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Australia A Land Down Under

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57. Christmas Down Under

Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:00:00 +0000

In Australia, Christmas comes in the middle of a very hot summer so when Santa Claus delivers his presents, he's not taken around by reindeer because they can't stand the terrible heat - he's taken around by six big, white, old man kangaroos called the six white boomers.

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And when he's finished his run, he heads for the water and does a few 360's and drop knees and finishes off with a hang ten.

Above: Cooling off Down Under

Rude Rudd Strikes Again

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 04:32:00 +0000

"Just finished doing Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott's makeup for the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club.
One of them was absolutely lovely, engaged in genuine conversation with me, acknowledge that I had a job to do and was very appreciative. The other did the exact opposite! Oh boy, I have ever had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job. Political opinions aside...from one human being to another...Mr. Abbott, you win hands down."

So wrote make-up artist Lily Fontana on her facebook page.

Ms Fontana has since removed the post writing: "Didn't think my personal page/opinion of my day would get so much attention. What a lesson to learn. I've removed the post and regret making the comments I did."

One would think that Kevin Rudd ought to have learned some lessons along the way, especially with the Federal election so close. Still being rude, or just his natural self?

Remember the curious case of the flight attendant back in April 2009? The one he lost his temper with when he didn't get the meal he wanted? Rudd abuses flight attendant over flight meal

There was Kevin Rudd’s claims that his family was evicted from the family farm by owner Aubrey Low. He didn't want that story published.
March 31, 2007 - Revealed: The family that disputes Kevin Rudd's version of childhood eviction.

Academic Peter van Onselenm the author of Howard's End says Kevin Rudd is a foul-mouthed MP who lets go a string of expletive-ridden rants in his office when things go wrong.
July 13, 2008 - The swearing Kevin Rudd voters won't see

May 8, 2009 - Kevin Rudd throws hairdryer temper tantrum in Afghanistan Kevin chucks a wobbly when he couldn't get a hair dryer for a photo op.

(Photo: Gary Ramage)

Says Mister Rudd, "All of us are human. I'm human - I'm not perfect, you know." Yeah, but when you're the Prime Minister, you don't act like a spoilt brat who didn't get his own way.

55. The Face of a Killer

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 07:38:00 +0000

Above: Adrian Ernest BayleyPicture Herald SunAdrian Ernest Bayley the man charged with the rape and murder of Jill Meagher was on parole for other rapes when he (allegedly) raped and murdered Jill and has been twice gaoled for rape previously. What was the parole board thinking? Had he still been in gaol, Jill would not have died that night. Adrian Bayley had a short fuseColleague Shaun Smith said Bayley was temperamental and argumentative. "He had a very short fuse and didn't like to be told he was wrong," his statement read. Adrian Ernest Bayley was known as Adrian Edwards before he legally changed his name 12 years ago. Adrian Bayley had history of violent sex attacksA court has heard Melbourne man Adrian Bayley who has pleaded guilty to murdering Jill Meagher has a long history of violent attacks on women and has admitted faking his way through a sex offenders' program.Despite being convicted of assault, he was allowed to continue parole. Bayley faced a pre-sentencing hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court today, his lawyers said he accepted he should be given a life sentence for the killing of Ms Meagher. Justice Geoffrey Nettle has lifted a suppression order allowing details of Bayley's history to be revealed. He has an extensive history of violence and rape. The Victorian Parole Board failed to cancel his parole after a violent assault and a judge's warning that the public needed to be protected from him. The court was told Bayley's history of violent attacks on women spanned more than two decades.At age 19 - he raped two teenagers in separate attacks. One was a 16-year-old family friend. He also attempted to rape a 16-year-old hitchhiker.June 1991 - he was sentenced to his first stint behind bars.He served a mere 22 months of a five-year sentence for sexual assault, and later admitted he faked his way through a sex offenders' program to get early release.September 2000 - he began what Judge Tony Duckett described as a horrendous wave of crimes against St Kilda sex workers, raping five prostitutes over a six-month period. Bayley was jailed for a minimum of eight years for trapping his victims in his vehicle and repeatedly raping them.The crime spree prompted the judge to give the ominous warning that society needed to be protected from him."You used an array of threats and violence to force your victims to satisfy your gross sexual appetite. You forced your victims to accept a series of sexual acts that caused them horrifying distress".Out on parole when he murdered Jill MeagherBayley was on parole having served his sentence for the St Kilda rapes. However in February 2012, the Parole Board did not revoke his parole when he pleaded guilty to punching a man unconscious outside a Geelong cafe. Bayley appealed against his sentence and was free to walk the streets and meet Ms Meagher. SourceJill MeagherThe Government is introducing legislation to ensure people who reoffend while on parole will automatically have their parole cancelled or reassessed.There will be a mandatory cancellation of parole for sex and violent offenders who are convicted of the same type of offence while on release. Well whoopdee do - not before time. [...]

54. Black Saturday - the Fourth Anniversary

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:30:00 +0000

Hell Unleashed Its' FuryHell hath no fury like a bushfire raging across hectares of grassland, farms and countryside, moving with the speed of lightning so fast that people who tried to outrun the fires were burnt in their cars. Cars littered the countryside bodies incinerated Today is the fourth anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires. On Saturday 7th February, 2009, my state, the state of Victoria burned. There had been bushfires burning but this day was the worst in Australian history with the largest loss of life - 173 people lost their life and 414 were injured due to the fires. Above: Black Saturday BushfiresI remember that day clearly - early in the morning, the sun was a bright orange ball and we knew that that day would be terrible. the temperatures in Melbourne were 46.4ºC (115.52ºF) and in other areas it was 49ºC - (120.2ºF). The hot northerlies raged through my state with speeds of 80-100km. - the wind was ferocious, when I stood on my verandah it was 48º - in the shade and the wind was so hot it burnt our legs. You could hear it howling and there was a noise in the distance - a thunderous, rumbling noise - it sounded like huge jets, only there were no jets. I have never heard winds like that before, and I hoped to God I never hear them again. It was a most awful, awful sound. And it went on for hours.Black Saturday was Victoria's darkest nightmare and the worst in our history.  Above: MarysvilleMarysville - beautiful Marysville. It was Victoria's "Camelot" A very pretty little town with English Oaks lining the streets, with quaint, old-fashioned shops and homes, and an aura of yesteryear, a truly beautiful and serene hamlet set in magnificent forest. The Murrindindi/Marysville fire took 40 lives ad destroyed 536 homes. Above: Marysville - In remembranceThere were 12 bushfires burning out of control across Victoria and 26 blazes in total.In total, more than 700 homes had been confirmed destroyed.Beechworth, Brittania Creek, Bunyip Park, Bendigo, Kilmore, Walhalla, Gippsland, HorshamThe blazes grew to more than 210,000 hectares and were burning towards Taggerty, Crystal Creek, Connollys Creek, Glenburn, and Rubicon.They had already burnt through Kinglake, Marysville, Buxton and Narbethong. Above: Kinglake NP - Denuded, blackened hills of the Black Saturday bushfiresWe sat and listened to the appalling news on that day with a heavy heart knowing that there would be many who would never see another sunrise. Hundreds of homes had been burnt to the ground - razed, the scene looking like something out of a futuristic nightmare. Whole communities were wiped out - not a single stone left standing. Above: Bushfires - Steel Creek Road, Yarra Glen[...]

53. Why is Australia called "OZ" by some people?

Sun, 27 Jan 2013 13:10:00 +0000

This is something that I have often wondered about. Many times on travel forums, I see threads and posts in which the poster asks questions about Oz. Some even call it "Aussie" - as in "I'm going to Aussie". I mean Oz I can understand in a way, but Aussie? Who would call Australia "Aussie"? The word Aussie is used by some people in reference to Australians - One might say I am an Australian or I am an Aussie. Aussie is an adjective, not a noun. The short version of a person from Australia is "Aussie" which is pronounced "Ozzie" and it's mostly British people who use "Oz". Kiwi's (New Zealanders) tend to call Australia "Aussie" - no idea why. Back until 1901, we were still a British colony - the Brits filed us under "the colonies" or "the antipodes" ! Anyway, I recently came upon this poem - Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e Lizzy?Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e eh?Is it because 'e is an AussieThat 'e makes you dizzy Lizzy'as 'e jazzy ways an' does 'eMake you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e Lizzy?Is 'e an Aussie eh?Not having heard it before, a search was in order. It was sung by a duo called Flotsam and Jetsam. Mr Flotsam and Mr Jetsam were a comedy duo in the 1920's and 30's. Flotsam was Bentley Collingwood Hilliam, the songwriter, pianist and tenor voice, 1890–1968 and Jetsam was Malcolm McEachern, bass voice, 1883–1945 from New Zealand.  Above: Mr Flotsam & Mr JetsamI found the complete lyrics and the youtube video, you can sing along the the video - enjoy.Is 'E an Aussie, Is 'E Lizzie?Learn how Lizzie met an AussieTold her girlfriend Mary-Anne"Mary-Anne I've met a man who says he's an Austray-ee-an""Falling for him have your Lizzie?"Lizzie blushing shook her headSaid Mary-Anne "don't think you can fool me" and then she said:"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?Is it 'cos he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?'as he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?""Seems this digger likes my figure"Lizzie then told Mary-Anne"Likes my ways and claims to think-U'm what these Aussies call fair-dinkum""Throws a fond eye, talks of BondiAnd he's tried to kiss me twiceWhen I said 'No' he said 'Good-oh'"Said Mary-Anne "How nice"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"Soon this wonder from Down UnderGot himself right down to bizLost no time in coaxing LizTo promise that she would be hisHe being well-born, lived in Mel-bourneSo they sailed at once for therePoor Mary-Anne without a manRepeats this maiden's prayer:"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"(he's a bonza bloke)Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he, eh? allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">[...]


Sat, 26 Jan 2013 02:25:00 +0000

Report dated 10 January 2013, 8:30am:The BBC is understood to be selling the travel brand.After the excitement of Christmas and ringing in the New Year, returning to work and an empty social calendar is enough to lower anyone's spirits, with many people's thoughts turning to a 2013 getaway to beat the post-festive-season blues.Lonely Planet, dubbed the 'backpackers' bible', was founded in 1972 and is one of the world's best-known publishers of travel guide books. Now owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the Corporation, it was last month reported to be up for sale.This could result in a deal estimated to be worth about £85m, considerably less than BBC Worldwide paid for the business in two stages, in 2007 and 2011. The Corporation is also thought to be looking at other strategic options for the brand, including securing outside investment.Since BBC Worldwide acquired the business, it has grown Lonely Planet's digital operations, its presence in magazines, and improved its standing in the US and Asian markets. While Lonely Planet is best known for its guide books, it is thought that any sale will focus on strengthening the value of the brand across broadcasting, internet and social-media channels.With this in mind, if a sale or outside investment comes to fruition, how can the brand continue to build on its digital and social offering in the fiercely competitive travel sector?We asked Peter Fiennes, publisher at Brave New World and the former managing director of Lonely Planet rival Time Out Guides, and Gary Robinson, executive creative director at Inferno, and previously founder and creative director at Farm, which held the advertising account.LONELY PLANET STATS£85m - Potential value of sale of the Lonely Planet divisionThe BBC paid a total of £130m for Lonely Planet in two stages, in 2007 and 2011Source: BBC TrustRAND BUILDER DIAGNOSISFrom PETER FIENNES, PUBLISHER, BRAVE NEW WORLD (and former managing director of Time Out Guides):t's good news that the BBC may soon offload Lonely Planet. This is not just because the Corporation should never have been allowed to over-pay its way into the guide-book market in the first place, but also that this knock-down sale is good for the brand itself.True, it faces the same challenges it did before it was owned by the BBC. The print market is shrinking; the digital market vast and formless, full of low-cost, low-content competitors, as well as some giants (Google is the owner of Frommers, an LP rival).Furthermore, the argument about how a content company is supposed to make money through digital channels remains unresolved.Nonetheless, this should be a liberating change. It has the chance to remind itself that it is an (Aussie) content company with attitude. There is global affection for it, and it is one of a handful of brands that could dominate the travel market.The planThe brand should love its content.- Remember print - and make friends in digital.- Enjoy itself - it was not born to be part of a Corporation.From GARY ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, INFERNO (and former founder of Farm, which held the ad account)As Lonely Planet ventures further into the digital space, it will be competing with apps and services that recommend content, experiences, locations and activities. Moreover, it will all be based on users' interests, their friends' recommendations and the views of the wider masses or niche curators: all available through mobile devices.However, I'd bet being an 'explorer' is at the heart of the Lonely Planet brand and if it applies the same passion and curiosity it has for exploring the real world and uses it to explore the digital and social landscapes of students, it will continue to do well.A product-led strategy will work brilliantly, but it needs to focus on a few world-class services and market the hell out of them.The plan- A location-based augmented reality app might be a start. No[...]


Sat, 26 Jan 2013 02:11:00 +0000

The person calling himself Airbender,  sent these links:Virtual Tourist see page 5TroonzReply #49 Today (Wed 23 Jan) at 11:37am by Airbender:You can find most of what you might want to know concerning the reasons for closing the TT forum on this other forum, starting with page 5:Virtual Tourist see page 5At this point, only Kevin May of Tnooz has seen all the e-mails that were exchanged regarding the problems discovered on the TT forum. Whether he wants to pursue a follow article to this one linked below is yet to be seen:TroonzA wise person will simply ignore Gogo’s comments because she hasn’t a clue about what she’s talking about. At worst she regularly engages in out right lies and at best, deliberate distortions of the truth. Just one example of an outright lie from her, “depsite Airhead's assertion that I'm banned from TT, my recent postings there have gone straight through…” Ask her to provide the exact quote where I asserted she was banned from TT. She won’t because she can’t. If you prefer to associate yourself and believe borderline sociopaths like her, be my guest.I agree with you that the BBC and LP did not go about resolving their issues in the best possible manner. Obviously, they were the ones to make those decisions. Some of this is discussed in the VT link provided above.You write, “It is curious that you have posted here as a guest but not a member.”Quite simply, this forum seems to be to be temporary by its nature, and I haven’t any expectations of contributing to it for any length of time. If you’re less inclined to believe a post written by a guest as opposed to written by a member, again, be my guest.The motives behind the journalist’s decision to write to acting director Tim Davie of the BBC before submitting their article to the NY Times is moot. What isn’t moot, and what is salient is that the BBC obviously took the report and information provided by that journalist very seriously, and obviously, they checked into to accuracy of the facts provided in that report and e-mails.It appears that Airbender is Ubudian on Virtual Tourist (VT)Re: Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum Shut Down:Posted: Tue January 8, 2013 01:06 AM UTC by Ubudian“From what i understand, the main reason why they had to close the TT for a while was because of the Saville case and they suddenly realised that because of their zero moderation policy some members had formed groups for sex tourists on TT including some who were discussing how to find underage sex around the globe and they are now going through all the posts since the site started to make sure they wipe that out.”Concerns about pedophilia, or the Jimmy Saville scandal at BBC had nothing to do with TT being shut down despite how the UK and OZ press ran amok with that speculation.The reason BBC/LP made these changes (still ongoing) to the Thorn Tree forum are best summed up in this article by Kevin May on tnooz: meat is specifically found in the “reports elsewhere” link.Whether or not any of the former activities and off travel topic branches return is yet to be seen, but the infamous YC branch (Your Choice) is gone for good. A great many of those addicted users have since migrated to the political stew forum where they carry on in the exact manner they used to on the YC branch.Regarding the OP’s original question, I personally found the destination branches of TT to be generally excellent and current, especially if the poster asked specific questions. The forum did tend to lend itself more useful to young and budget minded travelers, but that’s the whole origin of Lonely Planet.Hopefully once fully restored and with the common sense revisions made to it, the TT forum will rejoin those pre-eminent travel forums, like VT.Wed January 9, 2013 03:39 [...]

50. Reason For Thorn Tree Shutdown?

Sat, 26 Jan 2013 00:52:00 +0000

From an online forum:(Note: Airbender posted as a Guest, he is not a member)Dec 31, 2012, 8:09pm, Airbender wrote:The reason the forum has been temporarily closed is because some adults had a good look at it:Home in BaliJan 1, 2013, 6:58pm, Airbender wrote:And Gogo, since I can’t use the edit function here, let me just add that resorting to name calling, innuendo and vitriol is not the way an intelligent and mature person handles a discussion. There are plenty of ways to conduct a debate and offer opposing views without resorting to tactics and behavior that should have been left behind in junior high school.Although we have yet to see what sort of new LP forum emerges after house keeping, it’s likely a safe bet that it will be precisely the kind of conduct you insist upon engaging that will no longer be tolerated. In short, it is very likely that you, and quite a lot of others, will have to find a new venue to host your discussions. In other words, find a new playground, or learn to adapt to the standards that the BBC will clearly insist upon. It’s really rather simple.If you or anyone else has a problem with any of this, then write to the “powers that be” at the BBC or LP. There is no point in running amok with me to vent your frustration, as quite frankly, I could care less.Response:Airbender, it isn't only those who posted on YC that are "frustrated", many regulars are not happy either. I didn't do YC, it wasn't my cup of tea, but the way this whole affair has been handled was a disaster from the start.The "powers that be" could have closed the YC branch as they did WoS. But no - they didn't do that.I find it rather strange that this well known writer living on Bali who was preparing an article for the New York Times Sunday travel section. acted solely in the interests of LPTT from the goodness of his heart. Methinks he acted out of self-interest.Jan 3, 2013, 7:22am, Airbender wrote:do you honestly think the BBC/LP would temporarily shut down the TT forum without doing their homework and checking the facts relayed in the report?Response:Yes.Jan 4, 2013, 10:12am, Airbender wrote:As my final post on this worthless forum, I’ll gladly pass on some advice to both you, bystander, and your bonded at the hip twin, gogo.From where I sit, I don’t give a damn whatever you, or the old dried up hag on steroids and Prozac thinks about anyone involved in writing the article for the NY Times, the report to BBC/LP, or the link which reveals the truth on the home in Bali forum.When it re-immerges, I suspect that TT will no longer be a bastion for mindless twits and pit bull grandmums amongst a host of other useless trolls out for nothing aside from their own self gratification and their insatiable appetite to connect to other trolls.Response:Airbender, you stated this was your final post, yet you made 6 more posts. It is curious that you have posted here as a guest but not a member.Having now read through this entire thread it does appear to have spiralled into an ignominious fiasco. A pity adults cannot behave in an adult manner instead of acting like a group of 10 year olds.In my opinion the complete shutdown of the LPTT forum was the wrong decision. The BBC could have closed YC and then taken a look at the other non-travel branches. Why the need to close (for example) On your bike and Older travellers? I didn't post on either of them, they didn't interest me, but there were plenty of other members who did. Same for most of the non-travel branches.Admittedly the loudest and angriest members are/were the YCers and the WTers, at least at the beginning when TT came back online, but let's not forget, there are many, many posters who did not post on either of those branches and are just as angry, just as frustrated and fed up with not just the way it was handled but the new heavy handed moderation - "You post will have to be approved b[...]

49. Welcome Back To Lonely Planet

Sun, 13 Jan 2013 14:42:00 +0000

This was the subject thread in the Community FAQ's when Thorn Tree came back online on 6 January after having been shut down unceremoniously by the BBC. It was posted by Zabba, the community manager. There are other moderators too of course.

I was surprised to see 432 posts on that thread after not having had access to a computer for three days. Sadly, regardless of how many posts are made there, I doubt it will have any affect on management's decision, nor will it lead to an outcome that is satisfactory.

I also highly doubt the answer to the question, "Why did the BBC shut down Thorn Tree"? will ever be known. (They will give their version of course), but let's not forget, bs walks and money talks!

There are a number of people who are very angry because certain threads and posts which meant a lot to them have now gone and they no longer have access to them. Why didn't they do a C&P I can hear you ask? Simple - because they thought they would always be there. There's a lot of posts I whish I had saved - informative posts about travel plans and trips I was planning and other stuff as well.

White-washed, clean and very polite may be angelic, but it is also very boring. Ho um. I feel like I'm at a tea party where no-one ever says what they really mean and the greatest excitement is shall we have fruit cake or lamingtons. If there are to be no chat branches then my work will always get done, I'll have the cleanest house on the planet and I'll be looking for alternatives.

This whole thing has been very badly handled from the start and the over-moderation is akin to living in a country with a totalitarian government.

From A to Z - Andreas to Zabba and those (mods) in between, they are not to blame for the lack of information they give. Their hands are tied and are in a frustrating position. They are expected to scroll back through thousands and thousands of posts going back months? years? - no words can describe the un-believability of this.

Transparency, moderation practices and consistency are not the realm of the moderators - maybe it was once, but not now. Posts which are "approved" and published are (sometimes) then found to be un-acceptable and deleted - I know this for a fact because I posted a post on Henning's thread (Saturday 12) and it was "approved" by a moderator and published, but I see today (Sunday 13) it has been deleted. And do you want to know why? Because I had the temerity to write un-flattering remarks about the BBC and they don't want the truth. They can't handle the truth because they have their heads so far up they ride roughshod over everybody to save their own necks.

Allowing only un-critical posts towards the BBC seems to be a high priority. Abiding by guidelines and standards does not and should not mean restricting a person's right to have an opinion. After all, the BBC is in London no? And London is in England which the last time I looked was a democracy - unless of course that has now changed and England is now communist.

What is a democracy? A democracy means the right to freedom of speech without fear of reprisal, it means having the right to voice your discontent, to voice your opinion even if it is the opposite of what you hold dear. It means knowing that your voice will be heard. But here on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, that is not the case. Those freedoms which we are used to are no longer available. There is to be no dissenting voice, no dissatisfaction - in short, you may say only that which certain people's want to be known.

48. The "New" Thorn Tree

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 08:40:00 +0000

Possibly, these posts about the Thorn Tree and the BBC may not be of great interest to readers of this blog, but as I am a member of LPTT (Lonely Planet Thorn Tree) and an Australian, this is where I put my thoughts.

Well, the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree website is back up again as from the weekend but oh the trials and tribulations of actually getting anything posted. So far only some of the Travel Branches are back - SEA is absent as is the Thailand branch. Forget about asking any question about Malaysia, or Laos, or Cambodia, or Vietnam, or Thailand - for all that you see it's as if they don't exist.

Although they will probably re-appear some time later in the highly sanitised form we are now faced with.

The 11th Commandment:
Thou Shalt Not Participate In Chit-Chat

No chit-chat is permitted, no non-travel posts allowed and definitely no words or "themes" that are designated as "inappropriate content" ! What the hell are "themes"?!?

Thou Must Be Approved
If you post a reply it does not get published but must be "approved" by a moderator. This could take some time, depending on which time zone you live in and what time you make your post. No threads (topics) may be posted either without moderator approval. Talk about a PITA! Oops, dearie me, that would never be allowed on the new, sanitised version of Thorn Tree. Mustn't say antyhing or allude to anything that could be construed for something else and definitely no word or phrases in places of certain .. ah.. words. Ergo, one can not say "khyber pass".

Thou Shalt Not Swear
Not permitting foul language I agree with, posting four letter words is un-necessary and offensive. With this I agree. But the rest? Oh gee, it's like the CIA has gone in and cleaned and sanitised the area to ensure no sign of anything remains.

Now, I understand up to a point about posts or threads needing moderation before being published - this could be because the BBC fears there may be a plethora of abusive posts by certain posters hell bent on destruction, BUT, even a post which does not fall into this category they delightfully dismiss.

Do Not Wish Anybody Happy New Year
ON a previous thread which I must have posted on last year, but which now only showed four or five posts (none of which were mine) I tried posting happy new year - that didn't go through (remember I spoke about needing to be "approved")? So I then posted - "Just as I thought - it isn't posted". And Lo and Behold, there on the thread it was "approved" but the one saying happy new year? Huh! Fuggedaboutit! Not published. So clever me, decides to try again, only this time not only did I wish my mates Merry New Year but also gave some information about Melbourne (The thread title was Why I Love Melbourne) , but that too was not approved. What a lousy bunch of snots! I is really pissed off is what I am. It's just so petty.

47. BBC Weilds Its Power

Sat, 29 Dec 2012 05:23:00 +0000

The BBC now have an "updated" image for those attempting to logon to Thorn Tree.One has to question the validity of the BBC's reason for shutting down one of the most popular and longest running travel forums. Was it done because there were posts that did not meet Lonely Planet standards, or merely to save their own skin? Considering the flak they received over their handling of the Jimmy Savile 'situation', one has to wonder. Back in October this year, An inquiry began into BBC culture over the Jimmy Savile scandal. A BBC poll has suggested its reputation as a trusted organisation has been damaged amid the scandal.ShockedWhen asked why no action had been taken against the DJ and TV presenter (BBC's Jimmy Savile) for almost 50 years, the police commissioner said people had relied too much on Savile's reputation, and his word that he had "done nothing."A celebrity who was a serial rapist and molester operated at the BBC for years, was revered, and knighted. After he died, the BBC bungled its own efforts to investigate and expose him.Here is a Transcript from NPR's Philip Reeves report from an investigation into the scandal.From the Huffington Post "Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Closed: Travel Forum Shut Down After BBC Discovers 'Inappropriate Languages And Themes' "Inappropriate languages? Inappropriate themes? What on earth is an "inappropriate theme"? A discussion that someone doesn't like? Maybe a few someones from the BBC? There will always be opinions that some disagree with, but is this a reason for closing it from the public? Is the BBC following China's lead - is there now The Great Firewall of London where monitoring and censorship is the order of the day?Thorn TreeThe Thorn Tree is the online travel forum of Lonely Planet, with several different "Branches". There are the Destination branches, South East Asia which comprises several countries, the Thailand branch, North East Asia (also comprising several countries). The Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica branch, European branches, the Americas etc. In addition to the Destination Branches, there are others. For example, The Cooking and Food branch, known as GS (Get Stuffed), the Women's branch - WT (Women Travellers), Language and Grammar, called SiT (Speaking in Tongues). There is also that den of iniquity called YC - Your Choice. While there are threads on YC that are presentable, there are many that are befitting a sewer - known colloquially as "poo" threads. Had this branch been cleaned up a long time ago, it would have been far better, sifting though them is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack!Their Politics branch closed several years ago and the Sports branch was shutdown earlier this year. It was in the past a good place to discuss sport but alas, was taken over be certain types posting their smutty thoughts. They in turn have gone over the YC. It is my understanding that the BBC have been running scared ever since the Jimmy Savile scandal broke and they have received a lot of flak over it, so what do they do? Shut down the whole Thorn Tree forum. This of course has made news and has attracted discussions on various internet sites which puts them (BBC) in an ever worse light, whereas had they just closed the YC branch, it wouldn't have attracted much more than a battered eyelid. Why is it taking them so long to re-open the Thorn Tree? Perhaps they don't want to spoil their brandy and cigars and are just running ramrod over things like has been done in the past by the chinless wonders of the aristocracy. All I can say is thank God I'm an Aussie![...]

46. The BBC and The Night(s) Before Christmas

Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:54:00 +0000

(An ode to the BBC by yours truly)

T’was a few nights before Christmas and at BBC
They’d just settled down for a nice cup of tea.

With bone china cups, they chatted so nicely,
Their pinkies raised slightly and oh so politely.

When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter
They blinked and they wondered what on earth was the matter

The Head Mod rushed in, red-faced with alarm
The boss said I say old chap do remain calm.

He took a few breaths and then said the Mod
There’s a salacious email from that nasty old sod!

He’s made accusations, oh what shall we do?
Since that big Savile row we really are in the poo!

If we don’t “fix” this it might cause a confaddle
We’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

So the suits put their heads together as one
And wondered and thought about what could be done.

Out comes the brandy and port and cigars
For this called for deep thinking to save one’s Khyber Pass.

Now Thread posts! now Spam posts! Now Edit and Fixit!
On Data! on Branches! on Flag and Delete-it!

Christmas was nigh, there was snow and much ice
And visions of Christmas Pud danced passed their eyes.

A decision was made that’s called passing the buck
To close down the Thorn Tree and with any luck

They could go home for Christmas with no-one the wiser
And just shrug it off with a can of Budweiser.

45. BBC Shuts Down Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum

Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:23:00 +0000

BBC SHUTS DOWN THORN TREE TRAVEL FORUMDisgruntled user banned several times for trolling?Lonely Planet's popular online travel forum, Thorn Tree, has been temporarily shut down by owner BBC, reportedly after the discovery of paedophilia-related posts.A source said that BBC executives, still smarting from the Jimmy Savile scandal, went into "panic attack mode" after a disgruntled user alerted them to swearing and posts that discussed topics related to paedophiliaThe site has not officially revealed why it was necessary to close the entire forum without warning except that "a number of posts" did not conform with the site's "standards". A message on the Thorn Tree page said the forum was closed "temporarily" so the site could apply "necessary editorial and technical updates".The founder of Lonely Planet, Tony Wheeler, who no longer owns the publisher but contributes to it, told Fairfax that he was amazed the forum was still offline four days after the shutdown and criticised the BBC for not offering a more detailed explanation. The Thorn Tree is around 16 years old, making it the oldest travel community on the web. It has become a staple for avid travellers looking for tips, advice and a connection with other globetrotters.A source with links to Lonely Planet management said the decision to shut the forum was "all about Jimmy Savile".The source said a disgruntled user, who had been banned several times for trolling and harassment, emailed BBC executives asking if they were aware that Thorn Tree was full of porn and swearing."They discovered that if you looked for terms like 'paedophile' or 'child prostitution', you got Thorn Tree hits," the source said."The hits are mostly discussions of current events or pointless stuff that would have been moderated, like 'Barney the dinosaur is a big purple paedophile'. However, someone found a thread about 'what's the age of consent in Mexico?' That really set them off."They went into full, freak out, panic attack mode."The source said other posts the BBC executives found objectionable were related to child prostitution in Thailand.Long-time Thorn Tree users are distressed that they got no warning of the shutdown and didn't have a chance to say goodbye. It is not clear when the site will be back online.In the past, some have labelled Thorn Tree "scorntree" after experiences with abusive trolls on the site.Lonely Planet was started in Melbourne by Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 1972. The pair sold a 75 per cent stake to BBC Worldwide in 2007 and the final 25 per cent in February 2011.Tony Wheeler told Fairfax he received a phone call on December 22 to say they might have to shut down Thorn Tree and within the next 24 hours it was taken offline. He said he was "amazed" it hadn't been re-opened yet and he was still trying to find out the reason why it was shut down."There are always some areas which are live wires - Israel and Palestine for example - and if you don't keep a constant eye on them it can quickly go haywire," he said."I'm sure the BBC at the moment are extremely sensitive to anything questionable going out which could account for the current shutdown. Why it hasn't been sorted after 4 days I have no idea."Wheeler said he was "not particularly surprised" at reports the forum was shut down due to objectionable content and criticised the BBC for not explaining why it took the forum offline beyond a "bland" statement. "OK it's Christmas but that's hardly an excuse," he said. Several hours after this story was published BBC Worldwide spokesman Philip Fleming said BBC had found no evidence of discussions concerning paedophilia on Thorn Tree "but we have discovered instances of inappropriate language and themes"."Until we are confident that all these rogue posts c[...]

44. Derryn Hinch - His Response

Tue, 28 Aug 2012 10:03:00 +0000

From 3AW, Derryn Hinch, 28 August 2012 - 4:13 PM Well, there’s a song called ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’. And boy is it true in my case today.I walked out of this studio after yesterday’s program and felt pretty good about things. And why not? We’d had a touch of nostalgia by playing some of my broadcast from 43 years ago when I reported from Cape Kennedy as Apollo 11 blasted off for the moon.And then yesterday I scored an exclusive interview with Buzz Aldrin who had walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and we reminisced about that trail-blazing astronaut who died suddenly at the weekend.As far as radio programs go it was pretty good.But I was then called into a meeting with the station’s General Manager, Shane Healy and Program Director Clark Forbes and – I can’t be much of an investigative reporter – because they sacked me and I didn’t see it coming.In their managerial parlance and before the real spin kicked in, they said they were not renewing my contract next year.READ: Statement from 3AW Management on the decision to not renew Derryn Hinch’s contractIt was all very civil. I asked why and was told ‘we’re taking the station in a different direction’. I pointed out that my Drive program was rating No. 1 in Melbourne and so the only different direction they could take it was down.I didn’t get a real explanation for why I was being terminated, and still haven’t. I thought that was owed to me and – even more importantly – to you, the listeners.Healy was going on Mitchell’s program to explain but then declined. And, a short time ago, turned down an invitation to come on this program.One senior executive did say that they planned to ‘push the boundaries’. Jeez, if you pushed the boundaries any further than I have on radio and television, you’d fall off the edge. I have been to jail for causes, been fined, done community service, and done five months under house arrest for causes. And I think AW probably got tired of my causes. One exec did tell me when I came back here he hoped I wouldn’t ‘go on and on about the paedophile thing’, as if there’s a quota on stories when you are talking about protecting children.In his press release, Shane Healy said 3AW could not afford to stand still in the midst of the ‘immense challenges of the digital revolution’ and the station must position itself to take advantage of the exciting possibilities opening up in the digital world and changing audience expectations.’That’s funny. I’m probably the most accomplished person in social media of anybody at 3AW. I started the first internet site called Hinchwebradio twelve years ago, have more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, and my own HumanHeadline website, so that can’t be it. But I’m not going to plead my case. I don’t beg. I said during an earlier sacking on television, you can’t legislate against stupidity. And this is stupid.Your tweets, emails and on-air reactions have been amazing and I thank you. You have followed me through a lot of ups and downs –professional, personal and physical over the years, especially the last year.What intrigues me, in Mr Healy’s absence, is the quote about ‘changing audience expectations’. I thought your expectations included a host who tried to tell the truth, championed your causes, challenged politicians and even challenged my bosses when I thought they were wrong.[In fairness, I should point out that this dismissal has nothing to do with my comments last week about Steve Vizard. I’ve discovered this decision was made months ago.]It’s funny you know, radio and televisions stations have hired me for who I am and what I say. Then, they fire me for who I am and what I say.B[...]

43. 3AW Sacks Derryn Hinch

Tue, 28 Aug 2012 09:48:00 +0000

From 3AW Radio, 27 August 2012 - 6:44 PM.

3AW has decided not to renew the contract of drive-time presenter Derryn Hinch.

Derryn's one-year contract was set to expire at the end of this year.

The drive host was told of the decision not to renew his contract at a meeting with station management when he came off air Monday night (27 August).

The Man they sacked
Above: Derryn Hinch after being told of his sacking

While Derryn will not reappear behind the drive microphone after December, 3AW hopes to explore other opportunities with the respected broadcaster to enable him to remain in the Fairfax Radio fold.

The station expects to make an announcement on Derryn's replacement in the next few days.

3AW general manager Shane Healy paid tribute to Derryn's "fantastic" contribution to the station over the past 10 years.

"Derryn has been part of the fabric of Melbourne's No.1 radio station for many years and we are immensely proud and grateful for his efforts over this time," Mr Healy said.

"However, like all branches of the media it is impossible to stand still in a world of ever-accelerating change, " he said.

"Radio has withstood the immense challenges of the digital revolution much better than any other traditional media but we, like print and television, cannot afford to stand still.

"3AW, Melbourne's most successful radio station of the modern era, must position itself to take advantage of the exciting possibilities opening up in the digital world and changing audience expectations."

The man who did the sacking
Above: Shane Healy

Mr Healy said he hoped Derryn would consider the options that could be available to enable him to still play a role in broadcasting at Fairfax Radio.

It is unclear whether Derryn will return to the microphone this week. The drive presenter was due to take two weeks' holiday from next week.

Derryn has had two stints at 3AW. He established his broadcasting reputation on the station in the 1980s before he leaving for television current affairs.

In the past 10 years 3AW has stood behind the broadcaster through a series of controversies. Only last Friday 3AW gave the broadcaster the day off to fight in court a charge of failure to vote.

"Life will not be the same without Derryn around but we believe listeners will react more than favorably to the changes we have in mind," Mr Healy said.

What a complete stuff-up - SNAFU

42. Revenge and Violence

Thu, 10 May 2012 13:11:00 +0000

Remember child killer Robert Farquharson, the bloke who murdered his three children? Well he's back in the news again wanting yet another trial, this time for a jury to shorten his sentence!

The Verdict
In October 2007, the jury found Robert Farquharson guilty of murdering his three sons, that on Fathers' Day 2005, he deliberately drove his car into a dam and killed his three boys to punish his ex-wife, Cindy Gambino. Jai, who was 10, Tyler, who was seven, and Bailey, who was just two years old drowned, but not Farquharson - he swam away. He was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment without parole. Farquharson announced his attention to appeal his convictions.

Appeal, bail & retrial
On 17 December 2009, Farquharson's conviction was overturned by the three appeal judges. They were critical of the trial judge, the prosecution and the evidence of key prosecution witness Greg King.

On 4 May 2010, the re-trial began before Justice Lex Lasry. On 22 July, the second jury again found him guilty of murder. He was sentenced on October 15, 2010 to life with a 33 year minimum.

Another Appeal?!
In another bid to reduce his sentence, he wants a jury to decide if he was negligent in driving his three sons to their deaths and drowning them.

According to the latest, his barrister Peter Morrissey, will initially argue that Farquharson should be acquitted for the murder of his three sons and freed and that a charge of manslaughter should have been left for jurors to consider.
Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 25 years' gaol.

Above: The murdered boys - Jai, 10, Bailey, 2 and Tyler, 7.

A justice group fronted by Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and US boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is preparing to battle to free triple child killer Robert Farquharson.

A new arm of JusticeWA, which fights to free convicted criminals it believes could be innocent, is setting up in Victoria and plans to give Farquharson's case top priority.

41. ANZAC Day

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 10:54:00 +0000

One of the most amazing stories is that of the first Christmas of WWI. On the the eve of Christmas 1914. John McCutcheon's ballad, Christmas in the trenches depicts the moods of the soldiers, on both sides of the front lines, during the first Christmas of World War I. It was hailed as the "Amazing Truce" where German and British soldiers took a respite from the War. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his history of 1914, called the Christmas truce "An amazing spectacle, one human episode amid all the atrocities which have stained the memory of war".

His phrase, indeed, sums up the attraction of the truce; it is the human dimension which means that this relatively obscure event in the fifth month of a fifty two month war is still remembered and will continue to catch the imagination. In a century in which our conception of war has been on the Exocet, the Cruise Missile and the Neutron Bomb, the fact that in 1914 some thousands of the fighting men of the belligerent nations met and shook hands between their trenches strikes a powerful and appealing note. It is perhaps the best and most heartening Christmas story of modern times.

A young German voice was heard singing "Stille Nacht" and it floated over No Man's Land. Then an English voice sent back "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and soon the night was filled with voices of men, some of them as young as 16 or 17. Over the stretch of land which separated both sides appeared a white flag as a young German soldier held it high and slowly approached. And from the British side came a soldier who walked forward to meet him. Then the others followed.

These men met on a battlefield as friends and equals. They shared cigarettes, some chocolate and a rare camaraderie, they looked at photos of sweethearts, mothers and loved ones. They sang Christmas carols together. They even played a game of football. And for a short time, they were ordinary people meeting in friendship.

But time does not stand still, and as the first rays of morning light came and the sun peeked its faint pale rays, they shook hands for the last time. And went back to the business of war.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years comtemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.
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"And when he gets to heaven,
To St. Peter he will tell,
Another soldier reporting, sir -
I've served my time in hell."

40. St. Patrick's Day

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 10:50:00 +0000

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Well now, today is March the 17th - Saint Patrick's Day and as there are many Australians with an Irish background, here's a bit of Irish humour.

Above: Paddy's Irish Bar
(Photo take in Kalgoorlie)

Why did the Irishman wear 2 condoms? " To be sure, to be sure "

Paddy and Murphy are on a cruise ship.
Paddy says "It's awfully quiet on deck tonight".
Murphy says "Everyone will be watching the band".
Paddy says "There isn't a band playing tonight".
Murphy says "I definitely heard some fellow say "A band on ship"!

Paddy Murphy arrived at Tullamarine airport and wandered about the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks. An old Aussie bloke asked him if he was homesick.
"No", replied the Irishman. "It's worse, I have I've lost all me luggage"
"That's terrible, how did that happen?"
"The cork fell out of me bottle" Said Paddy

"How far is it to the next village?" asked the American tourist. "It's about seven miles," guessed the farmer. "But it's only five if you run"

Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut and bruised and he's walking with a limp.
"What happened to you?" asks Sean, the bartender. "Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight," says Paddy.
"That little shit, O'Conner," says Sean, "He couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand."
"That he did," says Paddy, "a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it."
"Well," says Sean, "you should have defended yourself, didn't you have something in your hand?"
"That I did," said Paddy. "Mrs. O'Conner's breast, and a thing of beauty it was, but useless in a fight."

39. Australia Day 2012

Thu, 26 Jan 2012 12:59:00 +0000

Australia Day
Today is Australia Day - our national day and a public holiday.
I am proud to be an Australian, I love my country. It is where I was born and there is a great deal of good and beauty here.
I love the endless red dust of the desert, the changing landscapes, the smell of the bush and the tall towering gums that fill the nostrils and delight the senses.

I love the informality of sitting under a blazing sun in the outback and just being one with the land, the kaleidoscope of a million stars under a cloudless sky in
Central Australia, hearing a lone didgerdoo emitting it's wistful sound.
But most of all, I feel an affinity with this land we call Australia.

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Scenes from around Australia
These are some of my travel photos which I have put together as a collage. (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Above: Agnes and I
Taken on Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu.

38. Business Software Alliance supports SOPA

Thu, 19 Jan 2012 07:13:00 +0000

Do large giants like Microsoft and Apple support the SOPA bill? Chicago-based writer Alex Wilhelm believes so. I came across an article written by Mr. Wilhelm in which he said "After writing a rather lengthy and somewhat firey post on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) yesterday, I realized this morning that I didn’t know Microsoft’s position on the matter. As I edit our Microsoft channel, I immediately sent off a query to the company concerning the Act."

"To my surprise it took some time to hear back, and when I did get word the response was ‘no comment.’ Obviously intrigued, I dug into the issue. As it turns out, ‘no comment’ is Microsoft’s official position on SOPA. The company has made no noise at all on the issue, other than what I would wager is a rather conspicuous silence.

But Microsoft did support the pre-SOPA Protect IP Act, something that SOPA did draw on heavily for its roots. To quote the official page on the House website: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) builds on the Pro IP Act of 2008 and the Senate’s Protect IP Act introduced earlier this year.” So we have Microsoft supporting the intellectual ancestor of SOPA, but that’s certainly not enough to say that the company supports SOPA outright.

We can, however, show that it does. And somewhat disingenuously, if I may. You see, Microsoft is a major player in the Business Software Alliance, along with Apple and 27 other companies. And the BSA supports SOPA. This is from a recent BSA bulletin:

The Business Software Alliance today commended House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) for introducing the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261) to curb the growing rash of software piracy and other forms of intellectual property theft that are being perpetrated by illicit websites.

Mr. Wilhelm then goes on to say Microsoft is using a front group to throw its support behind SOPA, (while publicly saying and doing nothing) - in other words, pretending in the face of the public but all the time doing/thinking the opposite.

He then lists every member of the BSA. SOURCE - TNW Insider

37. Murdoch owning all of Australia's media?

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:49:00 +0000

A Frightening Thought

It would be extremely dangerous to allow media monopolies who would then have the power to
abuse their power, keep the truth from the public, lie, with-hold vital information and reporting
and publicise biased opinions. This is not freedom. This is not democracy.

This is not what Australia needs or wants. Our country then would be on a par with
communist countries who control the daily lives of their people.

Did Aussie Diggers fight for this? To see their country go backwards over one hundred years? To go back to an earlier age when there was no freedom of speech, to live in a world where if you speak out against the government or elected leaders you face the terror of being thrown in gaol? To be subjected to brain-washing?

Because this is what a media monopoly would have - the power to control our very lives, to tell us what to think, to tell us what they want us to know, to keep the truth from us.

A Dreadful Reality
Free reign to control every last newspaper, TV and radio station in Australia --Rupert Murdoch’s fantasy could become a frightening reality

unless we stand in his way right now.

A government review is recommending we eliminate ownership limits -- exactly what Murdoch asked for. But we have two weeks to flood the review with objections to their plan during the public comment period before they finalise the report. Unless thousands of us speak out, the recommendations could go forward unchallenged.

Nobody -- especially not Rupert Murdoch -- should be allowed to own all of our media. Let’s wake up the review with our call -- and prevent the Murdoch Mafia from growing even larger. INFORMATION HERE.

36. Wikipedia Black-Out Because of the USA

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:21:00 +0000

Today, I couldn't find info on Wikipedia, (English Wikipedia) - the page is BLACKED OUT Why? I'll tell you why - As a protest because the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. First, they wanted Julian Assange's head on a platter, now...They want to control Wikipedia! (SOPA and PIPA) What are SOPA and PIPA?"SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.")"Read about SOPA and PIPASOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) known as House Bill 3261 was introduced in the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 and if made law, "would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods." "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." —H.R. 3261IN the link above it also states "it will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions" (Like Julian Assange?)PIPA "The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods", especially those registered outside the U.S.""The bill defines infringement as distribution of illegal copies, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management technology. Infringement exists if "facts or circumstances suggest [the site] is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described."So does this mean no more YouTube? Russia and China one could (maybe) understand, but the US? Aren't they supposed to be the land of the free? What is the USofA trying to do? Isn't this what they have always done - stuck their nose in other peoples and other countries business? They have too many fingers in too many pies, hey America, wake up! I'm not an American, I don't live in America and I certainly do not want to be ruled by your so called laws. Now .... according to This site Obama has said he won't support either bill (SOPA or PIPA) as is but .... And get this SOPA and PIPA are bills originally drafted by two Democratic leaders to appease the Hollywood sponsors to allow them the ability to bring copyright infringed websites to their knees should they or a commenter violate any far reaching scope of current copyright laws. It’s so broad, that if a commenter links to a copyrighted video on You Tube, production companies and Hollywood Film companies have the right to have the website shut down and have it’s advertisers withhold their earnings.And the USofA calls itself the "land of the Free" huh, pull the other one. America a democracy? More like an elected dictatorship. They're too big for their damn boots and need taking down a peg or do. America, keep your hands to yourself. A quote from Scrooge seems appropriate here Bah! Humbug![...]

35. Christmas in Australia

Sun, 25 Dec 2011 10:27:00 +0000

Christmas "Downunder"Christmas "Downunder" is hot, often muggy and the sun beats down on your head. Unlike those in the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas is cold, wet and snowing with people rugged up in their winter woolies tucking into a a veritable feast of hot dishes followed by a hot steaming pudding, here in Australia, it's a singlet, shorts and thongs - too bloody hot to be all dolled up to the nines! Too right too. I rang mum to wish her merry Christmas and said, "Mum, today is a traditional Australian Christmas - stinking hot and humid." Just like Christmas used to be when I was a kiddie.This song sort of depicts the Christmas in Australia - not everyone has a bbq allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="480">Christmas DinnerWhether you're having your Christmas meal at lunchtime or tea time, it's still "Dinner" - when eating in the middle of the day, it's lunch, when eaten for the evening meal it's tea. Not to be confused with tea as in a cup of tea, tea in Australia is dinner time. Confusing eh? Not really, we know what we mean - today at our house we had Christmas Dinner which was a Christmas lunch at lunchtime.Summer Makes No DifferenceNow, you might think that being summer, we Aussies would content ourselves with a summer salad, a lovely light refreshing meal with tomatoes and lettuce. Huh! Not on your nelly. Here in Australia we have our "traditions" just like our brothers across the oceans - a selection of hot meats - baked ham, roast leg 'o lamb, baked spuds and pumpkins, two types of greens (in this case broccoli and beans) served with hot gravy. Naturally. So there was I, busily stirring the gravy, sweat pouring down my face, into my eyes, my glasses got fogged up, as I valiantly tried to see how the gravy was going. Potato salad had been made last night. Actually, it was made very late last night and put together just after midnight. We've had a run of hot days recently, the house has a flat roof and you get a free sauna - inside temps over the 30's. Easy over 30. The Pièce de RésistanceAs anybody in our family will tell you - it's the Christmas Pudding, a beautiful, delectable, mouth-watering delicacy filled with fruits and brandy, served with lashings of runny cream.My lovely daughter-in-law who is now my second daugher, has taken over the making of the Christmas Pudding for the last two years (and a wonderful job she does too) told me, the pudding went mouldy I had to throw it out, went everywhere trying to find one to buy, could only find two small ones. (They fly down from Sydney a day or two before Christmas Day.) Never mind, she was here and that's more important. After being re-boiled, the pud is place on a plate, brought out to the table and brandy poured over it then lit with a light and the glorious blue flames from the burning alcohol rise up. Except I knocked the bottle over, the pudding went swimming and everybody got drunk! Just kidding, although I was rather heavy-handed with the brandy though. We all nearly split our side laughing when eldest son proudly carried out the two puddings on a rectangular plate - they looked just like a pair of knockers and naturally he made reference to this (although slightly different words were used) We thought it hilarious because they did in fact look exactly like that! It is now nearly half past nine at night and the house is still hot as a furnace. Ah well, perhaps I could sleep on the roof tonig[...]

34. This Land of Ours

Thu, 22 Dec 2011 18:29:00 +0000

This land of ours so red and vast
Doth stretch before the eye
And show unto me all the beauty
Of a far and distant past.

Of gums so tall
And eucalypt
They tower o'er me
And sweet their fragrance to inhale
Their beauty for to see.

Oh yes, this precious land of mine
With all your beauty free
And listen to the sweet carol
Of birds in fancy free.

My country you are more to me
Than earth of fire or sky
For I shall love this land of ours
Until the day I die.

33. Map of Australia & Capital Cities

Tue, 15 Nov 2011 12:36:00 +0000

Capital Cities
The capital of Australia is: Canberra which is in the A.C.T.
The capital of Western Australia is: Perth
The capital of Northern Territory is: Darwin
The capital of Queensland is : Brisbane
The capital of New South Wales is: Sydney
The capital of Victoria is: Melbourne
The capital of South Australia: Adelaide
The capital of Tasmania is: Hobart