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?”

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The Big Bang Theory and Hot Tub Time Machine meet at Australian Synchrotron

For all the nerds, geeks and all the “regular” people who are not afraid to show their “geeky” side, this month’s calendar had one very important and exciting day. I am talking of course, about the Australian Synchrotron Open Day.

Australian Synchrotron opened in 2007 and in what’s becoming a yearly tradition, the scientists and the support staff are opening the doors to this marvel of engineering, volunteering their time and knowledge to bring the science to the masses and give our kids (and there was A LOT of kids) a taste of what science is, and hopefully inspire some of them to become the next Albert Einstein.

Synchrotron Open Day

This is how visitors were greeted

This year I decided to take this opportunity and see what all the excitement is about. Secretly, I was hoping to see Dr. Sheldon Cooper in attendance, or Leonard Hofstadter, or maybe even their girlfriends. Unfortunately, I didn’t see them, but I did see a guy who closely resembled Howard Wolowitz, down to the weird hair and a skivvy. Although, I am absolutely convinced that Penny was there at some point. How else do you explain that many bottles of nail polish?

Penny was here

Penny…..Penny…..Penny….

What I found very intriguing, was the scientists’ fascination with aluminum foil. It was EVERYWHERE! They either treat the whole thing a bit like a primary school science experiment, or they are really paranoid about the government spying on them.

There were dozens of bits of gear, all wrapped in foil

There were dozens of bits of gear, all wrapped in foil

At one stage I even began to wonder if those scientists are really all that smart. I mean, you would have your doubts too, if you found that they need these type of signs to aid them in their work:

Those scientists really worry me...

Those scientists really worry me…

But as I was moving along, I realized that I have little reason to worry. The scientists definitely knew what they were doing. One of the projects I spotted was obviously a robotic can opener; a must-have in every household

Robotic can opener

Robotic can opener

Soon after, I’ve discovered even more amazing project Synchrotronians (is it a word?) were working on. Not sure if the Hollywood producers borrowed their idea for a movie from our scientist, or our scientists drew inspiration form a Hollywood blockbuster, but the fact remains: Time Machine is real, and it is right here, in Melbourne!

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine

Overall, it was a great day, the staff there were very helpful and did their best to explain even the hardest theories and hypothesis in a way that anyone would understand.  They were there on a Sunday, during their time off, away from their families. Yet they made all of us feel like a family, welcoming us to a wonderful world of science.

Managing your own financial affair isn’t a rocket science.

I finally did it. With only 8 days till the deadline, I have submitted my Tax Return.

It was an intense 2 hours, skimming thru ATO’s regulations, digging out 12-months old receipts, generally trying to do the right thing.

Tax Time is the time to get involved

Tax Time is the time to get involved

All this made me remember doing my very first Tax Return, all those years ago. It used to be a very involved process. First, it required a visit to a Newsagency to pick up a copy of the Return, and to get a pack of smokes (I’ll need them). Then I needed to clean up the dining table, so I can spread all the papers out, next step was realising that I don’t have a black ink pen, so back to the Newsagency I go, getting a bottle of vodka from a bottle shop while I’m out (I’ll need it later too). Finally, about an hour after I’ve started filling in the form, I hopelessly stuffed it up. Stuffed it up to a point that I just knew that no amount of Whiteout would fix it. Which only meant one thing – another visit to the Newsagency, to get another blank form.

Back home with the form, thoroughly frustrated, I spend the next few hours doing my best impersonation of an old accountant. I grumble, I argue with the form I’m filling in, I’m yelling at my pen, I admonishing the receipt for deciding to play hide and seek with me.  At long last, it is done. Two sets of forms and a pack of smokes later, I feel totally exhausted, but my Tax Return is done. Now all that’s left to do is to jump in a car and drive to the local Tax Office branch to make sure my forms are there in time. By the end of the day, the place looked a lot like this:

Paperwork during tax time

Paperwork during tax time

 

Looking back at the way I did my first Tax Return, I suddenly realise that today’s tax affair is rather boring, uneventful, even dull.

After having a late breakfast on a Sunday morning, I downloaded eTax software from the ATO website, “digging out 12-months old receipts” in reality only took a couple of minutes, as most of them are electronically stored in my e-mail. No hunting for forms or for pens. No wasting time going to and from Newsagency. If a mistake is made, all it takes is to hit the Back button and correct the mistake. And once all is done, getting the information to the Tax Office is as easy as pressing the Lodgement button.

All this makes me wonder why would people pay hundreds of dollars to have their basic Tax Returns done by accountants? Unless you have a complex financial portfolio consisting of investment properties, shares, running a couple of small businesses, you don’t really need anyone sticking their nose in our financial affairs. Think about it – a lot of people would pay a few hundred dollars to an accountant, just to have a couple of hundred dollars in tax return. next year, why don’t you give it a go and try doing it yourself. After all, if you were smart enough to have finished high school, you are smart enough to manage your own Tax Return.

How much should the paramedics be paid, or the perks of a shift worker

Anyone driving around Melbourne would’ve seen Victorian Ambulances, all covered in signs indicating that our Ambos are the lowest paid in Australia. It is all part of an ongoing dispute between ambulance workers and Victorian government. Ambos are claiming they are the best trained but lowest paid for their duties in the country.

Victorian Paramedics - the lowest paid in a country

Victorian Paramedics – the lowest paid in a country

Yesterday, as I was letting one of the emergency vehicles overtake me, I decided to check out how much they actually get paid, and what do they ask for. Figures themselves are not too exciting. There are dozens of articles on a subject, some in support of the paramedics, some are clearly pro-government. Depending on the source, ambos are getting between $73,000 and $93,000 a year including overtime, and they want a 30% raise, to make their pay line up with that of their colleagues in other states. As far as I am concerned, this sort of demand is not unreasonable, these men and women work day and night, sometimes up to their elbows in other people’s blood, guts and vomit.

But what really got my attention was an article in the Herald Sun that went on to describe to its readers how good the ambos have it. The author was throwing in numbers, examples and quotes, all to prove that ambos are only working 11 days a month and therefore their claims of being overworked and underpaid are “not an emergency”.

What the author failed to mention was the hidden “perks” of being a shift worker. Perhaps he is unfamiliar with what the word diurnality means (go ahead, google it). Or maybe he should have a look at a study published in the British Medical Journal last year, which concluded shift workers were 41 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Or maybe, while he is having his soy latte in a morning, he would check out the study from Office of Road Safety of Western Australia – the one that determined shift workers are six times more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related vehicle incident. Alternatively, I can suggest he visits Victorian government’s Better Health website, where he will find that Shift Workers get, on average, two to three hours less sleep than other workers. They often sleep though the day in two split periods, a few hours in the morning and then an hour or so before going to work at night. Night workers can find it difficult sleeping during the day (particularly in Australia). It’s difficult to keep the sleep environment dark, free of noise and relatively cool.

Hidden dangers of shift work

Hidden dangers of shift work

Now, I am not a whinger, but the author of that article not only having a go at our paramedics. By insinuating that they don’t work enough days, he offends, no-he disrespects, each and every one of Australia’s 1.4 million shift workers.

I wonder if his opinion will change one day (or night) when he would have to use his mobile phone (24×7 service) to call Police or Ambulance, Fire Brigade or Nurse on Call (all 24×7 services)?

Halloween in Australia, Mud Wrestling or Tomato Throwing?

I had to do a bit of shopping in Big W the other day, and the moment I entered the store, I was confronted with evil pumpkins, witches, spider webs and zombies…..Yes. Halloween is upon us once again. So what is Halloween, and why do we celebrate it here, in Australia?

Halloween

Evil Pumpkin

The origin of Halloween is from the Celtic festival of death marking the beginning of their New Year, celebrated on 31st October or 1st November. The earlier records indicate that it is not just a day for the dead but also the day when the dead might reach out to the living. It came to be known as the feast of the dead, because the Celts believe that on this night the border between the worlds of the living and dead is the thinnest, enabling souls of the dead to re-enter the world.

When first Europeans came to America, Halloween wasn’t a big day on a calendar, due to the fact that most immigrants at a time were Protestants. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century, when millions of Irish made the trip across the Atlantic, that the festival started to gain momentum and became a national holiday.

So why do we celebrate it here? Why not? After all, we are quite happy to celebrate Christmas in a 40C heat, and we embrace the spring holiday of Esther by getting out our winter clothing, so it only logical that Halloween is a sound choice for Australian holidays. While we at it, we might want to consider adopting another festival – La Tomatina. Getting a bucket load of tomatoes and chucking them at complete strangers sounds like a fun day out. Or if you are after a bit more “hands on” experience, maybe we can start lobbying to adopt a Korean festival known as Boryeong Mud Festival? Two words….Mud Wrestling

Halloween in Australia

Halloween is here

I guess, there would always be people who are happy to embrace an idea of a new festival, just like there would always be those who oppose any change. Whichever side you are on, it is easy to show your allegiance. If you think Halloween is an evil’s work, go buy yourself the biggest water gun you can find, and give those little shits a good spray if they dare to disturb your evening. But if you think Halloween is a fun holiday bringing families together, go spend few dollars and shower little angels with candies.

Since either way it is spending –  there is no wrong choice, for any spending is good for our economy.

Is there such thing as bad publicity?

For me, TV is an endless source of entertainment, amusement, frustration and, surprise, surprise – material for my blog.

The latest “light bulb” idea comes after watching an Old El Paso ad, the one advertising Mexican Rice Kits. Apparently, Mexicans are a backwards people, complete baboons, who just recently discovered what to do with forks.

It got me thinking: do we really need this kind of racist advertising to push a product? And what other ads are out there, playing on our feelings of superiority towards other races?

I found quite a few examples of what can be construed as racist advertising. One of the oldest ones is a Jell-O ad from the 60’s, implying that if it wasn’t for the Western Civilization, Japanese still wouldn’t know what a spoon is. Another one is a South Oak Dodge ad – again having a go at Japanese. All those imported cars must be really pissing that guy off.  Not to be outdone, the Japanese advertising for the Play Station Portable White is pushing the limits of advertising. Italians contribute to the list with the ad for Coloreria Italiana. Closer to home, KFC had to pull down its ad depicting a white Aussie cricket fan, offering fried chicken to West Indies supporters. What’s interesting here, is that this ad was deemed racist over in America, but in Australia we just laughed it off as an example of Australian humour. To be honest, I don’t get what the problem is – the guy is sharing his food with his mates…we’re all mates, aren’t we?

Dick Smith Australia Day

Dick Smith Australia Day ad

And what about the infamous Australia Day ad from an Aussie icon Dick Smith? I mean, seriously, who doesn’t like some dick?

Just to finish it off, here is an ad from Volkswagen, promoting its new model VW Polo. In this commercial German car maker is stereotyping Muslims as terrorists. It’s actually funny coming from Volkswagen, the company with really close ties with Nazis and Hitler.

I’m sure there are plenty more of these ads out there. Some are actually racist, some borderline so, and some are just labelled as racist by bigots or people with no sense of humour.

I am not a whinger, but it is a Politically Correct world we live in, where making fun of other people’s race or religion is frowned upon. Unless you are an Aussie, of course. In Australia, we are allowed, no – expected, to take a piss out of everyone. Anything less would be un-Australian.

As for everyone else – avoid the dangers of being labelled a racist and stick to the good old axiom that “sex sells” and play it safe.

Sex Sells

Sex Sells

Comedy Festival started early, or My Recollection of last night’s Election.

It is coming up to 6 pm and all the channels on TV are doing election special. We don’t know any results as yet, they haven’t even started counting, but everyone feels qualified enough to make predictions and to tell us that Abbot is going to be the new king….I mean Prime Minister. Maybe it is just my male gene, or maybe it is my desire to get as many opinions as possible, but I keep flicking from one channel to another.

On 7 it’s rather a small affair, with only Alexander Downer showing any sparks of intelligence. On 9 my favorite is Amanda Vanstone-she’s quite witty, quick with a joke and doesn’t mind a bit of tongue lashing. Another almost iconic presence  is Laurie Oakes, who looks like it’s all just a tad too fast paced for him. He used to be almost brilliant, but I think it’s about time we let the old war horse rest. Peter Costello is also there, looking like he’s struggling to keep up. Hard to believe that he was one of the best treasures this country had ever known. Moving on to channel 10, it’s The Project. I’m not their biggest fan even on a good day, and on a day of election they are even worse. Producers should seriously bring some one to the show whose IQ is higher than their shoe size. I’ve attempted to watch ABC coverage as well, but for some reason I can never get it to work on my TV. So I’m just going to assume that it had its usual left-wing aligned coverage.

election 2013

image thanks to news.com.au

Now, I’m not a whinger, but can some one please tell me: I understand that election is an important day on our political calendar, but why do all the channels feel the need to start broadcasting hours and hours before we even start counting? No sane person can possibly maintain interest for that long. My mind switched off after about 30 minutes of speculations, as did the sound on my TV, at which point I got a bottle of Brown Brothers Moscato out, and settled down to read Daniel Silva’s Moscow Rules.

Clive Palmer

Image courtesy of news.com.au

From time to time I was turning the TV sound back on, to get the updates on voting, and to check footy scores (sorry to all the Collingwood supporters, btw). Highlights of the election coverage for me? Palmer’s interview with Chanel 9 (I really hope he gets a seat in Parliament, for entertainment value, if nothing else) and all the losers being fed to the sharks by Chanel 7.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. My bottle of Moscato is empty, all the professional comedians are getting ready to run this beautiful country of ours, and I’m waiting for all the amateur comedians to descent onto Melbourne next March for the Comedy Festival 2014.