31 August 2007

a giant web

From Fort Worth Star-Telegram (29 August 2007)

Giant web creates bug buzz

WILLS POINT –- If you hate creepy-crawlies, you might want to avoid Lake Tawakoni State Park where a 200-yard stretch along a nature trail has been blanketed by a sprawling spider web that has engulfed seven large trees, dozens of bushes and even the weedy ground.

But if you hate mosquitoes, you might just love this bizarre web.

"At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland," said park superintendent Donna Garde. "Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs."

There have been heated Internet discussions among experts that the webs were constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together, or perhaps a mass dispersal where the arachnids spin webs to spread out from one other. Either way, it's generating a lot of bug buzz.

"I've been hearing from entomologists from Ohio, Kansas, British Columbia -- all over the place," said Mike Quinn, a Texas Parks and Wildlife invertebrate biologist who first posted photos of the web on the Web. But there is little consensus about what sparked the phenomenon or even the type of spider responsible. Parks officials say similar but smaller webs have sprouted along another trail.

"From what I'm hearing it could be a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Herbert A. "Joe" Pase, a Texas Forest Service entomologist. "It's very, very unusual."

Park officials say they have encountered mixed reactions to the web from visitors.

"Some can't wait to see it while others don't want go anywhere near it," said Trisha Brian, a park volunteer. "It's definitely not for everyone but I'm so fascinated by it that I come down to look at it every day. Every time I come by, there's something new."

But one Texas spider expert was having trouble mustering excitement about the giant web.

John Jackman, a professor and extension entomologist for Texas A&M University and author of A Field Guide to the Spiders and Scorpions of Texas, said he receives similar reports every couple of years.

"There are a lot of folks that don't realize spiders do that," Jackman said. "Until we get some samples sent to us we really won't know what species of spider we're talking about."

Garde, the park superintendent, just wishes the entomologists would check out the spider web in person instead of arguing about it over the Internet.

"I invite them all to please come out take a look," he said. "If you want to know what it is, why don't you come out and see it firsthand? Somebody needs to come out that's an expert. I would love to see some entomology intern come out and study this."

Park officials say similar but smaller cobwebs have sprouted up along another trail. Rangers say they expect that the giant web will stick around until fall when the spiders start dying off. Unfortunately, it probably won't last until Oct. 31.

"It would make a good Halloween set, wouldn't it?" said park ranger Freddie Gowin, who discovered the giant cobweb while mowing about a month ago. "But I don't think you could pay me enough money to run through all of those webs."

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698
And also on 30 August 2007

Tawakoni bracing for onslaught of spidermania

Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park are bracing for an onslaught of spidermania this holiday weekend.

The attention comes after the discovery of giant spider webs at the park, first reported by the Star-Telegram.

"We may have to post some guards along the trail to protect the spider webs this weekend," said Trisha Brian, a park volunteer. "We don't want them getting trampled."

On Thursday, park officials were coping with a media onslaught from local television stations and from around the country.

"We've heard from Santa Barbara, Calif., and Panama City, Fla. –- we've even heard from National Geographic," Brian said.

The spider webs, which were first seen in early August at the park about 50 miles east of Dallas, are the subject of debate among entomologists. No samples have been sent to universities.

Unfortunately, heavy rains Wednesday night knocked down a portion of the web.

"Those who haven't seen it before are saying it's still impressive," Brian said. "Our campground is going to be full this weekend so we're expecting to be pretty busy."

But park officials aren't complaining.

"Anything that promotes Texas Parks and Wildlife parks is a good thing," Brian said. "We need all of the attention we can get."

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698

Lake Tawakoni State Park rangers Mike McCord, left, and Freddie Gowin monitor the growth of a giant communal spider web at the park Tuesday. The web, rare for Texas, has formed over the past several weeks. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Link - Southeastern Social Cobweb Spider

Awesome! There are (smaller) cobwebs outside the house which I leave alone. Inside the house is another matter.

Thank goodness the weekend is here. I went to Declan's 40th birthday party at his house after work today. Of course it was a surprise which Nell planned. I even carried baby Olivia in my arms a few times.

30 August 2007

hammer throw?

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is hosting the 11th IAAF World Championships Athletics at the moment in Osaka (25 Aug - 2 Sept).

One of the events is called the Hammer Throw.

Betty Heidler of Germany - Hammer Throw qualification

Well, it looks like a ball on a string to me. Why don't they just call it the Ball Throw?

I don't see a hammer being used do you? Why don't they have an event called the Screwdriver Throw?

My old friend from high school, Destiny, came over for dinner tonight. I used the oven again to roast pork belly (marinated in preserved lemon, orange marmalade and soy), potatoes and brussel sprouts.

We watch some of the athletics coverage on TV and had a bit of a laugh. Sports coverage can be funny when you notice things like eyebrows etc.

29 August 2007

tourist or traveller?

From The Age travel blog - what makes someone a tourist or a traveller?

1. You're planning your trip. You're going to take:
a) Nothing! I'll buy clothes in each country so I can look more like a local.
b) A few sets of sturdy clothes, plus some little knick-knacks to give as gifts along the way.
c) Just the old clothes I always wear - and six pairs of shoes.
d) Whatever's on special at Kathmandu. Plus a hair dryer.

2. So far you've planned:
a) Plan? You can't plan travel . . . Just a one-way ticket will do me.
b) Just flights, and some accommodation here and there to get started.
c) All my flights and accommodation. It's a nightmare trying to find a place to stay once you get there.
d) Absolutely everything. No sense wasting time wondering what to do.

3. You know how to speak:
a) A few languages fluently. You know, I used to be able to speak Swahili, but I can only remember little bits of it now.
b) A few phrases in most languages. I can get by.
c) Er . . . Does Australian count as another language?
d) Just English! It's the universal language, you know.

4. Your idea of "overseas" is:
a) It has to be a non-English-speaking country. I don't feel challenged if everyone can speak my language.
b) Anywhere that'll give you jetlag.
c) Do you have to fly there? That'll do.
d) Tasmania.

5. You've arrived. How do you get around?
a) I'll gadge a lift off the local I got chatting to on the plane - might even be able to crash at his house!
b) Public transport - unless the taxis are really cheap.
c) My hotel's shuttle bus should be on its way ...
d) The tour company's picking me up. There's no way I'm dealing with locals yet.

6. You mainly take photos of:
a) Nothing - photos won't do the experience justice. And, er, I can't afford a camera.
b) All the people I meet - it's the only way to remember them all.
c) Sunsets. They're just incredible.
d) Me and my mates when we get hammered! Geez we do some funny stuff . . .

7. You think locals:
a) Seem pretty nice, but not like that hill tribe in Guatemala who invited me to share a traditional meal of minced toucan that one time . . .
b) Are so friendly - they keep trying to put their hands in my pockets and take me to their relatives' art galleries.
c) Are generally out to rip me off - but I'm onto them.
d) I don't know - can't understand a bloody word they're saying half the time.

8. The food here is:
a) A bit bland compared to the traditional meals I was eating in this Burmese village a few weeks ago . . .
b) Not bad - but geez I'm sick of getting the runs.
c) Touch and go. I'm craving a meat pie.
d) I took one bite and that was enough. Thank God there's a McDonald's here.

9. When you're away, you like to:
a) Immerse myself in the local culture. I dress like them, talk like them - half the time they don't even know I'm not one of them.
b) Do whatever the locals do. I want to see what life's really like here.
c) Check out a few museums, the major landmarks, then kick back at a cafe.
d) I usually take my tour leader's advice - but the pubs are always great!

10. Where will you be in two months' time?
a) Who knows! I'd email, but most places I go don't have internet access.
b) My itinerary says Argentina, but that could change.
c) In the office, probably surfing the net and planning my next trip.
d) Back home, hopefully. You can only live out of a suitcase for so long.

Okay, pens down and tally up those scores. Give yourself four points for every "a", three points for every "b", two points for every "c", and a big fat nought for every "d".

30-40 You're neither a tourist, nor a traveller - you're a knob. You like to think you've been there, and done it better than anyone else. You don't make many friends when you're forced to stay in hostels.
20-30 You're a traveller! Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to you, but chances are you've seen a bit of the world, and are a fairly responsible traveller.
10-20 You're just on the cusp, and could fall either way. You probably used to travel quite a bit, but have since become older and a bit more high maintenance.
0-10 Sorry about this, but you're a rank tourist - your very existence is the reason tour operators, market sellers, hawkers and touts the world over get out of bed each morning. You find travel pretty annoying at times, but you feel like you need to tick the boxes. And hey, you've got some great sunset photos . . .

(Tasmania is part of Australia, it's the island state at the bottom)

I could easily turn into knob, but have seen enough of them to avoid turning into one.

Courtney came over for dinner after work, so I served baked salmon cutlets, roast potatoes and roast brussel sprouts using the recipe from Bogdan (see comments to Monday's post).

28 August 2007


Fatty (March 1990 - 28 August 2004)

Three years on, and your sister has now joined you at the rainbow bridge. I will never forget you and the joy that you brought me.

27 August 2007

my favourite vegetables

My favourite vegetables are:
  • asparagus
  • (butternut) pumpkin
  • green beans
  • button squash
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • sweet potato
The pumpkin and sweet potato usually roasted or boiled then mashed. The other mainly green vegetables just simply blanched.

The weekend disappeared quickly. I seem to have slept through a lot of it. Must be a head cold I have been trying to shake before it takes hold.

26 August 2007

Nobel laureate or bag lady?

From The Guardian (UK)

Hotel mistakes Nobel laureate for bag lady

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
Friday August 17, 2007
The Guardian

The 1992 Nobel peace prize winner, Rigoberto Menchu
The 1992 Nobel peace prize winner, Rigoberto Menchu. Photograph: EPA

She was wearing a Mayan dress, the traditional attire of indigenous people in central America, and the hotel's response was also traditional: throw her out.

Staff at Cancun's five-star Hotel Coral Beach appear to have assumed this was another street vendor or beggar, so without asking questions they ordered her to leave. Except the woman was Rigoberta Menchú, the Nobel peace prizewinner, Unesco goodwill ambassador, Guatemalan presidential candidate and figurehead for indigenous rights.

The attempted eviction, an example of discrimination against indigenous people common in central and south America, backfired when other guests recognised Ms Menchú and interceded on her behalf.

The human rights activist was in the Mexican coastal resort at the request of President Felipe Calderón to participate in a conference on drinking water and sanitation and was due to give interviews at the hotel.

David Romero, a journalist and newsreader who was due to interview her for state radio Quintana Roo, told local media that hotel security tried to eject Ms Menchú from the lobby. They relented when told who she was. It was said not to be the first time a hotel has tried to throw her out.

Ms Menchú, 48, was awarded the 1992 Nobel peace prize for protesting against human rights abuses during Guatemala's brutal civil war.

Commentators noted the irony of upmarket resorts discriminating against real Maya while trying to attract tourists with fake Mayan architecture and spectacles.

Outrageous and a disgrace. The fight for civil rights is never ending.

I meant to do a few things today, but ended up not doing anything.

25 August 2007

football - round 21

ADELAIDE 3.2 6.7 10.13 12.14 (86)

BRISBANE LIONS 3.0 3.1 5.8 8.12 (60)

GOALS — Adelaide: Goodwin 2, Bock 2, Welsh, Thompson, Edwards, Gill, McLeod, Burton, Johncock, Porplyzia. Brisbane Lions: Copeland 2, Brown, Clark, Notting, Black, Sherman, Stiller.
BEST — Adelaide: Rutten, Goodwin, Johncock, Shirley, Edwards, Stevens. Brisbane Lions: Selwood, Power, Adcock, Lappin, Begley, Stiller.

INJURIES — Adelaide: Knights (back) replaced in selected side by Doughty. Welsh (knee). Brisbane Lions: Drummond (knee) replaced in selected side by C Scott. Patfull (broken collarbone).
REPORTS — Adelaide: Reilly by field umpire Goldspink for alleged rough contact on Stiller (Brisbane Lions) during the last quarter.
UMPIRES: Stevic, Jeffery, Goldspink.
CROWD: 46,507 at AAMI Stadium.

This was a must win game to stay in finals contention. Next week's game against Geelong is almost certainly going to be a thrashing, so my team's season is almost over.

Adelaide's Andrew McLeod with the ball, tackled by Rischa




Chris Scott tacking Adelaide's Mark Ricciuto

Being gentlemen, Brisbane Lions players give best wishes to Ricciuto for his retirement after his final game

German even the Germans don't like

Think rules to simplify a complicated language would be well received? Think again.
By Andrew D. Blechman

August 22, 2007
Dusseldorf, Germany

As of this month, the German language is officially "reformed." After more than a decade of bitter debate, new grammar rules for the world's 100 million native German speakers are now set in stone.

That may sound like big news, but chances are you haven't heard ein wort about it. Even in Germany the event has been met with something akin to a news blackout, but then again, the vast majority of Germans detest the reforms.

I learned about them by accident while grilling bratwurst and complaining about the language's user-unfriendliness. "No problem," my bemused German companion assured me, "as of Monday, it will be easier."

As of Monday?

"Beginning Monday, the rules will have changed for good," he continued. "And everyone must follow them."

With the smell of sausages wafting in the air and the Rhine a stone's throw away, I had little doubt that I had left the U.S. and was now living in Germany. But nothing cemented the fact quite like a discussion of German language reform and its "mandatory" adjustments. I was already having difficulty putting together simple sentences; would I now be fined for my ineptitude? Thankfully not, I learned; only children would be penalized! The government-mandated changes will be incorporated into their textbooks.

To anyone who has suffered through German's torturous grammatical rules, the concept of language reform is probably music to your ears. Every noun in the German language is deemed masculine, feminine or neuter and is preceded by its appropriate article. Depending on a word's "case," or construction, Germans have more than a dozen different ways to say "the" and "a." When I asked my German teacher why a fork is feminine, a spoon is masculine and a knife is neuter, she just shrugged her shoulders.

Even more mysterious are the verbs, which frequently reside at the end of a sentence or are split in half and placed as far away from one another as possible. And one must not forget the compoundwordsthatareaboutthislong. Given these complications, I've found myself in the unenviable position of trying to communicate without nouns or verbs. But adjectives get one only so far.

The Germans have known for a long time that their grammar is confusing, even for native speakers. The first attempts at reforming the language of Schiller and Goethe occurred more than 100 years ago, when grammarians worked to standardize it. Nearly half a century later, the Nazis planned to institute their own language reforms, but the war cut those efforts short.

The impetus behind the reform is the German-speaking world's penchant for grammatical rules and the difficulty for students to learn them. Many of these rules for spelling and punctuation, developed over centuries, have been deemed ambiguous and unsystematic, let alone unnecessarily complicated. The latest reform, begun in the early 1990s and led by expert grammarians from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, set out to simplify the language: Grammatical rules were reduced from 212 to (only!) 112, and those governing commas dropped from 52 to a mere nine. The changes mainly addressed written grammar, and -- to my chagrin -- have little effect on the spoken word. Perhaps the most important change is that der Hot dog is now der Hotdog.

Nevertheless, the so-called grammar simplification, which was adopted by the three governments' education ministries in 1996, faced stiff opposition from the public: Several German states and regional newspapers refused to adopt the measures. A number of authors, including Günter Grass, rebelled.

Until the German supreme court ruled in favor of the reforms in 1998, they appeared headed for the big chalkboard in the sky. But doubts persisted, and yet another group of experts was assembled to "reform the reform." As one German friend put it: People wanted their commas back. The new rules were instituted in 2006 with a one-year grace period that has just ended.

In the meantime, it's the German schoolchildren who will bear the brunt of the changes. It is not enough for a child to hand in a well-written essay; it also must be grammatically flawless. Teachers are instructed to count every misplaced comma and misspelled word, multiply them by 100, and then divide the resulting number by the total number of words in an essay. Enough errors, and one's grades can drop precipitously.

And I thought I had it bad.
Those of us who learnt the older style German will now be considered old-fashioned by the young folk.

The LA Times seems to have missed the boat. The German press was all over this last month. See - Die Welt.

Die letzte Übergangsfrist ist vorbei, nun muss in der neuen Rechtschreibung geschrieben werden

This morning Susan and I left at 7.30am to go to the farmers' market. I've missed the bread and fresh apples.

I didn't watch the game tonight. It wasn't on TV and I was too tired to wander over to the nearby club. In any case, my team lost.

24 August 2007

a message from our sponsor

The image “http://www.someecards.com/filestorage/enc_19.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I should keep this one to use at work...

Finally, Friday night and a weekend. I must remember to set the alarm to meet Susan on time at 7.30am.

23 August 2007

err... permission to reincarnate please...

From Xinhua (News Agency - Chinese government press agency)
Reincarnation of living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism must get government approval

BEIJING, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- All the reincarnations of living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism must get government approval, otherwise they are "illegal or invalid," China's State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said here Friday.

The SARA has issued a set of regulations on reincarnation of Tibetan living Buddhas, which will take effect as of September 1.

"It is an important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation of living Buddhas," the SARA said in a statement issued Friday.

The regulations require that a temple which applies for reincarnation of a living Buddha must be "legally-registered venues for Tibetan Buddhism activities and are capable of fostering and offering proper means of support for the living Buddha."

All the reincarnation applications must be submitted to the religious affairs department of the provincial-level government, the provincial-level government, SARA, and the State Council, respectively, for approval in accordance with the fame and influence of the living Buddhas in the religious circle, the regulations said.

"The selection of reincarnates must preserve national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country," SARA said.

Tibet became an administrative district directly under the central authorities of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in the 13th century. Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty conferred the title of living Buddha on Vphag-pa, a religious leader in Tibet at that time. Since then, people began to call eminent monks in Tibet living Buddhas.

SARA said the regulations are favor of guaranteeing normal religious activities of Tibetan Buddhism and protecting the religious belief of Tibetan Buddhism followers according to law.

"The government only administrate religious affairs related to state and the public interests and will not interfere in the pure internal religious affairs," SARA says.

The regulations are composed of 14 articles, including the principle, conditions, approval procedures, the duties and responsibilities of religious groups for reincarnation as well as punishment for those violating the regulations.

I like Newsweek's report
By Matthew Philips
Newsweek - Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."

But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country.

By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP
The Next Lama: The Dalai Lama says he won't reincarnate in Tibet

I think the concept of an "illegal" reincarnation is quite bizarre. What next? The Chinese government making regulations to outlaw the existence of God/Allah? Oh, they tried that once.

What a day at work today.

22 August 2007


The Australian government is now providing a free internet filter to protect children.

Actually, it's not free. It is costing taxpayers A$84.8 million.

I hadn't realised that the federal government is now taking on parental responsibilities on such a large scale.

What next? Perhaps the government should also provide free school lunches to ensure that children are receiving adequate nutrition.

Better yet, remove children from parents - after all, their parental skills are woeful - and place them all in state run institutions.

It's been a long day. Taking minutes for a work conference and participating can be tiring, and continuing on with a work dinner.

21 August 2007

worst on-screen chemistry

From UK Guardian
Poor Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman have made it to No 1 in a "worst screen chemistry" poll, published by the screen advertisers Pearl & Dean, for their sparks-not-flying, fireworks-not-exploding relationship in Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. They are, after all, two of the dullest actors in Hollywood; they are close in age anyway, and Portman is only slightly more feminine than her co-star.
Duh! Not surprising. She wore a doily on her head!

Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones

You can read about the other results here (Pearl and Dean).

I have watched half of Kingdom of Heaven on DVD. How gruesome. I decided to watch the rest another time.

So now I'm watching highlights of the V Festival 2006 on ABC2.

20 August 2007

Greer the gadfly goads again...

From The image “http://www.independent.co.uk/template/ver/gfx//new_indy_logo3.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.(of 19 August 2007)

Greer: 'Diana was a devious moron'

Germaine Greer launches extraordinary attack on the late Princess of Wales, accusing her of making a mess of her life and being unable to cope after her divorce

By Senay Boztas
Published: 19 August 2007

Germaine Greer launched an astonishing attack on the late Princess of Wales at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday, labelling her a "devious moron".

Greer was supposed to be speaking about her contentious new history book about Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's Wife, due to be published at the beginning of September.

But while she described Hathaway as Shakespeare's "angel", she used the occasion to express her view that Diana was no angel at all. "I have come to the conclusion that she was a devious moron," said the Australian academic and broadcaster. "One of the things I have been puzzled by is why her whole life was such a mess. She made a mess of being Princess of Wales, but that is fine because the job is not do-able. It is an insane job and, in history, all but one of the Princesses of Wales have come to a sticky end – stickier than hers.

"I am also interested in why she couldn't manage life after being HRH. It still puzzles me that she does that no-no thing: she sleeps with married men. If you do that in Hello! magazine, you are beyond contempt. But she does it with Will Carling, we forgive her somehow – even though his marriage is in a very delicate state and it doesn't seem to have helped at all.

"Then she does it with Oliver Hoare, the antiques dealer, who eventually realises he is in deep shit and goes back to his wife. She makes 300 nuisance calls to his home phone number. And this is the angel that people want to crown."

Never one to avoid controversy, Greer also suggested that Shakespeare died from syphilis, and that his bones, which could show the signs of the disease, will never be found. "The likely cause of Shakespeare's death was syphilis, contracted when he was a young man," she said.

Although she called him the "man of the millennium" for his writing, she described his long poem "Venus and Adonis" as "the housewives' porn that every lady kept by the bedside", and which was a torment for his wife's reputation.

Greer criticised generations of "demeaning and mean-spirited" male academics who have suggested that Shakespeare was forced to marry a"complete slag... the town bike" when she became pregnant, even though Hathaway was physically repellent and eight years older than him.

She singled out the critic Stephen Greenblatt for underestimating the role of this "silent woman of Shakespeare". Instead, Greer proposed that the marriage was for love. Greer also believes that Hathaway was Shakespeare's business angel, paying for his collection of plays to be published and preserved, securing his place in literary history.

"I argue that the only way the folio was ever published is that somebody paid for it. There was an angel, somebody who was determined that the work that cost so much for her would not disappear into the morgue of time. I think she gave the money.

"It is liberating to consider the possibility that a wife made a material contribution to the greatness of her husband. Why has it never been countenanced? All the literary wives you have heard of were considered to be frail, faulty and not worthy. I say the wives of great authors are essential to their success, whether the academic establishment has realised it or not, and we might as well begin at the top, with the wife of the man of the millennium."

A whole lot of people are going to be upset with Germaine... again. Highly intelligent people can also be stupid at the same time.

Oh why can't the weekend last seven days a week?

19 August 2007

nude on the Aletsch Glacier... getting noticed about climate change

Yesterday (18 August), Greenpeace and renowned photographer Spencer Tunick organised a 'protest' with 600 nude volunteers on the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland to draw attention to climate change.
Without clothes, the human body is vulnerable, exposed, its life or death at the whim of the elements. Global warming is stripping away our glaciers and leaving our entire planet vulnerable to extreme weather, floods, sea-level rise, global decreases in carrying capacity and agricultural production, fresh water shortages, disease and mass human dislocations.

If global warming continues at its current rate, most glaciers in Switzerland will completely disappear by 2080, leaving nothing but valleys and slopes strewn with rock debris. Over the last 150 years, alpine glaciers have reduced in size by approximately one third of their surface and half of their mass, and this melting is accelerating. The Aletsch Glacier retreated 115 metres (377 feet) in a single year from 2005 to 2006.

If world temperatures keep soaring, clothing may indeed end up being optional.

I took Kane on two walks today, in the morning and again in the afternoon. I think he is now familiar with the location of the local lamp posts.

Aside from that, I didn't do much today. After last weekend, it was good to have a restful weekend full of napping.

18 August 2007

football - round 20

BRISBANE 1.0 4.1 4.7 9.9 (63) drew
SYDNEY 2.4 3.7 6.12 8.15 (63)

J Brown 4 C Johnson 2 J Brennan R Copeland R Hadley. Sydney: A Schneider 2 N Davis N Fosdike B Hall B Kirk B Mathews R O'Keefe.

J Brown J Adcock M Leuenberger T Notting J Roe N Lappin. Sydney: A Goodes T Richards E Barlow N Fosdike B Kirk A Buchanan.

Injuries: Brisbane: J Charman (calf) S Harding (knee) J Macdonald (virus) replaced in selected side by J Sherman, T Selwood (general soreness) replaced in selected side by M Moody). Sydney: T Kennelly (dislocated kneecap) replaced in selected side E Barlow.
Reports: J Roe (Brisbane) reported by field umpire B Rosebury for making front-end contact to the head of L Brennan (Sydney) in the first quarter, L Power (Brisbane) reported by field umpire S Ryan for charging C Bolton (Sydney) in the fourth quarter.
Umpires: S Ryan B Rosebury M James.
Official Crowd: 33,077 at Gabba.

Lions kingpin Jonathan Brown kicked a monster goal just seconds before the fulltime siren to snatch a dramatic draw with Sydney in a Gabba thriller tonight.

Brown let roost a 55m set shot with the last disposal of the rugged affair which sailed truly to give the Brisbane co-captain his fourth major and tie the scores 9.9 (63) to 8.15 (63).

It brought the crowd of 33,077 - the biggest in Brisbane this season - to their collective feet after it appeared Swans skipper Brett Kirk had stolen the match for the visitors.

(The Age Real Footy)

After watching the first five minutes, I honestly thought that my team would lose the game, but they fought hard. Exciting yet frustrating to watch.


Big Red




mutant sheep killers...

There is a saying that Australia's wealth was was built on the sheep's back - "riding on the sheep's back". Early last century, wool exports drove the Australian economy, which was highly protected of course by tariffs.

Both Australia and New Zealand continue to have a large sheep industry where the sheep population often outnumbers people.

Hence there are a lot of sheep jokes. Some of them are rather unsavoury.

Now from New Zealand comes a horror flick about mutant sheep that attack people called Black Sheep.

Hmmm... I like that idea. A must watch.


Sheep thrills ... Nathan Meister does his best to blend in.
sheep skin jacket? no wonder the sheep are angry

Oliver Driver experiences the violence of the lamb in  Black Sheep.
violence of the lambs

black sheep
genetic engineering gone wrong

Kane, the German Shepherd, came over late this morning to stay for the weekend. I took him on two walks today - one to the local shops, and then this afternoon around the local neighbourhood. He's a great dog.

Finally, one of my team's games is being shown live on TV tonight. It is a rare luxury to be able to sit at home and watch it live. Mind you, I do prefer being at the actual game.

17 August 2007

Mira... a star

Mira is literally a star. A heavenly body!

Above: Mira's comet-like tail stretches more than 13 light years. [More]
(click picture to enlarge)

From NASA (15 August 2007)
Galaxy Evolution Explorer--"GALEX" for short--scanned the popular star during its ongoing survey of the entire sky in ultraviolet light. Astronomers then noticed what looked like a comet with a gargantuan tail. In fact, material blowing off Mira is forming a wake 13 light-years long, or about 20,000 times the average distance of Pluto from the sun. Nothing like this has ever been seen before around a star.

"I was shocked when I first saw this completely unexpected, humongous tail trailing behind a well-known star," says Christopher Martin of the California Institute of Technology. "It was amazing how Mira's tail echoed on vast, interstellar scales the familiar phenomena of a jet's contrail or a speedboat's turbulent wake." Martin is the principal investigator for the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, and lead author of a Nature paper appearing today to announce the discovery.

Astronomers say Mira's tail offers a unique opportunity to study how stars like our sun die and ultimately seed new solar systems. Mira is an older star called a red giant that is losing massive amounts of surface material. As Mira hurtles along, its tail sheds carbon, oxygen and other important elements needed for new stars, planets and possibly even life to form. This tail material, visible now for the first time, has been released over the past 30,000 years.

"This is an utterly new phenomenon to us, and we are still in the process of understanding the physics involved," says co-author Mark Seibert of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena. "We hope to be able to read Mira's tail like a ticker tape to learn about the star's life."

Billions of years ago, Mira was similar to our sun. Over time, it began to swell into what's called a variable red giant - a pulsating, puffed-up star that periodically grows bright enough to see with the naked eye. Mira will eventually eject all of its remaining gas into space, forming a colorful shell called a planetary nebula. The nebula will fade with time, leaving only the burnt-out core of the original star, which will then be called a white dwarf.

Right: Click on the image to play an animated artist's concept of red giant Mira evolving its comet-like tail. [More]

Compared to other red giants, Mira is traveling unusually fast, possibly due to gravitational boosts from other passing stars over time. It now plows along at 130 kilometers per second, or 291,000 miles per hour. Racing along with Mira is a small, distant companion thought to be a white dwarf. The pair, also known as Mira A (the red giant) and Mira B (the white dwarf), orbit slowly around each other as they travel together through the constellation Cetus 350 light-years from Earth.

In addition to Mira's tail, GALEX also discovered a bow shock, a type of buildup of hot gas, in front of the star, and two sinuous streams of material coming out of the star's front and back. Astronomers think hot gas in the bow shock is heating up the gas blowing off the star, causing it to fluoresce with ultraviolet light. This glowing material then swirls around behind the star, creating a turbulent, tail-like wake. The process is similar to a speeding boat leaving a choppy wake, or a steam train producing a trail of smoke.

The fact that Mira's tail only glows with ultraviolet light might explain why other telescopes have missed it. GALEX is very sensitive to ultraviolet light and also has an extremely wide field of view, allowing it to scan the sky for unusual ultraviolet activity.

"It's amazing to discover such a startlingly large and important feature of an object that has been known and studied for over 400 years," says James D. Neill of Caltech. "This is exactly the kind of surprise that comes from a survey mission like the Galaxy Evolution Explorer."

Mira, you're a STAR!

What a week! I am glad for the weekend. And at home too.

16 August 2007

for some, money does buy happiness

From UK Daily Telegraph

'Money can buy happiness' lottery winner reveals

We can't resist predicting post-jackpot doom but we should, says Cassandra Jardine

Lottery winner Angela Kelly
Winning the lottery 'makes you nicer and kinder'

Poor Angela Kelly. It's a wonder that she can keep a grin on her face as she waves around the fizz to "celebrate" her £35.4 million record lottery win. Because we all know, don't we, that no good will come of it.

Now she's wallowing in EuroMillions, the 40-year-old single mother from East Kilbride has already decided to junk her £21,000-a-year job as an administrative assistant for the Royal Mail and plans, in the not-too-distant future, to sell her £80,000 two-bedroom flat and move to the country.

Let's hope she gets a good price because, before long, she is bound to find it hard living on the £2 million or so annual interest from her triple rollover jackpot.

What do you mean, "No, she won't"? Of course she will. For now, she may have revised an initial rash remark about moving to Italy by saying that she'd like to stay in Scotland for the sake of her son, John, who is about to start his GCSEs.

At present, she can't think in spending terms beyond splashing out on her first manicure and getting another Seat Ibiza to replace the one she pranged in May. Her plans to treat John don't extend beyond a quad bike, a Wii computer games system and PlayStation. She has also said she'd happily give some of the money to her estranged husband.

But it's only a matter of time. If we're allowed to catch up with her in a year or two, we know what to expect. John, by then 16, will no longer be at the local school. He'll have been teased and bullied so mercilessly that he'll have flunked out of education, the better to indulge his drug habit. That's if he hasn't already killed himself on his quad bike.

Those neighbours who are so thrilled for Angela now, calling her a "down-to-earth" woman with no indulgences beyond the occasional vodka, will have turned on her: even if she is generous with her handouts, there'll always be someone who thinks they deserved more.

The manicure, meanwhile, will have progressed to a double boob-job-cum-face-lift, tummy-tuck and bottom enhancement operation to attract a string of venal toyboys. And the estranged husband will have spent his windfall on lawyers to strip her of the rest.

Attempts to resist such conclusions are useless. From the earliest days of the lottery, the British have always indulged in the opposite of Schadenfreude - Freudeschaden, perhaps - which allows us to feel heart-warming pity for those who strike it super-lucky.

Admittedly, some of the 2,000-plus millionaires created since the lottery started in November 1994 have done their best to help. One committed suicide, several have found themselves in prison, and a sprinkling have gratifyingly followed in the footsteps of Viv "Spend, spend, spend" Nicholson, the 1961 pools winner who ended up bankrupt.

Camelot has tried to correct this picture. At the end of last year, the company commissioned research which showed that, counter to expectations, 97 per cent of winners were glad about their good fortune. But among their number are a few who have confided such horrendous tales of exploitation and family rifts that this conclusion seems a little surprising.

One such "winner" is Mark Gardiner, whose mother got the good cheer off to a fine start by saying that she hoped he would end up driving his new Ferrari into a wall - "and I hope it's tomorrow".

Although it runs contrary to puritan ideas about happiness being a by-product of hard work, the simple shift to being able to pay bills and indulge a few dreams is one for which most of us would swap constant financial anxiety.

We aren't deluding ourselves, according to Hunter Davies, author of Living on the Lottery, for which he followed the fortunes of 27 winners from the game's first year. He's kept in touch with many of them and has come to a shocking conclusion.

"Money does buy happiness," he says. "It makes you nicer and kinder - maybe because you don't get messed around so much.

"Of the 27, only one wasn't happy and he was a depressive. Those who mutter about the awful things in store for winners are simply subscribing to a compensatory myth that makes them feel better."

However, he warns all of us who are rushing to buy tickets not to believe the two most common things that people say when they are in the queue: "You won't see me for dust" and "I'll give most of it away".

Actually, almost all winners stay where they have always lived, simply upgrading their homes two notches, from flat to semi, perhaps. And although they give on average 20 to 30 per cent of their winnings away, it is to family and friends, not good causes - unless of course you are their family or friends.

No doubt Angela Kelly will follow suit. She may heed the advice of Brooke Astor, the recently deceased New York socialite who believed that "Money is like manure, it should be spread around." And if she needs advice, there will be plenty of people clustering, like flies on manure, to help her.

It's not as if it is difficult to spend £35.4 million. When I dream of winning the lottery - as we all do, even if we don't buy tickets - I start by thinking that £200,000 would be perfect. It would pay the school fees, buy a conservatory, and leave change for a few holidays.

But once the money-fantasy wheels start turning, it seems a paltry amount. A million won't get you a decent flat in central London or the wing of a Learjet - though it would probably be enough to modernise our plumbing so that the shower doesn't just dribble.

Even £35.4 million will buy only a single Picasso, a tiny island in the middle of nowhere or Tom Cruise to star in just one home movie - depending on whether he likes the script. But I'd like to think that I'd spend that money on regenerating the dilapidated areas close to where I live for the benefit of my more deprived neighbours.

So if Angela runs out of ideas, she can always shovel some my way. I'm prepared to take a three per cent risk of feeling the worse for it.

Cassandra Jardine is funny. I wonder if she kept a straight face when she wrote that. Now if only it had been about me!

Thursday. Another day closer to the weekend.

15 August 2007

don't hold your breath

From Hamburg Web

Tom Sietas aus Hamburg stellt Weltrekord im Apnoetauchen auf

erschienen am 10.08.2007

Tom Sietas, Bildquelle: tomsietas.com
Tom Sietas, Bildquelle: tomsietas.com

Der Hamburger Freitaucher Tom Sietas hat einen neuen Weltrekord im Apnoetauchen aufgestellt. 15 Minuten und zwei Sekunden konnte sich Sietas unter Wasser halten ohne einmal Luft zu holen. Damit verbesserte er seine eigene Bestmarke um 37 Sekunden.

Den Weltrekord stellte Tom Sietas in der amerikanischen Fernsehsendung Regis and Kelly auf im Rahmen der "Guiness World Record Breaker Week" auf. Im New Yorker Fernsehstudio wurde eigens für den Weltrekord ein Aquarium installiert in dem Tom Sietas dann am Donnerstag der Weltrekord im Dauertauchen gelungen ist.

Tom Sietas hat seine Leidenschaft für den Tauchsport vor sieben Jahren während eines Urlaubs auf Jamaika entdeckt. Mit einem Lungenvolumen von 6,8 Litern verfügt er über beste Voraussetzungen für seinen Sport. Neben dem Weltrekord im Dauertauchen, hält Tom Sietas auch die Rekorde im Streckentauchen mit Flossen (223 Meter) und Streckentauchen ohne Flossen (183 Meter).


Out of breath ... Tom Sietas, 30, shows his delight as he breaks his own Guinness World Record.

Out of breath ... Tom Sietas, 30, shows his delight as he breaks his own Guinness World Record.
Photo: AP

I didn't make my lunch today to take to work. We had a farewell lunch at an Indian Restaurant.

There is just nothing on TV these days, except for Dr Who and Torchwood.

14 August 2007

are they 4real?

From the UK Daily Telegraph and widely reported

'This baby's name is not 4Real', couple told

By Paul Willis
Last Updated: 1:49am BST 09/08/2007

A couple has got over the disappointment of having their choice of 4Real as the name for their baby son turned down by calling him Superman instead.

Pat and Sheena Wheaton were told by the government registry in New Zealand they could not register the name because it included a digit.

Mr Wheaton said he came up with the unlikely moniker after seeing the baby for the first time in an ultrasound scan and realising their baby was "for real".

However, the family has refused to let the law or good taste get in the way of their choice, insisting they will continue to refer to their two-month-old son as 4Real.

In the meantime they plan to officially name him Superman.

"No matter what, its going to stay 4Real," Mr Wheaton told the New Zealand Herald newspaper, "I'm certainly not a quitter".

He said criticism of the couple posted on the internet regarding their choice of name had been difficult to handle.

"I did go online and Google some of the stories and as tough as I am, it does get to you, but there's no point getting upset," he said.

"It could be a 10-year-old school girl making those comments."

A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which operates the registry, told the newspaper discussions with the Wheatons about their son's name were continuing.

Wacky baby names

1. Kal-el Coppola (Son of actor Nicolas Cage)

2. Audio Science (Son of actress Shannyn Sossaman)

3. Bluebell Madonna (Daughter of Singer Geri Halliwell)

4. Daisy Boo (Daughter of chef Jamie Oliver)

5. Pilot Inspektor (Son of actress Beth Riesgraf and actor Jason Lee)

6. Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (Daughter of television presenter Paula Yates and Singer Michael Hutchence)

7. Dixie Dot (Daughter of television presenter Anna Ryder Richardson)

8. God'Iss Love Stone (Daughter of Singer Lil'Mo)

9. Jermajesty (Son of Singer Jermaine Jackson)

10. Apple (Daughter of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin)

As if that wasn't already bad enough, a book has just been published called Sci-Fi Baby Names: 500 Out-of-This-World Baby Names from Anakin to Zardoz by Brooklyn author Robert Schnakenberg.

From the book description
Babies are the courageous explorers of brave new worlds so why not name them after the most memorable characters in science fiction? Sci-Fi Baby Names compiles more than 500 distinctive names from movies, books, and television shows into a handy illustrated reference. Choose "James" to honor the captain of the starship Enterprise. Choose "Leia" (or "Leah") to honor the sister of Luke Skywalker. Choose "Neo" to salute the ultra-cool messiah from The Matrix. Hardcore fans can go even further with exotic names like "Barbarella," "Beldar," and "Tron" (just don't send us the therapy bills). Arranged by category for quick reference with chapters such as Power Names, Feminine Names, and Intellectual Names Sci-Fi Baby Names is a terrific gift for expecting parents and a wonderful roll call of our favorite science-fiction characters.
I reckon Anakin is alright and so is Padme. Even better if a baby girl is called Padme Amidala. Yoda on the other hand...

I so do not want to be at work this week...

13 August 2007

random thought

Airlines lose millions of passengers' luggage every year.

Where do they end up? Are they ever found?

I so do not want to go to work this week. But I must.

12 August 2007

the ultimate sandwich

I usually make a sandwich for lunch, which I take to work from Monday to Friday. That is, unless there is some leftover from the previous night's dinner that could be reheated, like curry or noodles.

A country hotel in the UK has come up with the ultimate, and the world's most expensive, sandwich. A little bit indulgent, but if you can afford it (I can't), why not?

From their website
Cliveden Offers World’s Most Expensive Sandwich

At £100, the newly launched ‘von Essen Platinum Club Sandwich’ is the world’s most expensive sandwich, but with an exquisite combination of some of the very finest ingredients, it is surely worth every penny.

The mouth-watering sandwich has just been launched at Cliveden in Berkshire, the famous country house hotel that’s part of the exclusive von Essen private collection. Boasting an impressive culinary heritage, Cliveden’s Executive Head Chef, Daniel Galmiche presides over the Michelin-starred Waldo’s Restaurant at the hotel. Made from Iberico ham, poulet de Bresse, white truffles, quail eggs, semi-dried Italian tomatoes and 24-hour fermented sour dough bread, the von Essen Platinum Club weighs 530 grams and is the perfect lunchtime treat for gastronomes.

"We are pleased to announce our achievements have been commemorated by The Guinness Book of World Records for producing the 'world's most expensive sandwich'. Guests can see The Certificate in the Porch Corchere at Cliveden!"

A favourite of English King Edward VII and his wife Wallis Simpson, the club sandwich has been enduringly popular since the late nineteenth century when it was believed to be invented. Fit for royalty, von Essen’s version is a contemporary interpretation of the classic firmly bringing into line with modern culinary tastes.

"The Platinum Club sandwich is made from the very finest ingredients and the taste is simply sublime"

Air-cured for 30 months, the Iberico ham comes from the prized black-footed pig (Pata Negra), while the poulet de Bresse is described by the French as the ‘fourth gastronomic wonder of the world’. The notoriety of the chicken of Bourg-en-Bresse dates back to the sixteenth century when Henry IV of France demanded its inclusion on the courtly menu. At £2,500 per kilogramme, white truffles are some of the world’s most expensive delicacies and a generous 10 grams are included in the ingredients of the sandwich. Regarded by many as a natural aphrodisiac, the rich taste of the truffles perfectly complements the flavours of the sandwich, which may explain if you are feeling a little amorous after your lunchtime snack.

"von Essen Platinum Club sandwich weighs 530 grams and is the perfect lunchtime treat for gastronomes"

Masterminded by the von Essen collection’s Executive Head Chef, James Parkinson, his inspiration came from the experience of staying at hotels all over the world. James comments, ‘Found on the menu of virtually every hotel in the world, the club sandwich is one of the hospitality industry’s staples. Until now, I’m yet to experience a version that’s worthy of the many five-star hotels I’ve visited. The Platinum Club sandwich is made from the very finest ingredients and the taste is simply sublime. It’s a sandwich that lives-up to the sumptuous setting of Cliveden and its magnificent culinary pedigree’

(click on picture for detail)

I wonder if you could go with ten people and share it.

21 hours in Melbourne, just for the football. I must be mad.

Yesterday morning, I flew to Melbourne. I managed to have time to check into a budget motel in the city before meeting up with Tim and Paul for a drink at the pub nearby. Then I left them and made my own way to the MCG and met with Jim (who I first met at work on Wednesday - he met with the departmental secretary/CEO) who had invited me to the football.

It was a difficult game to watch. At the end of the game, I went down to the dressing rooms after much difficulty (visits are by invitation only), and had a chat with Begs (one of our players - I had some things to give him). Then I found Tim and Paul upstairs in a bar and had a beer.

That evening, we went to a reunion dinner of many of the past players of the club (and of the former clubs which merged to form our club). It was a good night, though too many people (1400) for my liking. I caught up with a few players I know and other friends. 5 hours, a three course dinner and free flowing alcohol. I only had three or four beers.

I got to the hotel at 12.30am. It was a dive - basic with shared bathrooms. It was also very noisy as my room (not sound-proofed) faced the street. In any case, I woke up around 5am and left at 5.30am and arrived at the airport by 6.30am for the 8.25am flight. 21 hours in Melbourne, I must be mad.

Thankfully, I was able to have a nap or two this afternoon.

football - round 19

From Saturday afternoon

HAWTHORN 4.3 7.4 14.8 17.13 (115)

BRISBANE LIONS 3.4 7.9 9.10 13.13 (91)

Franklin 5, Roughead 3, Dixon 3, Hodge 2, Bateman, Boyle, McGlynn, Young.
Brisbane Lions: Brown 6, Power 2, Stiller 2, Hooper, Charman, Copeland.

Hodge, Guerra, Birchall, Mitchell, Sewell, Franklin.
Brisbane Lions: Brown, Adcock, Hooper, Power, Charman, Lappin.

INJURIES Hawthorn: Vandenberg (knee). Brisbane Lions: Charman (finger).
UMPIRES: Allen, Wenn, Avon
CROWD: 39,007 at the MCG.

It was a difficult game to attend. In the end, my team was beaten by a better one. My team also wore the heritage jumper of the old Fitzroy Lions.


Croady marking over Browny

Big Red



half time mêlée

Swooper getting tackled by Crawf

Hawthorn's captain Richie Vandenberg - a good action pic

10 August 2007

crikey, it's fair dinkum

From the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fair dinkum: Aussie phrase sparks in-flight dispute

By Jim Tharpe
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/09/07

An Australian tourist upset over her airborne snack says the slang term "fair dinkum" landed her in a fair amount of hot water this week on a flight from Atlanta to Pittsburgh.

Sophie Reynolds, 41, said the problem began about halfway through her Delta Connection flight on SkyWest Airlines when she rejected a snack of crackers and asked the flight attendant for pretzels.

"She said they didn't have any, and I said, 'fair dinkum,' out of frustration," Reynolds said in a telephone interview. The term is frequently used in Australia to express everything — depending on inflection — from amazement to the belief that something is honest and true.

"Say you're telling me a story, and I think it's amazing, I'd say 'fair dinkum,' " said Reynolds, who lives in Queanbeyan, about three hours from Sydney. "If you're telling me a story, and I think you're full of it, I'd say fair dinkum, too."

Reynolds said that after the mid-air misunderstanding another flight attendant requested her passport and copied down her name and other information. Three uniformed officers greeted Reynolds when she exited the flight in Pittsburgh.

"They said, 'You swore at the hostess and there are federal rules against that,' " Reynolds said. "And I said, 'I did not swear at the hostess, I just said 'fair dinkum.' "

A SkyWest official said Thursday the airline is still investigating the incident, and noted "there are two sides to every story."

"Our initial reports indicate it was more than a misunderstanding of the language," said SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow. "We witnessed aggressive behavior throughout the flight."

Snow said the Utah-based airline, which flies under contract to Delta Air Lines, is still trying to contact Reynolds. She said no charges were filed as a result of the incident and Reynolds was allowed to go on her way after a chat with police.

"The safety and comfort our of passengers and crew is our first priority," Snow said. "When other passengers or crew members feel uncomfortable it's our standard procedure to contact law enforcement just as a precaution."
Now in an Australian paper, the Sydney Morning Herald
Fair dinkum! Aussie lingo sparks security scare

Jano Gibson
August 10, 2007 - 3:10PM

Strewth. Crikey. Bloody hell. An Australian woman has reportedly sparked a security scare aboard a US flight after her use of a common Australian phrase was apparently misinterpreted as an act of aggression.

Sophie Reynolds, 41, from Queanbeyan, was flying aboard SkyWest Airlines from Atlanta to Pittsburgh this week when she asked a flight attendant if she could have a pack of pretzels instead of crackers.

"[The flight attendant] said they didn't have any [pretzels], and I said, 'Fair dinkum,' out of frustration," Reynolds was quoted as saying in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Before she knew it a second flight attendant asked her for her passport and copied down her name.

Then, when the flight landed, three uniformed officers greeted her.

"They said, 'You swore at the hostess and there are federal rules against that,"' Reynolds said. "And I said, 'I did not swear at the hostess, I just said 'fair dinkum."'

A spokeswoman for the airline said it was not simply a matter of misunderstanding the language.

"We witnessed aggressive behaviour throughout the flight," she said.

Reynolds was not charged and allowed to go on her way, she said.

Fair dinkum = true.
When posed as a question 'fair dinkum?' = really?

What a week work has been. Thankfully the weekend is here, though I am travelling to Melbourne again tomorrow for another football game. Woohoo!

09 August 2007

San Francisco - near Mount Doom

A new skyscraper has been proposed for San Francisco, the tallest in the west coast.

From San Francisco Chronicle


The West Coast's tallest building: 3 competing ideas show audacity that adds to the city's rising skyline

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Three competing proposals for what would be the tallest building on the West Coast were unveiled Monday in San Francisco amid architectural fanfare and political buzz.

There's no guarantee that any of the towers will be built, or that the design to be selected next month by public officials will reach the heights envisioned by the development teams. But the audacity of the designs - and the favorable response from elected officials - showed that the recent startling changes to the city's skyline are only a prelude to what could lie ahead.

"There they are," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said with a wave of his right hand as black mesh was pulled from three lavish large models. The event was held in a crowded event room at City Hall filled with dozens of people and several television crews. "Today is an historic day."

The three proposals range in height from 1,200 feet to 1,375 feet - each extending well past the 853-foot Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest tower in San Francisco. And each is accompanied by a transit terminal that is intended to become a major civic gateway.

The competition is being held by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, a regional government body created in 2001 to bring about the construction of a new transit terminal in San Francisco that backers say could become the regional equivalent of Grand Central Station.

There is one design I think is interesting.

The Rogers Stirk Harbour proposed design concept for the Transbay Terminal.

I wonder if Frodo from the Shire will make a journey there.


If I win the lottery, I would resign from work!