Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ball play

Soccer in Italy may receive a much needed boost with the Clericus Cup currently underway at the Vatican. The players are priests and seminarians from around the world - but, it would seem, not from Brazil or England.

Speed cleaning

A new era has descended on our place with the introduction of speed cleaning. The beauty of the system is that housework is contained to 15 minutes a day. The flat is divided into zones and you do one a day - but only for 15 minutes. Of course there is more to it than that but that is the bit that keeps me happy. There is nothing worse than uncontained housework. I haven't read the speed cleaning book but I know lots of people who have it - and have given it as a present.

Life or death

If a person is on Death Row for more than 20 years does this mean they have served a life sentence? And should this cancel out their death sentence?

Protest rules

A recent protest in Sydney about the war in Iraq and the (then) impending visit of US VP Dick Cheney apparently saw some protesters dressed like police and directing traffic at the lines of real police. This action was criticised and behaviour not to be encouraged ... in fact it seemed like people were deriding the protesters for not playing by the rules. Who knew there were any - besides "all's fair in love and war".

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cool Aid

Maybe it's just me but there seems to be a little reality gap happening here. When I switched on the television this evening to catch The Simpsons, I saw an ad for global warming … more specifically, what you could do about global warming - Cool Aid. Now I'm thinking that's probably like Live Aid or Band Aid - but unfortunately the first thing I associated with it was cordial and JonesTown. Okay, just went to the net and had a look - it's ...

COOL AID: The National Carbon Test will air on Network Ten on Sunday, March 4 at 8.30pm and will consider the devastating effects that excess carbon has had ...If you're interested in moresee their site.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Take the cake

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, along comes the motion-sensitive talking urinal-deodoriser cake. They have been introduced into bars and restaurants throughout New Mexico and are aimed at keeping inebriated folk off the road. When a gentleman steps up to use the facility, a female voice says "Hey, big guy. Having a few drinks? Think you've had one too many? Then it's time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home". There were no details in the report (MX News 16 Feb 07) I read to suggest how effective the tool is - or why they chose a female voice for the device, nor how long the battery lasts and whether it's replaceable.

In need of a little therapy

A US man who was fired for visiting an adult chat room during work hours is suing the company for $6.4 million claiming he is a sex and internet addict who deserves sympathy rather than the sack. Four months prior to his dismissal, Pacenza had been cautioned over his use of the net during company time and advised his actions were against company policy.
James Pacenza, 58, says he visits chat rooms as treatment for traumatic stress which dates back to the Vietnam War when he saw his best friend killed during a patrol. In his suit, Pacenza claims that the stress has caused him to become "a sex addict and, with the development of the internet, an internet addict".

Dead unlucky

One Victorian real estate agency, two tragic accidents on the same day. The receptionist was trapped between a car and a wall as she took out the rubbish early on Saturday afternoon. Her leg was severed. Then while repairing the damage (to the property) a glazier was killed when a nail from his nail gun richoted and hit him in the chest.

"Hello, my name is ..."

According to the NY Times, some people with thousands of dollars of credit card debt are pushing themselves into paying it off by describing their fiscal troubles online via blogs. I guess it's a bit like AA - except with a bigger audience.

The plot ...

I didn't note down the details at the time (yes, I know that's what digital cameras are for) but I read somewhere that there is a three-way tussle over Anna Nicole Smith's body. Her mother wants her buried in her home state of Texas while her companion Howard K. Stern wants her buried in the Bahamas, in the plot next to her son Daniel who died several months ago. Also putting dibs in is photographer Larry Birkhead who wanted to delay embalming of the body until DNA had been taken from Anna Nicole's body to help in his claim that he fathered Anna Nicole's baby daughter Dannielyn. Ms Smith's body has been embalmed pending a decision - although I think I read that the DNA sample was taken prior.

Taken for a ride

The motorcycle ridden by The Fonz character in the television series Happy Days was the same one Steve McQueen rode in the film The Great Escape.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mother's "milk"

Standing in queue at the supermarket this afternoon, I saw the fridge for "Mother". They were putting up a similar fridge at Toowoomba Hospital while I was there earlier in the week. Mother is a new drink from the Coca-Cola company and as the bottle says "Mother is the low GI natural energy high that won't let you down." Ingredients include juice, acai extract (whatever that is) from the Amazon, guarana extract (also from the Amazon) and caffeine. It comes in a can (230ml) and a bottle (330ml). Which means you can't have one of each and be inside the 500ml max daily usage noted on the bottle. I'm just waiting to be energised and for my mental performance to be enhanced.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Up in arms

Undertakers in some parts of New South Wales (Australia) are up in arms over the possibility of legal action from family members and friends who insist on being pallbearers - and injure themselves in the process. The tradition of carrying the coffin at shoulder height is the issue - and that, once they arrive for the funeral, there is no time to teach them safe manual handling techniques. Funeral directors had wanted family pallbearers to sign waivers but these would not have been legally enforceable - so there is now a move to have the volunteers (family members or friends) carry the coffin no higher than the waist - or pay for professional pallbearers.

Friday, February 09, 2007


A work colleague gave me the Mensa test questions that were published recently and I have been working my way through them but I have to admit that I am stumped. Insatiable is the word. Can you find an anagram. I haven't been able to yet and it is starting to drive me crazy. But don't tell me!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I don't mind a good headline which is why it was refreshing to see the offerings on today's astronaut love triangle (attempted murder) story eg Lust in Space and The Wrong Stuff.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Explicit content

When downloading The Onion podcast this morning I was surprised to see an "explicit" tag. Taking my sensibilities in hand, I listened, waiting to see how offended I would be - how bad could it be in 48 seconds? The experience left me reeling. It seems they had earned the tag for the use of "a***hole". How amazing must content review/supervision be at iTunes?

Mystery solved

It's a shame they had to expose secret astronaut business - and that it would be as part of a love triangle of sorts. The story tells of the female astronaut who drove across the US to confront another female astronaut who she saw as a rival for her affections for a third, male, astronaut. For someone who says she only wanted to scare her she went to some trouble including dark wig, glasses, pepper spray, a steel mallet, BB gun, folding knife, rubber tubing and trash bags ... And the adult diapers she wore during the 1500km trip (as worn by astronauts for launches and landings) so she wouldn't have to stop to urinate along the way. After first being charged with attempted kidnapping, Lisa Nowak has now been charged with attempted murder. The reports don't indicate how her husband, teenage son and younger twin girls are reacting to the news of her fall to earth.

Just going potty ...

Here we go again - or actually here we don't go again. July 21 looks to be a big day with the launch of the last Harry Potter epic ... HP and the Deathly Hallows. Pre-orders have already pushed the as yet unpublished tome onto the best-seller list. But won't be among the different versions pushed onto the market? An e-book version. Bad luck for those of us who prefer to take our books in our pocket rather than in our backpacks! Of course, (and here's a huge dollop of wishful thinking) this may be because there's a deal in the offering - maybe the new Sony digital reader will secure HP as its first major launch. Yes, I know that wouldn't help me much (I'm starting weight lifting practice now) but at least it would give e-reading a much needed filip.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Inverse law

The bus I catch to work is pretty reliable. It turns up about the same time every day - except when I am running early because then it is sure to be late ... and I can deal with that. i just want to know how it knows when I am running late because on those days, it is always, without fail, 5 minutes early!

Pressing problem

You know you have a problem - or possibly a solution - when you take your iron to work rather than risk leaving it on at home.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Naked thoughts

A Dutch gym has announced that it will introduce "Naked Sunday" for people who want to strip off their clothes while they work out. The response has been huge - both for and against. A major concern seems to be hygiene. Expect a flurry of towels and disposable bicycle seats. And of course, all machines will be cleaned and disinfected afterwards - although it was unclear in the report if that would be after each session or at the end of the day. But will the initiative get enough coverage to be successful? A recent survey of Naturists there found that the most popular activities for members were things you do outdoors - begging the question as to whether the level of exposure affects one's preference for nudity.

Value added?

What is it with television stations where there is no hesitation to serve up hour after hour of unadulterated US programming but when it comes to a compile program of Ed Sullivan's greatest novelty act, they feel the need to use an Australian presenter to do links and make voiceover comments which detract from the performances and the performers. It makes me wonder about what people see as entertainment - and how much of that is determined by what is on offer.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Something (else) in the water?

If you've ever turned lovingly to your partner and discussed the virtues of a seahorse in relation to yourself ie monogamous (not necessarily that it's a species where the male becomes pregnant and carries the eggs), it's time to find a new metaphor (or would that be similie?). They have been found out!
SEX SHOCK: SEAHORSES EXPOSED screamed the headlines yesterday. The gist of the story - seahorses, long thought of as monogamous, are in fact shameless sex-obsessed bisexuals - and none more so than those in Australian waters. A study has found that, unlike human rules of attraction, seahorses with the biggest bellies attract most partners, and of the 3168 sexual couplings recorded during the study, 37per cent were same-sex liaisons.
So it seems that the seahorses' fabled monogamy was just that ... fabled!

But wait ... of the three species studied, 5 couples (of the 11) of the British spiny seahorse were faithful to one partner. (When did faithful and monogamy come to mean the same thing?)

Fish man

If all is going to plan, Martin Strel and his 45-person support team have begun his swim down (up?) the Amazon. He plans to have the 5,400km swim completed by 11 April - as long as he survives the piranha fish, crocodiles, cannibals, and Pororoca (4m tidal wave). Hopefully his support team, traveling in three boats, will be able to distract potentially lethal predators by pouring buckets of fresh animal blood into the water. I'm not sure if that would attract or distract interest in him but it may depend on whether they're with, behind or ahead of him. When it comes to the toothpick fish, though, he's on his own.
The candiru or canero (Vandellia cirrhosa) or toothpick fish is ... found in the Amazon River and has a reputation among the natives as the most feared fish in its waters, even over the piranha. The species has been known to grow to a size of 6 inches in length and is eel shaped and translucent, making it almost impossible to see in the water. The candiru is a parasite. It swims into the gill cavities of other fish, erects a spine to hold itself in place, and feeds on the blood in the gills, earning it a nickname as the "vampire fish of Brazil". (Wikipedia)
If it restricted its activities to fish that might be okay, but it is attracted to urine or blood and swimmers have found themselves the target of the toothpick fish. Once in (through whichever orifice or opening) it's almost impossible to remove the fish except through surgery - by which time the swimmer has usually succumbed to infection, shock and death. But Mr Strel should be okay, as he is quoted by the BBC: "I never urinate straight into the water, I always urinate straight into my wetsuit" - which must be a great relief to those near the Danube, Mississippi and Yangtze Rivers - all of which Mr Strel, a Slovenian, has already swum.
This is probably his most hazardous swim to date - as well as everything else - there's also the possibility of running into poisonous fresh-water stingrays and aggressive bull sharks, which travel far up the river from the Atlantic and frequently attack swimmers, not to mention tarantulas, malaria, dengue fever and rabies spread by bites from vampire bats. Let's hope that 45-person support crew includes a few medics because it seems they might need a little help too!

What is free?

This week has been exciting in the PC world with the long-awaited release of the new operating system, Vista. (I gave Moses a Defrag instead.) More to my liking is the release of a new version of OneNote - a totally excellent program for just about any organising need. Although my heart says to go out and purchase the new one immediately the rest of me said download the free trial version. Hence the title question. What is free? I think if you have to provide anything to effect the deal then it is not free. Even if that is information. (People don't sell information for nothing you know.) So by the time I was able to download the trial I had been asked, inexpertly in a North American eccentric form, to provide employment type information which is irrelevant to my private home use of a software program. Way to not make people enjoy the prospect of playing with you MS. That being said I can't wait to get home to try it out.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Keyed in

As I work on my first instance of thumb RSI (just joking but I can see how it could happen if you spend too long too often on the tiny keypad of a mobile phone) I can't help wondering what is the longest word that can be made with a single key using predictive text. For example the 3 key has the letters d e f. So you could do feeded which I didn't think was a word but who am I to argue with the phone? Nonmom on the 6 key. Hours of fun - erredickly (or especially) if you look at 2 key combinations. Hmmm. I don't understand why some people eschew predictive text.


I spent some hours yesterday doing a defragment of Moses (the tablet PC). You would think I would schedule this very important maintenance task rather than thinking about it only after noticing Mo being a bit not itself. In the end I let it run overnight which seems to have worked. Now I can concentrate on a couple of little tasks I have been deferring.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Time's not up

In the news this week - Emma Tillman who took out the title of world's oldest living person last week - and held it for four days. The current oldest living person is believed to live in Japan. So what does it take to make it that far - there are lots of attributions - good, clean leaving, a scotch a day - you've heard it all before. But maybe luck has something to do with it - like for the 100 year-old woman in Sydney this week who spent 15 hours trapped under a grandfather clock. She had apparently got up in the middle of the night, tripped, grabbed the clock to steady herself - and pulled it down on top of her. Neighbours heard her cries for help and she was taken to hospital where she is in a serious but stable condition. It's likely that she will be kept in hospital for a couple of days but she is expected to make a full recovery. Obviously, when time came crashing down on her, her time wasn't up yet.

Treatment options

Last year I blogged about the 50,000 people who die of snake bite in India each year because of the lack of proper treatment. Seems a similar situation may now exist in Peru where rabid bats have killed 11 children since Christmas Day. The report, which quotes the regional health director, said many vicitims were poor people who slept out in the open although others slept under mosquito netting. Pity it wasn't bat netting - or that treatment isn't available.