May 30, 2006

Horse 558 - Useful Phrases in German

My mate Jonno (the lucky rat) was able to score tickets to the World Cup in Germany this year. I thought it might be useful for both him and the rest of us to learn some useful phrases that you'd need at a football match.

Meine Hobbys sind: Fussball sehen und schlafen.
My hobbies are: Football & sleeping.



Die Blamage

Die Spielverzoegerung

Schiri, bist du blind?
Are you blind, ref?

Was ist deine Lieblingmannschaft?
What's your favourite team?

Gelbe Karte! Schiri, bist du bloed? Shiri, wir wissen wo dein Auto steht!
Yellow card! Are you stupid, ref? We know where your car is, ref!)

Fünf - Ein: zum der England
5-1 to the England.

Erwähnen Sie den Krieg nicht
Don't mention the war

Wir müssen hier nicht leben
We don't have to live here

Sie gehen nach Hause im hinteren von einem Krankenwagen
You're going home in the back of an ambulance

Sie gehen nach Hause im hinteren von einem Polizeiauto
You're going home in the back of a Police Car

Ich werde diese Aufzeichnung nicht kaufen, ist es gekratzt
I will not buy this record, it is scratched

May 29, 2006

Horse 557 - Life on Rent

About 10 years ago I was on a hike through the Blue Mountains when at one point I became separated from two groups and ended up walking between them. The track I was on happened to give way and I lost all of my belongings as I fell into a river about 30 feet below (I still to this day can not swim).

I was asked on Sunday night whether or not in the following days/weeks (?) whether enough had been done for me for what was though probably to have been a traumatic experience. I can tell you at the time, that at one point the whole concept of dying really didn't hold any fear for me at all - something I'd remembered came to the fore, and again I've found the same passage of scripture.

Paul's letter to the church at Phillipi was written whilst he was in gaol. It has been held by not just a few scholars that the only way to slow down this zealous Apostle was to litterally stop him still. Without Paul being in gaol we might not have a lot of the letters he wrote. From this outlook the prospects weren't brilliant; the Romans had a fairly brutal method of administering punishment and for one who's existance threatened the very state itself, death was an easy penalty to hand out for them. Paul had reached the point where if he kept on living then he would continue work for the gospel, if he died then he would be in heaven with Christ.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Philippians 1:20-24

I must admit that I'd given up with the idea of fearing death before then, and that if I happened to die of exposure in what turned out to be below freezing conditions, then I didn't care any more.

But looking back at the rest of my life, I could have been killed: before I was born when my parents were in a car smash, at age 12 when I nearly fell out of a peak hour train and into traffic, I've been struck by lightning on 3 occasions (though 2 were probably my own fault), I've been forgotten about whilst stuck in a fridge, I parked the car off to the side of the road one night after driving a long way and awoke to find the car's nose just inches from a passing train, I could have been drowned on more times than I care to remember; I've even been caught between two countries without a visa for either.

I don't think that any of this is remarkable at all, I'm sure that if most people honestly looked back they'd find that all of us only hang onto our lives by a fragile thread. This life was given to us and in terms of actual time, 90 years is practically nothing in the scale of history.

If we live Christ-like lives, praying for God's strength, pursuing that which is good, and spreading the good news of the Gospel to those we meet then, when our death comes we can welcome it with open arms, rejoicing that we will soon be with our Savior! And if the Lord is pleased to take my life early in my years, so much the better, the less time I have to spend in a wicked world of sin. This also dispels the common idea of an "untimely death" as a myth. There can be no such thing as an untimely death if God is in control of all things. He chooses to give life, and He chooses to take it away.

May 27, 2006

Horse 556 - Great Fun Wastes of Money

This photograph (from the BBC) can have only come from one place in the world, the small pricipality of Monaco and the City of Monte Carlo. Some people go for the glitz and glamour of a lot of rich people swanning about the place, still others simply like the idea of very very fast cars going on regular schmo streets.

The race has many elevation shifts, tight corners, and a narrow course that make it perhaps the most demanding and the most dangerous track still in use in Formula One racing. In many ways, the Monaco course is an anachronism unsuitable for the race category because the narrow streets make it near-impossible to overtake on the track. However, its history and the spectacle of the event are likely to guarantee the event's future for many years to come, as it is widely considered the jewel of the maximum category.

The most famous corner on the circuit if at Casino Square in which cars slow down to as little as 35mph. This gives you an idea of just how staggeringly fast Grand Prix cars are. Racing round the course has been likened to riding a bicycle round your bathroom or, in Nelson Piquet's words, Flying a helicopter in your living room.

The famous tunnel section is said to be difficult for drivers to cope with due to the quick switch from light to dark, then back to light again, at one of the fastest points of the course. The tunnel is actually the fastest corner on any current Formula 1 circuit, contrasting with the fact that the circuit typically produces the slowest average speed of any Grand Prix.

May 26, 2006

Horse 555 - Sale of Radio 1 & 2?

I find these two articles really scary. Notwithstanding the fact that both were written by the Beeb.

The European Media Forum has suggested that the BBC sell Radios 1 & 2 to private concerns because they by their existance hamper competition. Radio 1 won best station in the UK for 2004, Radio 2 was beaten by Radio 4 in 2006. Surely this indicates that the BBC is currently offering the best radio coverage in the UK and everyone else is jealous and wants some of that pie.

So the BBC should sell off two of their best known brands to give the rest of the commercial stations a better chance at increasing their revenue? I don't think so.

I can understand the rationale behind the argument, but to say that Radio 1 and Radio 2 don't give the commercial broadcasters a fair chance is missing the point. Sure, some of their popularity does stem from the fact that they are funded to an extent that allows greater promotion, and they have nationwide FM reception, but this ignores one crucial point, that maybe people just prefer them. You may as well say that the BBC shouldn't broadcast anything that commercial channels offer.

And no-one should take Kelvin MacKenzie's views seriously. He moans a lot about the BBC being state-funded and therefore an inherently biased institution, but is standing on thin ice given that he worked for Rupert Murdoch for many years, not a man who was, or is, known for allowing his editors much editorial independence.

Technically the BBC have the best services in the world. You don't know how lucky you have it in the UK with 7 national networks. Radio and TV in Australia is a chaotic mess; it's no different in the USA.

Digital roll-out for radio was supposed to have begun in 2001. There are only 2 digital radio stations in Australia and these are owned by the ABC and SBS.You can't even buy DAB radios for the most part. The analogue switch-off deadline in 2008 is basically impossible. Even RDS is only a new thing for Australian radio; then they're only transmitting idents.

The BBC was the first company to offer decent digital broadcasting in the world. And it's only because the impetus is there with it being such a large organisation that this was even possible.
The BBC quite frankly is the best media outlet in the world bar none, and if Radio 1 & 2 gets sold, it's basically surrendering to commercial dendritis. The UK will be like Australia or even the USA in terms of programming and I for one would not wish that on the British public.

It would be like putting ITV or Channel 4 on the radio, maybe even Channel 5. Would you honestly want to live in a radio environment like that? I know I wouldn't and I wouldn't wish it on the good and fair people of the UK.

Selling Radio 1 & 2 is criminally stupid and whoever suggested it should be locked away for a very long time and be forced to listen to great slabs of Z100 or KHTR if they happen to like the idea so much. The reason why we can't do this is that there are Geneva Conventions on cruel and unusual punishment and also it would be totally inhumane - they'd go mad and die within 36 hours.

How does the Great British public feel about the sale of something which by means of the Licence Fee they have bought and owned for the past 84 years? If I was your landlord and suddenly came in and stole all of your doors and windows without your permission without compensation would you be happy about it?

I would argue that the Beeb is not the Government's to sell, but the people who have contributed to its upkeep. Selling it off is in principle as I see it nothing more than theft.

May 25, 2006

Horse 554 - Kommissar Rex

I must confess to enjoying this crime series whose main star is a big slobbery German Shepherd called Reginald von Ravenhorst (Rex). SBS have been showing this series for quite some time now and I always think it's a hoot how Rex is able to solve all sorts of crime far quicker than his masters.

The mere mention of "Frau" causes him to go nuts and steal peoples laundry (and for some bizarre reason to come back with it all washed). And he can be stopped in an instant by uttering the word "Vet".

The show is scripted entirely in German, some characters speak with slight Austrian dialects which I find impossible to follow and it is shot on location in Vienna and its surroundings. Subtitles thankfully are shown on SBS.

I think I should like to be a master criminal in Austria. Just imagine the sorts of crime you could get away with, for if you were to be pursued by Rex, one would merely need a ham sandwich to avoid capture.

Mental Note - Add this to my list of tools a master criminal needs:
Slide Hammer, Screwdriver, Window Cutter, Suction Cup, Semtex, Yo-Yo, Black Rose, Velvet Gloves and now... Ham Sandwich.

May 24, 2006

Horse 553 - State of Rubbish

In theory the highest quality Rugby League match in the world is on tonight being the State of Origin clash between NSW and Queensland, but tomorrow night at the MCG, Australia play a friendly with Greece. One of them counts for something, the other supposedly counts for nothing. Which one is more important?

This Rugby League fixture has been in place for 26 years. There's been tradition set in place as well as all the love that might be akin to what an Arab has for a Jew. Red vs Blue and all that. Considering that it's on the Wednesday, and the football friendly against Greece is on the Thursday, I wonder which will capture the public's imagination more.

Rugby League is for the most part only played in Sydney and environs and Brisbane and environs. Outback NSW is Rugby territory and outback Queensland is AFL country. The other states and territories do get Rugby League on TV but it's in the 11pm slot. Arguably the 80,000 or so tickets at the G were far harder to come by, so I think football wins out.

Both sports are plagued with off-field problems. Football has long carried the stigma of violence in Ethnia, whilst Rugby League is suffering misconduct from its players resorting to thuggery in normal life.

The jewel that is held out in the football world is the World Cup, an event far larger than the Olympic Games. Australia for the first time in 32 years has qualified and I suspect that this will galvanise the nation. A Rugby League world cup manages to rustle together about 4 countries who can actually play the game; to be honest they just look pathetic.

The real test is when matches are held overseas. People will stay up and watch footbal even from other national leagues at 2 and 3 in the morning but would they do that if the Kangaroos played overseas? Most definately no.

Rugby is a thug's game played by Gentlemen.
Football is a Gentleman's game played by thugs.
Rugby League is a thug's game played and watched by thugs.
It's so easy to rubbish a rubbish game when everything about it is rubbish.

May 23, 2006

Horse 552 - Bloody, Crap & Bugger

For those who are either easily offended or so utterly childish, please stop snickering or just go away now. I am fully aware that this next post does contain rude words; indeed that is the point.

Honestly, some people... tsk, tsk, tsk.

I wonder about various sware words and where they actually come from and whether or not they should be classed as sware words. Sware words by their nature are taboo words not to be used in polite conversation; in fact it's only those people with any manners who actually care. Most sware words if you took a look at their function, actually denote either sexual functions, deviant practices, organs, products, bodily waste products and interestingly religious references.
So then, with this in mind I intend to look at 3 words with would be considered mildly offensive, and who's derivations are misunderstood:

Most people will tell you that this comes from the invention of the push-button flush toilet and its inventor Thomas Crapper. The word crap was recorded in the London newspaper The Times as early as 1846. Thomas Crapper at the time would have been 10 years old, so clearly the word is well before his invention.
The word relates to crap in the top of beer kegs and is recorded in other sources in England in the 1490s. Believe it or not, it also appears in Latin versions of the Bible where the Latin crappa means chaff, or the husks that are blown from wheat.
The word's ancient meaning still refers to waste products, but it's only as the word became corrupted possibly around the 1780s that it finally referred to poo-poo and therefore passed into the realm of rude.

I've heard theories on this ranging from swearing on the blood of Christ, to rather nasty bodily functions. This word is most likely a contraction of the words "by our Lady" and could either refer to Mary the mother of Jesus as a minced oath.
The most likely origin has to do not with The Virgin Mary buy Mary I of England the Tudor monarch. It was under her reign that nearly 300 Catholics were executed. The practice of political sware words continues to this day. To call someone a Nazi is not a nice thing to do and inversely, the name Teddy Bear gets its name from one that was given to Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt.
The words fortnight & sennight should also be rendered with apostrophes along with bloody. Thus their correct usage would have once been: fort'night, sev'nnight and bl'oody.

This is a case of a word jumping across the French-English divide. With the Norman invasion of 1066, all Saxon words in use were declared illegal. Thus the more gentrified method of speaking in England was to use the French word - like an aubergine instead of eggplant. The word ultimately is derived from the French word Boulgre, derived from "Bulgarian" who Catholic French people wanted to stigmatise in the French late kingdom of about 1760.
The French gentry successfully managed to accuse people in Bulgaria (and by inference the rest of the soon to be formed Austro-Hungarian Empire) of deviant acts. The word carried throughout the British Empire, and in the US and Canada it remained highly offensive. In Australia and NZ, it was almost comical. So much so that in Australia it serves mainly as a mildly amusing slightly offensive place marker.

All three of these words have been used in advertising in an official capacity. It's interesting that you'll see these even in moderately polite circles. It's also interesting that some words like drawers and po and even bum which were considered highly rude even just 60 years ago are now so tame that they'd not even figure on the scale; yet I write PO Box on mail every single day.

I hope no-one steps in the po.

iFive - 21st May

Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir is an Icelandic singer and actress. She is a member of the band Ske and in 2005 began her solo career. She is best known for her representation of the controversial character Silvia Night who came 13th in the 2006 Eurovision song contest.
Silvía's character is highly affected by narcissism and she sees herself as the most famous and talented person walking on the planet Earth. In February 2006, Silvía was voted Iceland's sexiest woman by the audience of national radio station Rás 2. Also, Ágústa Eva came in fourth place; this means that one lady held two spots - those wacky Icelanders.

Everybody to the Limit by Strong Bad also co-incidentally tells the people of West Reykjavík to shout out so that they can be heard by the people of East Reykjavík.

1. Congratulations - Silvia Night
2. Everybody to the Limit (live) - Strong Bad
3. Promenade I - Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
4. Promenade II - Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
5. Promenade III - Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

May 21, 2006

Horse 551 - We Are The Winners of Eurovision

Finnish monster band has taken out the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with and act that looks like a cross between Sauron's Orks and Metallica. They played a song which could have very easily slotted into any metal fan's CD rack quite easily. Do not be surprised if their back catalogue suddenly appears in HMV.

I happened to like the song by LT United from Lithuania called "We Are The Winners", such arrogance as well as taking vast amounts of mick out the competition is always fun. The Islandic entry "Congratulations" by Silvia Night called the rest of the contestants Eurotrash-freaks and made headline news in Greece when she dropped the F-bomb on live TV.

The UK again failed and accused Europe of block voting and voting for their friends. Of course Terry Wogan now hosting his 26th Eurovision was as sharp as ever. SBS would be well advised to use the BBC dub if they don't already plan on doing so.

The SBS broadcast is on tonight.

May 20, 2006

Horse 550 - Unfiled Tax Returns

I work as an accountant and particularly this time of year most of my work involves the calculation and lodgement of tax returns for clients. Most of the returns are fairly simple but there's odd person who has a few unfiled returns from previous years.

Enter Justice Larry McLate*:

Justice McLate* has just retired from his position on the bench for the court house in Banana Park*. McLate told us that there'd been quite a while since he'd lodged his last return and wanted to lodge them so that he wouldn't end up in gaol and so that his children would not end up with much of his estate. He didn't tell us that the "little while" since he'd last lodged a tax return was for the financial year 1955/6.

1955/6? What ?! O_o

The first problem is that he didn't even have a tax file number, so we applied for one. The second problem was that most of these years can't be lodged electronically and have to be done... dn dn daaaaa - ON PAPER!!

The Tax Office were very helpful in this regard. They sent a man around with a stack of paper which was a photocopy of every relevant form back until 1950. 1950? What?! How do they keep these sorts of things?

So I've been filling in returns in £/s/d rather than $/c and I can tell you that doing stuff in 12s 20s and the rest is far more fun than 100s. I want £s back... sort of.

May 18, 2006

Horse 549 - Security Questions

The following story is real. None of the names have been changed. This actually happened to me not less than 10 minutes ago. The following is from a phone call which I had with an unnamed firm.

Andrew: Good Morning, this is Andrew speaking
Prahan: Hello, my name is Prahan. Can I ask you a security question?
Andrew: OK, I suppose. Which firm are you calling from?
Prahan: I'm not allowed to tell you until you answer the security question.
Andrew: Why not?
Prahan: Because you might not be the person I'm supposed to make the phone call to.
Andrew: But, I already told you my name is Andrew.
Prahan: This is correct.
Andrew: Then?
Prahan: I'm not allowed to tell you where I'm from unless you answer the security questions.
Andrew: How do I know that you're allowed to ask them?
Prahan: I guess that you'll just have to accept this as a matter of trust.
Andrew: But you're not willing to trust the fact that I'm whom I say I am?
Prahan: This is correct.
Andrew: How do I know that you've even been given any authority to talk to me? How do I know that you're not just trying to obtain my details under false pretenses?
Prahan: If you are the person we're trying to get in contact with, then you'll know what the answers to the questions are.
Andrew: And what happens if I deliberately answer incorrectly?
Prahan: Then we'll have to end this phone call, until we find the person we need to speak to.
Andrew: Ok then. I'll deliberately answer the questions incorrectly then.
Prahan: This would be silly sir.
Andrew: I agree totally. This is why I'm going to do it.
Prahan: Can I have your full name?
Andrew: Charles Augustus Fortescue
Prahan: What is your date of birth?
Andrew: 31st of June, 1937
Prahan: It appears that neither of these match our system.
Andrew: Of course.
Prahan: Can I please speak to a Mr Andrew Rollason?
Andrew: But I already told you my name at the beginning of this phone call.
Prahan: You have just told me that your name is Charles.
Andrew: Ah.
Prahan: Could you please get Mr Rollason for me?
Andrew: And whom should I say has called?
Prahan: I'm not allowed to tell you until they answer the security questions.
Andrew: I don't wish to pursue this phone call any further on the grounds that I think that it's silly.
Prahan: It's really important that I speak to him.
Andrew: So important that you're not willing to tell me who you are without someone answering the security questions.
Prahan: Correct.
Andrew: Good day to you sir. I hope that you find the man that you're looking for, because you're obviously not willing to follow the rules of logic and sense today.
Prahan: Thank you Charles, enjoy your day.

I know that these people are probably employed by call centres in India, and I also realise that they must deal with irate people all day long, so my responses to Prahan were quite calm and maybe a little aloof. I find it almost farcical that whatever firm employes call centre people can not tell me why they should make the phone call, but by the same token, I don't want to give out my details in case the party at the other end intends to use them for some fraudulent scam.

I hope that whichever firm this was, works out what they want from me. Because until they disclose who they are, I shall forever be elusive and unreachable... and Chuck Fortescue.

PS: Listening back, I thought that 31st of June was a nice touch.

May 16, 2006

Horse 548 - Coca-Cola Emo

If you look down the field of quite a few motor sports like the DTM and F1 you'll find the familiar silver and blue paint scheme of Austrian "energy" drink menufacturer Red Bull. The highly caffinated drink once the domain of sleepless uni students and nightclub goers crossed into the sporting realm much to the chargrin of soft-drink giant Coca-Cola.

Now it appears that Coca-Cola has launched an "energy" drink of its own which contains the same percentage of caffeine as rival Red Bull. Called Relentless, it has 32mg of caffeine per 100ml and comes in 500ml cans.

The product has caused concern among some retailers in the UK because of its caffeine content and large can size, according to a report in trade magazine Marketing Week. Red Bull's "slim" cans contain 250ml of liquid - half as much as the new Coca-Cola product. Relentless is made with sugar, caffeine, taurine, guarana, glucoronolactone, and B vitamins which is pretty well much the same as Red Bull.

The brand's image was said to have inspired by action sport and modern punk rock. The new energy drink goes is priced at £1.09 for a 500ml can or A$2.47 and already has found a niche in the "emo" market.

Coca-Cola in Australia does have plans to market it but I wonder whether they realise that they already have their own emo drink? Coca-Cola Zero comes in a black can and fom what I've seen first hand has already been taken up by "emo kids" and goths.

Or perhaps as a friend of mine said, the best thing that Coca-Cola could do if they really wanted to capture the emo market would be to market a drink that tastes vaguely like smoke and apple juice. How emo would that be?

May 13, 2006

He Made the People Happy

"The hopes and fears of all the years are held in the tonight" - Bill Shankly, before the 1965 FA Cup Final

May 12, 2006

Horse 547 - Al-Qaeda to Strike Soon

Osama Bin Laden released another tape from the International Terrorism Union calling on all terrorists worldwide to stay home from work, unless certain demands are made. World leaders are afraid of what this may do to an already stumbling fear economy.

"It's not as easy as it used to be to stir up fear anymore." said White House spokesman Waterneuse today, "People these days simply don't look at to the terror alert levels before going outside. It's almost as though they aren't afraid of getting weapons-grade anthrax in their mailboxes anymore."

Bin Laden's demands for terrorists include some radical ideas, such as the four-day work week, a public admission from Tom Cruise that Scientology is all a sad joke, and R.E.M. tickets for an August 18, 2006 show in Kabul; as well as some more mundane requests, like pay raises and better health benefits for all workers. Some employers groups such as Al-Qaeda have already promised to raise the existing virgin rate from 72 by 12% over the next 3 years to 80.

Some are hailing Bin Laden as the next Jimmy Hoffa, "Combining Jihad, a general strike, and a fatwa is genius", commented a terrorist on his way to work. "Most of us are just trying to make a living. Terrorism as a full-time career is a dream for us, but some of Bin Ladens demands might make it a possibility. Personally, I hate moonlighting as a schoolteacher in Queensland."

It is currently uncertain how the World leaders will react. A strike of this nature is expected to limit national fear supplies, with the demands only increasing as the US summer approaches. Details are still unfolding about this radical "call to legs" by the controversial figure. Are picket lines in the future, or will we soon be referring to these workers as "Terror Engineers"? We shall have to see.

May 10, 2006

Horse 546 - All Around The World

Katja reports that AT&T advert campaign using Oasis' "All Around The World" the has begun in earnest; apparantly to the point of annoyance. I downloaded a copy of the advert this afternoon and somehow I think that AT&T have been majorly ripped-off or allowed themselves to be dudded. The maybe 3 seconds of audio actually accounts for less than 1% of the song's total length.

All Around the World is the 10th track from Be Here Now. Be Here Now was a really really massive record. It holds the record for the most number of sales in one day being 423,000 copies on the first day of release alone, moving 695,761 copies in the first week and over 1 million within two weeks. Be Here Now went on to sell 8 million copies worldwide. It also topped the charts in 28 different countries - however, the the USA it only made it to #15 on the Billboard charts.

Why then would AT&T use the song in their adverts? The rights to use the song are reported to be somewhere in the region on £1m, which isn't too bad for a song which was released all the way back in 1997. And what's even more amazing is that they didn't use very much of it either.
All Around the World is the longest track on an already behemoth album. The track itself lasts 9 minutes and 20 seconds long; not surprising it also holds the record for the longest single ever to appear at number 1 on the UK charts. Suffice to say that radio stations shyed away from playing it. The album itself is a 72 minute affair which like every Oasis record up until Don't Believe the Truth under Dave Sardy employs the technique of recording all tracks and then turning up the volume to 11 for the final mix.

The film clip for the song was also an extravagant affair, it was reported that it took 24 animators nearly 6 months to come up with a clip that resemble the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. Also like Yellow Submarine, Be Here Now contains a "reprise" of the song which itself is 2 minutes and 8 seconds long, or if you will for the whole album 11 minutes and 28 seconds. Pretty long eh?

The song itself features a double string quartet, embellished horn pieces, two harmonicas, as well as the usual line up of two guitars a bass, drums and Liam Gallagher delivering his famous Mancunian whine. Meg Matthews and Patsy Kensit, sang backing vocals for the song.
Oh for sure it's a rich tapestry to listen to, but the problem with producing such a song in this modern impatient "pop-tart, we want everything done yesterday" world is that the critics have looked at this unfavourable probably due to impatience. Truth is that it's a very very big song in an equally huge album. Maybe AT&T are also impatient?

It's a bit early in the midnight hour for me
To go through all the things that I want to be
I don't believe in everything I see
Y'know I'm blind so why d'you disagree?

Maybe being over 9 minutes has something to do with it?

May 09, 2006

Horse 545 - Been There, Done That

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. - John 4:4-6

Many of you will recognise this as the opening to a rather famous story about Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. You may have even heard of the implications of living water and all sorts of other things from the passage. I'd like to tell you something which I thought about that I doubt a lot of people have looked at these rather "boring" verses.

The first thing I take note of is that He had to go through Samaria. Cultural differences aside, we get the impression that a Jewish pushcart probably wouldn't have gone through, so he would have had to walk. Now obviously being the sixth hour or about Midday, it probably would have been very hot. So what was His response to this? There was a well, he was tired and thristy and so decided to take a rest.

We know that Jesus being Jewish would have observed the Sabbath, but because he had to walk through Samaria, we can probably assume that this wasn't one of those days. We often think of Jesus as a rubber ball type person, bouncing around the place, and all too often we forget that He actually was one of us.

He got tired and thirsty, sometimes I bet He was driven bonkers by the 12 and wanted to be alone, we know that on occasion that he got angry, and even in the garden of Gethsemane He prayed that if there was some other way that He wanted to know what it was. And this from the Messiah?

There isn't anything "wrong" with being tired. There's nothing "wrong" with wanting to take a rest occasionally; it may very be an opportunity for ministry, but more likely not. Also bear in mind that a rest is simply that. The refuge island in the middle of a highway is not the other side of the road, it's merely a resting point.

It's nice to find comfort in the fact that if I'm tired or cranky because of too much work, or people who will invariably drive me bonkers, that Christ has already been here, done that.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. - Hebrews 4:15

More than this, in His own experience of temptation the Lord has fully shared with us our struggle with sin. He knows what it is like to have to fight sin in the same arena with us with only the weapons we have. He has lived inside our skin. When He represents us before God, therefore, we can trust Him to "do it right", because He knows what it is like to be us.

iFive - 7th May

Opening Night from The Producers mentions that Springtime For Hitler is the worst show on Broadway. Tribute by Tenacious D reckons that it is not the greatest song in the world but is just a tribute. The Kikkoman song on the other hand does directly say that Kikkoman Soy Sauce is the best condiment in the world.
... I wonder if they've heard of honey, the biblical condiment.

1. Opening Night - The Producers
2. Kikkoman Kikkoman - Kikkoman
3. Intergalatic - The Beastie Boys
4. Maybe I'm Right - Atomic Kitten
5. Tribute - Tenacious D

May 07, 2006

Horse 544 - The Week That Was

The whole country has been worried for almost two weeks about the poor people in cramped conditions, the lack of decent conversation... I am of course talking about Big Brother... er no.

The two chaps had apparantly been drinking from a plastic bag which was set up to catch the moisture off of the walls. People die without water after about 3 days, so to have found them alive in the first place is a testament to their ingenuity. When a PVC pipe was bored and sent down they could finally get some more essentials like food, water and iPods.

Meanwhile as we were waiting for the news about the miners, the city of Freo went nuts after they were given the one point win after it was decided that when the siren goes then the AFL match is over. Pundits praised this as a new finding and interpretation of the rules as the on-field umpire didn't hear the siren. What this proves is that umpires aren't just blind, they're deaf as well.

May 04, 2006

Horse 543 - Star Wars Day

Episode V

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.
Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.
The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space....

Seeing as today is Star Wars Day "May The Fourth Be With You", I'd like to say that given the choice, I'd prefer to be in the Empire.

To be perfectly honest, the whole "Force" religion thing is really really stupid, so this effectively means that both sides are in a moral vacuum effectively. Weighed up against each other, the idea of being either a Sith or a Jedi are both really stupid, so therefore it's largely a matter of asthetics.

Storm Troopers are provided with better looking and better protected uniforms than the alliance. An Imperial Storm Trooper is respledant in white while the Rebel Alliance (which isn't even a real form of government) is just a rabble.

The "Evil Lord Vader" has a really cool looking uniform as well. Though borne of functionality more than looks, his black helmet and cape is enough to scare the brown mismatched pants off of any foe.

If I was competing at the Olympic Games I'd rather be entering the stadium to the Imperial March than Princess La-De-Das flowery ditty. The Imperial March as a national anthem even puts God Save The Queen or L'Marseille to shame.

Did I mention Twin Ion Engine Fighters or TIEs? As far as spaceships go they're compact and easier to park than a long bonnet pointy X-Wing. The TIE is Carnaby St chic whereas the X-Wing has all the subtlety of a BMW, and we all know what sorts of pratts drive them.

One last thing: Any system of measurement used is bound to be called the Imperial System. The last time someone invented something that wasn't the Imperial System, we went all metric and French. I don't know which is worse, being part of an Evil Empire or being French... actually, it's being French isn't it?

May 03, 2006

iFive - 30 Apr

Last FM is being a bit slow, so this is actually 4 days late.

Sometimes there's really subtle puns put into songs. On the first time that you I hear I Want You Bad by The Offspring, you think it's a description of how desperarate Noodles is for this lady, but then you quickly realise that this is a decriptor of how he wants to be.

The theme to Steel Angel Kurumi requires you to think in two languages at the same time. The catch of the last line is Mirakurumi. Which can either be taken as Mira-Kurumi. Which means "Look, it's Kurumi!" or Mirakru-Mi which in English is "Miracle Me"; both are acceptable. It is probable that whoever wrote the theme tune actually meant both at the same time... and that is skillful.

1. Killboy Powerhead - The Offspring
2. Steel Angel Kurumi - Anime Theme
3. Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones
4. Move This Mountain - Sophie Ellis-Bextor
5. George Murphy - Tom Lehrer

Horse 542 - Kangaroos, Radio Waves & Aliens

This is an answer to two people's questions. It is by no means definitive and may be inaccurate depending on whether there are or not.

In bible study on Monday night I was asked a question, and my answer I think scared people. The question was "Do you think aliens exist?" To which I answered, "I don't know I guess it's enitrely possible".

Now before you lynch me over roast coals and tell me that the idea of aliens is unbiblical, I ask you, is it?

Firstly the Bible itself is not a science textbook. This is by no means to say that it isn't true because even scientists will conceed that all scientific theory has a shelf life of 200 years. The Bible as a document can be verified and checked despite being thousands of years old, if you did that with science text, you'd be both wrong and barking mad.

Second, the Bible is not a conclusive guide to everything in the world. It's purpose is far different to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for instance. The Bible is a text that contains everything that God has to say to us. It even says itself that it's useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is however not useful for telling you how to operate a forklift, or fill in your income tax return. These things simply did not exist when the Bible was written. Yet how accurate is it when it tells us that:
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
How accurate is this? 100% accurate I would suggest. The Bible's job primarily is to teach us how to relate to God and each other. It's as every bit useful now as it was when it was written. Neither God or people change, in fact only the technology we use (to blow ourselves up with amongst other things) ever seems to change.

Which brings me to the subject of Aliens, Kangaroos and Radio Waves. I have seen kangaroos and can tell you that they exist. We know radio waves exist because we can pick them up on the radio but as little as 120 years ago, no-one knew that they existed. Does this mean that they weren't there? Of course not, it means that we couldn't either detect or predict their existance. How about kangaroos? 400 years ago Europeans had never seen one, Asians had never seen one, Africans had never seen one... were there kangaroos 400 years ago?

About aliens themselves - When I look at the night sky I see a miriad of stars that most likely we'll never ever get to because of the vastness of space; we've only just started to discover planets around some of them recently. Is it impossible that if God made the universe at a command that He couldn't put life elsewhere in it also at a command? Don't be silly. The God who made the universe from nought could have very easily put things in it that we can't see, detect or find - aliens included.

Now for a more important question: If there are aliens, how does that affect my standing with God? Do aliens negate the existance of God? Are aliens even relevant with regards any question pertaining to God? Do I even care about aliens?
The answer to all of these is a resounding NO. The question of if there are or aren't aliens in the universe is as important to me as what colour the doorknob to the basement door is. Knowing either way won't make an iota of difference. God is still God, God still made everything with a spoken word and whether He chose to put other life in the universe was enitrely His decision. Actually so was His decision to put life on our own planet.

Do I think Aliens exist? I don't know I guess it's enitrely possible. Do I care? Not much.

May 02, 2006

Horse 541 - I Can't Believe It's Not A Military

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (1946) states:
1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Under the constitution is was decided by the Supreme Court that although the ability of Japan to go to war should be curtailed, their ability to defend themselves should not. Thus Japan technically does not have a military but rather a strange entity called the Japan Self-Defence Force or JSDF.
Pacifists have long argued that there isn't really a difference between an attack or a defence force since the hardware is the same. The idea has been explored in other arenas too, most famously in the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion when the JSDF was deployed against megabeasts that may or may have not been alien.

Enter the USA.
The USA has maintained military bases in Okinawa since WW2. This of course hasn't contravened the constitution since the forces weren't being maintained by Japan.
After 3½ years of negotiations, Japan and the USA will finally reach an agreement to hand back these military bases. The government is expected to pass laws and secure funds to finalize the return of part of the air traffic control rights for the U.S. Air Force's Yokota Air Base in Tokyo to Japan by September 2008.
Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attended the meeting.

The plan will not set a timetable for the return, but the two sides will work out a detailed plan for the handover by March 2007. Tokyo will shoulder USD6.09bn, or 59% of the total USD10.27bn cost for relocating the marines to Guam. The two sides will decide in October which part of the airspace over the Yokota base will be returned to Japan in 2008. In 2009, the two governments will finish talks on conditions for returning the entire airspace of the base to Japanese control.
To improve "cooperation" between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. armed forces, the Air Self-Defense Force's Air Defense Command will be relocated to the Yokota base in 2010 and a joint task force for air defense and missile defense will be established.
A joint statement to be released separately from the final plan did not mention a review of the guidelines for defense cooperation, but included a clause calling for Tokyo and Washington to strengthen and improve bilateral security and the effectiveness of cooperation in international peace activities.

One wonders exactly how this is to be resolved under the constitution. The USA would obviously still like to maintain some presence in the area, but how does one sign a treaty with a nation who has no "military" forces? It's certainly vexhing for the lawmakers, since Article 9 was imposed by the USA themselves, and to suddenly ask for the constitution which they imposed to be ignored, smacks of international hypocracy.

Unless giant aliens like Gamera, Mothra, Godzilla or Angiurus invade.

May 01, 2006

Horse 540 - You Don't Know Warren

Everyone in the world has their own unique viewpoint; this of course is both a corollary and a self-sufficient point. Because of this, how people perceive the world is going to vary from person to person. What I find really disappointing is the way in which some people's points of view (truth is of course another issue and point of absolute fact if negated or viewed from the wrong point is erroneous, then this should be corrected) is berated and indeed passed over and ignored.

There are naturally people whom we will find it difficult to get along with, there are those people who are naturally rather cold, this however does not change the fact that the way they see the world is enitrely their own.

What bugs me is the way which people say, "oh that's just Warren"* Do they ever not stop to think that poor old Warren has just been summed up and passed over to be perpetually ignored? Warren might go through his whole life and be working inordinately hard to get people to care but when glossed over, Warren ceases to exist.

Warren might be a really interesting person if you only took the time to get to know them. Warren might be a concert pianist, or an electrician, or a supermarket employee, or a doctor, who knows? Do you know Warren? I don't think so, because you'd have looked past Warren time and time again. Maybe you do talk to Warren, but then again Warren is probably beneath you.

I have to learn to talk more to Warren, I'm sure that Warren has something to teach me. Warren may for all I know hold the key to life's answers.

*Warren was the substitute word for various headlines on GNW which people had to guess.