Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for April 2008

Same old 'Olympic hoo-ha' all over again.

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Each time the Olympic Games appears on the horizon people climb on the bandwagon to use the publicity of the games to highlight their own special causes.

In the case of Tibet of course there is *real* reason to protest regardless of the even and one can’t complain about the efforts being made to bring the suffering within the country to the attention of the world, even when this disrupts the passage of the ‘Olympic Flame’ as it cruises around the world publicising the event (as if it really needed any publicity!).

Tibetand FlagActivists have put forward the usual calls for various governments to boycott the games and not allow their athletes to compete… as usual this is utterly pointless because even if *all* countries refused to attend it would affect the Chinese government not one iota.

The time for making these futile gestures is long past and if governments were in the slightest part serious about influencing the Chinese government there are *far* more effective ways of doing it… for example refusing to trade with them!

Boycotts have never worked. Who recalls which countries boycotted the 1976 Montreal Games and why they did it? Who recalls the names of any that missed the Moscow Olympics in 1980? I’ll bet the numbers for both are *very* few. Yet who recalls Jesse Owens and the Berlin Olympics 1936?? Far more I’d warrant!!

Nadia Comaneci (1976 Olympics)If anyone remembers the Montreal Olympics at all it might be because of the astronomical cost… or perhaps because of 14 yr old Romanian gymnast Nadia ComΔƒneci and her astounding skill that produced many ‘perfect’ scores!!

Yet each time the Olympics rolls around there are more calls for boycotts, more protests, more causes jumping on bandwagons, more calls for the games to be ended and calls for almost anything and everything else to be enacted… except calls for more sporting participation!!

As far as I’m concerned the Games should be returned to Greece and found a permanent home somewhere on the mainland where each participating nation can contribute towards the upkeep of a permanent site, in much the same way as the United Nations is funded. If nothing else, perhaps that would help cut out a lot of the politicising of the games and cut the ongoing costs of creating infrastructure to a minimum.

At the very least it would stop lunatic suggestions floating about like the latest one we have in Australia that the Chinese are refusing to allow our athletes to take their ‘favourite food’ with them… i.e. Vegemite.

VegemiteAccording to our Olympic Rep (John Coates) there will be ‘no problem’. Personally I have never understood why anyone would want to eat boiled road kill to begin with let alone cart it half way around the world.

I put it down to good old Australian sheer bloody mindedness, and the best of luck to them! πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

April 30, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Gone, gonnie gone gone…*

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Yup, After it’s months of slow decay at the front of the house the old car has finally been removed.

A couple of guys in a truck turned up to collect her and drag her onto the back of a wagon… strangely enough alongside a newer version of the same model.

In return for the old bus I received $60, and the plates off the car, which go back to the RTA. It’s a pity I’m not more mechanical or perhaps I could have done something to fix it… but it’s too late now either way.

The front of the house is car-free and I can mow the lawn again… as soon as my back allows anyway which I’m sure won’t be long! πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

April 30, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Last of the wildlife for 2008?

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Just found this ‘green moth’ hanging on the base of the screen door. As usual I’ve no idea what the thing’s name is but it’s quite attractive nonetheless. It has a very ‘verdigris’ look about it which was quite attractive.

Green Moth

Probably this will represent the last of the wildlife for this year. We still see see bees and flies etc but nothing ‘exotic’ in the vein of this moth. Roll on next summer is all I can say. πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

April 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Sometimes you just have to admit defeat.

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Despite several attempts to find someone to repair the Magna left behind by the daughter and son-in-law when they left I’ve finally had to admit defeat. I’ve organised for a wrecker to come tomorrow to collect the thing and crush it.

Magna Bye ByeIt’ll be a wrench to see it finally go because apart from a small issue with a warped head… the car is almost prefect despite its age. Still, it served its purpose and, apart from the last days of the holiday, worked perfectly. More than that we couldn’t ask.

So, it’s soon to be an ex-magna… sad that.

Written by welshdog

April 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Spiderwick Chronicles – film 2008

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Continuing on this theme of the daughters birthday, we come to the film we saw which was ‘The Spider Wick Chronicles’.

I’ve not read the books, and haven;t seen any trailers for the films… so knew nothing of the plot and therefore what we were letting ourselves in for. Once we’d seen the film and left the cinema we discovered the daughter had no idea what the film was about either but had decided she wanted to see it on the basis of the posters hanging on the wall! She thought is might be a cross between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

In some ways she was right. There was a lot in the film that was reminiscent of the Potter plots. For example we found a boggart… tho this one came into being when a brownie was angry and was only pacified by feeding it honey! Also the Griffin was very reminiscent of the ‘hippogriff’… tho perhaps not as well rendered in CGI maybe? There were lots of other similarities but it was easy to suspend critical evaluation because the movie and plot were so fast paced.

I’ve read that the books were far more involved plotwise than the film, but this is to be expected and is nothing new. Even so, there was enough in the film to make me want to go out and buy the books in order to see if they match up to the films thrilling action.

This isn’t really the place to go into plot details, the film is too new really for me to spill the beans on the plot… or the discrepancies from the book plotline. Suffice it to say that it is quite scary in parts and my eight year old was a bit concerned now and then. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under her age… but for those above… this will be a great film. Even adults would enjoy the fantasy and special effects which were quite brilliantly conceived and executed.

Of the cast… the prize has to go to Freddie Highmore who played the part of twin boys and managed to produce a *very* convincing performance of two different people. I hope this kid manages to make a successful transition from child to adult actor. The two films we’ve seen him in (this and Willy Wonka) have demonstrated he has a real understanding of the actors craft.

Will I buy it on DVD when it appears?? Too right I will! This is a ‘keeper’. πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 10:41 am

Reading Cinemas – Rouse Hill (again).

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Having had lunch at the The Black Stump we set off to the picture house. Since the place was next door to the restaurant it wasn’t hard to find and in we trooped.

The cinema is one of those owned by the Reading Cinema Group. Whether this is pronounced ‘redding’ or ‘reading’ (as in reading a book) I don’t know, but it’s new to the area and so we thought we’d give it a try.

Since the Rouse Hill Site has only just opened, this was the first time we’d been to this cinema *and* it was the daughters birthday, we decided we’d visit the ‘Gold Lounge’ as a treat!

The blurb onsite regarding the ‘Gold Lounge reads as follows:

Reading Cinemas Rouse Hill offers the discerning cinema goer a relaxed, elegant cinema experience at the Reading Gold Lounge. Three theatres each offer an exclusive environment, complete with stylish Moran lounge chairs, the ultimate in viewing comfort.

Complimentary popcorn and soft-drink are available for the enjoyment of Reading Gold Lounge guests. Guests are also invited to take advantage of the bar and in-cinema service and dining for absolute indulgence. Guests are assured of superior, specialised service on each visit to the Reading Gold Lounge at Rouse Hill.

There’s lots more to read about their Gold Lounge here if you’ve a mind to, and if you do you’ll see why we had such a good time! We made the most of the reclining seats, popcorn, soft drinks, but also ordered scones and coffee for the wife and I, and hot chocolate and carrot cakes for the kids.

The scones etc arrived quietly during the second half of the film and apart from a minor mishap which saw me drop a dollop of raspberry jam down my t-shirt, was well received.

The lounge holds a maximum of 32 people so would be ideal for a private function… though I have no idea how much group bookings would be. Individual prices for adults were $25 per person… which could be worse for what we got!

Overall… great value for money I thought and I would *certainly* go there again *and* use the Gold Lounge facility! A good time was had by all. πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 10:18 am

Yesterday – not too shabby?

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The eldest daughter turned 12 yesterday and instead of the usual party we suggested it might be nice for just the four of us to go out for a change.

We’d intended to go down to Canberra for the weekend but we’ll leave that for later in the year perhaps.

Instead we let her choose her gifts and her day. She chose as gifts a ‘Version 5’ Tamagotchi, a 4Gb Mp4 player and a copy of the ‘Pirate of the Caribbean (World’s End)’ PC Game… along with a pile of new clothes.

For her ‘day out’ we went for lunch and the movies. πŸ™‚

We pre-bought tickets for the 1:30 screening of ‘The Spiderwyck Chronicles’, about which I knew nothing and left to seek out a nearby eatery for lunch at a restaurant chain called The Black Stump of which I shall write more in the next post.

I’ll also write more about the cinema in a subsequent post. Suffice it to say I quite enjoyed the experience.

After the movies we trooped off to buy a couple of jackets and trousers which seemed to be urgently needed. That’s where I discovered my ‘little girl’ can now wear size 10 adult clothes and is well in line to wear size 12. This is a concern. She’s growing up too fast!

She seemed to have had a good day in total. We got home and she piled into her PC game and the back of her head was more or less all we saw of her for an hour or two until the wife and I decided to go to our room to watch the last Harry Potter film again… and she decided to join us. Half way through I realised I needed sleep… so the remainder of the film will wait until tonight… when I get back from taking the youngest skating, again.

Strange… I can’t remember being 12! πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 9:56 am

Posted in General Ramblings

The Black Stump – Rouse Hill

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As mentioned the daughter told us she’d like to go out for a meal as part of her birthday outing and for lunch she wanted to visit a branch of one of what used to be an iconic Australian restaurant chain called ‘The Black Stump’ which we’ve seen in other places but never been to before. We decided to let her take us there because last December the chain was sold to new management and had had the menu revamped.

To test it out, I had Barramundi with char-grilled fennel. My assessment? Well whilst the food was more or less prepared adequately… it was truly uninspiring’. The portions were small, and the fennel was actually cold! In previous times I’d have complained but lately I just ‘chill out’. πŸ™‚

Of course since nobody else is as fussy as I am about food, there were no complaints from the rest of the family though the wife wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about it either.

I suppose all in all the meal was ok… it’s simply that I’ve had far better, with larger portions, and for lower cost. So will I be going back? Only if I can’t avoid it. Apart from the issues with the meal itself, there were restaurants opened all around us with far more varied menus so unless we arrive at The Black Stump with one of their ‘2 for 1’ shopper docket offers… I think it might well be a long time before we return.

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Marathon task.

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My younger brother is living proof that insanity (literally) runs in our family. Despite reaching his half-century he is still amazingly fit regularly doing crazy things like triathlons, iron man competitions and the like.

Yesterday he was supposed to be running a marathon but we’ve not heard from him yet so I’ve no news about *if* he started and, if he did,what his time was.

The concern was generated by a comment by my father that the brother had injured himself during training but was going to run regardless.

No doubt we’ll hear soon, but in the meantime we’ll just have to wait. :1

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 7:06 am

Posted in General Ramblings

More bureaucratic madness.

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The sister sent me this clipping out of the Daily Mirror from the 8th March 2008. You have to wonder what goes on in the minds of some of these bureaucrats.

Council orders pensioners to take down fence it put up

A BARMY council has ordered an elderly couple to tear down a fence it put up itself.

Pensioners Margaret & Douglas Aveyard were told the 6ft barrier needed planning permission and that they faced court if it was not dismantled.

Margaret 78, said: ‘It’s absolutely ludicrous. We’re sick with worry.’

The fence was put up by Harrow Council in Middlesex to replace a hedge workers destroyed when laying a pavement 18 months ago.
It said the situation would be resolved.

(Source: Daily Mirror)

After reading this, sometimes you have to wonder if they have minds at all!

Written by welshdog

April 28, 2008 at 5:19 am

Posted in Gripes