Monday, April 24, 2006

When Nana wouldn't kiss it better.

When I was about seven or eight years old, my stepfather moved our family to the small country town of Kaeo (KY-oh), on the North Island of New Zealand. He was, at that time, earning a living as a farm manager; movement and upheaval were regular visitors.

One of the better aspects of this constant re-location was there was always a new "land" to be discovered. A lot of my free time was spent exploring, discovering which trees were best for climbing, finding the best blackberry patches, getting to know the new farm animals, and scouting out a good hiding place.

Kaeo had something extra which stirred a little boy's imagination no end; on the other side of the dirt road that ran past the front of the farm house was a river. This river was prone to flooding during the Winter and, because of this, the house was built on stilts a good three metres off the ground. I remember waking up on at least two occasions, looking out my bedroom window and seeing the land under water. The house was surrounded by a wide verandah and to reach that from the ground, we had to climb a set of wide wooden steps which at times, could be pretty slippery.

One Summer, my grandmother (my mother's mother) was visiting us. She and my mother were sitting on the verandah at one end of the house. I was sitting at the top of the steps with my crayons and colouring book, studiously trying to keep inside the lines. I dropped one of my crayons and it landed on the next step down. I got up to retrieve it, lost my footing, and ended up bouncing all the way to the bottom of the steps on my bum.

Naturally, this was quite painful, not to mention an affront to my dignity, so, bawling my eyes out, I climbed back up and went looking for my mother. I found her sitting with Nana and told them what had happened.

Nana then carried out her duty for which all grandmothers are pre-ordained; she held out her arms and said, "There, there. Let me kiss it better." At which I promptly turned around, pulled down my pants and bent over.

Understandably, Nana qualified her offer rather rapidly by saying she meant my head. I acceded to her request and accepted the kiss, but I have to say I was greatly confused. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how a kiss on my head was going to make my sore bum better.

It just didn't make sense.


by Adam Brand
When 1914 began, he was working on the land with his Mum and Dad.
He left behind his girl, joined up to see the world. It made his mother sad.
He made it through the war, came back to town
To help his father work the fields and rebuild his life somehow.
And everybody called him the ANZAC, and that’s still what they call him now.

He set his mind to stay when his father passed away, and the rivers ran dry.
He said, ‘I’ll take care of you, Mum. I’ve fought before and won, and we can win this fight.’
All alone, he’d work all day until he’d drop. Until the place got back to best, he didn’t stop.
There were times he thought he’d been forgotten,
But every night at six o’clock

They’d stand for that man they called the ANZAC
And those who gave their lives for us.
They’d stand for that man they called the ANZAC
For fighting for the land he loves.

At the same time every year we all remember him.
At the crack of dawn we stand as one for all our fallen friends.
So drink to that man we call the Anzac.
We will remember him.

So stand for that man we call the ANZAC.
For fighting for the land we love.

We will remember them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Practical solutions to life's adventure, according to children.

Received in an e-mail. Advice on life as proposed by children of varying ages.

  • Never trust a dog to watch your food. - Patrick, aged 10.
  • When your dad is mad and asks "Do I look stupid?" don't answer. - Hannah, aged 9.
  • Never tell your mum her diet's not working. - Michael, aged14.
  • Stay away from prunes. - Randy, aged 9.
  • Don't squat with your spurs on. - Noronha, aged 13.
  • Don't pull dad's finger when he tells you to. - Emily, aged 10.
  • When your mum is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair. - Taylia, aged 11.
  • Never allow your three-year old brother in the same room as your school assignment. - Traci, aged 14.
  • Don't sneeze in front of your mum when you're eating crackers. - Mitchell, aged 12.
  • Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a Tic Tac. - Andrew, aged 9.
  • Never hold a dust-buster and a cat at the same time. - Kyoyo, aged 9.
  • You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. - Armir, aged 9.
  • Don't wear polka dotted underwear under white shorts. - Kellie, aged 11.
  • If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse. - Naomi, aged 15.
  • Felt pens are not good to use as lipstick. - Lauren, aged 9.
  • Don't pick on your sister when she's holding a baseball bat. - Joel, aged 10.
  • When you get a bad grade at school, show it to your mum when she's on the phone. - Alyesha, aged 13.

Now, why didn't I think of that?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Random activity

An officer from the Australian Federal Police has been suspended from duty after consulting with a clairvoyant about a death threat made to the Prime Minister, John Howard. It seems the cop knew the psychic socially and, in consulting with them, disclosed privileged information. It's not surprising the officer took this course of action, though. Very much like the deity whose ear he thinks he has, our leader works in mysterious ways.

New Zealand's parliament has voted to make sign language that country's third official language. That way, when the American administration tries to "encourage" them to change their non-nuclear stance, the Kiwis have another means of telling them to get stuffed. Officially, that is.

Argentinian fans of that country's most popular soccer team (Boca Juniors) can now take their devotion to the grave. They are able to order caskets in their team's colours, so that when they die they can still declare their loyalty. I reckon you could make a good living over here with that service. Although, you'll have to get your customers to sign a contract stating that the casket is for their own use, not players of opposing teams.

Two male ducks in Sweden appear to have "mated" for life. Apparently, this pair has returned to their breeding ground for the third year running, and act in all regards like a "couple". I wonder if they call each other "Duckie"?

The world's richest race for two-year old fillies, the Golden Slipper, was run over the weekend. It was won by Miss Finland. Miss Australia finished a credible second, Miss Indonesia third. Despite showing a lot of promise, Miss England was disqualified after a protest from the Australians. Miss America failed to show due to technical difficulties, and is threatening to sue the race organisers.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Straw that broke Condi's back.

This was in the paper a couple of days ago. I guess it must have been a slow news day.

The picture is a little blurred, so I'll give you a quick rundown of the article.

Basically, it boils down to this; British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was travelling with US Secretary Of State, Condoleeza Rice, on her official jet. Condi, being polite, offered Jack the use of her bed and cabin during the flight, which Jack promptly accepted, leaving poor Condi no option but to sleep on the floor in the aisle.

Surely there are more things important than the sleeping arrangements on Condi's plane? You have to wonder who really cares, don't you? It's not like England and America are going to start throwing rocks at each other.

All that aside though, I'm inclined to think that there's actually more to this story than what's been reported here.

I don't believe Jack was being ungallant at all. I reckon he took up Condi's offer with perhaps the thought that, if he lay there and was on his best behaviour, Condi might be of a mind to join him. And maybe he accidentally snibbed the door when he closed it, inadvertently locking the poor woman out.

Well, let's face it. Jack's a British politician, and those guys are always searching for a good peccadillo.

Perhaps it was for the best anyway. Sleeping in a Straw bed might seem a romantic notion, but the majority of the time, you're going to end up with a rash.

What's cooking?

S and I were watching a current affairs program on TV the other night. One of the items they put on was a new weight loss treatment, from the United States, where the person trying to lose weight doesn't have to diet or do any exercise. Now, where have we heard that before? It seems like every three months or so a new weight loss treatment or diet is heralded with a fanfare worthy of a Roman Emporer, only for it to turn out to be just another spin on an already tired method.

So, understandably, S and I watched with a liberal sprinkling of scepticism. Justifiably, as it turned out. The new weapon in the battle of the bulge? Microwaves. No joke! The "practitioner" takes up an object which looks similar to a phaser from Star Trek (original series), and rubs the client's stomach with it, bombarding the area with microwaves. The idea seems to be to heat the fat cells and cause them to "melt away".

The problem with this, that I can see, is that for quite some time now, scientists have been warning us about the dangers of leaking microwave ovens, saying that the escaping radiation can result in some serious health problems. Yet here we have someone deliberately offering to cook us!

According to the bloke who has imported this procedure, the fat cells are heated to a temperature of 65° Celsius (149° Farenheit).


Of course the fat is going to melt away. But, as the majority of the people seeking this "treatment" are likely to be women there would appear to be an obvious (to me) problem which I pointed out to S. The area being microwaved also houses the woman's ovaries. Surely they could be risking some serious damage?

If they're not careful, they could end up with a serving of fried eggs. Even worse! Cooked in fat!

And what if the woman has just fallen pregnant and doesn't know it? Gives a whole new meaning to "bun in the oven", doesn't it?

Perhaps it would be a hot, cross bun?

Weird people...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The man who shot Liberty Valance

Gene PitneyGreeted this morning by the sad news that Pop icon, Gene Pitney, passed away in his hotel room in Wales, after performing at a concert.

In an era of synthetic music and artists, yet another unique voice and style has gone on ahead.