Now we all know Christmas is a good time for sales, don't we? We rush out, hoping to find a bargin for that hard-to-buy-for person in our lives. Well, if you live in Greenwood, S.C. your search for something for Grandpa may just have gotten easier.
The Greenwood Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum is offering half-price cemetery lots, as well as "deals" on vaults and markers, during the holidays. According to the report on ABC News, this sale has been going on for years, with the cemetary reporting an increase in business once the signs go up.
It's not as bizarre as it seems. Last year I bought my father's headstone on sale at the momument place down the street from where he (along with several other members of clan Harrington) is buried. I didn't plan to buy it on sale, nor did I wait for the Christmas sales in order to save a few dollars. My father died in August 1995 and, for many reasons, Gabe and I decided to wait on the headstone. We had the Army marker, and that was ok. We could at least find the plot when we went.
As time went on, those reasons slowly vanished. When I was back in the US last year I decided we should finally give Dad a proper marker, and Gabe agreed. So we made the drive down to choose a suitable stone, and lo and behold there was a discreet "Sale" sign out front. When I went back the next day (they were closed the day we went) and spoke with the owner, I just had to ask about the sale. He explained to me that winter was a "slow" period, with people knowing the stone wouldn't be able to be placed until spring (it's New England, after all) and so having a sale was an incentive. Sounds like a plausable explanation. I certainly didn't mind waiting until spring - after all Dad had been waiting for 10 years and wasn't going anywhere, so what was a few more months?
So if you have relatives in the Greenwood, S.C. area, why not give them the piece of mind of knowing where their final resting place will be, and save a few bucks in the process. Just make sure you're included in the will.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I found this originally on Snopes, my favourite myth-debunking website. It's where I go everytime someone sends me one of those emails... you know the type, the ones that ask you to forward it to everyone you have in your address book, even if it's only your accountant. But this one, found on their Under Construction page, seems legit.
I have an uncle who used to love putting up his Christmas decorations every year. As he got older, he got his sons, son-in-law or nephew (that'd be Gabe) to help... if by help you mean do. Then one year someone fell off the roof - it's only one story, don't be too concerned - and that was the end of the over the top decorations. But this guy takes the cake. You'll need Windows Media Player for this one.
Apparently, the light/music show is the work of one Carson Williams of Mason, Ohio. Lights are synchronized to "Wizards in Winter" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's very cool to watch, although the Teen was prompted to say "This guy has NO life." Possibly. Or he's really into winning the annual town Christmas Lights competition.
But I do wonder about it. For example, how often does it go off? Does he play it only a few times a night, or at the top and bottom of every hour? Is it motion sensitive - going off when someone drives by? Or, heaven forbid, is it constant? As much as I love Christmas lights and decorations - the tackier the better is my motto - I think I'd have to shoot this man by the end of the holiday. The song is cool the first 20 times or so, then it starts to grate on you. I know this because I've got the thing playing as I type. Then there is the issue of the flashing lights - all 16,000 of them. Would you want that lighting up your dinner table night after night after night?
Far worse than being the neighbours, however, is to be the man's wife (or "partner"). He probably starts planning this right around Labor Day (that's in early September for all my Aussie readers) and annoys his family by making them listen to different music in order to decide what to use that year. Then he'd have to start setting up the entire display, and blow several fuses along the way thereby plunging the house into darkness, fairly early. I hope he doesn't have those lights that when one goes out they all go out - drove my parents nuts each year, I know. Then to co-ordinate it all, even with the current technology, must drive his wife to take long trips at this time of year. When it's over, he's got to take it all down and store it away til next year... what a hassle.
Still, it's cool even if it's a little overboard. Hope you enjoy - let me know what you think! Use the comments button, don't be shy!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Just want to wish all my family and friends back in the States a Happy Thanksgiving. I have special dispensation from Momma Mooselet to not cook again this year, as it's just too hot in Brisbane to do the full turkey dinner. I did cook the first year we were here, but you know it's hot when the cranberry sauce melts. I could go to the American Australian Association's dinner in town, but at $80 per adult and $60 for kids under 14 (which means the Teen is considered an adult) I'd have to give groceries a pass for a couple of weeks. It's tough to do Thanksgiving on the traditional day, as everyone has work/school the next day. I could do it on the weekend, but the Teen has a full schedule and won't be home. Mumfies almost had me talked into doing it, but she's in Melbourne with Mr. Mumfies enjoying kid-free time this weekend, so no dice. Plus, I don't like to cook.
Why do I need dispensation from Momma Mooselet? To avoid displeasing the Great Turkey God and bringing a plague onto my house, of course. Silly question. What's that? You don't know of the Great Turkey God? You like to live dangerously, my friend. The legend goes thusly: one year when Gabe and I were quite young, Momma Mooselet decided she wasn't cooking the full turkey dinner. We had a turkey loaf instead. This angered the Great Turkey God, who proceeded to bring his wrath down upon the house (ok, apartment) of Harrington. We all got food poisoning. Papa Mooselet was apparently the least ill of us all - must've been the protection of all the beer - and had to take care of the rest of us. The man couldn't boil water, so you can imagine the chaos. Henceforth, it was decreed a turkey shall be sacrificed and cooked every Thanksgiving by members of the household. Since I began asking for these dispensations, I have escaped injury. The same cannot be said of Gabe, however. One recent Thanksgiving (within the last 2 years, I think) he and his family went to NYC to spend the day with Mrs. Gabe's sister. A turkey was not cooked and the price had to be paid - my sister-in-law spent the evening in St. Vincent's ER with an "illness". Coincidence? I think not.
Let's end on a lighter note, shall we? Found this quiz over at Blogthings and I think it's accurate:
|You Are Lemon Meringue Pie|
You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet
Those who like you have well refined tastes
And finally, from the movie Addams Family Values, this lovely Thanksgiving Day Song:
Happy, happy Turkey Day,
Hunger pains will go away,
When you hear the Pilgrims say, it's Happy Turkey Day.
Happy, happy Turkey Day,
Let's all eat the Indian way,
As Bastille and Cape Cod Bay, it's Happy Turkey Day!
I received an email today from Mumfies, complaining that I hadn't updated in a few days and therefore left her hanging. Of course, her email and the follow-on from Miss WTF was written entirely in strine, but I got the gist of it.
The problem with writing, at least for me, is not that it takes time but I need to feel inspired. Maybe that's too strong a word, but I certainly need to feel. A catch-all phrase for that unnamed feeling is muse. I need my muse to shake me on the shoulder and say "OK, now get crackin' McCrackin'."
Most muses are female. In defiance of tradition I'm making mine male. When I worked as a RN, we often had female patients, mostly older, who would refuse male nursing staff, be they RN's or CNA's. We would try to coax them out of that decision, especially during on the night shift when we had 25 patients, only 2 CNA's and one of them, Barking Tree Spider (hey, it's his email addy), was male. Usually the explanation of "Well, ok Mrs. Smith that's your choice but I need to warn you that we don't have a lot of staff at night and if we girls are busy you may have to wait a little while," did the trick. But I often joked - out of earshot of patients - that when I'm old and wrinkled all I want is male staff helping me. I'm going to refuse female nurses and demand young male flesh.
But why wait? My muse is male, dammit, young and buff and tan. And like a typical guy, he's asleep at the moment. I'll be more prolific when he awakens.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Now before any of you (by "you" I mean my loyal readership of 6) start sending me anymore separated at births, please note I'm limiting it to NRL players only. There are too many S-a-B things out there that are much better than mine - go see them if you want.
Miss WTF pointed this one out in the comments section of the previous S-a-B; first up we have Melbourne Storm centre Matt King followed by Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons:
It is the hair, of course, that closes the deal. And possibly the vacant expression...
In looking at other pics of Matt, it seems he's since shaved off his, er, mop. No doubt he found his missing car keys and a family of four living within.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Here's a game we all like to play. In dwelling on the NRL's sexiest players, something I'm slaving over, pouring over many many photos to save you the trouble of doing so (you ungrateful wretches), I decided to have some fun with it. That and I can't decide who I want to feature next. Now I know I'm not the first to compare these two, but it's my blog and since I had the same thought...
On the left we have Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello. On the right, The Count from Sesame Street.
Resemblance? Oh yeah. D'ya think Anthony can count as high as Count? Bwa-ha-ha-ha!
A couple of months ago, in a what can only be described as a moment of madness, I agreed to allow the Teen to have a pool party at our house. Sanity soon took hold again, however, and I began to impose certain restrictions on said party. Must be on a Sunday so no overnight guests. No, it cannot be til dark. Absolutely, positively no boys! This last one brokered the most disagreements between the Teen and myself with her sentences beginning with "But..." and mine with "No." Call me overprotective (or "unfair" like the Teen) but the last thing I need to be dealing with is teen hormones + swimsuits.
So the guest list was drawn up and approved, several changes made to said list, food and drink purchased and last minute cleaning completed. The day dawned bright and clear and the Teen's friends began to arrive at 11:00am. We had a total of 11 girls, plus one Toddler and one Tween who refused to leave despite being grossly outnumbered.
I discovered, or rediscovered, several things about teenaged girls. They eat a lot - 7 pizzas gone in a few hours, along with 4 bowls of chips, bowls of chocolate and various lollies/candies and many cans of soft drink. They talk an awful lot and in great detail about absolutely nothing (sadly, this doesn't change as we age). And their primary method of communicating happiness is screaming. There are two types of screams - the Loud Scream and the Very Loud High Pitched Ear Piercing Scream. I imagine dogs at the end of the street cocked their heads many times during the day in puzzlement at the sounds reaching their ears. Thank goodness I live in an area where the properties are on acreage and so my immediate neighbours are few.
The party was a smashing success, with the only sour note being the thunderstorm that chased everyone out of the pool as the party was drawing to a close. Even that was a small bump, however, as it mostly missed us and served to cool down what had been a very hot day. The Teen's friends are a good group of girls, not to mention diverse. We had a mix of "types" - girlie to tomboy - as well as nationalities. Out of 11 girls, we had 4 continents represented and a mix of skin colours. I love Australia!
Oh, the photo at the top is not the Teen. It is her good mate P-Lee, taken during the party. I loved it so much I had to use it. More than once she said to me, "Watch me die, this is cool", and then proceeded to "drown" and be "rescued" by various friends. Girls are weird. This is the Teen in all her Teen Glory. Likes nothing more than to strike a pose.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Well, seems I've knocked over a hornets nest with my rant this morning about parents using the 2 minute passenger set down zone as their own personal parking space. My very good mate Miss Wests Tigers Fan (who's nom du jour I can't abbreviate is it comes out as Miss WTF... not cool!) sent me not one but two classic rants about the subject and she has generously allowed me to publish them here on Mooselet Musings.
A word or two first about my mate. She is awesome. We meet at football when she and Mumfies made me feel very welcome during the Tween's first year. Although she tried to lure me to the dark side of rugby league to support the Wests Tigers, I was already barracking for the Brisbane Broncos. (Tip to my US followers - don't say root as in "root for the Broncos". Tis quite naughty) She accepted me nonetheless. This may be because I regularly supply her with Reese's peanut butter cups sent to me my Momma Mooselet. She has tried to educate me on the finer points of cricket (and failed, which is not her fault) and enjoys expanding my horizons in Aussie culture and slang; the time she called me a Wally stands out in my mind. Despite the slanging that went back and forth this past footy season as my beloved Broncos went down in a flaming heap while the Tigers won the whole shooting match I would be hard pressed to find a more fair dinkum friend than her.
Ok, enough back slapping and on to her rantings. I received this one early this afternoon:
LOL I just read your blog and I'm with you on this one. 2 minute zones. I would have thought the name would be self-explanatory....BUT NO!!! Not to these rich uppity doughy tarts that pull up and then extract themselves and their spawn from their luxurious vehicles. You know, if they can spend $60,000 of their husband's money on a car, you'd think they'd get one with a clock that works and it amazes me that all of their Rolex and Cartier watches don't seem to show minutes (probably only show dollars!).I nearly pissed myself laughing. This is exactly what I was trying to say, only she did it much better. After begging to use the above, Miss Wests Tigers Fan graciously agreed and then added this bit:
It's 2 minutes people.
3 would be too many.
1 is even better.
For me, 30 seconds is more than enough!
Get back into your cars, leave your seatbelts and engine on and push your children out like normal people....without the aid of the parking epidural! If you want to park it, do that in the section that has a big P sign. I know, it's an extra 20 metres for your kids to roll their bags on wheels into school and the weight of their allowances that they have to carry may cause them to perspire but consider it a life lesson. From me, to you. You can pass my invoice for "Life instruction" onto your husband's accountant for processing now. Go on...aren't you late for brunch with the Chardonnay club????
This very morning some stupid wench in a 4x4 pulled up and stopped in front of me. The problem I had was not that she stopped, but more that she had stopped 1 and a half car lengths behind the other cars in the allotted section. Now, I don't know about your 2 minute zone but ours fits about 5 regular cars (when driven by people who have to struggle to pay their Visa bills). This brainless woman of effluent(Kath and Kim)appearance had used up 3 spaces meaning my poor, unfortunate middle of the road car named Elvis (it's had a lot of hits) had to stick his booty out into the traffic while I waited for her to do her kids hair, make her lunch, clean her teeth, pack her bag, finish her homework, write a goddamn thesis (on how to piss normal people off) and say her toodle-oos. My 30 seconds was up and I was gone. M***, shoved out the door complaining of a headache whilst performing the mandatory commando roll as I kept the car moving so as not to impede other motorist who were trying to get past Elvis' substantial butt.And I feel better now as well, knowing I'm not the only person being cheesed off my these brainless parents.
Honestly, it's not rocket surgery! It's called literacy.
Hmmm *deep sigh* I feel a little better now. :-)
I'm very annoyed this morning. It seems no matter what time I take the Tween to school, there is always a car or two parked in the 2 minute drop off zone. Now to folks back in the US where transport to school is via the big yellow school bus, you may not get my level of frustration. But here in Brisbane buses are far less common, so most transporting of primary school kids to/from school is done via private vehicle. The designated area to leave the kids is called various things - Stop Drop and Go Zone, Kiss and Ride, Passenger Drop-off, Get the Heck Out of the Car Already Area - but it all means the same thing. You pull over, give the youngsters a peck on the cheek while they hit you up for money or remember they've left their hat at home, push them out of the car and drive away. Under no circumstances are you to stop the engine and walk away from your car.
Except so many parents do just that. Our former school, Milton State School, was very good about keeping this down to a minimum. I was always seeing the principal out there "reminding" parents to not block the area and when it got out of hand someone from the Brisbane City Council (BCC) could be seen handing out fines. I used to love that. Made me all warm and fuzzy inside.
But since we moved last year and changed schools, this seems to be a reluctantly accepted practice. I know I'm not the only one to call the Eaton's Hill State School office and complain, because there are always notices in the school newsletter reminding parents that parking is NOT allowed in that zone for ANY reason. It continues unabated. I've been told by the lovely staff there that because it is not school property they have zero control and it is a "police matter". Because Pine Rivers Shire doesn't have the same type of parking regulations that BCC does they cannot send council people out to issue fines like BCC can. Office staff have also told me the police have been out to the school "recently" to issue fines, but I drop the Tween off everyday and I've never seen them. In their defense, I'm sure they have many other things to do than police an area that is well-signed and should be self-regulated. Of course it would be a guaranteed revenue stream, but that's beside the point...
So what to do? Day after day I've been frustrated by these foobs, who it seems inevitably drive large 4WD/SUV vehicles and often leave no space for those of us doing the right thing. Many a day I have made circuits of the block waiting for a space to open up and end up, along with many others, pulled off on the corner or blocking the too-crowded car park and giving the Tween the boot. And I have little doubt the drivers of these vehicles are well-to-do mothers who refuse to let their children walk to class by themselves because "something" might happen. Yeah, your kids might GROW UP to be responsible people instead of whiney "it's-not-my-fault" can't-wipe-their-own-nose adults.
Can you sense how much frustration this is causing me? Am I out of line? The kids aren't crossing a major highway, they're walking from the front of school to their classroom. If you can't cut the apron string after all this time, or need to help them get a large project to class, then find someplace else to park and leave the two minute zone to those of us who have places to go, people to see or just want 10 minutes to ourselves. I've started leaving notes on people's windscreens which say just that - only nicely. It's the only way I can think of to give voice to my anger without smashing their car. Sure it may get dropped on the ground and ignored, but at least I feel as if I've done something. Beats an ulcer.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Ok, since I'm missing football already I've decided to go forward with an idea I've had for Mooselet Musings for a while. All you ladies in Australia can play along - and help me out by sending me your ideas. As for you Yanks, well you will have little idea what Rugby League is, so just enjoy the ride. And the menfolk, well you can either admire the strength and testosterone that is the NRL or you can ignore our droolings.
I'm looking for the sexiest men in the NRL. This is harder than it sounds - kinda like looking for the best looking men in the NHL. Now we all know a lot of footy players are just plain fugly. Take Gordon Tallis. Now personally I loved Gordie; I loved the passion he brought to the game, the intensity with which he played. Watching him play during the 2002 season, when I was new to Australia and learning about all the different forms of football, hooked me on league. But Gordon is a throwback to some distant ancestor that never quite made it up the evolutionary chain. Don't hurt me, Gordie! He's a wonderful bloke, or so I'm told.
But the really good-lookin' sexy man is a bit harder to find. I'll start us off on someone I know Mumfies, Miss West Tigers Fan and myself all perv on - Billy Slater. Little Billy is all of 22 years old, which makes all 3 of us not quite old enough to be his mother but instead pushes us firmly into auntie category. Ask me now if I care because man alive does he look tasty! A hunk o' spunk for sure! Just admire the definition of his arms, the bulging quads and well cut calves. Not an ounce of fat on that torso either. Lots to look forward to from this youngster as he continues to play for the Melbourne Storm and no doubt Queensland at Origin time. May we see more pics of shirtless Billy the Kid.
Photo of Gordon Tallis pillaged from the Newcastle Kights photo archive, Billy Slater's pic shamelessly borrowed from The Age.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Time to introduce you to another member of my family. I often say I have 6 kids; 3 children, 1 husband and 2 dogs. This is Shelby, my 6 year old German Shepherd. Isn't she a lovely looking girl? Very regal and majestic looking. German Shepherd's are known for their intelligence and trainability. Except for mine. They're dumber than a box of rocks. I have many friends and family members who can attest to this. Actually, I take some of that back. Shelby is very smart, she just chooses to ignore her innate ability and instead does incredibly stupid things. We don't call her Dumb, with the younger dog being Dumber, for nothing.
Shelby is a big girl, clocking in at 45kgs (roughly 100 lbs for those of you playing along back in the US). She tore both cruciate ligaments in her hind legs before she was two, one of which was repaired in the less expensive of two expensive options, and now suffers from arthritis due to her injuries. As a German Shepherd she has those classic narrow hips, and seems likely to have developed hip dysplasia. This makes it increasingly difficult to jump, climb and squat. This last bit is important as it had lead to Shelby's recent "female" troubles. Long story short - she stank with recurrent infections. Believe me, it was worse than it sounds.
After many trips to the vet, several different solutions were tried only to have failed the longevity test of actually working for more than a few days. And yes, this is my vet and no I still don't know why he's got a dinosaur out the front. Makes a good landmark, though. So surgery became the only option. My vet, who is very competent and caring but utterly lacks a sense of humour, explained to me how this would help. A fold of skin would be cut away from her abdomen right around her delicate bits to tighten the whole area up. The official name is "vaginal fold excision". My words were, "Oh, just like a face lift for her privates!" Same theory - get rid of the saggy bits. Vet didn't even crack a smile - like I said, no sense of humour.
So off she went today. She's home now, slightly worse for wear. It's quite a large wound and can't be bandaged, so she's a bloody mess in the literal sense of the word. I know she's still uncomfortable because she's not demanding to be let inside. I feel badly for her, but I don't want dog blood all over my house. Does that make me a bad owner? I'll be able to clean her up tomorrow, thank goodness. If anyone out there can recommend good treatments for hip dysplasia that don't involve me remortgaging my house to afford it, I'd appreciate it. Poor doggie....
Posted by Mooselet at 11:30 PM
At least I now know why I'd been so tired the last several days. I thought I was in the downslide of my insomnia cycle, but that only lasts a day or two. I was sleeping really heavily and still waking up tired. Then on Saturday night, while boarding the Toowoomba Party Bus I started to feel a scratch in the back of my throat. Chalked it up to the air conditioning. Then Sunday I woke up feeling very achy and groggy with a heavy head. Said I had too many drinks combined with a late night. Then this morning rolled around and the Tween came, fully dressed and ready for school, to wake me up and I knew I was in trouble. I was sick. My nose was blocked and my head felt full of bricks. Hell.
Being sick sucks. It really sucks big Twinkies when you're a mother, though, especially a stay-at-home mother such as I am these days. You still have to get up and carry on like it's another day. Take kids to school, take the Toddler to playgroup, clean, cook... ok not so much with the clean as it's not my strong suit, but still. Right now everyone else is in bed, including the Hermit, and I still have dishes to wash. The Teen is slightly sympathic as long as it doesn't interfere with her life, the Tween slightly less sympathic but also less inclined to help, and the Toddler doesn't have any idea except to notice Mummy has the tissues out so she gets to blow her nose, too. And the Hermit... well as I said he's in bed.
I'm just waiting for the drugs to kick in before I take my leave. God Bless Sudafed.
Posted by Mooselet at 10:34 PM
Friday, November 11, 2005
In Australia it's called Remembrance Day, in the US Veterans Day. But on this day, the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause to remember those who have died in service of their country and preservation of our freedoms.
My mother taught me one charity group to never ever ignore were veterans. Last weekend I was at the local shops and there was an Aussie veteran selling poppies. Not the real ones, but pins, badges and small fake poppies. I bought two, one each for the Teen and Toddler who were with me at the time. On the back of the card was the poem In Flanders Field. I had never heard of it before and I found it very moving, especially now as it seems not a day goes by when that list of the Dead doesn't grow by another young solider. You can read for yourself the history of the poem, but I'll post the poem itself here, lest you don't go and click the link.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
Monday, November 07, 2005
While I was searching for moose images, as you do, I came across this website. I got very confused by reading the name. What did moose have to do with this:
Be honest with me, what do you think it means? Right, so did I. The mind, it boggled. I had to go and look at the site to clear it up. I won't ruin it for you, but I'm still not certain if the man is being clever or just dense.
I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. I use the net for so much, why didn't it occur to me to start looking this stuff up?
I mention in my profile that I have a fascination with early English history. Not so far back as the Romans, although that's slightly interesting, but about the time of the Norman Invasion and William the Conqueror. My interest hold up to the time of the Tudor Monarchs, then we get rapid fall off. I think it has to do with being completely bored by the early American history that I was repeatedly bashed out the head and shoulders with in my early years. How many times can you learn about the Pilgrims and how wonderful and brave they were? Booor-riiing!!! Who threw the Pilgrims out of England and why, that was, and is, much more interesting.
The other night the Hermit called me into the lounge to tell me Kings and Queens of England was on the History Channel. When I asked him who they were up to, he seemed baffled. "Does it matter?" What a silly question. "Of course it matters. If we're past James I, I'm really not interested." "Huh?" At this point I had come into the room to see for myself, and they were all the way up to George II. "See, this is George II. Got that funny powdered wig on. He's a Hanoverian, and I don't like them. I only like up to the early Stuarts, and that's pushing it, really." I got a blank stare for about 5 seconds, and then the Hermit replied, "I have no idea what that means."
Rather than explain the whole thing to him, I assured him he didn't have to understand it, just know I wasn't interested in kings wearing powdered wigs. That clicked and he changed the channel to find shows on cars.
So, back to my new time wasting use of the Internet. I recently checked out a biography on Anne Boleyn from the library and was getting frustrated at the authors' references to portraits without having a picture to reference. I pulled several other biographies off my shelves with no success, so I went online to find the portraits and found entire Web Rings devoted to the Tudor monarchy. Bliss!! Of course had I given it much thought I would have realized this. There are Web Rings on just about anything and everything, so why not this! I can't wait to start looking for ones on the Plantagenets. I'm practically salivating.
Now if I can only find a way to squeeze 6 more hours out of my day without totally neglecting my family...
Sunday, November 06, 2005
My very good friend, Mumfies, who needs to get off her backside and get her own blog up and running, has asked me to put this up on my blog. Since my traffic consists of her, my family, and a few Cardinals from Comics Curmudgeon, I don't know how much this will help her out. But we'll have a go...
A few words about Mumfies and her family first, however. I came to Australia in 2002 and didn't know a soul. Outside of a few co-workers of the Hermit I was pretty much friendless. Aussies are very friendly and I had great surface conversations with many people, but it ended there. Friendly, yes. Entirely welcoming, not so much. I have theories on this, but they're for another post. Now the Tween is very sports-oriented and after trying out the various football codes, none of which are American NFL style football for those of you back in the US, he decided to play rugby league. So in 2004 we went and signed on at Wests Panthers Juniors. After about 6 weeks of watching the boys train from the sidelines, just me and the Toddler (who was the Baby back then), I was slowly welcomed into the fold. Guess they all decided I was ok for a Yank. Two of the most welcoming of all were Miss West Tigers Fan and Mumfies, and since then they have both become great friends. Mr. Mumfies was a great coach in the Tween's first year, and has recently helped out at Mooselet Manor fixing some electrical problems while refusing payment other than beer. How often do you find friends like that???
So what has Mumfies asked me to promote? Animal Liberation Queensland. After looking at their site, it seems to be a Queensland version of PETA. I have to admit a bit of hesitation about this as I kinda like my meats - just had a lovely cut of sirloin tonight, as a matter of fact, and I know Mumfies has tucked into plenty of sausages with the rest of us during footy training. If humans were meant to be strictly herbivore we wouldn't have these pointy teeth in front. And I don't have a lot of issues with using animal hide in various items - clothing, shelter, etc... Coming from New England, I see what happens to deer populations when hunting is strictly limited - starving deer as there are not enough natural habitat and resources for them. So I think the same applies to kangaroos, cute as they are. I do think, however, we should be as humane as possible in the way we go about getting our meats for consumption. Cruelty isn't necessary. And do we really need to wear obnoxious fur coats from animals we don't necessarily eat? I mean, we eat cows and pigs and 'roos so we should use as much of them as possible. Doesn't make much sense to use the meat and discard the hide. But when was the last time you ordered an ermine burger or had a fox salad? Getting my drift? Picking up what I'm dropping off? We don't have to be one extreme or the other - middle of the road is a good place to be, despite what Mr. Miyagi says.
So go and see what the good people over at Animal Liberation Queensland have to offer. If you agree with their philosophy, great! Investigate what you can do to help. If you don't agree with their philosophy, cool. At least you have seen what they have to say and can add their opinions to your own database; ignorance does not support a position, only knowledge does.
Now, Mumfies, you're going to double my allotted space for supplies from USA Foods when you go to Melbourne in a few weeks, right?
Posted by Mooselet at 11:20 PM
Saturday, November 05, 2005
You're sitting in peak hour traffic, fuming at the incredibly slow pace. No doubt when it finally opens up again, there will have no apparent explanation for the delay. Next to you is the HOV lane, or T3, or whatever it's called in your state when only vehicles with multiple passengers are allowed, virtually empty. You're tempted, oh-so-tempted, to swerve over and get going again. Who's gonna know?
Cops in California, that's who. CHiPs officer (I don't care if they don't call them that in 'real life', it's my blog) Officer Will Thompson has exceptional vision, noting the "passenger" in a passing vehicle had no legs. Sure, it could've been a double amputee, but it raised enough doubts in the officer's mind to pull the car over. Sure enough, driver Kevin Morgan had dressed a kickboxing dummy in a Miami Dolphins windbreaker and a baseball cap. He was fined $351 for his deception, and Legless was left on the shoulder of the highway as a deterrent.
The moral of the story is, next time you try to pass a dummy off as a passenger, make sure it has legs... with pants. Cup of coffee wouldn't hurt, either.
Story from AP, full text can be found here via Yahoo!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Tell us something we don't know, John Howard. General threats don't scare us - we need the details. That's where the devil lurks, you know.
Since supporting East Timor in its bid for independence and then following the US into Afghanastan and then Iraq, Australia has been looming large on terrorists radar. I don't know how much coverage it's gotten in the US, but Australian interests in Indonesia (right next door, largest Muslim population on the planet... perhaps you've heard of it?) have been regularly targeted. Scores of Aussies were killed in the Bali bombings of 2002, while 4 more died in the more recent bombing on the popular tourist island (ironically, mostly Hindu in population). The Australian Embassy in Jakarta was hit by a minivan loaded with explosives just last year. I'm not saying Australia should not have done what it did in East Timor, Afghanastan or Iraq; all I'm saying is that we are a large Western Christian-based country and we aren't flying below the radar of Islamic nutjobs.
So Johnny has recently introduced new legislation to toughen Australia's anti-terror laws. All well and good. There has been some uproar from the various State and Territory premiers (US folks - think governors) about provisions allowing for shoot-to-kill orders and detention periods, along with sedition laws being tightened, and the bigwigs are currently hashing out the details.
Then I'm online tonight and see this article. PM Howard has announced Australia has received "specific intelligence that terrorists are planning an attack". Well no shit Dick Tracey!! We've been waiting for this for years, for something to happen on Aussie soil. Howard has refused to release any details - not surprising - nor has he or his government seen fit to raise the threat level from where's it been since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. But he has introduced a "minor amendment" to his current anti-terror legislation to strengthen "capacity of authorities to respond" to the new threat.
This is soooo wrong. I admit to being just a little cynical about politicians and their motives, but this smells funny. Several Premiers have really made discussion about this legislation public against the PM's wishes - ACT Premier Jon Stanhope published the draft on his website to demonstrate his concern with what he said were changes by the Howard government to what was initially agreed to. Then Johnny introduces the legislation to Parliament on November 1st. What's the big deal, you Yanks ask? It's Melbourne Cup day. While technically only a public holiday in Victoria, it's like introducing important legislation to Congress on Superbowl Sunday. Assuming, of course, the Superbowl was played on a day Congress was in session... work with me, people, to bridge the cultural divide. Everyone is focused on the bloody race, downing champagne and prawns while wearing really silly hats. No one in any part of Australia is paying any attention to Parliament - there are bets to be made!
So here's this Very Important Legislation being introduced on a day when the country is getting pissed. And the very next day, when the country is recovering from its collective hangover and celebrating the history making win of Makybe Diva, the PM announces (after we've all gone to bed, insomniacs like me nonwithstanding) this credible threat and wants "minor" adjustments to his legislation that has been changed from his original due to concerns from State/Territory leaders. Yet our threat alert level remains the same.
It doesn't add up. I know I suck in math, but something here just isn't right. Maybe it'll make more sense in the morning, but I'm not holding my breath. I am, however, off to bed.
Photo from AFP, other sources linked.
Apparently, when male deer see their reflection in windows this time of the year, they go a little bezerk. Thinking it's a rival buck, they charge. Unlike birds who often kill themselves by flying into large panes of glass, the deer break through the glass and end up indoors. Deers should not be in the house, especially when that house is located in the Deep South state of Arkansas.
Good Ole Boy Wayne Goldsberry was visiting his daughter when a five point buck crashed through the bedroom window. While sane people would have just closed the door after the petrified animal ran into the master bedroom and waited for animal control, Wayne decided to be proactive. I offer this clip from the original article, as it states what happened next oh-so-well:
Goldsberry entered the bedroom to confront the deer and, after a brief struggle, emerged to tell his wife to call police. After returning to the bedroom, the fight continued. Goldsberry finally was able to grip the animal and twist its neck, killing it.
Ok, so the guy went it to the room and tried to subdue the animal. He failed, left the room and had Mrs. Wayne call the cops and then went back in. I can see him, hitching up his pants, downing a brew and thinking "Right, no deer is gonna show me up. Y'alls ass is mine!" The article doesn't say if he came and went several times, but since it does state the "struggle" lasted 40 minutes I suspect at least a 6 pack was involved. Especially since police reported later that Wayne may be singing soprano awhile, taking a few kicks below the waist. When it was over, the walls were splattered with blood and the dear lay dead, its neck broken. Wayne told police Bambi was going to be "processed" as future dinners for the Goldsberry family.
Well, I suppose it beats looking for roadkill for that special Thanksgiving dinner.
Full text of story can be found here.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
What IS it about David Hasselhoff? We loathe him, yet we are strangely compelled by him. We are drawn to him like moths to the bug zapper – we know it’s bad yet still we move forward.
I grew up with Knight Rider. Loved it, I’m not ashamed to say. Also, I was quite young and impressionable. That’s my alibi and I’m stickin’ to it. I also liked The A-Team and Dukes of Hazzard – told ya I was impressionable. Anyway, I matured (slightly) and never did watch Baywatch, although ….
Oh my FRIGGIN’ JESUS H. CHRIST ON A POGO STICK!!!!!!!!!!! As I type I have a separate browser window open to review some Hoff stuff and had gone to ifilm.com to watch his music video for Hooked on a Feeling (2002). He’s big in Europe, you know. This has to be the funniest thing I have ever seen. I have tears rolling down my face. The official review calls it “wacky”… it’s bizarre, cheap as chips, dorky. Words can’t describe. Please tell me he did this with his tongue embedded so deep into his cheek it looked like he had the worse case of mumps. Ever. Please go watch this yourself. I can’t stop laughing… it’s like something out of South Park.
Ok, where was I? Right, Baywatch. Anyway, never watched it. The Hermit did, and still does when it’s on. Mitch and his incredible slow-mo run. Who could forget it, as much as we might like to. The Hoff was recently in Australia for the ARIAs (the equivalent of the Grammy’s for you US folks) to hand out awards for Best Single and Best Album. Apparently he sang as well. Gee, sorry I missed it. He was all over the TV and radio, and has promised to come to back to Oz in 2006 for a world tour. Aren’t we lucky? My own Hoff story – before we moved to Brisbane we often took the kids to the Pawtucket Red Sox as we could see baseball games and allow the kids to occasionally take a friend without having to refinance our home loan. The Hoff’s cousin, Derek Hasselhoff, was a relief pitcher for them in 2002.
So today I got an email from a new Yank I’ve met here recently, and at the bottom was a link to Hoffice Attachments, sponsored by Yahoo!Australia & NZ. You’ll find all kinds of links to all things Hoff. My favs are the above mentioned video clip – still has me laughing – David Hasselhoff Is The Antichrist (isn’t it obvious), and the Harry Hoffer jpeg (Ron’s face makes sense now).
Hoff on, man!!!
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Just read this article and holy freakin' Jesus are people stupid. I am aware that my statement is about as obvious as being told NOT to surf a tsunami as residents of Malibu are now being warned not to do.
But then my initial head shaking was followed by this train of thought. Let us suppose there is a large offshore earthquake in California, sending a tsunami heading for Malibu beach. Easy enough as we all know California is doomed to fall into the sea anyway, or maybe that's just wishful thinking. So with this huge wall of water heading for Malibu and in the ensuing panic, memories of the Boxing Day 2004 Indian Ocean quake springing to mind, Surfer Dude and all his friends grab their boards to ride the biggest wave ever. In a Darwinian Award moment, all are killed while yelling "Duuuude, check it out!" and logical people the world over rejoice at knowing such twits will never breed.
And then the lawsuits begin. Mother of Surfer Dude decides it's not little Surfer Dude's fault he was smashed to bits. Someone should have told him surfing a wave the size of multistory buildings with enough force to wipe out entire islands was not A Good Idea. Someone should have stopped him. Boo hoo, he was a good boy, he was all I had, nothing will bring him back but I would like gobs of cash for raising an idiot thankyouverymuch.
You can see it too, can't you? So perhaps Malibu officials aren't merely stating the obvious but are participating in that great maneuver called CYA - cover your ass. It's the same reason we now put warning labels on hot coffee, warn parents not to allow children to play in the dishwasher (damn, thought I could save the nightly bathing ritual), or the million of other "obvious" warning seen on products today. I highly recommend this site, TRUE Stella Awards, to see the havoc caused by lawsuits of this nature. Then fault the Malibu officials, if you can.