Saturday, March 31, 2012

Luck's a fortune

When I walked Denny up town to the news agents to get this morning's newspaper I stopped in at the Op Shop to see if they would take an almost new mattress and base off my hands - we've had it for about a year up at "The Camp" - its a double bed unit but it aggravates my back injury to sleep on it.

For HSE reasons they would not take a mattress and they said bed bases were too hard to shift and the last one sat in the shop for months - not interested. Funny - when we had the floods and thousands of homes were inundated with muddy, clayish, flood waters, all the charities were begging for clean furniture. Even a halfway decent new DB mattress and base costs around $AUS1,000 here. Unreal!

On my way out I spotted this little china pottery mortar and pestle for $AUS5.00 - brand new and original purchase ticket on it for $AUS14.99. I snapped it up.

I already have a large mortar and pestle, carved out of a granite block, that sits on my bench-top, however its often too big for some small jobs. This one was just ideal!

Now I've got a pair and I'm happy!

Oh! btw - as I left, one of the volunteer ladies approached me - she was interested in the mattress and base. Sure enough, when she finished for the morning she turned up at home with her partner and they were delighted to take the mattress and base off my hands! Good day all round!

Sports Ethics Class

My thanks to the reader who sent me the following very interesting ethical dilemma:

Say you're playing in the club championship tournament finals and the match is tied at the end of 17 holes. Say you hit your ball 250 metres to the middle of the fairway, while your opponent then hits his ball deep into the woods. Being the gentleman you are, you help your opponent look for his ball.

Just before the permitted five-minute search period ends, your opponent says: ''Go ahead and hit your second shot, and if I don't find it in time, I'll concede the match.''

So you hit your ball, landing it on the green about 3m from the pin.

About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods: ''I found it!'' The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball, even as the ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than 20 centimetres from the hole. 

Now here is the ethical dilemma: Do you pull the cheating bastard's ball out of your pocket and confront him with it, or do you keep your mouth shut?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Foggy day now gone!

So, Sun's out, it's fine and time to try my first circuit of the block and walk up to town!

Looking down the street.

We'll go up the street!

Main town intersection.

Down to the Post Office.

Across to the News Agency (its "Lotto" weekend).

 Up the hill past the court house to home.

Denny enjoyed the walk in the sun - I'm perspiring, puffing and panting but the old lungs got a workout. Time to sit out in the sun and have some soup for lunch!

Feel good post

Holy potential driving violation Batman!

Pow! Crash! Brake!: The caped crusader is stopped by police in Maryland.

POLICE pulled a man over on Route 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland, last week because of a problem with his plates. This would not ordinarily make international news, but the car was a black Lamborghini, the number plate was the Batman symbol, and the driver was Batman, dressed head-to-toe in his full superhero uniform.
Jokers soon emerged. ''Let him do his job,'' one wrote. ''Batman has expensive taste,'' said another. Others had questions, such as: ''Did they make him take off his mask?''
No, they didn't. Even Montgomery County police honour a superhero code of conduct, just like Howard County officers who once helped him with a flat bat tyre.
Batman told officers his real name was not Bruce Wayne but Lenny B. Robinson, and his real plates were in the car. (He was not booked then, but has been before for a heavy bat foot.)
Batman is a businessman from Baltimore County, who visits sick children in hospitals, handing out Batman paraphernalia to up-and-coming superheros who first need to beat cancer and other diseases.
Batman is 48. He is a self-made success and recently sold, for a pile of cash, a commercial cleaning business that he started as a teenager. He became interested in Batman through his son Brandon, who was obsessed with the caped crusader when he was little. ''His obsession became my obsession,'' he said.

Foggy morning

Recent rain and warm days - 24-25C (around 80F) has meant foggy mornings.

(I'm so glad Rhonda now has a two minute drive to work here in town rather than an hours drive along the Barton Highway to Canberra. Our Highway Patrol Officers did a 'Wolf Pack' blitz earlier this week and booked 9 motorists - males, females, young and not so young, private and commercial motorists, "P" plate drivers and all - exceeding the speed limit and driving 'recklessly' on a single Monday morning).

Anyhoo-woo, some foggy town photos this morning (Friday).

Looking up the road

Police paddock across the road (site of the long demolished gaol)

Neighbour across the road

Autumn tree outside the Watchkeeper's House

Crape myrtle, Crepe myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica (Crape myrtle, Crepe myrtle) is a species in the genus Lagerstroemiain the family Lythraceae. It comes in a variety of colours. Flowers are white, pink, mauve, purple or carmine with crimped petals, in panicles up to 9cm. 

Lagerstroemia indica is frost tolerant, prefers full sun and will grow to 6 metres with a spread of 6 metres.

Here are a few shrubs in flower up at "The Camp" at Wyangala.

From China, Korea and Japan, Lagerstroemia indica is an often multistemmed, deciduous tree with a wide spreading, flat topped, open habit when mature. The bark is a prominent feature being smooth, pinkinsh-gray and mottled, shedding each year. Leaves are small and dark green changing to yellow and orange in autumn.

Many hybrid cultivars have been developed between L. indica and L. faueri

Scientific classification
Species:L. indica
Binomial name
Lagerstroemia indica

The "Dynamite" cultivar the Crepe Myrtle

Fair Work Australia and Industrial Action

I was surprised to read of the petrol shortages in the UK caused by tanker driver's industrial action.  Surprised 'cos in this day-and-age I beleived most progressive western countries had resolved such 'Cowboy/militant industrial actions' - especially those that had an unfair impact on third parties such as members of the public.

Here in Australia we have Fair Work Australia (FWA), a new industrial arbitrator set up by the federal government.

Fair Work Australia is the national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions relating to:
  1. the safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions
  2. enterprise bargaining
  3. industrial action
  4. dispute resolution
  5. termination of employment
  6. other workplace matters.

Fair Work Australia is the national workplace relations tribunal that was established by the Labor Government under the Fair Work Act 2009. 
The Fair Work Act established a new system of regulation that attempted to create a more national system for regulating industrial relations in Australia. 

Essentially, each state had the discretion to hand over some or all of their industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth on the understanding that should a state decide to refer their powers to a centralized and national industrial relations system, all the employees of that state will effectively be covered by the national Fair Work Act. 

This new national body has taken over the roles of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) in the workplace when dealing with workplace dispute and industrial actions, and in the process determining national industrial relations policies that include setting minimum wages and regulating the award system.

Since the introduction of the Fair Work Act, all states have referred their powers to the Commonwealth with the exception of Western Australia. 

In all states, except Western Australia, there are two types of industrial actions "Protected" and "Unprotected". 

Basically, for industrial action to be lawful it must be protected industrial action.

The requirements for taking protected industrial action include:
  • an existing agreement has passed its nominal expiry date
  • the industrial action is in support of a new enterprise agreement (or is in response to industrial action by the other side)
  • the industrial action does not involve pattern bargaining
  • in the case of employees initiating action in support of claims, Fair Work Australia has granted an order for a protected action ballot to be held and the ballot has endorsed action being taken
  • the required notice has been given to the other party
  • the bargaining representative(s) organising the action, or representing the employees who are taking or organising the action, must be genuinely trying to reach agreement.
Industrial action will not be protected if it:
  • is taken while the bargaining period has been suspended
  • relates significantly to a demarcation dispute
  • is in support of claims for a multi-enterprise or greenfields agreement
  • is in support of the inclusion of claims that cannot be lawfully included in an agreement (these are known as unlawful terms), or
  • contravenes any orders made by Fair Work Australia.
The introduction of the FWA legislation has had a dramatic impact on 'rogue' industrial actions, giving all parties in a dispute an independent umpire who is empowered to make rulings that must be complied with or the defaulters will suffer huge monetary penalties and/or gaol terms.

Life in a teepee on the lake

The SMH has published a video interview with University student William Woodbridge has spent the past two months living in a teepee floating on Lake Ginninderra in Canberra. (02:50)

Life in a teepee on the lake

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First major outing in over a week.

Rhonda asked me if I felt well enough to pick up a few items from the supermarket (she started her new position as a nurse at the local Retirement Village today) so I said yes!

After a shower and shave, I pulled up the bed clothes, did the washing up from breakfast and then put Denny in the truck and headed out. Must have been a bit shaky as I had to correct the reverse down the driveway at least twice.

Stopped at the Post Office - only rubbish in the mail, drove over to RTA and got a new windscreen holder for my disability parking permit and headed up to the supermarket. Bread, some choc mini-muffins, Cavendish bananas, Kiwi fruit, sliced corn beef, smoked fish fillets, Ox heart for Denny, two bottles of mineral water, 12 bottles of spring water, a tube of Voltarin emugel cream for the arthritic joints and two Asian soup packs - total $AUS66 - Wow!

Cavendish bananas are typically sold while still slightly green.

Did you know that Kiwi fruit (aka Chinese Gooseberries) require a
male and a female vine to produce flowers to create cross-pollination?
Sex in the garden - how good is it? LOL!

By the time I got all that out and into the truck I was 'pooped' but I knew Denny wanted his run down the riverbank, so we drove down to the park.

I sat on a bench under a spruce tree, there were very few people around so I let Denny run off his lead. You know, he only went a few metres from me and would not go any further. I knew he was just dying to go down to the rivers edge, but he wouldn't go until I got off the seat, walked over to him and gave him permission.

Well, now I'm home, the rain has stopped this morning (we had over an inch in the past 24 hours) and the sun is out. Going to make up an Asian prawn and herb soup and take it outside and sit in the sun and have some lunch.

Teepee Man II

William Woodbridge - The Teepee man on Lake Gininderra - received more publicity on a current affair show last night. I 'm searching for footage of it - there were some spectacular lake views - but no luck so far. It may be a bit early for it to be posted on web news sites but I  will post it when I locate it.

In the interim, here's a blog report on it by by Kent Griswold on March 21st, 2012 (with  46 Comments) from

Williams floating teepee

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Got to love this sports fan ...

All work and no play ....

Must admit - I (we) don't engage in any sporting or exercise activities, but we are 'active', insofaras, I walk the dog, garden and we travel around the country a fair bit in our spare time and do lot trail walking up at "The Camp". Rhonda is particularly active - as a nursing sister she's on her feet for long working days - and she's a very keen gardener (much of our yard is a tribute to her enthusiasm, particularly weeding and lawn grooming) - however - being late sixty year old, coming onto to seventy years of age I believe we lead a fairly active life.

I say this 'cos the following article, re-produced in its entirety, is very interesting. We like where we live because we rate it high on 'liveability' - i.e. we have all the amenities we need - commercial, social, economic, health, etc, and all within an easy walk or, at most, a short  drive. Rural living is heaps improved on city living and we've tried the "Sea Change" (didn't get enough time in our busy schedule to enjoy the same and too far from support services) so we settled on the "Tree Change" lifestyle.

A 'cuddly couple' from the UK!

Our lifestyle is reasonably sedate but we also recognise that we are no 'spring chickens'. The concept of 'liveability' of residential areas is becoming more and more an imperitive as strategic planners plan for an ageing society.

Go figure: keen workers like to play games

Peter Martin March 28, 2012

We're in a time-poor paradox. When asked why we don't play sport, the Bureau of Statistics says we commonly blame ''lack of time'' or ''working too many hours''. Yet it finds those of us who play sport the most work between 40 and 50 hours per week. It finds 88 per cent of Australians working 41 to 48 hours play sport in their spare time, compared with only 79 per cent of those working part-time 16 to 24 hours.
Commuting time is also said to make it hard to take part in amateur sport, yet the bureau finds participation in sport the highest among the Australians who commute for more than hour to work each day. Those who play sport the least work at home.
Quality of life researcher Bob Cummins at Deakin University believes it's to do with how work makes us feel rather than the hours it takes from our day.
''People who work more than 40 hours tend to be in jobs they like,'' he says. ''When people feel good about themselves they tend to feel good about engaging in physical activity. At the other end people who work short hours are often not in fulfilling jobs and not where they want to be. If they don't feel good about themselves they might not feel up to playing sport.''
The bureau also finds that people who play sport feel safer and are more likely to agree that people can be trusted. More than half of the sports players surveyed said they felt safe when when walking alone after dark. Only 33 per cent of non-sports players felt safe.
Professor Cummins believes there is a virtuous circle.
''If you don't trust people, you are unlikely to feel good about playing sport with them; but the more you do it the more your trust will grow and the fitter you'll become making you more confident about walking after dark.''
The bureau finds 76 per cent of men and 72 per cent of women play sport regularly. Around 80 per cent of Australians aged 35 to 44 play regularly, as do 60 per cent of those of retirement age.

Read more:

Really scary stuff

Unruly pilot: The captain of the JetBlue flight has been identified as Clayton Osbon, pictured here in a cockpit
An aircraft captain yelled about a bomb and had to be locked out of the cockpit as his Las Vegas-bound flight was diverted to Texas, passengers say.
JetBlue Airways said in a statement that the captain of Flight 191 from New York had a "medical situation" and that the pilot in command of the aircraft elected to land in Amarillo about 10 am
Grant Heppes, a 22-year-old passenger from New York City, told The Associated Press that a man in a JetBlue uniform started to become disruptive when he was barred from getting back inside.
"Once he got back to the front of the plane I heard him scream, 'Let me in!"' Heppes said.
Heidi Karg, a passenger on the flight, told CNN that the man was shouting "I need the code, gimme the code, I need to get in there." The pilot used the announcement system to call for someone to restrain him and some male passengers wrestled him to the ground, she said.
Karg said she thought the man was the captain of the flight but that she wasn't certain. "We heard the word 'bomb,"' Karg said. "We didn't know exactly what was going on."

Mental breakdown: A JetBlue flight captain, pictured, was restrained and taken to hospital,
after going berserk mid-flight and screaming at passengers to say their prayers because the
plane was going down

Read more:

Gaol Rupert Murdoch

News Limited's Pay TV Piracy hits the news!

Gaol Rupert Murdoch and his son James! Surely the free world has had enough of these media carnivores!

Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch

This man and his son are media scum and should be gaoled - all western countries could start by cancelling or refusing them citizenship and exiling them to living in third world nations!

David Cottle with, inset from top, Ray Adams and Reuven Hasak. While News Corp has consistently denied any role in fostering pay TV piracy, emails obtained by the Financial Review contradict court testimony given by Operational Security officers as well as statements by News lawyers in the past three weeks. 
Photo: Louie Douvis

 Download a sample of the 14,400 emails held by former NDS European chief for Operational Security Ray Adams

Explore a sample of the 14,400 emails on DocumentCloud

A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry.
The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring.
A four-year investigation by The Australian Financial Review has revealed a global trail of corporate dirty tricks directed against competitors by a secretive group of former policemen and intelligence officers within News Corp known as Operational Security.
Their actions devastated News’s competitors, and the resulting waves of high-tech piracy assisted News to bid for pay TV businesses at reduced prices – including DirecTV in the US, Telepiu in Italy and Austar. These targets each had other commercial weaknesses quite apart from piracy.

Weekly weigh-in - March 28

It's an exploding lemon - some geeky nerd kid did it - don't know how?

Sorry for the late report - haven't been well.

Weight Watchers Weigh-in today: 107.0kg 
Original weight Jan Second: 116.8kg  
Weight Lost since Jan 2 2012 : 9.8kg
Weight Loss last week (10 days): 3.0kg  

That's a total of 21.8lbs since we began back in January this year!

I think I've lost more weight in the past 10 days than any other time - not eating and feverish always burns up unwanted body fat/calories, but not really recommended, LOL!

Soon Rhonda and I will be doing this:

[Image is Marvel’s Thor and Captain America. It’s a little doodle.
Steve is in the middle of a ballet-type leap, and Thor’s hands are
on his waist. They look very happy.]

Word Verification removal

Should be removed now - I'm sorry i did not realise it was turned on and must've been a default setting.

Please tell me if you are still experiencing problems with it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

As sick as a dog ... also!

I've been crook for the last 10 days - a chest infection that went viral and ended up with bronchial asthma pretty bad - been on a double course of Antibiotics and prednisalone as well as the usual array of inhalers and decongestant mixes. Starting to feel better now and extending myself a bit more each day!

Speaking about being-sick-as-dog  Cro,  over at Cro's meanderings, wrote about how he took Lady Magnon  to Toulouse and took his dogs along for the ride. Monty didn't take the trip too well - oh sh*te!

Denny-the-Dog used to get car sick when I took him away with me from our then home on the coast to stay with me while I worked away for the week. Trips always meant careful preparation - starve him the night before, stop every hour to let him exercise and get his balance back - but even the best planned trips ended up with him being car sick.

Ginger (in its "sweet" form, or, as ginger tablets) sometimes worked as an anti-motion sickness but he really just grew out of it and now loves riding in the truck - even dives into the Forester if we have the door open too long. I started by taking him on short, acclimatisation drives, usually to somewhere he loves to go, like the park or the river, until he associated riding in the truck as being 'pleasurable'.

Weigh-in delayed until tomorrow morning as getting out of bed on our now cooler mornings has been onerous.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Arachnophobes beware.

 There is a silent army on the move in flooded New South Wales - spiders!
Floodwaters have stirred up what appears to be millions of spiders around Wagga Wagga and the creepy crawlies are heading for higher ground. Residents taking refuge from flood and spider in the Red Steer pub say you cannot walk down the road without swarms of tiny brown spiders crawling up your legs, and in their escape they have left entire paddocks and trees swathed in silver silk.Dennis Lane, who lives at Cartwrights Hill in north-east Wagga, says the spectacle has attracted many visitors to the area to take photos.

"It's all silver. It's like snow in the trees. With the wet it's all silk," he said. "Just down the bottom of the hill from my place, the trees are covered in them. They're just all walking out of the water down the road." When asked to estimate how many spiders there were, Mr Lane replied: "Well, have you ever won the lotto? Millions." He says like many of the residents of Wagga Wagga, the spiders are seeking refuge too."I went down and said 'what are all these little things here?', and you see them all, all little tiny ones. They've got to try and protect themselves too so they're looking for dry land like everyone else," he said.

But Mr Lane says he would rather the spiders than some of the other creatures washed out by the floods.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Canberra's teepee man

Woodbridge said he's "not that interested" in moving back into a house. Photo: Elesa Lee 

William Woodbridge has dodged a fine worth thousands of dollars, despite breaching a law forbidding people from living on lakes within the capital. The lenient gesture by ACT government officials was confirmed yesterday after an Aboriginal elder said it was okay for the 21-year-old to stay wherever he likes ''in Ngambri country''.

Mr Woodbridge's teepee is perched on a homemade raft which was a local talking point during its stay on Lake Ginninderra. But this unconventional housing is in violation of the ACT Lake Act 1976. The University of Canberra student has been given until the end of the month to leave his floating home, initially created six weeks ago to protest high rental prices after receiving a fine at his on-campus accommodation. But now it seems Mr Woodbridge has support from traditional owners of the area, in the form of an ''Authorisation Certificate'' from Ngambri elder Shane Mortimer.

 it reads. ''Mr William Woodbridge is hereby authorised to occupy Lake Ginninderra or any other lake estuary or wetland he may so choose upon to reside as suits his needs in Ngambri Country,''

Waterfront views ... William Woodbridge, a University of Canberra student,
has been living on the homemade raft for six weeks. Photo: Tim the Yowie Man 

A spokeswoman for the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate said the ACT Government was helping Mr Woodbridge find alternative accommodation after granting him an extension, allowing him to stay on the lake till the end of the month. ''A condition to this is that it is not allowed to relocate on any other public body of water in the ACT,'' she said.
But this condition may prove problematic for Woodbridge, who intends to continue living rough somewhere on the water.
''I'm not that interested in moving back into a house,'' he said.
Student William Woodbridge has built a teepee and is living on Lake Ginninderra
as an alternative to the rental market in Canberra. Photo: Elesa Lee 

He moved to Canberra at the age of 16 and has struggled to find an affordable home, experiencing everything from share houses to living out of the back of a car.
Affordable student housing remains a prominent issue among Canberra's youth, despite new residences being opened at both the University of Canberra and the Australian National University recently. For Mr Woodbridge, the cost of having a roof over his head wasn't worth the hours spent away from his studies.
''A lot of students I know, even with Centrelink (social security payments), still have to work long hours,'' he said.
''Before this I had to work 20 to 30 hours a week just to feed myself. It really does take a toll.''
After receiving a fine at his on-campus accommodation, he decided to abandon conventional housing. Within days the industrial design student had fashioned his floating home, consisting of a deck and teepee housing a bed and ice box. The makeshift accommodation has lacked power since someone stole his generator, but he said getting back to basics was comforting.
''I could probably finish my degree out on the lake, if they'd let me,'' he said.