Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Steve Jobs is Lucifer!

There are on local TV some strange looking people who advertise themselves as psychics.

For a modest fee you contact them and they will tell you things about your future prospects or love life or whatever. 
They are quite harmless unless of course you are worried about fools being parted from their money but there are so many ways this happens every day that there is no point in worrying about people paying other people to tell them if they will find happiness. I could tell them for free but they would not believe me. 
More sinister are the bottom feeders who emerge from their burrows whenever a child goes missing. These people prey on the fears of the parents who will clutch at any straw to find a missing child. 
Two particularly unpleasant ones have emerged in Australia recently where a child named Kiesha has gone missing. These two charlatans say that they have ''seen'' and had ''contact'' with Kiesha and while they just can’t say where she is at the moment - they will keep on it until she turns up. 
The police always seem to listen to psychics - probably for the sake of the parents - and just go on doing what they have to do - which is normally to find which of the child’s relatives was responsible for its disappearance and he tells them where to find the body. 
There have of course been - and are now - some very famous psychics and delvers into the paranormal. All of them - by definition - charlatans.
One current one is John Edward who says he can contact the dead relatives of his studio audience. He puts on a marvelous show and the people in the audience  gasp in awe when they are spoken to from the grave by Auntie Maude or Grandma Kettle.
One of my favorite magazines - to which I subscribe - is Skeptic. This is an American publication which has many well respected scientists and skeptics as contributors and they explain lots of things - including precisely how John Edward does what he does so successfully - and indeed how psychics can get away with what they do. 
One of the most famous skeptics is James Randi and for many years his Educational Foundation has offered a $1 Million prize to anyone who can demonstrate ‘under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.’
Many have tried and all have failed - even though they are required only to do what they say they can do - and there is a list of applicants on the James Randi Education Foundation website. 
Naturally no one like John Edward or Uri Geller would ever attempt to claim this prize because their inevitable failure would be an embarrassment and a hindrance to their future efforts to suck money out of the gullible. 
Why did I start to write this? 

Oh - I know. Steve Jobs has this power over me and has mesmerized me with the ability of his iPad to transform my life and all that is in it. From a position of mild interest on its release I am now convinced that the is the coolest and most useful thing ever invented and I just have to have one - NOW. 
See what I mean about gullibility. 
Now when I get the iPad I will spend weeks convincing myself that it is just what I have always needed and that I could not live without it. I will even try to convince other people that they should have one. 
Steve Jobs is clearly just plain evil and has the power of Lucifer!

Of course one of the main reasons I want an iPad is that Cate was in the USA just after the release date and when she got back she told me that ‘all my colleagues were buying iPads and I nearly bought you one but I had spent too much on clothes’.

Oh nice one Cate. What a top excuse!
Now what I would have said is: ‘I nearly bought you an iPad but 
  1. they had run out, or
  2. the next generation will be better and I thought you would like that instead, or
  3. I was buying one when the salesman’s head exploded and they had to clear the store, or
  4. I did buy you an iPad but an escaped Lion tore it from my grasp and ran away with it.
Anything but the excuse she used.
Of course she now feels immensely guilty and wants me to buy one as quickly as possible as when she travels ‘everyone has one.’ 
It is quite delicious when your partner actually wants you to buy the latest gadget. 
Well - it has been released in Austria (in fact for weeks now) so I am about to toddle down to McSHARK in Mariahilferstrasse and get one. 
And no - McSHARK sells Apples not fish burgers. 
I love this website banner! Registered with the U.S. Government! Guaranteed authentic! LMAO!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The numbskull rally

Rancid Charlatan Rally
I am still waiting for a result on the Australian Election. 
You would not think an election result could take this long unless George Bush’s brother was involved-  but the Independents who will have all the power are being very careful and indeed the counting of postal votes will go until Tuesday.
Mr Rabbit did not want his election promises costed by the Federal Treasury for the obvious reason that Treasury will find horrible and embarrassing things in there - but he has now realized that the Independents will simply not support him unless they see his budget numbers.
So he will allow the figures to be examined and then will argue that the Treasury’s calculations are flawed and don’t take into account this and that and the other and that they cannot see the bigger picture and are biased and in cahoots with the government etc. 
This may work and if I was him I would give it a shot. The problem he will have is that none of the Independents appears to be particularly stupid so they will be harder to fool that the average punter.
Had he been elected with a majority he would use the used the ‘worse than we excepted budget hole left by the previous incompetent government’ or ‘changed circumstances since we made our budget projections’ 
Nothing new here - all governments do it.
That Rancid Charlatan Glenn Beck held a rally on the weekend at hundreds of thousands attended. This man is truly scary. He hosts a nightly show on Fox which is a never ending poisonous diatribe spewing hatred against the President and all his staff and indeed anyone at all who is not a god fearing Republican.
He has whiteboards on which he puts pictures of Marx, Hitler and Stalin and draws lines to show how they are linked to the President and the White House. 
He is as deranged as anyone I have ever seen - and the fact that he can draw a crowd of Republicans and Tea Party members this size to a rally is truly frightening.
“Something that is beyond man is happening,” Mr. Beck told the crowd, in what was part religious revival and part history lecture. “America today begins to turn back to God.”
“There’s nothing we can do that will solve the problems that we have and keep the peace unless we solve it through God,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”
He is, by the way, a Mormon and using Christianity is a prop to enable him to galvanize the more slow witted of the numbskulls who do not understand what he is trying to do to democracy in America. 
And incidentally - at the Formula 1 race at Spa on Sunday Lewis Hamilton won - but not without skidding into and out of the kitty litter in the closing laps. ‘I felt the hand of god on me’ said Lewis - and this apparently got him out of the jam he was in.
God may have been better placed keeping an eye on Sebastian Vettel who poleaxed Jenson Button and nearly cut him in half. Jenson may not pray enough. 
I am starting to worry about god - with all that’s happening in the world and he has got time to be with Glenn Beck on Saturday and watch F1 races on Sundays. Shouldn’t he be listening to prayers or something? 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We may have to pop your eye out!

I didn’t post yesterday because I was distracted by my eyes.  
Also Cate is away and am am missing her and Rozalin’s husband’s father died after a long illness and things have just been a bit wobbly all over. 
Also I have chipped a front tooth and now look like Bucky Beaver. 
So Rozalin arranged for me to get to see the eye doctor and a team of people did a lot of tests.
A very young lady put a patch over each eye in turn and I had to press my nose to an eye thing and press a button every time I saw a pinpoint of light. I clearly failed this test and said after it was finished that I did not think I had done very well.
‘Everyone makes mistakes' she said helpfully but not reassuringly.
I saw a succession of even younger people and helped one with her homework until I finally managed to see the doctor herself and she told me that there were some problems and that they would have to do more tests and she was going to put some drops in my eyes so I would not be able to see anything for a while and that they might have to pop my eye out to have a look at it.
(Pop my what out?? Are you pulling my chain lady!)
And anyway she said - it was 1:00 and Mittagspause so could I come back at 2:00 PM. 
Absolutely I said - can't wait!
(You are going to pop it back in after you have finished with it aren’t you?)
I eventually found Cafe Central with some help - it was only  a block away - and people were anxious to help this clearly deranged man with very large pupils wandering aimlessly along Herrengasse. 
I ordered a Wiener Wurstel on the basis that I could only see very large things and then only if I got real close to them - and munched away as I mournfully pondered the bleak future (starting after 2 with some eye popping). 
After lunch the doctor was much more cheerful and it seems that her Mittagspause had solved most of my problems.
She said that I have cataracts on both eyes and that this is normal for my age and that there was no evidence of any eye disease and there was a new prescription waiting at the counter for me and comeback in 8 weeks with my new glasses for a check up.
The receptionist at the counter told me that this is the last hot day of summer. I am sure she is too young to know this sort of stuff but I am hoping. It was so bloody hot - and I could see very little - so I caught the U-Bahn home.
It is a fabulous system - I think it is good as the Paris Metro. 
Perhaps I will not need a patch - but I may end up looking like Mr Magoo. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My favorite movie- the best of all time

We are the champions

Gwenyth. Gorgeous.

I’m on a roll here. Yesterday’s blog brought another avalanche of comments so clearly I am doing something right.  Two comments in two days is not to be taken lightly. 

The NSW Government has been moonlighting in China and has apparently been helping them with their road building program.
“BEIJING — A massive traffic jam in north China that stretches for dozens of miles and hit its 10-day mark on Tuesday stems from road construction in Beijing that won't be finished until the middle of next month, an official said.
Bumper-to-bumper gridlock spanning for 60 miles with cars moving little more than a half-mile a day at one point has improved since this weekend, said Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city's Traffic Management Bureau general office”. 
Half a mile a day? That sounds like the F3. 
Now THAT is a traffic jam!
‘Hello dear I am running a bit late I will be home in October - put my dinner in the oven’. 
We had this problem (or a somewhat lesser version) on Saturday when we had to go to the dreaded SCS to visit Interio. We got caught in this immense traffic jam and for a moment I thought it was the Annual Ant Census ( but realized that this always happens in October when the ants are less active. 
It was - as we discovered after an hour - just the usual thing of three lanes of traffic being funneled into one. For no apparent purpose. There was no work going on and there were no workmen leaning on shovels and smoking. Just the usual “let’s fuck the motorists senseless’ syndrome. 
This is just something that has to be done so that motorists do not take the roads for granted. It is an international conspiracy. 
I should mention that I have gone blind in my right eye. Just as I went on holidays to Italy I discovered that I could no longer read with my right eye. This is unfortunate because I have never been able to read with my left eye. Which means that unless I have my glasses with me I cannot read anything on my iPhone. If I have my glasses I can read with my left eye only. 
With my left eye I can see the canals on Mars but I cannot read a newspaper. Until recently I could read with my right eye but could not see much into the distance. 
Suddenly my right eye has thrown in the towel and I though it was just a change in my vision because of my age but the glasses people at Neo Optik tell me that my eye is TARFU and that I need to see an eye Doctor. Rozalin will arrange this for me. 
I am guessing it is something sinister caused mainly by Catholics and Republicans but I would not be surprised if Mr Rabbit is behind it. 
So I now have to read and use the computer with my right eye closed. This is a bit of a strain so I propose to get a patch.
And I have a message for you Mr Rabbit. You may blind me but you will not still my tongue or fingers. I will continue to expose you for the Charlatan and Snake Oil salesman that you are!
Incidentally. I had to go to Dr Mordor today for a prescription and while I was waiting I had a go at Ski Jump on my iPhone.  AND - I beat my previous record and got to 140 meters. I checked and for today mine score ranked 441 out of 991 uploaded. The best score was something like 180 meters (probably logged by a 6 year old in Salt Lake City). 
But hey. I am 65, decrepit, blind in one eye - how do I feel! 441 out of 990 ain’t so bad. 
We are the champions!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not an election blog

I got such a lot of comments about the election I thought I would write another blog about it. Perhaps not.
Question 1:
You are carrying two shopping bags home from Spar. One contains milk, salmon, croissants and frozen chicken. The other contains two glass jars of yogurt and 6 eggs. You drop a bag - which one is it?
Question 2:

You only forget your front door key once every year. Does this happen on a day when it is cool and you can wait in the shade for someone to open the door or does it happen on a day when it is 37° and you are standing in the blazing sun with a bag full of broken glass, vanilla yoghurt and smashed eggs?
Question 3: 
You have been complaining for some time to yourself that your Asian cooking suffers because you do not have a Wok. You finally voice this complaint to your spouse who tells you that you do indeed have a Wok and shows you where you hid it when you arrived and unpacked two years ago. Do you take the Wok and start using it for Asian cooking or do you immediately drop it on the floor and break it?
You have score 3 out of 3 and are eligible for the next round. 
We bought some bedroom cupboards at Interio on Saturday and having learned my lesson some time ago I asked for two delivery men and said I did not want to have any involvement. 
One man arrived and as two of the boxes were too big for the elevator he carried them up the stairs. He was short and very stout. Very stout indeed. 
I really thought he was going to die when he arrived with the first box. I heard him coming from level 2 (we are on 6). He was not panting - these were great gasping sobs. It sounded like a Buffalo connected to sub-woofers having an Asthma attack.
He looked and sounded so bad when he arrived I said I would carry the second box up with him. After a few minutes when he could speak again he said ‘no problem’ and vanished into the elevator.
Another gasping Buffalo performance took place - but it was worse. he arrived bright red and wringing wet and instead of gasping he was hooting. 
I offered him some cold water but said he had some in the van with his defibrillator and then hurried off somewhere else to no doubt do the same thing again.  
Astonishing. If he asked me for advice I would say ‘don’t buy any green Bananas.’
Cate is on Johannesburg this week so the cats and I are getting up you our usual tricks. I can’t tell you what these are because Cate reads the blog.
I am still in a deep depression over the election results but was cheered immensely by the Borowitz Report. He is one of my favorites and I thought I should share it with you.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In what might be the most serious challenge to Barack Obama’s legitimacy as President, a new poll shows that one out of five Americans are not convinced that Mr. Obama exists.

The poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, reveals that 23 percent of those surveyed “strongly agreed” with the statement, “I believe that Barack Obama’s birth was faked, just like the moon landing.”

The poll results coincide with the recent rise of the so-called “Exister” movement, a group who believes that Mr. Obama is an optical illusion created by the Democratic Party to raise taxes and bail out banks.

“The Birthers say that Obama’s lack of a birth certificate means he was born in Kenya,” says Jerrilene Rance, a leading Exister.  “We believe it’s proof that he was never born.”

Ms. Rance says that while President George W. Bush was criticized for disappearing every August, “Obama is never there to begin with.”

Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) made comments about Mr. Obama’s existence that only stoked the controversy.

“I’ve spoken to him face-to-face, and I take him at his word that he exists,” he said.  “Unless of course I was talking to a hologram.”

At the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs brushed aside a question about the President’s existence, saying that Mr. Obama had “no comment.”

Exister leader Jerrilene Rance offered this response: "The reason he has no comment is that he has no mouth."
You can find Andy Borowitz here

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Trogs may have landed

Oh look mummy! 
What do you think Mr Rabbit is going to do with the carrot? 
Well darling - I think he may have something special in mind for Labor Party supporters and Atheists. 
We had an election in Australia on the weekend and nobody won.
The shadow of darkness and evil fell across the land on Saturday. Like a shiver looking for a spine to run down Mr Rabbit cast his evil spell and millions of otherwise normal people lost their minds and voted for a party which has policies which make we weep for the future of the country. 
It could be a while before we know who the New Prime Minister will be but in the interim I have had a number of requests from Australian residents for asylum in Austria in the event that Mr Rabbit becomes our new leader.
Although it would be wrong to call someone who will take Australia backwards a leader in the true sense of the word as in some ways he is more antediluvian than John Howard. 
They are both bigots, xenophobes  and misogynists but Mr Rabbit has the added horror of being a Catholic fundamentalist - and there is simply not much worse than this.
It is all so depressing I can’t go on.  
(He is now Mr Abbott because when Ms Gillard says Mr Abbott - that’s what it sounds like).  

Friday, August 20, 2010

There are Kangaroos in Austria!

My blog yesterday was so boring I fell asleep while proof reading it. So I am giving you a bonus blog to cover some exciting events locally - and not so locally.  
No Kangaroos in Austria? Well actually there are. Or there is at least one which has escaped from its prison. The Austrian Independent reports:
“Drivers have been alerted by traffic officials to be extra careful after a kangaroo was spotted more than 45 kilometres from its enclosure.
Managers of Styria’s Preding wildlife park said today (Thurs) "Sumsi" had escaped in mysterious circumstances earlier this week before farmers in Sebersdorf – almost 50 kilometres from the zoo – reported the animal grazing in a meadow.
The animal escaped before alerted firemen arrived at the scene to catch it. Preding wildlife park bosses, meanwhile, said they had no idea how the kangaroo had managed to dash away”. 
Fireman arrived at the scene? Catching Kangaroos is on the list of duties for firemen in Austria? I bet they never worried about training for that. Dash? Kangaroos don’t dash - they hop!  
Now I personally hate zoos because I don’t think any wild animal should be locked up (I would make an exception for Mark Latham) and I am not at all sure that Kangaroos like snow - but I will leave that rant for another day. 
On a happier note. Gérard Depardieu is visiting Austria and has displayed the customary loyalty that goes with being part of the filmic fraternity.
Speaking to Austrian magazine profil about the work of French director Leos Carax, the 61-year-old movie icon said: "Tell me Juliette Binoche’s secret. I wonder why she has been so acknowledged for so many years. She has nothing! Nothing at all!"
Depardieu further said about the actress who starred in "Chocolat" and "Caché": "She’s a nobody. Isabelle Adjani is great (…) or Fanny Ardant: she’s great, extremely impressive. But Binoche? What did she ever have? (…) It took Carax six years to do his Binoche film – which was not even a film but just a piece of shit."
Mmmm.....nice one Gérard. I can’t wait to read Paris Match to see how Juliette and Carax riposte to this elegant and thoughtful deconstruction of their body of work. 
I am fascinated by the good work done by the Presidential Prayer Team as they carry President Obama along on their wings of love and prayer.  
It actually often looks like a website run by Fox as most of the prayers first of all refer to the massive cock ups allegedly perpetrated by the President - followed by pleas to forgive him and then head him in the right direction and away from Satan (who apparently inhabits the White House). These include prayers that he will turn away from Islam and embrace Christianity (and possibly be re-born in America).
Some people get a little bit off the track and I thought I would share a few snippets with you. 
Prayer 1 (Anonymous)
Our White House priorities are way messed up. LAst week I read that Secty of Defense was told to trim the Defense Budget by 10% and apparently our President thinks men and women in uniform are overpaid. Lord God I am a former soldier and so is my husband. EVery penny we get we deserve. Every benefit we get we deserve. Of course a man who has never served his country as a soldier or sailor , Airmen or MArine would not think so. I was appalled to hear they may drastically cut the military health care budget too. Retirees are already getting the shaft big time. WE have to get this stopped Lord. The military is supposed to be the nations main function and priority. Lord God intervene in this please. In JEsus Name. Amen.
(Hmmmm Anonymous - I’m guessing you read this in the New York Post?)
Prayer 2 (Anonymous)
Our President entertained Muslims or had a muslim prayer thing in White House yesterday I heard. We have the forces of darkness and evil in DC more than ever. I pray blinders come off the people who see no harm or danger in This. In Jesus Name amen.
(Oh Anonymous - perhaps you heard this on Fox?)
Prayer 3 (Bettie)
Thanks to God for the Presidential's Prayer Team. I believe God heard our prayers and put a stop to the oil flow.
(He had to Bettie - it was time for him to kick the living shit out of the Pakistanis and Chinese by giving them the biggest flood since Noah). 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The world has kept moving and I have fallen off

Getting married in Venice.

You have probably never heard of Brian Caldwell, David Dicks, Jesse Martin, Zac Sunderland and Michael Perham. These are all young people who - when they were aged less that 21 - sailed around the world solo. All - in a profile sense - have sunk without trace. 
But you may have heard of Jessica Watson who at age 16 recently became the youngest person to sail solo around the globe.
As you well know - there are many things that are way beyond my comprehension. The latest to  baffle me is that Jessica’s autobiography has become the biggest selling book in Australia this week. The publishers say that more than 10,000 copies of the book True Spirit sold in 10 days. 


Now I understand that it was a mighty feat for a 16 year old girl to sail around the globe solo. And I do understand that an appropriate return on investment is expected by Jessica and her 41 (yes I counted them) sponsors. 
And I know that the TV documentary and DVDs will follow the book and that there will be many speaking engagements and reality travel shows and sailing schools and possibly ‘Dance Your Sails Off’ or ‘Australia’s Biggest Sailing Loser’ and maybe a singing career and movies and politics and all that sort of stuff. Then there is the boyfriend, the wedding, the children and this and much more will be plastered over magazine covers during the next few years.
I am in awe of the girl. In a crowded market place she has found a Unique Selling Point - which absolutely no one else has - and will make the best use of it she can.
I get all that. 
What I do not understand is 10,000 people buying her book. I am sure it is well written and probably a lovely read but it is based on her blog and I have read parts of that and I can tell you it is about a young girl sailing SOLO around the world. 
Not much happens. 
She did not capsize, there are no battles with sea monsters, she was not squashed by a whale or kidnapped by pirates. The boat did not collide with an oil tanker, she did not rescue any castaways, she did not collide with a giant shark or a massive turtle. She saw no giant meteors, was not kidnapped by aliens, did not break any bones and her iPod worked just fine. 
Now while that is at least as interesting as my blog - I am sure no one would buy a book based on my blog - so I am at a bit of a loss. 
But then, Justin Bieber has 4.5 Million Twitter followers and Jersey Shore is a very popular show on MTV, young people line up to see Will Ferrell movies and some people think that Gwyneth Paltrow is a good actor.
But then - in the Home of the Brave 1 in 5 Americans now believes that President Obama is a Muslim. Up from 1 in 10 when he was elected. This is about the same number who things he was not born in the USA - and coincidentally about the same number who say that they have been kidnapped by aliens for a genital examination.

I would not mind so much but I fear that it might not be the same bunch who believe all this stuff - there could be three separate groups. Think about that for a while you are lying in bed tonight. 
It has finally happened. The world has kept moving and I have fallen off. Help. How do I get back on? 
Let's go and meet the new neighbors!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Troglodytes are coming

Dawn at Chioggia
It’s election day in Australia on Saturday and Cate and I will be toddling along to the Australian Embassy in Wien on Friday to do our bit. Not that it matters much.
Labor totally cocked up the opportunity just as Obama has done in the USA. 
They squandered the opportunity to do what they should have done and instead we had the Ruddster postulating, prevaricating, pontificating, dithering and gallivanting until he was put out of his misery by the entirely necessary coup.
Ms Gillard may scrape across the line but it will be despite the Labor Party’s grotesque efforts  to commit hara-kiri in full view of the Australian public - without even a PG warning. 
Even that well known tosser Mark Latham (a former leader of the party - spare me!) has weighed in - suggesting that voters should lodge a blank vote in protest. This would be a match with his blank but very boofy head. 
It takes great courage and commitment to continue to vote for a party comprised almost solely of Plonkers, Knuckleheads, Steaming Nits and Boofheads but I would disembowel myself in the woods with a stick before I would vote for that bible bashing, tub thumping misogynist Cardinal Abbott. 
I suspect that no matter who wins government not much will happen unless it has the support of the Greens because they are likely to have the balance of power in the Senate. 
This may not be a bad thing. Bob Brown is barking mad but his heart is in the right place and at least he does believe in climate change. 
One of the things I really like about Bob Brown is that Cardinal George Pell - that well known Catholic Church homophobe, misogynist and bigot - hates Bob and the Greens (Well - Bob is gay and you know what the Catholics thinks about gays). 
And incidentally - from yesterday’s SMH
“Tony Abbott has restated his skeptical views on climate change, and suggested the world may be getting cooler, as the Australian Academy of Science released a new report warning of the future impact of global warming.
The Opposition Leader said he accepted ''that climate change is real'', but he did not back away from his view, based in part on the work of the Australian climate sceptic Ian Plimer, that the world is getting colder.”
The man who could be Prime Minister takes the world of a single climate change denier over the work - for decades - of many thousands of scientists who have all reached the same conclusion and produce new evidence every year - including that the last decade was the hottest EVER. 
But I am of the view now that the planet is FUBAR and cannot be rescued no matter what we do - so climate change does not worry me much any more. I imagine the last remaining living creatures will be asphyxiated in about 100 years. The only creatures left alive will be cockroaches and a few particularly hardy Republicans living in the Catskills. 
But one thing does really bother me. 
The Labor party is in the process of installing a National Broadband Network which will be fibre optic and will provide download speeds of up to 100 mbps. This plan will cost $43 Billion. This would be the best investment Australia has ever made. 
The Coalition thinks that this is too much money and instead plans to spend $6 Billion on a cobbled together system using existing copper and new wireless networks - that guarantees minimum speeds up 12 mbps.

The Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbot was asked if he knew what a speed of 12 mbps meant or if he knew how many towers would have to be built to provide the network.
He did not know the answers and said 
''I'm no Bill Gates here and I don't claim to be any kind of tech head,''
Holy Guacamole! Not ‘a tech head’ is somewhat of an understatement. 
If Australia has a network providing a maximum 12 mbps with wireless it will be (apart from Burma, Burkina Faso, the Faroe Islands and Afghanistan) the slowest Internet service in the world. 
It will also have the largest number of towers in the known world. 
The wireless network will require many thousands of towers and as it is now impossible to build a tower anywhere without people marching in the streets to stop these diabolical monstrosities from making their children's heads explode - it may take a long time. 
The Coalition - which is well known for its Troglodytian behavior thinks that the Internet is used solely for email and the few Members of Parliament who have personal computers probably still have dial-up connections at home. 
I wish they could be like their British counterparts and use the Internet to download pornography. Then they would see how important high speed broadband really is. 
Now I don’t know if the people who make this type of policy are morally or intellectually bankrupt - or both. But if they do what they propose to do it will make Australia a third world nation in terms of Internet technology and this will have a monstrously adverse impact on science, medicine, communications and technology for many years to come. 
There is simply no comprehension by the Trogs of where the Internet is going, the developments that are likely to take place and the uses to which technology will be put in the future. All these will depend upon capacity, spectrum and speed of delivery.

Of course high speed Internet will always be available to those who can afford to pay for it - but what we need for the future is universal access to high speed internet at an affordable price.
However, I suspect that if the Coalition does win office they will do nothing at all about Broadband because after the election they will say one or all of the following. 

We have discovered after taking office - to our great horror and distress - that the waste and profligacy in the previous government has left us with such an unspeakably bad deficit (sob) that we are unable - unfortunately - to fulfill any of our pre-election promises. (A small amount has been rescued from the ashes to refurbish the Prime Minister's office and increase the postage allowance for Members of Parliament). 
Revised costings have indicated that the true cost of providing the wireless network is actually $500 Billion. (Factors intrude which were unknown to us at the time of the election).  
There are technological problems. We are working on these and do not expect to solve them until approximately one week before the next election - at which time we will re-announce the policy (Or any other one that will help us get elected again)
There is not a single community in Australia that will allow a tower to be built within 100 kilometers of where they are. (We could put one small tower on Nauru but that won’t help much). 
Telstra has been doing an excellent job providing excruciatingly slow and eye-wateringly expensive Internet services to the community for some time and we would like them to continue to screw you blind. (Why? - because we hate you for voting against us last time). 
And as far as the outcome of the election is concerned I intend to be refined, restrained, circumspect and judicious in any post-election comments if the Trogs triumph. Just like the sign says.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We speak Italian bad

Perhaps I should have turned left at Soave. 
We discovered that it is useful when in the wilds of Italy to be able to speak some Italian. We had assumed this would be the case but that we would muddle through. 
Gwenyth had in fact done a little bit of Italian for the purpose of the trip but proved to be - how shall we say it - not as fluent as we would have hoped.
On more than one occasion when she asked for help she was quietly taken by the elbow and ushered out of the building or place where we were. 
We think that instead of learning the Italian for 
‘I am lost can you please help me find Piazza Garibaldi’ she has in fact learned to say ‘I am deranged and dangerous - please help me find the nearest hospital’ 
In the end we had to make do with the approximately 20 words we had amongst and this proved to be entirely inadequate - leading to some truly awful displays of mime and charades - much to the amusement of the people with whom we were attempting dialogue. 
We did of course discover some people who spoke English but would not do so. In this respect they were a bit like some French. You come to my country you speak my language. 
One waiter refused to speak English but was happy to speak German. Another spoke French. 
Part of the problem - we have found in our extensive travels - is that some Europeans do not like the English or the Americans (or indeed in some cases - anyone at all). 
I hesitate to say that on this blog because it may offend some readers - but unfortunately it is true. 
Once we identify ourselves as Australia things always improve immediately. We can tell when it is necessary to say this by the flicker of the eyebrows and the twitch of the nose by the waiter or person to whom you are addressing yourself. 
There is not an Italian in Italy who does not have at least one relative in Australia.
‘Australia! My uncle Giuseppe is in Australia - you know him?
Sure I know him - we drink Grappa and watch football together - he is a good man.
Well - I think he is prick but maybe he better in Australia.’ 
Having Llama with us helped on some occasions as if there were men involved we used her as bait to lure the English out of them. 
We found the beaches from hell. They are on the Adriatic. They are stretches of grubby sand on which not a single square centimeter is left uncovered by a deck chair, an umbrella a towel or a sweaty body. If you wish to leave the grubby sand you can slosh your way through the puddles of suntan lotion and heave your greasy body into the steaming fetid soup that passes for water in this party of the world. 
Absolutely gruesome. 
On a local note - I have previously mentioned the gangs of beggars in Vienna. There have been discussions on various chat sites to which I belong about these gangs and how they are run. The question which everyone always asks is ‘why do the police not do something about them?’
Well - moving with the speed of a sloth on crack crawling through marmalade the Polizei - in conjunction with Interpol, the SAS and Mossad - have cracked down on the gangs.
Intensive global investigations by intelligence agencies and armed forces throughout the world - have culminated in a series of stunning dawn raids with SWAT teams scaling tall buildings and crashing through reinforced doors to get at these dangerous felons. 
Well - actually the report says:
“Vienna beggar gang dismantled by police: A gang of ten members who engaged in human-trafficking and forced 42 people to beg in Austrian capital Vienna has been dismantled by the police, it was announced today (Mon). Ten members of the gang were arrested, five of them in Vienna who will be extradited to Romania to stand trial.”
I imagine that what really happened was the Sergeant Plodnik of the Poliziei looked up from the sports pages of the Kronen Zeitung and said 
‘Horst - it is August - everyone is baking their asses off on the Adriatic - go and round up some beggars’
I might pop down to Westbahnhof in the next few days and watch the replacement gangs and beggars arrive. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cycling in Italy with three chicks

My traveling companions. They could only afford one bike so two had to run alongside while one cycled. 
Well we all thought we would lose weight on this trip. I mean - cycling at least 50 kilometers in the hot sun every day for 8 days - who would not lose weight?
Well - the people who would not lose weight would be the ones who found the best (and sometimes the only visible) Trattoria every day in a tiny town on the route and spent about two hours there for lunch - every day they were on the road.
Was necessary to eat quite so much? Apparently it was - and we certainly had a Bonzer time.
We found some truly wonderful places but there is not much point in telling you where they are because the chances of your visiting some of these towns is a bit remote unless you are on a cycling tour. 
But - generally speaking- the food was sensational and we had not one bad meal. 
There were other people on the tour - 11 in fact. Two Australians, two Swedes, two very serious Germans, two Quebecois, two boring as bat shit  vegetarian English and one Italian named Leonardo who was certainly not less than 75 years old and could have been a lot older. 
The English shuddered a lot whenever they saw meat or fish. The Germans hated the French who they say all smelled bad - but we all got along reasonably well.
The Australians were a man and a woman who were - so the man said - traveling together merely as companions and indeed they had separate cabins.
Let’s call them Bert and Mabel.  
Bert had lost his wife to cancer two years ago and was happy to be on his own. Mabel was a member of the same cycling club as Bert and they had agreed to travel together on an overseas adventure.
Bert apparently discovered with some degree of surprise and horror on the first night that Mabel was expecting a bit more than just companionship and he fended her off. This caused some degree of tension on the boat as Mabel smoldered silently. 
The German couple - let’s call them Helmut and Helga - had been married for almost 25 years but I am not convinced that they were actually going to make the 25th Anniversary.
Helmut developed an interest in Llama (most men do) and this caused a degree of consternation with Helga. Helmut and Llama are both exceedingly fit so would often go like the clappers and sometimes do extra side trips. Helga was not so fit and more than a bit plump so would be pedaling furiously and  panting and puffing as she tried to keep Helmut and Llama in sight. 
She would not have worried had she known that - while Llama is a committed Bonker - she would never Bonk a married man. 
The Swedes were both women of a certain age - both very overweight - and both adorable. Their husbands worked on oil rigs and this allowed them to beetle about doing their own stuff.
I enjoyed talking about meat to the English as it made them sweat and go pale. The alternative was to let them talk to me and then I would sweat and go pale.

And - get this - 15 people on the tour - plus Dracula our guide - and not one smoker.
Unfortunately Captain Pugwash smoked cigars but he usually stayed on the bridge (or whatever it is called) barking orders to the very lovely Manuela who as well as being a sensational cook also knows a bit about boats and ropes. 
What a catch she will be for an Italian fisherman.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I survived my epic and perilous journey

We started in Bolzano
If someone had said to me a few months ago ‘Would you like to cycle in the Dolomites for 7 hours in the blinding rain and freezing cold I would  probably have said
‘Not really!’
However, that is what we did on Day 1 of our epic and perilous adventure. The countryside was - I think - glorious - but it was a bit hard to tell through the pelting rain and mist - and it was too wet to take photos.
Surprisingly -  we all enjoyed the first day it immensely even though we were cold and as wet as shags all day. 
We particularly enjoyed the stops at the little Bicycle Cafes that  popped up along the way and for lunch on day one we all had a fabulous Würstel mit Senf. 
Day 1 was an aberration and for the rest of the trip we sweltered in the blazing and merciless sun. 
The trip was just delicious and we had so much fun it was indecent. 

But - there was not a single one in our group who could read the detailed trip route instructions so we got lost often.
I have always considered myself to be the world’s worst navigator- but I met my match with Gwenyth and Llama who could easily get lost in a paper bag. 
The good ship Lollipop proved to be a grave disappointment. When the instructions said ‘close your portholes to allow the air conditioner to work effectively’ I - and a few others naturally thought that the cabins were air conditioned. Fools!
There was indeed an air conditioner wheezing away in the corridor and this was intended to cool 10 cabins if you left your doors open and portholes shut. In this endeavor it failed abysmally. 
Gwenyth achieved some relief by standing under it naked in the dead of night but the rest of us toughed it out and lay naked in our tiny hot bunks. 
The main feature of our cabin was the toilet in a small annex. It was perched on a pedestal so you climbed up to it. It had a ceiling about a meter above it. The access was so narrow that one had to insert oneself into the space backwards. The final indignity was that it was a ledge toilet. The most heinous invention in the history of Crappery.
The Internet on the boat - and indeed in most places - tended to be elusive  -but this was not the main reason for not posting. 
Normally I was so buggered after cycling in tremendous heat that I and everyone else crashed soon after dinner to the sweat boxes below decks. 
But I do have some exciting things to tell you. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Like a layer of long dead blubber

I read in the IHT on Saturday that Moscow had its hottest July since the city began taking such measurements 130 years ago. Last Thursday was the hottest day ever recorded. The report quotes that ‘more than 2,000 people have died from drowning in June and July, often after they sought relief from the heat while intoxicated’.
More than 2,000? That is a serious number of drowned drunks. Most of the drunks we saw in Moscow were either legless or comatose. How do they get to the water?
I read last week that the first six months of this year globally was the hottest six month period ever recorded. More lies from the ‘Climategate’ scientists. 
Thank goodness there will not be any global warming in Australia under Tony Abbott. He is not going to stand for any of that nonsense. 
America should be OK also as soon as the new Republican President is elected. 
These two countries will be havens, indeed oases, when the rest of the world is burned to a crisp. 
People (Republicans mainly) will sit under palm trees sucking Mint Juleps watching Fox as the reporters explain that sure it is 150 degrees in LA today but that is because those Marxist Democrats have used death rays to make the sun hotter - or we are getting closer to The Rapture  - but until that sublime moment arrives we all need to fry a little - just to imagine what it is like in hell. 
Hey - maybe that is god’s plan. Fry us all slowly. Brilliant idea. 
Well - I gave you a perfectly  good planet and look what you have done to it. I mean- really - Miley Cyrus, MTV, Jersey Shore, Jackass, Big Brother, Dance Your Ass Off, Lindsay Lohan - and stiffen the Lizards - Justin Bieber - spare me! I could go on but you people make me want to vomit. 
I wonder in 20 years time if people will say ‘I wish President Obama had done something about environmental issues instead of burning his buns on health care’. 
I will be able to report first hand from Italy very soon on the state of the weather there. We are expecting hot to very hot. We are hoping for not too bloody hot.
The say on the brochure that the boat is air conditioned. They also say that on three nights the power goes off from 10.30 PM  to 7.30 AM. Hmmm....this must be the time when the Punkah Wallahs arrive in our cabin with palm fronds and gently fan us all night
Although.....Gwenyth has had a close look at the pictures of the boat cabins and says that when two people are in the cabin with their two bags there is not enough room left  for an emaciated Igel. We shall see.
Being divers we are accustomed to tiny cabins so it will not be a burden - particularly when the alternative is to cycle for hours in the scorching sun. 
In fact being divers we are accustomed to all kinds of ghastly and humiliating conditions. Like - for example - pulling on a damp wet suit at the end of a week’s diving. Not only does it smell like a long dead Seal - it clings to your body and has to be dragged on and peeled off like a layer of long dead blubber. 
Cycling will be a doddle compared to this. 
It is my earnest intention to update the Blog while I am traveling. But - it is always my earnest intention to do this and I rarely follow through. But maybe this time it will be different?
I will do my best. Probably from my iPhone. 
Llama the Hottie from Sydney arrives tonight and tomorrow we are on the train to Bolzano. If you wish to come and wave goodbye - give us going away gifts etc - we are leaving from Westbahnhof at 9:44.
Ciao (I have been practicing)