Sunday, April 30, 2006


We were lucky enough to spot this on the washing line this morning. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Trivia might

Saturday evening saw us at a trivia night to raise funds for East Timor. It was a great night - where the organisers were determined, as they kept telling us, to put the "fun back into fundraising". And it must have worked - they met their $6k target for the evening. And I was as surprised as anyone that our table (whose name was derived from the 6 or so locales from which our 11 contestants travelled - and which started with H and ended in T and had a whole lot of letters in the middle - and which I can not pronounce let alone remember!) won! Of course, the bribes, which were readily accepted by the judges - in the name of a good cause - would have helped all round.


In the considerations of what might have happened to Private Kovco, it occurred to me that I had not actually thought critically about the possibility of suicide - even though I had wondered this on first hearing of his death. Initial reports suggested there were two other personnel in the room with him at the time - and it now occurs to me that people who commit suicide usually do it when they are alone. I wonder if that is actually so.

What happened to ...

... Private Kovco. The first Australian military death in Iraq has been shrouded in confusion and, lately, with anger. Private Kovco was killed by a bullet to his temple. The circumstances regarding discharge of the weapon are unknown. Whether he was the only person in the room at the time, or whether there were in fact two other soldiers with him at the time (as first reported) is unknown. Did the gun discharge because a laptop fell on it? As he was cleaning it? Because it was faulty? And why are details being released as "truth" when they seem to be far from it - especially as there are now several different stories - mostly released by the Defence Minister - doing the rounds.
There can be no doubt that this is a sad time for Private Kovco's family and friends. The suggestion that he could have mishandled his weapon, leading to his death, is unthinkable to his family. The fact that he might have been murdered - not in combat - had not been suggested until this morning when the paper suggested his body would be examined by the homicide squad and forensic investigators when it arrives in Sydney, en route to Melbourne, today.
The circumstances of Private Kovco's death have seemed odd from the start. As my Dad pointed out, even if he had been killed in combat, this was news that was unlikely to be released ... imagine the public outcry if one of our own was killed by enemy fire. No - better to provide different and confusing reports - that way no-one knows what's going on - and don't worry that the inference of suicide can be drawn from the reports. I guess time, and an autopsy will tell - but how much physical evidence is likely to be left given Private Kovco's body has been handled/washed by mortuary personnel preparatory to transport/burial?
Will the truth out?


Who don't they give you cutlery at some restaurants until after you've ordered. The people behind me at Grind (our favourite - most wonderful - brekkie spot in Norton Street, Leichhardt) may have provided part of the answer this morning. "Go and tell them that we want breakfast" mother said to young child, and then started chanting sotto voce "we want breakfast; we want breakfast". Obviously it would have been more compelling if they had been banging on the table with cutlery at the time - as has been seen in a movie or two, usually sent in prisons - and on the TV series Super Nanny. Thank heavens they didn't have any!

Sick of Big Brother?

The sixth season of Australian Big Brother started this week and despite promises to myself (not to) I have watched part of the Launch, and a couple of minutes of the daily sessions this week. I have not watched, and will not be watching, Big Brother Up-Late. But it did get me to thinking - if I am reaching Big Brother saturation levels - what on earth must it be like for Big Brother? He has to be there all the time - and he has the added challenge of making sure what comes out of the house has some entertainment value - otherwise how are all those sponsors going to be kept happy - not to mention the network bosses!?

Pennies from Heaven

Well, maybe it's more a case of "dollars to donuts" rather than "dollars into the bank account". Why? Today, for no reason that I am aware of, I received a telegraphic transfer of just over $AUS1600. The question is - from whence did it come? I noticed the addition when I deposited a birthday cheque today (thanks June - sorry that took so long). So, I checked my account online - or tried to ... the system was "down" - and when it finally came back up, the deposit was there but it only said "telegraphic transfer". So, curious (don't call me curious!), I rang the bank. "It's too early to tell" they told me. Apparently it will take a day or so for all the details to be recorded in their system - but once they are, the details will also be available for me to view online. So, at this stage, the mystery should only last for the weekend - and then I'll know who'll be wanting their money back - and that's the "dollars to donuts" bit - it's "dollars to donuts" that it will need to go back to whence it came. Ah well, as long as I'm not charged transfer fees ...

Local paper

How is it that with our local paper "The Glebe", it has a cover price of $1.20 (incl. GST) but we get a bundle of them delivered to the flats for nothing? When do you get a paid paper for nothing? Or is it a case of having to pay for a free paper ... it's possible that just because it says $1.20 on the cover it doesn't actually mean it's not supposed to be a free paper (or something!).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

The film based on "The Da Vince Code" novel (which may or may not have be based in part on a non-fiction work) is due for release around the world soon. How much opposition to the film and its advertising will be mounted by the
Catholic Church - given the central premise of the book/film is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children and the blood line survives to this day. Already there have been calls for advertising on the side of an under-restoration state-owned church in Rome to be removed because it was a "provocation". And I think I read somewhere that Dan Brown, the author, in answer to possible concerns, pointed out that the was "just a novel" ie as in - it's just a story so what's all the fuss about?

Strange laws

Did you know there is a law in Germany to prevent people from "disturbing a dead person's peace". A woman there now knows this after she was fined for transporting her mother's body across the country to save on mortuary transportation costs. Doesn't really seem fair, does it?

Recruitment database

Finally this hits the news in the US - and it has been a while coming. Back in July last year there was a small item in the media about a database that was being assembled by independent contractors for the US Defense Department. It held details of high school students and was to be used for recruitment purposes.
Seems someone has now cottoned on to this and a federal lawsuit was filed Monday which claims that the Defense Department is violating the privacy of millions of high school students nationwide through use of the database.

Lest We Remember

On the 28th of April it will be 10 years since the massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania. There has been some debate on the ABC's Media Report (and probably in the wider Australian community - and certainly in Tasmania) about the best way to mark this anniversary - or whether it should be marked at all. Into the fray sauntered The Bulletin magazine - with a 12-page spread about the massacre, with a major focus on "The Murderer". This is a focus the people of Port Arthur would have preferred not been given. Although, in support of The Bulletin's coverage, the editor said they were sure there were people who still wanted to know what had motivated "The Murderer" to open fire on innocents at Port Arthur.
Is there any way the media can truly meet the needs of these dual interests ... a community that wants to remember the victims - and a community that wants to forget (the perpetrator)?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Behind the news

There are some things that you just want to know after reading a news report - and know that you probably won't ever find out. Take this recent headline from Yahoo US News: Moussaoui Jury Can't Have Dictionary.
Jurors in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui asked for but were denied a dictionary Tuesday for use during their deliberations on whether the Sept. 11 conspirator should receive a death sentence or life in prison.
The report I read said the dictionary request was denied because it would have been like receiving new evidence. Jurors were advised they could ask the Judge for any clarifications required. They apparently did not - and the reason for the request for the dictionary is not known.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


It's not unusual for people to keep their precious things wrapped in tissue paper in a wooden box. It is unusual though if that precious thing turns out to be a hot cross bun that was baked in 1899. Margaret Haste, a retired teacher from Suffolk (UK) said the 107-year old bun was a reminder of her mother's sister who died in 1899. The bun was the last thing she tasted before dying - and was kept as a reminder . (This is not to say that it was considered in any way responsible for her death - she had been unwell before the bun arrived). The bun now seems to be a family heirloom, and just as it was passed from her grandmother, to her mother, to her, Margaret will pass it on to her children.

Will the real Monthy Python ...

You have to be game to order things online because you never know what's going to happen. Take the UK family that ordered their new television online - and when they unwrapped it - a snake slithered out of the box. Their three year old saw it first - and his screams alerted his grandparents - but also appear to have startled the snake which reared and bared its fangs. The family, frightened, fled the room, barricaded themselves away from the snake and called for help.
The Scottish SPCA came to the rescue and identified the 10-inch snake as a non-poisonous Children's Python - which has now been named "Monty".


I know some people with heart problems have dentistry without anaesthesia - which suggest an amazing tolerance to pain - but they're not the only ones - or the first. Anthropologists have now discovered evidence that as far back as 7000BC, some people in Pakistan were already keeping dental appointments - and having their teeth drilled - but whether this was to do more traditional work - or as a way to release "evil spirits" - or for decorative purpose - is not really known. Of course, the discovering was made ina graveyard - so a question that would be worth asking is whether the teeth were drilled while the patient was still alive. So many questions!


I have seen the trailer - although teaser is the way it's described on the Apple site - for the Simpsons movie, due out 27 July 2007. It is not a long trailer, and is not that action packed, in fact, most of the action has Homer sitting on his couch saying he can't remember what to say. It has a great start though - as the camera traces the "S" of the Superman logo with the voiceover "in 2007, leaping his way to the silver screen, the greatest hero in American history" - zoom out to show Homer, on his couch, wearing an ill-fitting "S"uperman t-shirt. Can't wait.

Amazon Changes 'Abortion' Queries

Last month Amazon made a change to its site. It changed the way its search engine reacted to the term "abortion" - so a prompt wouldn't come up asking if the user meant "adoption".
Amazon spokesperson Patty Smith said the prompt was not human intervention. Rather, it was because "Adoption and abortion are the same except for two keystrokes," Smith said. "They also, in this case, happen to be somewhat related terms." However, people who typed in "adoption" didn't see a prompt asking them if they meant "abortion".
The company decided to remove the prompt after an email complaint.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Bunny

A New York Post story tells of a giant German rabbit - really - and since the original story carries a dateline of February, I don't think it's an April Fools Day joke. And there's at least another one of them, as reported on the Snopes site. This is probably the bit where we hope they never get together ... can you imagine what problems we'd have with batches of these bunnies bouncing around!

Opera House

After Yum Cha in ChinaTown this morning, we went for a walk around Circular Quay and the Opera House - which isn't hard to do when you live in Sydney! But it's amazing how you can actually not know your own city - or what makes up your iconic landmarks. The Opera House was opened in the mid-1970's and here, 30 years later, I have finally realised that it is actually not one structure but several. It makes it even more amazing! [The sixth shot is of the Sydney Harbour Bridge - and two group of "BridgeClimbers" on their way up and over the famous arch. The 7th photo is of the Opera House as we're more used to seeing it (just in case it's been a while).]

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dream house

Who knew, over years past, that when we played "dream home" that it would turn out to be a two-bedroom flat in Marrickville next to the railway lines! Of course, we still talk about the next one - but at the moment, we're set.

Greek Orthodox Easter

As she waited at the bus stop yesterday morning, Sooz started chatting with one of the other regulars and found out that the local Greek Church was observing Easter with a street parade that evening. It turned out to be a massive affair. We arrive at 8pm, and the Church was already overflowing, and over the next hour as services continued inside, the parking lot filled up. The parade started at about 9pm, and police closed the street to ensure the safety of the worshippers. A woman who asked us the time kindly explained the ritual. The elaborately ordained structure being carried in the first image represents the coffin of Christ. The parade follows the "Stations" (of the Cross) - around the block - and then returns to the Church. A service will be held at 11pm tonight, and part of that will be extinguishing of the lights, and then the Church will be lit - candle to candle - starting from a single one - to mark Christ's resurrection.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Death penalty

If someone wants to receive the death penalty for their crimes (let's for a moment not ponder "why?"or debate the capital punishment question) - is it more a punishment to sentence them to life imprisonment instead?

In the news

I've been a bit remiss in noting some news items I've found "interesting" over the last few weeks. I'll probably never get around to putting down full details, but here's a bit about them:
  • Reuters: Bored bureaucrat begs for escape. After working in the Canadian civil service for 10 years, an unnamed man has set up a website seeking $1 million dollars in donations so he car quit his job.
  • Reuters: Florida catches thief in prison football scam. A prison gave a former professional baseball player a job in the library so they could use him as a ringer to win a softball tournament. The player has been ordered to pay back the salary he pocketed (but didn't work for).
  • BBC? Scientist says Sea of Galilee could have had frozen patches in Jesus' day. The suggestion: Christ walked on ice, not water.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Life Form

It has been a while since l thought about life forms but I was there this morning as I listened to someone whose firm has created a digital pet in the form of an 18"- long dinosaur. The pet will explore its environment and modify its code as it learns. The aim - to have people more emotionally involved with technology. Now, I'm quite fond of my technology, as anyone who knows me will attest - but I'm not at all sure about this trend! Do they want us to cuddle up with the toaster? Commiserate with the coffee-maker? Get ready for the next generation of robots? It seems that in some circles at least, robots are now "life forms"! And we're not talking Data-type androids a la Star Trek here. Now there was a life form! But what defines a life form? And could it be more helpful than the offering?
life form
n. The characteristic morphology of a mature organism
I like this one from better. Generally, all six characteristics are required for a population to be considered a life form.
While there is no universal agreement on the definition of life, scientists generally accept that the biological manifestation of life exhibits the following phenomena:
1. Organization - Living things are comprised of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
2. Metabolism - Metabolism produces energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (synthesis) and decomposing organic matter (catalysis). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
3. Growth - Growth results from a higher rate of synthesis than catalysis. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
4. Adaptation - Adaptation is the accommodation of a living organism to its environment. It is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the individual's heredity.
5. Response to stimuli - A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism when touched to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion: the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun or an animal chasing its prey.
6. Reproduction - The division of one cell to form two new cells is reproduction. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.
So does a robot quality as a "life form"? Or is it all part of a marketing campaign?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Off to the show

We're planning to take nephew Patrick to the Royal Agricultural (Easter) Show in Sydney tomorrow. Hopefully he'll be happy with the more tame rides (as long as it's not the Ghost Train) rather than the Mega Drop, No Limit or Extreme Speed. Although I'm sure it's perfectly safe to send an 11-year-old on to those by themselves. Otherwise how is he going to be able to give us a "spew factor" reading. (Gulp) Disneyland teacups are more my style - although I've been told that they're not as sedate as you'd think! And certainly "Mission: Space" at Walt Disney World seems to be even less so after a 49-year-old woman died a day after riding. Hers marks the second death in less than a year related to the Epcot ride. Apparently the ride is so intense that riders have been treated for chest pain - and it has sickness bags. The woman fell ill after her ride and was taken to hospital but her condition worsened, and she died.

Take a walk on the ...

... slow side. Septuagenarian Mayvis Cole has just been fined $US114 for taking too long to cross a busy LA street. Seems her shuffling with cane led a motorcyle policeman to decide she was obstructing traffic. Hmmm, seems like once upon a time you would hear stories from America of young men helping older ladies across the street - not writing them a ticket. And why do they call them fines?

What is this a photo of?

If you think it's a pic of a woman pregnant with sextuplets, you may not be alone. The sextuplets, 4 girls and 2 boys, are reported to have been born on March 8 ... which would make them Pisces, and they could have done much worse - except that they weren't born at all. News of their birth, in the words of Samuel Clements (aka Mark Twain) on hearing of his own death "was an exaggeration". Sarah and Kris Everson appear instead to have given birth to a great big scam, which included a web site seeking assistance because "finances were tight". The truth had not immediately come to light, even though there were some concerns over lack of photos and inability to find a hospital which had assisted in the delivery. Sarah had a reason for this though: she said the entire story of the children's births was being kept secret by a court order enacted because a member of her husband's family was trying to kill the Eversons and their new sextuplets. Why she was then talking about it to the press is unclear. The couple are currently facing charges.
Interested in reading more: visit the MSNBC report:
Missouri town learns sextuplet claim was a con
No one ever saw infants, but wallets were opened out of trust.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rove Live

A member of the audience in last night's episode sent up a question to Rove saying "what would you do if l ran naked across the stage?" Rove's answer: Do it - and let's find out! Unfortunately it did not make scintillating television fare. Said audience member did run across the stage naked, quite quickly and cupping his genitals with his hands. Rove and his guest paused their conversation for the duration of the "event" and then continued as though nothing of note had happened. Amazing what people will do for their 15 seconds of fame!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The funniest thing I heard yesterday was also on a podcast - the Onion Radio News. It's a short podcast - usually about a minute in length - and "out there" with its "spin" on quite normal things, although there is sometimes a thinly veiled message lurking amidst the humourous satire.
Yesterday's offering: 357 Maharishis Missing Feared Dead In Astral Plane Crash.

Politicians and the Press

Listening to a podcast of the ABC News Shuffle (a US program), I heard this (paraphrased) comment about politicians: If they make a paper statement they play to the press, an on-camera Statement plays to the people.

On the move

After many purchases of pedometers, and many disappointments, I have finally found one that seems to be, in a word, simply, "fantastic". The wonderful folks at Omron sell the Walking Style II (not sure if there was a I) - which has two major differences from most pedometers: 1) it goes in your pocket or bag (not on your belt), and 2) it's digital (one less thing to clatter/rattle/make noise on my person). Other differences: it doesn't have a reset button for you to push by accident when taking it in and out of your pocket or when it hits against something. As well: it does an automatic reset at midnight. And it has a 7 day memory on each function - steps, aerobic steps, calories etc. All this plus it's not a bad looking piece of equipment - and it's small enough ... to fit in your pocket!


... sung to the tune of "Tradition" from "Fiddler On The Roof". Not really - but that's the first thing that came to mind as I thought about it.
How do extradition treaties work? Gordon Wood, accused of killing his girlfriend in Australia a decade ago, is currently in London facing extradition proceedings. It looked as though he would front bail hearings first - and then the extradition hearings next month. Now, if he was bailed, wouldn't you think there would be a good chance anyone - not specifically him - would take the opportunity to scarper before the extradition hearing? Do people have to agree to be extradited?

Computer speak

Have you ever become so frustrated when using a computer that you'd just like to throw it out the window. Just for a moment, say you were going to. Would you unplug it first?

Friday, April 07, 2006

A web experience

While this one may not be to everyone's taste, the idea's quite clever - as is the execution. I received the link to the site from a friend under the heading "Another one to play with......" When I got there it seemed fairly static and if it's like that when you get there, just move the man with your mouse.
[And there's one thing this whole exercise has taught me - you can manipulate the size of your images when editing on Blogger by selecting the image and dragging a corner - who knew? I've been changing the HTML code to resize of my images - D'oh! This will be much faster!]

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spider "bites"

Spiders have been in the news lately. First there was the story of the nudist down Bowral way who tried to drop some petrol and then a match down a funnel web nest and managed to burn 18% of his body, seemingly all lower regions; and the other about a man in Britain who took home a spider he found - which turned out to be a black widow spider which had arrived in a freight delivery from Australia. The spider was humanely destroyed after a home could not be found for it. Black widow spider bites are apparently as venomous as a rattlesnake's.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Date specific news?

This didn't carry an April 1 dateline but it seems so "out there" that it could have (should have?). This is a direct copy of the first few paragraphs of the story from
Fly me to the moon - by catapult (by Russell Jackson)
IT MAY read like a far-flung plotline from a science-fiction comic, but Scots scientists have unveiled plans to develop a giant slingshot to catapult material from the earth to the moon. The project - by the University of Glasgow - will explore whether it is theoretically possible to create massive cables then use the power of the earth's orbit to catapult raw materials for mining, food, water and aerospace equipment into space.
Dr Gianmarco Radice and Prof Matthew Cartmell believe such a system could replace rockets and prove far cheaper. The cables could be up to 250,000km long and made of extra strong materials such as Kevlar, tungsten, graphite or carbon nano- fibres.
The Glasgow team beat 50 other applicants to win 10,000 from the European Space Agency for the three-month study, which aims to examine the maths behind such a system, rather than make a physical model of the slingshot.

There's more on their site, but that gives you the flavour. (But if the moon is less that 400,000 km away, the concept of a catapult is probably a bit of over-engineering. How would you load it. And what about the backlash once the payload is released? Oh no - what happens if it's more like a towel-flick?)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Feel good?

A recent report suggests a Parkinson's drug can lead to patients being turned into obsessive pleasure seekers - with one saying it caused her to start an affair, quit her religion and become a compulsive gambler. Another was fired from his job for trolling for dates on the Internet while at work. The reason ... the boosting of levels of dopamine (the feel good chemical) in the brain.
One company Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which sells Permax, a dopamine agonist, has told physicians: "As with other dopamine agonists, compulsive self-rewarding behavior (e.g., pathologic gambling) and libido increase have been reported in patients."

Does this then make it the "feel good" drug or a "feel bad" drug? And how would you feel as a patient - realising there was a problem over which you had no control - and which people kept telling you was "your responsibility" and "deal with it". Word is there is a good likelihood of class action.


How secure are the airlines? Are the same companies that lose (temporarily misplace) 30 million pieces of luggage a year able to monitor security So we have a chance of reaching our destinations intact? Not all 30 million pieces were irretrievably lost though. All but 200,000 pieces were reunited with their owners on average 1.3 days after being reported missing. The moral: always take your essentials (and some smalls) in your carry-on luggage. And on the subject of carry-on luggage. why does it seem that everyone has more of it these days? Oh, l know. they're all expecting their luggage to go missing.

Oops - Did I do that?

Wired News' Lucas Graves has compiled a list of the ten "Best Accidental Discoveries". Their story has details on each. And the discoveries are:
1. Viagra
2. LSD
3. X-rays
4. Penicillin
5. Artificial sweeteners
6. Microwave ovens
7. Brandy
8. Vulcanized rubber
9. Silly Putty
10. Potato chips

Also in Europe

Back in January, a French court ordered Remy Martinot to have his parents cremated or buried. This was the result of a long-running legal battle as Remy fought to keep his parents frozen. But before he could appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights - the crypt in which they were stored heated up from -65C to -20C and Remy decided that "it was no longer reasonable to carry on". He cremated his parents.
His father died and was frozen in 2002 - the same year the a court ruled that keeping the bodies refrigerated at the family chateau was against the law. The BBC News report did not say why it took the courts so long to make the ruling - especially as Remy's father Raymond, a cryogenics enthusiast, had frozen his wife after her death in 1984, hoping that one day science might enable her to be revived. He showed off her crypt for a fee in the cellar of his chateau, in the Loire Valley town of Nueil-sur-Layon, to help pay for upkeep of the equipment.

Cremations in Greece

After a campaign lasting more than a decade - and despite Church opposition - Greek MPs have passed a law to allow cremations in Greece for those whose religion allows it. This may not include the Greek Orthodox Church which describes it as a violation of the human body.
lt is not known how far the new laws will go to helping alleviate the current fullness of Athens graveyards where a burial plot is only rented for three years before the body has to be exhumed to make way for the next coffin. This can be extremely distressing for relatives - in some cases the exhumed bodies have not fully decomposed. (So what happens next - or specifically, what happens to the exhumed bodies?)


Do different laws govern press and television. A report in today's The Daily Telegraph on a Brisbane party - "Six teens stabbed in party brawl" - has a photograph of a "man charged with attempted murder". The man's face is clearly visible and recognisable (or would be if you knew him). Not so with the same report on television this morning. The man's face was totally obscured by a moving blur - as opposed to the usual jacket to cover head/face-hiding behaviour.
So are the rules different for the different types of media? And/or is it something to do with the timing? Although that doesn't really make sense the way I was thinking about it - to my mind the earlier one - before positive ID etc - would be the one with the man's face obscured - but it was the other way around.
So many questions ...

Piercing comment (or Ear Rings)

It's funny how you don't see any of something, and then as soon as you see one - you see more of them. The "them" in this instance is pierced ears - but not your normal piercings. These seem to be designed to enlarge the lobe with a donut-shaped insert - and not a small one! - so you can see through it. (Oh for a photograph or the ability to draw well!) I first noticed one on Wednesday afternoon, and then I followed one down the road the next day. I know this doesn't make a epidemic of it, but they're unusal enough to be noticed - and to get me thinking about why anyone would want to do that. And only in one ear. Of course, both gentlemen sporting the ear-rings had numerous other metal piercings. Yes, all right, I admit it - I really don't understand the whole piercing culture at all.

"For my sister"

Each year in Sydney we have the Tropfest short film festival. It started life as a showing of short films in the Tropicana Cafe, and since then it's grown to be an internationally recognised festival attracting many entries and a huge audience. The entries of the 12 finalists are traditionally shown on Festival night and the A-List celebrities in attendance choose the winner - who takes away a swag of goodies. The goodies have now been extended to the rest of us. This year (and last year I think) a DVD of the finalists was available with a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald. I've just finished watching mine and was intrigued by one called "Sisters". Can't really remember what it was about - okay, I can really but saying "a woman shoves cupcakes down her pants" really needs more explanation. Anyway, at the end, there was the dedication "For My Sister" and I thought gee, even though that seemed to be about dysfunctional sisters, it can't be that bad. And then "go to hell" came on screen. Guess I was wrong - but wow, what a plain-speaking, if incredibly public, airing of feelings.
The other observation from the films was what I seem to remember was a film that people were calling "fraud" film. Entries in Tropfest are supposed to be made for Tropfest, and there is always a motif or an item that needs to be included. This year's was a bubble - and people did use it in a variety of ways - thought bubble, washing up water, bubble gum etc. In the snake "documentary", there was a brief cutaway to a bubble - which seemed to have no relevance to the film - which could be because the film was supposedly made some time ago. However, that's not the point I wanted to raise here. Imagine if you were a snake with an overactive gag reflex!