Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

Boxing Day in Australia is not snow and hot drinks; rather it is ice in cold drinks, or cold drinks on ice! It can be beach and sunburn or recovery on the lounge watching one of the regular sporting events that have become de rigeur for Aussies on this day.

There isn’t a lot of commemoration of the original reason for Boxing Day anymore, and I don’t think the crowds camping outside Myer and David Jones in the big cities had giving leftovers to the poor on their minds.

I have a strong memory of a cartoon which appeared in a Sydney newspaper on Boxing Day a fair while ago. It showed a fierce looking woman, who had survived
the traumas of Christmas Day, standing with hands on hips, berating a rather the worse for wear aussie bloke sprawled in a chair, and telling him in no uncertain terms that “if they can play cricket and sail to Hobart today, you can get out of that chair and mow the lawn before mother arrives!”

I couldn’t find the cartoon; but here is a video of the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and a picture from the Boxing Day Test from the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground – hallowed ground for cricket in Australia), with Australia playing South Africa. The photo is of the Australian captain Ricky Ponting thanking the crowd after he reached his 100 runs.

Update 29 December Wild Oats Xl was the line honours winner and Quest the overall winner on corrected time. Video is no longer current so below is a picture of Wild Oats Xl sailing into Hobart.
(Picture from Rolex - Daniel Forster)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace on Earth …Goodwill to All

I personally wish you and yours the very best Christmas, and a healthy new year, filled with successes, good friends, family, and love.

Click on the link below to some photos of Christmas around the world. The last photo in the series will take you to another gallery, with some interesting topics, but the Christmas of Yesteryear is also worth a look.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas – the true meaning

Thinking about Christmas this year has caused me a certain amount of concern.

I don’t really feel Christmassy. Actually, how do you feel Christmassy? I am not really sure. Can I ignore it, and if I do, will it just slip quietly past and ignore me?

No, somehow I don’t think so.

Even if I was able to avoid the full onslaught of advertising on the television and other media so blatantly in your face by, not just fast forwarding the ads on time shifted TV, but actually switching it off for awhile, it has seemed that in this time of so called belt pulling in, big money is still being spent on quantity rather than necessarily quality for Christmas.

I am not Bill Gates or James Packer, not even related to either them, to have the money to spend up big time; but if the advertising is getting just a small percentage of the populace in, a heck of a lot of money is being spent on gifts in the name of Christmas this year.

I have just opened a Christmas letter from good friends and the following paragraph opens their letter. I could not put it better …

The bright lights of Christmas are more welcome than ever this year. Cutting back is the thing to do this year with our spending on “things.” Let’s hope we don’t cut back on the true meaning of Christmas.

- each day 900 million people across the globe will go without any food at all, while another 200 million are on the brink of starvation

- 105,000 Australians who are homeless each night

- Australian Bureau of Statistics figures indicate more than 22,000 children under the age of five sleep in crisis accommodation at some stage each year.

Scarey stuff? I bet it is scarey for them.

So, before you rush out in the last shopping hours before Christmas … just slow down, breathe in deeply for a minute and think a little about those many people out there, maybe not even too far away from where you are, who are not looking forward to Christmas one little bit.


The parents who can’t even afford a real meal for their kids, against the latest expensive gizmo you just have to buy your kids, so that you can feel content in being the good dad or mum.

The mother with the young baby, who wonders where she will shelter tonight, against that new theatre sound system you just have to have for the media room.

No, don’t cut back on the true meaning of Christmas this year.

Think about maybe a small gift to some organization which is helping others over this season of peace and goodwill to all (and all through the year). Or, lash out and make it a generous gift. That will really make you feel good. There are plenty of choices … you decide.

As well as the obvious names that we see throughout the year, one I like is
For $25 you can restore someone’s sight. Wow! Think about that. Maybe you could afford a little bit each month; that’s a gift that keeps on giving. Give it a go.

Peace on earth, goodwill to all of you this Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Drunken Santas cause problems for Melbourne Police … a ho ho hold up for traffic

Some Qantas staff disembarked and hit the streets staggering in Melbourne on Friday night and the police were not amused – they didn’t give them traffic clearance. A 400 strong Santa themed pub crawl, rumoured to include a large number of Qantas staff who flew in from Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, met with the law in the suburb of Carlton and I believe they didn’t share Christmas drinks.

See the full story and comments:,27574,24828631-5014262,00.html

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas spin by seasonal political workers

What do I need to say? Yep that's it ... nothin!

by Thaves
Just click to make it larger.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Respectable journal cover colour matches faces

Often when I have been travelling in Asia, I have seen a nicely coloured Tshirt and thought I would bring it home as a souvenir. On looking closer there will sometimes be a series of Chinese/Japanese characters also adorning it, and the shirt stays where it is. Why? Because I don’t understand what the characters say and would like to know what I, or the person I purchase said Tshirt for, is wearing emblazoned across their chest or back. Yes, perhaps it could be funny, or perhaps even partly funny in translation … but also, maybe not.

Editors of the respected research institute MaxPlanckForschung had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China. Not what they got! It ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club, extolling the lusty details of stripping housewives instead! Big oops! Well, at least it matched the colours of some faces.

And in somewhat of a double whammy, publication of the journal caused some anger among touchier internet users in China who felt the institute had done it on purpose to insult China, or that it was disrespectful to use Chinse as a decoration.

But generally, the faux-pas sparked much amusement among Chinese readers.

The Max Planck Institute was quick to acknowledge its error explaining that it had consulted a German sinologist prior to publication of the text.

Next time, guys, get someone who can actually read the characters … perhaps someone from China?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It aint all Bull here … it’s news from afar

A bull bought for the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival charged through a posh shopping mall in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, causing panic and damaging several shops. (Was one a china shop?)

No one was hurt in the incident which took place in the city's Gulshan diplomatic area.

Guards captured the bull in a net and handed it back to its owners, police and witnesses said.

Parts of the Bangladesh capital, a city of 11 million people, have turned into cattle markets ahead of Eid on Tuesday, when officials say up to 2.5 million bulls and goats would be slaughtered across the city.

Slaughtering animals and sharing meat with relatives and the poor are mandatory for every Muslim who can afford it.

And here I was, thinking this sort of headline only happened in Darwin newspapers.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Red pen too aggressive, Queensland teachers told …

For a moment, when I read this, I wondered if it was April 1!

Deputy Opposition Leader Mark McArdle was referring to a document proposing "strategies for addressing mental health wellbeing in any classroom".

The part he highlighted (excuse the pun): "Don't mark in a red pen (which can be seen as aggressive) - use a different colour."

"Given your 10-year-old Labor government presides over the lowest numeracy and literacy standards of any state in Australia, don't you think it's time we focused on classroom outcomes rather than these kooky, loony, loopy, lefty policies?" Mr McArdle asked. Ummm … good point perhaps?

Premier Anna Bligh called the question trivial at a time of "such economic peril".

I must admit that I agree with one of the commentators who muses that they are not sure which is the most worrying; the fact it was a report commissioned by the government, it was brought up in parliament or that the Premier dismissed it as trivial.

If you have time, read at least some of the comments; you will either get a laugh or a jolt of fear …,27574,24745013-421,00.html

Reminds me about a post I did back in September.