Sunday, October 30, 2005

Battered savs and salvation

The fate of under paid Australian workers now seems to be in the hands of God. Howard has delegated the task to Christ’s representative on earth otherwise going by the name of Professor Ian Parker. Economist and conservative Anglican Parker, the head of the proposed Fair (sic) Pay Commission, stated in his speech to the Australian Christian Lobby conference, "I'll be praying for wisdom … praying for courage and praying above all that God's will is being done through this, not mine".

Trappings of the secular state, like the industrial relations commission seems to be slipping away under our man Howard. Being the good deputy to his northern hemisphere mentor, Australia seems to be taking another step towards a fundamental Christian regime.

What God is this, whose name is used to kill Iraqi’s and steal their oil? What God is this, who takes the minimum wage and stamps on it? What God is this, who increasingly uses the wealth of the state in the name of war and takes it away from the young, the sick, the elderly and the disadvantaged?

I am confused.

This wasn’t the figure introduced to me in Sunday School, who always seemed depicted patting cute little lambies. He was this benign figure which I freely associated with saveloys and sausage rolls. I think I only ever turned up at Sunday School for the end of the year party. Perhaps this is where I diverged from the course of Christianity and is why I just don’t get what is going on in this country.

PS: I step inside a church for the first time in years and see what it does to me.

PPS: type "saveloy + god" into wikepedia and see what you get.




















Shane Crawford - god or sausage? Please explain.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

bent out of shape




This week’s been a pain in the neck. Looming IR legislation, the anti-terrorism abuse of power the government wants to push through, nightmares the powers that be could target anonymous bloggers and lock ‘em up for sedition…who knows but quite literally I am twisted out of shape.

Cervical spine, 1st rib, they are all caput. Nodding my head hurt. Walking with the slightest swing of my arms – agony. I wanted to bind the my upper body so it couldn’t move and then I would be at peace.

Two cracking sessions with osteos and a killer massage later, have slept and pain level down to 3/10. Yippee am a new woman.

Perhaps I should have just taken pain killers?


Unread emails in inbox: 165
Home phone lines unusable due to horrible loud crackling noise: 0 !!!!!!
Days it took for provider to fix: 5
Calls from whoever deals with complaints promising compensation: 1
Days provider should compensate me for: 5
Weddings to go to today: 1
Enthuisiasm level: -10

Friday, October 28, 2005

boycott bread

The UN has spilled the beans on our very own wheat board. The nemesis of the gluten-allergic has been just a little bit naughty and thought it was ok to sell its grain to Iraq during the food sanctions (that were so not effective in bringing Saddam to his knees). The problem with sanctions is that, in this case, at least 1999 other companies found ways around them by using agents outside the country to bring the goods into Iraq through the back door. Sadly, this didn’t stop the kiddies dying or the Kurds from being murdered.

The Australian Wheat Board denies they were knowingly breaching the sanctions. This maybe technically so, they were paying $290 million for “transport fees”. These fees seemed to make their way directly to Saddam’s government and surprisingly they got our wheat on their plate. If nothing else the AWB needs a new accountant – no one worth their salt would let expenses like that get past them.

So this morning, skip the toast. After all, the wheat board has blood on their hands and that doesn’t go with jam.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb



Wanna know what to do with this?

I am experimenting with my foodie side, so check out my other self. It wouldn't be the first time I've been called a food nazi.
What do you reckon?

blowing in the wind

Prince Harry, a military uniform and a bare royal arse. No number 3 in line to the throne has not gone to another fancy dress party.

Britain's Prince Harry was forced to drop his trousers during a military parade to prove he did not have his girlfriend's name tattooed on his royal rear, a British newspaper said today.

Bring on the republic!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

death of a hero

The news headlines came on the ABC and I listened from another room. I heard something like "One of the last heroes from the great war dies" and I thought they were referring to Rosa Parks. No they were talking about a state funeral for a WWI codger who'd popped his clogs.

Sadly this Great War is not over. The one that Rosa fought. Racism and its bed fellows, classism and sexism are still alive and well in both her home and the rest of the so called 1st world. The recent superdome debacle in New Orleans being a poignant reminder that the poor, black and female were left to rot in their own version of hell. The white and resourced found ways to leave town, those without had no choice but to stay behind to ride it out. A segregation of class continues to exist.

And still we don't learn.






Oh well my ears and mind, at least, live in hope.

Monday, October 24, 2005

BAS completed: 1

Unread emails in inbox: 112
Home phone lines unusable due to horrible loud crackling noise: 1
Days since the provider said it would be fixed: 5
Calls to provider to reactivate the job: 3
Percentage of the provider government owned: 51.8
Grams of organic chocolate consumed today: 56.7
Percent of antioxidant rich cocoa mass: 73
Buisiness Activity Statements left to complete this year: 0

Sunday, October 23, 2005

food blog

Some things that I have been cooking lately.

I enjoy making and eating food. Most of what I cook is based on good quality raw ingredients, usually organically grown. Simple food. Put together without a fuss. Because my focus is on flavours and I am not a food stylist, I have never bothered to photograph my creations – it would be sacrilege to let the food go cold all for the sake of documentation.

My diet has evolved over the years. After 20 years of excessive meat eating I gave it away and any attempts to change that now lead to such digestive discomfort it’s not worth the effort. I find dairy products make me sick, so I pretty much avoid them. I eat seafood and eggs from happy chooks.

So here is the last few days of quick meals for one.

Seared tuna salad

The salad base – mixed lettuces, fennel, avocado, spring onion, cucumber, carrot, blanched asparagus (whatever is in fridge)

Vinegrette – pretty basic just olive oil, djon mustard, lemon juice.

A small chunk of fresh tuna (I love it but don’t eat it so often anymore due to the mercury levels alas). Rub with garlic and a little olive oil, roll in cracked pepper. In a non stick pan or griddle sear the outside. Let it rest for a minute and slice. It’s soft and raw on the inside and the outside is tasty and cooked.

Combine salad, with tuna and dressing. Eat.

Spinach and noodles

I had some baby spinach that was in need of eating in a hurry, so made this tasty vego dish for lunch on Thursday.

Cook some onion and lots of garlic in olive oil, add the spinach til wilted and coated with flavours. I added some divine marinated green olives (with lots of chilli, otherwise this dish would benefit from a bit of chilli or even a few drops of chilli oil), a generous squeeze of lemon and some cracked pepper.

Toss through some cooked buckwheat soba (it takes about 3 minutes to cook) and devour.

Avocado dip with crudités

I made this up when on the raw foods detox last month and have found it quite addictive. It is surprisingly filling and 100% healthy so you can feel virtuous.

Mash a ripe avocado, add a generous teaspoon of tahini, crushed garlic and lemon juice to taste. (On the detox I didn’t add salt or pepper, but if you have a particularly jaded palate you might need to).

Cut up some raw vegetables – this week it was sticks of carrot and daikon, but celery, cucumber and even capsicum (I loathe it but I realise some people actually like it) are also delicious. Scoop big chunks of dip on the raw veges and chew with a benevolent look on your face (optional, but scowling while eating this just wont work).

Asian style omelette roll up

I think Nigella came up with this in her program on temple food, but I have taken the egg and run with it a little. Variations on this are limited only by the scope of your culinary imagination.

The spicy lunch one on Saturday
In a small nonstick fry pan sauté some spring onion, finely sliced fresh shitake mushrooms (for this there is no substitute in the mushroom world) and thin shavings of garlic. I cooked it in raw sesame oil and a few drops of toasted sesame oil.
Beat 1 egg with a few drops of tamari. Pour over the sauted veges, leave on a low heat til cooked. You might need to flip it to finish it off if you are impatient. You have created a thin asian style omelette/pancake studded with thin slices of flavour.

Take a piece mountain bread (oat is my favourite one in the range). Add a scraping of your favourite relish, chutney or pickle (this was a sri lankan very, very hot mango pickle). Place slices of omelette on top and some crunchy lettuce and roll up.

It was so nice I did a breakfast one this morning, no garlic and less pickle, no lettuce. Very delicate and delicious.

Of course you can do different flavours and toppings – fresh ginger goes well. You can skip the chutney/pickle but I tend to put a thin scraping of Thomy mayonnaise on otherwise its too dry.

For those not fat/carb averse this would be very yummy on warm roti.


I refuse to believe cooking for yourself is an excuse to eat badly. All these took 15 minutes or less to make. I love the creative latitude that solo endeavours allow, that I just don't risk when cooking for others.

Enjoy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

curious

I like my brain to be stimulated, so with eagerness I accepted the invitation to see the opening of Jenny Mitchell’s new show at Fresh Gallery (63 Brunswick St, Fitzroy). From wunderkrammer curio boxes to dragonfly wings, it was a delight to see her quirky sculptures and the damn cheap works on paper. Hey we can all be patrons of the arts.





It was a day of gallery crawling as I finished work earlier than expected. A steamy Friday afternoon leading into an end of week wind down. Span, 45 Downstairs, Craft Victoria all nestled in the top block of the Flinders Lane art mile (well probably not even half a kilometre, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?). A few drinks in Johnston St, two Fitzroy show openings, a jazz band in a darkened bar on Smith St. All unexpected pleasures.

But the best thing of all (apart from the company of far from brooding artists) – imagine this – a bar that allows you to order a cheap sumptuous feast from the Vietnamese restaurant next door who then deliver it to you, while you chill out on the lounges grooving to the music.

Art tickling your brain, music students blowing saxophones, genial bar owners and crispy fried flounder. Welcome to the weekend.


Unread emails in inbox: 123
Home phone lines unusable due to horrible loud crackling noise: 1
Days since the provider said it would be fixed: 3
Hours spent writing previous serious post: 2
People commenting on for mentioned masterpiece: 1
Minutes spent on this one: 15

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Birds of a feather



hfn1 - portrait of a killer

What do the president of the US and the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies have in common? They are all betting on a pandemic “bird flu” for personal power and profit.

But they are the good guys, they are trying to save us from a deadly virus!

So why aren’t I shaking in my boots about the imagined killer flu?

Excuse my cynicism. The president’s approval rate is plummeting, things aren’t going his way in Iraq and his ‘lets go fishing while Louisiana goes to hell in a hand basket’ strategy just didn’t work. He needs a threat greater than terrorism to rally the nation and a non-existent pandemic is just perfect.

Pharmaceutical companies are not the good corporate citizens they wish to appear. These are large organizations whose reason for being is illness, not wellness. In short, they love it when you are sick, but even better can make money out of you when you are well by fear mongering. Ultimately they have to reap the greatest rewards out of the flu beat up. Currently the two leading anti viral drugs are being stockpiled and the companies can’t keep up with demand. This is Christmas in October for them and things can only get better.

Since the Shrub stood up and told us to be very afraid of this avian born bug, other nations have jumped on the bandwagon. Our own little kicker for God, Abbott this week offered the nation a vaccine that has not been invented, for a disease that has not happened. The British government has gone even further. Not only have they already bought over 14 million courses of Roche’s Tamiflu, in the hope it could abort the virus in its tracks, the chief medical officer has promised TWO shots of this fabled vaccine for everyone in the country. Come on is anyone going to bid us three?

There are a lot of “ifs” in this whole scenario.

What if the virus jumps from birds to humans. It hasn’t yet. How about we turn some attention on the problem as it stands – intensive and often inhumane poultry farming. I’d curl up my toes and die too if I was a battery chook.

If it does jump the species barrier – it will be like nothing we have ever seen before. Remember SARS? It was going to slay us all. Who did it kill? The mortality rate of the 8,500 people effected was under 10%. A big scary pandemic? More people are killed from drunk driving or smoking . What’s more it is only a fraction of the iatrogenic deaths in this country each year.

It is touted that the great Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 also originated in feathered beasts. Troops, on both sides of the battles, in WWI were the primary target of this flu. What was the state of the immune system of a soldier surviving 4 years of conflict? What role did poor nutrition, stress and chemical warfare play in the mortality rate of this influenza?

Interestingly the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology managed to recreate this virus in the laboratory 3 years ago. That piece of information alone makes me itch with conspiracy theories, but I will resist.

If bird flu does become a killer of humans will a vaccine be made in time? The lead time for the production of this vaccine is speculated to be around 4-6 months. In that time the virus could travel to every corner of the earth. Sure those in power will put on masks, avoid the public and shovel down there gob all the antiviral drugs they’ve kept for themselves, but the effectiveness of such a drug is only minimal against existing flu’s. Would it really stop them getting the killer bug? In the meantime, you and I and the other proles should be falling like flies, or so those in power want us to believe.

If the wonder vaccine hits the shelves will it be safe? In the small lead time, it would not be tested on humans or peer reviewed. This means it is open slather for the pharmaceutical companies who can put out a drug that has not been proven safe and charge a premium for it. They must be being dazzled by dollar signs everytime a politician stands up and talks about the issue. But we are so afraid, we won't mind being a guinea pig, will we.

The safety of immunisations is a contentious issue. Believe me if you want to start a bloody fight at even the most civilized dinner party, raise the topic of childhood immunisation and take the ‘against’ side just for the hell of it.

Oh and just before I leave that subject, did you know it is enshrined in legislation that your doctor is not obliged to tell you the possible side effects of a vaccine – it seems herd immunity or at least the concept of it, is more important than informed choice.

If the vaccine doesn’t kill you, will it be effective against the killer virus? Even our Tony seems a little sceptical as to its effectiveness.

In the meantime, the often preventable, cardiovascular diseases kill 17 million people a year, worldwide. That means it's responsible for 1:3 deaths. But blocked arteries don't get attention in a nation at war. Dietary changes are not in the best interests of drug manufacturers. So the real, unsexy pandemics remain underfunded despite potentially simple campaigns that could saving more lives, than a jab in the arm may.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

what you think i am

Unread emails in inbox: 105
Minutes left to blog before heading off to work: 10 4
Home phone lines unusable due to horrible loud crackling noise: 1
Minimum hours til provider can investigate the source: 24

It's that kind of a day..so here is some local graffiti for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

blurred around the edges

It has been one of those weeks where the social fairy has been visiting and whisking me around the town with her magic wand. Socially I am more a sprinter, than a marathon woman. I like short, well spaced doses of company and indulgences. But this was not to be. From St Kilda on Wednesday, for a delicious meal (as always) at Ciccolina (carpaccio of tuna, chilli fish cakes, salad, Otago Pinot, Peppertree shiraz) followed by too much frangelico at the lobby bar - with 2 men I love and adore. To the double act on Friday night - drinks after work with those pursuing artistic endeavours in Degraves Street,







Friday enroute from the fed square...this triptych sums up the night

to more vodka with bloggers in Northcote, to an indecently late but fabulous Sri lankan meal at Sigri (masala thosa to die for, tuna curry, coconut-y vegetables and an incredible kind of onion jam and anchovy sambal).

Saturday was a leisurely lunch of seafood linguine in the sun at the Kent (lime and soda, I was pacing myself), to dinner with a friend (home made sweet potato tortilla and a killer salad) and then partying with all and sundry. Vague memories. An offer to have the piss taken out of me on national radio by a couple of young, follicularly challenged comedians. Wedding gift solutions to ponder (with a fellow loather of matrimonials). A sweet moment where potential embarrasment was turned on its head. Old friends, new friends.

This morning was just me and Princess Prissy Paws, curled up in bed, both awake indecently early. The only good thing about waking up too early on the weekend is the joy of making a coffee, grabbing yesterday's unread paper (fantastic article in The Good Weekend about the failure of chemotherapy) and listening to the sexy Mr Tim Thorpe while dozing between the sheets.

Bugger it, I think I will just crawl back in there and do it for the rest of the day.

This blog was going to be about how the Australian media report world disasters (earthquakes, mudslides...) that kill tens of thousands of non Australians, versus bombings et al where our nationals are killed in single digits. This blog was going to contemplate the atrocity that is the proposed industrial relations massacre. This blog might have turned into a rant about a conversation with an ignorant med student and my despair for the future of complementary medicine.

But it wasn't.

Vacuous and self centred again. Sorry, just knackered.

(note to self: spelling and grammar worse than usual, far too many adjectives, zealous over use of commas - must try harder next time)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

self-indulgent meme

It's amazing how much you can say about yourself and yet reveal so little, but that was how i took the challenge when AleKs tagged me. To prove my pants really aren't on fire I provide 20 facts and a little extra.

Those who know me well will be amazed, and no doubt relieved, that none of the 20 factettes make mention of lesbian sex or threesomes.

1. I had a brief career as a child model (in reality, my neighbour, a prolific writer of school readers based on her dog Bobby, paid me 5 bucks to pose for one of her books).

2. I have a degree in Political Science.

3. In a former incarnation, I was an actress. The height of my ‘career’ is a toss up between having the lead role in a Brechtian style musical sex education play, or being an extra in “Shaker Run” (with teen idol Leif Garrett).

4. I have never seen “Shaker Run”.

5. I have film credits for acting, script writing, script editing, boom operating, and special thanks.

6. I talk to cats.

7. I have been on the dole in three countries (though now I am paying tax in a most karmic way).

8. I have dual citizenship.

9. I am afraid of snakes and often dream of being bitten by them (fuck off Freud).

10. At 10 months old I could whistle.

11. I refuse to eat cooked peas.

12. I see dead people.

13. I have found love on line…a number of times.

14. I am and have always been a feminist. However, looking back, I think I may have lost the plot the time I picketed a stereo store for using Barbie dolls in their window display.

15. I hitched around parts of Europe, Ireland and the UK, but would never have done it in my homeland because I knew the litany of names of every hitchhiker who had gone missing there. (I am not always as logical as I would like to believe I am). I once hitched a tour bus and a bulldozer.

16. My love of radio began at 6 yo when I was interviewed by a local station. I am still involved with radio. I love the anonymity.

17. Currently I have 126 unread emails in my inbox.

18. I have a ridiculously retentive memory, but mainly for personal trivia. I remember far too much.

19. My second published piece of creative writing (in primary school) was later removed from the journal for being libellous.

20. My brother died on the Day of the Dead, 1993. I still miss him.





I challenge Guru Rex, The blogosphere host with the most aka Armaniac and Brownie to do the honours. (Yes I know the reclusive Ms B has been tagged before but as she hasn't responded I thought I would take advantage of her hangover to tag her again :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

doing the continental


skanky ho and toy boy


A 60yo lawyer is upsetting the US religious Right. Harriet Miers is a born again Christian, a long term crony of the shrub and with those credentials one would presume, adequately anti-abortion to make women throughout the country quake in their boots. So why is the President having so much trouble selling her to his mates, to get her seat on the bench of the Supreme Court?

The issue is she is unmarried. Well wash my mouth out, nor is little Condie and she’s still buddy buddy with the nation. Well, err, she is unmarried but appears to be in a relationship with fellow legal eagle Nathan Hecht. Oh my god, how obscene (yes and at her age, and he’s younger), she may be having sex (ditto) - how unchristian of her.

How very “European”.

What?

European as in John Kerry is very “French”?

European as in French knickers?

European as in French kissing?

European as in the English only bathe once a week?

European as in nude Scandinavian frolicking in saunas?

European as in bland, self-assembly furniture?


The US press is going to town with this one.

Sharon Baird, a friend of Miers since they both played on the tennis team at Hillcrest High in Dallas, called Miers' life decisions "very European."

Europeans "put a lot of emphasis on love and not so much on marriage," she said. "It's a New Age thing. Much like Oprah. She never married either."



The answer is obvious. She’s a witch. Burn her!

Monday, October 10, 2005

cat soon to be sold for medical experiments



Feline domesticus playing gargoyles, NOT catching mousey/ratty in the kitchen.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fucking for Satan

Dear Mr Fielding,

As Senator for Victoria I would like to draw your attention to research recently published in The Journal of Science and Religion, Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies. A First Look byGregory S. Paul. As both my Senate representative and a man well known for his position on community values I am keen to hear your response and steps you might consider to prevent a similar decline in Australia.

I know you are a busy man, so I have précised some of the key points of the paper.

The sample included approximately 800 million men, women and children in 17 first world countries.

It covers an analysis of the degree of religiosity (church attendance, bible literacy, creationism) or secularism in each country with available statistics on ‘social health’ factors such as homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD rates, suicide, juvenile mortality, health expenditure and life expectancy.

Results included:
[18] In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developing democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so.

[19] If the data showed that the U.S. enjoyed higher rates of societal health than the more secular, pro-evolution democracies, then the opinion that popular belief in a creator is strongly beneficial to national cultures would be supported. Although they are by no means utopias, the populations of secular democracies are clearly able to govern themselves and maintain societal cohesion. Indeed, the data examined in this study demonstrates that only the more secular, pro-evolution democracies have, for the first time in history, come closest to achieving practical “cultures of life” that feature low rates of lethal crime, juvenile-adult mortality, sex related dysfunction, and even abortion. The least theistic secular developing democracies such as Japan, France, and Scandinavia have been most successful in these regards. The non-religious, pro-evolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator. The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted. Contradicting these conclusions requires demonstrating a positive link between theism and societal conditions in the first world with a similarly large body of data - a doubtful possibility in view of the observable trend


In light of this evidence, what do you propose to engender a health positive culture in Australia?

Yours truly,
Another Outspoken Female

Post script: My favourite propagandist and I read the article together, then retired to our respective boudoirs to blog up large. Check his out for another take on the same subject. Though done in isolation they are spookily similar. But why doesn't that surprise me?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

dirty trix

Problem: You are are the President of a prominent country on the verge of world domination. In recent times your popularity has been sliding to an all time low. What can you do to save your arse?

A: Invoke god on your side.

B: Create a bogus holy war.

C: Spray a CIA engineered organism aka “Rabbit Fever” on your detractors when they rally against your policies.

D: All of the above.

40 minutes in Melbourne

I am out of the house on time and heading off to work. The first few blocks cover over priced ‘workers cottages’in various states of gentrification and end with the hideous sprawl of the housing commission towers. As I stride down the street I immerse myself in the pod – today a mix of The Decemberists, Theivery Corporation, a little Oasis, a touch of Frou Frou, an unexpected blast of Dusty Springfield, the delightful Rachael Yamagata and a Tony Amos/Bjork duet. The randomness of my collection often causes me to break out in laughter, especially the times tunes from ‘The Sound of Music” come up. But fortunately the playlist avoided those gems today.





I am now past the worst of the 70’s architecture and as the hill rises by the Museum, a blast of citrus blocks out the stench of passing cars. A magnificent lemon scented gum has survived the land grab for public buildings at the edge of the park and in the damp weather it smells like the bush far away. Juxtaposed to the ‘new’ museum sits the faded beauty of the exhibition building. I wonder which one will be marvelled over in another century and which considered a folly.




On the flat an older Maori man passes in a motorised wheel chair. His face is covered in an elaborate moko. In a rush of homesickness I want to stop him and ask about his tattoo. Instead my brain is sidetracked to a time I briefly worked for a government department and one of the couriers (interesting profession, considering his other job was dealing drugs), an Islander, had the most amazing traditional tat from hips to knees done not entirely with his consent as a teenager on a rugby trip home. For days they had knocked him out with local narcotics and alcohol and tapped at his skin until a third of his body was covered with the markings of his tribe.

Passing the park, a green parrot and flies over head, oblivious of the buzz of the city. At Victoria Street I run to catch the lights. Six lanes and a double tram track to cross in a ridiculously short light change. Now parliament and the Princess Theatre are in sight. Negotiate the dumb drivers not indicating their change in direction, taxis and trams running the red lights. By Bourke Street my legs are tingling a little as I speed down the hill. I can feel my hamstrings tweak from yesterdays pilates class and enjoy the novelty of “good” pain.

In Little Collins St the boutiques have not yet opened and the fashionista still absent. Those dressed for work clutch white containers of coffee and wear a distracted expression. Near the Victoria Hotel it’s easy to pick the tourists. Their clothes never quite meet the weather, nor blend in with the local attire. All seem a tad under slept, most no doubt feeling a little ripped off that the grand deco hotel they booked into was just a façade for pokey rooms, painted beige, overlooking the air shaft.

In Swanston Street the trams clang by amongst the cyclists and pedestrians. The journey is almost over and as I get into the lift to take me to my office a guy in overalls rushes in and tells me about how crazy the day is already, “Friday!” he says. The second floor is flooded, some other calamity on the fourth. But I am above all that. Now at work, I open the windows to exchange stale air, for sooty city oxygen, take off my walking shoes and start the day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

you've been warned

The quiz du jour is a cracker "what religion is the right one for you?"

The results are chillingly accurate :)

You scored as Satanism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Satanism! Before you scream, do a bit of research on it. To be a Satanist, you don't actually have to believe in Satan. Satanism generally focuses upon the spiritual advancement of the self, rather than upon submission to a deity or a set of moral codes. Do some research if you immediately think of the satanic cult stereotype. Your beliefs may also resemble those of earth-based religions such as paganism.

Satanism

92%

atheism

83%

agnosticism

75%

Buddhism

71%

Paganism

71%

Hinduism

46%

Islam

42%

Judaism

38%

Christianity

21%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

sprung




So spring is here. The diary is full. Lunches, dinners, parties, birthdays, house warmings, visitors, house guests. And weddings. It's delightful, but am exhausted already before the month has really begun.

I squired recent guest around the bay yesterday. The city, to Cape Schank, to Sorrento, to Queenscliff then a dream run back from Geelong grazing the city before the rush hour got too manic. More eating, more drinking.

Even squeezed in going to work today.

Then out to the airport again.

Home. The house is warm. I remake the bed with fresh clean sheets and contemplate reacquainting myself with its latex luxury.

The cat has been acting stranger than usual amongst the hurly burly. To reward me she bought in a very bloody large mouse/small rat and deposited on the kitchen floor for me tonight. Rodent ran behind the stove. Cat went outside looking for the rest of the family.

I have a horrible feeling that I will see her new friend again. Sometime soon. Likely at about 3 am. This time deposited on the bed. Scampering little filthy paws over the doona atop my prone body. To be followed by hours of play around and around the bedroom.

It aint called 'cat and mouse' for nothing.

In the meantime, I would be content just smelling the flowers, sleeping in, having more time to read the pile of library books on the verge of being overdue.

Wake me when October is over.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

keep your stinkin' hands off Flipper!

Thanks fluffy for this one. It's so scaringly ludicrous I had to copy it in full.

Perhaps the military would be interested in recruiting my lick-you-to-death-then-hiss-at-you moggy for covert operations while they are at it.

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

Mark Townsend in Houston
Sunday September 25, 2005
The Observer

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.

Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.

'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'

Usually dolphins were controlled via signals transmitted through a neck harness. 'The question is, were these dolphins made secure before Katrina struck?' said Sheridan.

The mystery surfaced when a separate group of dolphins was washed from a commercial oceanarium on the Mississippi coast during Katrina. Eight were found with the navy's help, but the dolphins were not returned until US navy scientists had examined them.

Sheridan is convinced the scientists were keen to ensure the dolphins were not the navy's, understood to be kept in training ponds in a sound in Louisiana, close to Lake Pontchartrain, whose waters devastated New Orleans.

The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea.

Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.

NZ stays nuclear free

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