Opinion Australia

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

Archive for July 2008

Fat enough for you?

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Hot on the heels of my last post complaining about what a backwater the UK has become, is news of a Disco that has taken on board Homer Simpsons edict of “No Fat Chicks” and run with it barring them from entry to the club!

The manager of the club who it seems is no lightweight himself finally abandoned his attempts to bar people he considered ‘large’ after a furious protest erupted. Still, the point has been made… not only that for women ‘thin’ is the only acceptable body form allowed, but that sexism, mysogeny and the rest has been confirmed as alive and kicking!!

I suppose there are some who would suggest that Jersey isn’t really a part of the UK… especially when it gets this sort of publicity… but hey… I’m sure they have a point, even if it’s only on top of their heads!

Story: BBC News

Written by welshdog

July 31, 2008 at 10:29 am

The theme thing.

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Have you noticed just how few of the major blockbusters we see in the movies these days have a ‘theme song’ associated with them?

Some, such as the Harry PotterΒ  and Lord of the Rings series had nice melodies that we could hum or whistle, some like Shrek 1 have soundtracks filled with old songs that we can remember… but how many films these days have actual songs in the manner of, say, the Bond songs like ‘Goldfinger’, ‘You only live twice’, From Russia With Love etc?

Lots of films had really memorable themes that became hits in their own right. Remember “The Harry Lime Theme”, “Lara’s Theme” and the rest?

When we heard those tunes it took you straight back to the film bringing back all sorts of memories. I actually miss them. What happened? Where did they go?

Written by welshdog

July 30, 2008 at 6:39 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Public Breastfeeding in Wales? Nope.

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I was reading a little straw poll on the Wales Online website which asked a question I’d have thought shouldn’t even need to be asked today.

The question is “Do you think it’s acceptable for women to breastfeed in public?” The answer was so obviously ‘yes’ that I was amazed that the results of their poll showed 78.4% actually voted *no*! No doubt these are descendants of the same people who put bras on cows, and skirts on piano legs for fear of overstimulating their little brains with lascivious thoughts.

Breastfeeding IconWorld Breastfeeding Week 2008 runs from August 1 – 7 2008 and it looks like this would be a good time for antiquated backwaters of the world to learn the facts of life. Are people really still embarrassed by doing something so natural?

Come on Wales… get a grip. What do you think those lumps of fat hanging off a woman’s chest are actually there for?? Decoration?? Geez.

On re-reading this I thought I should make it clear the comment “get a grip” was in no way intended to refer to the parts of the females under discussion… πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

July 29, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Vale Randy Pausch

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To add to the mixed news in today’s blog entries, we have to pass on news of the sad if inevitable death of Dr. Randy Pausch.

Dr. Randy Pausch and familySome of you may remember Dr Pausch who made headlines a while back when, suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer, he made a life affirming lecture on September 18, 2007 called literally “The Last Lecture” which became extraordinarily well known.

Sadly Randy finally died on 25th July 2008 with friends and family surrounding him.

For those who’d like to know more, all necessary information and links can be found at the Randy Pausch Wikipedia article entry. Reading his lecture is a wake up call to all of us.

Angela vs Wendy

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You want a discussion about diaphragms… or Brazilian waxing… or big cars… or plastic surgery…Β  or… ?? Well now’s your chance.

Angela Catterns & Wendy HarmerFor those of you have listened to me ramble on incessantly about Angela Catterns (and occasionally Wendy Harmer) now is your chance to listen to those honeyed tones and find out why her voice is so addictive!

Ange and Wendy have teamed up to produce a 16 part series of Podcasts for the ABC. The series is called “Is it just me?” and the first one has been released today.

Is it good? Well *of course it is* which is why I’m suggesting you go listen to it. It isn’t just for Australian audiences by the way… these are two very successful, very clever and very funny women who have rightly risen to the top of their respective trees

In essence, the Podcasts are Ange and Wendy chatting about anything that takes their fancy from family… to… well anything really. And damn good they are too!

Don’t forget to leave some feedback to let me know how good you thought think they are!!

Written by welshdog

July 28, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Death is never good news.

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Last week we heard news of a man who was towing a boat in his car and for some reason swerved across three lanes of traffic into water. Onlookers, watched helplessly as the car slowly submerged as the guy frantically and unsuccessfully tried to escape from the car as it filled with water.

A policeman bravely commandeered scuba equipment from a nearby shop and got him out but by then he’d been under water for far too long and despite the best efforts of paramedics he was eventually pronounced dead at hospital. Seems he’d become entangled in the seat belt and his airbag.

The point is that we learned this morning he was the father of a small girl my daughter goes to school with and is one of her best friends. Despite their friendship we’ve not been particularly close to the rest of the family hence only learning about it this morning. Nonetheless it comes as a shock.

We’ve no idea if the school has informed the pupils yet, but we’ll just have to try to explain to my daughter when she gets home and hope for the best.

Regardless of that we sympathise with the family and pass on condolences. We’ll make some quiet enquiries if there’s anything we might be able to do to help, but of course nothing will be of much help in the end.

Life is really tough sometimes.

Written by welshdog

July 28, 2008 at 10:46 am

Fording Jeremy Clarkson.

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As you can tell from the paucity of posts recently, nothing much of note has happened in ‘the news’ for me to write about. Ok, I’ve had a bad case of flu but that really doesn’t excuse the lack of ‘something to write about’ out there. And what there *is* isn’t worth commenting on because it’s either been done to death… or bores me to tears.

One such was the visit of the Pope to Australia during World Youth Week. Well let’s face it here, this blog has studiously ignored the entire shebang from go to whoa and tried to pretend it never happened. Actually, one little point might be made, and that is that whilst it might have been a wonderful experience for all those religious zealots who danced about hailing the lord and living off the fat of the land as supplied by the taxes of yours truly, and of course for that old man in a white dress and ruby slippers, for the rest of us it was a PITA and so has been all bar ignored… apart from this paragraph!!! Grrr…

Anyway, all I *really* started to write about was an article by Jeremy Clarkson in the Times Online. Ostensibly it was about the Ford Cortina but diverged into the British penchant for ‘camping’ and before I got sidetracked into the usual irrelevancies, what I was going to say was like him or loathe him you can’t claim Jeremy isn’t a funny guy. So, if you have a few minutes free you might the article is worth a read – well it made me laugh anyway..

Yes that *is* all… move along now. πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

July 28, 2008 at 10:31 am

More Fings…. etc.

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I was again having a ponder about how life has changed over the years when I began considering how much the mobile phone has become an integral part of life for many… if not most… of us.

Twenty years ago the wife and I lived in Central London, however she worked in Croydon which for those who don’t know, lies just outside the main Metropolis. To get there she’d walk to the local tube station and catch the train out against the main flow of people who migrate *in* to the City to work each day. This gave her an easy run both ways. Because I wasn’t working, I used to latch the lead onto the dog and walk down to the station with her in the mornings, and again in the afternoons to meet her on her way home.

Sounds a simple life and it was… except on the odd occasions when she was delayed in work, missed the train, or there were problems on the track or at the station (either end). The result was chaos. Neither of us knew what was happening to the other and there was no way of us communicating to let each other know! πŸ™‚

Ok it wasn’t a regular occurrence, but I did occasionally find myself waiting at the station for an hour not knowing whether to stay, go… or walk to another station. Quite frustrating. Occasionally she’d arrive at another station and simply go home because she’d have no idea whether I would be waiting… or would have gone home myself.

Times change.

Not long after we arrived in Australia we accepted the need for a mobile was quite reasonable so bought one of the old Nokia ‘bricks’ and neither one of us has never been without one since.

The spread of the internet seems to have mirrored the penetration of the mobile phone into the lifestyle of everyone around us and now those little ‘extras’ that have been introduced over the years has simply enhanced the utility of mobile phone ownership to the extent that, for me at least, live without the phone has become almost unthinkable. I’ve become so used to being able to access the Internet to find information on any subject whatever that it’s become a way of life. Having that access spread to the phone was perhaps the single biggest improvement since the introduction of the phone itself.

For me the phone is no longer just a way of keeping touch by voice. Yes it is still used for speech… but making actual voice calls is becoming less and less important. Over the years snail mail (via postal services) has been abandoned, and even online I’m using the old ‘POP’ mail less and less and have moved to Google Mail. Because of this, and because the phone can access the internet, I can access my email via my phone.

Effectively this means the wife and kids and I can all email each other with essential but non-urgent information easily and quickly without having to distract ourselves from whatever task we’re doing. Keeping in touch has never been so easy. simple… and non-intrusive!

Strange though now to think back and recall how stressed we used to get when we were unable to contact each other when now I have a phone that works for voice calls, but is also a calendar, watch, alarm clock, camera, mobile radio, cinema, music player, address book, calculator diary, games player. It also carries business software such as a word processor and spreadsheet etc. Add in that it is also an access point for the Internet that apart from my email, also allows me to find things as diverse as current news, cricket scores, cinema times, or the weather and you can see just how far the technology has come.

The newest devices are now linking themselves to satellites which allows GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to let you know where you are at any point on the planet and help you find your way to any other point on the planet. This has its downside for people with ‘work’ phones because it can be programmed to report your position back to your employer which might not be such a good thing if you’ve nipped into the loca for a lunchtime pint! But still, for the rest of us it’s a boon. πŸ™‚

Right now I can stand in an unfamiliar town square, take a photo with the camera, email it along with the address as found by the GPS to anyone I want to let them know where I am. I can even video my surroundings and send them *live* to someone else’s phone or to a computer.

Of course part of the reasoning behind this increase in functionality is the push for ‘convergence’ where one small device will carry out to some degree *all* the technological wants and needs of the current crop of technophiles. I’ve no idea how far this will go, but I suppose the extreme case has to be the implanting of devices internally with hard wired connections between system and brain. What a thought – literally! πŸ™‚

I’m not claiming any of this is a good thing, after all as a species we managed well enough for a million years before all this arrived… and of course there is no conclusive evidence yet regarding whether the constant bombardment of wireless transmissions our brains receive at close quarters is harmful… nor am I suggesting it’s wholly bad. I’m just saying that as far as mobile communication devices are concerned I think we can honestly claim that “Fings *ain’t* what they used to be”! πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

July 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

Vale Jo Stafford

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Heard about the death of Jo Stafford at age 90 on July 16th while I was ‘off sick’ so wasn’t able to write about her at the time. However last night I was listening to a radio interview she had with an Australian DJ (Bob Rodgers) from 9 years ago or so and thought I’d add a few words.

For me the only song of note I recall from her career was Shrimp Boats which was written by her husband Paul Weston. However, one of the highlights of the ‘interview’ was the DJ playing one of her great ‘parody’ songs which she and Paul recorded as “Jonathan and Darlene Edwards“. In these recordings he played off key and way off tempo and she sang in like manner. What a riot… and how nice to hear a famous singer exercise her vocal skills like that. πŸ™‚

She seemed like a nice woman.

Written by welshdog

July 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Fings ain't wot they used to be!

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The old song by Joe Brown and the Bruvvers from lord knows when came to mind this afternoon when I downloaded and installed a new media player for my laptop. As part of it’s installation routine it went off and rummaged through the hard disk to unearth anything it thought I might like to play.

One set of songs it unearthed were a dozen or so by Rudy Vallee. I must have copied them from a CD sometime last year to play when the oldies returned but forgot all about them… until now!

Just for fun I let them play and an interesting bunch they are ranging from “Heigh-Ho Everybody Heigh-ho” to “Let’s Do It”. Good stuff, even if it’s a little off the regular track even for my extended and somewhat catholic tastes in music.

Rudy Valle died aged 84 on July 3rd 1986 after a career that spanned the period from before electric microphones to modern multi track recording.

Written by welshdog

July 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Posted in General Ramblings