Archive for June, 2009

Ways to feel better

One of the many tried and true methods of making oneself feel better is to write annoying letters to politicians who happen to annoy one.

Senator Kate Lundy
Unit A
Law Society Building
11 London Circuit
Canberra ACT 2601

Dear Senator Kate Lundy (or the nameless minion reading this letter),

Your Senatorialism,

Please find enclosed the “Community News” newsletter, which you recently had mailed to me.

I am returning this to you as I have no need for it. I hear enough from you and your loopy lefty fruitcake colleagues in the media, without needing to be subjected to it in my post office box as well.

Please feel free to do with this newsletter as you see fit. Contrary to appearances, I would be most pleased if you decide to reuse this newsletter by sending it to one of your other constituents, as this would, in theory at least, mean that some of the taxpayer funds which go in to your various allowances would not need to be spent on printing an extra copy of the newsletter.

Wishing you the most interesting of times,

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

I find that closing with ancient curses is most pleasing. The letter will be in the post momentarily.


1 comment June 30th, 2009 at 05:06pm

June 30

I’m not looking forward to tonight. At about 8pm, it will be precisely one year since I rolled my car on Parkes Way.

I still have a text message on my phone from that night. One of the first things I did after getting out of the car was (presumably in a slightly incoherent state of shock) call a friend to ask if they knew the number for a tow truck, which they promptly sent via text message. I have also just been re-reading some of the emails from around that date, including one in which I spelt out some events from that night, and the next day, which I had more-or-less forgotten about…it seems that such memories never disappear, they just get buried…reading those emails just brought back some visual memories which I wish were gone, and made me feel sick.

I think I might just go to bed early tonight. If I can be asleep by 8pm so that I completely miss the one year anniversary of the events of that night, I think I’ll be happy.


June 30th, 2009 at 03:03am

Mondays with Maritz: The newses of from the Russia

Dear to hello on this day of the much lovely”

It is day of sun here in the Sydney which is good as I have been day off today from the working of Graderns and can be doing good enjoyment of walking. I am do think that people who have the dogs are much lucky to be doing go for the walks of with company as I can not be doing take Slavcatchski for walk as it is not as much easy to do with cats.

Last week I did do find and see on the tevlevision of Sbs that the newses of tevelvision from the Russia are on and in the Russian which is good and nice but often at time of when I am doing at gardren so can not be doing watch and it is also not always of on in time of do happen in of the Russia and so I am not sure it is of current at the up to date.

I am often doing call on tepehelphone to the Russia to have talk with Mother of Russia and she dos do of somethimes have conversation and chattings with me of time when I am on tepehelphone at time of newses on the tevelevision in the Russia and so she has done do of the put of telehphlephone near the tevelevision so that I can be do hear of the newses from of the Russia which is good to be doing hear of the newses.

Also of times when I am do of call to mother of Russia in recent she did do of the say to me that she is much happy to be receiving on the postals the weight records of nice cat Slavcatchski on daily as I am do weigh him on scales on each day and do the postings of records to Russia and mother of Russia has now do do say of that she will be do weighings of pet mouse Squeelivich so that she can be do send weight records to me in postals which is much lovely as Squeelivich is my pet mouse as present from Mother of Russia but I can not be do of bring him to the Australia as for the rules of Customs and I am not think he can be done come to country.

I am do hope that day is lovely for you and in times of to come in soon.

From Maritz

1 comment June 29th, 2009 at 06:46pm

Good first show (email to Nine’s “This Afternoon”)

G'day Guys, and a special hello to Andrew,

It's great to see you back on the tele Andrew.

This has been a good first show, although perhaps a bit over the top with the orange.

Good luck for the future.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

Update: Actually, Andrew seemed a bit clunky to start with today but got better as the show went on. I was amused by the sign off though…Andrew being drowned out by music, Katrina saying “good night” followed by Andrew saying “good afternoon” and then before the microphones were muted, Mark Ferguson having a go at them for it.

If the show can pick up a bit in the coming weeks, I’d like to see it extended to 6pm, and Millionaire Hot Seat bumped to an evening timeslot. 7pm (the old Sale Of The Century/Temptation timeslot) would be good, but only if WIN will replace one of those infernal 7:30pm screenings of “Two And A Half Men” with Hot Seat. Seriously, Two And A Half Men has become the Nine version of The Simpsons on Ten…”We have nothing to show…quick, find a tape of Two and a half men!”. It’s an entertaining show, but it’s on far too often.

End Update

June 29th, 2009 at 05:17pm

Samuel’s Musician Of The Week: Michael Jackson

As promised I have , for this week, suspended the randomised selection of musicians from the ever-growing waiting list so that I can give the award to Michael Jackson.

The feature song is my favourite Michael Jackson song, “Beat It”.

They told him don’t you ever come around here
Don’t wanna see your face, you better disappear
The fire’s in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

You better run, you better do what you can
Don’t wanna see no blood, don’t be a macho man
You wanna be tough, better do what you can
So beat it, but you wanna be bad

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it

They’re out to get you, better leave while you can
Don’t wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man
You wanna stay alive, better do what you can
So beat it, just beat it

You have to show them that you’re really not scared
You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare
They’ll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they’ll tell you it’s fair
So beat it, but you wanna be bad

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
(beat it, beat it, beat it)
(beat it, beat it, beat it)
(beat it, beat it)
(beat it, beat it, beat it)

Beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated (oh no)
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or who’s right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated (oh no)
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it


June 28th, 2009 at 07:54pm

Axe Murder

This is without a doubt the single most disturbing dream that I can recall. It takes that title from the dream I had as a kid where some bad guys from a western barged in to my house and kidnapped me.

The dream started off innocently enough. I was in the New South Wales town of Conargo, in a building, chatting with ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja who was sitting at a table. The rest of the ACT Liberal Party turned up for a meeting with Zed, so I left and went to a friend’s place to sleep for the night (it was probably around 9pm in the dream at this time, and in reality this friend lives in deepest darkest southern Tuggeranong, but for the purposes of this dream, he lived in Conargo) where I slept until about 2am at which I time I felt an urge to visit the local store.

The store happened to be on a street corner which looked a bit like an amalgam of about five streets in Fyshwick. I drove to the store, but before I could get there a fire truck rushed past in the opposite direction, heading straight for the airport (which was probably a derivative of the Deniliquin airfield, just with more warehouses around it).

I made chase, as a fire at the airport would naturally be the lead story of my news bulletin in the morning, and parked about a block away from where the fire truck stopped. I got out of my car and started walking towards the airport, but was approached from behind by a very large man (both tall and bulky) wearing a State Emergency Service uniform (OK, perhaps not a uniform, just a fluoro yellow vest with reflective tape, and the letters “SES” printed on it in large black writing) and carrying an axe.

The man started yelling quite angrily about how I was being offensive, breaking the law, and upsetting him, by walking through a federal government construction zone. I offered my apologies and explained that I was a journalist, that my aim was to go to the airport to cover the story about the airport fire, that I did not intend on trespassing, and besides which, there was no signage to warn me about the construction zone.

The man was not impressed. He continued to yell at me, and continued to approach me. I started to back away and muttered something along the lines of “well, I’ll just leave now then”, at which point I turned around and started running. The man started yelling that I needed to be punished, and started to chase me. I ran in to a nearby building (which looks like the building in which I had started the dream, minus Zed Seselja and the rest of the Liberal Party), tripped on a rug and fell. The man with the axe caught up with me, and as I was lying on the ground, he continued yelling, and started to swing the axe toward me.

The axe came at me…and I woke up, rather shaken, and with my heart pounding.

I have more dreams from the last week to write about in the coming days, thankfully none are as dramatic as that one…I’m just hoping that my occasional ability to endure sequel’s to my dreams does not occur with this one.


June 27th, 2009 at 10:03pm

Cap And Trade passed by the US House, still could be defeated in Senate

Not the best day in the history of American politics. Their version of the emission trading scheme has been passed by the US House Of Representatives, but still needs to make it through the Senate.

The Democratic-controlled House, dealing a legislative victory to President Obama, narrowly passed sweeping legislation Friday that calls for the nation’s first limits on pollution linked to global warming and aims to usher in a new era of cleaner, yet more costly energy.

The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and days of intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs.

The House’s action fulfilled Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vow to clear major energy legislation before July 4, and sent the measure to a highly uncertain fate in the Senate.
The legislation would require the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and by about 80 percent by mid-century. That was slightly more aggressive than Obama originally wanted, 14 percent by 2020 and the same 80 percent by mid-century.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are rising at about 1 percent a year and are predicted to continue increasing without mandatory limits.

Under the bill, the government would limit heat-trapping pollution from factories, refineries and power plants and issue allowances for polluters. Most of the allowances would be given away, but about 15 percent would be auctioned by bid and the proceeds used to defray higher energy costs for lower-income individuals and families.
On the House floor, Democrats hailed the legislation as historic, while Republicans said it would damage the economy without solving the nation’s energy woes.

With any luck this thing will die in the Senate, much likes it seems to be doing here in Australia.


June 27th, 2009 at 01:51pm

Happy 35th birthday to the commercial use of the barcode

Technically speaking, the barcode itself is older than 35, but today (June 26) does mark the day that it was first used commercially, all the way back in 1974.

(FORTUNE Magazine) – As revolutions go, this one ignited with something less than a boom. But that doesn’t mean the events of June 26, 1974, didn’t usher in a transformation. On that day a checkout clerk slid a ten-pack of Juicy Fruit gum over a bar-code scanner at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The cash register automatically displayed the price, and an era was born.

The IBM UPC barcode is everywhere in our lives. As somebody who was not alive before barcodes became ubiquitous, I can’t imagine life without them. The mere thought of a weekly grocery shopping trip without barcodes is the material of nightmares.

My favourite use of the barcode though is in making self-serve checkouts possible. I gravitate toward self-serve checkouts when I’m in a store which has them. I just find the process of dealing with a competent (if slightly naggy) computer to be much more enjoyable than the process of dealing with a checkout operator who wants to argue with me about how many packets of biscuits I’m buying.

Happy birthday to the commercial use of the barcode!


June 26th, 2009 at 11:02pm

Arctic still not warming: heading for bumper ice season

Average temperatures in the Arctic have not gone above zero degrees Celsius yet this year, which makes this year a particularly cold year up there as normally the average temperatures would be above zero by now.

The average arctic temperature is still not above (take your pick) 32°F 0°C 273.15°K–this the latest date in fifty years of record keeping that this has happened. Usually it is beginning to level off now and if it does so, it will stay near freezing on average in the arctic leading to still less melting than last summer which saw a 9% increase in arctic ice than in 2007.

Yes, that’s right, it’s the coldest year on record for the Arctic, and they not only had a 9% increase in ice last year, but they’re on track for another bumper ice season.

Temperatures usually begin flatlining in late June which would suggest less ice loss, although the water temperature beneath plays a key role and all of the warm water that entered the Arctic when the Atlantic was very warm in the middle 2000s (now is nearer normal) may not have circulated out yet.

And there we have further support for the fact that the planet is cooling. The seas were warmer a few years ago than they are now.

Meanwhile CNN’s Ross Hays has even more good news:

Kiruna had had the coldest June in 150 years!

Kiruna, incidentally, is in Sweeden, where Ross is based.


1 comment June 26th, 2009 at 04:50pm

Senator Steve Fielding sides with the truth

As I noted yesterday on Facebook (and thanks to Padders for pointing it out to me), I am very pleased to see that Senator Steve Fielding has sided with the truth, and declared that global warming/climate change is not caused by human activity.

After talks with the government and top scientists, Senator Fielding, whose vote could be crucial in passing the Federal Government’s plan to put a price on carbon emissions, has released a document setting out his position.

“Global temperature isn’t rising,” it says.
Senator Fielding’s document was prepared with the help of some of the country’s most prominent climate-sceptic scientists.

It says it is a “fact” that the evidence does not support the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous global warming.

The even better news is that this could be the end of Kevin Rudd ridiculous Emission Trading Scheme.

The Government is struggling to muster enough votes to pass the legislation ahead of a vote scheduled for tomorrow [Thursday/yesterday].

Senator Fielding’s stance appears to torpedo the chance of the scheme passing as the Government would need his support, as well as that of the Greens and independent Nick Xenophon.

The support of the Greens is not assured. The party is concerned that the Government’s model for emissions trading lets big polluters off too lightly and has an emissions reduction target which is too weak to do any good.
If all cross-bench senators reject the ETS, the Government would need the support of the Opposition to pass the scheme.

Since that article appeared on Wednesday, the vote on the ETS has been delayed until August.


1 comment June 26th, 2009 at 03:35pm

Gym subsidies for the obese; price hikes on alcohol and cigarettes

I’m playing catch-up here with stories from the last few days, so I apologise that some of these stories are a few days old, but this one made me fall off my chair when I heard about it.

One of the federal government’s infamous “taskforces” are proposing that obese people be given subsidies on gym memberships.

OVERWEIGHT people could be paid to lose weight under a radical plan to combat the nation’s obesity crisis.

The Rudd Government’s National Preventative Health Taskforce is next week expected to call for tax breaks or subsidies for gym memberships and fitness equipment. Parents could also get tax breaks to help pay for children’s sports club membership.

Junk food ads could be banned in children’s TV time and there could be new voluntary restrictions cutting salt and fat in packaged food. Fast-food restaurants could also be asked to give a calorie count on menus.

So let me get this straight…if I go and put on 500kg in the next two days, I could get a subsidised gym membership? Great! Somebody ring McDonalds and get them to bring a truck to my place.

A Sydney resident has been quoted in the article, stealing my thunder. Why should fat people be paid to join gyms, when people who aren’t fat (like me) have to fork out excessive amounts of our hard earned dollars to join gyms if we want to improve our physical fitness?

Darlinghurst resident Fleur Carter said yesterday it was unfair to offset the cost of overweight people to use the gym when the same scheme wasn’t extended to other people.

The 26-year-old pays $90 a month to use City Gym, where she is exercising to try to put back on weight she lost after a recent illness.

“You have got other people as well who have got health things like asthma where it is medically better for them to be fit,” she said.

“The Government doesn’t pay for them to go to the gym.”

And in signs that Australia is headed for a soft tyranny under Kevin Rudd after all, we’re all being told to change our lifestyles to fit the government’s agenda.

Employers will also be asked to do their bit by encouraging employees to stand while using the phone, instituting meetings as participants walk and organising regular work breaks.

Meanwhile the long-suffering smokers and drinkers are once again set to be forced to pay more to do something which is perfectly legal.

The cost of a pack of cigarettes could also rise by as much as $3 a pack to encourage 130,000 people to quit smoking and the taskforce will call for new restrictions on pubs and other venues selling alcohol.

And the justification for a soft tyranny? Further down in the article, this hoary old chestnut is trotted out as a reason.

The task force has warned, unless we change our lifestyles, the next generation may be the first to live for a shorter period than their parents.

How many times have we heard that one?

Meanwhile, over at Smart Company, recent ABS statistics have been interpreted in this headline:

The more we spend on weight loss, the fatter we get

Yes, it seems that despite our increase in spending on our personal fitness, we continue to expand.

62% of the country’s population was overweight during 2007-08, up from 54% the previous year

Gym membership…I think I’ll pass thanks Kevin.


June 26th, 2009 at 01:09pm

RIP Farrah Fawcett

I am also saddened today by the passing of Farrah Fawcett at the age of 62. I’m not particularly familiar with her work, but do recall seeing her appear in the television series I Dream Of Jeannie, and I sympathised with her over her battle with cancer.

Farrah Fawcett, the multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated American actress best known for her role as the vivacious Jill Munroe in the 1970s television series “Charlie’s Angels,” died in a Santa Monica hospital. She was 62.

Her spokesman, Paul Bloch, confirmed that the iconic actress died Thursday morning at 9:28 a.m. PDT. [2:28 AM AEST]

Her long-time partner Ryan O’Neal told People magazine Thursday, “She’s gone. She now belongs to the ages … She’s now with her mother and sister and her God. I loved her with all my heart. I will miss her so very, very much. She was in and out of consciousness. I talked to her all through the night. I told her how very much I loved her. She’s in a better place now.”
Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006 and, despite going into remission and enduring extensive chemotherapy and surgery both in the U.S. and Germany, it was revealed earlier this year that the cancer had spread to her liver. She stopped receiving treatment in May.

Fawcett documented the trials and tribulations of her battle with cancer in the NBC documentary “Farrah’s Story.”

Without doubt, this is a very sad day for the entertainment industry.


3 comments June 26th, 2009 at 12:09pm

Jerk of the week nomination

My nomination for Casey and Heather’s “Jerk Of The Week”. Segment should air on just after 11am Canberra time.
Update: Segment delayed to tomorrow due to coverage of the death of Michael Jackson. End Update

Your “Jerk of the Week” submission
Drivers who don’t stop at pedestrian crossings

Why should this person be the “Jerk of the Week”?
Especially when said people are driving a bus!

Your Name (Optional)
Samuel Gordon-Stewart

June 26th, 2009 at 10:55am

RIP Michael Jackson

I was most disturbed to wake up a bit under an hour ago to the news that Michael Jackson has died, aged 50.

Music icon Michael Jackson, whose fame spanned from his childhood with the legendary Jackson 5 to a superstar solo career that earned him the nickname ‘King of Pop,’ died Thursday afternoon at a Los Angeles hospital, a source close to the family told FOX News. He was 50.

Debra Opri, a former Jackson family attorney, confirmed the singers death after other media reported that he had fallen into a coma. He reportedly was taken by ambulance at 12:30 p.m. local time to UCLA Medical Center, where he died at 3:15 p.m.

Multiple reports said he had gone into cardiac arrest, though the official cause of death wasn’t immediately known. A news conference is expected later Thursday at the hospital, where fans have gathered to pay tribute to the singer.

Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

I was also most disturbed to see some people harping on about Michael Jackson being a paedophile. These people need to keep one thing in mind.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested the 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. [..] The case took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was never convicted, in fact he was acquitted, and if he were still alive, such accusations would be considered slander.

The important thing on this sad day is to remember Jackson for his wonderful talents, and to a lesser extent, his interesting personality.

Jackson will receive my Musician Of The Week award on Sunday, and today receives the Samuel Salute.

May you rest in peace Michael. The world misses you.


4 comments June 26th, 2009 at 10:04am

Ludicrous court battles

The stuff which clogs up out courts…some days I just have to foam at the mouth and fail to produce sentences.

the classic children’s ditty Kookaburra and the Men At Work hit Down Under are set to go head-to-head in court amid accusations part of the rock anthem is a rip-off, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Music publishing company Larrikin owns the Kookaburra song and claims the melody that accompanies the line “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree” is reproduced in Down Under. The case is due to start in full within days.

A fresh battle erupted yesterday, with lawyers for Down Under songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert, and music giants Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sony DADC Australia, EMI Songs Australia and EMI Music Publishing, claiming Larrikin doesn’t actually have copyright to Kookaburra – the Girl Guides do.
The entertainment giants, along with [Colin] Hay and [Ron] Strykert, have lodged a counter-claim against Larrikin alleging misleading or deceptive conduct.

The part of the Down Under song that is alleged to have breached copyright is the distinctive flute riff.

According to court documents, lawyers for the songwriters and the record companies will argue “the Down Under work does not incorporate the whole or any substantial part of the Kookaburra work”.

As this is before the courts, I should refrain from comment…I’ll just foam at the mouth in disbelief instead.


June 26th, 2009 at 09:36am

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