Friday, November 30, 2012

My stalkers

Two fat ducks on a stick 
I buy quite a few bits and pieces from Amazon because it is easier – and usually cheaper – than buying locally.

The problem with this is that as soon as I search for something on Amazon I am forever bombarded with advertisements for the products – or similar products – even if I buy the damned thing.

This little blighter – for example – has been following me for days. 

A weeks or so ago I was looking for some Apple widgets on Amazon and looked at this. Since then it has not given me a moment’s peace and goes with me everywhere.

I mean – if I buy some printer cartridges – which I did - what is the point of sending me emails about the very same printer cartridges – or putting advertisements on every web page I look at for the next six months about things I just bought.

Perhaps they think I have a printer cartridge fetish. Having just bought some I will suddenly decide I can’t live without being knee deep in them.

At least  my stalkers at the moment are a change from the hamburger that haunted me for about a year – and no I never did buy one.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is it just me?

Last Friday I bought a new iPad from the Apple online store in Austria.

I had an old steam driven iPad 2 and this was so 2011 that I was nearly dying of embarrassment.

So on Monday TNT rang me to say it was ready to be delivered and I could have it the next day – I could choose between 8 am -1pm or 1pm - 5pm

I chose between 8am to 1 pm - and to no surprise at all it did not arrive. Nor did it arrive in the afternoon.

TNT rang at 7.30 am on Wednesday to say that the delivery man had forgotten the packet the previous day.

Forgotten the packet?

Did he forget all his packets or just mine? Perhaps he set off with an empty truck and just cruised around all day wondering why things were so quiet.

Anyway – they said that I could have it on Wednesday and I said I was going out at 11 and they would have to deliver it by then – which they promised to do as a special matter because they had let me down the previous day.

Of course they did not.

I rang them later in the day and they said the delivery man was too busy in the morning but I could have it in the afternoon.

Well it eventually arrived.

On Thursday TNT rang to say they had a delivery for me from Apple and I said I had already had one and was not expecting another.

(Shriek! Did I order 2 iPads?).         

They insisted and said they would deliver the next morning – which of course they did not. After all – it is hard to deliver something that does not exist.

So I (groan) rang them again and after a significant amount of farnarkling they agreed that they probably did not have a package for me.

I wonder if it was just me or if all their deliveries are like this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's (almost) unbelievable

Marco Rubio – A Republican Senator from Florida – is tipped to be a candidate for the Republican nomination at the next Presidential election.  He was recently asked this question by GQ magazine

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: "I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries."
Senator Rubio is on the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and transportation - and I am sure he makes a valuable contribution.

This response did not surprise me at all. I imagine that the last four Republican Presidents were Creationists – I think it is probably obligatory.

What did flabbergast me was a Gallup Poll in June this year that showed that 46% of Americans believe that:

“God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the past 10,000 years.” 
I find this statistic astonishing. I am guessing that the corresponding figure in places like Australia and Europe would be less than 1%.
Other than those who attend fundamentalist religious schools – I cannot imagine any student leaving school in Australia without having some idea of evolution.
When you break the figures down further they are not so surprising.
67% of those who attend church weekly are creationists
58% of Republicans are creationists.
It is not comforting to know that when I go to the USA two out of every three people I see believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How could you resist a bargain like this

When Cate was in Washington a year or so ago she bought a lamp made out of Alabaster and something else indiscernible– and this was shipped to us and arrived slightly the worse for wear - but functions well enough.

She does all her shopping in the USA with her sister-in-law (SIL) who designs and makes jewelry and knows all the design and clothes shops within a 1,000 mile radius of Vienna, Virginia where she lives.

So apparently – and I have found this out only recently – at the same time Cate bought the lamp she also became infatuated with some form of art nouveau sculpture consisting mainly of birds on a stick (BOAS).

I have seen a photo of this from a distance. It does not take my fancy but then I have all the style of a member of Al –Qaeda – and in any event my opinions count for nothing in this house where I am outranked by Cate and two cats. I am not sure what the BOAS is intended to do but apparently one also has to buy a lamp so that its salient features can be highlighted.

She did not buy the BOAS at the time apparently because it was ear-curlingly expensive – and was too large to be carried or transported.

However – she heard recently from SIL that the BOAS had been reduced by 50%. I wonder why.

Naturally she snapped it up – bargains like that don’t come along every day - and then spent the next few weeks wondering about how to get it to Vienna.

As it happens she was going to the USA so decided that she would just carry it home.

Well she has collected it and has discovered that it has grown since she last saw it and is now the size of a Fiat Punto and is as delicate as a butterfly.

So it will remain in America – probably wrapped in brown paper in SIL’s basement – while she thinks of a solution to this dilemma.

I am not convinced that it is the type of investment that is going to appreciate in value.

Friday, November 23, 2012

You can pinch my bum any time

The Austrians are different – as this story from the Austrian Independent will tell you.

Austrian prosecutors have dropped sexual harassment charges against a man who pinched the bottom of a woman he saw on the street after saying that sexual harassment can only involve a woman's breasts or private parts.

The incident happened at the start of October when the 43-year-old woman who works in a bank in the Austrian city of Graz was waiting at a crossing when a man came alongside and said: "Wow, a woman with a fantastic arse, can I touch it?"

When she told him no he grabbed her backside anyway and squeezed.

The woman, who is the mother of two children, said that she had slapped him and tried to run away and then he had run after her and threatened her. She said: "he told me that he would not accept being hit by a woman."

Police intervened and the woman pressed charges of sexual assault.

Local prosecutor Hansjörg Bacher however said that the charges had been dropped because the conditions that needed to be met had not been fulfilled.

He said: "The incident itself needs to involve physical contact with sexual parts, simply touching the woman on the bottom does not qualify as sexual harassment. That would not have been the case if he had for example grabbed her breasts or touched her improperly in the sexual region."

The woman said the decision by prosecutors was a second insult completely incomprehensible. She said that she had had to get counselling after the very public assault by the man and is demanding they reconsider the decision."

The story is here.

I love the prosecutor's logic.  A woman has to be touched ‘in the sexual region’. The attacker could – for example – have sucked her toes and got away with it.