Friday, May 29, 2009

A birthday and an email

Yesterday was Jenny's birthday so I took her to a good Indian restaurant at Mt Gravatt that we both like. Jenny updated me on all the family gossip and I was rather surprised that there is another pregnancy in the family -- a Chinese girl. Anyway the baby is much welcomed by the couple concerned so that is the main thing. I gave Jenny a cheque for her birthday and arranged to send Suzy a cheque so that she can have her confinement in a private hospital.

I am also going to put up here an email that I like from a distinguished French scientist. I get emails passed on to me at times and this one was not addressed to me so I am not going to put it on any of my science blogs but I just had to post it somewhere. The writer is a leading expert on the relationships between disease and climate and the "THIS!" that he is commenting on is a quite ignorant article on that topic which recently appeared in "The Times" of London. The "Times" article is no longer accessible but there are some large excerpts from it here. It rather hilariously claimed that global warming would cause huge amounts of illness, just as cholera once did. The email seems to me very French, particularly the last sentence:
I have just returned from Singapore. I am nauseated!

13 hours flight was expected, but one hour starting 0545h waiting for Customs Officers to stop arguing about something (will they strike?), another hour waiting for the back-up of baggages they caused (no baggage-handlers anywhere to be seen), and two hours getting home because of transport strike.

And now THIS!

The main article is a rehash of a similar load of garbage unloaded in 1996, plus (identical wording) other writings of the past, including, I suspect, IPCC. Same drivers too.

They have cherry picked without remorse.

What the hell can we do? I am flabbergasted that this can go on, and on, and on.

I have huge response to my article in Malaria Journal:

Yet these peddlers of garbage quote a 1998 model by two activists whose work is ridiculed by those of us who work in this field.

I explode!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' day and swimming pools

I usually go over to Jenny's place on Mothers' day for lunch but today was a bit different. Jenny put on a BBQ using her new BBQ area. And the food was good of course. The twins were there plus Paul and his Suzy and Von had her Simon. Russell was off sick, which some of us attributed to swine flu! Joe, I and Nanna made up the party. I am sure Jenny was pleased to have all 4 of her children present.

Twinny Suzy's pregnancy was much discussed. Dec. 16 is the due date but she already has scans. Fortunately she is not having twins. Being herself a twin, descended from a long line of twins, it was a peril. She is quite a small person so it would have been hard for her if she had twins. I already notice a change in her. She seems more level-headed or something.

Paul expressed great enjoyment of the computer shop memoirs that I put up recently (April 27 below) so I promised him that I would also put up a small account I wrote at the time time when I tried to buy an above-ground swimming pool for my house at Faversham St. -- a pool that Paul remembers favourably and which is where Joe fell in twice when he was a toddler. On both occasions I had my eye glued on Joe so I fished him out within seconds and he came to no harm.

My purchasing expedition:

Most pool shops at the time were located not far from one-another -- on the Southside where a lot of new housing construction was taking place. And being long experienced with shopping in Australia (and hence VERY cynical), I took my Yellow Pages (business directory) with me on my expedition.

I was not bargain-hunting and I was not looking for anything unusual: An ideal customer, one would think. What I wanted was an 18' circular pool (pools still seem to be sized in feet) but the first shop I walked into said that they only stocked the 15' size. I left them to it.

The second pool shop I walked into was staffed by a woman who said her husband was away that day and she could not give me any prices. I left her to it as well.

The third pool shop I walked into had one salesperson there and a queue of about eight people lined up to buy chlorine etc. I figured that it would take around half an hour before I even got to state what I wanted so I left that lot to it as well.

The fourth shop I walked into did sell the size I wanted, served me promptly, had one installed out the back to show me what it looked like and could arrange installation next week. I therefore presented my Bankcard and they were promptly $2,000 richer. $2,000 in those days (about 20 years ago) would be equivalent to around $4,000 now.

But what about those other three shops that had seen the same $2,000 walk in the door and promptly walk out again? When businesses spend millions on advertising to get a customer through the door, what can they possibly have been thinking of to be (apparently) completely unconcerned about a "big ticket" buyer walking in and then promptly walking out again? Why was only one out of four firms able to show basic competence at what they were doing?

I am sorry to say it but I think it's just Australia -- as my computer shop memoirs also tend to show

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Guilio Cesare

Wow! It's unusual that I put up on this blog anything from the media but some excerpts I found recently from Handel's opera Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) really bowled me over. The excerpts are no longer online but see the whole opera below:

If the embed does not work, click here

The excerpts were from early in the opera as Cleopatra commenced her entrapment of Caesar

Sheer soaring genius! Anne is going to Glyndebourne this year so I hope it is Giulio Cesare that she sees.

Having a counter tenor depict one of the greatest military geniuses of the ancient world is terminally weird but it works -- thanks mainly to Handel's music, I think

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Biriani, sutures and dead people

Today I get the sutures out of my ear resulting from my last cancer excision a week ago. Healing has been very good. Getting cancer on your ear is a bit pesky but my regular plastic surgeon was well up to the challenge.

Jenny has been looking after me to to some extent while Anne is away in Britain and she made me a GREAT Indian biriani last Saturday. I had the leftovers for tea on Sunday too. A biriani is a very fancy curry and rice.

I was thinking of Anne just now and an amusing exchange between us came to mind. She comes from a very similar background to mine so I speak broad Australian with her, using all the brilliant old Australian slang that I love. You CANNOT express yourself as vividly in standard English as you can in Australian slang. I also have attitudes that were mostly mainstream when and where I grew up -- in North Queensland in the '40s and 50's. So I asked her once whom I most reminded her of -- thinking that she might name other Queensland old-timers such as her wonderful old nonagenarian stepfather, Bill. She named a number of people -- all of whom were DEAD! I am definitely a dinosaur.

One of the great ironies about Australian slang is that it is no longer understood by many young Australians, who have their own slang, mostly of American origin, I think. It survives among working class people and country people pretty well, however, but where it survives best of all is among Australia's outcasts: The Aborigines (blacks). A lot of their language is from yesteryear. As they are in a sense the most Australian of Australians, it is somehow fitting that their English is the most Australian too