Wednesday, November 29, 2006


... although "unlikely" could also apply. A woman who had been missing for two weeks was found - wedged upside down behind a bookcase in her room, in the house she shared with her family. It was feared that she had been abducted, and she was only found after her sister noticed a foot protruding from behind the 6 ft book case. It appears that she became trapped while reaching behind the shelf perhaps to adjust a television cord. The woman was apparently quite petite which could explain why she was unable to free herself. It seems the cause of death was suffocation.

Nature's own

Also at Bateau Bay, while going to visit Sooz's Dad, and being unable to find a spot in the car park, I took the car a bit further up the road - and on the walk back, found a nest which had fallen from a tree. Not sure what happened to the owners - but there didn't appear to be any broken eggs in the immediate vicinity - but given how light the hair/twig/fluff construction was, it could have blown in from some distance away. (If you type "fluff" as "flugg" it really makes it sound quite different, doesn't it?) (In fact, now that the Cole Report has been released and the Australian Wheat Board has come out not exactly smelling of roses, the name Flugge takes on a different meaning!)

More Xmas

At 10:15 yesterday morning, at the Bateau Bay, I heard my first Christmas carol in a shopping centre for the year. I'm not sure if Xmas has come earlier this year, or if I am just more aware of it. Only 27 big sleeps to go now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Career choice

We currently have colleagues from Singapore visiting, one of whom recently married. She is keen to let people know her husband's profession - treasure hunter. Of course, you could also say that he's a marine archaeologist but "treasure hunter" seems so much more fun, daring and swashbuckling! ... and romantic. At their wedding, he said that she was the greatest treasure he had ever found.

For the ladies

The small Brazilian town of Novo Santo Antonio has started to distribute Viagara to its elderly citizens - reportedly spicing up the sex lives of dozens of local residents. Of course, it has had an unwanted side effect - some of the men have started sleeping with people other than their wives. In a bid to keep it all in the family, it looks like men signing up for the program may now have their Viagara distributed to their wives - who can then slip into a something a little more comfortable - and slip them a little something - when they're in the mood. The Reuters report quoted the Mayor of Nova Santo Antonio as saying that since the "Pinto Alegre" ("Happy Penis") program started, the elderly population has been "much happier".

The cost of love

A man wanted for a double homicide in Arkansas was arrested on the weekend in Wisconsin after he posted his name, picture and address on an online dating Web site. This wouldn't have been so critical but for that he was also featured on television's America's Most Wanted. So Calvin A. Bennett, 26, has been charged with two counts of murder in the killings of Pierce Odell, 79, and his wife, Mary, 78, who were found shot to death late last month. Authorities said Bennett had confessed to killing the Odells during a botched burglary. One of the messages on Bennett's Web posting said he "liked to cuddle." (Reuters Limited)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A thief who swallowed a ring he stole from a jeweller's window display developed acute abdominal pains during questioning by police. They had apprehended him with an empty box soon after the theft but he said there had been no ring in it. Not so insisted the jeweller - hence the questioning. The thief was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitus but irstead of an inflamed organ, doctors found the ring ... and removed it with pincers on a stomach tube. The odd thing was that there was no medical reason for the pain. Guilt perhaps? Or maybe he just doesn't have the stomach for this line of business.
And speaking of lines ... there has been a rash of releases of new gaming consoles leading to long-ish lines of want-to-be buyers outside participating outlets. So imagine the surprise when one such line was held up by armed robbers!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Holidays

Welcome to Monday 20 November. When phoning the local council to arrange a waste pick-up this morning, I was greeted with Muzak to the tune of Deck the Halls and a message wishing me and my family the best for the holiday season and the New Year.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sculpture by the Sea

Well, at 7am this morning we were at Bondi Beach and about to set off to view Sculpture by the Sea. We had left it to the last day and were hoping to beat the others who wanted to get in before it was gone. Now if only we'd picked up one of the little books that told us what each of the pieces was ... but we had a go at guessing some!

Less is more ...

Dog's life ...

Wooden heart

Some boats (actually the first two shots are the same boat ...)

and the rest ...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Numbers up

A poll back in August in the US showed that more Americans could name the Three Stooges than their three branches of Government. 74% could correctly name Larry Moe and Curly, while only 42% could identify Executive, Judicial and Legislative. In the same poll, one quarter of Americans could name 2 members of the Supreme Court while three-quarters could name 2 of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. (NPR 15/8/06)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Personal ad space

On the bus this morning one of the regulars was wearing something new ... a flashing sign - a single line LED digital display - the whole thing about the size of a credit card - just slightly longer, and not quite as wide. It was displaying the message (over and over and over and over again) "starts Dec 1st" although really it was the other way around, starting with the www bit - but every time I try to write it that way here, it turns into a web link (that doesn't work).
It's an interesting concept - for personal advertising and, well, personal advertising. If you've a mind to, visit the site and you'll see what I mean.

Unnatural use of a Palm

Just when you thought you'd seen everything - Palm being used for all manner of wonderful things including delivery confirmations, restaurant order taking - along comes the unkindest cut of all ... Palm being used for writing traffic citations (or, as we know it here in Australia, parking tickets). I guess it was only a matter of time but how could something with so many good points be used for something so ... so ... mercenary!

Monday, November 13, 2006

In the pink ...

... which is a huge difference from Jennifer's normal "black on black" wardrobe - except for the previous only exception - a denim jacket. But now, today, she is wearing ... colour! (She allowed me to take this photograph as proof of this momentous occasion!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not snake charming

If you want to take the Bible literally, you could try following Mark 16:17-18 which talks about "them that believe" and how they should be able to "take up serpents" without being harmed. I'm not sure that the snake handling churches test believers with "drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" although that could explain what happened at a church in the US last year when the liquid refreshments were poisoned. But back to serpent handling ... and even though it is illegal in many areas in the US, included Kentucky, it's still happening. And it may have claimed a victim earlier this week. Linda Long, 48, was bitten Sunday at East London Holiness Church (London, KY), where neighbors said the reptiles are handled as part of religious services, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader. Long died four hours after being bitten. So, was she one of "them that believe". I can't imagine that she would have picked up the snake if she didn't think she was - and if she didn't, and someone forced the snake on her - would that constitute some form of manslaughter or homicide?

Massaging - the truth.

Massages can be dangerous. A current affairs program recently told of a young woman who was seriously injured while being given a massage at work. She had become either a paraplegic or quadriplegic (I only saw the teaser, so don't know the full details). The other person who knows the danger of massages must be the US Pastor Haggard who is currently spending time away from his flock for his extracurricular activities with a man who allegedly supplied him with drugs and other services. Pastor Haggard says that all he was really doing was getting a massage. (The explanation may have changed since that report came out.)

Seeing things

People see different things - ever if they are ostensibly looking at the same thing: that is apparently why the Police prefer to have one witness only to an event. rather than several. We've all heard of experiments were psychology students watch a video and are told to watch for something - and are so busy concentrating on that, they don't notice the gorilla. We all have selective attention - and filtering! Hopefully I will never be called on to be a witness. I know my powers of observation and/or recall are, well, challenged.

Project Management

I was chatting with an acquaintance the other day about a past project- and she said, matter-of-factly, that it had been the reason for her daughter's birth. She fell pregnant rather than work on a project she knew was going to be horrendous ... and she hadn't been wrong! Apparently, years later they still. talk about how much that project failed. I wonder how many people do that - manage (manipulate is probably too strong a word) their way out of troublesome projects.

Day out

I decided to go gadget looking today - at an electronic outlet at Auburn, 30-40 minutes drive from home. Imagine my surprise then when l arrived to find that even though I was there, it no longer was. How could this have happened in the two years since I was last there? But I did have a look through two of the stores now on the site - office stationery - and electrical appliances. But it just wasn't the same - but it was substantially cheaper i.e. I didn't buy anything!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mobile phone calls up in the air

It seems that the stories we've been told about cell phones interfering with aircraft navigation equipment may not be entirely true. Otherwise, why would Emirates be looking to introduce calls on their planes in the new year? You won't be able to use your phone while the plane is landing, taking off, or ascending or descending during flight - but once above 6850m (or 20,000ft) and steady - you'll be good to go. But will they have a special section for people wishing to use their phones mid-flight and loudly proclaim "I'm on the plane …"? And will there be a rule about the type and volume of ringtones that are allowed in-flight? And - if you flush someone's mobile phone down an aircraft toilet - will it be able to be retrieved, and if so, will it still work. (This is assuming the stories of toilet waste from planes being ejected, frozen, is not true. If it is … looks like someone on the ground might get a big surprise ... and a phone!)

AIDS aids

A South African company has developed a new tool in the fight against AIDS (and other sexually transmitted diseases). It's a condom that can be put on quickly - straight from the packaging without unwrapping, in about 3 seconds. The time it normally takes to find, unpack, etc. etc. a condom is often cited as the reason for not taking the precaution of donning one. Hopefully the Pronto Condom will help increase rates of use - and lead to a decrease in STIs.

Dead Democrat beats Living Republican

I read on the web (an odd news site somewhere) that in one of the seats recently contested in the American elections, a woman who had died two months before the ballot - too near it to be removed from the proceedings - actually polled better than the Republican candidate in that electorate. If it is true, no doubt there will be jokes doing the rounds about it in due course. If it's not true, some people will no doubt think that it should be. (Does the name Marie Steichen ring a bell?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Watch This Space

This is old news now, but recently the US moved to adopt a tough new space policy - designed to stop any country from using space for purposes hostile to the US. It didn't say if they would return the courtesy. But it did suggest that it wouldn't use weapons to deny its "adversaries" access to space. Wonder if they're referring to military or commercial adversaries. If you're interested in finding out more, the BBC report carries a link to the report.


Reuters recently carried the story of a Viennese man who cut off his ring finger and presented it, with his wedding band still on it, to his ex-wife after an acrimonious divorce. After being charged with dangerous harassment and assault, he told a preliminary hearing he did not regret having cut off the finger and had chosen deliberately not to reattach it. "It was an act of breaking free," the man was quoted as saying. He did not miss his finger, could work well without it and did not plan on getting married again anyway, he said.

The eyes have it

... or more to the point, it seems that the eyes may help make sure you don't take it unless it's yours. The feeling of being watched makes people act more honestly, even if the eyes are not real, a study from the Newcastle University (UK) suggests. They tested this by monitoring whether people put money in an "honesty box" to pay for drinks in a canteen. If a poster above the box was a pair of eyes, people were more likely to be "honest" than if the poster was of flowers. The experiment was conducted with an existing "honesty box" and there was no mention in the BBC report I read if the same individuals changed their behaviour based on the poster. In fact, it seems that no-one was actually watching and taking notes of the experiment. As the BBC report said: "At the end of every week, the researchers calculated the total amount of money collected and the amount of drink likely to have been consumed."

Subway in the news

Did a woman really find part of a human finger in a Subway sandwich? Or is it a hoax like the one that cost the Wendys chain $2.5 million last year after a woman conspired with her husband to use his workmate's finger - severed in a workplace accident and surrendered in lieu of a debt - in the extortion bid. Investigations are now underway with the Subway claim. Hopefully it won't have customers asking them to amend their slogan from "Eat Fresh" to "Eat Flesh".

Harsh punishment?

A crew from an entertainment network recently trespassed in the grounds of Brad Pitt's Hollywood home. A statement from E! Networks said it had not authorised "anyone working on its programme to improperly intrude onto private property". The report then went on to say that the individuals involved had been "terminated". Well, that might seem a bit harsh - but it might teach the other papparazi a lesson.

Cat on a ....

treadmill. Really. Lots of them. Visit the Wired story to see footage of these amazing feets.

Boy Humour

At breakfast at our favourite cafe the other morning we were within earshot of two couples and their children. The men were chatting - and one of them started talking about his work in the building trade ... and how one of their team had found a dead rat in a roof, only a few months dead and "still juicy" ... so they put it in some guy's desk. Pretty funny he thought. Almost as funny as when they raised a place on stumps and instead of putting the usual keys there, put a mousetrap there, primed and ready to go - and then sent one of the guys to check for the keys. Well, that was also enough to have them laughing. It's certainly got me thinking about boy humour and how different it can be.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Clear vision

The US has decided to risk a mission to fix the Hubble space telescope. And it is not without risk … a great deal of risk. You'd have to be really pleased to be one of the astronauts chosen - although it seems they have done it before and are being re-formed for the mission. So what's the risk? If something goes wrong with the Shuttle, they are too far away from the Space Station to take refuge there. So, to minimise the risks, there will be a second Shuttle on standby to mount a rescue mission if required. I hadn't realised that the Hubble is actually in orbit and will one day come crashing back to Earth.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All at sea

Ellen Walker's ashes have been scattered in the Atlantic Ocean ... 92 years after she was conceived on board the Titanic. Her father, Henry Morley, died in the sinking leaving behind a wife - as well as Ellen's mother, Kate Phillips. (The already married) Henry and Kate were eloping and traveling under the assumed names Mr and Mrs Marshall. Their story is said to have inspired the blockbuster film Titanic.
And speaking of the Titanic, the year the movie was produced, one of the more popular Halloween costumes was "frozen victims". Which may or may not be more tasteful than one of the costumes doing the rounds this year - a bloody stingray barb attached to a khaki shirt - in memory of Steve Irwin. Not sure whether costumers or the folk at South Park thought of it first - because a recent episode of that show had Steve Irwin (complete with stingray) attending a party in Hell. Is it bad taste or a way of people to help people cope with grief? The jury may still be out on this one.

The Frugals

Have you heard of "The Frugals"? Could sound a bit like a new children's show complete with large primary-coloured oddities. In actuality, it's a new movement which seeks to improve on "reduce, reuse, recycle" by not buying anything new. There are about 1500 self-avowed Frugals currently in the US - which seems to be where the movement started. Would you be able to meet the challenge? I'm not sure I would. Ah to be cursed with a love of technology and gadgets! Of course, being a Frugal would not mean that you couldn't have these things - it would just mean you had to be creative about how you acquired them - you could borrow or trade, find, get review samples - there are probably a whole lot of ways you could do it. A woman being interviewed on the Chris Evans show said she had spent some ridiculously small amount of money on "new" things - but it was actually very impressive. The family had embraced trading in a big way- for example, they trade eggs for tea bags. I can feel an exchange economy coming on.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

That's entertainment?

If you're planning to see Saw III, be prepared for more fright than you may be able to handle. Several UK moviegoers have fainted, and at least five (including one who had to be hospitalised) have needed to be treated for adverse reaction to torture scenes. There have also been reports of people running screaming from cinemas. Now, you know, that won't be me. I haven't seen either of the first two Saw movies because the premise of people being captured and tortured just doesn't seem like entertainment to me.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You are feeling sleepy ...

Apparently you can't do stage hypnosis and be a hypnotherapist in the UK. It would be a hard choice to make: whether to help someone stop smoking - or make them act like a chicken.