Opinion Australia

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

Archive for December 2008

Still on holiday.

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Just letting the reguars know all is well here and we’re enjoying the quiet of the holiday season. We’ve not been doing much other than relax but it’s such a novelty to be able to do it we aren’t bored at all.

The regular routines will start to kick back in over the next few days of course, e.g. skating lessons for the youngest and work for the wife, but otherwise, no worries.

The blog will be back working properly in a within the next week… and there’s a lot to talk about! Cya then.

Written by welshdog

December 29, 2008 at 5:08 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Happy Christmas Everyone!

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We’d like to wish everyone who drops by a *very* happy Christmas and hope the New Year brings all your heart desires.

I’d especially like to thank those dedicated garbage collectors who arrived at 4:00 this morning, for making that extra effort to ensure we were all up early enough to enjoy the whole day including those wee small hours usually wasted sleeping. We’d also like to thank them for coming *back* at 5:00 just to make sure any ‘stayabeds’ knew it was time to wake up!

The gesture was made all the more generous as few of us had even expected them to come out on Christmas day so hadn’t put our bins out! 🙂

Other than that little hiccough… and the usual chaos and disasters that accompany anything we do here… it’s been a good day so far and look… it’s only 8:00 a.m.!! There’s still an entire day to go! 😀

Best wishes to everyone… let’s not forget just *why* it’s a special day and try to be nice to each other… eh??

Written by welshdog

December 25, 2008 at 7:12 am

And so this is Christmas…

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And so this is Christmas, and what have we done?

Well today we spent the entire day outside Woolworth’s running a BBQ with other parents raising money for our Senior Guides to go to the International Jamboree in Melbourne 2010. It might seem a bit early to start fundraising for a specific event, but with out any direct sponsorship each girl will have to raise around $1,500 each to get there (and back!).

Some of the girls attempted to start a ‘sing-in’  as we’d taken along our electronic keyboard and the eldest had taken her flute, but there wasn’t a lot of support in terms of their willingness to be embarrassed singing Christmas Carols in public, so it pretty much died out quickly. Nevertheless, the ‘Appeal Tub’ which I took along and placed next to the girls managed to raise $150 so they did very well all in all.

In total though, I wouldn’t say we had a ‘stormer’ of a day despite it being so close to Xmas but we estimated making around $500 profit from teh BBQ itself which is a fair start towards our total. I’ve been trying to organise a ‘regular date’ for us to go there on alternate Saturdays. If we manage to pull this off we’d almost be laughing. We could expect to make *at least* $250 each time, which would give us in the region of $6,000 ‘Appeal Cash’ over the year! This would mean those girls and parents that participated could expect a huge subsidy for their expenses which of course is the carrot we are using to get them to participate!

Of course we *do* understand this takes a *lot* of work and of course a high cost in time for the parents. Obviously not all parents and not all girls can make it to each event and we’d somehow have to make the decision about which girls would be subsidised, and in what proportions! Still, these are questions for the future. Right now we have to get the regular berth… and I might get started on that before Xmas by ringing next week and just asking how!

Either way, today we did good. All the parents who turned up seemed pleased they’d participated. Everyone was tired, but we all agreed we’d had a laugh and we’d do it again. It could have been worse. 😀

Written by welshdog

December 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm

A nice side of Christmas!

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Yesterday the eldest daughter and some friends decided they would try to raise some money for ther trip to Melbourne in 2010 to attend an International Girl Guides Jamboree. The method the chose was *busking* at the local town centre!

Despite not having rehearsed much off the went. You can see how pleased they were with themselves even after playing for nearly four hours on and off. They didn’t raise a lot of money it’s true (around $100 between them), but they had a really good time and were still laughing as they went off home. I thought I’d share a picture of them taken just after they’d finished.

The Curly Bugs

The Curly Bugs

Written by welshdog

December 19, 2008 at 8:40 am

Strictly Magic – yet another site!

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One of the reasons I’ve not been very active in here for the last couple of days is that apart from Xmas coming and having the kids home, I’ve been getting on with creating a new forum site aimed at supporting ‘carers’, i.e. those largely unsung heroes who spend their lives caring for a member of their family who is unable to care for themselves.

It’s a UK domain, but there’ll be no restriction on who joins or what information is loaded in! 🙂

The site is built around the phpBB forum software and I’m going to be installing a portal system called MX-Publisher which seems ideal for the purpose.

So far development is still in its infancy, but we already have on board one of the developers of the ‘portal software’ which can only speed things up! The potential for ‘expansion’ is limited only by the willingness of people to participate and upload content but I think it’ll be something I at least can really sink my teeth into!

Initially I suppose the focus would be on those caring for those with Alzheimer’s Disease because they are receiving the larger portion of publicity… but of course there are *[b]many[/b]* other forms of dementia to consider, let alone those other disabling conditions that can lead to social isolation for those who look after them.

I’m hoping the forum area will eventually grown into a place where ‘carers’ can come for mutual support, advice, and act as a source of the more ‘informal’ information that the mainstream sites don’t really cater for… like how to deal with intransigent social services or, conversely, over eager friends and neighbours! 🙂

Like I said the place is in it’s early stages but if you fancy a quick peek you’ll find it at Strictly Magic: Caring for carers! 🙂

Written by welshdog

December 16, 2008 at 6:48 am

And in the UK?

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In the UK while mayhem reigns on the streets those guardians of law and order have slapped a $150 fine on a pensioner because someone knocked a cigarette out of his hand!

The ‘someone’ who knocked the cigarette out of the hand of Lazaris Michael (76) was a policeman who tackling a shoplifter. Before Mr Michael was able to recover the cigarette he had only just lit, one of the local councils jobsworth wardens slapped him with the fixed penalty fine!

Despite pleasding with them to show some common sense the council said they had a ‘no tolernace’ policy and the fine must be paid. Mr Michael said apart from being shocked but the event, the only reason he didn’t pick up the cigarette immediately was that the warden intercepted him!

Seems even dropping something accidentally, or as in this case, because of someone elses action you are still guilty of breaking the law and become a criminal.

Meanwhile while people are being called criminals for putting their bins out early or dropping crisps, people are being attacked on the streets with impunity. Good to see law enforcement over there has its priorities right eh?

Written by welshdog

December 9, 2008 at 7:14 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Political Correctness gone mad.

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Over here in Australia the law has decided that the characters drawn in the Simpsons cartoons are the equivalent of real people. Someone who was found to have accessed and downloaded drawing showing the chacters engaged in various sexual acts was fined $3000. He appealed and the appeal was denied.

I’ll accept quite happily that *some* drawing can be made to appear so realistic that they could be mistaken for real people/children and clearly fall under the heading of ‘kiddie porn’, however these characters are so clearly *not* ‘real’ it’s hard to understand how this ruling could have been made… or what ramifications it has for other areas of art!

On my travels around the web I’ve regularly seen these pictures and agree they are quite gross, however they are also quite clearly not real people! They are yellow, have four fingers, have massive overbites and a host of other features quite unlike anything one is likely to find on real people – yet the appeal was denied. This surely is PC gone too far?

 

Bart on a board

Bart on a board

So what now for cinemas that show The Simpsons Movie? In the movie 10 year old Bart is dared by Homer to skateboard naked to the burger bar. He is concerned people will see his ‘doodle’ as he calls it… but goes anyway. On the way the sketch is made humorous by strategic placements hiding his genitals… except for one scene where the camera focusses on them! Surely this court ruling would make showing the film illegal?

According to the ruling this sketch could surely be regarded as ‘kiddie porn’? I see the point of the law and under many circumstances it would be right to apply it but how on earth can it be illegal to show cartoon characters engaged in sexual acts, yet Bill Hensons pictures of naked little girls be deemed acceptable??

The law is totally crazy sometimes.

Written by welshdog

December 9, 2008 at 6:54 am

The Magic of Strictly…

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New site set up for anyone interested. Not sure if anyone will ever visit it or comment… but it’s there just in case as much as a reminder that despite the doom and gloom pervading the worlds media, people *do* still care about each other!

It’s called “The Magic of Strictly” and it’s purpose will be clear to anyone who’s followed the ongoing thread at the “It Takes Two” message board on the BBC ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘ website. When the site was opened, the original thread had already received 780 responses with no sign of slowing.

Please feel free to visit, leave a comment, or pass the address of the site or the original thread on to as many people as you can.

Written by welshdog

December 8, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

So much could be said…

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There’s so much that could be said but through my brother, my father has requested not. Cryptic or not, so long as some of us know what I’m on about that’ll do.

Just wanted to say thanks… and well done… to my brother.

I’ve been feeling the tears welling up for the past hour or so and there’s no sign of controlling the emotion yet.

Maybe I’ll write an oblique post on the memories, but for now… just thanks.

Written by welshdog

December 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Home and Hearth

For United Kingdom read 'Police State'.

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Hot on the heels of the unprecedented arrest of a Damian Green, a Member of Parliament, and the police raid on his Parliamentary office comes news of the imminent arrival of ID’s for every person on UK soil and a threat of *arrest* if ID is *not* presented on demand by the police!!

This move not seen in the UK since the fears of invasion at the time of World War Two is yet one more step in the accelerating march towards the Police State we were afraid of when Maggie Thatcher introduce her Police Bill. Even then those of us who’d read the Bill had concerns but it was passed by the Tory’s massive majority.

The anticipated erosion of civil liberty continued albeit at a slower pace until ‘Terrorism’ became the new watchword for society and the pace quickened one again. Not enough that the police had never needed these powers during the height of the IRA attacks on mainland UK when bombs killed and maimed people every few weeks… the ‘new threat’ was sufficient to allow the ‘Terror Bill’ through and the scene was set.

Comments such as this from Alan Travis, Clare Dyer and Michael White in The Guardian (Jan 28th 2005), went unheeded and the decline went on… all in the name of ‘Public Safety’ and ‘The Greater Good’ until now those creeping little effects are beginning to impact on the general public.

Local councils are spying on their ratepayers and issuing insane fines for trivial offences. Unwarranted police substitutes are banging heads and taking names. Ordinary citizens are being harassed continually while almost unchecked the collapse in law and order is seeing an unprecedented rise in assaults, murders on the street and an underclass of ‘disaffected and alienated youth’ with neither respect nor regard for the norms and mores of decent society.

Society in the UK is going to the dogs as police powers are expanding. Something is desperately wrong with  old blighty and it’ll take a lot more than increased police powers to fix it.

Either way I hope anyone reading this in the UK is getting ready. Today ID cards… tomorrow you’ll have your ‘number’ tattooed on your ear… Orwell might have been a few years out but maybe substitute ‘2024’ for ‘1984’ and perhaps the decline of society in the UK will be complete.

What hurts most is that much of this decline has happened with a Labour Prime Minister at the helm. I wonder what it was that went so badly wrong??

Written by welshdog

December 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm