Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 22 July 2002

Anonymous Idiot writes:

...you seem to use the theif word regularly on your website when peoples opinion does not correspond to your own.

Actually, Anonymous Idiot, there are four occurrences of the word "thief" and zero of "theif" on my website:

  1. "I will leave no turn unstoned in pursuit of completing my House of Steel. If becoming a licensed thief is required, I'll do that."
  2. "Constipation is the thief of time; diarrhoea waits for no man."
  3. "Alternatively, you can watch subtitled foreign films on the VCR, or perhaps old silent movies! Try The Thief of Baghdad with Douglas Fairbanks Sr."
  4. "When I asked why I should have spent the extra $130,000, he declared that he could have built it for half the price we paid. Needless to say, The Git wasn't too impressed with someone who believes he could have built THoS for less than the cost of materials! Perhaps he's a thief..."

The third and fourth occurrence haven't been indexed by Google yet, but the first two have.

Accuracy isn't your strong point is it? About on a par with the idiots that accuse me of being anti-American at the drop of a hat. You are entirely welcome to your opinion, but clearly it doesn't fit with the facts -- unless you believe I can in some way fiddle with Google's index. Or magically transform 5 GB hard disks into 2 GB hard disks, Voodoo Banshee video cards into Tridents, Alloy NICs into 3Com... If The Git could do that... the mind boggles :-)

Anonymous Idiot, if my writing causes you so much anguish, why do you bother reading it?

-oOo-

The Git wrote last week that his equipoise between left and right brain hemispheres leads to a lack of fixity, a certain fuzziness of opinions. Perhaps that's why he holds on so tightly to the few elements of his Credo.

Lying is telling people what they expect, or want to hear. It also requires a lot more effort than telling the truth and The Git is fundamentally lazy despite appearances to the contrary. People's reactions to honesty are also way more amusing than their responses to what they expect to read, or hear. No, The Git isn't perfect in this regard. That's why he knows how difficult it is to sustain deception. When The Git started actively suppressing his urge to deceive, he noticed that his self-esteem skyrocketed becoming his primary characteristic, for others to either love, or loathe.

The Git doesn't believe for one moment that all deception is inherently evil. Fiction provides an outlet for the urge, be it innate, or learned. Most of the time, he doesn't even mind people around him lying their heads off because they have forgotten an earlier untruth. Often it's quite amusing. What does get The Git's goat is people who demand that he believe a lie when all the evidence is to the contrary.

... respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. "Something cannot come from nothing," he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be. 

-- Frank Herbert -- Dune

-oOo-

Wayne Jackson sent Matchfist and The Git a copy each of his CD, Sweet Medicine Music. Highly recommended. While most people have never heard of Wayne, they have heard him countless times, performing on his trumpet with Aretha Franklin, Sting, Tanya Tucker, Elvis Presley, U2, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Otis Redding, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, The Doobie Brothers, Marty Robbins, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffett, Robert Cray, just to name a few.

The money payed for this CD goes to Wayne, rather than the parasites who live off musicians, and you can also use your PayPal account. Wayne wrote: 

...wish it were that easy to mail amy and i down to see you!! till later, love. wayne and amy

Wayne Jackson CD insert

Us too! Still, we can imagine ourselves in Bob Kruzen's dining room during the recording and hope the music that went Wayne's way gets some airplay over in the USA.

-oOo-

Good news regarding the cookstove -- Tony expects to have the water jacket repaired and delivered tomorrow. It will take a day for the stove cement to set, so I'm hoping the weather remains mild.

-oOo-

While building The House of Steel, Microsoft managed to release Service Pack 2 for Win2k and The Git didn't notice. Mind you, who wants to pay much attention to Microsoft these days? Attempting to connect to the page describing what's in the Service Pack produced the following:

Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a000d'

Type mismatch: 'XRedirect'

/include/kbredir.inc, line 7

If that's what's in it, I'm not sure I want to install it.

-oOo-

The Git has been struggling to complete his Taxation Return electronically again this year. The software keeps generating Integer Overflow errors. The "New Simplified Taxation System" seems to be just getting too complicated for even a computer to cope <sigh> 

Thought for the day:

We should expect the best and the worst of mankind, as from the weather.

Marquis De Vauvenargues

Current Listening

Wayne Jackson -- Sweet Medicine Music


Top

Tuesday 23 July 2002

Yesterday, The Git received a phone call from The Tax Eaters, not that they get to eat any of my income this year. It seems there have been changes to the way we depreciate equipment <sigh>. One wonders what the consequences of having completed the return on the earliest possible date (1 July) would have been.

Here's the New Simplified Tax Form.

New Simplified Tax Form

-oOo-

It's official... Tassie is one of the world's best 

TASMANIA has been voted best island in the South Pacific and No.2 in the world by readers of North America's biggest selling holiday magazine, Travel + Leisure.

It's a huge boost for the state's tourist industry and leaves the traditional Pacific sun, sand and coconut palm paradises in the shade.

-oOo-

More News:

The moral pygmies who run the big end of town

The more you see of the sharp-suited businessmen involved in various corporate collapses here and overseas, the more you wonder why anyone did business with them in the first place. No-one emerges with honour from the ruins of companies like HIH, One.Tel, Enron, WorldCom. But then, it's hard to imagine they had any honour to begin with, only a belief in their own greatness, and now we see, with relief, that their very amorality was the seed of their destruction.

That is the bright side of a plunging share market and imploding businesses. It is not, as some oddly gleeful Australian commentators have proclaimed, The End of Capitalism. It is just proof that capitalist economies cannot work without a moral foundation, without a "critical mass" of moral people running them, as American theologian George Weigel said in a speech in Sydney two years ago.

-oOo-

And putting the claims of some mental pygmies in perspective:

Of the 2907 stations in the [GISS] database, only 161 (or 5.5%) have complete temporal coverage from 1900 to 1990. All but 19 of these stations are in the United States. The US, with the most complete record anywhere, has no trend in temperatures during this century. In 1989 and 1990 about 30% of the stations ceased reporting. This may account for the difference in global temperature trends derived from surface observations when compared to balloon and satellite observations. Support for this idea comes from the fact that 135 stations in the USSR ceased observing at the end of 1989. Subsequently there appeared to be a warming in the USSR but this warming is not supported by pressure observations. Thus, it appears half or more of the reported global warming from ground observations is arising from this change in station coverage. It is possible that as much as 0.2 C of the 0.25 C warming for 1979-1999 can be explained by this change in stations, although more study is required to refine this number.

More here.

-oOo-

In the Miracle of the Day Department, the 5 GB Quantum Fireball hard disk that shrank to 2 GB, also changed into a Seagate Medallist, a drive not sold by my supplier at the time of purchase. (He later sold larger versions). Now if only I could work this magic on demand! And reverse the size change! Even better, turn water into wine :-)

-oOo-

And just for fun! Found in my Inbox:

Believe it or Nuts :-)) Amazingly, due to pressure from feminists, Guinness have been forced to publish a FEMALE version of the Guinness Book of Records. Here are a few a excerpts from the British edition:

CAR PARKING

The smallest kerbside space successfully reversed into by a woman was one of 19.36m (63ft 2ins), equivalent to three standard parking spaces, by Mrs. Elizabeth Simpkins, driving an unmodified Vauxhall Nova 'Swing' on 12th October 1993. She started the manoeuvre at 11.15am in Ropergate, Pontefract, and successfully parked within three feet of the pavement 8 hours 14 minutes later. There was slight damage to the bumpers and wings of her own and two adjoining cars, as well as a shop frontage and two lamp posts.

FILM CONFUSION

The greatest length of time a woman has watched a film with her husband without asking a stupid plot-related question was achieved on the 28th of October 1990, when Mrs. Ethel Brunswick sat down with her husband to watch 'The Ipcress File'. She watched in silence for a breath-taking 2mins 40 secs before asking "Is he a goodie or a baddie, him in the glasses?", This broke her own record set in 1962 when she sat through 2 mins 38 secs of '633 Squadron' before asking "Is this a war film, is it?".

INCORRECT DRIVING

The longest journey completed with the handbrake on was one of 504 km(313 miles) from Stranraer to Holyhead by Dr. Julie Thorn (GB) at the wheel of a Saab 900 on the 2nd April 1987. Dr. Thorn smelled burning two miles into her journey at Aird but pressed on to Holyhead with smoke billowing from the rear wheels. This journey also holds the records for the longest completed journey with the choke fully out and the right indicator flashing.

JUMBLE SALE MASSACRE

The greatest number of old ladies to perish whilst fighting at a jumble sale is 98, at a Methodist Church Hall in Castleford, West Yorkshire on February 12th 1991. When the doors opened at 10.00am, the initial scramble to get in cost 16 lives, a further 25 being killed in a crush at the first table. A seven-way skirmish then broke out over a pinafore dress costing 10p which escalated into a full scale melee resulting in another 18 lives being lost. A pitched battle over a headscarf then ensued and quickly spread throughout the hall, claiming 39 old women. The jumble sale raised GBP5.28 for local boy scouts.

GOSSIPING

On February 18th 1992, Joyce Blatherwick, a close friend of Agnes Banbury popped round for a cup of tea and a chat, during the course of which she told Mrs. Banbury, in the strictest confidence, that she was having an affair with the butcher. After Mrs. Blatherwick left at 2.10pm, Mrs.Banbury immediately began to tell everyone, swearing them all to secrecy.By 2.30pm, she had told 128 people of the news. By 2.50pm it had risen to 372 and by 4.00pm that afternoon, 2774 knew of the affair, including the local Amateur dramatic Society, several knitting circles, a coachload of American tourists which she flagged down and the butchers wife. When a tired Mrs.Banbury went to bed at 11.55pm that night, Mrs.Blatherwick's affair was common knowledge to a staggering 75,338 people, enough to fill Wembley Stadium.

GROUP TOILET VISIT

The record for the largest group of women to visit a toilet simultaneously is held by 147 workers at the Department of Social Security, Longbenton. At their annual Christmas celebration at a night club in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on October 12th 1994, Mrs. Beryl Crabtree got up to the toilet and was immediately followed by 146 other members of the party. Moving as a mass, the group entered the toilet at 9.52pm and, after waiting for everyone to finish, emerged 2 hrs 37 mins later.

SINGLE BREATH SENTENCE

An Oxfordshire woman today became the first ever to break the thirty minute barrier for talking without drawing breath. Mrs.Mavis Sommers, 48, of Cowley, smashed the previous record of 23 minutes when she excitedly reported an argument she'd had in the butchers to her neighbour. She ranted on for a staggering 32 minutes and 12 seconds without pausing for air, before going blue and collapsing in a heap on the ground. She was taken to Radcliffe Infirmary in a wheelbarrow but was released later after check-ups. At the peak of her mammoth motormouth marathon, she achieved an unbelievable 680 words per minute, repeating the main points of the story an amazing 114 times whilst her neighbour, Mrs. Dolly Knowles, nodded and tutted. The last third of the sentence was delivered in a barely audible croak, the last two minutes being mouthed only, accompanied by vigorous gesticulations and indignant spasms.

Incredible eh?

Thought for the day:

Disillusion is a natural stage that follows the holding of an illusion.

Susan Shaughnessy

Current Listening

R.E.M. -- Automatic for the People


Top

Wednesday 24 July 2002

My friend Kelly just scored a SUN Ultra30 Workstation on eBay for $US280.00. The Git is jealous!

Sun Ultra 30

Processor: 250 MHz UltraSPARCII 
Integer benchmark: 12.1 (SPECint95) 
Floating point benchmark: 18.3 (SPECfp95)
Memory: Size 256 MB Throughput 1.6GB/sec
I/O: Expansion Slots 1 64-bit 66 MHz PCI 
3 64/32-bit 33MHz PCI 
Throughput: 200 MB/sec Graphic Slots 
2 UPA Slot, 100MHz Graphic Throughput 800 MB/sec per port
Graphics: UPA Graphics SUN Creator3D Frame Buffer 15MB 3D-RAM Max. res. 1920 x 1200 70 Hz

The Ultra 30 was selling for $US19,595 five years ago. Of course the SUN Creator3D was only a midrange 3-D graphics adapter, but it would be ideal for the 2D work I do. <sigh!>

Of course there are idiots out there who would turn their noses up at such a workstation. After all, it's not Intel, or AMD!

-oOo-

Nothing sells like sex

It looks like Australia has the answer to investors' qualms about the current stock market crisis. Melbourne brothel, The Daily Planet is offering a secure fully franked return of 5.9 per cent a year, averaged over the next 10 years. 

The company would seek to raise about $50 million when it eventually listed on the ASX.

"I was asked who is likely to invest and, ironically, retirees will probably invest because where else can you put your money, bank guaranteed, and get a 5 per cent fully franked dividend?" Mr Harris said.

Full story here.

-oOo-

Tony replaced the inner layer of the water jacket for the cookstove. He used 3 mm stainless instead of the original 2 mm, so it should be "better than new"! Fran and I managed to install it in somewhat less than half the time it took to remove. Stan says he's coming to reconnect the hot water cylinder this morning, so we should be back in business this evening. Even though it's midwinter, the temperature in The Great Hall is 18C at 5 am and outdoors it's 5C. This is heat retained from bringing the air temperature up to 21C with the convection heater last night. Had we been able to use the cookstove, it would have been somewhat warmer this morning as it continues to radiate heat for several hours after the fire goes out.

One big disappointment are the light globes that were supposed to last so much longer than conventional. Two of the halogen main lights in The Great Hall have blown and at $A10 each that projects to $A40/yr. They are on a very expensive dimmer to prolong their life, too.

In the afternoon, we expect Ian Brown from Certainteed to install the replacement double glazing in the master bedroom. He's bringing a curry and I'm cooking Rice Giovanni to accompany it:

Fry a large onion until transparent, then add one cup of uncooked  rice and fry until the rice is gilded. I prefer Basmati rice for this as it's so fragrant. and olive oil with a dash of sesame oil. Add two and a half cups of chicken or vegetable stock, preferably the real thing. Cook tightly covered for 15-20 minutes. During the cooking, add chopped in-season vegetables so that they finish cooking at the same time as the rice. That is, carrots after 5 minutes, spinach, or peas five minutes before completion, etc. When adding vegetables 2-3 times, the rice takes longer to cook -- when adding them once, it's quicker. 

When the rice is cooked, add some fresh chopped herbs and stir in a well beaten egg. Optionally, add some precooked meat, or diced fish five minutes before the end. Rice Giovanni is a meal in itself, or use wherever you would use fried rice. The name comes from when The Git used to be a wine and food waiter at The Romana restaurant in the 1970s. It was the only la carte restaurant open Sundays in Hobart. Some Sundays were so quiet, we used to cook for each other and because I didn't know what this dish was called, Maria (the cook) named it after The Git.

When The Git first started working there, he was painfully thin and everyone told him so. The cooks all conspired to fatten him up and it worked so well, that after three months they were saying: "Giovanni, you are too fat!"

-oOo-

An American State Climatologist writes about this quote:

Thanks! yes, it put all the hype in perspective.

... All I know is, whenever I express skepticism in public or in my writing I get bombarded by warmers and branded as an infidel. After awhile, it gets really old.

It seems like there's some innate compulsion to believe the worst of mankind, possibly linked to the concept of original sin that's pushed on most from early childhood. Fortunately, that never happened to me :-)

Expressing certainty without sufficient evidence is itself evidence of an unhinged mind. IMHO of course ;-) There's lots of uncertainty expressed in the IPCC TAR Technical Summary, too. Even Stephen Schneider expresses uncertainty, though he invariably seems to say in the same paragraphs that there is still a necessity for action, just in case.

"Since the SAR, major improvements have occurred in the treatment of water vapour in models, although detrainment of moisture from clouds remains quite uncertain and discrepancies exist between model water vapour distributions and those observed."

"Clouds represent a significant source of potential error in climate simulations. The possibility that models underestimate systematically solar absorption in clouds remains a controversial matter. The sign of the net cloud feedback is still a matter of uncertainty, and the various models exhibit a large spread. Further uncertainties arise from precipitation processes and the difficulty in correctly simulating the diurnal cycle and precipitation amounts and frequencies."

"Limitations in resolution and relatively poor representation of some stratospheric processes adds uncertainty to model results."

"Major uncertainties still exist with the representation of small-scale processes, such as overflows (flow through narrow channels, e.g., between Greenland and Iceland), western boundary currents (i.e., large-scale narrow currents along coastlines), convection and mixing. Boundary currents in climate simulations are weaker and wider than in nature, although the consequences of this for climate are not clear."

"These effects are qualitatively reproduced by most models. However, large uncertainties still persist on the quantitative impact of large-scale deforestation on the hydrological cycle, particularly over Amazonia."

"There are still substantial differences among models, especially in how they treat the physical ocean circulation and in regional responses of terrestrial ecosystem processes to climate."

"While coupled models simulate features of observed natural climate variability, such as the NAO and ENSO, which suggests that many of the relevant processes are included in the models, further progress is needed to depict these natural modes accurately. Moreover, because ENSO and NAO are key determinants of regional climate change and can possibly result in abrupt and counter intuitive changes, there has been an increase in uncertainty in those aspects of climate change that critically depend on regional changes."

Thought for the day:

The most costly of all follies is to believe the palpably untrue.

HL Mencken

Current Listening

The Cure -- The Singles


Top

Thursday 25 July 2002

Stan arrived around midday to reconnect the water jacket on the cook stove. When I fired the stove up, the plumbing started to gurgle again, so I will have to get him back to make changes to the pipes in the wall. This means cutting out a large area of plasterboard and the zincalume splashback behind the bench. More mess and a difficult repair. Of more concern to me is the need to cut away a large portion of the wall studs to relocate the pipe so that it slopes upward enough to mitigate the problem.

Ian arrived mid-afternoon to replace the window broken by The Git when a stone was thrown at the window by the brush cutter. Since our windows are double-glazed, there was no rush to do this -- we were weatherproof, albeit cooler in the master bedroom than we would have liked. The remaining sheet of glass, 2m by 1 m of low emissivity glass will make a superb cold-frame for growing bush tomatoes, cucumbers and melons.

Ian is one of the backroom boys with the Tasmanian Greens and he kept The Git and Mrs Git well entertained as he heated up the meal he brought with him. This included the rice, so The Git's culinary skills were not called upon. The curried chicken was superb and went down a treat with a bottle of cleanskin dry white wine from Home Hill that Mrs Git thoughtfully brought home with her.

-oOo-

A New Metric to Detect CO2 Greenhouse Effect Applied To Some New Mexico Weather Data

By Slade Barker

This paper is beyond The Git's abilities to fully comprehend. If the conclusion is true, it confirms his surmise that we need to know a lot more about climate before we take any steps to change it. Here's an extract:

The arid environment of New Mexico is examined in an attempt to correlate increases in atmospheric CO2 with an increase in greenhouse effect. Changes in the greenhouse effect are estimated by using the ratio of the recorded annual high temperatures to the recorded annual low temperatures as a measure of heat retained (i.e. thermal inertia, TI). It is shown that the metric TI increases if a rise in mean temperature is due to heat retention (greenhouse) and decreases if due to heat gain (solar flux). Essentially no correlation was found between the assumed CO2 atmospheric concentrations and the observed greenhouse changes, whereas there was a strong correlation between TI and precipitation. Further it is shown that periods of increase in the mean temperature correspond to heat gain, not heat retention. It is concluded that either the assumed CO2 concentrations are incorrect or that they have no measurable greenhouse effect in these data.

-oOo-

Many of us rely on Lavasoft's AdAware program to remove unwanted spyware from our systems. Disturbingly, some software removes AdAware without informing you! Story here.

Thought for the day:

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.

Thomas Hardy

Current Listening

John Williamson -- Waratah Street


Top

Friday 26 July 2002

The Git is to be interviewed on ABC Radio National today about his weblogging. It's for the Technology program that Richard Aedy does. Richard is in Sydney, so instead of a conventional studio, I will be sitting in a little booth. Luckily, claustrophobia is not a problem. The Git has long been a fan of our national broadcaster and has several times contributed to its broadcasts. Mostly it's been as a provider of information on growing vegetables and organic farming. Once I even had a free lunch with Sue Becker on the occasion of the formation of a coalition between the Greens and the ALP. The following doggerel earned me the lunch. Some explanations for Merkins and others afterward. Sue wanted political commentary on Queensland IIRC.

The voice of Joh Bejelke Peterson recites:

Bob Hawke is a shepherd I do not want
He wanteth me to lie down in my parliament
I'll lead him like a lamb to the slaughter
Golly, well bless my soul, 
He leadeth me to restore righteousness for my own sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of ALP,
You need fear no evil, for Russ Hinze is with me;
Robin Gray and Charles Court they support me.
I preparest a gerrymander before me to the chagrin of mine enemies;
I will pollute my Barrier Reef with oil; my mouth runneth over.
Surely to goodness Australia shall follow behind me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever.

Joh Bejelke Peterson was Premier of Queensland at that time and his behaviour appeared increasingly bizarre. Despite being nominally right wing, he presided over a farming system that consisted of quotas and complete state control. Ordinary business was encouraged or discouraged by favour administered by the corrupt Minister for Police, Russ Hinze. Russ was the fattest man I ever saw and it was well known what he got up to with teenage girls behind closed doors. When taxed with questions about his obscene lifestyle by journalists, he used to laugh and declare that if the electors objected, they wouldn't vote for him. 

Robin Gray and Charles Court were state premiers and adherents to another right wing political party: the Liberal Party. They expressed unabashed admiration for the Joh and Russ method of running a state. Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, the darling of the left who led the Australian Labor Party to a great election victory, then proceeded to turn the party in a right wing direction. He spent a lot of time polishing his charisma and keeping the journalists happy, as distinct from amused which was Joh's speciality.

Sue Becker used to be ABC TV's fitness expert, showing housewives how to exercise their bodies so that they would be taut, trim and attractive. Thanks largely to a diet of white wine and cigarettes, Sue by this time was still taut and trim herself, but old age meant she was reduced to talk-back radio. The Git thoroughly enjoyed her rants, the irate phone calls and her gravelly voice.

The gerrymander that kept these idiot politicians in power has an interesting history. A gerrymander for those who don't know, is a method of adjusting electoral boundaries such that one vote can offset several votes in another electorate. It was introduced in Queensland to keep the ALP in power, but the ALP didn't reckon on a landslide victory for the Country Party at the ensuing election. The Country Party had free reign to do whatever they wanted for thirty years until the electorate became sufficiently disgusted to vote a landslide against them.

In Tasmania's Hare-Clark electoral system, gerrymandering is ineffective. With five electorates and five representatives in each electorate, the election of members with a mixture of party affiliations is all but assured. It also ensures that independent candidates stand a fair chance of becoming elected. Of course this frequently leads to the situation where neither major party holds the balance of power. much to their disgust. Invariably, they declare the situation intolerable, but they nevertheless always seem to manage to govern the state, albeit without the free hand that accompanies holding the balance of power. Tasmania's electors are never too impressed by the major party arguments and have a lamentable tendency to vote for candidates, rather than political parties.

On the occasion of the lunch with Sue Becker, we drank at least a bottle of wine each and smoked several cigarettes over a delightful lunch in the Botanical Gardens. These days we'd have been falling over the other diners making our way outside to feed our nicotine habit! Discretion prevents The Git from revealing anything of our conversation on that interesting day -- the day Green politics began to make a significant impact.

Thought for the day:

Before a man speaks, it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks it is seldom necessary to assume.

H. L. Mencken

Current Listening

Brian Eno -- Another Green World


Top

Saturday 27 July 2002

Yesterday's interview at ABC radio went well. The broadcast will go to air Monday 29 July just after the 1pm news on Radio National.

Before the interview, The Git wandered briefly around the Museum and Art Gallery before walking around the inner city housing development called Wapping. It really is very attractive and should The Git ever decide to move back into the city he thinks would be infinitely preferable to living in the suburbs. A quick nip into the second-hand bookshop in Elizabeth Street Mall resulted in the purchase of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and Prelude to Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. The Git finished Tuesdays with Morrie by the time the interview took place at 12:30. It's as great a gem as the movie starring Jack Lemon. I do hope that Prelude to Dune does not disappoint.

The afternoon was spent with the usual suspects at The Victoria Tavern. The Most Beautiful Barmaid in the World only works Friday lunch these days to keep her clientele happy. Libby has passed her exams with flying colours, obtained employment as a geriatric nurse and had two promotions. Libby offered to provide The Git with a nude photograph of herself when next I go to the city, but sadly it will not be for display in these pages. You will have to content yourselves with visiting DOMAI should you be also an admirer of the female form.

-oOo-

Great Alaskan Shootout

Alaska's surface pitches and yaws as the temperature bubbles above and below, freezing and thawing as it has been for millennia. The land, ice and ecosystem respond to those temperature swings.

In 1976-77, Alaska's average surface temperature jumped up and as a result glaciers melted, pavements buckled and utility poles toppled. Both pink and sockeye salmon became established in the Alaskan waters. All these signs pointed to warming.

Thermometer readings from various locations around Alaska indicate that a warming occurred during the last five decades. But can this Alaska warming be connected to the air's increased carbon dioxide concentration from human activities like fossil fuel consumption?

The short answer -- despite the media hype courtesy of vivid images that convey impending disasters -- is, no.

-oOo-

Fat Americans sue fast food firms

A group of overweight Americans have sued several US fast food giants accusing them of knowingly serving meals that cause obesity and disease.

Perhaps their intelligence is inversely proportional to their girth! Or is the feeding-frenzy that of American lawyers?

Thought for the day:

When somebody gives you a sexy look, you know they're trying. It's terrible! But when you smile, it's so much sexier!

Carol Alt

Current Listening

Inti Illimani -- Cantos de Pueblos Andinos


Top

Sunday 28 July 2002

From New Scientist:

DOES Microsoft really exist? We only ask because of a statement in the manual for the Microsoft Natural Pro keyboard. It says: "The names of companies, products, people, characters and/or data mentioned herein are fictitious and are in no way intended to represent any real individual, company, product or event, unless otherwise noted."

The only company mentioned in the manual is Microsoft Corporation.

More here.

-oOo-

The Git received a spam email this morning offering a cut price tour to... you guessed it... Tasmania! It's a great feeling living in a place other people pay good money to go to in order to get away from it all. Life for The Git is like one long, perpetual holiday!

-oOo-

From my inbox:

May I say that I greatly enjoyed reading your Daily Diatribe. An interesting and varied format.

Your writings have given me ideas for my own web diary http://www.johncopeland.clara.net, which I may have to rename as a Diary of an even more pompous Git.

Kind regards,

John Copeland

John writes on his page: "I told her that I hoped she would find everybody guilty and send them packing to Australia. In my view, there could be no greater punishment than being transported to that faraway land, except for being sent to America."

That statement has me rolling on the floor with laughter. I make no doubt that the village that John lives in is prettier than ours, but it sounds to me like it's threatened. I know that where I spent ten years of my boyhood in the Midlands is now a police no-go area being entirely under the control of young hoodlums. I contrast that with the village of Franklin that grows more beautiful with the passage of time. The trees that Mrs Git organised to be planted on the foreshore over ten years ago now make quite a show. The Palais toilets are complete, so that the Committee no longer need hire portable toilets. Give me the Colonies any day!

-oOo-

John Vogt writes from Canada:

Jon, I'm not back to daily writing, but (I hope) weekly. Check out the last two weeks at http://www.idlemusings.com BTW, I tried to find the link to your interview on the Australian Broadcast Company, and it wasn't clear where you would show up. Any hints? 
John

I doubt whether the interview will be transcribed. I believe you will be able to "tune in" at 1 pm our time on Monday (Sunday where you are) from that URL. I will endeavour to record the broadcast and post a WAV file if I can obtain permission from the ABC.

I got out of the habit of reading your blog when I couldn't connect (permissions problem) for a long while. Hoping things are going well with you. Sean sure looks fit and well :-)

-oOo-

The Coming October War in Iraq

"I need to say right out front," he said minutes into his speech, "I'm a card-carrying Republican in the conservative-moderate range who voted for George W. Bush for President. I'm not here with a political agenda. I'm not here to slam Republicans. I am one."

Yet this was a lie -- Scott Ritter had come to Boston with a political agenda, one that impacts every single American citizen. Ritter was in the room that night to denounce, with roaring voice and burning eyes, the coming American war in Iraq. According to Ritter, this coming war is about nothing more or less than domestic American politics, based upon speculation and rhetoric entirely divorced from fact. According to Ritter, that war is just over the horizon.

-oOo-

From the How Incredibly Stupid Can You Get Department?

I subscribe to an email newsletter sent out by BHP, one of Australia's biggest, if not the biggest, companies. The latest issue had the 462 subscriber email addresses in plain view! They did apologise, but what a harvest of targeted email addresses if one, or more of the subscribers is a spammer!

Thought for the day:

Happy the man, and happy he alone, he who can call today his own; he who, secure within, can say, tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

John Dryden

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Jonathan Sturm 2002

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Jonathan Sturm 2002