Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The good news is that times change - and fragging apparently hasn't been a common issue since the American's invaded Iraq and Afghanistan with only one soldier charged with killing his commanding officer. And the reason for this dramatic downturn? Officials suggest it's to do with that today's modern military is made up of volunteers rather than conscripts.
But fear not - fragging still lives ... It's used as a replacement term for "killing" in video games - suggesting that it's actually not killing at all - virtually.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
She spoke briefly of her time as a television reporter and some memorable (not necessarily happily) moments - like receiving an invitation (which she refused) to be privately entertained by Libyan leader Gadafi, even when a female aide ("and this was difficult" she acknowledged) said she would lose her job if unable to convince Jana to comply. Or the sound of film being torn from a camera because PLO's Arafat did not like the content of an interview with him. But her message this morning was truly about the people who she had interviewed for "A Matter of Principle" - and how she had birthed the book in a darkened room "by the glow of the computer monitor" over a 10-month "gestation". The book is a collection of interviews including Charlotte Rampling, Shane Gould, Frank Gehry and David Malouf. As the author would no doubt invite you please enjoy.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
While I resisted picking them up and cuddling them when there were tiny - and certainly wouldn't do it now - I did have a little nurse of one of the guinea pigs that Jo's daughter received for her birthday recently. The condition of them entering the premises was that there be no babies, ever, so both the guinea pigs had to be female - which is why Jo couldn't really complain when one of them gave birth to two babies a couple of days coming to live with them. Unfortunately, neither of the babies survived.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Loopholes hide some misconduct records: More than 300 California educators had their teaching licences revoked or suspended because of sex-related offenses from 2001 through 2005.
And the other:
Sexual misconduct plagues US schools. The young teacher hung his head, avoiding eye contact. Yes, he had touched a fifth-grader's breast during recess. "I guess it was just lust of the flesh" he told his boss.
The next item may then come as little surprise - but there is no suggestion here of cause and effect, although the case could be made for finding out "why":
2nd-grader suspended for drawing of gun. A second-grader's drawing of a stick figure shooting a gun earned him a one-day school suspension.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I was reminded last week that a tip that works for one person may not necessarily work for another - or if it does, it's not for the same reason/s.
"Feeling rushed in the morning? Iron what you plan to wear tomorrow, the evening before. That will buy you at least 10 minutes extra time to get ready for your day." Fair enough. But what they don't mention is that it will also save you multiple trips back home to check whether you've left the iron on in your rush to: decide what clothese you're going to iron, put the ironing board up, turn the iron on, wait for it to heat up, have your breakfast, iron the clothes, turn the iron off, let the iron cool down, put the iron away, make sure all the powerpoints are off, and lock the door after you ... oh, better check, was the iron cool enough to put away, is it near anything flammable, did I turn the power off ... then, did I turn the light off the last time I went back, did I lock the door properly (did I hear it snick) ... You get the idea.
Friday, October 19, 2007
My partner belongs to a bookclub and I go along for dinner before the meeting, and to give my partner a lift home. Of late, I have started to sit near the group when it meets and listen in. These are a few of the comments from last Tuesday’s meeting when they were discussing a book whose title and author are probably best kept out of this particular report (not that the bookclub would not not want this reported back to the author!) “He was so far up himself even I wanted to kill him . . . If it doesn’t stand alone then it’s no good as far as I’m concerned . . . I couldn’t get the image out of my head of Mr Burns and Smithers . . . It set the scene a little bit … there was no development of anything . . . I was really annoyed about the synopsis of it – on the front, “an extraordinary work”– this was all very misleading . . . How could you compare this man with Dickens and Hitchcock . . . Even though you don’t like him, there’s no reason why . . . The highlight of the whole book was finding a typo in the last seven pages . . . Very disappointing . . . I gave it a 3 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . it was crap but I didn’t mind reading it . . . 5 . . . I kept hoping it would get better . . . It was like Spotless, but much worse.” And then, having talked about the book for this month, the club turned its attention to other books the members may have written. One mentioned was “Heart-Shaped Box”, by Stephen King’s son, writing under the name of Joe Hill. Unlike this month’s book, it came highly recommended.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
While the inquest into Princess Diana's death continues, her wedding dress is currently on display at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. The dress is displayed on a faceless manikin - which seems an interesting artistic choice. I can't help wonder what the considered options were - Diana lookalike, a headless mannequin, a faceless mannequin, no mannequin at all. I wonder if this presented greater ethical challenges than, say, the showing of the Star Wars costumes a couple of years ago?
An item in the weekend news didn't come as much of a surprise -in some ways. On television one night while I was in South Africa a couple of weeks ago, a notice came up saying that the immediate power shortage had passed and it was okay to turn on more appliances. I hadn't seen the previous notification but can only assume it was advising a shortage was imminent, and please turn off some appliances. But it seems that calling on customer help to deal with infrastructure problems may not be a foolproof plan - which could be why a power shortage in South Africa recently caused a rather large spill of raw sewage into rivers and a popular dam.