2010-January


From just before Christmas, my techy troubles made it imposible to upload photos from my digital camera to my computer. Now I’ve got a month’s worth of photos to sort through, so it’s like Christmas all over again.

To top it off – last week – there was this incredible sunset. I threw on shoes, grabbed the camera and raced outside to capture as much as I could before the light sank below the horizon. I’ll show more later, (I’m busily learning new graphics/video programs atm) but for now I thought I’d share this piece of that amazing light show with all of you.

And who doesn’t love pressies! 

[Lft-click]  on the thumbnail to see it enlarged then [rt-click] on the original to bring up an options menu. Choose ‘save picture as’  to load it into a folder on your computer. Choose ‘set as background’ to put it directly onto your desktop. I didn’t try to copy-protect it by splattering my name across it in shaded lettering – this is purely a gift from nature to me to you.

A poinciana tree stands in the foreground. The city of Ipswich (Qld Australia) is in the distance. The view is the night sky as seen from my front yard.

These are the actual colours of the sky that night. There were no filters or gadgets making artistic adjustments and I have no fancy gear – just a very tired, well-loved Kodak digital camera. Nature did this all by herself. (Ok, polution probably had a hand in it too, but I just can’t look at these gorgeous colours and think – factory smoke-stack.)

Happy Belated Merry Everything!
OzMud

To comment on this post please scroll up to the title Found This Treasure While Cleaning Up… and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

Australia is surrounded on all sides by majestic cliffs and beautiful beaches. We’re blessed with short winters and long summers. If you live on any part of the coastline, that translates into a few hundred days each year of gorgeous, predictable beach weather. Life is good downunder.

There are just a couple of minor beach-going glitches. Sharks, crocks and our end of the summer east coast special, the invasions of bluebottle jellyfish.

To protect Ozzies, and to keep from killing off all our tourists, Australia has taken great pains to section off portions of the pristine beaches with brightly-coloured *flags, often adding shark nets and all dutifully patrolled by well-trained, knowledgeable lifeguards.

And if you live in Australia, you know that every year, like clockwork, you can count on several play days being interrupted by schools of bluebottle jellyfish around February and March.

*Note: Prior to the year 2000, the Australian Tourism Board played special films on all incoming flights which showed the coloured flags and described the dangers of swimming on unmanned beaches. There was concern that tourists were killed each year from wandering away from the flagged areas and either drowning or being devoured by local denizen. An average of five+ tourist fatalities per year, actually, with more vacationers on the injured lists have been reported over the past two decades.

Just prior to the 2000 Olympics, with an estimated five million guests scheduled to arrive on our shores, the Tourist Board decided the warning film perhaps portrayed our beautiful beaches in an unnecessarily harsh light and pulled it in favour of a cutesy, family-friendly musical video showing all of Australia’s best features (including families playing happily on the beach between bright yellow and red flags) and which showcased the heart-warming song “We are one”. The informed narrative was omitted.

That year nine tourists didn’t use their return tickets.

I remember writing this to my sister a few months after the Olympics:

Dear Sis, It’s that time of year when Australia posts it’s stats on tourism and this past year we didn’t fair well in the ‘keeping them safe’ category. Nine tourists died playing in unprotected waters. But one good thing has come from it. The powers-that-be think they’ve uncovered part of the problem. See, most of our tourism business comes from Japan. In Japan, private properties which don’t allow public access are marked with brightly-coloured flags. Trespassing is a huge no-no. So when our non-English speaking Japanese friends lob onto our beaches and see the neon yellow and red flags, they are prone to turning right around to seek their own play spot, away from the forbidding flags. We’ve been, quite literally, doing them in with our handy visual aids.

Back to the jellyfish. This Portuguese man-o-war was nicknamed the bluebottle because when they wash up on the sand they look like blueglass bottles. In the water they are difficult for swimmers to see because of their transparency. One would be problematic enough, but there’s never just one. They travel in schools of thousands.

While their bodies are a mere 3-6cm (1-2 inches) across, their tentacles can grow to as much as 10 meters (32 ft) in length, and it’s these free-flowing tentacles that wrap around their prey, unleashing a stinging venom. To brush up against one bluebottle with bare skin causes instant, excruciating pain. To compound matters, it’s not uncommon for the tentacles to break off the host, their suckers attached to the prey. Trained lifeguards and medics have to pry the suckers off, while victims report being literally blinded by the pain. Pain which, by the way, persists for hours.

Today’s headlines tell of a few Gold Coast beaches where the ambos and lifeguards spent the day chasing people out of the water and taking injured swimmers to hospitals in a marathon-like relay race. Some beaches were closed for several hours each, but the east coast is experiencing a heatwave (31c or 87+ farenheit) so there are those who ignored the warnings in favour of cooling off.

One beach alone reported more than 300 injuries treated for the afternoon.

If you live in Australia you know about bluebottle jellyfish as surely as you know about crocodiles, brown snakes and red-backed spiders. Citizens don’t get to play the ‘uh, I didn’t know’ card. When you live in paradise, you know it doesn’t come without a price.

So here’s the thing that struck me today while listening to the news report on the numerous morons who ignored bluebottle warnings and dove into the sea anyway. It’s rather the same idea that strikes me whenever I hear about Ozzies surfing or swimming in dangerous waters and losing limbs to waiting sharks and crocks:

Is stupidity a part of natural selection and if it is, should we not just sit back and let those who certainly possess more than their share of the stuff remove themselves from our gene pool?

I’m just saying…

My computer rebuild a couple of months back woud have been far more effective had the motherboard not developed altzheimers or the CPU not coughed up a lung. Tomorrow my new system arrives so I’ll be uploading programs and sorting backup files for a few days.

Don’t do anything exciting until I get back!

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title The Price of Paradise and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

13 January 2010

Glenn Beck asked Sarah Palin in his television interview if she was a registered Republican voter. Sarah replied “Yes.” He then asked her about the emergence of a third party (eluding to the upcoming convention of the all-new, fresh from the fields of crazyland) National Tea Party.

On camera, and without hesitation, Sarah says she sees no need for a third party.

Wait. What? She’s being paid $100k to speak at a convention she – doesn’t believe is necessary?

How does she get away with this stuff, where can I sign up AND  if anyone knows which youtube clip this is in, I’d love to post it. Having given up tryng to find a written transcript, I actually attempted to scan through the epic 7-part youtube production but my ears began to bleed at the beginning of the fifth segment and I had to stop.

At least back in the 60’s when we had to put up with incredibly bad politics, we had better drugs 🙂

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title The Tea Party’s Main Course Thinks ‘The Tea Party’ Is Unnecessary and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

Appledaily [Action News] attempts to unravel the late night TV dispute. Get the popcorn, snuggle in and enjoy 🙂

For the second time in as many years we’ve watched the new brand of bully politics take root in America. The first time was back in ’08 when James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family, a right-wing religious organization based in Colorado, proudly spent massive amounts of church donations to overturn gay marriage rights in California.

The overturned decision which subsequently voided existing same-sex marriages and denying any such unions in the future didn’t then and still doesn’t now actually reflect the ideals of the majority of California citizens. But the outsiders on a religious mission learned that with some money, a few doomsday placards and a lot of pushing, they could instill just enough fear among people to get their vote.

Yesterday we watched again while out-of-state right-wing zealots posing as the Republican Party swooped into Massachusetts and undermined a state election that was actually, none of their business. Would the outcome of this special election for Sen. Ted kennedy’s Senate seat of 46 years affect their party position in Washington? You bet. But it was for the people of Massachusetts to decide who best represented their majority, not the out-of-state campaigners who don’t actually live in Massachusetts.

If, in fact, the blue state of Massachusetts was ready to turn red, than fair enough. Godspeed Sen. Brown. But the state has had many opportunities to vote in Republican representation, and so far, it’s retained Democratic roots in both houses of Congress and in the hearts of the majority of it’s voters.

So why now? Why with the seat of the most beloved politician in the state, did Massachusetts decide to completely fly in the face of their beliefs and vote in the party most likely to cause the rest of their representatives in Congress, years of unnecessary struggle?

Are the citizens of Mssachusetts that afraid of healthcare reform? I don’t think so. And neither should you. Massachusetts current healthcare system most emulates the healthcare system President Obama’s Administration is trying to give the rest of the country. It is neither socialized medicine nor communism. The hysteria-propaganda spread by the far right claiming otherwise is an unconscionable attempt to manipulate election results. and apparently, it’s working.

This can only get worse. The bully tactics put forth by the Sarah Palins, Bill O’Reillys and Glenn Becks of the country are taking root. Somehow, somewhere, someone needs to start making them accountable for what comes off their presses and out of their mouths.

Someone needs to make Fox News Channel accountable for the mis-information they pass off as accurate news reports.

Someone else needs to address outside partisan influences on state elections.

Sorry Ted – I was cheering for your side 😦

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Victory without Honour and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

Found this gem on Twitter a few weeks back and tucked it into my ‘read later’ folder. Welcome to later 🙂

At first, I just thought Whoa. Lot’a loose sandwiches out there lookin’ for a picnic.Then my face broke into a smile and a couple of chuckles made their way past my lips. By the time I got to the line Sarah Palin could also be the “voice of reason” I was laughing so hard tears were running down my cheeks and I’d peed my chair.

This is an essay from one of Sarah Palin’s adoring fans, John Friedrichsmeyer. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

November 25, 2009 at 4:42am
A blog I wrote a couple of days ago regarding where I think you will have the most influence going forward….
Title: Sarah Palin – a Catalyst for REAL change

If you recall from your high school chemistry class, the definition of a catalyst is a chemical that helps in the chemical reaction but remains unchanged in the process itself. For example, chlorophyll aids in the process of photosynthesis by which carbon-dioxide is combined with water to form sugar and oxygen and water. The chlorophyll itself does not change in the process, but the process itself would not be possible (or incredibly slow) without it….

In regards to Sarah Palin, many are wanting to know if she will run for President in 2012 or not. Those in Washington feel that the only way to elicit change is to become a player of the game and to get into the “inner-circle” of Washington. But to me, that would be a job too SMALL for Sarah. I think her role can be much, much bigger than that. Yes! You got that right, bigger than the president! Without getting to religious here, Jesus said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground it remains a single kernel. But if it is buried and dies, it yields a harvest 10,50 or 100 times”

Now, how does that apply to Sarah Palin you ask? To me it’s simple. Sarah could run for office and quite conceivably become the next President of the United States. But she will still have to deal with an out of control Congress (Left and Right) that does not answer to majority of Americans (even in their own districts). Her ability to effect change would be limited and her time in office limited to 8 years but her adversaries are not limited at all and would essentially just out live her in the end. But if Sarah Palin is willing to put aside her political asperations for the betterment of the people, she could be a major catalyst for change our country has never seen. She would in fact be the GOP’s answer to Oprah and allow her star-power to give energy to newcomers to the political front that would never get past the GOP’s front-door because they don’t belong to the correct clubs or have graduated from the right schools. She would be able to open doors for people like Doug Hoffman who before would have had ZERO chance of being elected to Congress. She could effect a change in attitude that Washington has been needing for a VERY long time while herself never setting foot into the oval office.

In fact, I believe Palins “power” stems from the fact that she is NOT from Washington DC or New York City, or any other major metropolitan area. Her roots are in Wasilla, and like some plants, which flourish in some climates and die in others. She too needs to keep her roots there. Any attempt to “transform” her into a more palitable candidate would in the end make her less appealing to those in middle-american that today are shunned and scorned by the ellites on the east and west coasts. Wasilla-Palin has unlimited cultural and motivational power, whereas Washington-Pallin only has minor and limited political power.

Sarah Palin could also be the “voice of reason” that the GOP has lost since Reagan stepped off the stage. She does not have to “channel” Ronald Reagan. She merely must reintroduce us to the principles that guided him in office. She can help short-circuit the dismantling of our Constitution by the progressives that are in our own party by discussing Constitutional answers to the problems we face. She can help take back our culture and show that our families are our most precious resource we have. She can be the voice that middle American has been needing to rise up and counteract the Progressive (communist) revolution that has been slowly imposed on us over the last century.

That is where Sarah Palin will have the biggest effect to me!

 I’m spent!

To comment on this post please scroll up to the title A Fan Explains Sarah Palin (or) some people are like slinkies – not much use to anyone but they do put a smile on your face when pushed down a flight of stairs. and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks,  OzMud

It’s lunchtime here in sunny Queensland. That’s the time of day when my octogenarian father-in-law tucks into a crustless sandwich and watches the news.

Most days he tunes into a local news channel. Sometimes though, the complex technology of the remote (you know, point and click?) completely eludes him and he lands on either a British station, or an Asian station speaking one of several Asian languages, none of which he speaks. Doesn’t matter, he can’t hear the TV anyway. He’s deaf and refuses to wear his hearing aids in the house. He’d rather jack up the volume to full and pretend he knows what’s going on.

Bless the old ones – we’ll be there someday too 🙂

Today however, is a different story altogether. Today he’s settled into Fox News. So as I’m walking through the room I hear Hannity whining telling Byron [somebody] and Howie Carr [talk radio host] that Brown is a shoe-in for the senate race in Massachusets. According to the three stooges on the screen, Coakley has run a horrible race and the Republicans are going to get their seat back! (It was inherently ‘theirs’ was it?) And how low a blow is it going to be to Obama (do these people EVER refer to their president as president anymore?) when ‘he’ loses Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat to the Republican Party… blah blah blah.

I picked up the remote and carefully aimed it at Hannity’s pudgey, porcine profile (ahh if wishes were fishes or some such saying) but before my finger could fully engage the button I watched him raise both hands and wriggle his fingers like the Wicked Witch of the West wriggled hers when she thought she finally had poor Dorothy trapped by flying monkeys and he then said in all sincerity:

“But you know, even if Brown wins, the Democrats will pull… you know… shenanigans… so we shouldn’t…” and then my finger mooshed the button removing his glib portrait from my screen, replacing it with Sponge Bob Squarepants. Too fitting.

I told my father-in-law that watching Fox News, even if he couldn’t hear it, would make him senile and helped him find his favourite local news team. When I walked through the room a half-hour later, he was comfortably watching a rugby game with no sound at all. Well, that works too.

So this is how Fox is gearing up for the senatorial election in Massachusetts is it…

  • First, claim your guy has already won the race
  • Second, back up the unfounded claim with polling results from an unnamed source
  • Third, create the illusion that the only possible way the other guy could win would be through illegal means, but give it a more palatable word. Something Palinesque and folksy like… shenanigans!

Really Mr. Hannity, would you care to define ‘shenanigans’ for us as it relates to election results? And would this definition happen to contain the words ‘Bush’ and ‘Florida’?

Oh wait! Now I remember! Shenanigans! That’s Hannity-speak for faking footage to make your sparsely-attended event appear not-sparsely-attended! Something like this Mr. Hannity?

November 2009:

I hope the Democrats in Massachusetts are working as hard to keep Ted Kennedy’s seat blue as the Republicans are working to make it red.

Fingers crossed here in Australia.

To comment on this post, please scroll up to the title Those Darn Democrats and Their… erm… Shenanigans! and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud

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