Dec 31, 2010

Budget Airlines

The thing I've found that I hate about budget airlines is this. You end up sitting next to a poor person. Poor people are usually o-b-e-s-e. So you have the double whammy: you end up sitting next to a poor fat person. No fun there! Stick with the full fare crowd.

(Say, this could form the basis of an advertising campaign for British Airways! "Fly British Airways, and sit next to skinny rich people.")

Dec 27, 2010

Badges

Every so often I run into someone sporting a niftly little Order of Australia badge: you can tell, it looks like a kind of Boy Scouts badge stuck in the lapel. They're so proud of it (why not just be proud of the achievement, instead of the little bauble?).

So there was a bloke in the lift the other day, at work. He had one. So I told him that I had a badge too. An Argonauts Club badge, only I didn't wear it, didn't like to show off. He seemed impressed. Puzzled, but impressed!

Dec 20, 2010

Surveys by phone

You've probably had them, I've certainly had them: a polite call from a kindly sounding person wanting a few minutes of your time for a survey.

Here's my response:

"So, how are you going to pay me?"

What do you mean?

"You want to use my time to make money, so I want to be paid, how are  you going to do it? My rate is $160 per hour or part thereof".

I'm sorry we can't pay.

"Hmm, I didn't think you would, tell your boss he's a user."

And....hang up.

Dec 19, 2010

HERNS

I ran into a chiropractor the other day; chatted with him at friend's place over lunch. One day I must ask a chiropractor why he wanted to practice witchdoctoring...I mean, changing the bodies 'energy' flows by manipulating the spine: bollocks.

So I talked about some real cases I'd dealt with recently, real illnesses, with real diagnosis and known etiologies. The chiropractor glazed over when I talked about HERNS (hereditary endotheliopathy with retinopathy, nephropathy and stroke) and Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. I'd like to see the silly manipulations do anything for the poor people who suffer from these illnesses.

Dec 15, 2010

Shredded Paper

I learnt the other day that recycling shredded paper is not the done thing. It doesn't work, apparently in the recycling machinery; just gets blown all around the place. The thing to do is to add it to the compost bin.

Now, I'm pretty keen to improve my compost (helps me, not the bin people), but what the heck. The shredded paper will go into the paper recycling bin from now on!

Report on Teachers

Teachers give parents reports on their child’s progress in school. Its only fair, and informative for the teacher, for the parent to give the teacher a report on their child’s experience of school.

And, now that its reporting season here in Australia, I've provided one for your delight!

It uses a scale of 1-5 meaning:

1: very pleased

2: pleased

3: displeased

4: very displeased

5: highly displeased

The domains that the report covers are:

homework (where schools try to outsource their responsibilities to families who are usually untrained in teaching, or curricula content); academic work generally; how children are taking to reading (reading engagement); what their progress is in numeracy; how they are being helped to enjoy the arts; if they are being supported to be part of a cooperative classroom (assuming of course that the teacher is not derailing a cooperative atmosphere with extrinsic rewards, competition and inequitable privileges); what the child's general feelings about school are; how well the teacher is supporting the child; how responsive the teacher is to parents; how well the school is supporting social integration in the playground, and what the quality of the facilities is (buildings, playground, playing fields, equipment).
Here is an image file of the report form for your enjoyment and use.

Dec 9, 2010

Smoko

Its declining as smokers die out, but there's a basic unfairness: smokers are permitted to leave their workplace for a usually paid break to have a smoke: how nice, how relaxing, just being able to puff away on the street corner with your mates! Let's say that this happens three times a day, ten minutes a day.
If you don't smoke, you miss out. So here's what you do to enjoy your paid half our in the sun each day: go for a stroll, check the local newsagent, drop into a music or book shop and have a quick browse: just of one topic, so you don't stay out for more than 10 minutes a time.
Equity restored: if smokers, who are about to cost the health system, and their employers, dearly for their deadly habit, can stroll out for a relax, then so can you and I, by which habit we are likely to save the health system money (and reduce sick leave).

Nov 30, 2010

Bottles

I heard recently that the idea when recycling plastic bottles is to either remove the lid, or puncture the bottle, so the recycling machinery can deal with the different plastics and crush the unsealed bottle easily.

From now on I'll be screwing the cap firmly on (I also spindle, fold and otherwise mutilate official forms).

Nov 21, 2010

Recycle, its good for you!

Like most local governments in Australia, we are encouraged to 'recycle' our recyclable rubbish: we've got bins for 'green' waste (bits of plants), glass and plastic, paper and of course the real rubbish. That's FOUR bins.

Who do they think they are kidding?

At my place everything goes in the rubbish bin, except the paper and the bits of plants, there's just too much of them. But glass, plastic, and old fish heads all go in the little grey bin.

Why, you ask?

Two reasons:

1. My local council consistently makes it difficult to get building additions approved, so why am I going to cooperate with a bunch of intrusive fascists?

2. If recycling was worthwhile, doing it should bring me an economic benefit. If the recyclers can make money, then they need to share it with me, their raw materials supplier. If they can't make money, then the market is sending the signal that its a waste of time! I'd be more amenable (except for point 1) to recycle if it lead to a reduction in my garbage collection fees. But, it doesn't so I treat it for the 'do-gooder' crock that it is, and don't.

Why don't you join me?

Nov 17, 2010

Welcome to country

You've probably been there, like I have a million times: at the start of some event a pompous do-gooder gets up and recognises that the land we are on used to belong to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and we thank the elders for clearing off and letting us build here.

Well, wrong!

I'd like to remember James Cook without whom we wouldn't be in this building with its nice toilets and hot and cold running water, or have the roads we used to get here (well, it was really the Romans for the roads, but never mind). None of which the Eora nation achieved!