Archive for January, 2009

How many more people have to die?

How long will it take for people to get the message that boats, night and waterways with trees in them just don’t mix?

You might recall that, about a month ago, 18-year-old Casey Hardman died when the boat she was travelling in struck a tree on Lake Eildon at about 1:30am. The 16-year-old boy who was driving the boat has subsequently been charged with manslaughter, and had the charge withdrawn pending further forensic evidence.

Sadly, it’s happened again, albeit this time a bit north of the New South Wales/Victoria border:

A 13-YEAR-old girl has died after being impaled on part of a tree during a night-time joy ride on the Murray River.
NSW Maritime says the girl was riding on an inflatable tube towed by a jetski on the Murray at Moama, on the NSW-Victoria border, when the accident occurred about 8.30pm (AEDT) yesterday.

The tragedy has prompted authorities to issue a water safety appeal for the Australia Day long weekend.

With sunset at 8:37pm over there, it would have been pretty dark, probably not dark enough to completely lose sight of the trees, but arguably too dark to use jetskis to tow people with any degree of safety.

One can only wonder how long it will take for the message to get through.

Samuel

January 24th, 2009 at 01:51am

Live???

According to Ian Ross’ latest news update, Seven News will have live coverage of Barack Obama’s inauguration at 6pm.

So, did Seven build a time machine or is Barack Obama re-enacting the inauguration for international television news services?

Samuel

January 21st, 2009 at 05:02pm

Why do they play tennis in summer?

Can anyone explain to me the logic behind playing tennis in summer?

Every year we have the Australian Open in Melbourne in summer when it is absolutely boiling. At this time yesterday it was 40 degrees, and yet for whatever reason a whole bunch of people decided that it would be a good idea to run around hitting a ball back and forth for hours on end.

And if it’s not the heat that they’re whinging about, it’s the rain…and Melbourne is almost the London of the southern hemisphere when it comes to rain. There are two days of rain expected in the coming week for Melbourne which, as good as that may be for allowing the tennis to continue for most of the time, just means that there’ll be more whinging about the heat when it’s not raining. Perhaps the London analogy is actually accurate here as I could draw some parallel between that and a common derogatory phrase about people from England who complain about things.

So explain to me why tennis is played when it’s either going to be hot or wet, when it would surely be much more sensible to just play tennis in winter which is a statistically dryer time of the year. Sure, the crowds might be slightly less excited at the prospect of sitting in the freezing cold during the matches, and you’d probably struggle to entice international spectators to “come and watch tennis in the cold”, but at least the players wouldn’t be too hot, the rain wouldn’t stop play half as much as it does at this time of the year, and the meat pie industry might get a bit of a cash injection from all the patrons wanting hot food.

I suppose that when it comes down to it, playing tennis in summer really is just an excuse for the organisers and players to complain…and let’s face it, tennis is so deathly dull on its own that they have to do something to make it interesting. If it weren’t for the soap-opera antics at the tennis, Seven would be much more likely to bid for the television rights to the lawn bowls.

From my perspective though, I’ll just keep ignoring the tennis as much as possible, and be thankful that there is no live commentary of it on the radio…the television commentators struggle to stay awake, just imagine the amount of dead air that radio would have if somebody actually tried to cover the tennis.

Perhaps if I ever try to run for politics again I could have a policy of banning tennis, and encouraging more golf and lawn bowls…the economy might not be all that great afterwards, but at least we wouldn’t have to deal with tennis ever again.

Samuel

2 comments January 21st, 2009 at 01:53pm

52 sitting days for the senate

An email to 2GB’s Jason Morrison:

Good afternoon Jason,

Welcome to the drive show.

I’m in awe at the arrogance of this government in having such a low number of sitting days for the senate. As far as I can see, with the ETS and other complicated and convoluted legislation set to go through this year, plus the usual lengthy process of approving the budget, it looks to me as if the Rudd government either want to turn the senate in to the house of the rubber stamp by rushing them through all of the legislation, or they’re trying to trigger a double-dissolution.

Perhaps a double-dissolution isn’t such a bad thing…although I’m not convinced that the current opposition would do a better job, not until Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey are the leadership team anyway.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

3 comments January 19th, 2009 at 05:02pm

Telstra Connectivity Issues

It looks like we’re having some connectivity issues with Telstra’s network. This may be preventing people on Bigpond and other Telstra connections from viewing the website, and is definitely preventing this server from connecting to the Bigpond mail server. As such, any users registering with a Bigpond email address will not receive their registration confirmation email until after the problem is fixed.

Our network provider is liaising with Telstra to fix the problem, hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Samuel

January 19th, 2009 at 10:55am

New York Weather

An email to 2UE’s Steve Price, who is broadcasting from New York this week.

G’day Steve,

I was just looking at New York’s weather on the New York Times and Weather Underground websites, and I noticed something on Weather Underground that the Aussie weather bureau never do. A “100% chance of precipitation”.

The Aussie bureau never go to zero or 100%, they settle for 1% or 99% just in case…still with 33 degrees expected almost all week here in Canberra, I think I’d prefer New York…I hate the heat!

Enjoy your week over there.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

2 comments January 19th, 2009 at 10:44am

Want cheap petrol in Canberra?

Mobil on Ashley Drive in Wanniassa are currently selling unleaded petrol for 91.9 cents per litre, which is about 20 cents cheaper than most other petrol retailers in Canberra, including various other Mobil outlets.

It’s a pity that I needed petrol earlier in the day…

Samuel

January 18th, 2009 at 10:50pm

An email to 2GB’s Chris Smith

Morning Chris,

Joe Hockey for premier? What a waste…we need Joe in the federal parliament. Barry for Premier, Joe for PM!

Was listening to you on my way home from Sydney until I lost you just after Lake George…compelling listening, keep up the good work.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

January 16th, 2009 at 11:00am

A tip for the 11:30 “historical event”: Kevin Rudd to resign as PM

There is, according to the Prime Minister’s office, going to be an historic event with the (currently on leave) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Governor General Quentin Bryce at Government House at 11:30 this morning. No other details have been announced.

My tip (aka wild speculation) is that, considering the amount of time Julia Gillard has spent talking to the media of late, Kevin is resigning, making Julia Gillard our first female prime minister. It would explain the secrecy over the details, and the “historic event”.

Update: It’s a Victoria Cross for Trooper Mark Donaldson. Very important, but I don’t understand the secrecy. End Update

Samuel

4 comments January 16th, 2009 at 10:36am

You’re not at work because of what???

An interesting story just landed in my inbox which I think is worth sharing:

careerbuilder.com’s annual survey on absenteeism shows 33 percent of workers have played hooky from the office, calling in sick when they were well at least once in 2008.

Nearly one-in-ten workers (9 percent) who played hooky admitted to calling in sick because they wanted to miss a meeting, buy some time to work on a project that was already due or avoid the wrath of a boss or colleague.

Others missed work because they just needed to relax and recharge (30 percent), go to a doctor’s appointment (27 percent), catch up on sleep (22 percent), run personal errands (14 percent), catch up on housework (11 percent) or spend time with family and friends (11 percent).

Another 34 percent just didn’t feel like going to work that day.

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

  • Employee didn’t want to lose the parking space in front of his house.
  • Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike.
  • Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was “all better now.”
  • Employee donated too much blood.
  • Employee’s dog was stressed out after a family reunion.
  • Employee was kicked by a deer.
  • Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.
  • Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.
  • Employee’s wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work.
  • Employee’s toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator.
  • Employee was up all night because the police were investigating the death of someone discovered behind her house.
  • Employee’s psychic told her to stay home.

Source: Ross Round-up Newsletter – January 2009

I think this calls for a song…unfortunately the only embeddable version of this song that I can find on YouTube has a mangled aspect ratio.

Samuel

2 comments January 15th, 2009 at 05:23pm

Probably not how one should reply to a birthday dinner invitiation

Hi (removed),

Sorry for the late reply. Yes, I can make it, and to assist with the good service, I will stick a pin in the menu (because it will take me too long to actually decide…unless you can wait until your 22nd birthday) and pre-order “Pollo al Torogoz”.

Knowing me, the likelihood of me being able to eat any desert afterwards is almost nil, so I shall refrain from ordering anything else.

See you Saturday and/or beforehand (where the latter implies an “and” and the lack of the latter implies an “or”, with the former being implied regardless, unless a severe medical or other similar complication removes the ability for the former to be enacted).

Regards,
Samuel

11 comments January 15th, 2009 at 10:55am

I will be voting “no”

Update: Acquisition approved in a landslide vote. Click here for details. End Update

Yesterday in the mail I received a letter from the Canberra Raiders Leagues Club advising me that they would like to purchase the West Belconnen Rugby League Football Club. The letter from Craig Potts, Secretary and General Manager of the Canberra Raiders Sports Club, is clearly arguing in favour of the purchase. Mr. Potts does spell out some of the issues with the purchase, but seems to gloss over them by stating that the two clubs have “strong ties with the Rugby League community”.

Letter from the Canberra Raiders Leagues Club - Page One
(click to enlarge)

Letter from the Canberra Raiders Leagues Club - Page Two
(click to enlarge)

The West Belconnen club has debts in excess of $4 million and it looks like their assets would barely cover these debts…so in order for the purchase to be worthwhile, the Raiders would need to invest even more money in turning the business around very very quickly, and somehow win patrons back from the Magpies club which seems to be the dominant club in the west Belconnen area.

Quite frankly, as a financial member of the Canberra Raiders Leagues Club, I can not support this acquisition. The club which is proposed to be bought is in severe financial trouble, and for it to be turned around, the Raiders club would need to spend a lot of money, and the public would have to decide to spend more money. In the current financial climate, I don’t see this as wise or likely respectively.

I will be voting “no”.

Samuel

1 comment January 14th, 2009 at 09:43am

Davky Please Respond

Davky, if you read this, could you please let me know, in a comment, if the bizarre email which I just received from you is legitimate. You needn’t go in to details in the comments if you don’t want to.

Personally I think the email deserves the attention of Ruhtra Tolemac, but I’ll wait for your reply.

Update:Crisis averted, although Ms. Tolemac may still need to visit Nigeria. End Update

Samuel

January 13th, 2009 at 06:46pm

The U in U.N certainly doesn’t stand for Useful

It is any wonder that I have such a high level of contempt for the United Nations.

Right now the situation in Gaza is getting worse, Lebanon have joined in, firing on Israel and Israel have fired back, although exactly what Lebanon’s interest is in the matter remains unclear…all that we really know right now is that they have just made the situation a lot more dangerous, and a lot more volatitle, and a lot harder to end. Ending a war between two parties is one thing, but between three is a whole new kettle of fish, and a problem that we really didn’t need.

Earlier in the week, the UN tried to work out what to say about the war in the Middle-East. It was fairly widely expected that they would make one of their usual “we condemn the war, please stop it” type statements…but they couldn’t decide exactly what words to use, so they just decided to say nothing.

Admittedly if they had said something, it would have just been hot air…but at least it would have been a statement on behalf of the UN’s member nations.

Today the UN have made a decision…it’s too dangerous in Gaza, so they’re withdrawing their humanitarian support.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency claim that four of their people have been killed since the conflict began about two weeks ago, the latest death apparently occurred when the Israeli forces fired directly on them…Israel denies any knowledge of the incident, saying that Hamas militants sometimes target U.N. aid trucks to take food.

The UN and the Israeli government are working on investigating the incident.

Here’s the bit that I don’t get though. War, by it’s very nature, is dangerous, and without the UN, a lot of innocent people who are caught in the middle of the conflict will have no chance of receiving aid. Despite this, the UN say that they won’t go back unless Israel can guarantee their safety.

If I can draw a comparison here, we are currently involved in a war in Iraq…we have lost a number of our soldiers there, but there are people there who still need us, so we’re staying. Admittedly, the UN humanitarian workers aren’t soldiers, and perhaps they need support from external troops such as our troops, or the Americans or the British to help protect them, but turning around and running away isn’t going to help anyone, least of all the innocent people who are caught in the middle of this war…the very people that the UN should be helping.

I also find it interesting that the Red Cross, despite also claiming to have been fired on, are not leaving…they’re staying.

It all makes me wonder why we, as a nation, waste so much money on the UN. Their ability to actually provide a useful outcome seems to diminish every year despite the larger amount of money that we give to them.

Samuel

4 comments January 9th, 2009 at 07:16am

The Waterbed Scandal?

The story which seems to have captured the imagination of the newspapers this morning is this story from the US about president-elect Barack Obama and his family being forced to stay in a hotel rather than Blair House, the massive mansion-esque guest house across the road from the White House, in mid-January because the place is already booked.

Apparently The Obamas wanted to move into the 119-room mansion across the street from the White House so that their daughters could start school in Washington, but when they were informed that it was booked, they took a suite at the exclusive Hay-Adams hotel instead.

So, why is the Obama family being forced in to a luxury hotel instead of a luxury guest house…it’s because our former prime minister John Howard and his wife are booked in to the guest house, for the night before Mr. Howard, along with former British prime minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe are to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by outgoing US President George Bush.

It could be my imagination, but the last time I checked, neither John Howard and his family, or Barack Obama and his family, take up 119 rooms on their own, or come close to it, so it’s interesting that they’re not able to share the guest house.

That said, it doesn’t matter where the Obamas stay, they’re going to have to move in to the White House a couple days later anyway.

As far as I can see, normal protocol has been followed. Barack Obama will not be president at that time, and the Howards are the guest of the president. Whilst the newspapers might not like it, there really isn’t a problem here…so can they please get back tocovering some real news?

Samuel

1 comment January 8th, 2009 at 12:47pm

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