I will, I'm thinking last semester when the evening light is available. It's hard to mix photography with working 45 hours a week! So for your viewing pleasure a few files from the vault that is Flickr . . .the colour theme . . Orange!

Bonfire night in July . . we wore hi vis gear to stop the neighbour's complaining!
Is that Red Bull AND a beer? No wonder he's twirling his glowstick!

Aktor . . the band that almost made it with Sean twanging guitar and Adam 'going nuts'

Spinach and water chestnut dip with crudites . .simple but delish . .Gaye you missed out!

Perfect orange on my tree before . . . .

. . the pirates raid and eat all the pips, the flesh is left for the bunnies!
There's about $6000 worth of black market sulphur crested cockatoo there
Anyone want one?

Teeny weeny fungi among the weeds in a place that was once my lawned backyard.
Damn the drought!

Beautiful but "Bwwarkky" Rainbow Lorikeet in my Grevillia.
Seriously, this guy was going nowhere.
Took the shot from about a metre away (hence the 'evil' eye)
I never tire of these guys they are so beautiful and so invisible in the tree tops.
Go figure . . . but they never, ever SHUTUP!

My sweet prince mowing as he often does.
Orange is the colour of Kubota.

I love lillies, they're the only flower that will last two weeks
in a vase through the heat of summer.

Ladybird, ladybird . . fly away home . . . .and stop eating my leaves!

Aussie honey bee, doing what it does best . .
nectar gathering on Patterson's curse. The honey tastes sweetalicious.

Oh and a few photo sites that I really love . . .

Anonybird . . .all things feathered
South Carolinan with an eye for detail
Weird, wonderful and a world of colour
Fabulous journey through North East US
Shows it as it is
Only been there once but loved what I saw
Sensational slice of life in Belfast

There are others who post pics now and then and are worth a visit. Run throught the blogroll, check out Ernest's rennovations, Moon's elephants, Mellissa's beautiful flowers, wildlife and kiddywinks, Ces's amazing art and garden . . . KJ's fantastic holiday through north eastern US, Bimbimbie's QLD hideaway, they're all there, at the side . . . for moments when you have nothing to do . .go on . .visit . .

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hair Raising!

Edit: Jackie Sparrowbaino for Babysis!

I've had a couple of days annual leave to schlep around, seal the slate, clean and tidy up a bit. Even had a little personal pampering and spoilt myself with a facial and a pedicure but the hair . . OMG the dam frizz that surrounds my frumpy visage is driving me crazy. I haven't had a professional cut and colour since before Christmas and after that awful Gwendolene haircut that DrummerBoy gave me and thought so hilarious . . .then I found this. So besides having a movie star body now, I can also try on a few styles of the stars. Except for maybe a couple of distant Skypers and those who've seen me on Facebook and know the original 'haughty empress' shot. I think I'll be pretty anonmyous. I feel pretty safe that nobody would recognise me on the street from this lot. So . . because it's the weekend and all is well with the world in my particular corner of the universe . . .you may giggle!

Scarlet Johanssonbaino

Queen Latifabaino (she's more my body type)

Paris Hiltonbaino . . nah, tits are too small!

Opra Winfreybaino (well my hair is more afro than sleek
and this picture eerily suits me . .)

Nicole Kidmanbaino . . I did NOT botox those lush lips!

Mariah Careybaino . . but who's looking at the hair! Heads up boys!
Have you ever noticed that she has no neck? Really!

Keira Knightlybaino . .actually I quite like this but no good for curly hair
Besides, the Fringelet might get jealous
God I love her earrings too . .damn the waif!

Eva Longoriabaino. . .eeeuuuwwww . . bloody awful. Just like high school!

Beyonce Knowlesbaino . . now this I can do with just a colour!
I'm serious!

Angelina Joliebaino . . Bradilicious? I think not!

So have a go I dare you and post a shot . . .I did a Donald Trumpbaino
but . . .just couldn't go there! . . so here's another member
of the mad hair brigade . . .and not dissimilar to me in the mornings . . .
. . . for the last giggle of the day . . .

Robert Smithbaino! Tadaaaaaaa!

Um PS, I don't have a turned up nose.
It was a self portrait taken in my bathroom so I look a bit stuck up!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Fuckwit

There's a trend here, I seem to be going for organisations or governments rather than individuals but this week's Friday Fuckwit is the ATO. The Australian Taxation Office. Tax here is so, so, complicated. Frankly I'm an advocate of a flat tax rate 10% that's what I charge my kids in board . . .that way the everyone pays what they can. And the middle class as always, just muddle on. Instead, we have a graduated taxation system, a Goods and Services Tax (extra 10% on everything goodsy and servicy), Sales Tax (which was supposed to have been abolished since GST), Ecsie on alcohol, cigarettes and petrol, Stamp Duty on property purchases - for Christ's sake how much does whacking a rubber stamp on a changed deed cost? All I can say about our Government and it really doesn't matter which party is in power - is that there's a massive bureaucracy dependent upon a complex tax system. I am the first to put my hand up for free education and medicine and don't mind paying tax to fund such things but . . .

You know . . I am the Google Queen (bow down and pay me lip service) but no amount of Googling will tell me how many employees there are in the Australian Tax Office. No there aren't a bunch of nerds in some centralised underground bunker crunching numbers. The heavily accented ones are all over the shop. Although EVERY time I ring for a work related issue, I find myself talking to someone in Hobart, Wollongong, Taree, Newcastle . . no-one knows where that 1300 number will lead them and it ain't to Ms Dusky voice . . ."Call me . . .*deep sigh* call me now!"

Calculating income tax is proportionate and therefore complicated. You pay no tax for the first $6000, then a bit more for the next $30,00 then a bit more . . .

2008 Tax Rates:
0- $6000 tax on this income - none
$6,001 – $34,000 tax on this income 15 cents in the dollar over $6,000
$34,001 – $80,000, tax on this income
$4,200 plus 30c for each $1 over $34,000
$80,001 – $180,000, tax on this income $18,000 plus 40c for each $1 over $80,000
$180,001 and over, tax on this income $58,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Then there's the drama of working out your deductions. If you're Pay as You Go, you're pretty stuffed because your employer pays for any likely deductions. But there are business deductions, charitable deductions, superannuation deductions, pension deductions, Health Care deductions . . .I'm sooooo, over-undeducted. If you're in your own business you have to lodge a quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS) and annual IAS and no that doesn't stand for International Aids Society. Then there's the actual tax return where nobody tells you exactly what you can claim.

Sorry for the rant, I'm going through doing Clare's tax return which is going to fund her next voyage and today I've had numerous phone calls from an over zealous accountant who refuses to acknowledge that my Labrador is a guard dog and clearly doesn't know what Graphic Design is, let alone what can be claimed - she's driving me insane. Gooch you're a pooch . .where are you when I need you most. You got her a $3000 return last year and now you've abrogated all responsibility because Jem isn't your lover! Piss weak and poor form! You're not sliding on my slippy slide this January! You no-longer deserve a place at my sausage sizzle!

Can we all please just pay a flat rate. . . no deductions . . based on earnings . . .is that a bad thing or am I just a simplistic oaf . .please . .someone explain what the best tax system might be . . .

I think the Danes have it right. By taxing everyone, no deductions (with a few exceptions) they've reduced their bureaucracy (which is paid for via income tax anyway).
Despite high taxation, the economy is otherwise quite unregulated and Index of Economic Freedom ranks Denmark the world's 11th most economically free country (4th in Europe). From 2006 to 2008, surveys[1] ranked Denmark as "the happiest place in the world," based on standards of health, welfare, and education. In the 2008 survey, the Global Peace Index ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country. Australians might reel at paying Danish-level taxes - they take 50 per cent of top earners' incomes. But hey, they're happy, educated and doing their tax returns must be a snack! Can I claim my obsession with Cirque du Soleil as an 'art grant' on tax?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love a Man in a Rubber Suit

Being a bit of a tight arse (well and having a shortage of movie going company - my girlfs like chick flicks) it's not often I hit the movies unless it's a blockbuster or a big screen adventure. The last movie I saw was Raiders and the one before that Transformers . . .otherwise it's 4 DVD's for $14.95 on a wet Saturday afternoon!

Quickroute was right! And I wouldn't mind same with you know who (although he was rude to his mother this week so 10 demerits - then he's dead sexy 20 merits!)

Brilliant, and well . . .our Keith didn't do a bad job either, rest his soul! Way different to the Tim Burton efforts and whilst it was supposed to be long . . not a single bum shuffle! $15 well spent! Although I cried when he crashed his Lamborghini! Such a lovely car!

Watch the preview . . seriously good and action packed!

Oh and he's got a new, oh so rubbery suit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Often Things Are Not What They Seem

You know that I have opinions, if they're unfounded, I'll say so. Most times, they're slightly researched but they're still like arseholes - everyone has one although sometimes voicing opinions without an understanding of the truth can be very dangerous.

People can get whipped up in a frenzy of hysteria and fist waving, which can seriously affect the outcome of a trial, marginalise the innocent or prevent the guilty from being brought to justice.

Remember how misinformed we were about AIDS and HIV, originally thinking that it could be transmitted via Mosquitoes or kissing, that the slightest splosh of spittle or blood from a grazed knee would see us all bowled over by the grim reaper ?. . .Talk about a campaign of misinformation! We're still fighting that battle in countries such as Africa.

Then, last year we deported a young Doctor due to his possible links to Al-Qaeda and the London bombings because he had a cousin England who the press implicated. Our keystone AFP jumped on the chance to look heroic and acted before having all the evidence. This later became an embarrassment and a total fabrication, now labelled a political stunt and still being investigated. Dr Haneef is still attempting to clear his name and have his visa reinstated. How many of you have a black sheep in the family? Are you responsible for their behaviour or their beliefs?

Australia's Dr Death has been extradited after an earlier attempt to hide in the US and had his first court appearance in Queensland. He's now out on limited bail awaiting trial but high media coverage, public opinion and lobby groups may well have jeopardised the opportunity for him to have a fair trial. A bad man could potentially go free if such bias is proven.

I visited a couple of blogs that were truly up in arms this week after the murder of a young Irishman on 5th July, in the US, by a Policeman who has since been arrested on sexual abuse charges (not linked to this sad incident apparently). Said young man banged on a few doors - he may have been confused, having a psychotic episode or panicked by being lost, he may not - He may have been thought to be a burglar or was not - He did a runner despite having bare feet - and was cut down in cold blood by a corrupt cop, or was he? - who knows? Quite rightly the lad's family and some of the locals are trying very hard to get to the bottom of the mystery but opinions have already been formed and indignation voiced before all the facts are known.

Australians once had very strong opinions about a certain woman murdering her baby based on rather conflicting scientific evidence. A dingo couldn't possibly fit a baby in its mouth yet months later one killed a nine year old on Fraser Island. Getting an impartial jury for a potential babykiller was impossible. I remember what was an absolutely disgusting media circus. Lindy Chamberlain became the talk of the town around water fountains, coffee shops and bars. Everyone had an opinion. She suffered, she was erroneously jailed, her marriage broke up, her family disintegrated, her faith was ransacked and she was eventually pardoned and able to mourn the loss of a baby that would now be 28 years old. She has had to live with that stigma all her life!

The parents of little murdered beauty queen Jon Benet Ramsey, have finally been cleared as DNA evidence identifies her yet uncaptured killer . . .the child's mother died years ago from Cancer believing that the whole of America thought her capable of killing her own child!

These are just a few of the headliners but I issue a word of caution. Be careful what you say and to whom you voice your opinion. It's important to cultivate informed opinions not knee jerk reactions.

I recently put up with a young fellow banging on with religious jokes and complete bullshit about religious practices because I knew he was ill informed and just making himself look stupid. Unfortunately, other's actually believed his rubbish and had to be put straight. Now me defending the faith was a stretch but it had to be done .. the kid was totally ignorant but spouting ideas, and ideals as if he had a clue!

I try to read more than one source, watch more than one current affairs or news program, mull over the likelihood and the scenarios in my head before forming an informed opinion and I'm always prepared to listen to the 'other side of the story'. I'm pragmatic and my opinions are based on knowledge not circumspect. (Although I am somewhat famous for my gross generalisations).

What is clearly apparent both in the reporting of these incidents and the reaction in the press, thereby influencing the public, is that getting to the truth of the matter is very difficult. Yet everyone is very willing to strongly argue their opinion and support one side or another without truly understanding what went on. This is how wars begin folks.

Whilst I’m happy to put my opinion out there, I try pretty hard to ascertain the facts before taking a pro or con stance. Could be the Libran in me, I think it’s the sceptic and cynic that makes me view all news and reporting, commentary and complaining with a very large lump of salt. I'm not lecturing here, it is sometimes impossible to get to the truth without wading through primary sources, court transcripts or even waiting for the release of secret documents once they've served their dues in the vaults of government and who has the time to do that? I would caution people though to be careful about broadly publishing their 'opinion' until they have a firm grip of the facts. Whipping up frenzies doesn't solve the problem, indeed it may see good people vilified and dangerous people vindicated. Whilst everyone is of course entitled to their opinion and free speech is based on voicing it . . . use the brain before the mouth goes into gear (God that's the pot calling the kettle black . . if only I could take my own advice!)

Just as a frightened dog is a vicious dog . . a dangerous citizen is not an armed one but an uninformed one! In my humble opinion, things are rarely as they seem . . .

Addendum: Interesting al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida or al-Qa'idah, is not yet in the MS spellcheck vernacular!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Luvz Me Boy

Very little tonight other than we've just watched a movie Step Up 2. Adam and the Fringelet and I just schlepped on our respective couches watching together and eating sticky chicken burritos, that makes me happy. He twiddles her hair, piggy backs her through the kitchen, slaps her bum, farts disrespectully, and fobs her off with a rather-too-convincingly 'gay' dialogue. She giggles, dances with the dog to 'Hit the Floor' and they snoox on the couch. Not in a tongue wrestling 'when's your mother going to bed kinda way' but they play . . he teases, she giggle and I sit there with the satisfaction of knowing that he's happy, she's wonderful and knowing that he's a great boyfriend and a good son. I love my boy - more importantly I like my boy - who incidentally is willing to take his mother to see Dark Knight on Thursday . . .this time with him has been nothing short of amazing despite or in spite of his stinky socks.

A face only a mother could love?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Are You With Me?

I am a simple soul. I am not well-read, well-versed, intellectual or scientific. I don't speak about things of which I am ignorant . .i do research things about which I am interested. I don't mind admitting that I don't understand things and I'm happy to be educated and elucidated by others who are well-informed. I'm happy to hear the opposing point of view and I hate wanton consumerism and waste. However, when the issue turns to "Climate Change" I get my Thrifty Pants in a twist. This has now gone beyond a sensible solution to global warming and has become a 'business', an electoral issue, a token gesture that will fill the coffers of industry and make governments popular. It really has little to do with the environment.

The climate is changing . . the jury is out as to whether it's a natural phenomenon or caused by increasing carbon emissions. My theory is that simple overpopulation and over consumption will be this planet's demise rather than carbon emissions, they are simply a part of the problem. Not that carbon emissions don't need to be tackled, a quick look over the Sydney basin on a winter's morning will tell you that the air is nothing like it was 20 years ago! Dive amongst the outer corals in the Whitsunday's and you'll see the effect of warming oceans. Ask the residents of Naru how long their paradise huts will stay on dry land before the encroaching ocean makes them uninhabitable or the Polar bears raiding rubbish bins because the ice flows no longer provide a bridge to their normal hunting grounds. Oh yes, the globe is definitely warming!

My simple response . . clearly anything we can do, to reduce population, reduce pollution, stabilise industrialisation, manage waste and restore some balance must be done.

We are huge consumers of everything and with consumerism comes planned obsolescence and waste. We have forgotten the taste of home grown tomatoes and how to butcher our own food. We need 'things' - microwaves, appliances, outdoor rooms with $3,000 barbecues, V8 vehicles, electronica, swimming pools and movie stars . .we're all a bunch of Beverly Hillbillies drunk on the affluence that has dogged the middle class, western lifestyle. We think that McDonald's is a food group, that home delivery a necessity . . .we hunker after new fads and fashions and don't care that Nike are using forced labour in Malaysia or that our diamond engagement rings are subversively mined in war-torn African nations . . .wait a minute . . .S-T-O-P. . .the hypocrisy is swimming around me as I type in my economically candle lit abode (saving energy on lights and they smell nice). Of course I like nice things, a warm house, a beautiful pool, air conditioning (well actually I haven't got aircon but that's a triviality). I live in a two-car family . . I own a fridge, a washing machine and I'm sitting here right now in front of a Dimplex which is warming my toes when a pair of socks would do the same thing. But I am not an over consumer . . . just ask my kids! And life is not difficult. But if I was rewarded for my efforts, what an incentive that would be!

The Australian Government has announced it will go ahead with a carbon trading scheme commencing 2010. The problem? We don't have the details. It will involve higher taxes and penalties for over use but I cannot for the life of me find the detail in this policy anywhere, even on the Government website.

This is all I know about how it will affect me as a householder, apparently the Government will:
  • Cut fuel taxes on a cent for cent basis to offset the initial price impact on fuel associated with the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The Government will periodically assess the adequacy of this for three years and adjust this offset accordingly. At the end of this three year period, the Government will review this adjustment mechanism. If anyone can translate this, please email me at
  • Increase payments, above automatic indexation, to people in receipt of pensioner, carer, senior and allowance benefits. Other assistance measures to meet the overall increase in the cost of living flowing from the scheme will also be provided to this group. Because apparently they are too stupid to reuse, recycle and we all know that old people spend far too much time driving around town and languishing in a hot shower! Excuse me for being cynical but would this have something to do with placating older Australians who within 25 years will form the majority of the population?
  • Increase assistance to other low-income households through the tax and payment system to meet the overall increase in the cost of living flowing from the scheme. So poor people don't need to be 'green' or concerned about environmental issues because they'll be compensated anyway?
  • Provide assistance to middle-income households to help them meet any overall increase in the cost of living flowing from the scheme. Again, what does this mean? Provide an 'incentive' to live green, not compensation for energy used.
  • Review annually, in the Budget context, the adequacy of payments to beneficiaries and recipients of family assistance to assist households with the overall impacts of the scheme.
  • Provide additional support through the introduction of energy efficiency measures and consumer information to help households take practical action to reduce energy use and save on energy bills. That's more like it. But I want to know how.
  • About 1,000 businesses that emit more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon a year will be required to buy permits and monitor and report their emissions. What businesses?
  • Once a cap is set, carbon permits per tonne will be auctioned with a price set by the market, with the aim to create an incentive for businesses to decrease emissions. Excuse the cynicism . . but this might just work if investors back it
OK I'm all for reducing my carbon footprint, but why do these initiatives always involve punitive measures. Why did the Rudd Government take away the subsidy for solar panels? Why aren't I rewarded for having one of the lowest water bills in the country or my own inbuilt sewage treatment system - I pay the same rates as someone who is connected to the sewer and can pollute willy nilly! Why aren't I offered an incentive for low energy use, growing my own veg, planting trees (not necessarily on my block but throughout the shire). Why don't I receive carbon credits for having a shit load of oxygen producing gum trees that are the bain of my life or purchasing an economical vehicle Why don't I get a subsidy for my low energy appliances?

It shits me that 'taxpayer' funded schemes like this are imposed and subsidies for the poor and aged are put into place because apparently they're too stupid to conserve energy. If I was an aged pensioner reading that, I'd be incredibly insulted to think that the Government doesn't think I'm capable of reducing my carbon footprint! The Government site on the issue is full of broad policy statements and no detail and we're expected to embrace this by 2010 . . less than 18 months away.

Another problem . . will this ever win global support?

Like I said, I haven't thought through this or really researched it in any depth yet but . . .on the surface, it seems like another popularist policy with little substance and another one that will hit the hip pocket of working Australians whilst industry carries on as it has through 7 years of drought without water restrictions whilst we've been washing our windows and cars with a face cloth dipped in a bucket of rainwater.

Don't get me wrong. I am happy to reduce, reuse, recycle but I would prefer an incentive to do so rather than a punitive across-the-board quasi-solution that still allows industry to pump shit into the air. Where are the wind farms, the solar panels, the alternative energy solutions . . I'd drive a car fuelled by the local chippy . . I dunno . . Like I said, I'm a simple soul and if I can't afford electricity or light . . well I'll have to light a bloody bonfire and look what that did to the industrial cities of England in the 30's and 40's. The Opera House will look mighty fine covered in black soot. Are you with me?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

My lovely has been away from home for six months. It doesn't feel that long but then it does. I have the odd teary episode like last Tuesday because I hadn't heard from her for four days and she was making a rendezvous with a soon-to-be-divorced woman in Dorking Surrey (yes we think the name's funny too). I had no idea where she was going, who this woman was . . .all I knew was that she would receive free food and board with a single parent family, two kids about 8 and 10, five dogs and about 15 ponies as long as she was prepared to babysit, cook, muck out and be a companion to the lady of the house. Then the doubts began and images of some Miss Marple murder mystery set in . . . sometimes I'm so paranoid. All I knew was that she was entrusting herself to some woman in the countryside who'd had an Aussie nanny for 12 months until Eliza had to return to Australia for University . . .I needn't have worried . . . after Caymans,. pyrana, death road, and Inca trails, Americans and Canucks, cocaine snorting cousins and laundry tossing girlfriends (the most obnoxious companions of all her travels) and the perils of London, she seems to have found pony paradise.

We have always been horse lovers, dog lovers . . . While her own Welsh Mountain embraces retirement and steals his Arab cousin's geriatric food (which some would see as karma). . she is amid show ponies, precocious yet delightful kids and is actually 'cooking' for the family (they must like chocolate and tuna is all I can say, not necessarily in that order).

She's a good girl and knows her mother goes into a spin if we don't talk once a week, so tonight, she began a conversation on Skype only to have Drummerboy iron (yes I said iron) a shirt and trip the circuit breaker which was overloaded with heaters. Poof! she's gone but not before showing me her current bedmate a lanky greyhound who loves a tickle. Just what the kid needed before her next spate of travel. She shares a house what can only be described as a menagarie and she's happy as a pig in poo. Just goes to show that some sort of stability no matter how mad is somehow necessary for your sanity when away from home. Apparently her new family are almost as mad as her own so she's feeling very comfortable although busy doing strange English things like 'harrowing' (pasture improvement), 'hacking' (trail riding) and well cooking . .I'm quite amazed and I haven't been asked for a single recipe!

So while the perfect couple head out for a night on the town:

This one's for you Hairy Maclary by Donaldson's Dairy. .

Lara the lazy Lurch, sleeps with Clare . . .

Monarch the Dartmoor Cobb, doesn't mind the camera . .

Sally, Expecting puppies and not happy about being photographed in her third trimester . . .

Jimmy the OCD Jack Russell - "show me the ball, have you got a ball, I can find he ball, where is the ball . . oh balls just let me eat the BALL!

Snooty Welshy with the gay name "Divine" . .Aussie kids smell funny . . .

In her element, a mad house, loads of animals . . .the allergies are holding out here with snuggly Sam
Aww, brown Bertie, someone who shares Chippy's hair . . No wonder she likes him

Miss you baby but happy that you're happy . . now get that pitch fork and shovel some shite.
Why doesn't she do this at home?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fuckwit

  • This FF has banned all entertainers from overseas who have ever attended activities that "threaten national sovereignty
  • They are currently lobbying to ban the attendance of babies and small children at two vital ceremonies during a very special event
  • They also want to restrict the use of cameras at one of the world’s greatest sporting events
  • They have not guaranteed journalist access to ‘banned sites’ such as Wikipedia and the BBC

. . . today’s Friday Fuckwit is of course . . . the Chinese Government.

After the lovely Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet” at a Shanghai concert and performed "Declare Independence" recently, the ban was put into place.

"Any artistic group or individual who have ever engaged in activities which threaten our national sovereignty will not be allowed in," the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on its website. During performances, entertainers who "threaten national unity", "whip up ethnic hatred", "violate religious policy or cultural norms" or "advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition", will also be banned, the rules state

Lets see . . well that puts Slipknot and Nine Inch Nails out of contention and I’m guessing the Living End and U2 are a little edgy for the Chinese . . .

The new rules come on top of Beijing banning pop festivals and tightening approvals for outdoor events in the months leading up to the Olympics, where it fears security threats from unruly crowds and potential protesters. Even encores need to be approved in advance, the ministry added. "Nothing that has not been approved will be allowed to be performed," it said.

Personally, I think entertainers are the least of China’s problems. They should be far more concerned about the state of the sailing site! Then again, I won't be watching, they can swim in custard or push jelly uphill with a hot pin for all I care! Sing it luv!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pope, The Nun and The Peacemaker

Okay, last post on WYD although the appearance of the Pope today was tantamount to that of a Rock Star and he spoke quite well on issues that really don't have anything to do with religion. The faithful clamoured for a glimpse, he endured a boatercaid and a motorcaid, endured three indigenous (can't sing can't dance) cultural events and Kevin 07's speech at Goverment House. He even managed to stay awake for our National Anthem and gave a brief address to 145,000 pilgrims (the rest had to deal with live sites cos there wasn't enough room at the harbourside venue). The cheeky chap did however, give a hint that we might be in the running for our first Saint. I knew he was a big tease!

On a green hill, about 5 kms from my house is St Joseph's 'retreat' formerly Convent on Mary McKillop Drive which wends its way through the McMansions of Bella Vista. Today it's patronised largely by Vietnamese nuns training to take their teaching skills across the globe. But not too long ago, it was the retreat of Sister Mary McKillop. She's Australia's only potential Saint. I say potential because she's been Beatified but needs a miracle to convert her to sainthood . . . not an easy ask in today's modern world. Actually, according to the rules she needs two to prove her point. Today Il Papa told the faithful of the McKillop order in North Sydney that she would be cannonised . . "We are just waiting for the miracle". Well I have a feeling he might be waiting a while unless praying to the good Mary McKillop can win me the lottery, halt global warming, depose Robert Mugabe and put a black man in the white house by December. (Cynical? Moi? pelease!)

Now in years gone by, conducting a miracle wasn't so hard. Reanimating someone from a catatonic coma became raising the dead, turning water into wine perhaps a slight of hand, walking on water a trick of the eye. But in her entire ministry, poor Mary did not witness, cause or receive a miracle.

Mary McKillop was born in Melbourne in 1842. Her father had spent the family fortune, so the McKillops were poor. Mary left home to work when she was fourteen and gave all the money she earned to her family. In 1861 she went to work in Penola, a small town in South Australia. Here Mary met Father Julian Woods. Mary felt a religious calling, but hadn't been able to find an order that suited her. I rather like the idea of a potential novitiate going shopping for an appropriate religious order. Consequently, in 1866, she and Father Woods thought, in true Aussie style "bugga the mainstream we'll start our own" and established 'The Sisters of St. Joseph'.

Mary was a woman who stood up for what she believed which brought her into conflict with religious leaders. The tension escalated into conflict over educational matters and as a result Mary was excommunicated by Bishop Shiel for insubordination in 1871. The excommunication placed on her was lifted 6 months later.

In 1883, Mary came into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church establishment by insisting on an egalitarian rather than hierarchical organization. Bishop Reynolds told her to leave his diocese and Mary transferred the headquarters of the Josephites in Sydney and died in Sydney on 8 August, 1909.

In 1973, Mother Mary became the first Australian to be formally proposed to Rome as a candidate for canonization and she was beatified by Pope John Paul II at St Francis' Church on 27th November, 1994. Since the Canon law reform of 1983, one miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession. A difficult task these days for a feminist nun who pissed off the mainstream Church. There's no doubt this was one tough nun but without a miracle . . .she remains just one tough nun - it's enough to try the patience of a saint!

Here endeth the final lesson . . go in peace! (I'm rather getting into this theology thing . . .Bahai looks appealing!)

Oh and because I've been focussing on all things religious this week, I'm a bit short of a Friday Fuckwit . . nominations close 6.00pm my time . . .that's the day before in the morning your time or two hours ahead if you're in NZ or Antarctica.

Extra extra . . .had a meeting with the most annoying paraplanner in the world and Jaime today. Very uncomfortable but left everyone in no doubt as to where I stand in the company "I IZ DA BIG CHEEZ" . . no tears, no tantrums, constructive criticism all round and resolved conflict for now . . very productive . . I am the PEACEMAKER! Yeay me! Happy claps and back slaps please!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cuddle Me Koala but I Really Respect Me 'orse

I wrote a couple of posts last night about Catholicism and religion but they're boorish, one-eyed and more stream of consciousness than sense, so tonight . . on Wacky Wednesday when hundreds of thousands of youngsters are enjoying our fair city and has to be admitted pretty wonderful weather the posts were too serious and inappropriate. There is much waving at cameras, spontaneous singing, attending Reconciliation in the confession tent and an expo on Religion (Nuns have more fun!), busking, abject gratefulness at WYD financing their trip and providing a free sausage sizzle (God we Aussies are culinary giants!). The city is enjoying a general celebration. And I have to say I was brought to "awwws" when I saw a Somali boy espouse how grateful he was to have had the opportunity to come to Sydney. Despite DrummerBoy's comment about "I'm sick of this Pope shit on the news" (well brought up Catholic boy that he is) it is news.

Although how the Pope gets to pet a koala when every other tourist has to settle for a close up and personal but DON'T TOUCH moment escapes me . . clearly koalas feel calm under Holy hands (or men in long dresses) and zoological exceptions are made (They should have made him hold it because they pee indiscriminently, even on Government Ministers) . . I thought I'd take a humorous view of the visit . . .imagine this duo busking near St Mary's Cathedral in front of 225,000 holy rollers . . .

and as a friend of mine would say . . In other news . . try this at Quickie's

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Multiply AND Perish

On Monday, Cardinal George Pell, already under a dark cloud in relation to payoffs to sex abusers to retain their silence and other scandals involving lack of clarity - urged young Australians to multiply or perish. This is the head of the Catholic Church in Australia, afraid of the decline of western populations.

However, this man Pells is an idiot. He is out of touch and disconnected from the world at large.. He has ignored reports on sexual abuse in the Church. He is among the most conservative religious figures in Australia and generally not well-liked and clearly he opens his mouth before his brain is in gear.

Now clearly we are focussing on the Pope this week. The Pontiff's visit is big news, as is the influx of 225,000 ‘pilgrims’. Although the theylooks more like a bunch of teens attending a rock concert with their free God Squad backpacks,looking for all the world like an endorsement of MacDonalds who are also, I am told, giving the ‘pilgrims’ free vouchers.

In a wide ranging address on the eve of World Youth Day, Cardinal Pell, yesterday pointed the finger at divorce and promiscuity for causing a population "crisis" in the Western world. Apparently our lack of marriage and stable relationships is causing the demise of the Western World and we need to bolster our numbers. Where does this man live? On the fucking moon

. . .it’s due to overpopulation of our poor planet that biofuels are causing starvation in third world countries . . . that cyclists in Beijing are choking on the smoke of millions of cars . . that children are eeking subsitance in the Favellas and Barras of South America, that Ethiopian mothers are travelling miles to feeding centres with their near dead, bloated-bellied babies and that child labour thrives in Calcultta. People are the problem with this planet and here's this high and mighty in a dog collar encouraging everyone to produce loads of babies to ensure Western stability.

"No Western country is producing enough babies to keep the population stable,
no Western country,"
It sounds like he is more concerned about the demise of Western Civilisation than the survival of the planet and the desperate need to alleviate third world poverty. OK . . we all know the Catholic view on sex . . .time your cycle, take your temperature and cross your fingers . . no condoms, no pill, no snip for the dishy daddy who’s done his deed enough times and now wants to give the little woman a break. Modern Catholic couples of course are ignoring the rhythm method and opting for more effective methods of contraception. Catholics are having sex before Marriage, gay catholics are cohabiting and worshipping together .. . sex as a platform for Catholicism is simply not working in the 21st Century. The devout just go to Reconciliation, confees they’ve done the nastification and Holy Communion is there’s to enjoy. Low-impact penance.

Sadly the abjectly devout in poorer nations take their religious leaders at their word and still do not use contraception with devastating results in terms of incredible poverty, unwanted children, mass starvation, and the spread of HIV. The Church, if it is to survive must come into modern times and accept some responsibility for the lives and wellbeing of it’s flock, not to mention the planet which is being plundered by this virus we call humanity. And as far as il Papa is concerned, his focus on environmental issues is the FIRST sign that he has some understanding of what is important to the up-and-coming generations kudos for having a go. . now if we can give him a little nudge in relation to relaxing sexual mores and perhaps ordaining the odd woman we might be on the right track.

The same ignorant loser, aka Pell (are you getting the feeling I don’t like this prick?) yesterday refused to answer questions surrounding sexual abuse by a Sydney priest. This just days before the Pope is expected to make an apology to abuse victims. Cardinal Pell has again been quizzed by the media over his handling of a claim of indecent sexual assault in 1982. Cardinal Pell said he ‘made a mistake’ when he wrote to the victim, saying the Church had not received other complaints about the priest. He had in fact written to another man the same day about a separate sexual abuse allegation and the same Priest in question had been reported as committing a number of abuses against young men under his care by the Catholic Church’s own investigation team. He's also emberoiled in a 'pay off' scandal where victims of priest's sexual abuse were paid $15,000 for their silence! Now whilst Pell isn't personally responsible, the buck stops with him. I know he isn't indicative of most Catholics or those who live in the real world. But he is one reason why mainstream religion is failing to impress and in rapid decline.

Pell is responsible for his Priests and his administration and ultimately his congregation . . . so buck up George . . pull your head out of your cassock and look at what’s going on in the world TODAY! Times are a changing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Keystone Cop and a Little Vale to Mrs Riley

Unless something really vital comes up this week, I'm going to focus on World Youth Week. Evident even in the suburbs by troops of Canadian Christians shouting "Oh Ca-na-daaaa" and flanked with the maple leaf. What a cheery bunch of younglings parading through Castle Hill with their WYD bandannas and funny accents "How aboot it?". True . . I had lunch with the Benchwarmer and there are busloads of kids disembarking with wheelie cases and happy clap WYD T shirts. I assume they're being billeted perhaps at some nearby high school. Ryan has even opted to work from home rather than be pestered by new traffic arrangements in the city and someone asking questions about his "So What Would Jesus Say . . " T Shirt (I made that up, I'm not sure if he has one!). But one particular news item caught my eye this morning whilst driving to work . . .

An elite New South Wales policeman is believed to have injured himself with a stun-related device outside the Catholic Church complex where the Pope is staying in north-west Sydney. (Maybe there is a God! hahaha!)

He was taken to Westmead Hospital, where he has been treated for a laceration and a fractured finger. (I love it, the guy must have tasered himself, fallen over and broken his fingin! . . .)

It is unclear how close the officer was to the Pope at the time of the incident but organisers say there was no threat to the pontiff at any time. (Apart from an increase in static in the pontiff's robes which gave everyone a view of his visible panty line and imbued him with a fantastic static induced troll like like hairdo! I made that up too . . .anything for effect)

Police say an investigation is underway.

This incident occurred at the perimeter to the property in Kenthurst where the Pope is enjoying a Catholic Retreat but at this stage, this is being handled by the police. (Does this smack of Keystone Cops or am I just being cruel?)
Kenthurst, is the bastion of the nuveau riche landowners and age-old, mainly Italian market gardeners. It's the safest place in the WORLD for a pontiff. Quiet, wooded, acreage . . . apart from the helicopters and high police presence today who'd have thunk the old Cardinal was loving his home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees, a sheep or two and a kangaroo . . .

As for the policeman . . .silly duffer!

Edit: And on a slightly sadder note - although also a celebration of a wonderful and immensely long life. A lady I discovered only a couple of months ago, Olive Riley, the world's oldest blogger. Olive passed away this weekend at the ripe old age of 108. Although attempts to visit her site tonight have not been successful, there are some glitches with her site but it is well worth a visit. I hope they keep it running as a testament to this lovely lady. Until a fortnight ago, she remained blogging through her regular nursing home visitors, friends and family. . .I just wish I'd found her blog earlier because it is charming. Bless Mrs Riley . . and thank you Eric for your emails and for passing on my comments to Olive while she was ailing. She will be missed.

Mrs Olive Riley 20/10/1899 to 12/7/2008
Bless her soul!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sloth and the Other Six

Well today has been a cool grey day . . I've spent the bulk of it alone with motivation levels at zero apart from bringing in the washing and filling a new rabbit hole . . my couch has been my friend and my heater's working overtime.

so here they are and in no particular order:

Greed . . . I caved and bought chips for lunch. Not just a small chips, gravy and a couple of fish pieces but large and ate . . well about a third. I was so greedy and so mesmerised by the smell that I over-ordered and gave most of it to the best fed dog in Australia. Apologies to the starving nations of the world . . the smell made me do it!

Gluttony . . well on top of the chips, we're planning a roast for dinner however there's only Adam and I at home, so when I should be having a salad it's an excessive proposition but he likes his mum's roast dinner! Today I have eaten Omelette Tante Suzette for breakfast, chips and gravy for lunch and will back up for some medium rare Scotch fillet and the requisite roasted accoutrement's for dinner . . .someone will have to roll me to bed!

Wrath . . seriously, the last thing I want to do on a lazy Sunday is wield a shovel and block up a hole underneath the coping stones of the swimming pool to stop rabbits eating the gardenias and beginning tunnels that make the Vietnamese look like amateurs (especially underneath the pool). The bastards have undermined our paddock to the point that I cannot bring my horses home without major excavations, I'm expecting the shed (which is actually a double garage) to just drop 12 inches into the subsoil at any moment with a bang and a 'puff' of dust. At least chipmunks and squirrels don't dig away at your foundations! I am ready to Pindane the whole friggin' colony if it wasn't for the risk of dogs eating the poisoned rabbits (someone told me that pellets mixed with dry plaster of Paris was an efficient rodent deterrent . . .I just can't bring myself to kill animals via constipation). Looks like I have a holy garden during il Papa's visit!

Envy . . two young 21 year old females with perfect hair and skin have just invaded my peace in skin tight black leggings, Nike runners, pink layers and scarves, carefully but effectively wound around their dainty throats, to assist DrummerBoy (soon to be renamed Maintenance Man) in handing out letterbox leaflets to promote his garden maintenance side interest. One look at their nubile bodies, long and shapely legs and ability to raise a knee to tie their shoelaces whilst standing on one leg and well . . .I WANT A BODY LIKE THAT! . . .NOW BIATCHES!

Pride . . .well I am proud of my boy who's current position isn't quite working out. It's more labouring than gardening as the upper middle class want outdoor rooms, decks, pergolas and $3000 barbecues with outdoor kitchens. The only plant being the odd mondo grass line or a black boy amid the Cowra pebbles. So . . he's starting his own little maintenance business on the side! We are now the owners of a decent Rover Mower, petrol hedge clippers and a whipper snipper and a number of other new garden maintenance power tools which have yet to be 'exercised' on my own scrappy back yard. I'm actually very proud of my little entrepreneur.

Sloth . . describes my behaviour today to a 'T' . . .I woke at 3:30am . . yep the insomnia is back and some guru told me to get out of bed . . read, make a cuppa, watch telly . . anything other than staying in bed which is basically for sex and sleep apparently (neither of which are occuring in my bed at the moment!). Unable to return to my slumber, it's now 3:30pm and I've been awake for 12 hours . . .I've watched the entire series 3 of Scrubs and Two DVD's and am only writing here because the Arts show has a session on jazz percussion which sounds like a bunch of wankers plonking around on kitchen utensils. The only exercise I have entertained is filling in abovementioned rabbit hole and folding my washing . . .I'm exhausted.

As for Lust . . well yes I have it . . as yet recently unsatisfied but it hasn't been high on the agenda . . .I'm thinking about posting a personal for a Sunday fairweather companion:

Strong independent woman in need of motivation seeks Sunday companion with an interest in getting OUT of bed. Must be able to motivate me to get off my ass and actually get dressed before 11am and enjoy late brunch. Has to be clean -shaven with sparkling personality.
Casual sex possible but unlikely if you watch football on telly
or refer to breasts as fun bags

Sorted . . .