Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reading instead of internet-ing

Recently my reading - which is always fairly broadly spread, 'eclectic' even - was devoted to China and I read Alan Hessler's several "Journals of his travels in China" (and Chang's "Factory Girls").

After reading the two Sci-Fi catastrophe novels by John Birmingham (both trilogies) and his  "Leviathan" now I am off to the American Civil War, starting with:

"Shiloh, 1862": by Winston Groom, and then I'll be moving to:

"Gettysburg": by Stephen W. Sears, followed by "Those Damned Black Hats! - The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign": by Lance Herdegen

I intend to finish my sojourn into the US with "Gettysburg: The Meade-Sickles Controversy (Military Controversies)": by Richard A Sauers and follow that with James A Hessler's controversial biography "Sickles at Gettysburg"

Got some heavy reading ahead of me - Gettysburg, alone, by Sears is 640 pages - and all five US civil war tomes for less than $50 from Amazon through my Kindle.

At least I can sit up in my recliner of an evening and read until I drop off to sleep! LOL!

Injury status update

Hi all - thanks for all the best wishes for a rapid improvement. Afraid its going to be a long row to hoe!

Maa - agree. As we get older these sort of injuries come back on us with a vengeance. I'm finally starting to get some sleep at night, albeit in around '2 hour grabs' before the pain wakes me up - actually got nearly three hours last night, so the pain killers 'dullers' must be starting to work.

Thanks to Joe, Gill, Cindy, Linda and everyone else for your kind thoughts.

Rhonda is off today and after she has a nap to catch up on a few hours sleep she is going to drive me over to Belconnen Markets in Canberra (ACT) and we will probably have afternoon tea there in the Chinese restaurant - Roast Duck Rolls and Steamed Prawn Dim Sums with Chinese Green Tea - Yummo. Some fresh seafood for dinner and the freshest and cheapest green grocer produce in the region (of course I'll get my favourite Ciabatta loaf from the Italian wood fire bakehouse).

Once again - thank you all and I'll post as I'm able!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old injuries haunt old bodies ......

Some years back (nearly 50 years back, in fact - 1965) I was in a nasty accident.

I was moving around the cargo area of an aircraft tending to some wounded soldiers when the aircraft lost power and crashed to the ground. Everyone else were OK (excluding the 'already wounded' who were strapped into litters in fixed racks) and the rest of the crew walked away. I cracked a bone in my cervical vertebrae (the spinous process, which the neck muscles attach to) and tore the supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder, nearly shearing the tendon off at its insertion point at the top of my arm and the subsequent bruising and swelling placing pressure on the brachial plexus - the  nerve bundle that controls the arm - paralysing my right arm for nearly three months.

I also cracked a few ribs and lacerated my forehead but that's neither here nor there!

Area of neck I fractured in 1965

2.5cm tear (1 inch) to right supraspinatus tendon in same accident

brachial plexus - the bundle of nerves (coloured yellow  above)
running from the neck into the armpit and down the arm

Any-hoo-dee-doo, it hurt at the time, seriously disabled me and left me unable to work for nearly six months and my right neck and shoulder was never quite the same again. My injuries also caused some heartache for my employer (Repatriation General Hospital, Concord), my Army Reserve unit, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who all tried to say that they were not responsible for me or my injuries and pointed the finger at each other. Eventually, CommSuper agreed to put me on a part disability pension if I signed a 'release of responsibility' for the other parties. 

It was the easiest way out of my dilemma, so I signed!

As advancing years brings on the "sins of one's youth", I have found that this injury is now returning and causing me some severe pain, interrupted sleep and loss of arm strength. I saw my orthopaedic specialist who ordered a scan and just shook his head when he saw the results, saying "It's worse than I even imagined!"

Outcome - not much can be done! An operation would in all likelihood only serve to make the condition worse rather than fix it. So rest, physiotherapy/ultra-sound and pain killers.

So, for the next week or so at least - I will be reducing my time on the internet. So, if my posts become less frequent, don't worry. I'm not ignoring you all and I will still be reading your posts!

Ciao for now!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cashless society? - Not in Oz ....

Australian wallets stuffed with cash


Peter Martin

CASHLESS? Hardly. Australians are holding on to more of the stuff than ever before, and accumulating it at an increasing rate.

The latest Reserve Bank figures show our holdings of plastic notes grew by an extraordinary 7 per cent in the year to June at a time when Australia's population grew by 1.4 per cent. 

Australians now hold an average of seven $5 notes per person, up from five a decade ago, and five $10 notes, up from four. Our holdings of $20 notes are little changed at seven per person. The explosive growth is in our holdings of $50 notes - up from 15 per person to 23 per person - and $100 notes, up from seven per person to 10.

The Reserve Bank says $50 and $100 notes account for 91 per cent of the value of notes in circulation and 65 per cent of the number of notes in tills, wallets and in storage.

Yet many Australians hardly ever see a $100 note and probably see an orange $20 note more often than the three times as popular yellow $50. 

One reason might be that many of the yellow notes are stored in ATMs where they have replaced the $20 note as the main means of supplying cash. Another might be that many of the green $100 notes are stored in bundles in boxes or suitcases as means of facilitating the cash economy rather than put into wallets for use in legitimate transactions. If so, the cash economy is growing at an alarming rate. Before the introduction of the GST in 2000 there were roughly half as many $100 notes per person as there are today.

The $50 note is by far the most counterfeited, with almost 7000 fake notes detected in the year to June compared with only 600 fake $100 notes.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Empty Cradles (aka Oranges and Sunshine)

I am reading Empty Cradles!

" Margaret Humphreys with her book "Empty Cradles" bravely took on the plight of the Lost Children, those poor souls shipped from the overcrowded orphanages of Britain to all parts of the then British Empire. My own destination was Australia.
Margaret, undaunted by possible repercussions from the collusion of the governments involved, tells our story with heartbreaking compassion. Thanks to her tremendous efforts, some of us now will meet family we never knew we had.
For all who are concerned with humanity, with simple human dignity, this book should not be omitted from your reading list."

I've hardly been able to put this down since I started reading it and I'm reading it with a tear in my eye - such an emotional saga that it is. I was brought up to believe that the migrant children from the UK were war orphans who came out here with the assistance of children's charities to find new homes in Australia.

I did not realise that the UK had been snatching children from impoverished families and orphanages and 'exporting' them to colonies like Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand since the 1880's!

It cost £12 a year to keep a child in an orphanage in the UK! For a ‘one-off’ cost of £18 to send them overseas to one of the colonies the problem was solved!

Told they were 'orphans', denied their family roots even though many of their families were still alive, many of them were shoved into cruel institutions and used as child labour - physically and sexually abused - and the real pity is that this continued right up until the mid 1960's. It was only when Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker, was requested by one child to see if she could trace her family that the dam burst and the floodgates of decades of systematic abuse were exposed.

I read this book when it seemed like everything was going wrong in my world. 
Julianne  |  10 reviewers made a similar statement
This is one of the most emotional books I have everread. 
Jaqi  |  3 reviewers made a similar statement
No white colony of the British Empire gets away unscathed! A tragic event that is a blot on British and colonial social history.

Series of Supercell storms hit East Coast

A car drives through hail, around 10cm deep, covering the ground at Dalveen, between Warwick and Stanthorpe in SE Qld, after a storm on September 18, 2012.

Audience submitted: John Ursem -

A thunderstorm approaches Warners Bay on Lake Macquarie, between Sydney and Newcastle, on September 18, 2012.
A tree lies on its side outside Warragul in Gippsland, Victoria, after being uprooted by winds

A trampoline sits between two trees in the front yard of a house in Wodonga, Victoria, after being blown there from the backyard of a house across the street during high winds

Audience submitted: Sue-Anne Jones

Snow covers vehicles parked at Falls Creek in the Australian Alps, Victoria
A storm front moves across Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne 
A yacht rests on the beach at Little Manly in Sydney after being blown there during a storm 

A layer of hail covers the vineyard landscape in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, after storms swept through the area 
Audience submitted: Richard E Henderson

And, Just to add some interest:

A streak appears in the sky off the coast of Perth as a suspected meteor plunged into the ocean. Photo taken on June 30, 2012.
Frost icicles cling to a gate at Woodend, north-west of Melbourne, during sub-zero temperatures on the morning of July 8, 2012.
The Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) covers the sky over Tasmania on July 15, 2012.

Birds of a feather...

Posted Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:59am AEST
White-breasted woodswallows sit together on a branch of a Myall tree on a cold morning in Roxby Downs, South Australia, July 2012.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fire Tornado

Off, away, for a few days. 

Will leave you with this "Fire Tornado" (Truthfully a type of "Willy Willy", normally called a 'Dust Devil' whipped up by high winds but this time it happened in the middle of a desert grass fire in the Australian outback)

17 September, photographer Chris Tangey had been out in Alice Springs, Australia, scouting locations for a new movie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Police arrest 'Muslim protest' participants

Well, some good news, I suppose? Police have arrested eight persons involved in last weekends "Muslim Protests" in Sydney.

A teenager has become the eighth person charged over the violent protest in central Sydney at the weekend.
Police have been examining security camera footage and other evidence since the violent protest against an anti-Islamic film on Saturday afternoon. Late last night they raided a home at Greenacre, in Sydney's south-west, then arrested a 17-year-old boy in nearby Punchbowl soon after.
He has been charged with two counts of assaulting police over an incident outside the American Consulate where two officers were hit with a wooden pole from a banner.
Police searched the Greenacre home and seized items of clothing for forensic analysis.
The boy has been released on bail to face court next month.
So far seven other men have been charged over the violence.
Muslim leaders have called for calm and for any further protests over the film to be abandoned, even if they are intended to be peaceful.

Grasslands to replace US Forests

EXPERIMENTAL FUTURE: Chambers simulating hotter and drier weather test pinyon and juniper trees, suggesting that southwestern forests may transition to grasslands.Image: Josh Smith and Los Alamos National Laboratory

An article in this months Scientific American says that the evidence suggests that grasslands may replace forests in the US.

"In the steel and Plexiglas chambers that make up Nathan McDowell's research station near the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, the future of regional forests is playing out in miniature. McDowell is baking trees. Inside the chambers, temperatures climb 9 degrees Fahrenheit above the desert's already blistering averages. Meanwhile, precipitation, never abundant in this corner of the country, is cut by half.This is the kind of climate that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects for the Southwest within the next half-century, as global warming drives heat and aridity in an already hot, dry region. And in these chambers, as in that predicted future, the region's trees are dying. By studying the plants' mortality in this simulated environment, McDowell hopes to better understand how the future climate may affect forests, possibly even altering the landscape."

The Fish Wars

Banned ... the Abel Tasman super trawler - over three football fields in length. Photo: Supplied

When Ex-NSW politician, Michael Egan, quit his job as New South Wales's longest-serving Treasurer in 2005, he declared a retiring ambition to learn to fish.

Who could imagine that his return to battle would be ... over fish?

Yet that's precisely where he is now, as chairman of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. As a result of the super trawler fracas (, Australia's fisheries regulator is under assault, and Egan is leading the defence.

For this, he could well be AFMA's right man at the right time. Any survivor of a decade running the NSW Treasury knows how to count. And any AFMA chairman knows that in 2012, the number of fish in the sea must be counted as carefully as tax dollars.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's latest assessment of world fisheries production gave "the strong message that the state of world marine fisheries is worsening".

Most stocks of the top ten fish species, which account for about 30 per cent of the 80 million tonne world marine capture fisheries production, are fully exploited. Some are overexploited.

The FAO saw rays of hope in fisheries management by some countries, including Australia, where "only" 12 per cent of stocks were said the be over-fished. This is no reason to ease up.

The fish to be trawled by the Margiris/Abel Tasman - a factory ship that packages and freezes its own catch for import to Northern Europe - were of small pelagic species devastated in other fisheries, to be sold by an international partnership on the world market. Inevitably an Australian fishery's performance is part of a global system.

The Federal Government decided out of the super-trawler controversy to order a root and branch review of Commonwealth fisheries management.

At its heart, this review's success will be judged by the way it increases ministerial power to make fishing precautionary - to ensure the community is not exposed to a "less than sustainable model of fisheries management".

Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig has already lauded AFMA as "a tough cop on the beat". He pointed to its determination to put the environment first in decisions like the closure of a big flake fishery because of unacceptable sea lion and dolphin deaths.

Through the review by the former Montara oil spill inquiry (  commissioner David Borthwick, the pressure will be on AFMA to be even more environmentally focused.

It remains to be seen how Egan, his fellow AFMA commissioners and executives come to terms with the review's demands.

Early signs are they will not roll over quietly.

Independent (Member of Parliament) Andrew Wilkie has a small war running with AFMA over failings in advisory procedures leading up to the decision to set fish quotas for the super trawler. Wilkie calls it a rogue agency.

In the latest round, the Commonwealth Ombudsman told Wilkie that AFMA had admitted failing to comply with its own procedural demands to exclude Seafish director, Gerry Geen, from an initial advisory decision to green-light the quotas.

Egan took sharp exception with the Ombudman over this. He demanded a full explanation of what he claimed to be procedural failings by the Ombudsman's office itself. He recalled the recent controversy over the Ombudsman's office preparing questions for Green senators.

Welcome back to politics, Michael Egan.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Muslim Australians must rethink "Democracy"

The wash-up ... "the violent protest provides yet more evidence that multiculturalism
- after a promising start - has failed." 
Photo: James Brickwood

Gerard Henderson

Executive director, The Sydney Institute

Some Muslim leaders in Australia have condemned Saturday's violent demonstration in which several members of the NSW Police were injured. Others have not. Whatever the response of Muslims, the incident provides yet more evidence that multiculturalism - after a promising start - has failed. If some Australian Muslims do not understand how democracy works, it's time for a rethink.
Some contributors to the debate ran the familiar left-liberal line that, when a small minority get violent, it is not entirely their own fault. Yesterday the Monash University academic Waleed Aly criticised the demonstrators but then went on to refer to the plight of a ''humiliated people'' who are angry about ''the West's disrespect for Islam''.
Last year, Aly made a similar point about al-Qaeda's attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. Writing in The Sun-Herald on the 10th anniversary, Aly commented that ''it is worth considering how we got sucked into contributing to the process''.
Get it?
Somehow or other, the West contributed to al-Qaeda's attacks on the US in which Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims died. Even though this occurred before the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Interviewed about Saturday's demonstration on ABC Radio 702 yesterday, Aly criticised only one person by name: (Federal opposition leader in parliament) Tony Abbott. No surprise there - since Aly is on record as claiming the Opposition Leader ''embraces a reactionary form of monoculturalism''. If Aly were just another leftist academic, this would not matter much. It's just that he presents the influential ABC RN Drive program.
Paolo Totaro, the foundation chairman of the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission, weighed in with a not dissimilar rationalisation. According to Totaro, ''if we have children in the streets calling for beheadings, the fault is not of multiculturalism, but of those - all of us - who have not taught, in enough depth, the democratic values of multiculturalism''. In other words, don't blame the advocates of arbitrary beheadings. Blame us all, instead.
Mohammed El-leissy, the Melbourne-based Muslim community worker, had a somewhat different take. He told the ABC Breakfast program yesterday: ''When I looked at the footage coming out of Sydney, I didn't really see young Muslims. I saw a lot of angry men from Lakemba (a Sydney Muslim enclave) … I don't believe in the argument that multiculturalism has failed; I certainly believe that Lakemba has failed''. He called for more services.
Most Muslims have settled well in Australia. The notable exception involves some of the Muslim Lebanese who were given special privileges by Malcolm Fraser to settle in Australia around 1976 under what was called the ''Lebanon Concession'', and their descendants. Much of this group is based in Lakemba . As El-leissy has pointed out, ''quite a lot of them have very low employment and a huge lack of education''. Some other Muslims identify with this group's alienation.
Where El-leissy's analysis falls down is his solutions. All Muslims in Australia came here voluntarily and/or were born here. All have experienced the generous education, health and welfare benefits available to Australians. The rest of the country are not responsible for any alienation that they feel. Such anger will not be dissipated by the provision of more taxpayer-funded services.
It doesn't matter if the disaffected in a democracy are Catholic-born members of the Irish Republican Army or Muslim-born supporters of bin Laden. If a radicalised group in a Western society does not accept democracy and engages in terrorism or violence, there is only one response. It's over to the police to enforce the law with the assistance, where necessary, of the intelligence services. Then it's up to the judicial system.
Australia is a viable democracy in which virtually all groups have prospered, including the vast majority of Muslims. If last Saturday's demonstrators don't appreciate this, tough. It is not our fault.

Read more:

Vikings invade Australia

Residents on a remote island in the Northern Territory were shocked to see what looked like a Viking ship sail past yesterday. Police say they received a report of residents seeing the unusual boat off the coast of Elcho Island in Arnhem Land.
Northern Watch Commander Gary Smith says the 15 metre boat was a replica Viking vessel on the home stretch of a world tour.
"Police and local rangers patrolled the area and came across the vessel with swords drawn," Watch Commander Gary Smith said. "It was established that the Viking vessel was a replica, it was crewed by six Russians who had sailed from Europe, down through Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and on to Darwin, where it was making its way to Sydney where the vessel is to be placed in a museum."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't feed the Trolls

Graveyard Watch and other death fears

I’m not afraid of dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” ~ Woody Allen

Some say that much of human behaviour, from watching unreal ‘reality TV’ to novel writing, cake baking, mountain climbing, and empire building, is just ‘displacement activity’ - mass distractions used to fend off awareness of our own inevitable non-being. Actually, I reckon some people don’t really know they’re going to die; oh, they ‘know’, all right - but they don’t ‘know’. Death can seem unreal until it actually approaches us.

“What’s the point of thinking about it? There’s nothing you can do!”

Too right! But for some, it’s all they can think about. It becomes obsessive.

Since the earliest times mankind has had a fear of the unknown, especially of death, dying and the dead. Much of this fear is centred on an irrational fear of ‘unreal’ occurrences. We expressed it in many ways – the casting out of lepers is a common example. But it need not only be lepers. It can be any person whose condition falls outside the norm and this condition creates a raised anxiety amongst other members of a community. Sometimes this action was highly socialised, for example, clans and tribes who left their sick, injured and maimed out in the wilderness to die. At other times it was almost a phobic anxiety to anything different – someone with open and weeping sores or obviously suffering the effects of some disease or disorder.

A phobia is a persistent, irrational, intense fear of a specific object, activity, or situation, fear that is recognized as being excessive or unreasonable by the individual himself. When a phobia is a significant source of distress or interferes with social functioning, it is considered a mental disorder (sometimes called a phobic disorder )

A social phobia  an anxiety disorder characterized by fear and avoidance of social or performance situations in which the individual fears possible embarrassment and humiliation. A specific phobia  persistent and excessive or unreasonable fear of a circumscribed, well-defined object or situation.

Quite often those intense anxieties were centred on the dead and the afterlife. Many believe that burials or cremations were instituted to stop wild animals getting at the corpse of our dead but others believe it was to ensure that they did not come back!

"The mourning process was strictly kept in Victorian times. A wreath of laurel or boxwood tied with crape or black veiling was hung on the front door to alert passersby that a death had occurred. The body was watched over every minute until burial, hence the custom of "waking". The wake also served as a safeguard from burying someone who was not dead, but in a coma. Many families would host wakes in their homes for up to four days and the tradition of bringing fresh flowers to funerals stemmed from a time before embalming. Flowers were a way of masking the odor of the decaying corpse. Caskets were often placed on a cooling board which resembled a tub or crate of ice under the body to slow down the decaying process. Clocks were stopped at the time of death and mirrors were either draped with black cloth or turned to the wall so the spirit of the deceased could not get caught in them. The dead were carried out of the house feet first, in order to prevent the spirit from looking back into the house and beckoning another member of the family to follow him. Family photographs were also sometimes turned face-down to prevent any of the close relatives and friends of the deseased from being possessed by the spirit of the dead."

Many funerary rites were developed to ensure the smooth transition of the dead to another world – we did not want them coming back. Our civilisation arose out of Africa and the middle East and in those areas.

Although death is an undesired event, it is believed to be the beginning of someone’s deeper relationship with creation. African religions believe that anyone who dies must be given a proper traditional funeral and ceremonies. If it is not done, the dead person may become a wandering ghost, unable to live properly after death and therefore a danger to those who are still alive. It is also believed that giving the dead a befitting burial rite help to protect the living from sudden death. Some Africans have a custom of removing a dead body through a hole created in the wall of the house rather than through the door. Though, the hole in the wall is closed immediately as the dead person is removed through it. They believe that by passing the dead through the hole, it will be impossible for the dead person to remember the way back to the living since the hole in the wall has been closed.

From ancient Egypt we get the first recorded instances of post-mortem purification. The purification of mourners has been the other powerful motive in much post-funerary action. Death being regarded as baleful, all who came in contact with it were contaminated thereby. Consequently, among many peoples, various forms of purification have been prescribed, chiefly bathing and fumigation. 

A remarkable post-funerary custom has been observed in Islām; it is known as the Chastisement of the Tomb. It is believed that, on the night following the burial, two angels, Munkar and Nakīr, enter the tomb. They question the deceased about his faith. If his answers are correct, the angels open a door in the side of the tomb for him to pass to repose in paradise. If the deceased fails his grisly interrogation, he is terribly beaten by the angels, and his torment continues until the end of the world and the final judgment. This also meant that the dead, at least in spirit, would hang around this world seeking to escape their torment. In preparation for this awful examination the roof of the tomb is constructed to enable the deceased to sit up; and, immediately after burial, a man known as a fiqī (or faqih) is employed to instruct the dead in the right answers.

One thing society has always been terrified of (and at the same time, morbidly pre-occupied with) are “The Living Dead”, or, the process of “Zombification”. For those interested the internet and Wikipedia have some interesting search pages on this subject.

The process of animating corpse; as in the traditional voudoun religion, is achieved through fissioning the soul to detach that part responsible for individuality, though it has been theorised that the actual process, if it exists, could involve toxins extracted from (for example) the blowfish. 

Much has been made of zombification, and particularly as a result of biophages, on the silver screen, an early example being the 'Night of the Living Dead' trilogy and more recently the 'Resident Evil' games and films. In the former, the process is less important than the results of mass zombification. 

The process of animating corpse, in the traditional voudoun religion, is achieved through fissioning the soul to detach that part responsible for individuality, though it has been theorised that the actual process, if it exists, could involve toxins extracted from (for example) the blowfish. 

Much has been made of zombification, and particularly as a result of biophages, on the silver screen, an early example being the 'Night of the Living Dead' trilogy and more recently the 'Resident Evil' games and films. In the former, the process is less important than the results of mass zombification. 

My dear old almond tart of a friend, John  Gray, over at Going Gently writes:

“ ….In 4 weeks time The Walking Dead series 3 returns ......”

For me,  Zombification is also used to describe the effects of the dulling or desensitising influences of modern culture, or numbing experiences in general, of which being compelled to watch  The Walking Dead  series would be the most somniferous of all.

Oh! As to Dead Ringer, Saved by the Bell,  The Graveyard Shift, and other such terms of folklore, Michael Quinion at World Wide Words states:

The following is part of a longer piece that’s been making the rounds by e-mail in recent months. Is any of it true?
England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones to a house and re-use the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence on the ‘graveyard shift’ they would know that someone was ‘saved by the bell’, or he was a ‘dead ringer’.
You may not be pleased to hear that all this is complete and utter hogwash, just like the rest of the article. It’s an example of a fascinating process (that is, from a sociolinguistic perspective) in which people actively seek out stories to explain phrases, not really caring whether they are true, just that they are psychologically satisfying. As a result, they are powerful memes, strongly resisting refutation. But World Wide Words is renowned as the home of lost causes, so I’ll give it a go.Saved by the bell is actually boxing slang, dating from the 1930s. A contestant being counted out might be saved by the ringing of the bell for the end of the round, giving him a minute to recover. Graveyard shift is an evocative term for the night shift between about midnight and eight in the morning, when — no matter how often you’ve worked it — your skin is clammy, there’s sand behind your eyeballs, and the world is creepily silent, like the graveyard (sailors similarly know the graveyard watch, the midnight to four a.m. stint). The phrase dates only from the early years of the twentieth century. The third phrase — dead ringer — dates from roughly the same period or perhaps a decade or two earlier. I’ve written about it previously, so won’t explain it again.
So none of these expressions has anything to do with the burying of bodies. 
 World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2012. 
On that note, I will comment that the expression "Ringer" has a meaning all of its own in Australia. The 'Ringer' is the top hand on a cattle or sheep station and a 'ringer' can also mean a term applied to someone or animal participating in an event 'under false colours' - that is a cheat, or at least, a far better performer who is hiding their true levels of performance from other competitors.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Muslim "Innocence"

New South Wales State Police stand guard outside the US Consulate in Sydney

Have Sydney-siders got this straight?

Because on the other side of the Pacific, somewhere in California, some loser has thrown together some kind of amateur Internet video insulting your particular god, you think it justifiable to:

  • Take over the Sydney CBD.
  • Cause willful damage to property.
  • Throw rocks at police officers who are doing nothing more than their duty.
  • Hold up such ludicrous signs as “Behead all those who insult the prophet.”

We have to ask: 
"Do you have the first clue as to the ramifications of your actions?"

" Do you not understand that the net result of such irresponsible, appalling action is to give ample fuel to every racist in the country to reinforce every bad stereotype they have ever had of you, and that will affect badly the hundreds of thousands of other peaceful and law-abiding Islamic Australians?"

Demonstrators charge the police lines and are repelled


Get this straight, and quickly - some of you may be from countries where this kind of thing is acceptable. But it is NOT acceptable in this country.

  • In this country you are free to worship whatever god you damn well please. 
  • Others are free to worship their gods.
  • And I am free to say it is all nonsense over imaginary friends.
  • But you are not free to create the mayhem you did yesterday, simply because you don't like a freaking video!

Racists have said for years, “If you don't like the way we do things here, go back to where you came from.” 

Marchers move to Hyde Park for a prayer meeting

Demonstrators in Hyde Park attack police demanding that arrested protestors be set free

The net result of your actions yesterday is that – for those people specifically disgracing themselves in the CBD yesterday, not the vast bulk of Islamic Australians – much of the country now feels the same.

Nice work!

(The Sydney Morning Herald article by Peter FitzSimons and photographs from the Australian Broadcasting Commission are acknowledged in the preparation of this post. ... z26aW0VYxj  and