Sunday, May 31, 2009

What a crazy country

No fury like an Iraqi scorned

Rod Nordland, Baghdad
May 31, 2009

It goes like this: Boy meets girl. They exchange glances and text messages, the limit of respectable courting here. Then boy asks girl's father for her hand. Dad turns him down. Boy goes to girl's house and plants a bomb.

The authorities call it a "love IED", or improvised explosive device, and it is not just an isolated case. Police captain Nabil Abdul Hussein of the Iraqi national police said six had exploded in the Dora district of Baghdad alone in the past year.

"These guys, they face any problem with their girlfriends, family, anyone, and they're making this kind of IED," he said.

There have been no reported deaths or injuries from the devices. "Usually they're putting them in front of the doors of their houses, not to kill, but to scare them," Captain Hussein said.

Police say many of the men are former insurgents who are no longer trying to kill foreign troops but who have an array of bomb-making skills and a stash of TNT.

"There was a percentage of young men who were co-operating with the al-Qaeda organisations, or the Shia militias," Captain Hussein said. "They've changed their minds about fighting now, but they still have good experience in how to make IEDs."

Police in Dora have recorded only one arrest, involving a young man caught and convicted of planting a love IED. He is Omar Abdul Hussein, 18, known as Cisco, a former supporter of the country's main Sunni insurgent group. Cisco was rejected by his girlfriend's father three times. He planted a bomb by their garden wall and set it off.

Since he lived just next door, it was a short manhunt. Cisco was tried and convicted — of terrorism.

"Another guy shot up his girlfriend's house to force the family to give her in marriage," Captain Hussein said. "We've faced this many times."

Police Colonel Samir Shatti recalled a recent case of a student upset with his results who planted in his teacher's office three drink-can bombs wired with a timer. The bombs didn't go off.


Palestine victim of Arab betrayal

Palestine victim of Arab betrayal by Nonie Darwish
March 20, 2009
Article from:  The Australian

INTERNATIONAL donors pledged almost $4.5 billion in aid for Gaza earlier this month. During the past few years it has been very painful for me to witness the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that narrow strip where I lived as a child in the 1950s.

The media tends to attribute Gaza's decline solely to Israeli military and economic actions against Hamas. But such a myopic analysis ignores the problem's root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at cementing the Palestinian people's status as stateless refugees to use their suffering as a weapon against Israel.

As a child in Gaza in the '50s, I experienced the early results of this policy. Egypt, which controlled the territory then, conducted guerilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza. My father commanded these operations, carried out by Palestinian fedeyeen (Arabic for self-sacrifice).

Back then, Gaza was already the front line of the Arab jihad against Israel. My father was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1956. It was in those years that the Arab League started its Palestinian refugee policy. Arab countries implemented special laws designed to make it impossible to integrate the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab war against Israel. Even descendants of Palestinian refugees who are born in another Arab country and live there their entire lives can never gain that country's passport.

Even if they marry a citizen of an Arab country, they cannot become citizens of their spouse's country. They must remain Palestinian even though they may have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza. This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis. So was the Arab policy of overpopulating Gaza.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose main political support comes from Arab countries, encourages high birthrates by rewarding families with many children. Yasser Arafat said the Palestinian woman's womb was his best weapon.

Arab countries always push for classifying as many Palestinians as possible as refugees. As a result, about one-third of the Palestinians in Gaza still live in refugee camps. For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

Now it is Hamas, an Islamist terror organisation supported by Iran, that is using and abusing Palestinians for this purpose. While Hamas leaders hid in the well-stocked bunkers and tunnels they prepared before they provoked Israel into attacking them, Palestinian civilians were exposed and caught in the deadly crossfire between Hamas and Israeli soldiers.

As a result of 60 years of this Arab policy, Gaza has become a prison camp for 1.5 million Palestinians. Both Israel and Egypt are fearful of terrorist infiltration from Gaza - all the more so since Hamas took over - and have always maintained tight controls over their borders with Gaza.

The Palestinians continue to endure hardships because Gaza continues to serve as the launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Those attacks come in the form of Hamas missiles that indiscriminately target Israeli kindergartens, homes and businesses. And Hamas continued these attacks more than two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in the hope that this step would begin the process of building a Palestinian state, eventually leading to a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

There was no cycle of violence then, no justification for anything other than peace and prosperity.But, instead, Hamas chose Islamic jihad. Gazans' and Israelis' hopes have been met with misery for Palestinians and missiles for Israelis.

Hamas, an Iranian proxy, has become a danger not only to Israel but also to Palestinians as well as to neighbouring Arab states, which fear the spread of radical Islam could destabilise their countries. Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. If they really loved their Palestinian brethren, they would pressure Hamas to stop firing missiles at Israel.

In the longer term, the Arab world must end the Palestinians' refugee status and thereby their desire to harm Israel. It's time for the 22 Arab countries to open their borders and absorb the Palestinians of Gaza who wish to start a new life. It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.

Nonie Darwish, who grew up in Gaza City and Cairo, is the author, most recently, of Cruel and Usual Punishment (Thomas Nelson).

Friday, May 29, 2009

This Day one year ago: Maldives

Hard to believe that one year ago I was diving off Maldives.

Actually to be honest, it got rather boring on the 5th day.

Maybe the feeling of being with cute chicks in bikinis for 9 full days got to me afterawhile.... hmmm...

It was the first time I was on a full-on dive boat (otherwise known as live-on-board "LOB"). And this was a looong dive trip.

I didn't know what to expect really.

The sea conditions were a bit rough and a few of the divers got sick.

I didn't get sea sick but the constant motion made me edgy, snappish after the 5th or 6th day.

I got fatigued. Not bored but a bit tired of the diving, sea waves etc.. I should have brought along a good book to read. Or some computer game. (Wait, I actually did). But it just got a bit tiresome on that LOB. Nothing wrong with the boat I hasten to add. But the rough seas threw me off a bit. I was really killing for a good back massage. Sleeping on that rocking boat just didn't work for me.

Nonetheless, it was one of the best diving trips ever. I think I did over 30 dives. And the photos I took came out pretty darn fantastic!!

Most of the dives were normal. You see a few big stuff here and there. Like the Manta Rays.

But the currents were very strong. Challenging dives.

The dive with the Whale Shark took place in rather turbulent seas. Waves 1m high.

I also didn't know most of the other divers and I... err.. inadvertently insulted some of them with my special brand of humor.

I also need to watch what I say. My female dive buddy was complaining of nausea and reflux/vomitting. And I said, "Well, you need to eat less."

She was a bit plumb compared to the others and my statement went down like a ton of lead weights. Everyone in the dinning room went dead silent and stared at me. I tried to explain that I had the same problem which I resolved by eating smaller meals but to no avail. Alamak!!!!!

Another problem: my use of my new Uwatec dive computer which has more liberal dive settings caused some consternation with the dive masters who were using Suunto dive computers with stricter tolerances.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Autumn Dinner Party: Brewed Hazelnut Coffee and Noritake Tea Gazing

On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of hosting a dinner party for friends. Good fun these things.

But it got off to a chaotic start. I love doing all the peripherals first- like..

1. Getting the Fireplace ready. I spent half the day trying to locate my axes to chop some firewood and harvest pine cones; but couldn't locate them. Then wasted another 1 hour harvesting pine cones from a nearby park but all I came up with were the old crap. All the nice brown fresh cones were all gone.

2. Aromatherapy. Now where's my old aromatherapy candles and burner gone??... 30 minutes..

3. Let's put out some books for my guests to read. 20 minutes... Distracted reading an old Architecture magazine 5 minutes... Turn on Valve amp to warm it up...

4. Cleaning house another hour.

5. Shopping another hour...

6. 5:45pm Guests coming in 15 minutes ... ARGHHH!!!!

7. Peel Onions which takes forever.

Fry Mince (at least I took out the mince early to thaw thank God). 

Chop the mushrooms. Stir Pot. Pour in Tomato Paste Sauce. Lower Fire... Simmer. Clean the Tomatoes - which were all grown in my garden. Chop Tomato stem section and throw them in.

Start Boiling water for pasta.

Chop Celery. Jalepeno Peppers... Brussel Sprouts. Stir Pot. Door Bell rings. Greet 1 Guest. Make Light chit chat. Stir Pot. Throw in vegetables. Ding Dong. More Guest arrive.... HELLO!! ... mingle. Dress table.

Somehow when I began frying the onions I go into uber mode and start multi-tasking like a Geni. 

8. Crap! Forgot to cut the parsley. And its lost in the fridge somewhere... NEVERMIND!!! Get Al to choose the wine. Roger is filling in the fireplace.

9. Pasta is done!!! Serve food... Entertain!!!!

10. Brew Coffee and deploy my antique 50 year old Noritake Arlene coffee/ tea set. WOOHOO!!!!

I love hearing great conversation and seeing my friends enjoy their food and drink.

It also gives me the chance to share some of the small pleasures I enjoy with my friends - like my fireplace, drinking brewed freshly ground coffee, my omg pretty 50 year old Noritake Arlene Tea/Coffee set and lying on the Persian Carpets chatting about life, God and nothing... the women come and go talking of Michelangelo... haha.

I also love cooking my spaghetti bolognese pasta which goes soooo well with red wine during colder weather.

Jeremy and Karen brought two boxes of yummy Krispy Kream Dounuts... really nice with the coffee.

Roger brought microwave popcorn but we didn't get a chance to use it. (I wonder whether it would work in the fireplace?)

Sorry Sue Mei - I didn't have mayo for your potato salad. ekk...

I wasn't too happy with my brewed coffee. This particular blend used Hazelnuts, French vanilla and I'm afraid too much FVanilla coffee beans was added to the mix by mistake.

But most importantly all my guests had a great time.

What fun. I used to have so many dinners like this at my place a number of years back. Its good to have another one.

(Memo to self- next time stock up the fireplace storage earlier. Too troublesome to go get the firewood from the garage).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Good samaritan stalked then stabbed to death in Brunswick

(Unfortunately if the murderers are caught they'll spend about 2 - 5 years in jail for manslaughter.)
The brother of a man bashed and stabbed to death in Melbourne on the weekend after he tried to break up a brawl says the assailants may have fled the country.
"I've had some information on one, possibly three of the offenders have fled the country to Thailand," Shane Mitchell told Fairfax Radio Network on Monday.
"By all accounts they could have been on a plane as early as lunchtime early yesterday."
Mr Mitchell said police had indicated they had a strong chance of extraditing at least one of the men.
Luke Mitchell was stabbed five times and kicked while he lay on the ground about 2.16am (AEST) on Sunday as his friends and sister-in-law Daniella, Shane's wife, pleaded with the attackers to stop.
He died later that morning in hospital.
Shane Mitchell said one of the men was quite seriously injured in the attack and police believe they could link the DNA of that person to the crime scene, with the hope of extraditing the man back to Australia.
Mr Mitchell said a car believed to belong to the attackers had been found dumped not far from the scene in Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Police had tracked the car to an address and staked out the home, but nobody had been found, Mr Mitchell said.
Mr Mitchell said his brother had stepped in to break up a brawl outside the Spot nightclub in Sydney Road, Brunswick, in the early hours of Sunday morning, that was threatening to spill over and involve his sister-in-law who was calling for a stop to the violence.
Luke Mitchell and his sister-in-law were then dropped off by friends at a 24-hour store to hail a cab but were confronted by the attackers who stabbed and kicked Luke.
Mr Mitchell said Victorian Premier John Brumby and Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland needed to take the lead to clean up the streets.
"I really think that John Brumby, Simon Overland, whoever needs to get together ... with the police to be able to show some presence and show some powers on the street, because this is just getting out of control."
Mr Mitchell said his brother's death was the "tragic loss of a beautiful, beautiful person and completely unnecessary".
He said his brother was a "gentle, gentle person".

FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments

Fun times in a liberal left household: Living in 1984

I found this childhood story about a liberal left household particularly amusing.

Here are a few excerpts...

How I became an accidental conservative:
In an excerpt from his new book, SPIEGEL editor Jan Fleischhauer describes his childhood in a typical West German liberal family, with parents who wouldn't let him eat oranges because they were grown in countries ruled by dictators, and his coming out as a late conservative.

I had a very sheltered childhood; it's just that I was sheltered by liberals. I saw my first Disney film together with my own children. When McDonald's opened a restaurant in our neighborhood, my father gave me a serious talk about the corruptive influence of American fast-food culture. The enjoyment of my first burger was an act of adolescent rebellion, and to this day, I still feel slightly guilty on my occasional visits to McDonald's.

I am part of a generation in Germany that knows no other reality than the dominance of the left. Everyone was a liberal where I grew up. My parents' friends -- and their friends, of course -- all voted for the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD), and later for the Green Party.

There is nothing wrong with growing up in a household in which the national origins of fast food are turned into a political issue, one that sheds light on correct awareness. From an early age, one is trained to be on the lookout for moral snares. In our family, as in all good leftist families, seemingly ordinary, everyday decisions were imbued with a momentousness difficult to comprehend for anyone but the politically initiated. Every item purchased at the supermarket was subjected to an assessment of not only its freshness and flavor, but also its moral quality. Organic oatmeal was clearly superior to industrial muesli, even if it tasted like bran, because we were always suspicious of major brands and supported small cooperatives.

Naturally, my mother was fundamentally opposed to buying Pepsi (because of its associations with the United States, big industry and Republicans) or Coca-Cola (USA, big industry, Democrats), except for children's birthday parties or when we were sick and nauseous. Then we were given small amounts of the ice-cold beverage, which is why I still associate Coca-Cola with sickness today. When the papers reported that children in Africa had died after consuming Nestlé powdered milk, Nesquik immediately disappeared from the breakfast table. When a friend told me that Smarties candies were also made by Nestlé, I prayed ardently that my mother would never find out.

I ate almost no oranges until I was 13, an experience I share with British journalist Nick Cohen, as I recently discovered to my surprise. It appears that all children of liberals throughout the West experienced certain deprivations.

Oranges were such a rare commodity for us because -- for a period that unfortunately coincided with our childhood -- the world's citrus fruit-producing countries had fallen into the hands of Latin American strongmen or otherwise questionable autocratic rulers. We couldn't buy Spanish oranges as long as General Francisco Franco was in power, because every purchase would have signified indirect support for his dictatorship. South Africa was out of the question, because of its apartheid regime, and Jaffa oranges from Israel seemed politically incorrect for as long as the Palestinians had to suffer. We still had oranges from Florida at first, but that ended when Richard Nixon was elected president. Franco's death in November 1975, at 82, was the only reason my brother and I did not succumb to scurvy.

To my chagrin, my mother had also developed a strong aversion to comics. They were trash, she concluded, and there would be no trash in our house. There was one exception: "Asterix." I owned every issue, from "Asterix the Gaul" to "Asterix in Corsica." Anything that came from France was considered culturally valuable and thus exempt from the taint of trashiness. There were also fine distinctions when it came to television. Hollywood was considered the worst of trash, unless the films were old and in black-and-white, or directed by German emigres like Billy Wilder or Ernst Lubitsch, in which case they were cultural artifacts and suitable for children. How my father managed to convince my mother that the Western series "Bonanza" was suitable family fare for Sunday viewing is still a mystery to me.

Read the rest here:,1518,626346,00.html

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Tango - Dance in the film Easy Virtue

A dramatic moment in the film Easy Virtue. I love the dance scene - one day I gotta learn to dance like that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Australian Speeding Fines

Got this in my mail today. Rather than spamming my friends- I'll put it up in my blog.

Probably true.


Hi All,

Just had a conversation about speed tickets and all that. So passing in this knowledge to you.

If you have a speeding offence for speeds up to 10km/h over the speed limit, you can apply for an official warning.

 Details about how you can apply are contained in the link:

 I recently got one, and had it withdrawn in favour of an official warning.

 Below is a sample letter I wrote in. Just change it to meet your requirements.

 Hope it can help you guys.



Friday, May 22, 2009

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle

Start:     Jun 14, '09 2:30p
Location:     St Marks Church, Fitzroy
To celebrate our 15th anniversary, Gloriana presents a special performance of Rossini's Petite Messe Sollennelle. Scored for choir, soloists, piano and harmonium, it is one of Rossini's most important and fascinating works.

Paradoxically being neither little, solemn nor especially liturgical in spirit, the miracle of the Petite Messe Sollennelle is that in the end it is also deeply moving. Gloriana is joined by soprano Danielle Calder, mezzo Caroline Vercoe, tenor Jacob Caine, bass-baritone Sam Dundas, Elyane Laussade on piano and Christopher Cook on harmonium.

Sunday 14 June 2009 at 2:30pm
St Mark's Anglican Church 250 George Street Fitzroy Mel 2CC9
Tickets $25 pre-purchased or $30 at the door

Danielle Calder completed her Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she was the winner of the Sleath Lowrey Rotary Scholarship and the Armstead Singing Scholarship. She also won the 2005 Dame Joan Hammond Greenroom Award. Danielle is currently a member of the Victorian Opera Developing Artists' Program and appeared as Giannetta in their recent production of The Elixir of Love.

Caroline Vercoe began her operatic training at the Victorian College of the Arts under the tuition of Dame Joan Hammond. After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Caroline began her professional operatic career with the VSO Schools Company. She has since performed in principal roles with Opera Australia, Melbourne Opera, TSO and most recently sang the mezzo solo in Verdi's Requiem in the Sydney Opera House for the Sydney Philarmonia.

Jacob Caine studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and has appeared in principal and featured roles as a chorister and soloist for Opera Australia, OzOpera, Melbourne Opera and Victorian Opera. In 2009 Jacob will perform the roles of Alfredo (La Traviata), and Scaramuccio (Ariadne auf Naxos). Jacob is currently a Developing Artist with Victorian Opera.

Sam Dundas is a graduate of the Melba Conservatorium of Music. His performance experience encompasses opera, musical theatre and concerts and he has performed throughout Australia and also New Zealand. His concert repertoire includes Pilatus (St John Passion), Bass Soloist (Mozart Requiem) and concerts with the TSO, MSO, SASO, WASO, Auckland Philharmonic, Opera Queensland and Victorian Opera.

Elyane Laussade's orchestral debut at age thirteen brought immediate recognition of her sensitivity and interpretative flair. A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, Dr Laussade's concerts have led her across the United States from New York City's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Recital Hall to South Africa, Australia and Europe. She now teaches at the Melba Conservatorium, Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts.

Christopher Cook has been Director of Music at St Peter's Church Eastern Hill (1994-2002) and an organ lecturer for the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne and Monash Universities. Currently a Director of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, Christopher recently returned to Melbourne after five years in Brisbane, where he was Director of Music at St John's Cathedral.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Atonement (A film about a nosy spoiled young girl with a fubar imagination)

Genre: Mystery & Suspense
I finally got around to watching Atonement.

Surprisingly, I didn't like it. Its a period film set in the 1930s about a rich upper class lady who falls in love with a servant. Usually I'm a sucker for these sorts of films. But the heart of the story is what I intensely disliked.

It was nonetheless technically brilliant. Superb scene transitions. Great acting.

But to have the story being told from that awful young girl. Man, I wanted to slap that little minx's face so hard.

And to have that ending??? When you already know the truth??? It felt soooo fake I wanted to scream.

You don't have to imagine the bloody truth. Speak it out for @#$% sake!!!!

It would have been better for it to have ended with the interview and the aging woman writer being chastised publicly for her cowardice. Her fictional account only compounds the falsehood of her childhood fictional testimony.

Franz Kafka - Before the Law

Franz Kafka
Before the Law
This translation by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, has certain copyright restrictions.  For information please use the following link: Copyright.  For comments or question please contact Ian Johnston..  For more links to Kafka e-texts in English click here. This text was last revised on February 21, 2009]

Before the Law
Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment.
The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” The gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside.
When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try going inside in spite of my prohibition. But take note. I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I cannot endure even one glimpse of the third.”
The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside.
The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet.

The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.”

During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this first one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud; later, as he grows old, he only mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has also come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper.

Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. Now he no longer has much time to live.

Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things considerably to the disadvantage of the man.

“What do you still want to know now?” asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?”

The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Easy Virtue

In 1925, the heir of a large country manor marries a beautiful American female racing car driver and mayhem ensues. Its a comedy of manners and cultural differences.

A period film - its got fantastic set decorations - that manor is really to die for.

I'll give it 7/10. If you liked Gosford Park, Merchant Ivory films, you'll like this one too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

The ending of Lost Season 5

Oh my God. It was the most awesome season show stopping ending - EVER!!!!

In some ways, this particular episode reminded me about Samuel Beckett's play - Waiting for Godot - its about two men arguing about God, faith etc..

I won't say too much as there are many people who have not seen Season 5 yet.

But let me reassure you - seeing this season is like walking into a Grand Manor. You like the outer fields, you like the inner gardens, you walk inside the foier, and each step of the way, it just get amazing and awesome!!!!

Oh and by the way, the answer to "What lies in the shadow of the Statue?"

The answer is:

(don't look if you don't want to know!!!)

""Ille qui nos omnes servabit"

Click on it for the translation.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Solomon's Song of Songs: Trying too hard to fit a Round Peg in a Square Hole

"You're really reaching there". I can't remember where I heard that expression from. Its used to describe people who are trying pathetically hard to do a (likely futile) task.

I always cringe whenever I hear a theologian trying to ascribe theological insights into Solomon's Song of Songs, ie. claiming its only about Jesus' marriage with the church. Indirectly perhaps. But to preach from the whole book of Sol's Song of Songs in its entirety??? And trying to draw theological insights from 8:10 ???

It reminds me of a horrible sermon preached once by a pentecostal layman preacher where he made comments about "making love to Jesus" during his quiet time - and how we must have "a love nest" with God. wtf???

Aiiiiyohhhhhh.... and they wonder why there is a drop off in church attendance.

Solomon's Song of Songs is a small book (numbering only a few pages) in the Bible = just after Proverbs and Eccelsiastes. Its all about a king and his new blushing bride. To me- its a poem mainly about a king and his blushing young bride. They obviously love each other and go into some detail about their love making. Hey, and I think its good. Love, sex - its all part of God's design. Great! We get, in between other books about fire, sin, judgement, plucking out ones eye due to lust, brimestone, unforgivable sin, eternity in the Lake of Fire, eternal damnation, we get a book celebrating God ordained sex and love. Wonderful! However....

Occasionally you get preachers who preach from it and attempt to claim that the book is only and all about Jesus and the church. And when they do, I feel like jumping up  and harangue the preacher: Ayah!!! Cmon. That Solomon? The one with 100,000 wives and concubines? Honestly, can't you find another book in the Bible to preach on today???? Pleeeeeaseeeee!!!!! Spare me the Agony!!!!!

Why can't they leave it alone? The sexual allusions contained in it make it too hard to fit into a straight forward Biblical allegory about Jesus and the Church. Besides, you can't preach that sort of thing in a Sunday Church service where there are many Christians and non-believers of different faith levels and ages. I mean seriously. Don't go there man. There are what over 100 other books in the Bible to preach from. Don't do this.

(Haha on a contrary note, I just remembered one of my Sunday school songs: "My beloved is mine and I am his, His Banner of me is Love." I love that song. )

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some reasons why India never evolved into a world power

Example: The reverence India has for its shamans, its misogynistic culture with its obession for male heirs and the bride dowry. And this too:

True story:

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An Indian man who fathered seven daughters has not washed for 35 years in an apparent attempt to ensure his next child is a boy, newspapers reported.

Kailash "Kalau" Singh replaces bathing and brushing his teeth with a "fire bath" every evening when he stands on one leg beside a bonfire, smokes marijuana and says prayers to Lord Shiva, according to the Hindustan Times.

"It's just like using water to take a bath," Kalau was reported as saying. "A fire bath helps kill germs and infection in the body."

Kalau, 63, from a village outside the holy city of Varanasi, outraged his family by refusing to take a ritual dip in the river Ganges even after his brother died five years ago.

"I still don't remember how it all began," he said in Saturday's edition of the paper. "I just know it started about 35 years ago."

Kalau's hygiene regime has taken its toll on his professional life.

The grocery store that he used to own closed when customers stopped shopping there due to his "unhealthy personality" and he now tills fields near Varanasi airport.

Kalau, who wears two pullovers all through the Indian summer, said his pledge not to wash was a commitment to the "national interest."

"I'll end this vow only when all problems confronting the nation end," he said.

But his neighbours in the village of Chatav said there was another reason for Kalau's washing boycott.

"A seer once told Kalau that if he does not take a bath, he would be blessed with a male child," a man called Madhusudan told the paper.

Most Indians prefer sons, who are typically regarded as breadwinners, while girls are seen as a burden because of the matrimonial dowry demanded by a groom's family and the fact that their earnings go to their husband's family.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Worry, fear, bills

I just received two horrible bills in the mail.

The first one was from my new Electricity company -Origin- they took over in Sept of last year but somehow never got around to sending me the bill.

When they did - it included an extraordinary amount for Offpeak usage in Sept-Dec. $1500 for an 85 day period. WTF? Usually its about $100 or $200.

I called up and the operator kept on asking me repeatedly whether I had installed any new electrical appliances like a hot water heater which can be very expensive to run. She was stonewalling me and I was getting no where. I gave up.

Obviously the reading (done manually) was incorrect. So I called up the previous old electricity company SE and asked them for the old reading to compare. Duh. Turns out they never bothered taking the offpeak reading.

So I called up Origin again - and thankfully I got an operator who was a bit more helpful. After a bit of discussion - she said its obviously an error in the first reading of the meter- and told me she'd send back the bill to the accounts dept and get them to sort it out. Fingers crossed now.

At least I know how to read the electricity meter now.


I also recently switched ISPs. My contract with my old ISP had expired - leaving me free to choose a new one. So I did. Unfortunately, I forgot that my home phone is still under contract with Optus. They called me up and hooked me up with a new phone contract last October- but it wasn't activated until March of this year. The termination fee comes to $440 including GST. ARGHHH!!! I couldn't believe that the home silly land line phone would cost so bloody much.

I called up Optus and they said the only way they could waiver it is if I returned back to them. The problem is my new ISP bundled my internet plan together with the phone. So I'm not sure whether I'll end up coping another fine with my new ISP.

I emailed my new ISP and asked for help. Hopefully we'll work out something.

Appropriately the Bible verse for today is this:
"Therefore do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body... For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,... each day has enough trouble on its own." Bible Matthew 6.25-11.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Driving Drunk, Armed but still mechanically sound

A man was caught driving drunk and armed with an unlicensed firearm.

His car also did not have a bonnet as he had hooked up the battery externally. It was sitting in the passenger seat with a pack of beer resting on top for balance. The bonnet was removed - in a mandom logic manner - to allow the connecting cables access to the engine. The first battery was dead. Otherwise he would have had to cut a hole in the bonnet which is what I'd probably have done :)

He was also unlicensed to drive and speeding over the limit. He also faces charges of driving an unroadworthy vehicle, disobeying traffic signals, etc..

Which is expected as he's a man from Weribee.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Phoenix Chapter 1: Draft2

Phoenix Fire thy beauty inspire
Mortal Men to accomplish immortal deeds,
Through heat and molten rain
Thy Birth is borne in such utter pain

A man stands alone on a pristine beautiful beach. He is tall, handsome, well built, rugged. A perfect specimen of Australian manhood. Once he was offered a spot on the Collingwood football team. He rejected it, he hated Collingwood. :)

(Man is like Christian Bale)

He is alone. Early morning. The air is bitingly cold. But the man does not notice even though he’s wearing just a pair of board shorts.

The beach is immense; the white sandy shoreline stretches for miles. It was as beautiful as it was since the first day of creation. There is absolutely no sign of human habitation. No cigarette butts, no broken bottles, just creamy white fine sand washed for eons in the cold salt oceanic waters.

He has been staring out into the vast ocean for a long time. It has a hypnotic hold on him. Suddenly, he breaks into a jog, crashed into the roaring surf and dives into the foaming sea and starts swimming straight towards the horizon.

His name is Jack Brown and he wants to end his life today.

He swam through that cold sea. The frigid current from the Antarctic met the South Australian Ocean here. His breaths were measured. His movements calm. Jack looked quite relaxed for someone who was planning to commit suicide by drowning. He planned to just swim until he ran out of strength and the ocean consumes him.

Jack was quite calm. Ridiculously serene actually. Everything seemed matter of fact. He didn't want to live any more. And today was a good day to die. He would just continue swimming pacing himself. Be the first man to swim to the South Pole, he thought to himself, and added “and then to be eaten by a Polar Bear”, and laughed.

Yet his strong sinewy muscles grew cold in the waters. Hypothermia was setting in. After a few more hours, he would get muscle cramps, he would struggle in the open sea. The dark waves would swallow him and he would finally drown.

All kinds of thoughts and past events were swirling around in his head like a merry go round. But it was too painful, too horrible for him to remember. He struggled with the haunting images in his mind and failed to overcome them. And so retreated into the physical world and concentrated on his swimming. Crafting every stroke. Measuring each breath. Perfecting the motion. Onwards he swam boldly in the blue sea. Alone and unafraid of its cold dark depths, yet paradoxically fearful of the monsters that slumbered inside his own mind.
After several hours of swimming, he heard a voice. He paused, incredulous. He was by now miles out into the open sea. He kept on swimming and the voice grew more louder and desperate. He stopped swimming again and started looking around. Was he going crazy? It was a woman's voice. Insane, out here??? And she was crying for help.


Jack swam towards the sound of her cries for help and found the drowning woman. She was struggling in the current, exhausted and desperately trying to keep her head above water.

He reached her just as she was about to disappear beneath the grey sea.

"What are you doing out here?"

She spluttered: "Fucking drowning. What the hell do you think??".

His eyes was still clouded in stunned disbelief, when she snapped, "The boat!"

He turned and looked - and saw a yacht a few miles away.

(the woman is like Miranda Otto)

The current was strong - and it was a tough struggle to reach the boat. There was a loud party that was going on - plenty of alcohol. Pretty women in colorful bikinis or in various states of undress. A roaring party. It didn't seem as if anyone would have noticed them. Fortunately, someone spotted their cries for help and a small dingy was launched to rescue the struggling swimmers.


By this time everyone on the ship stopped whatever they were doing and were watched the drama.

Jack felt very self conscious as they were both helped onto the ship's deck. He felt uneasy with all the attention, especially the young women whose eyes wandered over his body with wanton carelessness.

A tall large man with a booming voice came forward and shook his hand with the aggression of a terrier. (someone like Kerry Packer)

"Mate, thanks for saving my wife."

"Yeah, no worries."

"My name with Kerry Wever. My mates call me "Weave". And this is my boat. Make yourself at home. Can I get you a beer mate?"

Jack shrugged. But Weave pushed a bottle into his hands.

"Here have this. Its great stuff – it’s a boutique Tasmanian lager." I liked it so much I bought the brewery, he winked.

The tall loud mouthed man eyed Jack inquisitively and rolled, "I can't see your boat, where is it mate?"

Jack stared stone faced not knowing what to say. A few of the beautiful young girls crowded around Kerry, staring at him with feline curiosity.

He stammered, the effects of the hypothermia still clogging his brain cells, "I don't have one... I err... I was out for a swim."

"You were out for WHAT?!!!"  a bemused Kerry roared, almost choking on his laughter.

The girls started giggling.

"A Swim." muttered Jack defensively.

"Out here?"

"@#k mate. You've come out a @#king long way for a @#$king swim mate." Kerry said with a mocking tone.

An old grizzly sailor from the boat's bridge - leaned over the railing and said, "Boss, if you're trying to swim to Tasmania you're a bit late mate."

(The old sailor is like Estaban from the film "Life Aquatic".)

"Tasmania???" Jack startled, feeling very foolishly. He had this image of himself running aground into a Tasmania beach and screwing up his suicide attempt.

"A sheila's done it already. Swam there in 14 hours across the Bass. But you're going the wrong way mate, you're heading to the South Pacific Ocean."

A wave of laughter spilt out from the women and other guests. Half of them lost interest and had wandered off to restart the party.

At this stage, Jack angrily gritted his teeth and plotted to jump back into the sea the moment their backs were turned.

Kerry, his dominance assured, slapped him on his back with his fat hand.

"Sorry son. We're just having some fun." "Sit down. You must be exhausted. You're 100km out at sea." "We've got some great sausages on the barbie."

The aroma of fresh barbecued steak and sausages drifted through the air. Jack gagged, it was a stench nauseating him.

(to be continued...)

YaummingChiam Copyright 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Listening to Delibes - Flower Duet from the Opera Lakme

I foolishly thought this tune was written by Yanni in the 1990s. Duhhhhhh.... :)

No, it was written 100 years ago by the French composer Delibes.

I think its one of the most beautiful love songs ever written by man. Don't you feel the love and longing in the heart beat of this song? It fills me with so much hope and positive energy.

Its also oozing with sensuality and evoking a sense of luxurious surroundings. Or perhaps gliding through a river into the heart of a fantastic raintree forest filled with beautiful singing birds in the time of Eden.

You can hear it here:

Listen to the cresendo - it really lifts the soul sky high.

Monday, May 04, 2009


I'm not sure whether this act of stupidity is partly caused by drinking the crappy disgusting water in South Australia - but yeah, this may just be a post-modern wtf.

In South Australia the penalty for growing marijuana is $300.

But if you supply supermarket plastic bags - you are fined $315.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Prestination vs Free Will: God loved Jacob and hated Esau

One of the verses and chapters I really disliked in the Bible are the verses in Romans 9:11:

"Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls... "Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated."

Its all about - Predestination- the concept that God hath ordained everything for His purpose.

Consider the work of God: for who can make straight, that which He hath made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:11

I dislike the concept because it messes with the idea of free will. That humans can repent and change. And it throws up the whole paradox of original sin and God's sovereign will and the problem of Evil. Explain it wrong - and you end up wrecking people's faith in the goodness of God. And talking with certain Christians who have very definite views on predestination can really ruin your Christian walk.

I just want to address two points - God and Esau.

First, God. I don't think God exists in the same human frame time. God is a supernatural being, a thousand years is like a day to Him. God may also be above time. Meaning, he may be viewing human history in the same way as we can read "A History of Ancient Britain". ie. He already knows the end. He's read the story before. In fact, He already knows what we will be doing 10 years from now and probably what our children's children fate will be. God considers human history in probably the same way we see an old library story book that's pass its due by date.

Why? He's God. Is God bound by time?

Anyways back to some ground works.

In church we read about how Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of hot soup. I'm sure right now, it so freaking cold, that some people would have some sympathy for that hairy bugger.

(On the scale of OT sins - ie murdering your brother out of spite, abandoning your wife to lustful heathen kings, throwing out your servant girl and (love)child into the wild desert,
selling your little brother to slave traders, plotting the death of a comrade in arms to take his wife, etc. etc. etc... this particular sin may seem relatively trivial to the modern mind.)*
Esau probably said his now infamous words - not thinking too much about it - after all he was exhausted from hunting. He doesn't come across as a very smart guy and was probably something similar to Conan the Barbarian... maybe like Samson. Plenty of brawn, not much brain- and not much morals either. Its not like he plotted to murder his younger brother like Cain. Poor Esau.
If I was Esau, I would have simply bashed up Jacob - giving the little brat a damn good beating for being so impertinent - and taken the soup. "You little faggot!!! I'm out there busting my chops hunting for game for Dad whilst you're indoors playing housey with mummy. And you dare ask me to sell my birthrights for what!!!??? A bowl of beans? Fry me some chicken wings before I smack you in the mouth a 77th time."
The Bible writes that Esau doesn't care for his spiritual birthrights. He actually did- as seen when he went before his father and asked for his deathbed's blessing and cried when he did not get it. But when he was not in the presence of his father/mother - he didn't really give a thought about it seemed. Maybe he was amoral. A man who didn't think or care too much about God.

Its said - we really show we are Christians when we are outside of church... ie how we behave out on the road, in the workplace, etc.. Do Christians think Christian thoughts when they are alone? Does a falling tree make a sound if it falls with no one looking?

Gandi said, "I revere Jesus Christ but its Christians I can't tolerate."

(Answers: Cain, Abraham, Joseph's brothers, Abraham/Sarah, David)

A journey of a thousand miles

A journey of a thousand miles
may begin with one foot step
But it would be accomplished a helluva lot faster
In a jet plane or car.

As much as I'm an idealist, I'd prefer to cut through the crap and get things done quicker. Thats why I never really enjoyed hiking to some high mountain top - unless there was some hope of reaching a nice hot clean spa - at the end of the day's hike - that could be enjoyed with a happy group of friends.

As for character building - couldn't be done on your own time?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Falls Creek skiing

Start:     Aug 8, '09 04:00a
End:     Aug 11, '09
This year we will be heading up to Falls Creek for 3 marvellous days of on-mountain ski-in ski-out action, staying 3 nights:

Sat 8/08 to Tue 11/08

Gebi's Apartments ($118 per night per person).
No oversnow required (so savings there) and the Gully Chairlift is at our doorstep!

Lift passes are $282 per adult for 3 consecutive days.

The plan is to drive leisurely to Falls on Sat and retire early for the night, then 3 days of skiing or boarding before driving back on Tue evening.

Watch this space for more updates. 50% deposit required in seven days.