Archive for March, 2013

I hope you have had a wonderful and blessed Easter

I have been working across the entire Easter weekend, have enjoyed Easter and have found time to reflect upon the reason for Easter. It is a very important time of the year and one which I fear is treated as a meaningless holiday by far too many.

Over the course of the weekend, I have found Mark 9:31 to be quite meaningful and uplifting.

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be [a]delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”

Of course Easter is a time to celebrate, and a time which excites Nattie and Pebbles due to the deliveries of the Easter Bunny.

With Pebbles, Easter eggs have to be kept out of reach, lest they get carted away.

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Nattie, on the other hand, has seen enough Easters to be more mature about the arrival of the eggs.

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

One thing which I do not understand about Easter is the public holiday structure. Obviously Good Friday is very important, but the Saturday and Monday do not make as much sense, as the Sunday is the day of the resurrection.

I suppose that, back when the Easter public holidays were enshrined in law, people worked on Saturday but not Sunday, so making the Saturday a public holiday made sense, and in the interests of observing the Sunday holiday for those who did not work on Saturdays, the Monday was also made a public holiday. Alas now, in the age of a 38-hour standard working week where “normal” is considered Monday to Friday work, but with a large portion of the population doing shift work at all times of the day and all days of the week, I think it would make more sense for the public holidays to be on the significant holy dates (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) with the Monday retained as a public holiday as an observance of the Sunday for the benefit of those who do not normally work on a Sunday, as well as those who are required to work on such an important day.

In my view, rearranging the public holidays in such a way would, in a small way, help to reassert the importance of Easter in the minds of the population-at-large.


4 comments March 31st, 2013 at 11:47pm

NRL Tips: Round 4

Sea Eagles V Tigers
Bulldogs V Rabbitohs
Broncos V Storm
Sharks V Dragons
Panthers V Titans
Knights V Raiders
Warriors V Cowboys
Roosters V Eels


March 28th, 2013 at 06:58pm

AFL Tips: Round 1

The first round of the AFL is a split round, with two matches this weekend and the rest next weekend. I’m posting all of my tips for the round today, and I may provide an interim results update before the start of next week’s matches.

Adelaide V Essendon
Fremantle V West Coast
Carlton V Richmond
Western Bulldogs V Brisbane
GWS V Sydney
Gold Coast V St. Kilda
Melbourne V Port Adelaide
Hawthorn V Geelong


March 22nd, 2013 at 06:48pm

On today’s alleged Labor leadership spill

At 2:10pm I stated what seemed obvious to me about the leadership spill.

My tweet this afternoon

(As Twitter has gone crazy and refuses to show timestamps from my timezone, here is the automatic cross-post to facebook)

My tweet this afternoon

Prediction: Leadership spill is a stunt. Gillard will be reelected unopposed (autocorrect says unpolished) and will lose September election.

I was right. It was a stunt. The aim was to make Labor appear united by having Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan reelected unanimously and unopposed. Simon Crean was fired from his ministries to keep up appearances…just you watch, Simon will be given a nice cosy job after a discreet period of time so that he can gracefully retire from the stupidity of Federal Labor in its current form.


2 comments March 21st, 2013 at 07:01pm

NRL Tips: Round 3

After two weeks of getting four right and four wrong, it’s time that I get at least one more right…will it happen though?

Here are my tips for this week.

Storm V Bulldogs
Tigers V Eels
Titans V Sea Eagles
Roosters V Broncos
Sharks V Warriors
Panthers V Rabbitohs
Raiders V Dragons
Knights V Cowboys

AFL tips, for the entirety of the split round, will follow tomorrow.


March 21st, 2013 at 06:28pm

NRL Tips: Round 2 results

Before I put in my tips for this week, a look back at how I fared last week.

Eels V Bulldogs +4
Dragons V Broncos -16
Cowboys V Storm -22
Warriors V Roosters -2
Titans V Raiders +36
Tigers V Panthers -10
Sea Eagles V Knights +32
Rabbitohs V Sharks +2

Another week where I got four right and four wrong, but unlike last week some big margins went in my favour.

Round 2 total: +24
Round 1 total: -20

Total for the year so far: +4


March 21st, 2013 at 06:22pm

Harry Reid linking the death of Marines to the spending sequester

An email to the quite excellent Tom Marr of WCBM 680AM in Baltimore, Maryland. Tom will be filling in for Mark Levin on his nationally syndicated show next week.

Hi Tom,

I couldn’t agree more with you about Harry Reid. What happened to those Marines is a tragedy, but Harry Reid’s attempt to link it to the sequester is disgusting.

As an Australian, I can put up with hearing Harry Reid when I tune in to American radio, but I nearly took an axe to the radio when Harry Reid turned up on an Australian radio newscast yesterday.

I’m looking forward to hearing you on The Great One’s show on Monday.

Kind regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra, Australia

March 21st, 2013 at 02:01am

Magnet Mart rebranding as Home Hardware

Canberra and Queanbeyan hardware chain Magnet Mart, which is currently in a state of partial-rebrandedness, will completely rebrand to Home hardware within the next day or two, as a television advertising campaign for Home Hardware which is set to hit TV screens within the next couple of days will claim that Home Hardware is “now open” in locations which currently house Magnet Mart stores.

This change has been on the cards for a long time. Magnet Mart opened in 1985 in Queanbeyan on the corner of Yass Rd and Aurora Ave, a location where it still has a store today. It later expanded in to Canberra by taking over hardware stores in Phillip and Belconnen. The Phillip store still exists but the Belconnen store closed some time ago and the site has since become a Good Guys electrical retailer. A further store was opened in Gungahlin in 2002

Magnet Mart also opened stores outside the Canberra and Queanbeyan area, of which it still operates the Bowral and Goulburn stores.

In 2011 a company called Danks bought Magnet Mart, which had been a family-owned business until this time. Danks already owned Home Hardware and Thrifty-Link Hardware at this stage, however it was stated that Magnet Mart stores would remain branded as “Magnet Mart” for “the foreseeable future”. It seems that we have now reached the unforeseen portion of the future.

Danks, incidentally, is owned by Woolworths. Woolworths directly owns and runs the Masters chain of hardware stores, one of which is located near Canberra Airport, however despite owning Danks, Woolworths exerts less direct control over the Danks-owned brands than it does over Masters.

Last night when the impending advertising campaign regarding the completed rebranding of Magnet Mart was brought to my attention, I decided that it would be a good idea to head out and get some photos of an icon of Canberra’s history before it completely disappears, and so after work in the wee hours of the morning, I did just that. Before that though, I checked out the Magnet Mart and Home Hardware websites to see how they were progressing with the rebranding.

On the Magnet Mart site, the old site is still there but it is quite clear that changes are being made.

Magnet Mart website on the night of March 19, 2013

Over at Home Hardware, they seem to be ready to claim full ownership of the stores as their map of stores in the Canberra region identifies all of the Magnet Mart stores and, although it names them as Magnet Mart, it uses a Home Hardware icon for them on the map.

Home Hardware website on the morning of March 20, 2013

Before I go on, I should apologise for the quality of some of the photos which appear below. They were taken in the early hours of the morning on my phone as I thought it might seem a bit suspicious if I went home and picked up my proper camera.

The Gungahlin Magnet Mart store is in an intriguing state of dual branding. The main sign on the building has been changed to the “we’re almost Home Hardware” sign.

Magnet Mart Gungahlin on the morning of March 20, 2013

As has the main outside sign, but the building itself still carries the “start smart” Magnet Mart branding.

Magnet Mart Gungahlin on the morning of March 20, 2013

In Phillip, the rebranding is a few steps behind. One of the outside signs has been changed.

Magnet Mart Phillip on the morning of March 20, 2013

It is interesting to note that updating branding was never something Magnet Mart did in any hurry. The base of that sign contains the “Always cheaper” slogan which Magnet Mart used through the 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s.

Approaching the Phillip Magnet Mart building from the western end of Hindmarsh Drive, there is no sign of impending change (above sign excepted).

Magnet Mart Phillip on the morning of March 20, 2013

And a closer look at the Hindmarsh Drive side of the building.

Magnet Mart Phillip on the morning of March 20, 2013

Although from the eastern end of Hindmarsh Drive, things are a little more obvious.

Magnet Mart Phillip on the morning of March 20, 2013

In Queanbeyan, at Magnet Mart’s original store, the rebranding is well and truly underway, as can be seen on the building and the large sign on Yass Road.

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

Showing its age, the signs advertising current specials on the side of the Magnet Mart building, do not contain the current “start smart” branding or the very old “always cheaper cheaper” branding, but instead an internet-era “low prices everyday” branding with a Magnet Mart website URL (the website is just below the word “Magnet”, although it doesn’t show up very clearly in this photo).

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

On the very poorly-lit Aurora Avenue, I was fortunate to have a passing truck’s tail lights providing a little bit of extra light for this photo of a completely un-rebranded side of the building.

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

Although the sign at the carpark entrance has been updated, and was the only sign I could see on any of the Magnet Mart stores on which the Home Hardware “go where the tradies go” slogan was visible.

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

And a building over the back of the premises (which can be seen from the street) has been updated, carrying both Home Hardware and Magnet Mart branding.

Magnet Mart Queanbeyan on the morning of March 20, 2013

Home Hardware has one existing store in the region which is in Queanbeyan’s southern suburb of Karabar. I have a vague memory of there being another Home Hardware store in Phillip some years back, separate to and small than the Magnet Mart store, however my research is only turning up a BBC Hardware (BBC was bought out by Bunnings, which is owned by Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, the main competitor of Woolworths, which owns Danks and therefore Magnet Mart and Home Hardware) store. Perhaps that BBC store was sold to Home Hardware and closed when Danks bough Magnet Mart, or perhaps I’m remembering a Home Hardware store somewhere else in Canberra, but I’m absolutely certain that at some stage I went in to a Home Hardware store in Canberra with Dad, and it certainly wasn’t in Karabar.

Anyway, the Karabar Home Hardware store is a tad interesting in that it is the only store in the region which seems to be displaying the Home Hardware mascots Sandy and Rusty.

Home Hardware Karabar on the morning of March 20, 2013

This is in stark contrast to one of the other Home Hardware stores way over the other side of the country in Merrendin in Western Australia. That store gives Rusty and Sandy pride of place, and even goes by the name of “Two Dogs Hardware”.
Two Dogs Hardware in Merrendin
(image credit: Two Dogs Hardware’s Facebook page)

The Karabar store also has the slightly out-of-date Home Hardware slogan “the proper hardware store” on some of its signage.

Home Hardware Karabar on the morning of March 20, 2013

And also has a sign promoting the “dogalogue sale”…because a store with dogs as mascots can’t have a catalogue.

Home Hardware Karabar on the morning of March 20, 2013

It is also the only Home Hardware store in the region with its very own covered carpark, although it probably does share it with the adjoining shopping centre.

Home Hardware Karabar on the morning of March 20, 2013

So, Magnet Mart is almost gone. It’s the end of an era in Canberra, and a little sad for me as I grew up with Magnet Mart commercials. Up until about the mid-1990s they used a jingle with which I enjoyed singing along. Courtesy of Frank of Franskter’s Archives, here is the audio of a Magnet Mart television commercial from 1987 containing that jingle.

Download MP3

Also thanks to Frank, I have a recording of myself singing along to a Magnet Mart commercial in 1994. Frank did a great job of restoring the tape from which this clip came, and I have a bunch more tapes of myself through my childhood years which I will be entrusting to Frank to digitise and clean up.

Download MP3

I suppose I should note that I did enjoy the hijinks of Rusty and Sandy the dogs when they featured prominently in the Home Hardware commercials, so at least I will still see some link to my childhood in the new Home Hardware stores, even if the memory isn’t quite as old and fond as the old Magnet Mart jingle.

I suppose some people might think it a tad odd that I drove all over Canberra and Queanbeyan to take photos of hardware stores in the dark after 2am, and they may have a point, but alas I doubt that I’ll have time during the daylight hours today and I wanted to be sure that I could document the stores before they completely lose the Magnet Mart logos and branding.


March 20th, 2013 at 08:20am

No Frills generic brand products in Supabarn

Today I was very surprised to see something which I didn’t think I would ever see.

For as long as I can remember, Supabarn supermarkets have stocked Black & Gold products as their generic brand. People who have been reading this blog for many years would remember many years ago that I noted Black & Gold adding images to their labels.

Today, while in Supabarn in Watson, I saw that in addition to Black & Gold, No Frills branded generics were on the shelves.

Black & Gold sugar, No Frills sugar, and some other sugars on the shelves of Supabarn Watson
Black & Gold sugar, No Frills sugar, and some other sugars on the shelves of Supabarn Watson

No Frills has been the primary generic brand of Franklins Supermarkets for decades, and I have fond memories of my family buying No Frills products when Franklins had two stores in Canberra. In fact I still have some No Frills products at home which have withstood the test of time.

No Frills sugar on the shelves of Supabarn Watson
No Frills sugar on the shelves of Supabarn Watson

No Frills, it would seem, has remained true to its name and has not made much in the way of fancy stylistic changes to its packaging, which is in stark contrast to the slightly more fancy Black & Gold labels.

Black & Gold sugar on the shelves of Supabarn Watson
Black & Gold sugar on the shelves of Supabarn Watson

The modern No Frills logo is similar in plainness to the Black & Gold logos from 2006 and earlier
Old Black & Gold label design
From the Samuel’s Blog archives: Black & Gold label in 2006

It will be interesting to see if Supabarn continue to stock both generic brands. If so, in the interests of healthy competition, it is probably a better way to handle having multiple generic brands than the ways Coles and Woolworths do it with brands they own and control.


March 19th, 2013 at 08:46pm

NRL Tips: Round 2

Yesterday, as I was in a bit of a rush, I put in a tip for last night’s match and put off the rest of the rounds tips until today. This post includes the tip from last night, with its result.

Eels V Bulldogs +4
Dragons V Broncos
Cowboys V Storm
Warriors V Roosters
Titans V Raiders
Tigers V Panthers
Sea Eagles V Knights
Rabbitohs V Sharks


March 15th, 2013 at 03:59pm

NRL Tips: Round 1 Results

As I noted last week when I submitted these tips, I’m not using a simple win/loss scoring system, but a margin based scoring system where my score is determined by the margin of the win or loss of the team I selected.

So, last week’s results.

Roosters V Rabbitohs +18
Broncos V Sea Eagles -8
Eels V Warriors -30
Bulldogs V Cowboys -12
Panthers V Raiders +22
Storm V Dragons +20
Sharks V Titans +2
Knights V Tigers -32

Round 1 Total: -20

I would have been better off under the old scoring system, but this is a bit more fun.


March 15th, 2013 at 03:52pm

NRL tip for tonight

I’m not going to have time to post all of my tips for this round today, so I’ll just post the one for tonight.

I’m tipping the Bulldogs to beat the Eels.

I believe that last week, my scoring system didn’t do me any favours. I got four tips right and four wrong, but ended up with minus twenty. I’ll double check that and post results tomorrow before I post the rest of this week’s tips.


March 14th, 2013 at 04:40pm

NRL Tips: Round 1

I’m going to have another go at the footy tips this year, but with a slightly different scoring system. Rather than points based on the winner or loser of a match, points will be based on the margin of the game, so if the team I tip wins by 6 points, then I gain six points, but if they lose by 6 points then I lose six points.

Given how bad my tips tend to be, the aim will simply be to finish the year with a positive score.

So, my tips for round 1 of the NRL.

Roosters V Rabbitohs
Broncos V Sea Eagles
Eels V Warriors
Bulldogs V Cowboys
Panthers V Raiders
Storm V Dragons
Sharks V Titans
Knights V Tigers


1 comment March 7th, 2013 at 07:18pm

What makes a safe driver?

An email to 2UE’s Jason Morrison who, this afternoon, posed the question, “what makes a safe driver?”

Hi Jason,

I got suspended from driving last year for accumulating too many demerit points for speeding offences (one was in double demerits on a road which a week later had the speed limit increased, but that’s beside the point). My insurance company knows I’m suspended because I told them…and yet they still sent me a letter to inform me that my “safe driver status” has been upgraded.

According to my insurance company, paying my premiums on time makes me a safe driver.


Samuel Gordon-Stewart

1 comment March 5th, 2013 at 03:14pm

If you didn’t see Mary Kissel’s speech and want a better understanding of the current state of American politics, watch it!

It is somewhat unfortunate but true that the majority of the Australian media, either for lack of room or interest, does not provide a complete picture when it covers American political and economic news.

It is understandable, as most US news outlets do the same for Australian news, but it is also frustrating at times when basic facts about American politics are relatively unknown in Australia and vice-versa. This is why I sought out US talk radio back in 2008, and why I was so impressed today with Mary Kissel’s address to the National Press Club.

Mary Kissel at the Australian National Press Club
Mary Kissel moments before her address

Mary eloquently explained the current state of affairs in the US and how it differs from the version of events which is generally reported outside the US. It was fascinating and reassuring to hear from an American journalist that most of the things which I know to be true about the current state of US politics (as I take an active interest and do not rely entirely on Australian media reports) are in fact the truth. It was also very exciting to hear such information being espoused on as mainstream a stage as the National Press Club.

I expect that Mary’s address will be on ABC iView or YouTube soon. As I’m writing this on my phone it is a little hard to check, but I will post a link at the first available opportunity.
Update: Or not. It doesn’t appear to be online anywhere. I did record the ABC News 24 feed so maybe I’ll have to put it online myself. End Update


1 comment March 5th, 2013 at 02:02pm

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