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Lost your Licence? I’ll flip you for it.

Australia calls itself the Lucky Country and growing up here, I’ve always believed it. Look around, we have great beaches, great weather, great lifestyle, great grandparents, it’s really, well….. great! This is all very cool, until you take some time to think about WHY we call ourselves the lucky country. Is it because of our golden soil and wealth for toil? Our Natural gifts of beauty, rich and rare? I always thought so… But perhaps I was wrong. Maybe we’re all just hoping for a quick win. The thrill of gambling it all on the roll of the dice.. or more correctly, the push of the poker machine button. Getting LUCKY.

Nobody loves to gamble more than we do. Sure, Vegas has a great reputation, but think for a second about our very own NSW..

In 2002, Australia had 20% of the WORLD’S poker machines. By 2007, NSW alone had 43% of the ENTIRE WORLD’S poker machines..  that’s a lot of poker machines.. Think about it. The USA (home of Reno and Vegas) has 15 times more people than Australia and more than 40 times the population of NSW and yet only double the Pokies..  thats like 35 times more pokies per capita!! OUCH..

Of course, 72% of all gambling related statistics are invented on the spot for the purpose of making a good argument and this itself is only 16% likely to be true (I’d bet the farm on that..)

No matter what the numbers are, it’s clear we like to gamble. Our most famous International event on the sporting calendar is the Melbourne Cup. Even the PM stops to have a punt. We just can’t seem to stop the insanity. With all this in mind, it really shouldn’t surprise me that the rest of our system is a gamble as well.

Someone I know recently lost their Driver’s Licence. Not in a little way. Not say, sitting on 110 Km/h on the M7 from Sydney to Canberra and forgetting that the M7 is a 100 zone even though it’s WAAAAY safer than most of the 110 zones on the rest of the drive. Not that, NO. But in a BIG way. (I love starting sentences with BUT by the way..)

She lost her Licence doing nearly DOUBLE the limit in a school zone. Where little kids walk around. Where MY little kids walk around. So it’s tough to be sympathetic. But (there I go again) even though I might not be sympathetic, our loving Government wants to give everyone a fair go. What does a fair go mean?? Well it means taking part in the Lucky Country philosophy. You’ve got to be in it to win it! So.. lose your licence and we’ll flip you for it. Not literally, it’s actually more of a Double or Nothing kind of scenario.. I’m not kidding, go check it out. You have 12 Demerit points which are lost for various offences. You lose all your points and you lose your licence for 3 Months OR you can gamble and instead of losing it for 3 Months and going back to normal, you can have just 1 point for 12 Months.. If, during that time you so much as fart while driving, now you’ve got a DOUBLE suspension: 6 Months..

Seriously, the only thing this is missing is two brightly coloured boxes and a Game Show host in a loud Jacket.. What’s it gonna be honey? You’ve come so far tonight.. red light cameras, mobile phone use and now a SCHOOL ZONE.. Will you risk it all and play on??

The Money or the Box?

The Money or the Box?

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Look ma – no Water! What the? Waterless Washing Machines…

I love the enironment. So far, for me it’s been the best one we’ve ever had. I mean, compared to the barren winterland of the last ice age, this environment kicks some butt. It’s so GREEN. So, when I hear of a new way to save the environment I am all for it.

One thing that troubles me a great deal are recent reports of the Pacific Plastic Soup. This massive trash vortex is said to consist of all the floating debris (mostly plastic) that has collected in the Pacific Ocean. The “patch” is thought to be a massive accumulation of floating rubbish in two big vortices (is that a word? let’s just say YES) on either side of Hawaii. Sitting just below the ocean surface, it is very hard to spot using satellite imagery, but American sailor Charles Moore was apparently very spun out when, in 1997, he sailed through the soup and took DAYS to get from one end to the other! Some (like me) might argue that the Pacific Plastic Soup will soon represent our greatest environmental threat.

Pacific Plastic Soup

Pacific Plastic Soup

Others will tell you that access to fresh water is one of the World’s greatest challenges. It’s big, that’s for sure. We are in the middle of one of Australia’s worst ever droughts, and clearly fresh water is a critical issue! I found it a little ironic that here in Sydney, we’ve been watching our city get drowned under some of the heaviest rainfall in decades, rain that’s draining straight out to sea… While we wave goodbye to the countless gigalitres of fresh water passing by, we’re working on saving our future by building a huge desalination plant. This is clearly a brilliant plan (way too smart for me to understand) which takes into account all that surplus electricity, which up till now has just been going to waste! Like He-Man, we have the power!

Hang on a minute, what’s all this got to do with Waterless Washing Machines or the Water Powered Car for that matter?? Well, be patient, I’m getting to that..

Recently, British scientists announced that they can SAVE THE PLANET one load of washing at a time. Is it a miracle of cleanliness? No – it’s the waterless washing machine. This revolutionary invention doesn’t use disgusting, unhealthy, wasteful FRESH WATER to clean your soiled linens, but in fact makes use of healthy, clean, environmentally friendly, plastic polymer chips. That’s right, we’re replacing the water with just 20KG of PLASTIC.

But don’t worry, you can re-use the 20KG of plastic chips. A few times anyway.That’s called R-E-C-Y-C-L-I-N-G, it’s all the rage you know.

And think, all that water we saved can be used to wash those huge bags of plastic chips into the Pacific Ocean. Hell, it’s a long way from Leeds.

Earning your Title. What’s in a name?

This week, while listening to the news I heard a Sports Report which made mention of the recent Australian NBL Finals. My ears perked up, mostly because I managed to score tickets to the 5th and final game and it was an awesome night! The news reader described the teams as the Melbourne Tigers and the embattled Sydney Kings. It really got me thinking. HELLO!!!! They placed SECOND in the NBL. I get that we worship winners to the exclusion of all else, but since when is 2nd place EMBATTLED??? Maybe I’m missing something? Being too hasty? Once again that infallible source of truth, the internet comes to the rescue:

Embattled can mean: a crenelated molding” like the top of a crown! Crown, KINGS it all started to make sense..

Crown

Of course I’m sure sponsorship woes and coach swaps are not relevent to this discussion… (oops) OK – So maybe the Kings are a little embattled…

But it did get me thinking about how the modern media love to throw around these awesome prefixes! How do you earn a shot at a title? And worse – if you’re stuck with one how do you ditch it? One of my favourite Media titles is Funnyman. Jerry Seinfeld was recently in the news after being in a very serious car accident. His brakes failed and the car flipped. The dude nearly died! Yet, true to form, the headlines read:

“Funnyman Seinfeld escapes car crash”

Yeah, Hilarious! Jerry himself said it best in one of my favourite episodes (The Jacket):

We had a funny guy with us in Korea. A tailgunner. They blew his brains out all over the Pacific. (Long pause) There’s nothing funny about that”

Finished with Comedy, you’ll find it it’s gonna be hard to shake off that FUNNYMAN title. If he’s REALLY lucky Jerry might end up with former Funnyman at best..

My second favourite media Title is “Love Rat”. This is a winner. Once you have been branded a “Love Rat” by the media, never again will your name appear without this auspicious title. Threats of legal action, tears and temper tantrums will only serve to strengthen it’s Tarzan’s Grip. ONLY a wedding will shake this moniker off, and even then, it’s likely that the perpetrator will get stuck with new title of FORMER Love Rat. For some, this might be devastating, for others more surprising. I mean, really – check this dude out:

His Hotness

He’s THRILLED to be labelled a Love Rat!

It doesn’t end there. Try these titles on for size: Embattled, FunnyMan, Love Rat, BadBoy, Wifebeater, Songstress, Fashionista, Rich Kid, Winner, Loser, Quitter, Acadmedic, Actor, Author, Musician…

And LASTLY.. How do we EARN a title. What if I want to be in the news.. will the headline read?? : –

“Author Pat Devlin saves fish from Toilet Bowl”

after all, I wrote several essays during my high school years.. Surely I’ve earned the title of Author?? How about:

“Actor Pat Devlin snoozes on park bench”

Once again, how much acting do I have to do to earn this title? I’ll bet Russell Crowe would give his left nut to see a headline that began with:

“Musician Russell Crowe does something newsworthy”

… Good luck Russ! P

Buy Australian

I really do try my hardest to Buy Australian products. I have clothes made from Australian Merino wool. I drink Australian wines and local beers. I even eat Vegemite toast even though vegemite still seems to me to be a lot like something I might have scraped off the bottom of my shoe. Even recently eating out with my kids at our local Pizza place, I still try to do my bit for the country. So I ordered an Aussie Pizza. But what’s so AUSSIE about putting Ham and Egg on Pizza??

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

What? They don’t have Ham and Eggs in say, ENGLAND? GERMANY? AMERICA??

Some might argue that Ham and Eggs is Wales’ national dish! PIG AND CLUCKER

As Aussie as ham??

As far as I know, Pigs (and therefore HAM) were domesticated wild boars who hung around in the seedier suburbs of Europe selling crack to passing Goths. Naturally, the internet is an excellent source of detailed and accurate data on the history of pigs

AND, unless I’m crazy, I don’t recall reading about Captain Cook being savaged by Feral Emu Chickens upon landing in his Great Southern Land.

So what makes Ham and Eggs so Australian?? I really haven’t got the first clue, but further research indicates that apparently adding these magic ingredients to virtually ANY menu item allows you to immediately label it as AUSSIE! This has boundless possibilities. I’m going to take this to my local boost juice bar..

Ofcourse it’s really all the fault of Dr. Suess. Australia’s love of Green and Gold stemmed largely from Seuss’s 1960 promotional book tour during which he co-authored the now famous Australian Guide to Pizza Toppings. And at 1$ a word on a $50 bet – he did well!

Office Politics

Office Politics is killing me! What happens when I know I’m right and everyone else is wrong? Do companies just get to a certain size where there are enough people involved in every decision that there’s no way to get it right? I read an interesting book a while ago called “The Boss” by Andrew O’Keefe. It’s not the greatest work of fiction, but it does give some insight on how people abuse positions of power. I’ve recently found myself smack in the middle of some office devilry of which Joseph Heller would be very proud. It seems, sometimes there’s just no way to stay clean… I did try the “What would Jesus do?” approach but I found I just couldn’t come up with the right response. “What would Charles Manson do?” seemed entirely more appropriate.

The Boss

Speaking Charles Manson AND of great office books, another fantastic read is Paranoia by Joseph Finder. This is the ultimate guide to office politics. I haven’t really hung around tech companies long enough to be sure, but I’d bet my Monday Bagel that the two companies which meet in this Novel are meant to be Cisco and HP.. you guess which is which..

And it’s not just me.. see:

http://farnooshreading.blogspot.com/2007/02/joseph-finder-paranoia.html

or for the Author’s comments on who he modeled the book on

http://www.josephfinder.com/content_author/paranoia.asp

Blogging will get you fired!

I’ve a theory that big employers track random snippets of data on each and every one of their Employees. Those foolish enough to post strong content are never seen again. It’s for this reason I have long avoided the Blog. In the end, the irresistible lure of publication, no matter how obscure or irrelevant was too much. The result is this. Impressive isn’t it? I daren’t say too much, they’re tracking me right now….

Don’t take my word for it.. this is worthy of Letterman!


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