Posts

Showing posts from December, 2005

Xander and Nico's 2005 Christmas Letter

Image
Cat Lying on Windowsill, 21 December 2005.

(No, that photo isn't upside down. Xander likes to lie on the window ledge with his head hanging like that. He takes after his Mum. He's strange.)

Well dear readers, 2005 has been another year of highs and lows for both Xander and myself. As hard as it is to believe, Xander is now two-and-two-thirds years old! He shows hardly any kittenish behaviour - and that's just fine with me. I don't think I could handle a little bouncing ball of fur constantly getting under my feet and chewing on things. No, Xander is more partial to naps together, a comfy lap to sit on, and "helping" me when I'm cooking (helping consists of sitting next to the kitchen bench, keeping a watchful eye on proceedings, and waiting hopefully for samples to taste!). But he's gorgeous, and now he's fully grown, it's apparent that he doesn't actually have a weight problem - he's just a very, very big cat (He weighs a bit over 7 kil…

The Miracle Fat Cure That Business Big Wigs Don't Want You To Know About*

Image
Recently, I've been compiling a list of web search referrals to the Pod. I'll be publishing a list of all the interesting ones soon, but I have to say, by far the most common referral is a search for "Alexander Downer Fishnets". I mentioned this 1996 episode, where the Alexander Downer, the Foreign Minister of Australia, posed in fishnet stockings for a magazine shoot, in a post several months ago. Obviously, I wanted to include a photo of this, but despite an extensive web search of my own at the time, I couldn't find one.

But Now, I Have.
























Continuing our tradition of bringing you cutting edge news and opinion (okay, okay, just blathering on week after week), Xander and Nico present... Downer in fishnets!


Where did I track it down? Actually, it really wasn't hard...it just required a little "creative" searching. I leave it to you to take up the challenge, if you so wish.



I'm reminded of the old cliche, "A week is a long time in politics...&quo…

Loving Bill Bryson

I've been reading Bill Bryson'sA Short History Of Nearly Everything this week, it would have to be one of the most amazing documents I've ever read in my life. Exactly as has been said, it will change the way you look at the universe forever (sounds like a cult or self-help book doesn't it?) It's taken me nearly all week to read, because I have to keep stopping to think about what I've read (just imagine me with eyes trained over a thick paperback, looking up, staring glassy-eyes into middle distance for some seconds, then saying softly "...wow". I'm normally a speed reader - I once memorably read IT in six hours on New Years Day a few years ago - but this, I need to take my time over. I feel like I've learned more in a few days of reading this book than I did in seven years of high school science classes (which wasn't a great deal, though admittedly I did biology rather than physics or chemistry for HSC. In any case, I can't remember …

Christmas Sneer Cheer

Image
For the last few days, I always seem to have the same Xmas carol running through my head, even though the only ones I've heard have been in shopping centres. This seems to be a Hooked On Xmas hangover from my childhood. (Incidentally, the other day I saw a CD advertised as "The only Xmas album you'll ever need". I was unaware that I even needed one).



According to some trashy current affairs show or other (I wasn't paying attention to which one), Australian Xmas retail spending is $20 Billion each year. That's $1,000 for every man, woman and child in Australia. I'd like to know where my share of the money is going. I've never had $1000 worth of Xmas presants, and I don't know anyone else who does either. Admittedly, our family has never been big on gift-giving, but still. I'd like some expensive presents some time!



Apparently the local pet shop is looking for people to foster their kittens (and puppies) over Xmas. I love this idea, but I fear Xan…

That's Why It's Called The Silly Season

This time of year brings much misery to people like myself and my cat, who despite the weather like to get around wearing a gorgeous furry black coat. Because it's summer, which in Australia is accompanied by Xmas. My opinion of Xmas has never been high (though I get into the sarcastic spirit occasionally) and I'm not a keen fan of summer either. But we often overlook it's good points. Apart from the usual suspects (abundant summer fruits, the ocean), here are some of the less frequently acknowledged benefits of summer:


No need to hunt for the tea cosy as you stand bleary-eyed in your kitchen making a pot of tea in the morning.It doesn't matter if you don't have time to blow-dry your hair before you leave for work; it will sure as heck be dry by the time you get there.Friends may say, "Just take some paracetamol and you'll be fine!" if you try to use flu as an excuse for not going out, but no one argues with a bad sunburn.You can sleep in, hang the was…

On the death of Van Tuong Nguyen, and the Death Penalty

More on the pending execution of Van Nguyen.
Before I go on, I'll just say, in relation to an earlier discussion in the comments, I'm not seeking here to explore the international politics of the situation. This is my emotional response, not an analysis of international law. Anyway...

This morning on the front page of The Newcastle Herald, there was an "Execution Timeline" outlining how Nguyen will spend his final hours, until 9am AEDT tomorrow (6am Singaporean time, 10pm Thursday GMT, 5pm Thurs EST in the U.S.) when the noose will be placed over his hooded head, and the trapdoor beneath will be released. 30 minutes later, a doctor will check for a pulse before declaring death.

That's one of the things which has shocked me so much about this - how cold it all seems. When you hear a statement like "...and lawyers say it now looks all but certain that Van Nguyen will die tomorrow", well that seems utterly chilling. Yes murder is a terrible thing. But to have…