Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Words No. 6

Today I will be using two words in juxtaposition i.e. the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side, only, in this case those things are “words”. They are interesting words because they are frequently used colloquially in an incorrect context, or, the first being used to make excuses for the behaviour exhibited in the second case.

The first word is:



1 : good-natured ridicule : banter
2 : jest

"Raillery" is the anglicized form of the French word "raillerie," which stems from the Middle French verb "railler," meaning "to mock." "Railler," which probably comes from Old French "reillier" ("to growl" or "to mutter") and ultimately from Late Latin "ragere" ("to neigh"), also gave us our verb "rail." But "rail" and "raillery" are quite different in tone. "Rail" means "to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language," whereas "raillery" usually suggests cutting wit that pokes fun good-naturedly.


• New workers at the plant can expect to endure some raillery and joshing from the old-timers.

• "Scioli, a floorsweep, another barber and a man on the sofa called Buddy Lite are carrying on a conversation that bounces around like a Wham-O Super Ball, touching on conspiracy theories, 20th-century pop culture, UFOs, lewd raillery and an eerie tale concerning a caribou walking backward via supernatural forces." -- From an article by Luke Jerrod Kummer in The Washington Post, January 7, 2011

The second word is:



1 : irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

ho•mo•phobe\ˈhō-mə-ˌfōb\ noun

ho•mo•pho•bic\ˌhō-mə-ˈfō-bik\ adjective

This is a relatively new word. George Weinberg, a psychologist, is credited as the first person to have used the term in speech. The word homophobia first appeared in print in an article written for the May 23, 1969, edition of the American tabloid Screw, in which the word was used to refer to heterosexual men's fear that others might think they are gay.

In 1971, Kenneth Smith was the first person to use homophobia as a personality profile to describe the psychological aversion to homosexuality, in the context of conceptualising anti-LGBT prejudice as a social problem.

Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality and people who are identified as or perceived as being homosexual. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived non-heterosexual orientation.

In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King stated that

"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

In 1993, behavioral scientists William O'Donohue and Christine Caselles concluded that the usage of the term "as it is usually used, makes an illegitimately pejorative evaluation of certain open and debatable value positions, much like the former disease construct of homosexuality" itself, arguing that the term may be used as an ad hominem argument against those who advocate values or positions of which the speaker does not approve.

And this is the pont where we return to "raillery" where the term “homophobia” (or its derivatives) is often excused as being used in good-natured ridicule, banter, or, jest and allows the used to apply the term seemingly with impunity but to attach its feelings of “antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear”

[Thanks and acknowledgements to the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary on-line and Wikipedia ]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas with family

Well, the day started with an ominous sunrise:

But the red sunrise was a false warning and soon the family arrived, Daughter Kathleen,

 Partner Anthony,

 and grandsons Aidan (9) and James(6) (with our Denny-the-dog):

and while the boys kept Denny-the-dog preoccupied with a typical boy-dog game of "fetch  while we hide":

the adults just sat around and chatted:

Soon the dog was plumb tuckered out":

And so were the boys:
Aidan - minus one shoe - enjoys "Pa's" recluse area where Pa pots and potters and sits and read.

Soon it was time for lunch and we all sat down to a sumptuous roast lamb lunch that Rhonda had prepared:

After lunch, the boys resume play:

Some views of my yard:

English Elderberry tree, left, (4 year old) and potted tomatoes, two of the three rainwater storage tanks. the garden tool shed and a decrepit orange that I've given up on and about to be replaced by either a Flowering Plum (tall tree to right top)  or an oriental silk tree or 'Mimosa'.

An example of the Oriental Silk Tree/Mimosa in bloom - they come in a white, yellow, orange or bright pink flower

Mature black olive which is now fruiting

Newest black olive that has just had its first pruning.

Denny, Liquid Amber Tree behind him (4 years old), machinery shed (right) and shade house to the left and Mt Carmel School Science and Library building in background.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day Lunch

In our household Rhonda worked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day at her hospital (being an "Empty Nester" Nurse, she thought if she worked some co-workers with younger families could have some time at home). Rhonda has the Tuesday off and our daughter and her partner and our two grandsons aged 9 and 6 are coming down to have a "Christmas Lunch" with us - Menu is a local leg of lamb, roasted and served with baked potatoes, baked sweet potato, baked pumpkin and carrot and parsnip with snow peas and green beans and topped with home made gravy. Dessert will be a rich fruit cake and brandy custard (p'rolly Ice cream with chocolate flavouring for the youngsters!)
They will leave home around 8am and hope to arrive about midday. We will have a chance to chat and catch up and then have lunch and then they'll leave for home about 3pm.

There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to celebrate Christmas but I was made aware of a lot of people who would be alone at home this Christmas Day, many of them elderly. A few friends and I are planned to invite/sponsor twenty lonely people to a lunch organised by a local charity where two community workers looked after twenty to thirty lonely residents in our community, making contact with each and every one of them every day of the week – either by personal visit or by a telephone call.

All of those people receive one cooked lunch meal, five days/week from the local “Meals-on-Wheels” organisation.

My friends and I,  aided by local charity staff fed twenty two lonely people Christmas dinner yesterday afternoon – Prawn (shrimp) cocktail entrees, main of Roast chicken, baked potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, snow peas and gravy, with dessert sweets of trifle and custard. There was also a pre-lunch glass of sherry and a glass of wine served with the meal for those who wanted it. Those who did not want alcohol - only a few and those for 'medical reasons' - had fruit juice.

We had five tables of four and one of two with the two community workers who looked after them as guests as well. During lunch they were entertained by a couple of local musicians who volunteered their time and, of course, Christmas Carols were also sung (or, in some cases, 'hummed' along!)

It went over like a bomb. Strangely they were not all 'poor or underprivileged, many were well off, octogenarians+, who lived alone and depended on regular home support visits.

There were a couple I was a 'bit sus of' as to their qualifying - anyone who can still get to the pub/club regularly on a pension cannot be too 'lonely' in my books, however the community workers I chatted with said they were prepared to bend the rules and give them the 'benefit of the doubt'.

We discussed doing something bigger and better next year - probably similar menu but invite more people! We are aiming to serve lunch to forty invited guests.

Rolex Boxing Day Sydney Hobart Yact Race

Images courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Commission on-line News and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race gallery of images

The 680 nautical miles of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which commences on Boxing Day every year, is recognised as one of the most gruelling ocean races in the world.

Testing southerlies on the first night and light breezes later in the race are set to present the Sydney to Hobart fleet with different challenges. The fleet, which currently stands at 88, is expected to start under 10 to 15 knot northerly winds on Boxing Day. A southerly change is forecast to kick in six to 12 hours into the race, with winds possibly gusting up to 30 knots on the first night.

The Rolex Race Orgniser said ex-tropical Cyclone Fina would generate swell and contribute to erratic conditions.

Wild Oats XI tactician Iain Murray, one of eight crew members to have featured in all five of that boat's line honours wins, split the race into two distinct halves.

"It is looking like the second half of the race looks pretty tricky, the first half is pretty laid out for us," Murray told reporters. He predicted Wild Oats XI would complete the 628 nautical mile course a little quicker than the two days seven hour 37 minutes 20 seconds it took her to achieve line honours last year. "We're thinking our time is going to be around two days (and) four or five hours," Murray said.

There is a yacht tracker that allows you to follow the fleet on its journey down the South and Far South Coast of Australia into Bass Strait and to Hobart, Tasmania.

The event is far from 'clear sailing' and is not for the faint hearted and with gale force winds forecast for the Bass Strait crossing this year is going to be little different.

One of the most watched live TV event in Australia is the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race:

Start of the 66th Rolex Sydney Hobart

Boats jostling for position on the start line of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2010

Christmas birth

A Tasmanian woman received an early present on Christmas morning when she gave birth to a baby girl underneath her Christmas tree. The woman was wrapping presents at her home in Gagebrook, north of Hobart, when she went into labour.
She gave birth to the girl shortly after 12:00am (AEDT).

Bruce Connor from the Tasmanian Ambulance Service says crews arrived to find the woman in the first stages of labour.

"I would assume the patient was in labour to a point where delivery was imminent and rather than being able to move to the ambulance to proceed to hospital, they had to deliver the baby at the house," he said. Mr Connor says the birth went well and it is a great way to bring in the festive period.

"To deliver one at 12:06am on Christmas Day is a special event for us, especially under the Christmas tree at home and I believe that the intensive care paramedic was wearing a pair of antlers at the time," he said.


Cyclone Grant update

Police at remote Croker Island in the Northern Territory say the local community has escaped serious damage from a category two cyclone. Tropical Cyclone Grant intensified into a category two system late on Christmas Day and came within kilometres of Croker Island.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the storm brought winds of 130 kilometres per hour and torrential rain.

Tropical Cyclone Grant is moving south across the Cobourg Peninsula.

The weather bureau predicts it will cross Van Diemen's Gulf overnight and reach land north of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park by the morning.

Residents living from west of Maningrida to Snake Bay, including Cape Don, Croker Island and Goulburn Island, have been advised to take shelter immediately. The bureau has told residents from Darwin to Milingimbi, including inland to Jabiru and Oenpelli, to make final preparations to their home shelters or decide which public shelter to use.

Meanwhile, at the absolute opposite end of the country, Melbourne has been lashed by a severe storm.

Wild storms packing hailstones the size of lemons and strong winds have battered Melbourne during a severe thunderstorm. Roads have been flooded and some flights have been grounded at Melbourne airport.

The tornado hit Fiskville, 15 kilometres west of Bacchus Marsh, with reports its force picked cars up off the ground. It is believed another tornado also struck Melton, which was one of the worst hit areas.

The weather bureau's Richard Russell says there was a tornado threat for about 20 minutes.

"The report we had was from a very credible storm spotter," he told ABC News 24. "He reported that a car was blown off or across the road as it went through."

Victoria's emergency services have already received hundreds of calls for help with reports of hailstones the size of lemons and roofs caving in from heavy rain.

At home, here on the Southern Tablelands, we had a hot muggy day with temps up around 37C (100F) with thunder storms threatening. As I write this rain is falling in town as a thunder storm front  bears down on us from Wagga Wagga in the west.

Queen celebrates family

Good old 'Lizzie - Geez she's keeping on keeping well.

Family is of central importance to the 85-year-old mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and commentators will not be surprised she chose the topic after the events of 2011.

Prince William's wedding in April was watched by hundreds of millions across the world and was generally considered to have breathed new life into the monarchy.

In the Christmas message, the Queen also spoke about the "family" of the Commonwealth.

"Of course family does not necessarily mean blood relatives, but often a description of a community, organisation or nation," she said. "The Commonwealth is a family of 53 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals."

She also spoke of her visit to Australia in October, paying tribute to those who experienced devastating floods in Queensland earlier this year.

"Indeed, sadly it seems that it is tragedy that often draws out the most and the best from the human spirit," she said. "When Prince Phillip and I visited Australia this year, we saw for ourselves the effects of natural disaster in some of the areas devastated by floods."

The British royals are now preparing for a year of extensive travel to Commonwealth member states as part of the Queen's diamond jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne.

Meanwhile, old 'Phil the greek' got chest pains and was taken to hospital where doctors inserted a 'stent' in his heart.  Get well soon, Phil!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Its Christmas Day in Australia

A nativity scene made from, among other things, hay bales, sits outside a house in Tarrington, south-west Victoria

Broken Hill - Far Western NSW. Over 4,000 people set up their blankets and deck chairs on the lush green grass at Sturt Park as they sang the night away with renowned entertainer Marina Prior.

Shades of Cyclone Tracey, Christmas 1974, tropical cyclone Grant forms off the Northern Territory coast is expected hit the mainland later today.

 The famous Toompine Hotel (Pop. 2 - Yes!  That's TWO!) says it will serve Christmas lunch for residents from the surrounding district, including a few opal miners from nearby Duck Creek.

Forget the bull, as the town of Barmera, South  Australia, hosted its first Running of the Sheep.

Tasmanian church leaders have used their annual Christmas message to highlight the need to address issues regarding refugees.

A new calf, named Static, has joined the dolphins which regularly visit Monkey Mia beach, Western Australia.

The new Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler owned by Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik tunes up for the Boxing Day Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Australia has decided to take just four genuine bowlers into the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against India with Shaun Marsh called up to the side ahead of all-rounder Dan Christian.

Santa comes in on the Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Bedford truck for their annual lolly run in North-West Australia. ( - ABC local)

Population:  11,728 (2006)  Established: 1960s Postcode: 6714
Time zone: AWST (UTC+8) Location:        1575 km (979 mi) from Perth
Mean max temp 32.3 °C (90 °F)  Mean min temp 20.7 °C (69 °F)
Annual rainfall 271.7 mm (10.7 inches)
Sydney Town Hall dressed up in Christmas lights and a light projection display, Christmas 2011

Celebrating it’s 55th year and revisiting the 1957 theme of The Nutcracker, Myer’s Melbourne window display is predicted to receive over one million local and overseas visitors.

Myer's - "The Nutcracker" display 2011

Last, but by no means least, an Australian Christmas at the beach! (Beach images with thanks to A beach cottage - life by the sea blog )

And - A Bush Christmas Nativity Scene -

WHEN Betty Jenje arrived in Mount Isa well over 40 years from her native Holland, she had to get used to a different kind of Christmas. The weather was hot; the food was hardly festive.

But the final straw was no proper nativity scene at the front of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

"All the statues were damaged and the stable was this metal structure painted white and covered with Christmas wrapping," she snorted, disapproval still ringing through her strong Dutch accent. "And it was standing on the floor where no one could see it. I couldn't believe it; no Christmas at all!"

Or that is what it felt like to the young bride, fresh from an old European country where Christmas is celebrated for the whole month of December.

Betty and her husband Dick took over the Christmas decorations at the church. The statues have been lovingly restored and Australian animals and birds added to the group gathered around the manger.

"I knew how it was done in Holland, and I wanted to do something nice here for the church and for the congregation."

The final touches have been added with greenery brought in from the bush to adorn the stable.

Mystery Object

A Christmas Day mystery object - somewhere many of us will be today!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not a happy camper

Love this Christmas holidays camping advert!

Swamp People of South Louisana

Watched a documentary last night called "Swamp People" - all about the folk who live in the swamplands of South Louisiana, USA and hunt alligators for a living - most alone in little tin boats.

They set rotten chicken baits dangling over the water the day before and come back the next day to see whats on the end of a taut line stretched into the water - usually a live 'Gator which they pull up to the gunnel's of the boat and shoot it in a coin-sized 'sweet spot' at the back of the 'Gators head.

In the video link below (I seem to be having trouble posting a YouTube clip for some reason) you will see 'Gator carcasses being loaded onto a truck. One is a very large one - 12 foot 4 inches, nicknamed 'Godzilla' because it had been raiding baited lines and eating young 'Gators for the past four years. It actually got its head snared in a noose of its own making while fighting with a trapped 'Gator - you can see the line around its "neck" in the footage.

Godzilla's head can be seen in the opening footage as it cruised the swamp waters.

The tall chap in the light coloured T-shirt and the 'Gator-skin baseball cap is Troy, the hunter who caught it.

Enthralling doco - really showed what life in the swamps was like and the dangers these men are exposed to.

btw - their is a "season" for alligator hunting and each licenced hunter (numbers restricted) are issued a 'bag limit' off licence tags that they must attach to every alligator they catch - to not do so and get caught means that they'll lose their hunting franchise, be fined and or fined and gaoled.

Only the males are hunted - the females tend to stay close to their 'egg nest' mounds up on the shore, so the baits are set well away from nest areas to avoid catching females -  and that's a species conservation move that assists in ensuring the future of the 'Gator catching industry.

'Gators are caught primarily for their skins and the hunters are paid by the condition of the skins and the length of the 'Gator, so a chewed up 'Gator is usually worthless but the hunter has to use one of his 'bag limit' tags on even a chewed up specimen.

The documentary showed the wife of one hunter cooking 'Gator meat and they declared it was tasty, nutritious and very healthy (lo-fat, lo-cholesterol content).  Don't know about that but I did see some frozen crocodile meat on sale at the 'Game Meat' butchery at the markets this morning.

Monday, December 19, 2011