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Thursday 31 December 2009

Audio: "The Life of Our Lord"

The "Classic Tales" podcast on iTunes recently featured "The Life of Our Lord", as written by Charles Dickens for his children. It's worth a listen.

Download it here

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Age-inappropriate tweeness is grating

I was scanning Twitter, as I do, when I came across a user. I won't name her, as I'm not trying to humiliate her, just to make an observation. I have removed all identifiers, all @s, to leave this:

There were 10 more pages of this, but I have spared you.

" *giggle* ". That's right up there with "teehee" and "swoon" for words that are funny used in deliberate irony and just... terrifying when used without. It's as if one of Barbie's or Marilyn Monroe's more vapid incarnations had come to life.

I don't know this woman, so she could be extremely bright and personable and charming. But she writes " *giggle* " in her Tweets, as well as a number of "I'm so blond!" references... this disturbs me on many levels.

The stereotype of the dumb blonde is perpetuated in humour (my uncle, married to a blonde, sends me numerous blonde jokes), reality TV, Hollywood (both on-and off-screen), the porn industry, etc etc... but should women be contributing to it?

It bothers me that someone who otherwise seems quite open to new experiences, is coordinated and organised, speaks in complete sentences... is oblivious to the fact that she sometimes presents herself to the world as a bimbo. And I'm sure she's not!

Anyway, something to think about, or perhaps for me to lighten up. Teehee.

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SpatSolver - the ultimate way to defuse a fight

This is freakin' hilarious:

YouTube link

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Sunday 27 December 2009

Bad Mental Health Day

I'm very comfortable around cultures & new people. When my head is working properly, I'm very social & love learning new things. That's when Good Brain is in control.

This morning, a Japanese student (who's been staying with my cousin in Sydney) arrived to stay here for the week. My folks picked him up. So I get up around 11:00, knowing I'm having a Bad Mental Health Day but psyching myself up to meet this guy anyway...

My mum rings: "we've got extra people for lunch". She warns me, which is good. My parents came back from church with our new boarder and two more Japanese students.

Bad Brain freaks out - they're Japanese, all trim and neat and fastidious and polite; I'm fat and gross and will make them feel ill. Bad Brain doesn't make much sense, but still refuses to go upstairs.

So I'm effectively HIDING in my own house, from normal interesting people.

Some days I really really hate Bad Brain.

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Ask me anything

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Seriously, Catholics.

Excuse me a moment - just adjusting my helmet before the windmill-tilting commences.

'Dead boy has miraculous powers'
A SYDNEY couple believes their son - "hand-picked by God" - could be Australia's first male saint.

Mike Tannous died three years ago but a mysterious oil that weeps from the walls of his bedroom has been hailed by his parents, George and Lina, as having helped heal dozens of people,...


"Mike is a messenger between us and God. He has healed so many people," Mrs Tannous said.


"Our boy is a saint. This is him talking to us, talking to other people," [Mr Tannous] said.


Meanwhile, Mother MacKillop is being credited with playing a part in the successful separation of conjoined Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna [...].

The girls' carer Moira Kelly said she believed her prayers to Mother MacKillop helped with the surgery.

"Mary MacKillop has certainly, I believe, played a big role in this," Ms Kelly said.

Seriously, Catholics. God must have his head in his hands, muttering "how did they possibly interpret things this way?!?"

I have never understood the Catholic mindset about saints, about praying to dead humans as if they were in fact God.

This boy is dead, and his parents should have let him go long ago. Mary MacKillop is long dead, and how she can possibly be credited with helping out in a highly technical, excruciatingly difficult, modern surgery... well, it just baffles me. If you want to put healing, or success in the face of incredible odds, down to a miracle, then at least MENTION God.

And - loudly and blatantly - give credit to the surgeons, even if you ascribe their talent to God: if I'd spent 20 years honing my skills, I think I'd be justifiably peeved if you suggested the only reason I hadn't killed my patients was because of a dead lady.

Be you Catholic (="High Anglican"-Mary), Anglican, Methodist, 1st Avenue Church of Christ The Blessed Redeemer, Amish, Pentecostal or Southern Independent Baptist, the same principle applies: either God performed a miracle, or no miracle occurred. God does not communicate via knocks on the table, ouija boards, tarot cards or oil seeping out of people's walls. Or, for Heaven's sake, on bloody TOAST.

(scary owner alert)(image from AllThingsSD)

Just... stop it. Stop confusing the secular world into thinking we're all spiritualist nutters. Stop praying to people who were no more or less divine than you or I. Stop letting the Catholic church place its 8 layers of access between you and God.

If I may quote Martin Luther himself:
Article XXI
Of the Worship of the Saints

[cf. Confutatio Pontificia]

Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country; For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2, 1: If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.

Rant over. Carry on.

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Saturday 19 December 2009

Quote - old age

Grandpa Simpson said:
I used to be "with it"... then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary.

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Friday 11 December 2009


From, this piece on street photography during the apartheid era in South Africa:


1976 was a critical time in South Africa's history. The first real cracks in the Apartheid system of racial segregation appeared when black school children took to the streets to protest against new laws which were introduced to give them an inferior education system. The authorities cracked down ruthlessly, killing and wounding many. It was a time of realisation: the beginning of the end of white complacency and black defeatism.

Steve Bloom took to the streets and the townships, photographing people at this pivotal moment in history. Some of the pictures, edgy and fleeting, capture the tension and excitement of the time. Others, such as portraits of down-and-outs, show the utter despair of people under Apartheid. Bloom managed to capture the emotional essence of the moment South Africa began to experience unstoppable, real dissent. The portfolio contains images of dark humour, irony and sadness. The photographs are deeply personal, revealing the alienation of people as they went about their daily lives. Rather than photograph the obvious signs of Apartheid, Bloom caught people in their most private moments, acknowledging that all the peoples of South Africa were ultimately victims of Apartheid.

In 1977 Steve Bloom travelled to London where he allowed The International Defence and Aid Fund (under the auspices of the United Nations) to exhibit and publish the photographs internationally. After the fall of Apartheid, the pictures were withdrawn from circulation, and only a few vintage silver gelatine prints remain.

In 2009 Steve Bloom resurrected the negatives, and began printing a selection of about eighty images. Many of the recently printed photographs lay in boxes for 33 years and have not been published or seen before. The old scratched negatives are being restored, and the full portfolio should be ready for public viewing by January 2010. A selection can be seen here.

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Wednesday 9 December 2009

Pregnant woman held hostage, cut open

From HuffPo - Cops: Woman Held Pregnant Woman Hostage, Tried To Cut Out Unborn Baby:

Once [in the apartment], ... Deramous bound the woman, who was in her third trimester. Days later, the woman escaped after Deramous tried to cut the unborn baby from her body, Reedy said.

"She bound the victim's hands and proceeded to try to cut the victim's abdomen to try to get the baby out," she said. "They believe she wanted the victim's baby."


When police found Adams her "abdomen was cut and her intestines, stomach and placenta were exposed," according a police report. In the apartment, officers found bloody towels and a bowl with water and washcloths on a bedroom floor. They also found a box cutter and some razor blades, which they believe Deramous used to cut Adams, Reedy said.

Burn 'em all.

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Facebook SNAFUs, via HuffPo

These are just a sample of the worst - and funniest - Facebook SNAFUs, from Huffington Post:

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Doggy Christmas

We put down the mat for the Christmas tree ... I think the dog thinks we've cleared furniture and put this great new bed down, just for him:

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Saturday 5 December 2009

A Tweetie trick

I use Tweetie on the iPhone for Twitter, & I have just discovered a useful Easter egg type of thing.

Most Twitterers use URL shorteners, in order to fit into the 140 character limit - the problem with that is that often you don't know what you're clicking on.

Swiping across this listing produces:


And wait a sec:

The destination link appears.

Maybe everyone already knew this and eyes are being rolled... but I'm pleased I found it!

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Friday 4 December 2009

Animal Conflict (graphic images)

This is one of a series of photos by Steve Bloom, presented by the Telegraph.

The eye of a lion peers out from the inside of a dead elephant in Savuti, Botswana

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Location:Brisbane, Australia

Tuesday 1 December 2009


“Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means.”

—Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894); Essayist, Poet, Novelist

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