About Eugene

I have my PC and my internet connection and I'm not afraid to use them.

Bali 9, Drug Smugglers and Capital Punishment

The other day at work I have been listening to SKY News repeating over and over the same bit of news: “The last hope for two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Bali has been dashed”. After hearing this for what must’ve been a twentieth time, I found myself arguing with the TV.

Do the crime, do the time

Do the crime, do the time

I argued that I fail to understand why Australia is so keen on having those drug smugglers pardoned. They went to a foreign country. Country known to have a very strict anti-drug laws. They have been found guilty of their crime in that country’s court. How dare we interfere in an independent country’s internal affairs, or presume that our legal system is superior to theirs?

SKY dragged out some chick from the Amnesty International, who went on and on about how Capital Punishment should be abolished everywhere on Earth. Great idea in theory, a noble one. Really stupid in practice. For once, there is no AI chapter in Indonesia, so how can they possibly know and judge the laws, customs and values of that country? Secondly, I am a bit sceptical about an organisation that acts all-righteous and screams from its website that they do not accept government funding, yet they accept hundreds of millions of dollars from various governments around the world.

But going back to the drug lords, or drug mules or drug-whatever-they-called-today, the bottom line is really very clear.

I’ve always thought that there is a certain hierarchy in heinosity of various crimes.

The worst of the lot, the absolute scum of the Earth are pedofiles, closely followed by rapists and any other sex offenders. Ranking next on a criminal ladder are all the people making money on drugs. Drug growers, drug traffickers, drug dealers, drug anything…

Drugs destroy lives

Drugs destroy lives

So I guess what I’m saying is that the world would be a better place without those trying to poison our society and the only involvement from the media should be live broadcast of the sentencing and execution, with the hope that it will stop another dumb, down on luck kid from ever touching that shit.

Now I’m gonna go and argue with the TV a bit more….

Cheating in Sport is no longer the exception, it’s the rule

Drugs in sport

Cheat to Win

What’s the big deal about Patriots cheating with the ball? It’s not as if nothing like this ever happened before. I mean, today it’s the Deflategate, yesterday it was the Spygate, tomorrow it will be some other “gate“.

Personally, I question the perceived advantage. It is known that a deflated ball is easier to throw, especially in bad weather – but surely it would make it easier for both teams?

American Football

American Football

I have watched about 10 minutes of American football, and now I feel qualified to pass a judgement, so here it is: To me, the whole game of football in America is based on cheating. How else can you explain the fact that they play a game of ball wearing what amounts to a full Knight’s armor?

 

Aussie Rules

Aussie Rules

In Australia we play ball too, but at least in Aussie Rules players come out on a field in pretty much their underwear! 🙂
No cheating ever happening in Australian sports… Unless you count an occasional drug scandal of course. As I wrote a couple of years ago, we had few clubs taking some pills “by mistake”, we had Warnie trying to convince us that all he did was take a couple of tablets that his mom gave him, but cheating? No!

And to finish it off on a lighter note….

Q: Why did the coach give his football team lighters?
A: They kept losing their matches.

I got my Crystal Ball out, and here are my 6 predictions for 2015

2015 is here, and looks like we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future. Some people like to look back and reminisce, but I prefer to look forward and get ready for what lies ahead.
So what is ahead? I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not particularly good at reading tea leaves – some people might say that I’m not particularly good at anything, but I think these people are just mean.
So I’ll have a go at coming up with the list of 6 predictions for the new year, and in a last blog of 2015 I’ll try see how many of my predictions were right.

unemployment

Unemployment to go up in 2015

1. Lets start with the sad and boring: Unemployment in Australia will hit 7.2%

2. With all the Wearables popping up, the time is almost right for this part of the market to explode…. Almost, but not quite. There won’t be any “out of this world” breakthrough in a next 12 months.

3. Speaking of “out of this world” – 2015 is set to be a year when we’ll see the advertising done in space, specifically; it will be placed on the Moon. Can’t wait to see the laser displays to rival the beauty of Aurora Borealis.

4. The sanctions on Russia will be relaxed, or removed completely. In part it will be due to the increased tensions between Turkey and Greece over the Mediterranean gas fields. (and yes, Russia will retain all the territories it “acquired” last year)

Parliament of Australia

Parliament of Australia

5. Closer to home – in September, it will be two interstate AFL teams battling in the Grand Final, but the Port wouldn’t have enough power when it’s needed most, and so it would be the Swans flying back to Sydney with the Cup.

6. Tony Abbot to lose his residence at The Lodge by 30th of April (this one is actually not my prediction, it’s a learned opinion of my friend-blogger Edward from The Mugwump Post )

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

There is this Russian saying that goes something like this: The way you’ll start a New Year is the way you’ll finish it. To make sure that I finish 2015 on a high, I better start it right…

Cheers, everyone, Happy New Year!

Adversaries Need Not Apply

As a private person, I can be (sometimes) excused for being a little violent, or a little impatient. I expect to be given a second chance.
However, I think that a County Judge should be held to a higher standard. When a judge thinks that he can get into a fight with a public defender, and then be given a second chance, he better think again. And if he actually IS given that second chance, there is something seriously wrong with the legal system.

Chasing Truth. Catching Hell.

To:     Mr. Blaise Trettis, Public Defender

           18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender

           Brevard County, Florida

    

From:    Norm DeGuerre, Esq.

               Deputy Public Defender, County of Santa Asphalt

Re:        Recent Job Opening

Dear Mr. Trettis:

I hope this letter finds you doing well. My name is Norm DeGuerre, and when I am not exorcising my professional demons through anonymous blogging, I am a trial attorney with the public defender’s office in “Santa Asphalt,” CA. Don’t bother looking at a map, because this is not the name of a real county. Santa Asphalt is my affectionate pet name for my jurisdiction, which makes up for the lack of thriving small businesses by creating a glut of empty, sprawling retail spaces under 3 stories in height.

But I digress.

I understand that you have a position open in your office; I write you…

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Miss World Pageant- a Miss Universe’s Poor Cousin?

The other day I stumbled upon a Miss World Pageant show on Foxtel. Naturally, I stopped my channel surfing and decided to have a look. I was expecting to see Donald Trump’s silly hair, to hear contestants talking about world peace, while wearing a “barely there” bikinis….

Miss USSR 1990 Maria Kezha

Miss USSR 1990
Maria Kezha

Imagine my disappointment, when I realized that I’m watching the wrong show! Whose idea was it to create 2 (almost) identical shows? It’s like having NCIS and say, NCIS LA, or NCIS New Orleans; oh, hang on a minute….  Anyway, how does one decide which show to enter? If you are a bit smarter, you enter the Miss World one, but if you have more beauty than brains you try your luck in Miss Universe? Those are difficult decisions for girls to make 🙂

Also, isn’t it a bit ambitious to call it a Miss Universe? I mean, it’s OK for now, but the name would imply that the contestants from other worlds are eligible to enter. Wouldn’t it be ironic, if we get some beautiful ladies from planet Crespallion, or Acamar, or Crematoria or some other far-away place coming here and taking the pretty little crown away from us? I wonder if there is a clause in an application stipulation that a contestant has to be from Earth, or even a humanoid?

Nigerian beauty queen

Queen Celestine

Anyway, the show’s over. Now we wait for the Miss Universe to entertain us next month. Apparently, there even going to be a Nigerian Queen.

 

My Thoughts on Europe’s Decision to Accept Terror

Once again, I am amazed at myself. I am amazed that after everything I’ve read, everything I’ve seen, everything I’ve experienced, I still get surprised by people’s stupidity.

This time, it is the collective stupidity of politicians forming the European Union. I call it stupidity, because if I start using words I really feel as adequate to describe them, this blog would have to come under the X-rated classification.

For number of years now I have been observing EU becoming more and more Left-wing, more and more moving towards the path of self-destruction, pursuing agenda of groups whose aim is to destroy progress.

This time EU managed to not only to put a noose around their own neck, but also to tighten it.

I am referring to EU Court’s order to the EU to drop the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from its terrorist blacklist, and to European Parliament’s vote to recognize Palestine statehood ‘in principle’.

Did they even bother to look into the matter? Have the history taught them nothing?

Sweden – how soon you forgot about Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen, who carried out the 2010 Stockholm bombings. He’s done it in the name of Jihad.

France – how soon you forgot about Air France Flight 8969. Or 1995 Paris Métro and RER bombings, both carried out by the Armed Islamic Group. Or The Toulouse and Montauban shootings, perpetrated by Mohammed Merah, French citizen, of Algerian descent. All this done in the name of Jihad.

Ireland – how soon you forgot one of your sons, James Foley – beheaded by an ISIS. Done in the name of Jihad.

terror at Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

Now have a look at the extract from Hamas Charter:

“The Motto of Hamas: Allah is its Goal. The Messenger is its Leader. The Quran is its Constitution. Jihad is its methodology, and Death for the sake of Allah is its most coveted desire” Yes – Jihad.

Or maybe your lawmakers skipped this part of the Charter: “There is no solution to the Palestinian Problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, options, and international conferences are a waste of time and a kind of child’s play”.

Europe – ask yourself, what does Hamas mean by this: “In the shadow of Islam it is possible for the followers of the three religions-Islam, Christianity, and Judaism-to live in peace and harmony, and this peace and harmony is possible only under Islam”? I hope you are well prepared to live in the shadow of Sharia Law.

Now, I understand that Europe doesn’t care about the Jews – it never did. Europe was sitting by, idly watching 6 million Jews being slaughtered in Holocaust. Now, only 70 years later, Europe is quite happy to be a spectator in a next round of atrocities. There are only 3 problems with it.

The first one – terrorists will NOT let you to be just a spectator. When Hitler started his march across the Europe, he begun by promising that his ideas are only directed against Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and communists. 60 Million people had to die, before the monster was stopped.

The second one – you will not be spared. Lets consult the Hamas Charter once again: There are “secret organizations throughout the world to destroy societies and promote the Zionist cause; these organizations include the Freemasons, the Rotary and Lions clubs, and other”. There are close to half a million Freemasons in UK alone. Lions club members – 1.36 million members worldwide. Rotary clubs account for about 1.2 million members worldwide. Hamas’ aim is to murder all these millions of innocent people.

Western Wall, Jerusalem

Western Wall, Jerusalem

The third one – the Jews are not that easy to kill any more. They proved it time and time again defending their homeland from Muslim aggression.

I would like to finish by quoting the Reverend Charles F. Aked- “It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.”

Gypsies, Travellers and Prejudices

Television is a great time-waster. It’s also a great source of entertainment. And occasionally, it makes us ask questions, seek more information.

This was the case when I came across the show on Foxtel called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The show is based around the lives of Travellers and Gypsies, and I was disappointed to hear that in today’s age Gypsies and Travellers are being routinely discriminated against.

I remember dealing with Gypsies back in my younger days. They used to come through our town every summer. I remember their men being very proud, independent and decent fighters. Their girls are beautiful dancers and really easy on an eye. When the men weren’t busy smoking and talking trash, they earned their living as blacksmith and horse handlers. Women used to bring money into the tents by dancing and fortune telling. Their kids were known to help themselves on occasion with stuff that wasn’t bolted down, but I don’t remember it being a big problem – it’s not like they were the only ones with sticky fingers – there was enough home-grown low-lives to cause trouble throughout the year.

So where does this animosity is coming from? Why do we treat people who live next door to us, look like us, work like us with such content?

The answer, I think, is simple…. all this is because of the lack of knowledge and understanding.

Gypsies are different, in many ways still maintaining the way of life their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. They were known as nomads, as the “descendants of Cain”.

Because of this being different, Gypsies suffered greatly during the WWII. They were sent to extermination camps together with Jews and homosexuals.

This makes the way they are treated today even more appalling. It is really sad when in a 21st century UK a grown up man is afraid to show his face on TV for fear of loosing his job, or a bride is refusing to name the place of the wedding venue till the very last moment for fear of the venue cancelling on her simply because she’s a Gypsy.

 

Law of the Jungle, Survival of the Fittest, Also Known as Suburban Driving

I have to start by saying that I like to think of myself as a reasonably safe, assertive driver. After many years on a road, I’ve seen just about everything, been in a couple of bingles, avoided few more. But today’s been interesting…. I had 2 near-misses within as many minutes.

First one was a Four-Wheel-Drive, whose driver decided that it’s a good idea for his vehicle to occupy the same point in space as my car.

4WD attempts to push me off the road

4WD driver decides to change lanes without paying attention to cars around

As you can see from my highly technical picture here, my car is on the right, with nowhere to go and the other car is to my left, attempting to get into my lane. The guy didn’t even bother to see if anyone else is around, and was really surprised to find my car only a couple of inches from his…. after I’ve used the car horn to warn him.

 

Second incident happened only about a kilometer down the road, when I was trying to negotiate a T-intersection; normally not particularly difficult task.

Bus unable to perform a right turn

A bus driver was having a bad day

Once again, I’m proud to display my significant artistic skills here. The green rectangle is my car, ready to turn right. The blue one is some other car, about to turn left, and the big brown blob is a bus, whose driver is on a mission to flatten my car.

I don’t know-maybe he was having a bad day, or forgot that he’s driving a bus and not a bicycle, but there was absolutely no way that he could turn without running me over. Yet, I had to practically beg him to stop and wait for me to reverse my car about 30 meters back, to make it safe for both of us.

What really got me, though, was that both drivers – the 4WD and the bus were Asian. Here’s the part I don’t get: Asians are arguable the hardest working people on a planet, they are also some of the most advanced academically-just go look at the Law and Medicine Faculties of any university in Australia-majority of students there are Asians.

So here’s a question to all my Asian friends out there…. please someone, explain to me: what the fuck happens to you when you get behind the wheel?

 

Australian Athletes Behaving Badly

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games are now finished. Australian athletes performed impressive, as usual, however their performance has been somewhat overshadowed by the altercation between Australian weightlifter Francois Etoundi and Welsh weightlifter Gareth Evans. I’ve heard some people commenting on it “boys will be boys”, “just a bit of testosterone release” or “no harm done”. Maybe so – although head butting another person in a face is probably taking things a bit too far.

Sporting heroes or thugs?

Sporting heroes?

What I don’t like about it, is that each and every one of our athletes at the games is representing Australia. They are our collective face, our collective voice, our collective image.  Aussies are generally known as laid-back, easy going bunch, and incidents like this are doing a lot of damage to our reputation.

Unfortunately, Etoundi is not the only one doing the damage. During 2012 London Olympics rower Josh Booth has been booted from the games after he had “few too many” and proceeded to destroy display windows of local shops. During the same Games, our swimmers Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, James Magnussen, Matt Targett and Tommaso D’Orsogna have received suspensions and been ordered to pay fines to Swimming Australia for the inappropriate distribution of prescription drugs, prank calls and door knocking late at night, and general misbehaviour. And what about Aussies at the New Zealand Games back in 1990, when a couple of our boys decided it’s a great idea to run through the Game’s village naked? Or our team in India, letting things to get a bit out of control and throwing a washing machine out of the 7 storey window?

Australian athlete has been arrested

Australian weightlifter Francois Etoundi

Some of these incidents seem more serious than the others, some seem totally harmless, but the reality is – they all contribute to creating the image of us that we would rather not get. An image of rowdy bums who like to get drunk, get into fights and cause nuisance.

 

 

Now, I’m not a whinger, but…if you put that Green-n-Gold uniform on, you are not just an Australian – you are The Australian, so make us all proud.

Life Without Internet in 21st century? Surely Not!

The other day I overheard a conversation between two young people, both in their 20th. The girl was trying to understand the concept of Facebook, and the guy was trying (without much success) to explain it to her.

You've Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

I immediately felt the need to bud in on their conversation, and started asking questions of my own. It turns out, that the girl not only has no idea about Facebook, she also doesn’t own a mobile phone, and she doesn’t have an internet connection at home either. I must’ve had a stupid expression on my face, when on my question “How do you pay your bills?” she answered “At the Post Office”.

I must point out here, that the girl is NOT some sort of backwards person, unable to grasp the technology. She is a lovely girl, competent in her job, uses computer and internet at work, knows how to use them, so it’s a matter of personal choice not succumbing to the extra pressure of being on-line and available at all times.

I kept coming back to this conversation for the rest of the day, and I become curious as to how many other people are out there, that do not have internet?

Apparently, quite a lot. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2013 there was 12,397,000 internet subscribers, of which, amazingly, over 200,000 were still on Dial-Up connections.  It appears that we are not as technologically advanced as I’ve always thought. Australia is only ranked 25th in a world by internet penetration, having 82.3% of its population on-line.

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

The list of countries and their internet penetration makes for a very interesting read – there are some surprises there.

First, Falkland Islands are ranked Number 1, which must piss Iceland off big time, as that little bit of rock  in South Atlantic is pushing the little bit of rock in a North Atlantic into the Second spot. Our cousins from across the Tasman Sea are doing real good, managing to secure a spot in the top 10. But the biggest surprise for me was Nigeria – I was sure that with the millions of e-mails from millions of relatives of the dead people, all promising me the guaranteed way to get reach, Nigeria would be high up on the list. But no – it only comes at a lowly 128th spot. Those poor scammers must be working overtime, to be able to contact so many unsuspecting winners  🙂

 

 

 

Social Dis-service

Yesterday my wife volunteered to help her mother and make few calls to some government departments – Social Security, Human Services, Aged Care….

Pension and Aged Services

Pension and Aged Services

It wasn’t anything complicated – she wasn’t asking government agency to divulge any secrets, or assign Member of Parliament size pension to a regular Australian, or anything like that.

All she wanted, was to have some information brochures and application forms to be mailed out to us. Simple, right?

Well, it might be simple for someone who doesn’t understand the complexity of the bureaucratic machine, but after listening to my wife, I now realize how complicated and self-important those departments are.

For starters, before she even had a chance to talk to anyone, she had to endure some horrible hold music, with a total “hold” time of close to 2 hours. Next, she was transferred from one department to another, person to the next. Each time the story had to be repeated, names and other details provided and an oath given, just in case….

At one point of this process, she got told that the material we requested is not being printed any more, and everything is available on line. When asked if he can e-mail us the documents, the bureaucrat on another end replied that it’s not their process to e-mail documents. Fair enough we thought, how about a link to where the document is on their web-site? Apparently, link isn’t available, and we have to search for it.

What I found even more amusing (amusing because I wasn’t the one who had to listen to this rubbish), was the fact that apparently, there were some changes in rules and legislation affecting aged care. These changes came into effect on July 1st, 2014. All this was happening on July the 8th and guess what – new documentation wasn’t available ANYWHERE – not in printed form, not on-line not etched on cave walls.

If I was just as incompetent at my job, I would’ve been fired years ago, but I guess there is a benefit in being a government employee.

Speed Cameras Save Lives, or Do They?

While checking on some facts for my previous blog, I came across a lot of data related to speed limits and speed laws on our roads, about how speed cameras save lives. What I found strange though, is that there was very little data coming up related to how much safety improvements to the new cars affected road statistics.

If we are to believe our government, “Speed cameras make our roads safer. They’ve reduced crashes at intersections by 47 per cent and have helped cut our road toll by a third”. At first glance, this statement is pretty self-explanatory and non-controversial, right? Wrong!

Speed Cameras - Revenue Raisers

Speed Cameras – Revenue Raisers

Read it again: “and have helped cut our road toll by a third”. Notice – speed cameras didn’t cut road toll by a third, they have helped to cut it. What it really means is that the actual number attributed to speed cameras could be as low as 1%. Just think about it….if speed cameras really saved lives, and our government had the numbers to prove it, they would’ve come up with a statement that reads something like this: “Speed cameras make our roads safer. They’ve reduced crashes at intersections by 47 per cent and 30% of all lives saved is due to speed cameras”. See the difference?

Now that you spotted the difference, let’s see what the original statement actually says. It says that the road toll has been reduced by a third. It has been reduced by COMBINED efforts of car manufacturers making our cars safer, by improvements in road constructions making roads themselves safer, by improved algorithms of traffic management and by constant education campaign.

Improved Car Safety Saves Lives

Improved Car Safety Saves Lives

We all know that European cars have a reputation for being safe. It comes as no surprise than, that the vehicle safety is identified as a key strategy by the European Union towards addressing the EU-wide goal to reduce deaths by 50%. Again, take notice – not by putting more speed cameras on a road, but by improving car safety.

I would like to finish by quoting the boss of Mazda Australia, who has accused road safety authorities of creating a nation of “distracted drivers” by forcing them to watch their car’s speedometer – rather than the traffic ahead – because they’re scared to go 1km/h over the speed limit.”

Federal Budget, Retirement and Death

Over the past couple of weeks we all have been exposed to the proposed “tough love” budget that our Federal Government is attempting to pass through Parliament.

One of the things that will affect most of us – the retirement age is set to go up to 70 years. While it scares me to even think that I might have to be in a workforce for so long, there is something that scares me even more. It’s the thought that we will have significantly higher number of drivers in their mid to late sixties regularly navigating our roads.

Are you ready to retire?

Are you ready to retire?
Is the government ready for you to retire?

Why does it scare me? It’s simple, really. Older drivers are not as safe as the younger ones. They are accountable for one-third of all fatalities related to traffic accidents.

Now, before all the old-timers out there decide to collectively bash me up – statistics don’t lie. Of 247 fatalities in a 12 months to April 2014, 84 are from the age group of 60+.

The reality of it is, this number is set to go even higher. Today drivers over 60 years old are mostly drive out of peak hours, and mostly for recreational purposes. When they will have to drive to and from work, faced with bumper to bumper traffic, and an added pressure of getting there on time, how will they cope?

I wonder if the government is prepared to spend extra money paying unemployment to all the young people who will have to wait few extra years for the older generation to retire?

I wonder if the government is prepared to spend extra money paying for increased number if accidents on our roads?

But most of all, I wonder if it’s a ploy to force all those 70-year-olds to become just another road accident statistic, thus eliminating the need to pay them pension for another 10-20 years?

Getting old doesn’t look like a lot of fun right now…

Concert of Tom Waits Songs and Australian Politics

Last week I went to a concert of Tom Waits songs performed by Stewart D’Arrietta. He was accompanied by a band made up of some of the finest musicians around – Ross Hannaford of the Daddy Cool fame, Philip Rex -one of the most brilliant Australian Double Bassists and Danny Fischer – drummer extraordinaire.

For a show of Tom Waits music performed by someone other than Tom Waits, it was a pretty good show. To borrow the lyrics of “The Real Slim Shady”:

Who dress like me; walk, talk and act like me
It just might be the next best thing but not quite me!

The band was fantastic, and Stewart had the audience totally captivated. I was really enjoying it, up to the point later in a night where D’Arrietta decided to stop the show and impart on the audience his views on Australian Governments’ policy concerning illegal immigrants. According to him, all immigrants coming by boats really want to work here and be a part of our society, and all we need to do is let them in, give them some land around Bourke and Australia will rip the benefits. Clearly, D’Arrietta has an agenda to push, and isn’t really concerned about the facts. The facts are, that more than 60 per cent of refugees to Australia have failed to get a job after five years. Another fact is that more than 60 per cent of those people without jobs had a poor command of English.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

 

Regardless of all the facts, I find it absolutely appalling that musicians use the stage to promote their views and agendas. If I wanted to get engaged in a political debate, I would’ve gone to a political rally, or turned on Parliament Question Time on TV.

 

 

 

So in an unlikely event that D’Arrietta will read this blog – a word of advise: mate, when you are up on a stage, unless you have lyrics of Tom Waits coming out of your mouth, please- keep your gob shut.

Tinglers and Tampons

This post is more of a WTF category, just a couple of things I’ve come across recently that made me stop and take a second look…

The first one was at a truck stop somewhere between Melbourne and Canberra.

Boldly Glow Where No Man Has Glowed Before

Boldly Glow Where No Man Has Glowed Before

While washing hands in a toilet, I’ve noticed a vending machine that was selling Tingler Rings.

Looks like our truckies have become more sophisticated, more adventurous. It’s not enough to just grab a plain old condom from a machine for a quick “pit-stop” on a way. Now they are looking for the Tingler Ring – a product promising you to “Boldly glow where no man has glowed before”.

It also promises to “Prolong The Pleasure Of Sex” – I always thought that our truck drivers work on a tight schedule, they would be more interested in a product that will allow them to get maximum satisfaction in a shortest time possible…you know, “in, out, back on the road again”?

 

The second thing that made me go “hmmm” was the banner in a local health shop.

What's In Your Tampon?

What’s In Your Tampon?

For a reason that escapes me, they posted a question “What’s in your tampon?”

Now, I’m not too sure what they are trying to achieve here… If they want to know what tampons are made of, they might be better off directing the question to the manufactures. If they want to know what’s in a tampon after it’s been used, I don’t even want to go there.

Being a health shop specializing in all things “natural”, I suspect they wanted to make people aware of some different type of tampons made of natural, or recycled ingredients.

What I find hard to swallow, even harder than a tampon staring in my face, is the fact that they sell those horrible drinks there, they call it “coffee” but it’s made from the soy milk and dandelions. No human should be allowed to suffer through drinking that horrible stuff.

Maybe next they should put up a poster asking “How to make real coffee?”

Russian Empire Strikes Back

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, you would’ve heard about Russia moving in and “acquiring” a bit of Ukrainian territory- relatively small, but important bit of land called Crimea.

There have been a lot said about the issue, some labeling Russia as an “aggressor”, some applauding Russia for taking back what’s rightfully theirs.

Russian expands its empire

Russia looks at expanding its empire

Both sides use similar arguments to prove they are right….Ukraine was there first, or Russia was there longer. Every time I read it, I quietly giggle to myself and think of another party that might put a claim to Crimea, one with more reasons than Russia or Ukraine, yet virtually never mentioned in mainstream media. This third party is Germany.

Yes, as strange as it might sound, but the longest living people in Crimea were the Goth people, present day Germany. According to some sources, they have been living in Crimea between 850 CE and middle 1800’s. So maybe someone should tell Angela Merkel about the opportunity to expand?

This is of course a joke. I think that things are complicated enough with only Russians and Ukrainians claiming ownership, without Germany throwing their hat into proverbial ring.

What isn’t a joke is the fact that there is currently a petition on the White House’s petitions site, asking US Government to give Alaska back to Russia. When I came across it for the first time, I was amused by it, thinking something along the lines “look – a few hundred idiots playing a prank”.

However when I looked at this site again a couple of weeks later, the number of people who had signed the petition has grown to almost 39,000. Now for anyone unfamiliar with the process, once the petition is lodged, it needs to attract 100,000 signatures in 1 month for it to be looked at by the Government. With 2 weeks to go and 61,000 signatures still needed, I seriously doubt this initiative will ever get the numbers required, but stranger things happen.

Stunning view north of Fairbanks, Alaska

Stunning view north of Fairbanks, Alaska

So all the good people of Alaska can breeze easy and sleep well, knowing that when they wake up in a morning, there would be still a stars-n-stripes waving at them from the mast of the Governor’s Mansion, and the only Russians on the streets of Alaska’s cities would be the 10,000 or so that have been living there for the past few centuries.

 

 

I will finish off with a famous quote: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Auctioning Off Virginity

A couple of day ago, as I was driving home, I had a radio on, listening to a program almost entirely dedicated to a decision by a young woman to auction off her virginity.

So who is she? In her own words, she is a 27 year old sensually stunning, highly educated, and charismatic American woman. Well, she would say it, wouldn’t she? I mean, she has to present herself in a best light possible in order to achieve maximum result during the auction. It was mentioned on a show that she expects to fetch over $400,000.

Virginity Auction

Virginity Auction

Listening to this show got a whole bunch of thoughts stirring in my head.

First, why would anyone pay over $33,000 an hour to have sex with a woman with absolutely NO experience? Even high-end escorts in Cannes during Cannes Film Festival can only hope to earn about $40,000 a night, and for them it’s an event they wait for all year.

Second, what sort of a sad person would be so eager to engage in an act of “defloration” as to part with close to half a million dollars? I would say someone very desperate and I suspect with a major problems hidden somewhere in his childhood.

But it also got me thinking about something else…..

Regardless of her motives, she lives in a country where she actually can exercise the right to do with her body anything she wants, as long as she is not breaking any laws. The worst thing that can happen to her is some unknown to her blogger will compare her to a prostitute – no real harm done there J

To take it even further, she is lucky enough to live in a country where she is able to “save” herself till the ripe age of 27, and not being married off before she even reached her teenage years, the way it’s done in a lot of Middle Eastern countries.

Freedom of thought

Freedom of thought

I guess the conclusion I’m drawing from this is that regardless of this girl’s motives, regardless of how much (if any) money she will make out of this, there is one thing that becomes very clear.

This one thing is more important than a thousand virgins, worth more than any amount of money. This one thing is freedom. Freedom to do what we want, freedom to express ourselves in a thousand different ways. Freedom for a 27 year old girl. Freedom for a pathetic old man who wants to part with four hundred thousand dollars. Freedom for each and every one of us to discuss it and make our own decisions.

My Musings on Visiting Australian Parliament

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit Canberra. The main reason for the visit was to see the exhibition that is currently at the National Gallery of Australia – Gold and the Incas. A word of advice – if you are in Canberra before the 21st of April, do yourself a favour and find 2-3 hours to include it in your itinerary.

One of the days, while doing our touristy thing,  we had few hours to kill and so decided to visit the nerve centre, the brain of our government, the place where the decisions making Australia “The Lucky Country” are made.

Parliament of Australia

Parliament of Australia

I am referring of course to Australian Federal Parliament. The complex is impressive – situated on top of a hill it looks elegant and imposing at the same time. Once inside, it’s still pretty impressive, but it also all business – security staff checking people out, some foreign delegations being escorted in, Parliament staff move around with a purposeful look on their faces… The place positively pulsates with energy; you can almost hear Edmund Barton stressing importance of the strong defence in his 1901 speech, or Gough Whitlam telling the Parliament “Australia needs change. Australia needs reform. Australia needs idealism. Australia does not need socialism” in his speech in 1975.

So you can imagine the feeling of anticipation I had as the door into the visitor’s gallery of a House of Representative opened and we quietly stepped in….only to see an almost empty chamber. The Deputy Speaker was there, as were 1 (one) member of Liberal Party and 1 (one) member of a Labor Party. The bubble popped, the feeling of anticipation got replaced by the one of bewilderment.

After listening to the two of them having a go at each other for a while, we walked out and decided that surely in the Senate there will be more activity. We were right. There was more activity, but only marginally. There was a Deputy Speaker, 3 members of Liberal Party, 2 members of Labor Party and 2 members of Greens. What I found incredible, was the fact that one of the Greens was totally engrossed in checking out Facebook on his iPAD.

I walked out of there in disgust. Instead of a hive of activity all I’ve witnessed were few people pretending to care, and one who didn’t even bother to pretend.

Parliament at night

Parliament at night

Now, I understand that there might be a reason for all the politicians to be absent – some might be busy in subcommittees, some meeting their constituents, others researching something in a Parliament library. But that’s just it – we have no way of actually KNOWING what our elected officials are doing.

What we need is a system that will make them accountable. What we need is a system that will record how many times each of them was present during the sitting of the Parliament, and for how long. We need a system that will record how many times each of them voted and how did he or she cast their vote. I’m not really a whinger, but shouldn’t our elected leaders be accountable to us for everything they do? In my work we have such terms as KPI Key Performance Indicators and OLA Operational Level Agreement. We need something similar introduced for our politicians. If they are missing Parliament without good excuse, they automatically not eligible for re-election. If they vote in a way that contradicts their pre-election promises, they automatically not eligible for re-election.

To put simply, we need a system to keep the bastards honest.

Your Local School – Rewarding Experience or a Danger Zone?

Our Victorian Government announced extension to nominations and applications for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

This award is there to celebrate outstanding achievements of teaches and education support staff in Victorian government schools. What I like about it, is that parents and students are also eligible to nominate. This is a great opportunity for a wider school community to show their appreciation for teachers and other staff who are genially there for one reason, and one reason only – to give their best to our children.

Victorian Education Excellence Awards

Victorian Education Excellence Awards

This award should not limited to a school principal nominating who s/he thinks is a good teacher; or just looking for a way to give “the right person” a $50,000 bonus. It should not be limited to teachers doing favours to each other (you nominate me this year and I’ll nominate you the next).

As parents, we are the ones who ultimately responsible for bringing our kids up, for making sure they get the best education available. Who better than to assess the teaching efforts? Who will only nominate teachers that bring out the best in their children? So take this opportunity, weight all the candidates at your child’s school, think it thru and do your bit to make sure that the winner of this award is a truly Excellent educator.

While looking through internet pages, reading up on this Excellence Award, I’ve noticed quite a bit of excitement around the other bit of school-related issue – plans to install CCTV cameras in government schools. I almost skipped this news, until my eyes stumbled upon the main reason for the cameras…. apparently, it’s to reduce the number of attacks on school principals. Who would’ve thought that being surrounded by a bunch of seven-year-olds can be so dangerous? All jokes aside, being a principle of a Victorian school is a life-threatening occupation. The Australian Principals Federation even has a study from the Monash Uni to back it up. What’s in this study? Well, according to ABC, school principals were five times more likely to face threats of violence than the general population . Not to be outdone, The Age informs us that Australian principals experienced physical violence at more than six times the rate of the general population. I personally prefer the take on the matter by The Australian – they clearly are more serious about this whole issue than the rest. According to them, school principals were seven times more likely to experience physical violence than the general public. Seriously though, why would anyone attack a school principal? I remember a principal of Mordialloc Primary School back in the 90th, and a principal of Parkdale Secondary at the same time – no one would EVER even think of attacking these principals, because everyone in a wider community knew that these men live a breeze their schools.

CCTV in schools

CCTV in schools

So why the sudden fear of attacks? Is it because we are faced with a generation of violent, irresponsible parents? Or is it because the schools today quickly becoming a safe heaven for rejects, people who have this perverted idea of teaching being nothing more than a profession with a really long summer holidays?

Maybe it’s because some teachers don’t know how to spell, and feel intimidated by parents (and children) who do? Or maybe it’s because some teachers feel that they are allowed to bully their students?

Or maybe the real reason is that the principals are scared more of getting in trouble with the Australian Education Union for kicking out under-performing teachers , than they are scared of unruly parents?

Celebrity Gossip Vs News

To be fair, the title of this blog might be a bit misleading. It’s not really celeb gossip VS news. Today, celebrity gossip IS the news.

Just think about it…..

Dennis Rodman making headlines

Dennis Rodman making headlines

Dennis Rodman travels to North Korea to bring birthday presents to his mate, dictator Kim Jong Un. Is it a gossip, or a news item? Or a fusion of both? What about AFL legend Doug Hawkins standing for Palmer party in a last election? Or U2’s front man Bono speaking about Mandela. Gossip? News? Search Google News for “Schapelle Corby” and the top result is about the bidding war for her first post-jail interview. Does anyone really give a shit?

Do we really care what celebrities think or say? (the two are not necessarily the same) What’s even more important, when did it become acceptable to substitute facts of political, economic or cultural news with titbits of celebrity gossip disguised as news?

So what have we got here….Rodman is breaking the United States law that forbids the flow of luxury items into North Korea. Hawkins? He was, without a doubt, an extremely talented sportsman and a bit of a court jester on The Footy Show, but that doesn’t make him even remotely qualified to enter politics. Bono – hardly a person inspiring respect. He is known for his “efforts” to eliminate poverty in Africa; however some experts say that what he does is actually causing more damage than good. Also, Bono – the citizen of Ireland, is not the most popular Irish son, all because he chooses not to pay his taxes in Ireland.

Schapelle Corby - alleged drug smuggler

Schapelle Corby – alleged drug smuggler

Schapelle? An alleged drug smuggler who somehow managed to attain status of quasi celebrity.

So why are we being forced to accept these celebrity gossip – turn – celebrity-flavoured news?

 

The answer is two-fold. First, it is much easier for local news crews to regurgitate already substandard overseas news than to report it’s own. Second, and probably more important, is the fact that the news business is a money making venture. This makes it impossible to report the news objectively.