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Happiness is firearms safety

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I don’t care how glad you are the bastard’s dead, get your fucking finger off that trigger, you daft bellend. Fundamental rule of firearm safety: you always always always treat it as if it’s loaded even if you’ve personally taken the magazine out and worked the action. Now and then guns thought to be unloaded turn out to have a round in the chamber after all, and I can tell you from personal experience that hearing the rattle of bolts going back and forth followed by a lot of clicks and one loud bang tightens one’s sphincter a little even when it’s on a range and you know that all the business ends are pointed in a safe direction. I quote from a post last year in which a very pretty girl is licking a pistol in a very suggestive way with her finger on the trigger and the muzzle right underneath the tip of her nose:

For those who’ve never who’ve never shot the basic safety rules are fairly common sense and run along the following lines:

  • Unless visibly made safe a gun should always treated as if it is loaded and ready to fire.
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be aware both of the target and what is around it.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the guard until you are ready to fire.
  • You’ll look better with your nose where it is than you will if you blow it off your face and on to the fucking ceiling.

I think an extra one might have snuck in there.

Click for embiggerfication and guide to what is a safe direction

Oh, Jeez, there’s another picture here, and if anything it’s even worse as he has a finger over the muzzle.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Don’t fucking do that. Just don’t.



EARTHQUAAAAKE!!! EARTHQU…

… sorry, Harold Camping and company, just kidding. Mind you, it’s been a bit wet today and not as warm as yesterday. Does that count for anything?

Situation Vacant

Wanted: Western Security Theatre requires dramatic lunatic for role of Emmanuel Goldstein in our long running farce Oh Fuck, The Fucking Fuckers Are Fucking Everywhere after the recent replacement for our retired long term Goldstein lacked the hoped for durability. Package including times of performance will be largely up to the successful applicant, as will be much of the script. Window licking experience and own wardrobe, including head underpants if desired, is absolutely essential. Apply through usual agencies.

Of course, it could all be bollocks. It wasn’t long ago the media seemed sure he was kipping on the sofa in Hugo Chavez’s pool room.

Great discoveries of this blog #1 *

When you’ve got absolutely nothing else Bonjela works quite well on insect bites. Okay, ‘great’ might be overstating things but don’t say I never tell you anything useful.

* It’s highly unlikely that there will be a #2.

Microsoft…

… you really are a bunch of bastards.

Windows 7 in Australia – AU$199
Windows 7 in UK – £99.99 or about AU$155
Windows 7 in the United States – US$79.95 or about AU$80

It’s a download, Microsoft. A bloody download. Not only are the costs of shipping insignificant the customer is contributing with his own bandwidth. Apple, who despite my being a customer I also feel are a bunch of bastards who aren’t above charging significantly different prices for the same products here in Oz, have at least made OS X Lion, also a downloadable operation system, AU$32, £21 in the UK (about $32.50 in Aussie dollars) and US$30. Yes, still cheaper for the Yanks and percentage wise it’s not insignificant, but in actual money terms nobody’s going to be all that fussed about a couple of bucks.

But you, Microshaft, you are charging Australian customers two and a half times as much for the same product with no real difference in costs to you. I don’t mind that it’s miles more expensive than Mac operating systems – there are reasons for that which I can understand and accept, and besides you can charge whatever you like. It’s business and you can charge what the market will bear. And of course that applies with international sales too, so if the Aussie market can bear paying two and a half times as much, if the average Aussie consumer is two and a half times as wealthy as the average American consumer, then fair enough. But we both know that isn’t the case and you’ve just been charging this much because ’til now too few Aussies have been aware they’re being ripped off to make a difference.

However, I wouldn’t bet on that state of affairs continuing. Aussies have become aware that they’ve been ripped off on book prices and have begun ordering from Amazon and Book Depository in such numbers that book retailers here are shitting themselves and one major chain, Borders, has already gone to the wall. I haven’t got too much sympathy with Borders since, much like you lot, Microshaft, they charged more for ebook downloads than the same bloody ebook in the UK or US. And it’s not just books either, as other retailers are finding out and cracking the sads about. Last year head of the Harvey Norman chain, Gerry Harvey, called for the government to levy Goods and Services Tax (GST is 10%) on all personal imports rather than just purchases exceeding $1000. Since every time the government has looked into this they’ve found that GST on lower value imports would cost more to collect than it raises this is nothing more than a demand for protectionism, and since price differentials are often much larger than can be accounted for by the lack of GST Harvey didn’t achieve much apart from letting more people know that what his stores sell can often be found much cheaper on the internet. Funnily enough Gerry harvey’s suggestion that Australian customers be made to pay more didn’t go down well and he backed down not long after.

So here’s where we are, Microshaft. Aussies are becoming more price aware and more conscious of the fact that there are savings to be had on the internet. And I’ve been asked to update a few rellies’ computers to Windows 7 and to shop around and see where the best price is. And I just happened to come across an article in The Age about price gouging, on which someone left a comment to the effect that they saved $109 on Windows 7 by downloading it from the US, though it actually seems to be even more of a saving if you need the upgrade version. So guess what I’ll be advising them to do.

Yep, that’s right. I’ll be recommending they get it from the US for $120 less, and I’ll also be suggesting that they tell all their friends. And if they’re sufficiently outraged by your pricing policies who knows, maybe they’ll all look at Ubuntu instead.

Seriously, New Zealand?

I mean, seriously?

Over-zealous officials are said to have banned bagpipes from the terraces amid fears that they could distract Scotland’s opponents – despite the fact that they have featured in previous tournaments around the world.

Well, it’s their stadium terraces so it’s up to them, but the justification seems pretty silly. I suppose there might be something in the idea that the sight of a man in a skirt apparently fisting a screaming octopus is distracting, but since Scotland have yet to win the World Cup and haven’t won the Six Nations since it was still the Five Nations possibly, just possibly, it’s no more distracting than that French brass band who play like they’re on amphetamines or Phil Vickery’s face. Or that war dance that the national team of a certain south Pacific island nation do before every international match.

Pack it in!

Look, Google/Blogger, I’ve told you before: no, you are not having my phone number. You don’t need it and I don’t need you to have it, and if I do need you to have it I already know it’s an option since you keep going on about it. Okay? So fucking stop asking or I’ll clear off to WordPress.

The yPad

I’m still struggling with this bloody gadget. Not struggling with using it because I haven’t got one, but struggling to understand the point of the bloody thing. On the one hand it’s like a smartphone that’s way to big to fit in your pocket and can’t make ordinary phone calls, and on the other it’s keyboardless laptop with a shite OS and not much processing power. Maybe I’ll undergo some Damascene conversion one day but a year and a half or so on the iPad and its spawn still look to me like the worst of both worlds. And now it turns out there’s yet another reason for not buying one: the office won’t fucking leave you alone.

A survey of 300 Australian IT workers and their bosses has found employees were frequently using their own smart phones and tablets to send work emails.
Thirty-four per cent had sent work emails while on holidays, surprisingly, the same amount that had sent a work email from public transport.
Other private places where work emails were being sent were the bed, for 23 per cent surveyed, and restaurants, for 21 per cent.

So as many as two fifths could have ended up working when they were either getting lucky (come on, they were awake for a reason) or lining it up? Fuck that.

Nineteen per cent had worked from a place of worship.

Not the confessional, surely? Even though there’s an app for that (yes, really) the Vatican have put the kybosh on the idea. But still, if you’re the sort to go to church what the hell are you doing answering office email, and if you’re not the sort to go then you’re either there as a tourist or at a ceremony for someone else, i.e., a wedding, christening or funeral. And in any of those cases you’re there on your own time and what the fuck is so important they can’t leave you alone ’til Monday?

More to the point, this isn’t iPads and iPhones provided by companies but the employees own devices. My boss knows where to get me every single waking moment, even when I’m parking my breakfast, but then I’m him so he’s got an excuse. When some poor bastard doesn’t have the upsides that go with that and is always getting his ear bent anyway via a device he’s forked out the thick end of a thousand bucks of his own money on it’s just insane. As I said before, fuck that.

Learn to be out of touch, guys. If anyone wants me leave a message.

Best qualified?

Er, not made up from riot control officers of The Metropolitan Police, I hope?

Cloudy outlook with some thunderstorms

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Within three hours some services were back up, and the company had restored 60 per cent of affected operations were back online within 12 hours.

Or to put it another way, 40% were still kaput after 12 hours. And this is why cloud computing completely fails to grip my shit and I’ll stick with the terribly old fashioned idea of keeping my data where I can get it anytime I want instead of screaming impotently at the screen: “Give me my fucking documents back”. Doubly relevant here in Oz where there are large remote areas with no internet except pricey satellite connections.

iCloud, Apple? iCouldn’tbelessinterested.

A message for Mac users

Safari 5.1 is shithouse and Steve Jobs needs to do something about the Cupertino circle jerk that perpetuates the myth that every idea Apple shits out is automatically wonderful because it’s Apple. Although it’s got a couple of nice new features such as the reading list they still haven’t got true tab duplication – i.e with histories, the way Opera has done for fucking ten years or more – some of my extensions don’t work, one critical one work properly because 5.1 incorporates so many changes that the poor buggers that wrote are saying they’ve had to rewrite almost from scratch. It’s also become very sluggish with more than a few tabs open, prone to beach balling, very temperamental if even one tab has any video content – which is half the content on any news site these days – and worst of all the fucking thing has fallen over on me so many times this morning I’m half tempted to check to see I didn’t install a beta by mistake. This is Internet Explorer territory. If you haven’t downloaded it already think carefully before you do – check every extension and plug in for compatibility, and make sure you’ve got a backup in case for when the problems outweigh the benefit of the new features. At the current rate of annoying things happening I’ll have given up on it and gone back to 5.0 by lunchtime, and it’s now a quarter past eleven.

This has been an anti-Apple rant/public service announcement. Never forget that all big companies, even ones that make some nice products, can be a shower of cunts from time to time.

UPDATE – And just under an hour later I’ve lost my patience entirely and gone back to the last version of 5.0.

Life is a lottery…

… and it sometimes seems as if more and more people are seeing misfortune, even if largely self inflicted, as a winning ticket. In today’s news from opposite sides of the world we have a British policewoman who was too sick to work but was able to go on Total Wipeout suing the police force, and an Australian federal government employee demanding compensation from her employers because while working away from home, and engaging in what sounds like some fairly energetic sex in a motel room, a light fell on her head. And I have questions about that.

First, the copper.

Colleagues of PC Lesley Hart, 51, complained to their bosses after seeing her take part in the high energy game show hosted by Richard Hammond.
She was flown to Argentina to take part in the programme while she was on long term sick leave from the Devon and Cornwall police where she worked on domestic violence cases.
Now she has launched legal action against the force claiming she was not offered the support she needed to return to work.
[…]
She had been moved to the domestic violence unit after returning from another lengthy sick leave for a shoulder injury – apparently caused by wearing heavy body armour.
At the time she flew to Argentina to record Total Wipeout she was off work suffering from stress which she attributed to the emotionally demanding nature of her work, excessive caseload, and lack of support from senior officers.
[…]
The trip was not authorised by senior officers but an internal investigation cleared her of any misconduct and no disciplinary action was taken.
Her medical retirement occurred a few weeks later.
[…]
She has now launched a legal claim against the force which will be heard either in an employment tribunal or in the High Court.
It is understood to allege that the police did not do enough to support her in her job before she became ill and that it did not offer her the help she needed to continue working.

Now all of that may well be true, I have no idea either way, but assuming it is I have to ask why it’s anyone else’s problem? Did the police force have any kind of duty to do that? Might have been wise for them to anyway since they had time and money invested in her training and experience, although when someone on long term sick leave goes on a physically demanding TV game show without even mentioning it to colleagues I suppose the value of that investment might be reassessed. But should employers be under any kind of obligation to bend over backwards for someone who for whatever reason can’t actually do the work anymore? I’m sure it was a stressful and emotionally job, and it’s one I wouldn’t do for quids, but you know what? A lot of people just go and find another line of work when they’re not happy in their job anymore.

But while I don’t know either way about Lesley Hart’s situation, although I doubt it would have occurred to me to take legal action, my mind’s more made up on that of the unnamed government worker here in Oz because for the life of me I can’t see what it had to do with her employers.

The woman’s claim is based on the fact that she suffered the injuries “during the course of her employment”, because she was required to travel to the country town and to stay overnight to attend a budget review meeting early the next day.
Her barrister, Leo Grey, argued in the Federal Court today that she was “induced or encouraged” by her employer to spend the night at the hotel where the incident occurred, and was thus entitled to compensation under workers’ compensation laws.

Well, if they induced or encouraged to spend the night at a hotel infamous for its falling light fittings I could see her point, but I’m pretty sure that it was just ‘You’re needed in this town for this purpose, and since it’s a long way away you’ll need to stay overnight.’ I’m even more sure that her employer would not have induced or encouraged her to have sex so hard the lights fell down since that’s generally not an occupational requirement in most work roles outside brothels.

The woman is appealing against a decision by Comcare, the federal government workplace safety body, upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which found that sex was not an “ordinary activity” during an overnight stay.
But Mr Grey said the fact that his client was having sex had little to do with the case.
“This case … is as much about slipping in the shower, or being beaten by a gang of thugs or being shot by a jealous rival,” he said.

And how would any of that have been the fault of her employer? Surely it would have been the fault of the gang or the rival or, for falling in the shower, the fault of Shit for making good on it’s threat and Happening. As it was she fancied a nice shag and a light fell on her, and I couldn’t work out why she was taking her department to court instead of the hotel whose light fell on her. I mean, was it poorly fitted or something to have been just shagged off the wall by a couple, er, coupling away on the bed below?

Not quite, though you need to watch the video on the link to find out why (my bold).

While she was there she had sex with a male acquaintance in a motel room paid for by her employer. While they were having sex one of them grabbed a glass light from the ceiling which fell and smashed into the woman’s face.

Ah, and is that why she’s not taking the hotel to court? Because it didn’t just fall down but was grabbed by one of them during And was grabbing the light encouraged or induced by her employer? Forget the fact they paid for the room. If she had a dairy allergy and accidentally put milk in her tea while she was in there would that be the fault of her employers? Would they have induced or encouraged her to? Or would she simply have done something off her own back that had unpleasant consequences for her?

Today the woman’s lawyer … said his client’s injuries occurred during the course of her employment.

I envy lawyers sometimes, I really really do. It must be a lot of fun being paid to say some of the things that they have to say for their clients as well as challenging to keep a straight face. Frankly I’m surprised they don’t all play poker.

As far as what this particular lawyer has said and what I think of it, well, as I’ve already mentioned I think it’s pretty unlikely she was sent there to have sex, let alone have the kind of movie sex that wrecks light fittings. I’m not a lawyer so I really don’t know if that the law here still counts that as ‘during the course of employment’, but it seems harsh to blame them for her decision to have sex and for its consequences. If she’d got pregnant nobody would say it was during the course of her employment and that she should get child support from her department, would they?

Or maybe I’m being harsh because in the past I’ve had a job that involved early starts away from home and an unwanted hotel stay the previous night, and from personal experience I can tell you that when you’ve got two people having headboard thumping, spring squeaking, chandelier swinging movie sex in the room next door you’d be happy for the light to fall on them if it meant you could finally get the fucking sleep you drove all that way for.

Wrong compo

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received £200 ($323) compensation from British Airways (BA) after the airline’s in-flight entertainment broke down on the couple’s trip home from the US.

Lucky them. Some of the shit that I’ve flicked through on a long flight has made me think passengers should be compensated if the bloody thing works.

Bloody Vikings…

… is what we’re thinking of calling our first child, partly because we like Monty Python and partly to take the mickey out of Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, all of which have laws governing what you can name a child. Obviously not if we have a boy. That’d be silly. We’d call him Tarquin.*

I bring this up not to inform you that there is now a little Exile – there isn’t so no need to go asking if he’s blogged his first swear word yet – but because the news of the birth of Harper Seven Beckham, poor bloody thing, has prompted me to consider my feelings about naming laws. On the one hand it completely goes against libertarian ideals (well, mine anyway) for the state to interfere with what parents decide to call their children and it’s rather telling that in the Swedish example it’s as much to make life easier for the tax authorities as it is to avoid children being stigmatised because even if Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 is pronounced ‘Albin’ it won’t fit on the name tag by their coat peg and anyway the teacher can’t spell it. Look, she’s forgotten the double X again. Both of them in fact.

On the other hand, Harper Seven Beckham for heaven’s sake… and some of the other more deranged sleb kid names. I mean, Harper is unusual enough and of course was also the name of the author of a very famous book (christened Nelle as it turns out), but Seven? If you’re trying to give your baby a distinctive name I’d advise against sticking the kid with a handle that makes them sound like a Borg (actually christened Annika as any Trekkie will tell you if you don’t distract them in time by pointing and yelling ‘Look over there, it’s Patrick Stewart’ before running away). Seven could so easily cause confusion with Seven Sirius, who’s the son of André 3000 (christened André Benjamin), and Harper Seven sounds as much like an air force call-sign as a name. You could start to make a joke about the Blue Angels display team there, but before you do you’d best know that Blue Angel is in fact the third daughter of U2 git-arist The Edge (who was born David Evans). Max Lirons and Tiger Lilys and Bear Blu-s, oh my!* All a bit silly? I should Coco, except of course that we shouldn’t because that’s Courteney Cox’s daughter.

But then I think about name laws and wonder if they don’t make things worse. Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, the kid who briefly had perhaps the most unreal name ever, would probably have been just another Sven or Björn or Thor if his parents hadn’t found the concept of having to choose from a list of government approved names even sillier and more offensive than throwing the cat at the keyboard and deciding that whatever comes out would be pronounced ‘Albin’, simply as a form of protest. I wouldn’t use my child as a protest that way, but you can kind of understand their point since after the government told them they weren’t allowed to call him that they changed it to ‘A’, also pronounced ‘Albin’, only to be told that wasn’t allowed either. 5000 kronor, which was their fine incidentally, not David and Victoria’s first choice for Harper Seven. Let’s not forget that rather creepy tax man aspect either. Far easier to respect the Beckhams’ choice than a government’s interest in it.

The thing is that kids often go through phases of disliking their given name even if it’s quite an ordinary one, and as for the more unusual ones, well, if they really don’t like it eventually they’ll be old enough to say so and insist on a change. Take film director Duncan Jones, for example, though you may know of him as Zowie Bowie, born to David Bowie shortly before the Ziggy Stardust phase. By the time he was of secondary school age he was asking to be called Joey or Joe, and it strikes me that any other kid could do much the same and simply refuse to answer to anything else until, like Duncan Jones, they’re a legal adult and really do get the choice of what name to go by. Moon Unit Zappa, on the other hand, seems happy enough to be known as Moon Zappa and probably only includes her middle name on official documents like her driving licence. Each born with highly unusual names which would almost certainly be forbidden in countries with naming laws, and each has chosen for themselves how to be known in their adult lives. No matter what we think – and generally I don’t – of celebrities and their bizarre name choices, isn’t letting the kids and their families work things out for themselves better than some civil servant giving new parents disapproving glances across his desk as he scans the list of approved names to see if their preference is on it?

And if one day there is a Tarquin Exile it’d very obviously be short for Tarquin-Fim-Tim-Lim-Bim-Bus-Stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuit-Barrel, and Python fans wouldn’t need to be told why. But we wouldn’t mind at all if he just wanted to go by ‘Tim’.

* Who are Christina Aguilera’s son, Roger Taylor’s daughter and Alicia Silverstone’s son respectively, and in case you’re wondering it took me under ten minutes internettery to find three celebs’ children that sound like a famous line from The Wizard of Oz.

Save the planet, shoot Skippy in the face

Since the day I created it my Blogger profile has always ended by mentioning that I eat kangaroos. I was slightly surprised to find it on the shelves in pretty much every supermarket I’ve ever been in here and I do know that there are a few people who feel there’s something not quite right about eating an animal on the country’s coat of arms (I’ve tried emu too but it doesn’t seem to be as easy to find – I’ve not eaten many animals from British heraldry since dragons and unicorns are even harder to get, but I have had my share of lion bars). But I was willing to try it and while it’s quite gamey and probably not to everyone’s taste I came to enjoy it. Good thing too because it turns out that it could save the planet, at least according to people who want us to swallow something even stranger looking than a giant mouse thing that bounces around the countryside at 40mph or more and occasionally laminates itself to the front of road trains.

Researchers in South Australia recently announced exciting new work confirming the Tamar wallaby has special bacteria in its digestive system which causes it to emit negligible levels of methane. Cattle and sheep on the other hand belch methane by the tonne, making them a significant source of greenhouse gas pollution. The researchers, and the press, have run away all excited because this opens up the possibility of introducing this bacteria into the stomachs of cattle and sheep and therefore hopefully reducing their methane output.
But hang on a second. Aren’t we missing an obvious point here? Before we start playing around with the guts of animals and causing goodness knows what unforseen consequences, shouldn’t we be asking, ‘Why don’t we promote the consumption of more kangaroo meat to reduce our carbon foot print?’.
[…]
It’s not because of sustainability concerns. The kangaroo industry has been harvesting kangaroos on a large commercial scale for more than 40 years. State and federal governments have extremely complex and rigorous systems in place to ensure the harvest is sustainable. During the recent drought the kangaroo population fell to only historically average levels, in spite of an ongoing commercial harvest.
It’s not because of animal welfare concerns. Kangaroos are harvested under a code of practice enforced by extensive government monitoring. Unlike cattle, they are not shipped all over the place and killed by untrained people in abattoirs. Kangaroo Harvesters have to undergo TAFE training and accreditation by government officers in welfare regulations before they can get a licence.
It’s not because the meat isn’t good for you. Kangaroo meat is at most only 2% fat. Plus it’s full of a compound called conjugated linoleic acid, which actively reduces blood pressure. And it really does taste pretty good.

Well, I’ve been doing my bit to help tackle warble gloaming, even though I think it’s both probably natural and beyond our ability to tackle anyway. Still, if it’s in a good cause I don’t mind chucking another roo on the barbie. If you like venison you might like roo meat too, but if not then something vac-packed in a nice marinade might be more your thing. You can even have it in a curry as per this ‘vindaroo‘ recipe. But best make the most of it because before too long someone will decide that in fact it’s dreadfully bad for your health and eating it is equivalent to stabbing baby polar bears.

What’s that, Skip? You want to be turned over? Okay, let me just get the tongs.