Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fatality Free Friday

On average more than five Australians lose their lives on the road every day.

In addition to the obviously tragic loss of life and the consequences for the families of those killed, is the overwhelming certainly that the majority of the lives lost on our roads might have been prevented.

That's why Nicky and I are proud to take part in Fatality Free Friday, a road safety initiative that puts the emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability.

Fatality Free Friday is the only Australia-wide program under the auspices of the United Nation's Global Road Safety Week.

What is appealing about this campaign is that encourages and empowers each of us to take responsibility for our own driving and road safety.

This campaign has spread virally across the Internet and has been adopted by the governments of Queensland and Western Australia, various city councils in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria as well as driving enthusiasts.

Individual New Zealanders have signed the pledge and Fatality Free Friday is being organised for the United States on May 25.

Nick and I encourage you, your family and colleagues to sign the pledge.

If we can make this Friday fatality free, then it is something we can aspire to for the rest of the year.

-- Nora

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Poor, poor Tim:

SCIENTIST and environmentalist Tim Flannery says he has considered handing back his Australian of the Year award due to Prime Minister John Howard's climate change policies.

Speaking at Melbourne's RMIT University today, Dr Flannery said he was struggling to reconcile his role as Australian of the Year with his views on climate change.

"Of course this year I am Australian of the Year, and I have to somehow tread a very difficult line, a very tenuous line, I think, between honouring the tradition of Australian of the Year, being apolitical, and trying to do something for my country," Dr Flannery said.
But you won't, will you. Tim?

-- Nick

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Meet The Flintstones

Apparently there is something wrong because one-in-four Aussies would rather not have homosexuals as neighbours:

Prof Mangan is co-author of a paper interpreting statistics from the Human Beliefs and Values Survey, conducted in 24 Western countries between 1999 and 2002.

He said the results showed anti-gay prejudice was by no means confined to Australia.

"The conclusion is the most prevalent form of bigotry is homophobia," he said.

"It's everybody except Scandinavians, so it's not a particularly Australian thing."
Oh, well that's comforting I guess.

Pehaps the reason for the mistrust might be incidents like these:

TWO paedophiles who dragged a teenage boy off the street and used him as a sex slave have been found guilty of planning to kill the 14-year-old, dump his body in bushland and dissolve it with acid.

A jury today took five hours to decide the men were determined to carry out a "sick fantasy" of raping the boy and then murdering him so he could not reveal their identities to police.

Robbie Sebastian Wheeler, 43, and his boyfriend Victor Leslie Urquhart, 46, have been on trial in the West Australian District Court after pleading not guilty to conspiring to kill the then 14-year-old boy.

The lovers had both pleaded guilty to kidnapping, indecently dealing with and sexually penetrating him between August 30 and September 19, 2005.
Or that no matter how 'tolerant' we try to be we innately recognise that those who identify as homosexual exhibit a wide range of mental illnesses and deviant habits.

-- Nora

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


AN Iraqi Muslim man allegedly raped a Muslim woman as "punishment" for her reading the Bible, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Campbelltown District Court in Sydney's west yesterday heard Abdul Reda Al Shawany twice sexually assaulted the woman, a practising Muslim, and then said to her: "Let your Jesus help you."
The heinous act speaks for itself but there are four things to note:

1. I thought a hajib was supposed to protect women from rape?

2. Muslims are encouraged in the Koran to read The Bible.

3. Jesus is supposed to be a revered prophet in Islam.

4. Al Shawany's barrister Chris Pike told the court his client was a hardworking businessman with close ties to the community who strenuously denied the charges.

"My client is not a zealot," Mr Pike said.
Oh yes he is. And he's not alone.

-- Nora

Maths Is Hard

Sports star Ian Thorpe has become an expert on global warming:

"There has been lots of reading, my head hurts," he said.
Poor diddums.

Thorpie - shut up and swim.

-- Nick and Nora

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Great Outdoors

It may come as a surprise that two sophicates like Nick and myself would eschew the the bright lights to go camping but indeed that's what we're planning to do this coming weekend for three days.

It's our 13th wedding anniversary.


Camp Lawless
1/2 oz Galliano
1 oz White Rum
5 oz Mandarin Juice
1/2 oz Campari
Pour rum and juice into a highball glass filled with broken ice. Sprinkle the campari and galliano on top. Serve unstirred, with straws, and garnish with a cherry and orange slice.
-- Nora

Can I Watch?

Rats! And I so liked Jennifer Aniston:

AMERICAN actress Jennifer Aniston has received the Vanguard Award for her contributions to increased visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at the 18th GLAAD media awards.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.


-- Nick

Dogs Eats Journalist's Homework

Felicity Hetherington would likely be the first to sue if a train driver with impaired vision had a crash and she were injured. Doesn't stop her or her smug, superior journo mates taking the mickey though:

Second most popular story of the week was just as unlikely but unfortunately true, with news that Sydney train drivers were getting off work mid-shift with ripper excuses like being blinded by a sausage roll or punching oneself in the nose while trying to close a window.
Hetherington's original tale is snide:

The Daily Telegraph has obtained a long list of dubious – sometimes comical – excuses used by Sydney train drivers and guards for getting off work mid-shift. "Driver reports eye injury most likely sustained whilst eating a hot sausage roll . . . he has sensitive eyes and may have rubbed an irritant into them during crib," one report noted. It does not detail whether tomato sauce was the "irritant" in question. It is fair to assume passengers on that service were irritated by the subsequent 14-minute delay that resulted from the sausage roll fiasco.
And her blog on the topic accuses the train crews of lying outright:

Pull the other one
By Felicity Hetherington
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 06:40am

Sydney train drivers have been coming up with some pretty imaginative excuses to get out of work: A train driver was replaced because he had an eyelash stuck in his eye, another one punched himself in the nose while trying to close a window, and a guard had an ambulance meet him at Marulan after a microwave meal burned his arm. What’s the best excuse you’ve come up with to stop working, or not even turn up to work?
Never done something dumb like accidentally wiping your eye after handling an onion, Felicity? No, of course not, you're too perfect.

Ever actually opened or closed a train cabin window? You've no idea. Push down to open, up to close train windows are a pain - literally. They're so stiff, crew members pulling up windows regularly lose their grip and smack themselves in the face.

So tell us, Felicity, what's the difference between a train driver and an airline pilot with one eye out of action?

Maybe a hundred or so less dead, smart arse.

-- Nick

Thursday, April 12, 2007


In September last year, Nora and I took part in The 2996 Project, a blog-based honour roll of the victims of 9/11 in which participants volunteered to write a tribute to one of the 2996 people who were killed on that day.

When we put ourselves forward to make a tribute, we asked if it would be possible to honour an Australian. We were provided with the name of Sydneysider Alberto Dominguez.

As we explained in our tribute to Alberto, we left it late to do the things we had intended to do and were unable to speak with members of his immediate family as we had hoped.

So it was touching last month to receive a comment on our post about Alberto from his granddaughter Noellia.

It was also deeply moving to read this today:

DNA confirms Aussie 9/11 victim
April 11, 2007

THE remains of an Australian man who died in the 2001 September 11 attacks have been formally identified through DNA.

Alberto Dominguez, 66, of Sydney, died when American Airlines flight 11 was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Centre in New York.

The Qantas baggage handler was visiting family in the US when his plane, en route from Boston to Los Angeles, flew into the north tower, WABC-TV reported.

Mr Dominguez, born in Uruguay, was a former South American cycling champion as well as a leading figure in Sydney's Spanish community and host of a Spanish music radio show.

His is the sixth identification the New York Medical Examiner's office has made in the past week, but the only one for which the family allowed the name of the victim to be released.

The identification was made during re-testing of previously recovered World Trade Centre remains.

"We've been retesting material and this is from that effort,'' said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

Mr Dominguez was among 10 Australians killed in the terrorist attacks.

The office says the total number of people identified from World Trade Centre debris is now 1607.
Rest in peace, Alberto.

-- Nick and Nora Charles

Monday, April 09, 2007

Deafening Silence

Where are the anti-Gitmo crowd on this, a quote from female British sailor Faye Turney, captured and held by Iran, stripped her to her knickers and threatened she might never see her baby again:

She also said that at one point she feared Iranian workers were "making my coffin" after she heard "the noise of wood sawing and nails being hammered near my cell ... Then a woman came into my cell to measure me up from head to toe with a tape".
Oh, that's right - they're too busy making sure Western soldiers wear gloves to handle the Koran.

-- Nick

I'll Drink To That

If yet another example were needed to illustrate the difference between Christianity and another religion which has been in the news a lot, then this story is it:

AN Italian film showing Jesus Christ drinking Coca-Cola sparked such strong protest from...
Who? The Vatican? Ordinary Catholics? Those 'nutty neo-cons from the US religious right'?


"...the soft-drinks giant that it blocked the film's Easter weekend premiere.

The film, 7km from Jerusalem, is about an Italian advertising executive who is soul searching after losing his job and marriage. He flies to Jerusalem, where he runs into Jesus.

According to local press reports, he offers the returned Christ a can of Coca-Cola and, seeing Jesus drinking the beverage, thinks: "What a testimonial!"

Apparently Coca-Cola disagreed.

"The multinational's Italian unit sent a legal letter forcing the elimination of the scene in which Jesus drinks the well-known beverage," the producers said on the film's website,

Italian media reported that the company felt that the use of its brand was unacceptable and could get the company a bad image."
In whose eyes is not made clear in this story.

Certainly not for many Christians I would hope because 7km From Jerusalem is a parable and Jesus' three year ministry was replete with them.

The story of a man searching for truth, meaning and comfort and finding it in Christ is something we see too little of in today's entertainment and a story that helps us look at this in a fresh way is to be applauded not protested.

This point is made clear by Eric Hogue's column on the web site Crosswalk:

This scene (and I'm hoping the movie) is filled with metaphors. The dusty, determined trail to Jerusalem and Jesus' destination - a location that would lead to his ultimate sacrifice - with a driver who is seeking the answer for life's empty promises. Who is hitching for a ride in this man's mid-life Jeep, the answer to life entirety himself.

Like the untouchable woman at the well, Jesus asks for a drink and the mid-lifer offers what he has, a Coke. As Jesus takes a swig, some humor hits the script with an honest mention of intended 'product placement', as the providers of life's living water takes a gulp. Here is Jesus, the 'real thing', drinking the world's temporary, thirst quenching 'real thing'. What a gift, who is writing this stuff?

Hollywood used to be capable of doing the same thing, although sadly the big studio's wellspring of inspiration has run dry, leaving it independent filmmakers to quench our thirst for something more substantial.

-- Nora

Sunday, April 08, 2007

At The Coming Up Of The Sun

Channel 7 is trying to squirm out of a rising storm over negotiations between the network and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's office to stage a fake Anzac Day memorial service to meeting the prime morning ratings period.

The story is raising a lot of comments early on, including this history lesson on Grandma Rudd:

This is an absoloute disgrace. Rudd did exactly the same thing at Isurava last year. Rudd, Joe Hockey and Koch walked to Kokoda Trail from Owers Corner to Isurava with an entourage of 150 odd people making a royal mess of the track for all those coming behind them. At the Isurava Memorial on Anzac Day the mob he had hired to walk them over the trail tried to exclude everyone else from the Memorial and they all donned 'Executive Excellence' t-shirts to get the maximum exposure on Sunrise. That was all well and good...but imagine everyone's horror when they told everyone that dawn service was delayed so Kochy could do a live cross! Next...having gained all the commericial value out fo the stunt possible...Kochy, Rudd and Joe Hockey all got in a point in walking all the way to Kokoda when you had already milked the event for all it was worth! Well done may have got away with this sort of rubbish at Isurava where there were no veterans of an age appropriate enough to push you off the edge...but I would interested to see how you go trying to pull the same thing at Long Tan. Anzac Day is not about furthering your own commerical or political agenda.
Posted by: Fox Hound of Brisbane 6:30am today
Comment 3 of 25
Meanwhile, one predicts that Sunrise host David Koch will be a celebrity candidate for Labor at some future date.

-- Nick

State Mafia

Queensland's smoking bans are hitting pubs and clubs in the poker machine hip pocket with losses of $50 million despite numbers of machines being up.

The State Treasury is also a loser - fewer pokie takings mean revenue will be down there too.

But while Premier Peter Beattie and Deputy Anna Bligh are slagging off at nasty smokers for their addiction, how about Labor kicks its habit of being hooked on the pokies for State revenue?

'Progressives' ridiculed long-time conservative Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen for not allowing 'pokies' which were introduced almost the instant Labor came to power in the late '80s.

Now the State is addicted to the revenue from them and, like all addicts, Labor will likely now look elsewhere for their 'fix'.

One suggests that if they can't extort in the clubs and pubs, they'll probably turn to mugging with a mass rollout of revenue raising speed cameras.

-- Nick


Camping spots are busy during the Easter holidays, reports the Sunday Mail:

But the camping crisis is worse at Byron Bay, where tourists are sleeping in their cars. Byron Bay Tourist Park manager Paula Grimes said some people either did not want to pay or were too lazy to find a campsite.
Sounds typical for Byron.

-- Nick

Are You Old Enough?

Family Planning Queensland is now sexually abusing children by introducing them to material largely inappropriate for such a young age group.
What should be primarily a parental responsibility is being usurped by a special interest group more concerned about flogging books.

Numerous studies have shown that introducing children too young to explicit sexual content lowers the age for sexual activity and increases risktaking behaviour.

Furthermore what's to stop paedophiles getting a copy of this book and using it to groom children?

-- Nora

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nothing Worse Than A Reformed Smoker

Good news:

FIREBRAND Islamic convert Yvonne Ridley... believes Australian attitudes to Islam are hardening faster than any other nation.
Ridley is a British journalist and 2003 convert to Islam who discourages British Muslims from co-operating with anti-terrorism police and refers to suicide bombings as "martyrdom operations".

She is in Australia for the First Annual Australian Islamic Conference:

Organisers laughed off suggestions the First Annual Australian Islamic Conference was staged over Easter to insult Christians. "We certainly meant no insensitivity," organiser Adel Salman said. "We weren't making any particular statement or any religious statement. It was purely a convenient time to schedule the conference."
Yeah, right, whatever.

In other news from the Religion of Peace:

A PAKISTANI mullah has set up a Taliban-style Islamic court at his mosque in the capital and pledged "tens of thousands" of suicide attacks if the government tries to shut it down.

THE Australian Federal Police has seized documents and will question key Islamic community figures after widening its investigation into allegations Australia's mufti Sheik Taj al Din al-Hilali gave charity funds to supporters of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorist outfits in Lebanon last year.

Dallas police and federal terrorism officials are investigating two women, both dressed in camouflage pants under their traditional Muslim robes and scarves, who were seen conducting what appeared to be surveillance and acting suspiciously at Dallas Love Field (Airport)... "I'm a trained sniper and proud of it," Ms. Al-Homsi said in an interview Thursday... "I am not a dangerous individual." Ms. Al-Homsi (and Aisha Abdul-Rahman Hamad were spotted at Love Field wearing Muslim robes and camouflage pants and "acting suspiciously,"... The surveillance video shows one of the women walking back and forth, apparently pacing off distances. When confronted, the women told officials they were looking for the Frontiers of Flight museum. They left in a red Honda. Descriptions of the incident and the car were circulated at the airport.

Two days later, the museum executive director was leaving for the evening when he noticed the Honda parked facing the runway. A woman, later identified as Ms. Al-Homsi, was sitting on the hood, looking through binoculars at the airplanes. He told the women the museum was closing, and they left. Dallas officers stopped the car nearby, but the women refused to let police search their car...
-- Nick

Update: Grandma Rudd sniffs the wind and tries to look tough:

THE Government must explain why a British Muslim who has praised suicide bombers as martyrs was allowed into the country, Labor leader Kevin Rudd said today.
Of course, it was Labor that imported the problem in the first place.

Friday, April 06, 2007

C'mon Get Happy

Sorry for the haphazard posting over the past few weeks. Things have been happening apace in the Charles household.

Those who know Nicky and I in the real world know that business has been a challenge over the past six months and we've had to restructure a few things - hence more time working, less time blogging.

Fortunately we're beginning to emerge from the other side.

And so we're getting Happy (thank you to the Grammy nominated artist Ayiesha Woods for the soundtrack)

Happy Day
3 parts Vodka
1 part Scotch Whisky
Orange Slice
Stir and strain to a highball glass with crushed ice

-- Nora