Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hotter than Hugh Jackman's Boxers

Yep, it's too hot . . . not as hot as those poor South Australians and Victorians who are suffering from deliberately lit bushfires. It happens every year, some wanker thinks it's a good idea to light a spark . .this one has resulted in 10 homes lost and massive fires in the Gippsland area and Latrobe Valley . . . that's a helicopter in the top right corner dumping water on this huge thing . . .

Then there are the 45 degree temperatures that are putting such a strain on the Melbourne power grid that it's gone into meltdown and 11,000 Melbournians/Victorians are without power. Spare a thought for our Southern cousins who are living by candlelight and who's trains aren't working because the railway lines have buckled near Jolimont, leaving thousands stranded at Flinders Street Station.

For goodness sakes, this is Australia . .it's a hot country. You'd think the railway lines would survive!

Adelaide is also undergoing a heat wave and has had four or five days of temps over 40. Exhausting, believe me. Kids are allowed to stay home from school and most are locking themselves indoors or visiting well air conditioned shopping centres and movie complexes.

I've spent the day vacillating between the pool and the house, dressed in a wet cossie and a sarong. Clean a little . .have a dip . . .wash a little . . have a dip . . . It's been about 38 out here in the north west of Sydney. I don't have aircon. I rarely miss it but there are the odd days and particularly nights where a fan just doesn't do the trick and this week's one of those weeks where I'd love a shot of cold air in the evening. So if you see me on Facebook or Skype at 3am, don't be surprised! Sleep eludes me in the heat. Ah well, at least I'm reducing my carbon footprint and my washing's dry in 15 minutes . .I kid you not! Even the outside critters are wondering in because it's cooler thanks to the great Aussie verandah!

I'll give him 2 days before Adam turns him into a nasty brown stain. Yep, it's a little hotter than usual and a string of over over 35 degree days is unusual, at least without a cooling storm in the evening. I'm not convinced that it's very unusual though. I remember temperatures like this as a youngster - weeks of hot weather although we usually get a thunderstorm or two to cool things down momentarily. It's not the hottest, despite the newsreaders claiming it to be. Not really, in Marble Bar, Western Australia from October 31, 1923 to April 07, 1924 the temperature broke the 37 mark setting the world heat wave record at a scorching 160 days. In 1988 Perth held the record for 10 consecutive days. In 2008 Adelaide scored 11 consecutive days over 35 . . .so far Sydney has had about 8 days over 35 and Sydney's West, where I have the honour of living is on it's 14th day of temps over 33. (Doesn't qualify as a 'heat wave' unless temperatures break 35).

We've had a spate of El Ninio and La Ninia years which have mucked up our weather patterns something fierce over the past decade and of course there's the climate change thing happening so we shouldn't be surprised. What is unusual is the long string of warm days without respite. My grass has died other than a tiny patch of 'sitting grass' outside the pool fence which receives 15 minutes of water each evening.

We were playing soccer on this at Christmas and it was GREEN. The trees are exhausted and dropping their leaves, the birds are palpably panting in the shade. The lizards are loving it. They're pinging all over the place, pooing on my carpet but the poor little Eastern Skink who lives on my router has had an accident and lost his tail!

I haven't found it in the house which suggests an outside predator has nabbed him and he's dropped the appendage to make a quick escape, so now renamed "Stumpy" until his lovely long tail grows back, we watch his clumsy progress as he cleans up the flies and Christmas beetles from the skirting board. Poor little mite, he's at sixes and sevens without his beautiful tail.

Right, the fan on my PC is going hell for leather, it's cooling down a little at 8:50pm (about 27 by my reckoning) and the sweat is trickling down the cleavage . . . time for a dip!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fuckwit

I love PETA they make this Friday thing so very easy - this time, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to rename fish "Sea Kittens" to help persuade people to stop eating them.

Kiss Me - I'm a Sea Kitten!

PETA also wants the term "fishing" rephrased as "sea-kitten hunting". What drugs are these people on?

The international group has launched the campaign to make fish seem cute and appealing, in the hope of restricting fishing. Tasmania fish retailers, industry groups and recreational anglers however, yesterday were dubious about the campaign's effectiveness.

Very polite coming from the burley we fish and we shoot types!
PETA's website is appealing for people to think about fish in the same way they would other cuddlier creatures. "Sea kittens are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities jut like the dogs and cats that we share our homes with" the site says. Erm, no, a salmon cannot fetch, won't ward off intruders and is certainly not lounging on the end of my bed!

One criticism from the Australian fishing fraternity is that despite their efforts to engage in sustainable fishing, PETA are conspicuous by their absence from the World Wildlife Fund's Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, international talks between the salmon industry and environmental groups.
One would think that if they're serious about changing attitudes they would attend such fora to put forward their point

. . .sea kittens . . can't wait for Maxi to get hold of that one!

On another note, apparently, this was banned from Superbowl viewing as being too saucy but frankly it was almost enough to make me want to enjoy a veggie or two in a slightly unconventional way, I'll never look at celery the same!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Moment of Weakness

I was reading a blog recently and among other issues, the author mentioned not being able to 'understand' the power of addiction and that it was actually a sign of weakness. The same author had difficulty understanding how anyone could become 'addicted to stuff', knowing that it is potentially destructive to self, family and friends - the reference was particularly to alcohol but had wider implications for the addictive persona.

Being an 'addictive' personality myself, I took a slightly more empathic view. I think it depends upon the circumstances that actually bring you to that addiction in the first place. Someone addicted to painkillers due to a chronic illness is hardly 'weak' but a victim of the nature of the drug. Someone with a genetic disposition to alcoholism, is not necessarily weak but hard wired to be so.

At first I took issue with addiction being for the 'weak' until I realised that 'weakness' does indeed mean - the property of lacking physical or mental strength; liability to failure under pressure or stress or strain . . and frankly this is exactly why so many of us resort to some level of substance abuse even if the 'weakness' is momentary and fleeting . .

Once in the grip of an addiction . . .climbing from the depths is daunting and finding the will to do so often impossible. I envy people who have experienced these moments of weakness and have managed to claw their way forward without resorting to something potentially addictive to get them through.

However, I think it's far more important to understand why intelligent, well informed, vibrant people become seduced by addiction of any kind. I know people who are addicted to tobacco, alcohol, sex, weight control, illicit drugs, legal drugs .. I've known people addicted to gambling who have put everything on the tables . . . they aren't bad people, they're not generally 'weak' people. They did make poor judgement calls for a variety of reasons, at a time of particular vulnerability and are now facing the consequences. Whether it's wanting to be accepted, dealing with death, injury, loss, pain, lack of control, genetic disposition all had valid reasons for resorting to the course of action they did, and some, most actually, have moved forward.

Edward J. Khantzian, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of the “self-medicating” hypothesis of drug addiction, says many substance-dependent people who make it into therapy show a profound inability to calm and soothe themselves when stressed. This condition could be interpreted as weakness or simply as a failure of the brain's wiring. So what causes addiction?

Genetics - Yes, as Plutarch stated an eon ago, "Drunks beget drunks" and there is now some body of evidence that addiction of varying types may be genetically pre-disposed although the jury is still out. Generally the predisposition to abuse one drug, translates to almost all other drugs. Alcoholism, for instance, may be present in as many as 75% of illicit drug users

Thrill seeking - risk takers are indeed prone there is no way to tell which adrenaline junkie will get hooked on bungee jumping, venture capitalization, high stakes gambling or heroin

Self absorbtion - some of us are so self absorbed we do not understand the world around us or the effect our addiction has on others, nor do we care, it's all about us.

Peer Pressure - a need to be involved and belong to a group - a need for acceptance

Emotional disorders - anxiety, depression, bipolar, post traumatic stress - by feeling 'better' after taking a drug, having a drink, a self perpetuating cycle is born whereby the only way to relieve the fear and stress is to keep using/drinking. Sadly the chemicals released in the brain which induce euphoria are outlasted by those which cause stress and anxiety. Individuals often use drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, or work as a way to self-medicate and escape the symptoms of their primary disorder.

Ignorance - being misinformed about the dangers and pitfalls of addiction whether it's betting on the pokies or lighting that first fag, dropping a Yaeger Bomb or an eccy before a rock gig

Environment - children raised in addictive/alcoholic and abusive households are more likely to view the addiction as 'normal' and acceptible and become addicts themselves

Abuse - for those enduring physical and emotional abuse, addiction becomes a coping mechanism

I first puffed a cigarette when I was 15 years old. In those days, tobacco companies sponsored sporting events, the Marlboro man was featured on TV ads sitting atop his mighty quarter horse being manly as he puffed a fag, beautiful women smoked Kool or St Moritz, a cigarett case adorned every boardroom table and there was no such thing as second hand smoke.

My excuse? I wanted to fit in - desperately! After moving 12,000miles, through two states and 9 schools in as many years, I needed friends. I needed to be accepted and the peer group I chose all smoked, so I started. Once in it's vice like grip . . .difficult to conquer. I've been addicted to nicotine since. I've constantly fought. I've given up for prolonged periods and didn't smoke during either of my pregnancies but fell by the wayside until recently when smoking has become such a social pariah that I rarely do it in public. Once I've got the drinking and eating thing under control, I'll nail the demon for ever.

The alcohol bit began after Ray died. I was slim, happy, in love, replete until that unbelievable and sudden event. I began to drink, . . . it helped me sleep, it helped me forget, it helped me cope with two small and demanding children. Then the 'habit' took over . . .I was just about over it when two more immediate family members died within a week of each other . . . .so much sadness, so much consoling . . . the drinking continued as long as my father was alive (and beyond) and lasted many years. Nothing hard, I kept telling myself, just wine . . no spirits, nothing damaging.

I rarely got drunk but I couldn’t deal with the pressures of abandonment, loneliness,personal isolation, financial hardship, depression much better after a few bevvies . . . I drank a lot and regularly - I liked the comfortable numbness it afforded and it made me less introspective, more sociable. I'm not actually giving up the alcohol because of disgraceful behaviour (there wasn't any) or even the possibility that I might be addicted, it's purely fiscally driven and an by an overwhelming desire to lose weight. I won't be imbibing at the same level ever again. Giving it up has not been a problem, so clearly I'm not addicted on that level!

But addiction is a weird thing. We don't consciously decide to take on a bad habit because we're self-destructive, weak, stupid or because we want to be its slave for the rest of our lives. Usually it's a slow progression from a lesser, initially harmless evil to a greater, less controllable one.

The silver lining however, is that there are people, agencies, friends, family . . someone . . who will help us overcome our addictions, but we have to step out of the weak spot and have the courage and indeed the strength to cry for help.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pick a Date . . any date . . .

Whilst Australia Day is a celebratory day, it isn't for some. It marks the day a careful and environmentally conscious people who occupied the land for (there is some argument about how long) perhaps 2000 years were subjugated without treaty, without respect and without acknowledgment.

Since 1930 the indigenous population of Australia have seen the 26th January as "Invasion Day". Indeed, the British Empire's reluctance to recognise indigenous inhabitants was obvious and an attitude that prevailed until the 60's when indigenous Australians were granted the vote. Some believe that May 27 should be the new Australia Day . . The day in 1967 when a national referendum, saw 90.77 per cent of Australians - the biggest majority in a national referendum - vote to enable Aboriginal people to be counted in the census and to be subject to Commonwealth laws, rather than just state laws. Works for me although there's a surfeit of public holidays between June and October . . .a day off in perhaps August would be nice!

David Carment, a professor of history, from the NT, says the date for Australia Day commemorates the first European settlement of the nation. He says that alienates many indigenous Australians who feel it was the start of an invasion. He has a point and since we are moving towards 'reconciliation' with our indigenous population, moving the date to something more appropriate such as the date of Federation

On 1st January 1901 the separate colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania would be united and known as the 'Commonwealth of Australia'. In August 1901 Western Australia joined the Federation the first of it's kind to be declared without a Civil War. Although I can't see having Australia Day on New Year's Day will wash with the general populous who would be jipped out of yet another public holiday Monday, should the date be changed.

This year's Australian of the year is prominent indigenous activist, labour party stalwart and aboriginal rights campaigner Professor Mick Dodson, thankfully not a sportsperson or a country and western singer. He is a respected member of the aboriginal community (although many of his number see the accolade as a token gesture and claim there are others more worthy of the title. - there's no pleasing everyone!)

Prof. Dodson wants a change of date, a more suitable and inclusive celebration and given the behavior of some idiots with a nationalistic bent on Australia Day who poured through Manly walking over cars, intimidating shopkeepers and tourists and shouting racist slogans, I'd be happy to move from the white ratbaggery of the 26th January. It's become quite jingoistic and given license to idiots to brandish the flag like a temporary tattoo and persecute new Australians with "Go home - We're Fucking Full" slogans. Outrageous and embarrassing.

I'm actually warming to the idea . . .It seems more fitting in a multi cultural society to celebrate our unity rather than the lobbing of a prison hulk into Botany Bay . . . We can't rewrite history . .we were a convict colony, we are a member of the British Commonwealth but it's probably time that we forged our own identity. The Americans celebrate the 4th of July as 'Independence Day', the French their freedom from monarchical oppression in 'Bastille Day' . . .so why not? Our fearless leader has emphatically refused even the slightest discussion on the subject.

Why not move Australia Day to include all Australians and celebrate our unity despite diversity . .or am I being too politically correct? Perhaps when we become a Republic, we'll adopt that day as our national day . . .*dreams on*

I'm sorry, but why don't you fuck off . .you're an embarrassment! Teenage hoons on Manly Corso, picking on Sikh, Eastern European and Asian shopkeepers and harassing tourists . . . my kids dressed in their Aussie garb and went to a Triple J Hottest 100 party . . . proud, happy and peaceful! Where are these kids' parents?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Quintessential Australian

I adapted this from a comment I received last Australia day and added a few of my own touches. I have no idea who wrote it but it is true.

When I think of a 'typical Aussie' I get an image of a bronzed man or woman, who have Milo and Weet-Bix for breakfast, Vegemite for lunch, and a BBQ and beer for dinner. Tim-Tams are the national snack, beating the Poms or Kiwis at anything, the national sport . It's getting in there and having a go. It's calling your best mate a total bastard or a silly bugger, and your worst enemy a bit of a bastard. It's the Hills Hoist, the Holden Ute, coldies in an Esky

Gum Trees and Simpson washing machines. It's dusty kids with big smiles. It's verandahss large as the rest of the house and fly screen doors that always slam. It's lizards in the loungeroom and dead flies on the sill and that whining drone of mosquitoes just as you're about to nod off to sleep.

It's Victa mowers cutting foot long grass that was only mowed two weeks ago. It's having a laugh with your mates. It's cocky's joy and sheep stations the size of European countries. It's being girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime. It's about being so lustful for international recognition we celebrate winning against the poms in Darts. It's about a highway which circumnavigates the country and kills more people each year than die by murder. It's taking a criminal and making him a hero. It's "no worries mate", "she'll be right mate", and "Waltzing Matilda" all rolled into one. It's shielas, blokes, wankers, boguns, pooftas, dancing queens, wowzers, Jumbucks, Jackaroos, Jillaroos, Walleroos, Potaroos, Kangaroos, Koalas and an animal that is so strange that when it was first discovered, people thought it was a joke.

It's the population of New York occupying a country the size of Europe. It's about standing by your mate, no matter what stupid thing he's done now. It's about a tennis star who is called a brat with one breath, and a bloody legend the next. It's about flying over the centerpiece of our nation on the way to Bali or Thailand. It's Melbourne and Sydney competing with each other as to who is the best city in the country, while the rest of us know they're both rubbish. It's our distrust of politicians and moral elitists. It's having the world record for the single largest mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try.

It's women in unfeasably small gold bikinis putting coins into your parking meter while you're off getting pissed.

It's immigrants from the 50's saying they don't want any more immigrants. It's making a feature film about a bunch of traveling queers and calling it a national triumph. It's taking our greatest military defeat and turning it into the birth of a nation, while simultaneously ignoring Black Sunday against the Germans.

It's footy in the office, betting on the Finals, supporting your local team (even if half of them come from Melbourne) and code wars in the Pub. It's massive bronzed Aussie blokes with arms like powerpoles meeting you at Customs with a smile and a G'Day. It's calling out to the man on the boundry for thirty minutes to turn and wave, and when he does, give a cheer and start all over again. It's having 9 of the 10 most deadly land animals on the face of the planet in our backyards. It's surf lifesavers who are the envy of the world.

It's meat pies with sauce, calling French Fries chips, and buying wine by the cask. It's hating the French, beating the English, and laughing at the Americans, who think 'World Series' means only two countries are allowed to participate. It's playing a code of football so tough and without padding, overseas visitors think we're mad.

It's about arguing whether it's Cabanossi or Kabana. It's the Blue Heeler, the Kelpie, and the Tuckerbox. It's making cars so good that we export them to every Continent except Antarctica.

It's inventing a sporting catch-cry in three seconds, while other teams supporters plan for months. It's chasing fish poachers halfway around the world just so we can confiscate their boat and sell their catch. It's cricket in the backyard, over-and-out, batter fetches, one-hand-one-bounce, electric wickets, and tipsy-runs. It's having some of the brightest coloured birds in the world, that you can't see in the trees no matter how hard you look.

It's the incessant cheep of miner birds and Magpies calling in the morning, Crows cawing in the afternoon, and Possums climbing in your window after dark.

It's about calling sports people heroes and heroes tall poppies. It's getting a Kiddy Pool and suddenly finding your children have a lot of new friends. It's wearing thongs on your feet, not up your arse. It's walking into the shopping center bare-chested for the guys and shorts and bikini top for the girls, and no one gives you a second glance. It's budgie-smugglers on the beach, and tackle out at home. It's Hoop Snakes and Drop Bears.

It's calling our fellow Australians poms, wogs, spicks, septic tanks, chinks and boongs and adding the word 'mate' which seems to temper the blow of any insult and rarely causes offense. It's living here for 40 years and still referring to your country of origin as 'home' when you're here but Australia as 'home' when you 'go back' for a holiday. It's having a halal butcher next to a kosher bakery, a vietnamese restaurant across the road from an Italian Trattoria.

It's leaning over the fence to have a yarn with the neighbours. It's knowing your great, great, grandad was a murdering bastard that no other civilisation on earth actually wanted. It's not knowing for sure what half the words to the National Anthem are, but still singing what they might be with pride. And it's a sports flag and team colours which have nothing to do with the national flag.

It's Christmas in the sunshine and Christmas again in July

Recent research by the University of Queensland found that the quintessential aspects of being Australian included: Citizenship, care for the environment, tolerance, humour and a friendly, optimistic demeanour. Still, democracy, education and cultural diversity were rated among the top ten aspects of being Australian--ahead of other aspects such as sport, outdoor lifestyle activities and drinking beer.

So there you have it. . . frankly, when all else fails . . .when disaster strikes, personal problems overwhelm, finances are tight and life closes in . . .the sun shines . . the miner birds chirp incessantly and you're reminded that you actually do live on one of the greatest islands on earth . . .but that's our secret and we're quite happy that the rest of the world barely knows we exist.

Happy Australia Day . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fuckwit

DESPITE calling for wage restraint, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has secretly paid two advisers top-ups to bolster their $200,000-plus incomes. Chief Adviser Alister Jordon, Kev's 29 year long serving confidant has received a massive pay rise while the rest of Australia is being asked to 'tighten their belt' or 'freeze wages'.
Despite calling on workers to defer pay claims, Mr Rudd intervened to have a salary bonus paid to his "boy wonder" chief of staff, Alister Jordan, his 29-year-old long-serving confidant.

Another senior adviser has also breached the Government's official salary cap, boosting his "principal adviser" salary above the top level of $192,000.

With superannuation and overtime added to salaries, principal advisers earn close to $250,000 in annual income.

So exactly what brainstorming advice has Mr Rudd received:

  • The Irish Government decides to bail out ailing industry - Kev reckons that's not a bad idea and injects 10.4 billion into the economy including a $1000 - $2000 tax free gift to every Australian on social security benefits (I didn't qualify)
  • George W moves to bail out the car industry - Kevin decides to bail out the Australian Car industry
  • The US and Ireland inject massive funds into the economy to assist ailing banks. Kev follows suit.
  • The British PM announces a further second phase incentive to the UK Economy - well Kev's advisers thing that's a grand idea and recommend the same.

There is nothing that these advisers have offered that can't be resolved with a click on Google.

Kev is now talking about 'freezing' wages (kinda hypocritical don't you think now that his top dogs are on over $200,000 pa) That was tried by the Frazer Government over 20 years ago and resulted in some of the worst strikes Australia has ever seen - another example of great advice.

Anyone with a "web browser' could advise our Kev,as he and his adviser staff are not capable of producing anything original that has not come out from another political source. Kevin, please pay me 190K per year, I reckon I could "Google" a few good ideas from the northern hemisphere for domestic consumption!

On a more amusing note . . we've pissed off the Kiwis again . . . Australia Post has released 8 Australia Day Stamps depicting Australian actors who have won Oscars . . .

Nicole Kidman (born in Hawaii), Jeffrey Rush (dinky di and born in Toowoomba Qld), Kate Blanchett (natural born Melbournian) and Russell Crowe (born in New Zealand) The Kiwis aren't happy . . .but we Aussies have the opportunity to lick our stars.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

God Bless Australia

It's all been God Bless America this week but on Monday we celebrate Australia Day. And I'm ready for a long weekend even if it is going to be another blistering 35-40 in the shade. It's so hot, I've developed prickly heat rash on my forearms and fingers . . never before! WTF?

Yep, we mark the day Captain Cook landed and claimed the land Terra Nullis (sadly it had some occupants who had popped over 2000 years beforehand but . . small detail). It's a big day, a big celebration, an excuse to get pissed, (not for me, I'm on the wagon) watch the Ferry Races and the Fireworks and of course fire up the barbie . . . I did email this to some of you but for the others . .this is what it means to be an Aussie:

We are the people of a free nation of blokes, sheilas and the occasional wanker.

We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand), and although we live in the best country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like. But don't you dare unless you've been naturalised and can sing "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Oi Oi Oi" (clever chant that one!)

We are One Nation but divided into States and Territories

First, there's Victoria, named after a queen who didn't believe in lesbians.
Victoria is the realm of Mossimo turtlenecks, cafe latte, grand final day, and big horse races.
Its capital is Melbourne, whose chief marketing pitch is that "it's livable". At least that's what they think. Each license plate declares that its's "on the move" although we're not sure to where.
The rest of us think it is too bloody cold and wet.

Next, there's NSW, the realm of pastel shorts, macchiato with sugar, thin books read quickly and millions of dancing queens.
Its capital Sydney has more queens than any other city in the world and is proud of it.
Its mascots are Bondi lifesavers who pull their Speedos up their cracks to keep the left and right sides of their brains separate. But we have a bridge over which you can climb in a grey spiderman suit and an opera house that nobody can afford to attend.

Down south we have Tasmania, a State based on the notion that the family that bonks together stays together. In Tassie, everyone gets an extra chromosome at conception and it's wise to count the fingers.
Maps of the State bring smiles to the sternest faces.
It holds the world record for a single mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try. (Then again, they might have thrashed us with the Virgina job last year)

South Australia is the province of half-decent reds, a festival of foreigners and bizarre axe murders.
SA is the state of innovation. Where else can you so effectively reuse country bank vaults and barrels as in Snowtown, just out of Adelaide (also named after a queen).
They had the Grand Prix, but lost it when the views of Adelaide sent the Formula One drivers to sleep at the wheel.

Western Australia is too far from anywhere to be relevant.
It's main claim to fame is that it doesn't have daylight saving because if it did,
all the men would get erections on the bus on the way to work.
WA was the last state to stop importing convicts and many of them still work there in the government and business.

The Northern Territory is the red heart of our land. Outback plains, sheep stations the size of Europe, kangaroos, Jackaroos, emus, Uluru, and dusty kids with big smiles.
It also has the highest beer consumption of anywhere on the planet and its creek beds have the highest aluminium content of anywhere too.
Although the Territory is the centrepiece of our national culture, few of us live there and the rest prefer to fly over it on our way to Bali. As my recent visitor announced, all that's out there is "Red Shit"

There's the Australian Capital Territory . . the home of museums nobody goes to, clubs that close at 12 and of course where pollies spend their week complaining about the size of portions in the HP canteen. I might add that my recent visitor also added, "Perhaps Canberra could make "the Less Said the Better" the numberplate slogan for the ACT. He has a point.

. . .And there's Queensland.
While any mention of God seems silly in a document defining a nation of half arsed sceptics, it is worth noting that God probably made Queensland, as it is beautiful one day and perfect the next.
Why he filled it with dickheads remains a mystery.

We want to make "no worries mate" our national phrase, "she'll be right mate" our national attitude and "Waltzing Matilda“ our national anthem (so what if it's about a
sheep-stealing crim who commits suicide?).

Stand proud Aussies - we shoot, we root, we vote.

We are girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime.

I am, you are, we are Australian!

We also shoot and eat the two animals that are on our National Crest!!!!

No other country has this distinction!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The First to Go

I used to have a crush on this guy at Uni . . I'm prone to crushes . . always have been. Tall, rugged looking with brown wavey hair and blue eyes. Infectious smile and a slightly hooked nose that gave him a Robert Redford'ish look (Don't laugh he was hot in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!) He had the body of a surfer,played golf at Pennant level and was part of the group I hung around with during that time. We attended lectures together, joked, laughed. He scribbled on my lecture pads and we shared smokes on Level 11. The only problem, he belonged to someone else! She too was lovely,friendly and a pretty good golfer herself - and after I met my own true love, we were invited to their wedding and kept in touch for a few years.

After a long distance move to Melbourne chasing a job, the marriage became unsteady despite the birth of their pigeon pair twins. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She couldn't leave him while he was ill. The tumour was successfully removed but the effect on his personality (I am told) had an even more negative effect on an already crumbling relationship and they separated and finally divorced. It wasn't pleasant and I never saw him again although I kept in touch with his wife through other friends. The last I heard of him was that he'd started a coffee shop in the same town where my Brother in Law lives and it was via him, I got the news.

Today I was told that my uni crush had hung himself on Sunday afternoon up on the Central Coast. I don't know how I feel about it.. . .I haven't seen or heard from him in 30. In fact I can hardly say I 'know' him . .I doubt I'd recognise him in the street even if I saw him . . for me, his suicide is sadly painless. I don't really feel anything except a sense of awful waste - he was 53 years old.

It is so very sad when someone, anyone, let alone someone you have known becomes so desperate that this is the only course of action open to them. I don't know why he did it, nor will I probably ever know. But his children will now be beneficiaries of a reasonable estate . . I wonder how many times in the past when things were really tough they 'wished' they had more money. . . just shows, you should be careful what you wish for.

He was the first of Ray's golfing friends to leave us and sadly by his own hand.

Apparently he was a difficult man to deal with in the latter years, but nobody deserves such misery. Bless you Denis . .I hope you're in a happier place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Afraid of Numbers

I don't believe in Horoscopes. I even go as far as to read my Boss' Australian Skeptic Magazine which debunks myths and religion with . . you guessed it . . religious zeal . . and am a total spoil sport when someone sends me an obviously fake email or photo by checking with Snopes first and then making the sender aware that they've been had! I don't suffer fools.

I'm a pragmatist first, a cynic second so why do I do it? I really don't know. Perhaps for a glimmer of hope at an otherwise difficult time, the ongoing search for something spiritual beyond what we know? Beats me.

I found a free Numerology reading and the results are staggering . . not just accurate. OK it's not predicting the future but this is barely edited (only the guff taken out to reduce the size of the post) and I think those who know me well (of whom there are about four) will agree it's pretty much how I am . . note I said 'people who know me' most don't. My sister and brother would be shocked! They don't know me at all. So my numerology chart starts like this:

You are what is known as a master number. (so far so good . .) The number 11 is the symbol of the spiritual seeker. Your purpose in this life time is to achieve enlightenment. Sometimes this is done by finding a teacher and other times it is a matter of experiencing an number of negative situations that are designed to rid you of toxic emotional connections and clear your karma. It is typical of your number to experience a life filled with mysterious losses and either very fortunate or unfortunate twists of fate. (too right!)

You lead a life filled with so many highs and lows. (I'm a veritable bouncing ball!) You are often like two people. One life is your public life in which you might appear as an eccentric or unusual character and the other is your secret life, which is obsessed with finding the answers to eternal questions. You are probably a fairly well educated person who is still looking for answers when it comes to spirituality. You can be snobbish or proud . (or both . .or at least appear so)

You probably don't fit into society very well and you have unusual tastes and may have a bohemian character.Your broad-minded point of view and permissiveness with morals makes you lots of enemies and friends alike. (true that!) If there is one thing that your friends find frustrating about you it is that you are a bit of a fence sitter. This often causes you to be indecisive or not to act at all. You forget to pay attention to small practical details. (my boss will stand testament to that but insists on putting me in a role that requires attention to detail)

Your sharp intuition and rich understanding of human nature makes you the perfect counselor. Even if this is not your profession you have probably noticed that others naturally seek out your guidance and advice during a crisis. You are a very idealistic individual and envision a world in which everyone is equal. For this reason you somewhat dislike the idea of relationships as they mean that one human should be more exclusive to you than another. One of your highest qualities is to make everyone that you meet feel like they are special and a soul mate. (sigh)

You have get away with a lot less than others. For instance if you do a bad deed, the resulting bad karma seems more immediate. This is because your path is a path of retribution that is about the negation of the self
. (I always wondered about that) You are a peace loving, harmonious individual who is a natural born diplomat. You detest conflict and will bend over backwards to make others happy. You express who you are by caring for others but this may be perceived as interfering or meddling. One of your life challenges is to let others make their own mistakes rather than trying to save them from themselves. You are quite philosophical and believe that one should sacrifice oneself for the good of all.

You excel at making others feel good about themselves and have the ability to instill new hope in lost hearts with a kind touch or wise words. You are also a very affectionate person and comfort others with your easygoing nature. Others are attracted by your empathy and your friends often seek you out for advice. Honesty and openness is very important in your relationships and if someone breaches your trust you are not likely to speak to them ever again. You consider yourself to be a very ethical and moral individual and are deeply pained by any situation that falls into a moral gray area. As you are all about balance, you are a nightmare to be with when life knocks you out of balance. You may express your bitterness at being let down with addiction.(Ah . . i need a cigarette and a glass of wine RIGHT NOW).

You are usually a dreamer rather than a doer and best suit an occupation that allows you to sit and conceptualize to your heart's desire. (fell short there) Money means nothing to you as all of your riches come from more esoteric and aesthetic things. (Explains why I haven't got any) As you are so helpless socially and often unkempt personally as well, one of your greatest wishes is that someone will come along and take care of you. As you are so charming and humble in a mysterious way you usually luck out in the romance department. As you are not that concerned with sex your libido which is often badly suppressed may also express itself in odd ways. It may manifest as a mania about a topic or obsession with cleanliness.(I'm a neat freak and the state of my house at the moment is making me anxious) Like a pure bred horse, you need a practical-minded steady companion to reign you in when your imagination goes wild. (any volunteers?)

Living too much inside your head might present a lifetime's worth of challenge for you. Your cool personality often makes it difficult for you to make friends. Opportunities often pass you by because your brilliance makes you forgetful. (Aww, I'm brilliant, that's why I'm absent minded and all this time I thought it was the onslaught of dementia!) The best way to draw your soul out of the either and back down into your body is to work out and exercise regularly. Long walks alone in nature can help satisfy your need for both solitude and grounding.

Now that was scary! I knew I was afraid of numbers.