Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Aaahhhhh, Moral Equivalency.

Which is more offensive? This?

Or This?

All this, because Australia is exercising the sovereign right to grant visas to asylum seekers from Papua.

So I guess this means that the Indonesians are not happy about this.

Amazing stuff, when not too long ago we were being caned for not granting visas.

The biggest question in my mind at the moment, though, is not about when we'll start rioting over the offence, but what will John Pilger have to say about all this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The TMI Files. Child's Play.

You can learn a lot about what is in a child's life by watching their play-acting.

I have had many hours watching Magilla interacting with her toys as well as other people and animals, and it's eternally fascinating. You get to see socialisation and the development of a person taking place before your eyes.

One of my friends who had been going through challenging times with her other half was on the phone to me quite upset because she'd found her own daughter play-acting with her dolls. Mummy and Daddy shouted at each other, and the baby doll was sad. It was a rude awakening for my friend, and ever since, she and her husband have been a lot more careful about what is said in front of the kids.

She has a very strong marriage which was under a lot of pressure for a lot of reasons which have mainly resolved themselves, so while she got a shock, it's unlikely that the children will suffer from any adverse effects. I think that if anything, the kids will be much stronger, as they would have seen that their parents dealt with their difficulties in a mature manner and resolved their differences.

Unfortunately, not all kids have that luxury, and all they see are adults treating others with disdain and a lack of care. They don't see the resolution of the conflicts, so don't always realise that there are ways to sort things without too much pain.

But back to my own little pitcher with amazingly big ears.

I have yet to see her shout harshly at her toys. Usually it's all cuddles and playing in the park and shopping.

Although, I did cringe when I came across her with her farm animals.

The goat was in the corner with the horse telling it: "That's for giving me altitude. You stay in that corner until you say sorry!"

While Supernanny has a lot of handy hints, getting a toddler to say sorry didn't quite work in this household. Sorry is now a pre-emptive strategy against the threat of discipline for misbehaviour that has now lost its efficacy. I need to find another word for remorse, I think.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Khamenei's Angels. Hot stuff.

You may or may not have heard of Iran training women to be police officers. I did catch a snippet of it on the teev in passing last year and it pretty much faded away.

I may have given it little thought, due to life and other things, but Alhamedi over at The Religious Policeman has taken the mickey out of the training video for these new policewomen.

If you want a giggle, head on over. It broke me right up! :)

Friday, March 24, 2006

There's Something About Rachel.

So I get my regular AJPP newsletter, and what do I find?


1. 30 years on - Remember Land Day - dinner and fundraising auction,
7pm, Thursday 30 March, Greater Indian Restaurant, Curtin shops ,
Speakers, the new Palestinian Ambassador to Australia, Mr Izzat Abdul-Hadi and
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, cost $35 or $25 concession, Ph. Kathryn on
6282 5366 or 0417 269 984 for bookings

2. Sydney launch of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine,
and commemoration of Land Day, 3pm – 5pm, Sunday 2nd April, 2006, CFMEU
BUILDING, 12 Railway Street, Lidcombe, (opposite Lidcombe station) -
Contact:Jamal Daoud on 0413 467 367,

3. Troops Out of Iraq - Defend Civil Liberties - No scapegoating of
Muslims, Monday March 27, 2006 Give Tony Blair the welcome he deserves!
Rally 10.30 am, Lawns of Federal Parliament, Canberra
March 12.30pm to British High Commission
Speakers include: Senator Kerry Nettle - Senator Carmen Lawrence -
Donna Mulhearn (Pilgrims for Peace) - Keysar Trad (Islamic Friendship
Assoc of Australia) - Tony Kevin (author & journalist)

4. 3rd Anniversary of the Death of Rachel Corrie – March 16th. Protest
against the cancellation of the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie," see

5. SA Friends of Palestine – Tour of Palestine, September 2006. See

6. Next AJPP organising meeting is 12.15pm, Tuesday 28th March, Pilgrim
House, Northbourne Ave. – all welcome.

7. MAIN STORIES – ‘So Much for "Sunshine Week" AP Erases Video of
Israeli Soldier Shooting Palestinian Boy by Alison Weir

8. Press Release The assault on Jericho is a scandal:ISRAEL MUST

9. 23 Feb report of Israeli’s plan to starve Palestinians into
submission shown to be correct.

WOW! A Whole New World of Moonbattery!

Welcome to the world of Rachel's Words.

In case you have been sleeping for the past few years, you may remember that young Ms Corrie left her home and family in America to fight for the Palestinian people's right to their own homeland and against the Israeli people's right to the same.

She died under a bulldozer, and has since been immortalised in a play called, imaginatively enough, My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

I'm not writing about the play, or Rachel's short, interesting life.

This is about the site devoted to her words.

And I am particularly taken with the guestbook.

I encourage everyone to visit and perhaps leave a message of their own.

You, too could leave your mark amongst gems like these:

We all have a Rachel inside us. It is that inner voice that emphatizes with the underdog and speaks truth to power and tells us that sometimes we have to put our body on the line. By remembering Rachel and her work and words, we nurture that voice within us as we commit to continue and struggle for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and around the globe.

To have the courage to do what Rachel did is a very special gift. The world needs all of us to follow her lead in seeking PEACE in the Middle East.

My daughter is going to language school in Palestine, and wants to be part of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine. What Rachel did working for peace is so important. We all need to work for peace.

We pray to Allah to open their hearts as hers is open to aid the course of the oppressed.

There are any number of smart remarks I could make regarding the sentiments of those who worship on the altar of Rachel, but I think it would be better served to remind people that Rachel Corrie is only one woman.

There have been many others killed over in the disputed territories, as Tom Gross has listed.

Rachel Levy, 17
Rachel Charhi, 36
Rachel Gavish, 50
Rachel Kol, 53
Rachel Ben Abu, 16
Rachel Shabo, 40

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ruminations On Jizya

I like to read the muslim forums, particularly the Aussie ones. I like to get other perspectives, so I also read the catholic and other christian ones, too. I can't cope with the new-agey ones much. That is far too much moonbattery for even me.

As I was browsing, I came across an interesting thread in the MuslimVillage forum regarding a segment on TodayTonight a few weeks back. Unsurprisingly, TT doesn't have a transcript of this particular segment on their site, so you'll have to bear with me.

In a nutshell, it features a fellow up in Queensland on disability benefits with two wives, both on single parent's benefits. He sees nothing wrong with what he's doing, as his wives were both married to him in the local mosque (not at the same time) and therefore recognised in Islam even though they may not be legally recognised under Australian law. (Notwithstanding bigamy/polygamy being illegal in this country, of course). It gets better when it appears that both the wives are in separate houses supplied by the housing commission, and these are like hen's teeth to get into.

The question posed on the forum was: is it okay for this fellow to do this even though the wives are not recognised by the law? (Please note that the initial post claims that the man had 4 wives. The TT episode I saw had the fellow with 2 wives.)

My response would be: As a muslim, yes he can do this. He can claim all the benefits he can get his paws on, so long as his wives are recognised by Allah and under sharia, then he can sleep easy knowing his wives are (relatively) comfortably provided for.

Why do I say this when the views from the aussie muslims are:

First of all he has obviously lied and committed a sin, secondly he would be earning income that would be haraam if his wife were to claim single parent pension, which is income meant for single mothers.. but would he committing adultery because he divorced his wife in legal terms?

cheeaaatinggggggggg the systemmmmmmmm

how on earth can he afford it.

Shame on them all!

Islam preaches against extra-marital relationships, and now, because of people like this, Muslims are being accused of having relations outside matrimony. Because this is how the situation appears to outsiders (the goverment, non-Muslims etc)

These quotes are not all the comments, but they give a good summation of the confusion amongst the younger muslims here. No wonder they are disaffected and get upset when they see their religion being brought down by some bloke who claims he's a good aussie who can do whatever he likes. After all, it's a free country. Therefore, if he wants to have 2 wives and keep them breeding, he's within his rights to do so. It's the muslim way. He's getting his jizya so he's got no problems. (One of the wives was caught on camera talking about having kids until she's too old. She also got upset at someone suggesting that she was set because the government would feed, educate and shelter her kids!)

If we look at Sura 9, we find verse 29:
009.029 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

I guess the ambiguity comes in when you consider what is meant by the word "fight." Is it on the battlefield, or something more subtle.

However, that is ultimately irrelevant, as jizya is basically a poll tax. It is for christians and jews to pay to muslims. It is designed to subjugate them.

Welfare in the form of government handouts is acceptable as Imam Ibrahim Desai says:
Welfare ok? When my husband was student (now works), we joined Welfare. We live with in-laws, father works - middle-class. Someone told me we cannot accept welfare. Is this true?

What must I do? When my husband was student (now works), we joined Welfare. It provides some food and medical. We live with in-laws, father works - middle-class. Someone told me we cannot accept welfare, it must go to more needy people. Is this true? Is welfare like zakat? Is medical insurance ok? Is financial aid from govt ok to accept, even if not poor? It will be used for books, clothes etc. Should I pay it back?

1. We do not know the policy of the welfare organisation and hence our response will be a general one. Your family used to receive welfare assistance when your husband was a student. According to our understanding, he had no source of income at that stage. If the policy of the welfare is to provide assistance only to the unemployed or to students, then it will not be appropriate to continue receiving aid from the welfare as your husband is now employed. If that is not the policy of the welfare, and it provides general assistance to the poor and needy, then it will be appropriate to continue receiving assistance only according to the need.
If the salary of your husband suffices in fulfilling all the basic needs of the family, then it will be incorrect to receive assistance from the welfare.

2. It is not permissible to take our medical aid insurance.

3. It is permissible to receive government assistance even if one is not poor.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

(emphasis added)

The world is divided into Dar ul Islam and Dar ul Harb. The house of Islam and the House of War. That's pretty self-evident, but maybe not.

There are plenty of muslims who believe that the jizya is only 5% of a man's wage, and only men have to pay it. That may be the theory, but in practice, it's not quite that simple. Speak to any christians you know who come from countries with a muslim majority.

It's not only the jizya which often exceeds 5%, but also the prohibition on building or repairing houses of worship (churches and synagogues), the prohibition on preaching a religion other than Islam.

If we look at the case in the media at the moment of an apostate muslim in Afghanistan, who is facing the death penalty:

Mr Rahman is being prosecuted for an attack on Islam, the punishment for which, under the draft constitution established in 2004, is death.

“The Attorney-General is emphasising he should be hung,” Judge Alhaj Ansarullah Mawlawy Zada, who will be trying his case, told The Times. “It is a crime to convert to Christianity from Islam. He is teasing and insulting his family by converting. In your country (Britain) two women can marry; that is very strange. In this country we have the perfect constitution, it is Islamic law and it is illegal to be a Christian and it should be punished.”

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, has said that he would drop charges if Mr Rahman converted back to Islam, but he has so far refused to do so.

“He would be forgiven if he changed back, but he said he was a Christian and would always remain one . . . We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty.” In the first hearing of Mr Rahman’s case, Judge Zada, the head of the Primary Court, said that a verdict would be reached within two months.

and compare it with muslims living in Dar ul Harb.

So, yes, Mohammed in Queensland is doing fine. He is living according to Islamic laws. He does not recognise or accept the Australian laws as being above sharia, he is living in a state of ongoing war against the infidels - by accepting welfare payments, he is ensuring that his wives are supported, and it's not costing him personally! He gets to drain the coffers of those who would fight against Islam, and still participate in the advancing the cause of the Umma.

He is a Good Muslim.

One last note regarding the treatment of non-muslims in muslim lands: While we have all heard 2.256 There is no compulsion in religion.

How many hear the full verse? 2.256 There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

I do feel for the moderate muslims out there amongst the infidels. Especially the young ones. There is so much that they don't see, and as ever it's the young who pay the highest price.

(She says from the ripe old age of nearly 40!)

And They're Off!

The Commonwealth Games are so great that the athletes can't get away fast enough!

Currently, seven athletes from Sierra Leone, one from Tanzania and another from Bangladesh have disappeared from the Games Village.

Of course, that's nothing new for Sierra Leone. After all, 21 competitors from that nation went missing back in 2002 at the Manchester Games.

According to Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon:
``It's a matter for us to try to understand what's happened to them, so if they have suffered foul play we would be able to find that out and investigate.''

According to Nilk: I reckon they will lay low in their respective communities and when the fuss dies down come out of hiding and claim asylum.

There seems to be a growing trend of athletes absconding:

Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games: The Sierra Leoneans, 4 Bangladeshis and 1 Pakistani swimmer

Ireland Special Olympics 2003:4 Nigerians (3 athletes, 1 coach)

United Kingdom 2005: 8 soccer players from Zimbabwe

United Kingdom 2002:43 Nigerian golfers

Sydney Olympics, 2000: 1 Tunisian, 1 Gabonese

Atlanta Olympics, 1996: 3 Pakistani

Finland, 2003: 3 Sierra Leonean soccer players claimed asylum.

I could be wrong, but I don't think foul play is very likely. Not with the trends as they are.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The TMI FIles. More Fun With Food.

Tonight Magilla got sent to bed straight after dinner. Of course, she hadn't quite finished, but the line got crossed, and as lax as I might appear at times, there is a limit.

Tonight we had nutmeat and vegies with rice. It was delicious. Don't get me wrong, I'm a carnivore, but the Godmother is vego and it's easier to cook vego meals for everyone than vego for one and other for one and a half.

The Godmother ate hers, I ate mine. Magilla nibbled hers. And swirled it around on the plate. And dabbled her fingers in it. (Grrr).

While the young one was playing with her food and pretending to eat, I was doing dishes while GM was cooking her lunch for tomorrow. We weren't watching, were we? So I really should have expected a small voice saying "I made a mess" and sounding quite smug.

She got told in no uncertain terms that it wasn't funny, and she had to eat that food up off the table. Yes, fighting irons were used, and no I didn't rub her nose in it like you would a puppy. sotto voce: and yes, that did cross my mind, but I've read The Dead Zone too many times.

I turned back to the dishes so as not to reward her with too much attention while she did eat. (All the while trying to keep a straight face. You've gotta give credit where it's due - Magilla doesn't just know every trick in the book, I reckon she's rewriting it!)

She was still polishing it off when I tried to talk with her about the difference between eating off a plate and eating off the table: the first is good, the other is not.

She looked me in the eye, smirked, and said "ha ha!"

So it was off to the toilet, brush teeth and straight into bed.

I'll tolerate a bit of cheek, but that sort of insolence is too much even for me.

No smacks, no naughty corner, no discussion.

Somehow, I don't think she'll try that again.

My Wednesday Night FleshFest.

A nice glass of wine and a packet of Tim Tams and I'm set.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why I Love John HoWARd #84.

I don't usually watch Lateline and I also prefer not to just copy and paste a whole interview. In this case, though, it is far too entertaining not to share.
Real Vid
Windows Media

John Howard is just too wily for Tony Jones, and watching TJ trying to pin down JH just rocks my world. It was worth the lack of sleep from yet another late night.

Howard denies Iraq in civil war

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: We return now to our interview with Prime Minister John Howard. Prime Minister, thanks for joining us again.


TONY JONES: Now Iraq's Defence Minister, the former interim prime minister, says there is a civil war now in his country. Do you take any responsibility, along with the other leaders who planned this war and what appears to be a poorly planned regime change for what is happening now in Iraq?

JOHN HOWARD: Well Tony, I'll come back in a moment to my responsibility. But let me say in relation to Dr Allawi's comments, he is not a completely disinterested observer. There is still a negotiation going on about the form of the new government in Iraq, and he is something of a critic of the existing Prime Minister. So let us allow for a certain amount of domestic Iraqi politics in relation to that observation, which in fact, I don't accept. I don't agree that there is descent into civil war.

I think since the bombing of the mosque a few weeks ago the situation has got a lot worse. On the other hand - and it seems almost counterintuitive, given the images that are coming out of Iraq at the moment - there's a lot of evidence that progress is being made. Up to 25 per cent of the security burden is now being carried in a significant way by the Iraqi forces. And they have played a major role in the assault last week which involved one of the biggest airborne operations of the last three years. So I think you have to see Dr Allawi's comments in that context.

I don't run away from my responsibility. I committed Australia to the military operations. I believed on very valid grounds, I still believe history will judge it to have been the right thing to have done. But it will continue to go through a difficult phase, transiting from tyranny to democracy is neither smooth nor easy.

TONY JONES: Well not according to Dr Allawi, that's for sure. He says we're losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people, if not more. He says, leaving aside other politics of it - he is living there - he says, "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is".

JOHN HOWARD: Well the point I'm making is you can't leave aside the domestic politics. The significant thing through all of the difficulty, the significant thing is that Iraq in a period of 12 months has had three democratic ballots, with an increased number on each occasion participating and in a welcome fashion the Sunni, the minority who previously ran the country under Saddam, they participated in large numbers in the last ballot. Now all of that is very welcome and I think you have to put that against the undoubted gruesome pictures. But you've also got to remember that you didn't have pictures when Saddam ran the country. People were just murdered in stealth by the tens of thousands and the world didn't know about it.

TONY JONES: And now they're being murdered still as you say, and the images - perhaps you call them counter-intuitive, or the notion that you're talking about being counter-intuitive, compared to the images. We saw just last week the most horrific images of a massacre of Shiites. We now hear people like Allawi saying there's a dissent into civil war. If it does come to that and bear in mind the killing has not lessened, it's getting worse, will there be a moral responsibility on the leaders who led this campaign for a war?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, I am prepared to defend what I did on moral grounds. I think Iraqis have a better future now than they would have had if there had not been a military operation. Because if there hadn't been a military operation, Saddam would still be running Iraq. I mean, the people who criticise the coalition, carry the burden of explaining and defending the proposition that it would have been better for Saddam to have gone on running Iraq.

Now the latest opinion polls in Iraq indicate that the majority of Iraqis don't believe that despite the difficulties that they continue to go through, that's not in any way to downplay my concern about what is happening. But I think what it underlines is that whenever you criticise what the coalition did, what I did and what President [George] Bush and Prime Minister [Tony] Blair did, you have to be prepared to defend the alternative. There seems in the eyes of our critics to be some kind of undefined benign third way that would have delivered a change of regime and none of the difficulties of past weeks and months.

TONY JONES: Does anything, though, that you've seen, including the mass killings, including the growing sectarian violence, make you think twice about the wisdom of regime change?

JOHN HOWARD: Well I don't resile from the decision that I took. I accept the responsibility and I'll continue to argue that what we did was correct.

TONY JONES: If the sectarian violence continues, if there is a dissent into civil war would you consider pulling out Australia's troops rather than exposing them to it?

JOHN HOWARD: A premature pulling out of Australian troops would accelerate a deterioration in the situation. If people are concerned to stop a further deterioration, they will support the maintenance of Australian troops and American troops and British troops and other troops in Iraq. Nothing is more calculated to worsen the situation than for there to be a premature pull-out. That would be a big mistake and would play into the hands of the terrorists.

TONY JONES: Do you rule out sending more troops if the situation worsens?

JOHN HOWARD: We don't have that in contemplation, but I've decided not to rule out anything in that department because I don't know precisely what is going to happen in the future. We don't, however, have any current intention and I think it's unlikely. But you asked me the direct question, "Will I rule it out?" No, I will not categorically rule it out.

TONY JONES: Brendan Nelson has already outlined last week a new role for the Australian troops. He says they'll be engaged in ground force protection overseeing and protecting Iraqi security forces. That could mean direct involvement in fighting, could it not?

JOHN HOWARD: Well I think the exact involvement is to be worked out. But the idea is that we would have a role which is the most important thing we could have, which is a role in helping the Iraqis to look after the country themselves. I mean, that has to be our operate objective.

TONY JONES: Operating alongside them in potential combat situations? Because that's what appears to have been contemplated?

JOHN HOWARD: I can tell you that the detail has not been finalised and you should not read anything more into the Defence Minister's remarks. We're going to work that out and we don't precisely know at this stage when the Japanese are leaving al-Muthanna. They haven't made a final decision on that and as late as Saturday when I spoke to their Foreign Minister, that was the position.

TONY JONES: Do you know what province the Australian troops will be when the Japanese leave? Brendan Nelson appeared to indicate it could be a number of provinces in the south?

JOHN HOWARD: Well it would be in the southern area. We're not talking about an increase in the number of troops we have there, so obviously the operations in which they could be involved would be limited by the size of the force.

TONY JONES: But they could be moving into areas the British are leaving, for example?

JOHN HOWARD: Not necessarily, but that is still to be defined because we still don't know ultimately when exactly the Japanese are going and whether they will leave behind any residual force elements and given that our initial task was to provide a secure environment for them, that's relevant.

TONY JONES: All right. From Iraq to the Iraq kickback scandal, when exactly did officials in your department and in your office first hear about the trucking company Alia and its links to Saddam Hussein's regime?

JOHN HOWARD: Well I would have to go and talk to everybody in my department to try and answer for the department and I'm not going to try and hazard a precise guess. Let me just generally tell you when this issue really came onto the radar screen for me. It really came onto the radar screen for me at the beginning of 2005 and I've alluded to this, but perhaps I do it in a little more detail on this occasion.

In the beginning of 2005 I was told by my department - and it came out of our mission in the UN in New York - that Mr Volcker was unhappy with the level of cooperation he was receiving in relation to his inquiry and that he entertained suspicions about AWB. In response to that, I gave clear written instructions immediately that there had to be full cooperation and full transparency and full disclosure. In essence the words that I, in fact, noted on the minute that I received from my department. And I also told Mr [Mark] Vaile that he should write to the company in the strongest possible terms saying that they had to cooperate in full with the Volcker inquiry.

Now AWB Limited then was still denying any kind of wrongdoing. Now, Tony - I know you've heard me say this before, but it doesn't rob the statement of its validity - we do have an inquiry. And the man is a very good lawyer, Mr [Terrence] Cole. He's got the powers of a royal commissioner. He's already asked for two extensions to his terms of reference. If he wants another extension, he will have it. If he wants me to appear or any of my ministers to appear, we will do so. In no way has the Government tried to obstruct the inquiries conducted by the commission.

TONY JONES: You're happy for your ministers to appear before the Cole commission and even yourself, you're prepared to go before the Cole commission?

JOHN HOWARD: Yes. I have said that. This is the third or fourth occasion on which I've said this, so...

TONY JONES: What about all the officials in your office and in the Prime Minister's Department who may or may not have seen intelligence seven years earlier than you did, back in 1998 when the intelligence community knew that this was happening, that Alia was paying money to -

JOHN HOWARD: Well hang on - when you say "this was happening," what do you mean by 'this'?

TONY JONES: What I mean by that is it was known in 1998 that Alia was a company in control of Saddam's Government and it was receiving kickbacks.

JOHN HOWARD: At that stage the connection with AWB was by no means established. But see, aren't we doing, with respect - and I know we could do this in an interesting fashion - but isn't this the job of Mr Cole.

TONY JONES: You know what it's like. The free media asking questions about these issues. As new information comes to light and you know the Opposition has accused you of actually lying about the sort of documents that were available when first documents were given to the Cole inquiry and then another group of documents went there and the intelligence documents only just emerged.

JOHN HOWARD: Tony, we do have a free media and thank heavens and long may it remain. And I'm very happy to sit and answer questions but in the end in something like this, trying to sort of reach a definitive conclusion about a tiny skerrick of evidence presented on one day before the inquiry is never going to give you a satisfactory answer. The only way that we can really get a satisfactory answer on this is to wait until the commissioner brings down his findings, and I'm sure we'll all await that with interest. But in the meantime of course I'm happy to continue answering questions on the issue from you, or anybody else.

TONY JONES: Let's switch to an even more current issue. Industrial relations with the new regulations out today. Why is it necessary for the federal minister to personally assess individual contracts?

JOHN HOWARD: Well that's not quite right. The assessment and power to strike out clauses from the individual contracts is in the hand of the employment advocate. There are press reports today that inaccurately say that power is in the hands of the Minister and the collection of information by the Minister, which has been the subject of a number of news reports today is essentially a replication of what's in the act at the present time.

TONY JONES: Is it true though Prime Minister that workers are prohibited from putting into their own contract a form of words to protect themselves against unfair dismissal for a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable?

TONY JONES: No, no, what is prohibited is a provision in the law, in a contract rather, which overturns the amendments made by the act passed last year. And that is that any firm that employs fewer than 100 people is exempted from unfair dismissal provisions and all that we are doing here, as we have done under earlier forms of the legislation. All we are doing here is making sure that the Parliament, having said, "You can't have this remedy," that that decision by Parliament is not subverted by that remedy being inserted in an agreement. Now we've had that before in relation to freedom of association. Under the old Workplace Relations Act you couldn't have a clause in an agreement which overturned the prohibition on compulsory unionism - you couldn't under the old law have revision that says a person can't join a union. That would have been outrageous.

TONY JONES: Speaking of the unions very briefly are you prepared to see leaders like Greg Combet go to jail for refusing to obey these new rules?

JOHN HOWARD: I don't know why he keeps saying that. Section 350 of the Workplace Relations Act says somebody can't go to jail no matter what the laws, what other provisions in the act says, through the non-payment of a fine. So I think Mr Combet is erecting a bit of a straw man in talking about that.

TONY JONES: Let's move on if we can to the ABC. Now does the corporation's chairman Donald McDonald retain your complete confidence?

JOHN HOWARD: Oh, complete confidence. Everyone knows that he is a very close personal friend of mine. That in a sense is irrelevant to the question of his competency for the job, but I don't run away from that fact and he and I will remain friends long after we've both left our current positions, whenever that may be.

TONY JONES: Does he have your support to continue in the role beyond the five-year period which is coming up fairly soon?

JOHN HOWARD: Well the question of whether there is a change in the chairman on 30 June is a matter that we haven't in any formal way addressed and that's something that I'll need to talk to my colleagues about.

But I want to say that I think he's done a very good job. It's a difficult job. There are plenty of critics and that's not to say that I agree with everything the ABC has done, or I agree with that every single current affairs program on the ABC is completely and utterly balanced. But I do believe very much in the ABC as an Australian institution. I believe in a public media to balance the commercial media. And I also believe that it has a role in covering other facets of Australian life as well as current affairs and I think one of the reasons Mr McDonald was appointed in the first place was that he brought to the position by dint of his previous experience in the arts and so forth an understanding of all of that, which is important for anybody who fills that position.

TONY JONES: You'd be aware of the article in last week's Bulletin suggesting that hatred and animosity towards him within your own Cabinet. I mean, are you aware of that hatred and animosity?

JOHN HOWARD: No, I thought that was a very unreasonable and inaccurate article. That's not to say that there aren't critics of the ABC. I think you'd be astonished if I said otherwise. But that particular article had an unrepresentative venom about it which I do not say is representative of the views of the cross-section of views of the Cabinet.

TONY JONES: Final quick question. As a matter of principle, would it be wrong for a major corporation like the ABC to have a change at both levels of management at the same time - the chairman and managing director - wouldn't that be destabilising?

JOHN HOWARD: Well it depends entirely on the circumstances and the personalities and the merits of each individual situation. I don't think you're dealing so much with issues of principle there.

TONY JONES: Prime Minister, we will have to leave you there. We're out of time and we thank you very much for taking the time to come and talk to us tonight.

JOHN HOWARD: Thank you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Another Nice Photo. Because I Can.

From Car-B-Qs To Car Bombs.

Just in: According to the BBC news, a car bomb in Paris has killed one person.

Nothing further yet, but I'll be watching this.

Interestingly enough, comments over at FuckFrance are skeptical of the official line that the bomb attack may have been a settling of scores between criminals.

I wonder why?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The TMI Files. One For The F*ck I'm Dumb Bucket!

I discovered something really basic the other night.

I have stereo in my car.

I bought the car almost a year ago after Magilla totalled the car before it. Like something out of an advert for car insurance, I'd left her in the car (the Rust Bucket) while I unloaded the shopping. Usually she would get herself out of the car, but this time she didn't. It was an auto, and she knocked it into reverse. Unfortunately, the handbrake wasn't on hard enough, so the Rust Bucket rolled back down the driveway.

Luckily, there was a post from the carport that just happened to catch the open door. And ruin it. In a car that had lots of gizmos and flashing lights, a door unable to close is a terrible thing. The battery flattened in no time, and with the panel damage (to the door and the front rh panel), it wasn't worth repairing. Not a 20 year old car.

So farewell to the Rust Bucket, and hello to the Death Beast.

Back to the stereo and I....

The Death Beast is a dinky little hatchback, early 90s, black and runs quite ok. It has an old factory radio/cassette in it, and the music only ever came out of the front left speaker.

I have lived with that for almost a year when I had a brainwave a couple of nights back:

What if that knob there was for the speaker balance???

You can guess the rest.

I feel like a right nong!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Continuing On The Topic Of Faith.

This lady is a friend of the Godmother's, and I've been reading her blog. She doesn't update it often, but I'm finding it very uplifting.

For your reading pleasure, I thought I'd post this article of hers.
My Ministry

The people to whom I’m called to minister are often viewed by society as lazy, welfare cheats, alcoholics, drug addicts; in short, as the ‘dregs of society’. It is true that some are involved in these activities, but the overwhelming majority have completely rejected contact with what I describe as ‘day people’. This is the term I use, theirs is far more explicit, but I choose not to use the language that is necessary to reveal it to you.

Other Christians often view my ministry as a ‘difficult and thankless’ one. As a result, there are few who undertake it. There are many who minister to those in the shelters and short-term accommodation places that are still in existence in the City and suburbs, but the people I know rarely make contact with any of these, their feelings of rejection are so deeply entrenched.

Since they are without a valid address, ‘the hole behind the dumpster up the second lane on the left’ is not counted as an address, most are not receiving any welfare benefits. Centrelink payments are paid into bank accounts, and it is extremely hard to open a bank account these days in normal circumstances, it is impossible without an address.

The night people, again this is my term, are largely an entirely different society in themselves. There is a high prevalence of the mentally ill among them, as well as the addicts. They span a wide range of age groups. The youngest I’ve encountered claimed to be 15, however I doubt that he was more than 12. It’s hard to determine actual age. The night people’s lifestyle tends to harden and age quickly. I don’t know how many of you know of Fr Chris Riley’s ministry among the street kids of Sydney. If you haven’t had the opportunity, then read “Mean Streets, Kind Heart” which details the type of ministry that he does. Mine is a similar ministry.

The night people are often portrayed as violent, who regularly accost people on the streets, demanding money and/or cigarettes, and then use abusive language no matter what the result. It is true that there are many who do this, but what is not often realised, is the fact that these same people are often subject to the same type of verbal and sometimes physical abuse from the day people. I’m not offering this explanation as an excuse, but it sometimes is helpful to realise that they are only mirroring what they themselves have experienced from society.

These people are extremely generous, despite the hardships of their lifestyle. They are also very protective of each other, again, despite their apparent violence. They are capable of detecting the approach of a social worker, student completing his thesis, or do-gooder long before these are able to contact them. I’ve often warned people who have come with me, that they are likely to recall a lot more names than there were people. This is because the names the night people use are extremely portable and disposable, sometimes I’ve referred to someone as say “Bill”, and immediately realised by his expression that it is not his name in this particular location. Luckily, I am usually quick enough to explain it away with something like “I’m so sorry, you remind me so much of Bill, but he’s from Wheeler’s Hill”.

The death rate among these people is very high. Some die from the effects of overdose, or the results of years of abusing alcohol. Some suicide others are victims of violence. I’ve often been criticised for not giving cash, usually being accused of robbing a person of his or her dignity by buying the food that is requested rather than allowing the person to make the purchase. Many wrongly assume that it is because I am worried that they will use the cash for drugs or alcohol, or even on the pokies. The reason I rarely give out cash however, is that the having of this commodity increases the risk of being bashed and robbed, maybe even killed, and I fail to see what dignity is found lying dead in a gutter.

Most of my ministry is involved with providing food and sometimes clothing for these people. However, I have found myself conducting Bible studies with a steadily increasing number of them. Participation is entirely voluntary. Often they are held in a drain or a squat, even in a park. I provide Bibles to anyone who requests them; often it is one of the few things that they actually possess. There is a high incidence of illiteracy among the night people, and so often I find that I’m called to teach some to read and write. I can recall one who became my dearest friend, Jordan, asking for a Bible, which I provided. However, it soon became apparent, largely because he was holding the Bible upside down, that he could not read. This was one of the first times that I was confronted with the problem of illiteracy. I bought a tabloid Bible for him and that was the beginning of his reading and later his ministry. Just before Jordan was killed in a streetfight, while protecting someone else, he was the proud owner of a parallel Bible, such was his eagerness to learn. I was proud to call Jordan my friend and he made an excellent pastor to his companions. Despite their lack of education, I’m constantly amazed at the profound insights many have into Scripture, especially the way they can interpret certain passages and relate them directly to their lifestyle.

Inspite of the perceived ‘thanklessness’ of this type of ministry, I find it extremely rewarding. It is true that at times, I have been so disillusioned that I’ve questioned whether I’m suited to it, but these times are short-lived. I have been fortunate in witnessing quite a few of the night people asking Jesus into their lives, and I have seen some startling transformations. I don’t mean that, suddenly, they re-enter society, because most never do, but I’ve seen attitudes and choices change.

In closing, I’d like to share one of the stories with you. I’ve received permission from this young man to share his story. I first met Azzle three years ago. He came into one of the groups in search of food. At the time he was heavily into the heroin scene. Eventually, he began to trust me enough to tell me of his life. Azzle had been on the streets since he was 10, supporting himself and his growing dependence on drugs by selling his body. When I met him he was about 17, although he looked more like a 60 year old. After a time, he joined the Bible studies and asked for a Bible. A very short time after that, he asked Jesus into his heart and then almost at the same time decided to stop using drugs. I asked him if he wanted me to try and get him into a detox centre and a drug rehabilitation support group, but he refused, saying that Jesus would help him with our group being the only other support. I knew that what he was intending to do, come off drugs after having abused them for so long a time, would be extremely hard and that many had failed even with professional help. Azzle went ‘cold turkey’ and withdrew totally without any other medication. I was amazed that he persisted, but eventually he was ‘free’ of the effects of heroin, and his body began to recover to a certain extent. Azzle then began coming around with Jordan and me. One time I was visiting a friend who owned a bakery, and Azzle appeared very interested in the workings there. My friend asked if he’d be interested in a job as a ‘roll boy’. I was hesitant at first because Azzle’s previous lifestyle choices meant that he could be HIV positive, and if he were, then he wouldn’t have been able to be easily employed in the food industry. But he was eager to get the job, so I arranged for him to have the necessary blood tests, fully expecting that the results would reveal that he was HIV positive. I was very surprised when the results came back negative, and so was the doctor who had done them. He was re-tested, and again they came back negative. Azzle started work the next day. But the day after he didn’t show up, and the baker was angry and contacted me. I suspected I knew the reason, but asked my friend to listen to what Azzle told him and treat him with respect, which he agreed to do. I then went and found Azzle and told him that the baker wanted to talk to him, that he was worried when he didn’t show up for work. I also told him that I knew why he hadn’t shown up and that I was sorry he hadn’t felt able to ask for what he needed. When Azzle did go back to the bakery, my friend was surprised to find that the reason for the no-show was that Azzle had been wearing his only set of clothes on the first day, and didn’t have anything to wear on the second. He had asked for an advance on his pay, but my friend had assumed that he wanted to use it up at the pub and refused. Azzle was too ashamed to reveal that he wanted it to get more clothes, so that he could get the ones he was wearing cleaned.

My friend immediately organised a clean uniform for Azzle, as well as offering him a room in the unused flat upstairs. He also arranged for the uniforms to be cleaned. Azzle has proved to be a very reliable worker, and this year proudly told me that there were only two apprenticeships on offer at the bakery and that his boss had given one to him. Azzle still regularly attends the Bible studies, and readily testifies as to how good Jesus has been to him.

Yes, my ministry can seem to be thankless and at times hopeless. But then someone like Azzle comes along, and the negatives are forgotten. Not all the transformations are as marked as Azzle’s, but every one is wonderful.

The TMI Files. Looking After Your Pets.

So we have three cats here at the moment. The Fat Cat, and the boys (M & P). The boys are brothers and a long way from fat. They are also fed on the Hill's Science Diet.

The Fat Cat is fed on chopped roo and some cat biscuits. If I run out of roo, she gets fish or chicken or any other meat we are eating. Except for beef - she's allergic to that.

While I was away, we ran out of roo, so the Godmother was feeding the Fat Cat with tuna. No problems there.

One of the boys (P) had been sick, and was back in shape. He's developed quite an appetite, and has been helping himself to any tuna left over.

Today, however, there is kangaroo back in the fridge, and so the Fat Cat is back onto that. P got a serve of tuna to himself, although he didn't eat it all.

Not to worry, Magilla saved the day.

She came along, looked at the dish on the ground, said: "Mmmm, fish!Yummy in my tummy!" and helped herself.

I had to pretend that I didn't see that or I would have fallen over laughing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

And The Bleat Goes On

Joseph Wakim, in today's HeraldSun has another op-ed piece:
Continuing curse of Cronulla.

Racial branding can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. New South Wales police sparked anger after the Cronulla riots by saying they were looking for youths of "Middle Eastern appearance."

Opportunist politicians fanned the flames with more provocative labels such as Lebanese gangs and Muslim terrorists.

This feeds into a talk-back bushfire of hate-speech of "ethnic scum" and "Arab thugs".

Those who share my cultural heritage have been trampled and tormented with every name under the sun.

Ten youths have now been charged by the Enoggera Task Force after alleged revenge attacks on 50 parked cars at Maroubra.

They have never been called Australian.

In the aftermath of the revenge attacks their community has been asked to stand up as Australians and co-operate with those who have alienated and vilified them.

The self-appointed Aussie gatekeepers might as well have said: "You must unconditionally shoulder the responsibilities of being an Australian, but we reserve the right to deny or bestow you citizenship rights."

This presumably includes the enshrined right to equity and freedom from barriers based on race, ethnicity and culture.

For more than 10 weeks, NSW police leaders have been publicly calling on local Arab leaders to denounce the offenders responsible for the revenge attacks.

But for more than 10 years, Arab leaders have publicly called on NDW police leaders to denounce the Middle Eastern appearance lable.

NDW Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma gave a speech entitled "Responding to Cronulla: rethinking multiculturalism", in which he said all state and territory police services had dropped the label, except NSW.

He concluded that Cronulla, to some extent, was the result of this inflammatory NSW practice.

NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam demands that 200 thugs involved in revenge attacks be rounded up and locked up.

There are claims that those responsible live apart from Australia rather than as a part of Australia.

Parents ar ein a no-win situation. They could be incriminated for harbouring offenders and community collusion without necessarily knowing the identity of those responsible.

These Australians supposedly responsible are collectively, repeatedly and systematically vilified by police, politicians and the media.

Their citizenship has little meaning. Their culture is degraded until they are forced to feel ashamed, or to Anglicise their ancestral names.

The label of Middle Eastern appearance must be removed.

This is not negotiating with potential terrorists or justifying crime, but bringing NSW into line with the rest of Australia.

Such branding fosters alienation, not co-operation.

Ironically, Enoggera, the name given to the NSW police task force investigating the Cronulla riots, is from the Aboriginal word yowoggera, meaning corroboree or meeting place."

This is just in time for the transcript of the Four Corners episode "Riots and Revenge" to be made available, and it makes for interesting reading. If you didn't get to see the show, then by all means check out the full script.

With a marvellous display of misdirection, Mr Wakim talks of parents being between a rock and a hard place in the community they (apparently) see themselves a part of. Nobody in this community knows what anyone else is doing, so how could 'local Arab leaders' possibly provide information on possible transgressors to the police?

And yet, a non-Arab father turned his own son in to the police. This was for the son's part in the disturbance on the sunday before the revenge attacks.

Incidentally, these revenge attacks on 50 parked cars also netted people. One man was bashed and left with a knife in his back, and women were also bashed. That's a bit more than smashing a car, and definitely on the disingenuous side of things.

But then, Mr Wakim has been known to play the victim card before - Leigh over at the House of Wheels gave him a thorough fisking not too long ago.

But back to Four Corners.

I find it fascinating that the skips, Shire lads and lasses seem to be more on the ball with regards to what is happening with our multicultural experiment:
LIZ JACKSON: Sarah's boyfriend, Mark, is concerned because he thinks that under Muslim law, it's OK to rape. He's wrong and confused about a pack-rape case four years ago where the ringleader was Lebanese-Australian Bilal Skaf.

MARK: I don't know if you remember, but when they were being tried in the court, they were...they wanted him to be tried in an Islamic court - do you remember that? Yeah, 'cause they wanted him to be tried under Islamic law. Because they were saying that that's OK to do that to a woman.

LIZ JACKSON: To rape someone?

MARK: Yeah, that's what they were saying.

LUKE: I want this government to stop the growing threat. And I want them to stop appeasing Islam. And to stop appeasing people
that follow Islam.

MARK: They will probably, like, possibly out-breed us. And once they get the numbers, they can vote their members into parliament. And once their members are in parliament, they can pass laws, like, they've already tried to get the Islamic law into Australia a few times.

LIZ JACKSON: Are you concerned that this could become an Islamic state?

LUKE: Yeah, definitely.

And a response from the MuslimVillage forums:
Well, what can one say, if the Shire residents that were interviewed yesterday are an example of what most Shire residents think, then that is just plain embarassing.

Their comments were so absurd, I was laughing, not angry, just laughing at the ignorance some people show.

They truly do live in a closed off bubble, they have no clue, and the most amazing thing was the amount of stories that had gone around about the lifesavers, and what really went on that day, by far the best was when one of the guys said it was because 'a lifeguard had rescued a Muslim woman and they were angry the lifeguards had touched her' blink.gif do they really believe their own crap?

I wonder if yesterday, after watching the episode would they have realised how silly and uneducated they really are. They are a product of The Daily Telegraph and Today Tonight, Piers Akerman would be very proud!
All in all, it was good, and NOT biased, though the one thing that baffles me is, ok I know the revenge attacks were bad, they were very bad, but they cannot be put in the same category as 5000 people bashing into 1-2 people, how can smashing a car, and damaging property be seen in the same context as that? Like I said, all actions across those few days were bad, but the Shire residents (that were on last night) need to stop sooking about how violated they felt when the carloads of youths came and smashed their shops, what did you expect when 5000 people were bashing anyone who looked like a 'Lebo'?

There seems to be a bit of confusion about what is happening in the Ummah today. Jihad is the order of the day, and it's all about returning Dar ul Harb to Darl ul Islam.

Looking at what Mark and Luke had to say, they seem to be a bit more aware of the agenda than Aussie muslims are.

Regarding the rape of non-muslim women, it is sanctioned in the Qu'ran and ahadith:

Prophet Muhammad promises women to his warriors
"You see, God will soon make you inherit their land, their treasures and make you sleep with their women" (Lit: make their women's beds for you).

These plain, disgraceful words are recorded by Ibn Hisham on page 182 Vol. II, of his famous book, "Al Rod Al Anf", which all the researchers regard as a reliable reference

In Algeria for example
In August 1998, the Government released figures that indicated that the whereabouts of 319 women remain unknown and that there were 24 reports by women of rape. Most human rights groups believe that the actual number is much higher. There is a rape crisis center that specializes in caring for women who are victims of rape by terrorists.

During the year, Islamic extremists often specifically targeted women. There were numerous instances of women being killed and mutilated in massacres. As many as 80 percent of the victims of massacres were women and children.

I think the learned reporter is missing the bigger picture.

And as for the idea of infidels being outbred, well, Mullah Krekar over in Norway has a few words on that concept:
"Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes," Krekar said. "Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries are producing 3.5 children.

"By 2050, 30 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim."

Being a mullah, he would surely know a bit more about the strategies in place to continue the spreading of Islam than a bunch of skips?

Perhaps the younger muslims in Australia should look a bit further afield as see exactly how their religion is progressing in the world at large.

Some More Of Me PhotoGraphy

Monday, March 13, 2006

What I Did On The Long Weekend.

I went Outback.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Who Actually Pays For Children?

There is a new political party on the block. This bright, shining, group of intellects, the Australian Childfree Party have some amazing ideas.

* Introducing a child tax as opposed to child allowance (the childfree should not have to pay for other people’s hobbies, i.e. having a child). For every newborn, an increasing levy is to be paid; and
* Using a similar taxation system to toll roads for institutions that are specifically designed for the childed, such as primary schools and playgrounds. Only those who use it have to pay for it.
* Accommodating for childfree and childed seating, carriages, flights, etcetera;
* Charging excise on tickets/fares for the childed;
* Subsidizing tickets/fares for the childfree; and
* Introducing the right to exclude children.

These are just a few. Actually, it all appears to be one idea - tax the breeders further to subsidize the non-breeders.

What a bright idea!

Just another lefty ode to human-hatred, if you ask me.

Ostensibly, their mission is:
* To spread the message:
o that not all women (and men) want to have children,
o that having children is not self-evident,
o that not having children is not strange, and
o that having or not having children is a choice

* To bring the childfree together (nationally and internationally)

* To inform society about childfreedom and to make it debatable

Sounds warm and fuzzy and inclusive, right?

Let's look a bit closer. WCA offer virtual internships. So if your school or university allows it, WCA will give you a project, or you can make up one of your own. Something like, say, webdesign for them, graphic design for them, copywriting, that sort of thing. Sounds more like donating your time and talents to them rather than WCA actually paying someone to do these things for them.

Of course, there will always be someone who buys into this idea, hence, Christine was very happy to share the love:
"It has been very exciting to work with such an organization! I've always been interested in social change, changes that not only help the world but also improve the quality of living for all creatures on this earth. I think that the WCA is a major player in that change.

Knowing this, I took this job very seriously. My job, as I saw it, was to make this idea of "Childfree living" appealing to common folk, those who are not usually quick to catch onto change in lifestyles and are in fact, stuck in their traditional mindsets. I can only hope that my contribution will further their goals and bring focus to their organization.

Working with Marije has been a real pleasure, she always gave me great feedback in a very sensitive-to-my-artistic-feelings way!:) She would respond to my emails, line for line with a comment or happy face which is very effective, it's detailed and helpful. The response was always swift, which, given the physical distance of our locations is a must. Our communication went really smoothly, despite my internet connection woes!

I would recomend interning for the WCA to anyone, it's a wonderful, real life experience AND people from a billion countries will get to see your work, which is highly appealing to every artist! I would only recomend that the next intern have a very reliable internet connection, and THEN, it would go even smoother!"

So here is the real mission. Anti-human propaganda. Help people to realise that their role is not to propagate the species, but to help us die out.

Okay, whatever floats your boat.

But who will be paying taxes while all these childfree people are wending their merry, unemcumbered way through senior life? Who will be contributing towards the health system, the legal system, the public service, the council rates, subisidised medicine and general welfare?

Ah, the progeny of people like myself.

The breeders.

Well, I guess that's one way to beat sharia. Breed yourself out of existence.

I was very tempted to turn this into a rant, but have restrained myself in the interest of keeping discussion moderate. Personally, I've no problem with people being childfree. It's all a matter of choice.

Bleating about what your decisions are costing you is a different matter. Political parties lobbying for the present rather than the future of our society is selfish in the extreme.

Taxing people with children because they seem to be getting more breaks is shortsighted and does not take into account what a child costs. It is not only monetary, it is more than that. One life stops, another begins. Taxation is irrelevant to that, and someone who doesn't have children cannot understand that.

My New Hero!

I love a bloke who can take the piss out of himself, and the latest one to cross the horizon is Ronn Moss. He just keeps on popping up on the tv, his latest effort being an ad for fruit juice.

I'm not a fan of his, and about all I know is that he's been on The Bold and the Beautiful for near on a hundred years and also does a David Hasselhoff with a bit of a recording career.

The only times I've ever seen him, he's been taking the mickey out of himself. The few interviews I've read of him have all included him raving about Australia and wanting to move here and raise his kids.

He also did a mock soap with one of our weeknight talkshow hosts called Ridge and Rovina which was an absolute cack! Unfortunately, I've not been able to find any clips online so far, but I did manage to find a still:

I reckon in a few more years he'll be able to take over from the Hoffinator as the AntiChrist.

The TMI Files. Like Mother (not) Like Daughter.

So I'm butchering the front hedge yesterday arvo (ie gardening), and a couple of tall, lanky lads come wandering on down the road.

And what does Magilla do?

She starts jumping up and down, waving and shouting out: "Hi, boys! Hi, boys!"

I could have died with embarrasment. At least when I behaved like that I had the excuse of half a dozen scotches.

And the lads? Well, they laughed and waved back.

I got told after they had moved out of sight that they were her friends.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Spider Blog.

I know a lot of people don't like spiders, but I do. The picture below is of Phoebe, a female Selenocosmia crassipes. I've used this photo because I don't have any pictures of the spider I used to have, who was the same species.

These spiders are commonly known as Bird-eating Spiders. They are also known as barking or whistling spiders.

There are some great spider sites around:Steve Nunn has lots of great information and pictures.
Mavis is a bird eating spider with her very own webpage, and there is even a yahoo group devoted these seriously cool creatures.

For those too twitchy to follow the links, a brief bit of info about these spiders.

They are big. My spider (Uma) was about 5 years old when I got her, and I had her for 3 years. She was as large as the palm of my hand. She whistled or hissed if she was pissed off (she didn't like me cleaning her cage, but sometimes, you have to do this), and she had some serious fangs. When I mean serious, I mean big.

A practical visualisation would be imagine chopsticks from the local chinese. Now imagine a spider rearing up

If you poked that spider with those chopsticks, her fangs would easily curve around the end of your utensils. It's quite unnerving, yet endlessly fascinating.

Of course, being mainly nocturnal, they don't seem to move around much, and being ground-dwellers, they like to build their nests in or under things.

But at night.... you can often find your spider roaming around her cage.

These spiders don't eat every day, and they like live food. Plenty of pet shops cater for the big ones these days, so you can always get crickets or baby mice.

If you want a low-maintenance pet, bird-eating spiders are keepers.

You will need a small tank or spider cage, a heater to keep the cage around 27c minimum (they are tropical animals), and something for the spider to burrow in. I used sphagnum moss, with a small plastic cup for her to build in, so I could see into the nest. When it wasn't covered over with silk, of course.

Oh, and a regular supply of food. Crickets are a great staple, with baby mice or baby birds for something different.

Things to remember? Well, if your spider bites you, you will most likely get sick but not die. As far as I'm aware, there is no antivenin available.

Another interesting tidbit: Bird eating spiders are very solid, stocky animals. They are also deceptively fragile. Compared to something like a huntsman spider (a tree dweller), it seems like it's made of glass.

Drop a huntsman from a height of four feet, it will just scuttle away. Drop a bird eating spider from the same height, and it is more likely to splatter than not. They have such a solid mass that their exo-skeleton can't protect them from a fall.

That's what the bloke from the museum told me when we were discussing the possibility of my spider falling off a wooden chest. I shot a film with my spider, and since we had to put pillows and cushions all around on the offchance that she fell, I think he could have been right.

Alas, I no longer have the spider. She got traded in at the zoo when Magilla came along.

She is gone, but not forgotten.

Sometimes, I know it sounds weird, but I miss my spider.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Truth and Beauty in Faith.

Two women who epitomise their callings.

Mariam Fartah has given three sons to Allah, and would give her remaining three sons.

Sister Margaret Wood, who died recently, gave herself to her God.

Apologies for the sizing of the image of Sr Margaret. I don't know how to resize photos.
Update: I've resized the pix. Thanks for the idea, Sean. I actually did it without the pixsizer. YAY!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The TMI Files. And Now For Something Warm And Fuzzy.

Magilla has always been cuddly and snuggly.

Now she's discovered the L-word and she uses it often. Luckily she hasn't tried it on me when I'm trying to tell her off. That's difficult enough with the faces she pulls at me or the occasional smart comment she throws in to distract.

As it is, at bed time, we snuggle under the covers, read one story, snuggle a bit more, sometimes sing a song or 15, then I head out the door.

As I leave the room, I say: "Good night, Magilla, love you lots."

She used to tell me she liked me lots, and didn't love me.

Now, I get told "I love you too, Mummy" or "I love you lots."

It is the most amazing feeling in the world when little arms wrap around you for the purpose of telling you how loved you are.

(As opposed to the strangulation I suffer when she's trying to plant puppy kisses all over my face, which is wonderful, too.)

And some people would rather pets to children?

I much prefer my daughter. She is the most amazing thing.

And she loves me lots.

The TMI Files. Why Are My Stalkers All Women?

Years ago, when I was young and foolish, I got involved with the Wrong Tosser. I was silly enough to be involved for a few years, then got uninvolved and went on to have the best revenge of living well.

This particular person is not the sort you'd take home to meet the parents (I did that, and they thought he was a wanker). Fidelity wasn't his strong suit would be the most diplomatic way to phrase that, I suppose.

So he had close female friends who were very close, and also had problems with me.

One staked out his house and followed me home one night.

Another had her friends stake out his house and check out my comings and goings. Oh, and also my car rego. I wasn't very happy about that.

But that's all okay, since it's ancient history.

Stalkers, now.....

Sometimes we meet people and they become friends, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they think they become your friends and they haven't.

That's happened to me recently.

I met woman a few years back and we became friendly. It was a rather one-sided friendship and got to the stage where we no longer spoke. That suited me fine.

Then she started calling again, and wants to be friends because she doesn't have anyone else.

I've stopped taking her calls or her messages and the other day she lobbed on the doorstep.

Hopefully she will stay away, but I think I need a dog.