Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can I please be a stay at home Dad

It's Fathers' Day soon, my youngest won't care, she's unconvinced by the Gregorian Calendar let alone its Hallmark variations. I'll be at home as it's Sunday and I'm strictly Monday through Friday - actually, I don't work on Friday, I have the youngest at home (one of the very few saving graces of the public service).

I'd like to be home everyday, I'd like to be a fulltime stay at home day however there's a few things stopping me not least of all youngest's enjoyment of childcare. Money's another, career too.

Still, on Fathers' Day I'm going to pretend that I'm a stay at home Dad; I'll do the dishes, hang out the washing from the night before and fold the washing that's dry, I'll cook some stuff that can be frozen and quickly reheated for children's dinners, I'll shop for various things not available through the online grocer, I'll hang out, fold, wash and hang out again... obviously I'll sing a few dozen of the Wiggles greatest hits along the way... but most of all, most of all I'll play with youngest, we'll go to the park, ride the slippery dip, consume sand, drench ourselves in the misfiring bubbler, lose a shoe and have a ball.

Would I really do this every day, instead of whateverthefuckitisIreallydo; you betcha!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Select Committe explores expanding CER

Labour's Dianne Yates is chairing a Select Committee considering widening the CER arrangement with Australia. Anyone who's read Templeton's All Honourable Men will know the interesting history of CER including the fact that Muldoon was entirely unconvinced for a number of years before finally agreeing to sign up. I only hope Yates takes the advice of her officials, is well supported by other members of the Committee and receives informed submissions.

Tracey Nelson: Rugby's answer to Robert Fisk

There are many sports journalists I regularly read and whose expertise I admire. Tracey Nelson, of the haka website, is near the top of the pack because unlike most others, her commentary is grounded on a thorough and complete empirical analysis of the game. Her latest online analysis, of the last Bledisloe, is here and I hope she's going to post an analysis of the more recent game against the Boks (Tracey if you stumble across this humble blog, please include the stats on the kicks in game)

Note the penalty count for the game, Australia incurred 16 (5 of which resulted in advantage to the All Blacks including one advantage that lead to a try) compared with 4 incurred by the All Blacks. I guess that reinforces Helen Clark's view from the stand?

Nelson's view, which you'll struggle to argue with based on her analysis, is that although the Wallabies were playing outside the laws of the game, all three match referees have to take the blame for not control of the game in the first place.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Congestion II: The Chuggers

It's pretty much a safe bet nowadays that any lunchtime stroll around downtown Sydney will involve dozens of chuggers extolling you to donate to their cause du jour. I have no problem with charity and regularly contribute to several, however I do object to every other English backpacker subsidising their pill popping, partying and Bondi beach bonk-fest with a cut from my donations.

I accept that the time of the charity volunteer is largely over, and that professionals now generate more funding for charities but still, can't I eat my barely warm rushed lunch without having to deal with another young Londoner with third degree sun burn asking me to sign on for planned giving?

Interestingly, I watched young school kids today raising money for Legacy week - I wonder if they'll part fund their UK OE by harassing uptight bankers in the City? Could chugging now be a career option/accoutrement?

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Everything has been hectic this month, not least of all work, and this has crowded out any time I might have had to blog.

Speaking of work, although this blog is entirely a personal distraction, I recently attempted to make use of blogs professionally. I was interested to see if blog commentary differed greatly from the MSM take on a project I've been managing. Two blogs, and, picked up on the story (which got good MSM coverage) and although the discussion is limited, it is very helpful becuase it is (a) more technically focused and (b) it is consistent with some internal feedback. I think blogs will be an increasingly useful and effective channel for public policy debate and formation in the very short term (although I don't think many government agencies will rush to use them as they are far less easily manipulated).

I'll blog some more on the project and report later.

On less pointy-headed issues, the family have decided to travel to France with friends to see a some of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. We've not bothered to try to see the All Blacks and have instead decided to purchase tickets to games in cities we want to visit and so we're off to the South of France (Montpellier for the games). I'm really pleased that one of the games we've got tickets for is Manu Samoa vs a qualifier.

Great to see the All Blacks win the Tri Nations and the Bledisloe. I've enjoyed all the games so far including the win against Australia in Auckland. I was particularly moved by the genuine affection and respect the crowd displayed on the occassion of the death of Te Arikinui and was particularly pleased by McCaw's comments on behalf of the team.

Clark's comments on the Tuqiri's tackle got lots of media attention here. Bottom line, Tuqiri's tackle was very very poor, not malicious in my opinion, but very poorly executed and deserving of the suspension. Phil Waugh on the other hand, his play on McCaw was clearly intended to injure and he is damn lucky to have avoided being punished.

Still on rugby, Sydney will not host a Bledisloe again next year which might have annoyed me but for the prospect of seeing them play at the MCG.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Howard withdraws migration Bill

Howard's no fool. Rather than suffer the sight of Liberal Senator's crossing the floor to defeat him, he's decided to pull the controversial migration Bill.

It is good to see a healthy democracy functioning well; remember this is the first time this government has had control of both Houses.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lange's memorial service

I'm surprised a year has passed since David Lange died. It doesn't seem that long. Reading news of his rapidily deteriorating health was very hard and his death felt like that of a family member's. I'd have like to have been at today's memorial service.

I grew up in and around David's electorate, lived there until 1996 or 97. My late grandfather stood against him as a candidate for 1977 Mangere by-election. I also met David a number of times.

On one occassion I met David, around 1993/94, he and my grandfather were at odds about local government politics. My grandfather was in fact threatening to sue David for comments he'd made about my grandfather's eligibility for the Manukau City Council. I was about to graduate from Law school and for just one moment, I wondered whether I should make the obvious joke about potentially representing my grandfather... I didn't; one dispute in the family seemed more than enough.

Howard's migration Bill in trouble

Steve Fielding, the Family First Senator has said he'll vote against the Howard government's Bill to allow migrants to be processed offshore. Fielding has previously said he'd wait and listen to the debates in both Houses, however in an interview with Nine Network today, Fielding has said he'll vote against the Bill.

Fielding says:
"What I don't understand is, here we are in Australia saying let's be fair and reasonable but we're not prepared to play by the rules. That's not on. I don't understand where you can have a situation where all of a sudden Australia would say that we're not going to play by the rules. That's not Australian. It's not fair."
With Barnaby Joyce saying his support requires amendments to the Bill, Howard's in a precarious position with a majority of just one and expectation that some Liberal Senators may abstain or vote against the Bill.

Road to Surfdom has a very useful overview of the issues, positions and possible outcomes here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Finally, a real Liberal or three

Congratulations to Petro Georgiou, Russell Broadbent and Judi Moylan.

These three members of the Australian House of Representatives and Liberal backbenchers have opposed the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill despite not having the numbers to block it from being referred to the Senate.

The Bill will enable asylum seakers to be processed offshore rather than in Australia thereby denying them access to the Australian legal system.

How'd you make a duck into a soul singer?

Put him in the oven until his (he is) Bill Withers.

Hat tip: Spicks and Specks guest and Mental and Anything lead singer Martin Plaza.

Terrorist cricketers, not!

Dean Jones, former Australian cricketer, has been sacked from his job as a commentator after refering to South Africa's Hashim Amla as a "terrorist". Jones, a commentator for the Dubai based 10 network, was commenting on the South African v Sri Lanka series when he said "The terrorist has got another wicket". He has issued an apology and apparently spoke with Amla after the game.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joke of the day

Great joke from confabulation.

A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students. "Human beings are the only animals that stutter", she says.

A little girl raises her hand. "I had a kitty-cat who stuttered", she volunteered.

The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories could become, asked the girl to describe the incident.

"Well", she began, "I was in the back yard with my kitty and the rottweiler who lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!"

"That must've been scary", said the teacher.

"It sure was", said the little girl. "My kitty went 'Fffff, Fffff,Fffff' … and before he could say "Fuck," the rottweiler ate him!"

Monday, August 07, 2006

Power walking pop by Ok Go

Ana at Spareroom has put me on to Ok Go, a four piece with a thing for treadmills. Check it out their video from YouTube.

Goddam, I'm a lowly insect

TTLB have upgraded my status (again), initially from insignificant microbe to wiggly worm (skipping multicellular microoganisam altogether, quel scandale) and now to lowly insect. If only I knew how or why, I'd give appropriate thanks.

I'm not sure what happened but I note that all my in-bound and out-bound links are showing up too. It's little moments like this that keep bloglife interesting.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Optical illusion

browncardigan again - No dolphins or cows though, what gives?

Check out this clever optical illusion; if someone can explain how it works, that'd be cool.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Annoying questions you can't answer

Even more annoying than having the latest Shakiraguilera song stuck in your head (what are you doing listening to FM anyway?) is the inability to recall a song that you know you know, or at least ought to know from your youth (you almost certainly were listening to new FM).

It's annoying on two fronts. First, you can't remember it. Second, what if you're wrong? How will you ever know? Confirming that something doesn't exist is a whole lot harder than confirming that it does.

That said, I'd like to help out Cheezy, a Brit-blogger with an interest in kiwiana. Cheezy recalls a song, Buzz Off, about which he thinks he knows a few things but can not yet confirm it's existence.

He knows it was sung by a Maori duo and that it ended with the line "buzz off". He thinks it was around about 1982 and was on a talent show of some sort (now they were tragic). What Cheezy wants, and what I now want too, is to recall the details and lyrics thereby restoring his/my claim to kiwiana pop-culture expertise.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rates up as predicted

The Reserve Bank of Australia have this morning announced the third cash rate rise since the re-election of the Howard government. The cash rate is now 0.75 basis points higher than it was at the 2004 federal election.

Hardly what voters expected when Howard assured them of his government's credentials as managers of the economy. One of two things must therefore be true, they aren't great managers, or the limits of their managerial control was overstated for effect.

It's mostly the latter. Government's tend to overstate their influence over the day to day peformance of a largely deregulated and globalised economy and this situation exemplifies the risks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Spam flowers

Crasster has found this incredible imagery of spam somehow transformed into the most beautiful flowers. Buggered if I know how it works, what the hell is ASCII anyway, nor do I understand where he finds this stuff?