Friday, September 30, 2005

This Sporting Nation

Last weekend, the Sydney Swans were crowned the AFL Champions in a thriller against the West Coast Wiggles, er, Eagles. This weekend, it's the ARL, with the West Tigers taking on the North Queensland Cowpats, er, Cowboys on Sunday night. Rugby League isn't the only sport that's ending. It's the change of seasons for a number of other athletic pursuits.

The Spring Racing season kicks off this weekend, with the running of the Epsom Handicap, the various Cups with the penultimate, the Melbourne Cup, there is also the A-league, the English premier league, domestic and international cricket, basketball, the local rugby union Grand Final on Sunday, golf season, the Bathurst 1000 motor racing, surf life saving carnivals, iron man races; finished is the netball (yay, Swifts) the International Rugby Union - let's not and say we did - the end of the tennis season, motor bikes, Formula One... and so much more.

This nation of ours has a ferocious need for sports and to achieve much in the chosen field. When the cricketers lost the Ashes, there were howls of outrage, calls for sackings and general ruckus. Sure it hurt, but, dare I say, it wasn't the end of the world. We'll get the Ashes back. Rugby Union? Okay, we didn't win any international games *wince* and our Super 12 sides were below par - except NSW. We'll improve before the World Cup. Soccer? We're going along nicely in the world rankings and our boys in the Under 17s World Cup are doing well. Hell, it's been thirty odd years since the Socceroos managed to get to the senior World Cup round.

For those of us who have given up sport and now watch with a sigh of 'when I was playing' being an armchair critic is fine. This summer, I'll be watching cricket, soccer, the Melbourne Cup... anything that happens to be on the teev. I'm one of many who will. Others will be taking their youngster out for street or yard cricket, will be playing touch footy down at the local sports field or taking their kids to their summer sporting venue. Why? Because this sporting nation prides itself on developing young talent. Because this sporting nation is a beach culture and loves the outdoors. Because this sporting nation, no matter who and where we are, loves a good, fair game.

Because we're Australian and 'too much sport is never enough'.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

'New Age' Education

A new report released yesterday has, basically, condemned the current model of education for primary school students. The report's author, Dr Kevin Donnelly, has criticised what he sees as "outcome based education". From the Minister's media release: The report concluded that Australian curricula have largely been influenced by an outcomes based education approach, leading to curriculum documents that are vague, lack academic content, offer limited guidance to teachers about what to teach, and work against the acquisition of essential knowledge.

I've known for some time that the education system borders on the criminal in it's teaching of children. An example: my niece was severely pissed off at being taught about 'Australia's oppression of the indigenous population' rather than how Captain Cook discovered Australia and how it was settled; how Macarthur was a cruel racist invader, rather than the man who began the Merino wool industry in this country; how our explorers were slavers and thieves who stole land. Her complaint was that there was nothing positive in Australia's history and that political correctness had changed the view of the past.

Let's face it: there are some aspects of our history that are ugly, that need exploring and explaining. History, however, should not be apologised for. It happened, get over it! Discuss it if you must, but you cannot change it. Nor should history be warped by one person's attitude. We are not Japan trying to suggest that they were the attacked in WWII; we are not certain members of the international community suggesting the death camps of Belsen, Auchwitz and others never happened.

Our history is our history: the good, the bad and the unfortunate. No amount of new ageism is going to change that.

But history isn't the only subject under siege. English, too, has come under attack. As the Minister says: Every child deserves the opportunity to fulfil their potential through learning the fundamental skills of reading, writing, counting and communicating with one another.

Our teachers, unfortunately, are not giving our children that opportunity. Too many educators lack the skills and knowledge to teach. So what the hell are they doing training our kids if they don't know the bloody topic? Why are we letting students into teaching degrees who don't have the ability to acquire knowledge?

With the publication of this report, we are seeing what many parents have already known: their kids are leaving school without the ability to further themselves because they have been taught the wrong protocols. Reading, writing and arithmatic used to be the catch-phrase of all teachers. Now it's interpret the pictures, self-expression without correction and... who cares about numbers anyway?

The three Rs were a part of our education system for very good reason. It is the basis from which ability to acquire knowledge springs.

I'd like to find that touchy-feelie-political-correct-hippie-wannabe-who-just-wants-to-be-liked-and-everyone-to-love-each-other and kick his silly, self-serving, amoral, ignorant ass for what he's done to the education system.

With this new report, maybe now we can get back to what education really means: teaching our children the ability to acquire knowledge and be prepared for the future they will encounter.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Manufactured moods

When I'm writing, I 'listen' to a number of albums, depending on what genre the work is in. I say 'listen' because when I'm involved, I may not actually hear the music, only the silence when the album is finished.

It's a focus thing and it's a mood thing. And I have found I use the same type of music over and over again. For the big scenes, battles, revelations, etc, I listen to the soundtrack of... Conan the Barbarian or Wagner. Both have the sweeping majesty and I'm-gonna-kill-you-for-justice military cadence. For clever conversations or sly light bulb moments, I'll be using Mike Oldfield or Mozart. Love scenes and betrayal, I can't go past Pachebel's Canon or Clannad. Happy scenes, contented acceptance is, surprisingly, Shawn Colvin, Merril Bainbridge or Tchaikovsky. Scenes of anger, I-don't-give-a-shit, it's Pat Benatar. For a lot of the rest, I listen to Amici, and the numerous single CDs I have - and of those, most are repeats.

Each piece of music generates a particular mood for me that seeps into my subconscious and promotes the attitude I'm looking for. It's works. I've read previous manuscripts I've written and I can steep myself in the words. Not because I remember the music, but because the mood is there, in the writing. For some of it, I'm surprised. I didn't remember writing that bit and it was damn good. I'm sure other authors feel the same way.

There's satisfaction in manufacturing moods when the words come out just right.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Crazy world of blogging

Okay, for some reason I can't write in 'compose' but I can in 'edit html'. I'm sure there's something simple that's gone wrong, but since I'm a newbie at this, it's driving me nuts.

Worse, the last post went straight to archives rather than onto the current blog. I shall have to be cunning in finding a way around this nasty turn. Who knew a blog could turn against you?

Busman's Holiday from Hell

I had always thought that my editing skills would be useful, especially when I'm writing fiction, and that's true. What I didn't expect was that the department across the way would also find them useful. Without my knowledge, or consent, my boss negotiated with the aforementioned department to use my skills. The pay off? Not bookoo dollars, but a training course which the unnamed department would pay for.

Well, harumph! The work they want me to do will take a week or two; the course, two days. Who got the better deal? Editors aren't cheap, but apparently, I am. I've got news for them: their precious manual isn't as perfect as they thought. Hah! Of course, I'm as much of a perfectionist as I was once described as, which is lucky for them and unfortunate for me.

Now that I've griped about that, all I can say is that it's probably a good thing I was standing by to do this for them. The project will go on my CV along with other works I've done. And the training? Like a lot of course, it will swing from boring to exciting.

Next time, I just want them to ask instead of assume. Then we can perhaps come to a more equitable remuneration.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Neighbourhood training

Learning doesn't stop with graduating from school. Every day, in small and large ways, we are constantly learning new things. Yesterday, I was at an Emergency Management Arrangements course.

An interesting course that brought home what our neighbourhoods have become. Where once communities would be grateful for help during flood, fire, tempest from the local authorities, now it's more a comment of 'where the hell we're you?'

How have we let our neighbourhood communities become so materialistic and selfish that they feel they can demand help whenever an individual needs it? What happened to community spirit during times of strife?

Sure, neighbourhoods have a right to expect help, but many people are a bit lackadaisical about their own safety. Fire coming? Clean your gutters, prepare your house, prepare for evacuation or prepare to fight. Flood coming? Sandbag your house, prepare to evacuate or prepare to paddle. Tempest? A little more difficult, but batten down the hatches, prepare to evacuate or prepare for a torrid time.

Once you've done your bit, look around at your neighbours. Does the elderly lady across the road have help? Is the house next door vacant? Is there something you can do?

Emergency staff have enough problems without racing around neighbourhoods distributing advice. There is a constant shortage of emergency personnel as is. Do something for your neighbourhood; don't wait until it is too late, don't wait to help.

Gulfport, USA managed on their own after being flattened. They picked themselves up and got on with the job.

If you're going to scream, shout and stamp your tiny foot when emergency staff turn up, make damn sure you did all you could in the first place to mitigate the damage. Make damn sure you helped your fellow neighbours. Who knows, maybe it will make for a closer knit community with everyone pitching in and helping out.

Now that I have the basics down, I'm going to take it further and get more training.

With the fire season just starting and drought conditions still prevalent, I suspect I'm in for a busy summer. Hopefully, I'll get thanks for the help, rather than pissy comments at having the gall to be fighting a fire when I could have been at the beck and call of one person.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Imploding politics

I was amused at the latest go around by the various political parties here. The bouquet goes to former Federal Liberal Opposition Leader, John Hewson, for describing Mark Latham as a Labor Party Suicide Bomber.

The bucket, of course, is dumped on those ardent Mark Latham supporters who are now denying any such connection and scrambling to get as far away as possible. Too late! It's no wonder Mark trashed the party and its members. What an amoral bunch of hypocrits! How much truth there is in his newly published diaries, I don't know. But if even it is half true, that makes the party a cesspit of venomous, power-hungry zealots who are unable to see the wider cause and are totally focused on their own ambitions.

Can anyone tell me the last time a Laborite came up with an original and workable policy on anything? When Mark tried, he was directed to some nutjob public relations 'guru' and given policies that, if not so extreme, may have worked. Even the grass-roots labor votes turned against them at the last election.

And so, the Federal Liberals are dining out on an unexpected banquet. Every Liberal MP is grinning from ear-to-ear and giving out tasty sound bites to the media. What mirth. Manna from heaven to distract everyone from what else is going on in politics: The UN. The Iraqi War. The Price of Petrol. Interest Rates. It has all been pushed aside in favour of the tang and zest of roasting Labor politicians.

No doubt, at the end, the Liberals will be sitting back, full bellied and picking their teeth with Mark Latham's sharp rebukes, chuckling over such a magnificent feast he provided... free of charge.

Personality traits

Of course, you just can't help yourself when a weblog tempts you to go to a quiz site. These sites compare you to a famous person, inanimate object, mood, colour, whatever. Why do we do these things? Because we are human and our curiosity is innate. Now. Having justified my position with some vague argument, I'll thank Vanessa Jaye's weblog for the link to these answers:

What movie are you?

And this one, which, as far as I'm concerned, is diametrically opposed to the above movie:

What great leader are you?

Amazing, huh. I have no idea how to reconcile the two. Good thing I'm a Gemini and used to my dual nature...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Da Weekend

Had some of the family visiting for the weekend, but I managed to finish the edits of my book. Chapter twenty-five required an almost total rewrite. I thought I had a clever confrontation, but, while it was clever, it was also a cop out and out of character (thank you, Vanessa Jaye).

The new section reads better, feels more real, and has the added bonus of some neat kick ass action. Clues are there, throughout the book, so I haven't hidden anything. I just hope it works well enough.

Hah! Now I get to put the whole thing back together, let it stew for a while, then read through before handing it off to an independant critiquer. I'm excited and nervous about that, but it gotta be done. Woot!

I think I'll just go and have a glass of congrats on a job finally done.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Farewell to Sinbad

I went to the funeral yesterday of a man who I admired and respected.

He was a fighter pilot, an aircraft mechanic, a sailor, a priest, a father, a husband and a confidante to many.

His sense of humour was wicked; his temper, mild. He looked at you with keen interest and as if he knew a secret that he was only too willing to share, if only you'd ask. I never did; but I've never been comfortable with religion.

I went to school with his two younger sons, never having met the older brother or sister. Sinbad Most Junior was one of my best friends during those years and the family were neighbours. Junior spent as much time at our house as I did at his. We had a cadre of pals and we did everything together. Swim, talk, play tennis, do everything teenagers did when together - though not drugs or alcohol, we had no need and our community was very, very small.

Sinbad was always there in the background, with his King George V beard, handing out advice and telling, sometimes, inappropriate jokes, a sparkle in his eyes. We were all comfortable with him: he didn't pressure us, treated us like we were a part of his family too. Happy were those days, even with teenage angst.

Now, some twenty-five years later, he's gone. It's odd that I was thinking of him and his youngest son only a couple of days ago. Had he, once departing his mortal cage, touched those he'd helped long ago one last time? It would be just like him: no matter how much time had passed, he would always remember you, and what you meant to his children and him.

I had no tears for him at the funeral, he would have told me to buck up, nudged me out my maudlin mood, told another of his jokes; he was that kind of a man. At the moment though, the tightness is there in my throat, the sting is behind my eyes. I didn't realise how I would miss him. Now, I do. He'll always be a part of my history and I will always be glad I knew him. He'll live on in my heart; and in so many others.

Blessed be, Sinbad

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Drop Ins

I'm sitting in my office and a Caribou is occasionally flying low overhead. The heavy thrum of the engines is, at once, distracting and soothing. What is a Caribou doing flying over the office?

It's headed out over the Bay to drop off parachutists. These brave men and women are in the final stages of training and must be able to jump out of a plane. They also hang about in the swimming pool for a few hours in their jammies. All part of the survival training for our future defence force leaders.

I remember similar exercises from when I was growing up here. Then, I took my swimming lessons with the new cadets: me learning to swim, them, hunky young men in their jammies floating in the cold water and chilling rain.

When it came time for those young men to jump out of the plane, I stood on the shore and watched; admired them for their courage, feared for their safety, eyed the spectacle of all those 'chutes opening.

Today, little has changed. The base has undergone some construction, some houses are gone, but the men and women training there remain, though less in numbers.

I can't imagine the excitement, the sheer terror of staring out the back of a noisy Caribou and knowing you've got to jump into space and plummet towards the blue of the sea; and hope your landing buddies are there to drag you out of the frigid water before the chute and your clothes drag you beneath the surface. You've got to admire them for that.

Invincible youth. Yeah. By showing courage now, we can be relieved that they will also show courage in the future, when they, and we civilians, need it most. Brave souls, one and all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh, the pain

Yeah, well, it's probably a good thing that we lost the cricket: there is such a thing as being too used to winning. The younger members of the team, as cricket commentator Mark Taylor pointed out, have never been in a losing side. Now they have. It can only give them a better sense of purpose, of pride, and of determination.

Let's face it: it stings to lose. It stings even more when it has been 18 years since the Ashes were last in English hands. It stings the worst when you remember the arrogant predictions of a five - nil whitewash McGrath proclaimed before the Aussies left Australia. *sigh*

It hurts to lose the Ashes, but the English deserve to gloat. They had the consistency, the skills... and why the hell am I being polite about this for. We fucking lost!!! To those mongrel, whinging, smug Poms!

Sure we were wrong in thinking it would be easy, but, MY GOD, to lose those matches in such a way. When those idiots arrive back in Australia, no doubt there will be recriminations along with the 'there-there, you did your best'. To hell with that!

Okay... I'm over it now. Mostly... Some... gotta suck it up...

I'll just concentrate on the footy and not think about cricket for a while...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Dust to dust

I think it is safe to assume that the Ashes are lost to us. We've held the trophy for sixteen years and now it is on its way home. Why the Aussies decided accept the bad light call for the second day running is beyond me. Do they think, that with England's current form, they can still reach a big total and bowl the opposition out?

How realistic is that? It's not even close. England need only a draw and by the way the Aussies are playing, you'd think it was they who needed a draw and not a win.

What the hell is Punter thinking? Fine, Hayden makes a ton. So what? It will be overshadowed by the glee and celebrations of the Poms. And rightly so. They have worked hard to use the Aussie's game against them. With players like Warne contracted to English cricket sides, the Poms have plenty of practice against him. To our detriment. It's made the game more skillful, more exciting and the resurgence of English cricket can only be good for the game.

I'm not saying that the domination of Australian cricket is over, but it certainly looks shaky. The reliance on old, and admittedly effective, strategies has exposed a fatal flaw. It would have been nice for some of the older players to go out with a win, but that's not going to happen.

And much as it pains me... well done to the English. You've worked hard, played hard and won the series.

To other sport and it's finals time in the AFL and ARL. All I can say is: Carn the Dragons!!!

Apropos yesterday, I plugged in the new printer/scanner/copier and it works a treat... after a few bugs were sorted out. I still have the properties in German, but I'm sure I can a) translate or b) work around that.

I finished up half way through the book. In two months' time, the National Novel writing competition begins and I must have some dot points organised before then, so this book must have the edits finished before then. I figure I'm on target to have some down time in December, but who knows? My job contract is up in late November with the prospect of more work. The NaNo book might not be as long as I want it to be by the time I finish, but I love a good challenge and the idea I have is an original one - and book number ten. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lost time

I'm editing this weekend and losing time. It's amazing how involved I can get in the work. Must be fate.

This morning, I picked up an all-in-one printer, scanner and copier to replace individual peripherals. I haven't plugged that sucker in yet, because I had to get these edits done. Sixty-nine pages done today and I'll hopefully follow that up with another sixty odd pages tomorrow. Of course, that's only if I have the full day to work. Visitors on a Sunday is a definite possibility.

The book is going well, though. It reads much better since this is third time I've gone through it. By the time I'm done, I'll re-read it again, then gird my loins and fire off of query letter.

Before I start work tomorrow, I'm gonna play with my new toy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ashes to Ashes

It's down to the wire. The most exciting and closely watched Ashes series for twenty or more years. The older, more experienced Australians versus the young firebrands of England. Australia need to win to retain the Ashes, the English need only a draw.

Commentators have been hedging their bets. Would the English aim for a draw? Thus cheating the sold out crowds of what could be a monumental struggle? Or would they go for the kill and win 3-1?

The Aussies are confident and laid back about their chances; they've been there before and triumphed. The English have already booked Trafalgar Square for the victory celebrations.

Should the Poms beat Australia, will the Captain, Michael Vaughan, and the Coach, be rewarded with Honours ala Sir Clive Woodward and Jonny Wilkinson? Geez, I hope not. As good as the English Rugby Team isn't, on the day they won the World Cup, it came down to luck, to refereeing, to holding the Wallabies and one last gasp in overtime. A win of opportunity. Not the sort of game that should have had Queen's Honours.

None the less, the English won that day, ergo, they were the better team. The cricket, on the other hand, has held the nation's attention. To go for a draw would be criminal and I know the English have more courage than that.

Whatever the outcome of the fifth test - it begins tonight - this series has been spectacular for it's skill, lack of skill, dropped catches, wiley bowling, run chases, near escapes and sheer entertainment.

Good luck to either side, may the best team win.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cleaning Up

With the levees now repaired and the pumps sucking up the the water, the recovery process continues in Hurricane devastated New Orleans. Things, however, are about to get much, much worse.

As the water levels drop, the true nature of the disaster will be revealed: the environmental one. The dead, human and animal, on the streets, in their homes, rotting down to liquid and mixing into the water; petroleum, gas and oil leaks from the refineries, cars, generators, clinging with rainbow iridescence to everything, chemicals from pharmacies, gas stations, supermarkets, auto repairers and other business; raw sewerage, rusting cars, rotting food, and the rest are all being combined to create a toxic and diseased soup. The mess will deteriorate as this poison is absorbed into wood, concrete, stone and plant material.

Those people who want to remain are singleminded in their madness. Will they sue the City of New Orleans in the future should they fall ill due to the toxicity? Blame the Government, the Mayor, the Governor for not trying hard enough to get them out? Some of these people are armed, as the American constitution allows. Sure, they've got a right to bear arms, but this isn't a invasion of people who threaten them, it's an invasion of disease and poisons. Guns won't be much good against those microbes. To reject those who are trying to save them is as irresponsible as it is selfish. Those rescuers have laid their lives on the line day after day to help others.

"I aint goin' nowhere! I gotta a right to bear arms and protect my home!" One lunatic said and punctuated her words with racheting another round into the chamber of her shotgun.

Fine. Ten, twenty, thirty years down the track - should you make it that far - remember those words and the remember that people tried their damnedest to save you and you didn't want to be saved.

Oh, and one last point. With the toxic water being pumped out of New Orleans, it is being washed into the Mississippi and Lake Ponchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico. It will be interesting to see what kind of environmental damage is done and how long it will take to recover.

Perhaps, when it is time to rebuild, the architects, builders and contractors could look at more environmental building materials, stronger materials, safer materials.

Somehow, I don't think that's going to happen. Bigger and better are the catch-cries of the south. So they will rebuild Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian, Long Beach and the other towns, Bigger and Better than they were. Hopefully, they will be built stronger, too.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


There's been a lot of criticism about the way the Australian Government handled the situation of those trapped in New Orleans.

The Opposition suggested that perhaps we should have sent troops into a friendly nation, then steal whatever transport could be found, gone down into a city where roads were blocked and/or under water, find every single missing Aussie, and drag their butts outa there.

Can anyone else see what's wrong with this scenerio?

Gosh, it's easy to criticize when you're in Opposition, when you don't have to actually do anything but comment.

But the stoic, noble, former Defence Minister, came up with one of the worst, most laughable solutions I have ever heard. The Americans weren't letting anyone in but their own troops. Such bravado from the Opposition leader. Willing to risk an international incident with an act of war, just to save our people; sacrifice the many for the few. What an idiot.

I agree that the American Government was criminally negligent in its' failure to understand the gravity of the situation, and the lack of impetus in getting the rescue efforts off the ground. But that is their business, not ours.

You wanna get out of New Orleans? Walk. There was at least one road clear. You got the legs, you use 'em. Someone will find you, or you will find them. Take water, take food, or find it on the way. Rescue yourself.

As for Opposition Leader, Mr Kim Beazley, instead of making ridiculous, embarrassing statements after the event, try being supportive and helpful in suggesting useful plans for the evacuation of our people, no matter where they are.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The American President

Three images of Dubya stand out most in my mind. The first was when an aide leaned over to tell him the twin towers had been bombed by terrorists. Dubya had been reading to a group of school children. His face went blank, as if wondering how to react. He finished reading the story, then left. The second was his expression of earnestness when telling a carefully orchestrated public gathering that they were going to invade Iraq. And the third... most telling of all... was his interview on American television that he had not forgotten New Orleans and that help would be on its way. Why is this an image of import? Because he had humour in his eyes.

I found nothing funny about the situation, nor his total lack of compassion or empathy.

Dubya is a man who has never gone hungry, nor thirsty, has always had shelter, has money out the wazoo and if all else fails, has his Daddy to protect him.

It's as if he feels nothing for these people; has no responsibility. 9/11 was managed by New York's mayor, Rudolph Guiliani; the so called 'war on terror' is managed by the armed forces. Colin Powell advised against such an action and offered to resign. He changed his mind because he felt if he was in charge of such a foolhardy action, at least he could moderate the damage. Now we have New Orleans. And where is he? Holding press conferences. He didn't dare land in the city, he went to a smaller town, where he knew he would be safe; among white amercians. Press the flesh, apologise, say everything will be alright; but no direct action. That's left to the National Guard who were ordered in much too late.

How is it that journalists can fly in but without supplies? How is it mandatory evacuation is ordered but no one bothers to help the poor and destitute out of the city? Worse, not make sure there are enough supplies for them? How can this go on for five days!

The richest country in the world is managed by a failed business man who cares nothing for the poor of the nation and knows nothing about crisis management; has failed on numerous occasions. As long as he feels good about himself - hence the smile on television - everything is alright with the world; his staff can deal with it.

There is only one good thing to come out of his current presidency: it will be his last. Then, maybe, the Americans will have the Government the rest of the world needs: competent, compassionate, intelligent.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Perfect Storm

I've seen the devastation of New Orleans and I grieve with the rest of the US. Such a catastrophy to rival any other in the world in recent years. It will take months, years for a final death toll, for the city to rebuild - if it should.

New Orleans is eight feet below sea level with levees to keep the water at bay. On one side, Lake Ponchartain, on the other, the Mississippi River. Every year, the area loses an acre to submersion: the city is sinking. After this disaster, I have no doubts that the engineers will work extremely hard to make sure this sort of flooding won't happen again.

World wide, people have 'oohed' and 'ahhed' at the pictures, yet no offer of help has come. Instead, blame is being tossed at the American President for not signing the Kyoto Protocol:,1518,372179,00.html

I had no idea that signing a piece of paper would protect a country from natural disasters.

Astonishing, really, that such magic exists.

What these people fail to mention is that the Earth's climate is cyclical. The episodes of drought and flood have greater seasons than yearly events.

The media, of course, deal with sensationalism, the more outrageous the claim, the more public attention, more people have access etcetera, ad nauseum. Ergo, these claims are become false facts.

The Gulf of Mexico, East Coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean are susceptible to hurricanes; Australia is known for droughts and cyclones; Bangladesh, India, China, for floods; California, Albania, Iran for earthquakes. I'm sure you can come up with more.

My point is: just because one bad hurricane hits the U.S. does not mean you can take the opportunity to kick the Americans and say "I told you so". You did not. Storms like this are a rare event. The damage was predicted, the site it hit was predicted, even the death toll was predicted. Unfortunately, telling people to leave, wasn't enough. Perhaps the hurricane warning came too late, perhaps no one believed it would, really be that bad. Whatever reasons exists, the reality is that people are in trouble. Criticizing some amorphous piece of policy that is detrimental to some countries but gives others a warm fuzzy feeling of false accomplishment leads nowhere.

They need rescue workers, they need builders, they need food, clean water, blood, emergency personnel. They need everything we did for the Acehnese after Boxing Day.

Button the lip for now and help them as they have helped other disaster areas of the world.

Tiger's Tail

Salman Rushdie is tempting fate again:

I agree with him. He brought down upon his head a Fatwa by criticizing Islam in his book Satanic Verses. The Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict calling for his execution. That pronoucement in itself shows the perils of giving one man so much power. He had radical fundamentalists hunting a man for writing a few words? I don't see the Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Taoists, the Pagans, the Catholics hunting down people for slights against their religions.

Islamists should get a grip. Like every other religion, it's time for the Islamic Reformation. What the radical moslems are being taught today is, in no way, shape or form, a part of Islamic doctrine. Any moderate will tell you suicide bombing is against islamic teachings; the burkha is a personal choice and woman are supposed to be by their husband's side, not a few steps behind.

There is much in the Koran that has been corrupted by power-hungry Clerics and Mullahs. Worse, they are teaching the young to hate anyone not of their faith, that they are worthy, less than animals. Muhommad would be appalled at how his once peaceful and understanding faith has fallen into the hands of egotistical, arrogant and cowardly men who reply to any sort of criticism with vengeance.

Each and every one of those radical Mullahs has a personal agenda to forward and are using the young and impressionable to see that agenda fulfilled. It has nothing to do with religious intolerance or revenge and everything to do with how many followers the Mullahs can muster.

Just by writing this, I'm grabbing the tiger's tail oo, but I'm secure in the knowledge, that since no one has commented on my previous posts, there are precious few out there reading this blog. That being so, this post will fall into the pit of archives before a Fatwa can be declared on me.

Go, Salman, Go Salman!