Saturday, November 20, 2010


I'm gonna have to, aren't I...sigh... It's been two years or more, almost, I think...

Well here goes...


I used to rattle on a bit about god. Well what did you expect? He was a soft target. He probably still is, but I'm over it. I find the whole notion to be offensive, if I'm honest, and I'd rather just not talk about it, ok?

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Monday, December 8, 2008

The talking tosser

It's a pity I think, that such an incredibly strong and amazing woman as that mentioned in my previous post should have such a complete wanker for a son. I guess it's true what they say, you can choose your friends...

And who's this "we" Kimosabe? You're American now, remember?

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dame Indeed

I just read yet another article about Dame Elizabeth Murdoch. I have but one thing to say...


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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Egalitarian Spirit

How I long for the halcyon days. Suburban grounds and the sound of the crowd in my ear as I ride my bike around on a Saturday afternoon. Those were the days...

When I was a kid we lived pretty close to a grand old arena called Windy Hill. It wasn't called that because it was sponsored by the Windy Hill Corporation, but because that's where it is; on top of a hill that gets a bit of wind.

We lived so close to it that I could kick a footy around the back yard on a Saturday and pretend that the crowd was screaming for the goal I just kicked. It was fantastic. A kid's dream. We didn't need to listen to the game either (you couldn't watch it on the tele back then), we just watched everyone walking home or back to their cars. If the old lady that lived up the street was crying when she went passed, we knew Essendon had lost and that was that.

In those days it only happened on Saturdays too. They played all the games in one day and they played them in the heartlands where the common folk had cheap and easy access. There was no "Optus Oval" (Princess Park) or "Skilled Stadium" (Kardinia Park) but there was always the MCG, the ground you aspired to play at (except if you were playing Melbourne at home of course), but all the finals were played there because there was no home ground advantage, unless you were Melbourne, but that didn't happen very often.

We used to pack 110,000 in that ground for a grand final. You could take a full Esky and just about everyone, man, woman and child, did. What a stadium and what a day it was (but then so was boxing day in bay 13 for an Ashes game). You think the atmosphere is good these days? Well it isn't bad, but literally 100,000 people screaming "BALL!!!" is truly a sound to behold...

But times change and then business gets involved and a game "evolves", or more to the point, is stolen. Pretty soon the suburban grounds have been left for more salubrious venues, membership costs are prohibitively expensive and only 26,000 of the 90,000 seats available for the grand final, are available to the common folk. There'll be no meat pies and beer in the outer this weekend, but plenty of chardonnay, long macs and an a la carte menu in the corporate box. Back in the day, the only thing that resembled a corporate box was the members pavilion, and nuts to them!

Well, so much for "the common man's game". Just 26,000 seats this year. It's a disgrace! I heard that there were still some available though, for about $1500. The common folk have been shut out by cost and distance, but most of all by business. I call it the "Rollerball" syndrome...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Christian Ethic

Christians are as christians do. Has that not always been the case? Allow me to draw your attention to the following headline:

"Archbishop in abortion law threat"

On the face of it, you could well be forgiven for thinking that the catholic church might have an issue with abortion. You'd be right too, but I don't really know why that is. I can't even find the word mentioned in the bible, and I've looked long and hard.

Caring for the sick and suffering on the other hand, rates quite a bit of mention in the bible, but there seems to be an issue here on earth. Some new laws may not fit with some religious ideals, or so it seems...

CATHOLIC hospitals might close their maternity and emergency departments if a proposed new abortion law is passed in Victoria next month, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has warned.

As much as I dislike religion, I have to admit that in the city I live in, there are some extremely good catholic hospitals. It would be a shame to see some of the better maternity facilities in this town close, not to mention much needed emergency services. But he goes on to say; "We might get out of hospitals altogether!" So there. How very christian.

In fairness though, there is a reason...

He said the law would require Catholic doctors and nurses with a conscientious objection to abortion to break the law. "This poses a real threat to the continued existence of Catholic hospitals."

Would it really? I can't imagine that any penalty would constitute more than a fine. Oh yeah... That would cost wouldn't it. How very, very christian...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eternal Pastures

Once again the subject of eternity and the possibility of experiencing it, with god, has arisen. Once again, I've had to explain that really, I'm not overly interested in it. Why? Well let me take you back, about 35 years back. I was at Sunday school and we were learning about Jericho and it was a day and a lesson that got seriously stuck in my mind. But first, just a little about Jericho itself.

Jericho was and still is an amazing city. It is arguably the oldest inhabited city on earth and back in the day, it had walls so thick they could race chariots on top, or so it was said. Of course the remains of those walls and their foundations would tend to suggest that yes, they were very thick by the day's standard, but one chariot would have been a squeeze let alone a race. Nonetheless, they were massive and impregnable walls with lots and lots of people inside.

Now the valley of Jericho, in which lays the city, is in a region that used to be called Canaan. "Ah well, there's your problem!" I hear you say, and you'd be right. God had given Canaan to the Israelites, despite the fact that there'd been a race there, called "the Canaanites", funnily enough, for well, since before Abraham got there. One could almost say since the beginning even...

I got to wondering why god had to kick the Canaanites out so the Israelites could live there, so I asked. According to my teacher at the time, "because god wants them to" is good enough. But wasn't there somewhere else they could go? Well no, god said they were going to live in Canaan, so they had to. Oh...Ok...

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, one thing leads to another which eventually leads to a whole lot of marching, yelling and let's not forget, the blowing of many trumpets. Eventually god tells them to stop, then the earth shakes and the walls fall down. Then god tells Josh to get the lads in there and make sure they kill everybody, except the prostitute. God even keeps the sun up for a few extra hours so they can make sure they've killed everyone, which they do, which is extremely pleasing to the lord.

I didn't like the story very much, as you can probably tell. So I went home quite confused that day, wondering about some of the other lessons we'd had like "god is love" and "do unto others" and by the end of it, had come firmly to the conclusion that the god of the Old Testament was not "love" and definitely was not the kind to ask his acolytes to "do unto others as they would have done to themselves", otherwise he probably wouldn't have any. Well not for long anyway. I even thought for a while that there might actually be two gods, but then I got to thinking about the "There can be only one!" thing and thought better of it.

But so began my journey from theism to a-theism. I took the long and very winding route via church too (various churches in fact), and many years of study. I was genuinely curious, so I searched high and low to find god. I even became pentecostal (yep, with the AOG) but eventually found no evidence, not even a trace, of either he or his son Jesus.

Along the way, I'd also gained an education and eventually came to the conclusion that there are some simple facts that need to be considered where eternity is concerned:

1. The human body, including the brain and all the other organs and the thoughts and emotions they produce, works by producing and using certain chemicals which it utilises in producing responses via certain chemical reactions.

2. When the chemical reactions stop, so do we.

Simple facts out of the way, I have a couple of question:

1. Is there really any reason then to think that I'll still be able to think, let alone emote once my body stops working? Well no, not really.

2. If there was an afterlife, would I really want to spend it with the vindictive, petulant, two faced megalomaniac that seems to be the god of the Bible, Old and New? Well no, not really.

3. Does any of that stop me from thinking it might be nice? Well no actually. I like the idea of a personal beer volcano.

So no, I don't think there's an afterlife and my reasons for thinking that don't really have much to do with my second question, that's just me being petulant.

Eternal pastures are always greener, but whether they exist in any form other than wistful dreamings is a question that living mortals are simply not qualified to answer, as well as being extremely doubtful, which just doesn't help at all...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Kevin's Heaven

Cosmos order proves God exists: Rudd

Now there's a headline and no mistake! Oh, and here's the article. I'm glad Kev's cleared it up for us:

"You can't simply have, in my own judgment, creation simply being a random event because it is so inherently ordered, and the fact that the natural environment is being ordered where it can properly coexist over time."

That it does it via a series of seemingly random yet very specific events doesn't matter because:

"If you were simply reducing that to mathematically probabilities I've got to say it probably wouldn't have happened.

"So I think there is an intelligent mind at work."(sic)

Actually Kev, for a long time now there have been and indeed there still are, many intelligent minds at work on the problem. Over time and slowly but surely, they're working out how it all really happened and how it all really works. The key here is to have an open mind but who knows, if you can just find a little more funding, then one day someone might just find the answer...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm back, but still slack

Well here we are back again after a particularly harrowing, awkward, embarrassing and very dark patch.

Those who used to read regularly will be aware that I got retrenched some time ago. One even asked "Why the silence?" Well now I once again have the means and the access, I can finally explain myself.

It's unfortunate that the bills and mortgage payments don't stop when you lose your job don't you think? That caused a bit of grief and meant that for a short time, I had to let my internet access lapse in order to pay for other things. That was a little embarrassing, so I thought it best to keep my own counsel and save you all my depressed rants.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I just finished my first week in my new job WOO-HOO!!! To add to that, the very week I start, Wayne Swan came through with nice tax return for me, so I'm all back up and running and my mortgage is up to date. A pity really, I was about to receive a foreclosure letter which meant I'd have been able to cash some of my super in and put it into my house. I was a week away from having everything I needed and along comes a job and a tax return. Oh well...

So what am I doing these days? Well some will undoubtedly be pleased to here that I've joined the wonderful world of academia. No, I'm not lecturing in IT, I'm simply the new Problem Manager at Deakin University here in sunny Victoria. The position is reasonably senior and affords me many things like "flex time" and the standard Victorian public service "work life balance" thing. On top of that, they're an excellent and brilliant bunch, very easy to get along with, very helpful and very friendly. I'm based at the Water Front Campus in Geelong (right on the beach) which is a very easy 30 minute commute in a comfy V-Line train from Werribee where I live. What I like most though is the full and unfettered access to the library that I'll have once the paper work is complete...:)

Apologies are due to those that I missed due to a lack of access. I hope to see you all online again soon, but right now I have some catching up to do...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BIO - Fuel or Food

The Age today reports that the U.S. has rationed sales of rice. The world price for rice rose about 68% last year.

In February, The Times reported that the world was only 10 weeks away from running out of wheat. The world price for wheat rose about 92% last year.

In January, The Finacial Post reported that U.S. corn exports will seize up in less than three years. The world price of corn rose about 60% last year.

Here's another one from April 24 that talks about the UN having to make "heartbreaking choices" with its emergency aid because it can no longer afford to buy food for starving nations.

So let's talk a little about the real costs and benefits of biofuels, if any can be said to exist. What are biofuels? Biofuels are those fuels like "biodeisel" or ethanol, that are produced mostly from food plants or disguarded by-products of food plants like used vegetable oil. For the most part we use grains like wheat, corn and rice to make ethanol with the very versatile (not to mention gentically modified) canola being used for oil, mostly.

Ethanol is an excellent energy carrier but produces just as much CO2 as regular unleaded fuel. Biodeisel, distilled from old or new vegetable oil doesn't work quite as well, so you'll need a Deisel engine to burn it properly. Even so, you'll still produce just as much CO2 as you would with deisel fuel, so in that regard at least, there's no real advantage to either of them as "environmentally friendly" fuels. They are however, renewable resources.

The European policy on biofuels dictates that there be 2% ethanol by volume in petrol, rising to 5.75% by 2010 in order to create a disired "crude oil saving". America is considering a similar policy, as is Australia and a myriad other countries around the world and the saving in crude oil is the only reason for it.

As we can see from all those articles though, there's already a serious food shortage brought on mostly by our current minimal insistance on biofuels. But as ethanol percentages rise in fuel, so will the demand for those food products. That means food becomes scarce, prices continue to rise, which of course drives yet more inlfation and the UN will have to choose who will die for lack of food.

Is this really the answer that we're looking for?

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plonka's Financial Tips

"Well now" says Dikkii, "What have we here?" That's as it should be though because normally, if I had a query concerning the scary world of finance, I'd ask Dikkii. It's a simple fact of life that if you want an informed answer, ask someone that knows a thing or two about the subject.

I call myself "Plonka", not because there was a mathematician of that name - I didn't know that when I chose the name - but because I "plonk" along. I tend to waffle on a great deal about things I know very little about with only the tenuous pretext of scant research, usually at Wiki, to back me and I wait for the blogophere to correct me. It's fun, I make friends and learn as I go.

There are however, some things I know with absolute certainty. One of those things, and herein lies the "tip", is that if a man says to you "I can get you a 70% return on investment", your best course of action is to thank him for his time and politely show him the door, the other side of it for preference. On this point, I'm sure Dikkii will agree with me so I feel confident in sharing this advice.

From The Age:

Mr Hoy's company, Chartwell Enterprises, reportedly promised investors returns of up to 70%. Instead, many were left watching in disbelief yesterday as the locks were changed on its offices in Geelong's Ryrie Street.

"In disbelief"... Surely they can't be serious. Someone even scratched the word "liar" into the door of his Jag. Really? I would never have guessed. He also owns a $900,000 Rolls, a luxury ocean cruiser and a $3million sub-penthouse apartment that isn't built yet. But then if you're a con that's trying to lure people, then the greater your advertised return, the better you have to make it look and this guy did it with style and to great effect.

The basic lesson here is "the greater the return, the greater the risk". I learned that at school in "home economics" (*sigh*...I show my age....) many years ago, and it seems to be one of very few things in the financial world that has remained steadfastly constant throughout that time. I may not know what a "good rate" is at the moment but I do know that 70% is laughable. Sure, some have managed to do exceedingly well at times, but a sustained 70%? Well even the great Mr. Buffett would have trouble with that one I think...

Excellent stuff! Gimme more...

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