Archive for June, 2006

The Cat’s Diary

It’s a Friday, and I think it might be nice to start a series of Friday Funnies (not an original name…but that hardly matters). So here is the first one, with thanks to Irene in Brisbane.

The Cat’s Diary

DAY 752 – My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another house plant.

DAY 761 – Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair…must try this on their bed.

DAY 762 – Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.

DAY 765 – Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was…Hmmm. Not working according to plan…

DAY 768 – I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called “shampoo.” What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth .

DAY 771 – There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call “beer.”
More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of “allergies.” Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 – I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and may be snitches. The Dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait; it is only a matter of time…

Samuel

2 comments June 30th, 2006 at 10:17am

Samuel’s Footy Tips

Another weekend arrives, one of the football rounds is short again, and the financial year goes and comes in the middle of it all.

NRL Round 17
Warriors V Panthers
Sea Eagles V Knights
Broncos V Sharks
Raiders V Eels
Tigers V Bulldogs
Cowboys V Rabbitohs

AFL Round 13
Kangaroos V Bombers
Demons V Power
Saints V Hawks
Lions V Blues
Swans V Dockers
Crows V Cats
Tigers V Magpies
Eagles V Bulldogs

Samuel

June 30th, 2006 at 07:14am

Stargate SG1 Returns to Channel 7 Tonight at 11pm

During my perusal of the local television guide I noticed that Channel Seven are bring Stargate SG1 back to Australian screens, starting tonight at 11pm. This will be series nine of SG1.

Oddly enough, despite Stargate SG1 series nine and Stargate Atlantis series two being run in tandem on US television (and presumably linking story lines somewhere along the way…much like the previous series’), the two shows will not be shown in tandem in Australia. This means that Australian viewers will have to continue to wait for the conclusion of the three-episode, dual-series cliffhanger ending to series one of Stargate Atlantis.

None the less, it is good to have Stargate back, and I’m looking forward to SG1 series nine.

By the way, 11pm is the time for Canberra and Sydney, others areas are likely to be the same, but check your local television guide for details. Next week SG1 is scheduled to start at 11:20pm due to the preceeding program running longer than usual.

Samuel

June 29th, 2006 at 07:57pm

RIP Moose

It has come to my attention (thanks to Mike Jeffreys for bringing it to my attention…it nearly slipped passed me) that Moose, the first dog to play Eddie on the television show Frasier, passed away on June 22 aged 15 and a half human years (108 and a half dog years).

Moose sitting on Frasier's lap
Moose sitting on Frasier’s lap

Wikipedia has the following biographical information about Moose

Moose (December 24, 1990 – June 22, 2006) was a veteran canine actor. He was a Jack Russell Terrier and is most famous for his performances as Eddie Crane on the television sitcom Frasier.

Moose was born on Christmas Eve, 1990 in Florida, United States, the youngest littermate. He was the largest puppy in the litter. Like Pal, the original Lassie, the obstreperous puppy was too much for his original owner. According to an article by Lori Golden:

“In fact, chasing cats was one of the activities that led to this troubled terrier becoming one of TV’s most precious pooches. Originally owned by a Florida family, Moose was too hard to handle. He couldn’t be house trained; he chewed everything; he dug and barked a lot; and he was constantly escaping and climbing trees. Eventually given to the Florida manager of Birds and Animals Unlimited, a company that trains animals for TV and motion pictures, Moose was put on a plane at 2½ years old and sent to Mathilde de Cagny, an LA trainer working for the show-biz animal company.”

DeCagny has been quoted as saying that Moose was very highly trainable and won the role on Frasier after only six months of training. Moose had the ability to fix Kelsey Grammer with a long hard stare; this became a running sight gag on the show.

The longevity of Frasier necessitated the breeding of puppies as possible replacements for Moose. A daughter, Miko, was considered but never grew large enough (she was given to a technician); a son, Moosie, now lives with Peri Gilpin. Moose’s son Enzo was a closer match and turned out to have unusually similar facial markings; later in the series he was used as a stunt double to perform the more physically challenging tricks for his aging sire. Enzo took over the role after eight years.

Moose and Enzo also appeared with Frankie Muniz in the 2000 feature film My Dog Skip.

Moose has numerous television appearances and several magazine covers to his credit. There is an official Moose calendar and an ‘autobiography’, My Life as a Dog.

Moose spent the last 6½ years of his life in retirement in West Los Angeles with son Enzo, Mathilde DeCagny (their trainer), her husband Michael Halberg and Jill, the dog from As Good as it Gets. He passed away due to old age at home at the age of 15 1/2 years on June 22, 2006.

Moose will of course live on in the hearts of many millions of Frasier fans around the world, and in the endless reruns of the fantastic television program of which he was a part.

This has been difficult to write as I have burst into tears three times whilst thinking about what I could write about Moose and choosing a picture to place in this article. Whilst I never met him in person, he certainly appeared to be a loveable little doggy, a very talented actor, and one of the most reognisable furry faces on television. I am very sad to hear that Moose has passed away, although I must say that he had a very long and priviliged life, and it is lovely to know that he passed away of old age, and not of a medical condition.

I think it is only appropriate that Moose receive the prestigious Samuel Salute. Moose is a dog I will miss dearly, as I grew up with him, and despite the fact he lived on the other side of the world, he felt like family.

Moose in Frasier's studio
Moose in Frasier’s studio

May you rest in peace Moose.

You will not be forgotten.

Samuel

Photos: NBC/Associated Press

June 29th, 2006 at 10:57am

Save Dickson College Update

I received the following email from the Save Dickson College mailing list last night:

Six Representatives from the Save Dickson College Committee meet with Minister Barr and two of his advisors on Tuesday 27th June

– The meeting went very well.

– The committee came across very strongly and were clear that we didn’t want to look at any other models – which he tried to get us to do.

– The committee asked did he have the answers to the questions from the meeting (and of course he didn’t!) so we gave him a list of questions (attached) and went through them. This really put them on the back foot I think and made David Peebles, Minister Barr’s Chief of Staff look silly as he promised the community he would take the questions back to the Minister.
They couldn’t really provide us with any answers or any rationale other than cost cutting.

– Minister Barr acknowledged one of the messages from the community that the 7 to 12 option at Campbell is not on, which probably means they have to keep Dickson College. But he hasn’t given us any guarantees so we need to keep the pressure up.

– Minister Barr did suggest that the community would have to work with them to increase programs at Dickson to keep it viable

– The Govt are holding their public meeting next Monday at where we can put more pressure on. The committee hope to get some questions together for people to ask at this meeting.

We need a good turnout at the Monday meeting so bring along everyone you can muster up. The hall only holds about 150 people.

The committee will meet a week or so after that and work out a longer term strategy ie. Meeting with all the MLAs, writing letters etc.

All in all pretty positive meeting for the community.

Annette Matheson
On behalf of the Save Dickson College Committee

From my reading of it, it looks like Dickson is now unlikely to close, as the silly ill conceived idea for turning Campbell High into a year 7-12 school has been acknowledged by Andrew Barr as silly and ill conceived.

The “Towards 2020 consultation meetings” are not designed to be consultative. Just about every school in the inner north which isn’t Campbell Primary has a hall which holds more than 150 people, but that’s the location for the inner north meeting. Further evidence of the non-consultation involved in these meetings can be read here and here.

Andrew Barr wants the Dickson community to work with him to keep Dickson open…sounds like a message which everybody affected by the ACT budget should take notice of.

Anyway, it looks like some ground is being made…perhaps my idea that the government don’t actually want to close 39 schools, and that number was just an inflated headline grabber, wasn’t so far off the mark after all…or am I just being too cynical? For some reason, with this government, I suspect the former.

Samuel

June 29th, 2006 at 09:12am

Samuel’s Footy Tips: Results

Quite a good weekend of football tips. My NRL tips were quite good and the AFL tips were only one tip away from being perfect (and the same percentage as last week).

AFL Round 12 (Part Two): 1/2 (50%)
NRL Round 16: 5/7 (71.43%)
Week Total: 6/9 (66.67%)
Graph of the weekly results

Totals:
AFL: 45/96 (46.88%)
NRL: 55/111 (49.55%)
Total: 100/207 (48.30%)
Graph of the total results

Samuel

June 29th, 2006 at 07:26am

Jon Stanhope’s 2CC Appearance

I’ve now put Jon Stanhope’s 2CC appearance and the relevant talkback callers from after his appearance online. Jon Stanhope only gave 2CC half an hour, and insited on giving long-winded answers. There are a few interesting things in Stanhope’s appearance, although I think the callers after Stanhope left were more interesting.

All of that is online at http://samuelgordonstewart.com/wp-content/Stanhope2CCDriveShow20060627.mp3 (56 minutes, 26.5MB)

Here is my summary of events including the start time of each event in the MP3:

*0:00 Mike Welsh interviews Stanhope about his budget decisions.

*5:20 Caller Caroline asks about the source of class size figures in “Towards 2020”. Stanhope rambles about not knowing exact answer and that he didn’t bring the figures with him.

*8:15 Caller Hannah puts her daughter, Ashleigh, on the phone to tell Stanhope that she wants to stay at her current school. Stanhope says he wants to ensure everyone gets a good education.

*9:10 Caller Andrew asks about reimbursement of uniform costs for people forced to change school due to closures. Stanhope rambles about consultation and doesn’t answer question, stating that the government haven’t worked that out yet.

*11:50 Caller David asks about rate rises. Stanhope tries to justify rate rises. At the end of Stanhope’s answer, David asks if Stanhope has taken a breath yet.

*16:35 Traffic report

*17:20 Caller Wendy asks how the government is addressing the issue of young children having to cross major roads to get to school if the government goes ahead with the school closures. Stanhope doesn’t answer question, but rambles about “difficult decisions”.

*21:25 Mike Welsh asks Stanhope why he thinks people move to private schools. Stanhope talks about options that the government is considering for public schools. Stanhope also says that everybody should get over their anger and accept that the government is committed to “Towards 2020”.

*25:00 Stanhope then leaves, taking the pile of emailed questions Mike Welsh received with him.

(Ad break removed)

*25:40 Caller Sharon talks about problems with school closures in Kambah

*29:00 Caller Jonathon (student at Kambah High) not impressed with Chief Minister and closures.

(Traffic update and ad break removed)

*31:50 Mike Welsh says Chief Minister has undertaken to look at all the emails he has received and that 2CC might bring Stanhope in for another segment soon.

*32:25 Caller Mark annoyed with Stanhope taking forever to answer questions and only giving 2CC and callers half an hour of his time.

(Ad break removed)

*36:20 Caller Wendy talks about how she met Stanhope at Westfield Belconnen and wanted to have a chat about school closures, Stanhope gave her a rehearsed speech, she interrupted and said she didn’t want to hear numbers and percentages and just wanted to chat about school closures and he told her that she was very rude and would stop interrupting. Mike and Wendy then talk about school closures.

*41:10 Caller Steve works in a school and talks about school closures and budget money which could be better used on other things.

(News, ad breaks and irrelevant segments removed)

*45:00 Caller Steve (a different Steve) disappointed with Stanhope. Steve annoyed with Stanhope’s arrogance, labor party school closure ads, school closures, new jail, appeal against bushfire inquiry amongst other things. Steve’s solution is to remove self government.

(irrelevant segments, news and ad breaks removed)

*50:40 Emails: Pete writes “Tell Stanhope to answer questions and not blabber on”. Hooter Boy writes “I’d rather get wisdom teeth out than listen to an hour of Jon Stanhope”.

*51:10 Caller John (aka John B1_B5) talks about Stanhope “rabbiting on” and asks who is footing the bill for the labor party school closure ads.

(Partial ad break removed)

*55:40 Labor party school closure ad. The ad says “Spoken by P. Mills, paid for and authorised by Matthew Cossey, ALP Canberra”. Matthew Cossey is the ACT Branch Secretary of the ALP, for more info about him see http://www.act.alp.org.au/people/people.html?seat=staff^Cossey^Matthew If that link gives an error, click on “People” on the left hand side of the screen and then follow the link to Matthew Cossey

For the record, between 4pm and 6pm there were 12 ALP ads about school closures, and one Australian Education Union ad against school closures.

2 comments June 28th, 2006 at 02:57am

Chief Turnip on 2CC

Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope will be on 2CC on Tuesday (27 June) at 4PM answering calls from the public. If you would like to ask him a question (and get an answer), here is your chance.

I wouldn’t be surprised if callers are limited to one or two questions as 2CC are likely to be swamped with calls during this segment. I’m also not sure how long Jon Stanhope will be on-air for, but I suspect it will be from 4pm-5pm. I will contact 2CC to clarify this.

2CC is 1206 on the AM dial, and their open line number is 62554444. Drive Show host Mike Welsh has a promo running for the segment where he says that it will be a chance for people to ring in and put their questions to the Chief Minister.

I plan on recording the entire Stanhope segment and putting an MP3 of it online. I’ll let you know once that is done. I also have plans for a live webstream for the benefit of the interstate/international audience. I’ll have more details tomorrow morning. (Although I will update this post with the duration of the Stanhope segment as soon as I have the details to hand).

Also, as a few people at 2CC read this site, this post is probably going to attract the attention of 2CC management…if you have a problem with me putting the Stanhope segment online, please contact me so that we can discuss it.

Samuel

4 comments June 26th, 2006 at 07:22am

Nostradamus Predicts Spain To Win FIFA World Cup

It would appear that Nostradamus thinks Spain will win the world cup. Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos (probably not related to Nine’s “60 Minutes”) has run a story which quotes one of Nostradamus’ prophecies, namely:

In the sixth month of 2006 the King of Spain will cross the Pyrenees with his troops. The legions of Beelzebub will battle him in central Europe and suffer doom and destruction. The Holy Grail will then come to Spain.

The only problem I can forsee here is that the world cup ends on July 9…still, when you write something nearly 500 years in advance, I think you can be forgiven for getting the date wrong by 9 days.

For the record, Spain are currently paying $11.00 on ACTTAB Sportsbet to win the world cup.

Samuel

5 comments June 26th, 2006 at 06:46am

Samuel’s Musician Of The Week

This week the award is going to Jimmy Little, and the feature song is the one that I always think of when I think of Jimmy Little, and that is “Royal Telephone”.

Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Made by God the Father for his very own,
You may talk to Jesus on this royal telephone.

Central’s never busy, always on the line;
You may hear from heaven almost any time;
’Tis a royal service, built for one and all;
When you get in trouble, give this royal line a call.

Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Made by God the Father for his very own,
You may talk to Jesus on this royal telephone.

There will be no charges, telephone is free,
It is built for service, just for you and me;
There will be no waiting on this royal line,
Telephone to glory always answers just in time.

Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Made by God the Father for his very own,
You may talk to Jesus on this royal telephone.

Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Made by God the Father for his very own,
You may talk to Jesus on this royal telephone.

Samuel

June 25th, 2006 at 07:46pm

Save Dickson College

For those of you who are interested, the Save Dickson College campaign has a website at http://www.freewebs.com/savedickson/.

There is also a regularly updated mailing list which seems to be doing quite a good job of keeping people up to date on what’s happening in the Save Dickson College campaign. To join the mailing list, simply send an email to savedicksoncollege@iinet.net.au.

Samuel

4 comments June 23rd, 2006 at 10:37am

Samuel’s Footy Tips

The split round in the AFL continues this weekend, and the NRL has a full round.

NRL Round 16
Panthers V Tigers
Dragons V Cowboys
Storm V Bulldogs
Rabbitohs V Warriors
Raiders V Roosters
Sea Eagles V Broncos
Knights V Sharks

The AFL has two games this weekend, I presented my tips for the entire round last week, but I am repeating my tips for this weekend’s games for your convenience.

(Week 2)
Kangaroos V Blues
Swans V Magpies

Samuel

June 23rd, 2006 at 06:36am

ABC Editorial Guidelines…and they think they’re a good thing?

As I was watching Media Watch on Monday night, a rather unusual part of the ABC editorial guidelines popped up:

Everyone makes mistakes, but here at the ABC broadcasters are expected to correct their mistakes and then do better.

The process is spelt out in the ABC editorial guidelines and it’s generally well understood by journalists and program makers.

This week Communications Minister Helen Coonan announced two new appointments to the ABC board, including the controversial historian Keith Windschuttle.

Last year in his Earle Page Memorial Oration, Mr Windschuttle made this – now infamous – claim about the history of the ABC.

[ABC broadcaster Alan] Ashbolt managed to find jobs for a small group of Marxists and radicals like himself. In the ensuing thirty years that group, its appointees and values, have captured the organization.

— Vilifying Australia, The perverse ideology of our adversary culture, by Keith Windschuttle

Under the ABC editorial guidelines, broadcasters must back up their opinions with facts.

We wonder whether Keith Windschuttle would be able to back up his extraordinary claims in the same way.

Putting ABC advertorial comments (“but here at the ABC broadcasters are expected to correct their mistakes and then do better”) aside for a moment, the editorial guideline quoted struck me as rather odd, namely:

Under the ABC editorial guidelines, broadcasters must back up their opinions with facts.

Oh well, so much for independent thinking and freedom of the press. That guideline might sound good on the surface, and it was definitely used by Media Watch to discredit Keith Windschuttle, but that guideline makes absolutely no sense for a broadcaster with talk radio and television discussion programmes in its lineup. The guideline inhibits broadcasters’ opinions and thoughts, and means that the audience are not getting the full picture…and the ABC aren’t going to try and give it to them.

Allow me to give you a few examples, all pertaining to the ACT government, as those are the examples that spring to mind.

Firstly, the school closures announced in the recent ACT budget are, in my opinion, a political stunt designed to sweep other budget details under the media radar, and to enable the government to close a smaller number of schools. 39 schools seems like a rather silly number of schools to close, and a number which is bound to grab headlines, some of the proposed closures are downright silly, and some of the merger plans even sillier (turning Campbell High into a 7-12 school and effectively killing the college environment on a block of land which doesn’t have enough room for the extra students, for example).

I think that the ACT government learned a thing or two from the massive public outrage over the closure of Ginninderra High last year, and decided that in order to close a small number of schools they would need to add a bunch of other schools to the list, pretend to consult the public, and eventually say that they are only closing the small number of schools and have the spin doctors announce that they are “saving 25 schools” or something to that effect.

I also think the have managed to mostly slip a lot of small details (such as a change in measurement method for rates increases so that they appear to be smaller) under the radar, and with the media almost entirely focussed on the schools, the opposition aren’t having much luck bringing those small details to public attention.

How does this relate to ABC editorial policy I hear you ask…quite simple…I cannot back up that opinion with facts, quite simply because there are none…I can’t prove that the government only ever intended on closing a small number of schools, and I can’t prove that there are a bunch of small devious things hidden in the budget, because I don’t specialise in reading zillion page government documents…and it is a public document, which gives the government a valid excuse about not sweeping anything under the carpet. I can’t prove these things, they are an opinion, and as has been said to me on many occasions in a different context, an opinion is not an axiom (A self-evident or universally recognized truth).

Moving on to example two, Andrew Barr. Andrew Barr took over former treasurer Ted Quinlan’s seat on a countback after Ted Quinlan retired from the ACT government. Andrew Barr was instantly given the education portfolio, which had been a public relations disaster under Katy Gallagher. That led me to believe that Andrew Barr, as the new kid in a big important portfolio, would be used as a skapegoat for all the government’s educational ills…the longer Andrew Barr spends in that role, and the worse things get, the more convinced I am of this.

None the less, it is an opinion, one not founded in verifiable truths and facts (I doubt anyone, even the Chief Turnip himself, can see what happens in the Chief Turnip’s head), and one that I would not be able to propose on-air at the ABC. The topic would be a discussion point, and would prompt debate about government plans and personalities…but alas, that is not within the bounds of ABC editorial guidelines.

And how about one more example? Ted Quinlan…who knows why he jumped ship…I think he decided that he was not willing to hand down the worst budget the ACT has seen and continue to battle the frivolous expensive plans of senior government ministers (pointless busway anyone?)…after all the rumors had been circulating on commercial talkback of government budget problems since October/November last year…why stay when you know it’s worse than anybody thought, and the Chief Turnip is insisting on interesting accounting to make it look a tad better?

Again, I can’t back that up with facts…but it sounds reasonable, it probably is reasonable, and since when was politics a cut and dry case of facts? Political reporting and analysing is all about reading between the lines, being a tad cynical, and putting ideas out there for the public to discuss.

The ABC editorial policy prevents broadcasters from speculating, and it prevents broadcasters from speaking their mind…it’s almost a case of believing everything that everyone says. The ABC obviously forgets that what we regard as fact may actually be a fabrication, and next week we might find that out…surely it is better to let the broadcaster go out on a limb and speculate that the fact is a fabrication because they believe it is, rather than forcing them to accept the false fact…or does the ABC disapprove of broadcasters who think for themselves?

Samuel

8 comments June 22nd, 2006 at 12:21pm

How Much Is That Banana In The Window?

The other night I had a very peculiar dream about bananas…it went something like this.

I was standing out the front of the fruit shop in the City Markets watching a fruit shop employee change the sign above the bananas from “$100 per kg” to “$200 per banana”. Mike Jeffreys was nearby talking to people about how the price of bananas is skyrocketing, I walked home listening to Mike talk to people on the radio about bananas when I had a preminition that the price would fall sharply the next day, I rang Mike to tell him about this.

Anyway, the next day came and I was standing outside the fruit shop again and a fruit shop employee changed the sign above the bananas from “$200 per banana” to “$0.05 per kg…buy one banana and get five free” (exactly how that offer would work in practice is mildly confusing, but this was a dream). Mike Jeffreys was there again, but this time he had a newspaper in his hand with the headline “banana price plummetts”. Mike was also interviewing the banana delivery truck driver who was saying something about a new banana field being found overnight with millions of bananas.

The dream then ended.

If any interpretation could possibly be placed upon this odd dream, it could be that I am having a preminition about Mike Jeffreys returning to work from his sick leave (although hopefully not talking about bananas all the time).

June 22nd, 2006 at 09:23am

Samuel’s Footy Tips: Results

What a difference a week makes, my AFL tips improved, and my NRL tips were my best for the year, breaking the record highest weekly percentage for either code (and dragging the overall week total percentage to a record high in the process).

AFL Round 12 (Part One): 3/6 (50%)
NRL Round 15: 6/7 (85.71%)
Week Total: 9/13 (69.23%)
Graph of the weekly results

Totals:
AFL: 44/94 (46.81%)
NRL: 50/104 (48.08%)
Total: 94/198 (47.47%)
Graph of the total results

Samuel

June 21st, 2006 at 08:54am

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