Tram Town
Monday, February 28, 2005
Category: Google
Of all places, GQ magazine has a magnificent article about the Google IPO. Well worth a read.

Category: Audio
I know it's just a shop but The Sound Room is a really interesting site and I will read all of it.

Catagory: Recently Dead Celebrities
Apple Employee #31. Vale.

Category: Democracy
A. E. Brain notes an ABC news item which suggests that Egypt may be able to have more than one candidate in future elections and comments:
An election with more than one candidate? What an outrageous idea. No really, anywhere except Israel and now Iraq, it really is an outrageous idea, a dangerous and destabilising one that those in power are deathly afraid of. And they're right to be.

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Catagory: Crime
A couple of students embark on a National Crimewave.

Category: Politics
Last year Justice Kirby signalled
that he was prepared to rein in the Howard Government's enhanced mandate.
This year he is calling into question the abilities of his predecessors on the High Court. He does seek to politicise the High Court and he weakens it as a result. I reiterate: the man's a disgrace.

Category: Homework
Mary Delahunty, author of a notorius pamphlet, is, by all accounts, underperforming. Perhaps she should do a little more homework.
Quoting directly from the text of a speech Ms Delahunty made on the 23rd of October in 2000:
We cannot or afford such cruel differences.
What the? A blaring typo in a document from the DE&T. Perhaps they don't proof read their documents before they are published to the world. That wouldn't surprise me, the documents that come from our local school certainly don't appear to have been proofed. That might, of course, be because the teachers know squat about grammar.

Saturday, February 26, 2005
Catagory: Candy
Kraft Draws Ire for Road Kill Candy.

Category: Astounding
I hadn't seen anything of this story until this item about court proceedings:
A WOMAN forced her husband to have sex with a 13-year-old girl, threatening both with a spear, because of bad spirits, a Darwin court heard today.
Savonne Scrubby, 33, has pleaded guilty to a charge of rape in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, saying she was the principal offender.
With her plea, the prosecution dropped a charge or rape against the man.
I just don't know what to think.

Friday, February 25, 2005
Category: Game
Blogless Clive came up with this Hitchhiker's game. We had the original Mac version which opened a window and then operated as a TTY. In fact, we only just gave the game and its original packaging to DB for his personal Macintosh museum.

Category: Factoid
In the aftermath of the shocking-awful accident on the Westgate yesterday this interesting fact:
Tankers carrying gas, petrol and chemicals each have separate routes across Melbourne.
"It's to avoid a chemical tanker coming into contact with a petrol tanker," Mr Martin said.

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Catagory: Power
This is sorta cool.

Category: Language
This landed in the mailbox of a workmate a few days ago.
From: Vivien Oint
Subject: You can metamorphose to the foremost person for her.

Our specific is used to remedy cavernous breakdown,
likewise far-famed as impotence. This is when a man can't acquire, or save,
a firm tumid phallus apt for intimate activity.
This medicine is :
  • appropriate to be used as a fulfilment foil
  • has key advantages over other drugs
  • can function for 3 days
  • can erect up in the organic structure

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Category: Madness
Two employees of an organisation specifically founded to have conversations with gorillas have been sacked for failing to display their breasts to one of the gorillas. DB found this item but didn't want to post it here because he felt he couldn't resist using the headline "Show us ya tits!".
Read the whole article, it gets better and better.

Category: Football
Let's hope he didn't play on!
JASON Akermanis was happy yesterday to be on the receiving end of one of the greatest deliveries of his life when he took possession of his first child.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Catagory: Best Western Sisters
Citizen, please contact the Capital of France!

Monday, February 21, 2005
Catagory: Recently Dead Celebrities
Another one! Gidget! (what's happening? (I blame global warming)) Vale.

Catagory: Recently Dead Celebrities
Hunter S. Thompson bites the bullet! (sorry, that was tacky) Vale.
UPDATE: Qoute from the TTT/AAP "He shot to fame in 1966 after the publication of his book Hell's Angels, the story of his relationship with the then-feared motorcycle gang."
Umm, SHOT to fame? (tacky).

Sunday, February 20, 2005
Category: Apple
I really enjoyed that top 100 gadgets article that DB posted but I can't help but feel it was an opportunity to say how wonderful Apple is.
On the score front, I guess (depending on iterpretation) that I have owned about five of the items described. Top of my list? My Sony CDP 101 CD player that I still have more than 20 years on.
I've been trying to check the veracity of the entry for Col Jacob Schick:
Jacob Schick believed that men could live to the age of 120 by shaving the right way, every day. To further than end, Schick invented the electric razor in 1928 and released the first commercial one three years later ... before dying in 1937 at the age of 49. Today, 30 percent of men use electric shavers.
The search for the quote is complicated by the fact that Marine Cpl. Jacob Schick had a close shave with death and, in fact, lost a significant proportion of his right leg a little while ago in Iraq. His mother, by the way, is an interior decorator.
In the meantime I have learnt quite a bit about pogonotomy and Jacob Schick including the fact that he was born in 1878 so he was 59 years old when he died, not 49.
This article expresses Schick's belief "that a man could extend his years to 120 by correct, everyday shaving" but its veracity has to be called into question because it also claims he was Canadian which seems unlikely for a Colonel in the US Marines who was born in Iowa.
That just killed a good half an hour and helped me get over another intense bout of Apple Irritation Syndrome.

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Catagory: Ep. III
Episode III to open 58th. Cannes Film Festival?

Catagory: Gadgets
The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time. Definately worth a look (FWIW I've owned/own 25 of 'em).

Catagory: Language
Unca' Bill thinks it's h1p 2 b kewl, go daddyo!

Category: Meeja
This news item appears for my money to be a little biased against the Bush administration:
each time Bush nominates an official for a post, he picks the worst of all, and together, they make up the worst, gloomiest, cruelest and most messianic administration of all
To be fair, it is describing an article in a Cuban newspaper but later, not quoting any other source it claims of John Negroponte:
His dossier is as sordid as his role in Iraq.
Prensa Latina, almost as far to the left as Phillip Adams.

Friday, February 18, 2005
Category: Swimming
If I recall correctly, they tried to teach me how to swim at this swimming school that is about to close down.

Category: Offensive
This article in the Hun headed "Valentine assault" is just plain offensive. By the association (reinforced in article body) with Valentine's day they appear to be suggesting that the assault was in some sense a display of love or affection. Disgraceful journalism!

Category: Swinging Ballarat
Once more the Hun turns to Hollywood to validate our sorry lives here in the exciting Garden State.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Category: Police
Despite what many of our readers might think, I don't always agree with the Bolta but this is one of the many occasions when I do. The police need to be reeled in and supporters within the force of far left organisations need to be brought under control.

Category: Police
Despite what many of our readers might think, I don't always agree with the Bolta, but this is one of the many occasions when I do. The police need to be reeled in and supporters within the force of far left organisations need to be brought under control.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Category: Documentaries
I've mentioned Michael Moore Hates America before but now, courtesy of the boy Bezos, I have a copy and it is good. Strangely, though, it is good in a different sense than I expected. Michael Wilson set out to make a Roger and Me sort of doco which slagged off the big fella and along the way he got into a conversation with Penn Jillette which was his moment on the road to Damascus. What Wilson ended up producing was a film about the nature of documentaries and the difficulties of making an honest documentary. The big bloke Moore certainly doesn't get off scot-free but Wilson has the hairshirt on as well for some of the time.
If you know me and you live in TramTown, consider borrowing it from me or get on the blower to the boy Bezos yourself.
9.0/10.0 maybe more after a second watch.

Category: 9/11
Popular Mechanics debunks 9/11 myths fairly thouroughly in this article that Tim Blair pointed me at.

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Category: Blogging
Blog of the day week month year so far!

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Category: Politics
An article in the Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune cannot find a way to put a bad spin on bulk billing statistics:
Department of Health figures released yesterday show 72.4 per cent of visits to GPs incurred no out-of-pocket cost for the patient during the three months to December.
This is up from 71.8 per cent for the September quarter and 66.5 per cent from December 2003.
In further good news for patients - not to mention the Government - the average out-of-pocket cost to patients who are not bulk-billed has dropped to $14.69, the lowest for a year.
These figures are likely to improve further as the Government's election promises kick in, particularly the lift in the Medicare rebate from just over $25 to about $30.
Bulldozing her way through the facts, Julia Gillard responds:
"For all of minister Abbott's shameless self-aggrandisement, the truth of the matter is that people around the country are still struggling to find a doctor at all, struggling to find a doctor who bulk-bills and facing soaring out of pocket costs when they do see the doctor. There is nothing here of which minister Abbott should be proud," she said.
And AMA president Bill Glasson seems to think that the rates will not improve any further except that he also believes that they will:
... Bill Glasson said the rise in bulk-billing was levelling off as the incentives introduced last year for GPs started to lose their value. "The Government got all the bang out of its bulk-billing buck in the first six months of last year," Dr Glasson said. He acknowledged further Government measures would spark rises this year.
Journo David Wroe has done a good job of smearing egg all over Julia and Bill's faces. Well done David!

Category: Rau
The Bolta is back from holidays and yesterday he wrote a little about the Rau case. Included was this snippet:
South Australia's public advocate, for instance, huffed on the ABC how he'd nagged the Immigration Department for two months to get help for Rau, but had "never dealt with such arrogant public servants". Only two days later did he confess he'd never personally contacted the department, because it was "pointless".
and this astute observation
The federal inquiry now prodding this case will – and should – find the faults that need fixing, although the chances of a second person turning up at a detention centre with a fake ID and demanding in a foreign voice to be treated as an illegal immigrant seem beyond remote.

Category: littachuh
Arthur Miller at 89 years old has been on the job (Billy Snedden-style) with a 34 year old artist. It was too much for him. I don't know much about Art but I don't like her art.

Friday, February 11, 2005
Category: Meeja
Terry Thomas on The Judy Garland Show tonight on Ovation said something about the press to the effect that you can't expect much more than a grunt from a pig.

Category: Powerpoint
The Onion has a story on a bloke who left a PPPresentation as a suicide note. Very black but very funny.

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Category: Digital Rights Wrongs
The RIAA has tried to sue a woman who recently died computerless at the age of 83. They allege she has made 700 songs available for download on the Internet. Her daughter, Robyn Chianumba does not expect her to front up in court: "I am pretty sure she is not going to leave Greenwood Memorial Park to attend the hearing".
On Tech Central Station, Glenn Reynolds' article Toxic Botsuits suggests that this is a "'bot-based lawsuit". Like many TCS articles, this one is well worth the read.
I have wandered off to some really interesting places as a result of my search for news on menace-to-society Gertrude Walton. Boycott the RIAA is an interesting one which discourages sharing of copyrighted files from members of the RIAA but encourages sharing of independently produced and distributed files. A TCS article on the same theme talks about the tail growing longer meaning that the main stream media is giving a lot away to the small media. I think this is also true of the music industry. The main stream record companies are losing control and the pulling power of the superstar, while still enormous, is on a shallow downhill slope.
This discussion on Boycott RIAA has an owner of a plush studio with "chefs on staff that prepare home-cooked meals, housekeeping and laundry service, a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, billiards, comfortable, private guest rooms", etc., lamenting the fact that he is getting less bookings because there are less superstars being paid large amounts by the big record companies. Comments tend toward "the world doesn't owe you a living, buddy".
All in all, apart from the lawsuits, the trends seem to me to be healthy, just don't go manufacturing buggy whips or you're going to go hungry.

Category: Testicles
Police said Geoff had a history of mental problems.

Category: Education
This fourteen-year-old cartoon is still very relevant. [pointed at it, Tim Blair did]

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Catagory: Ep. III
"Happy or sad will you feel after Ep. III?". FWIW.

Catagory: Music
A cracker of an article on Louis and Bebe Barron. I have to confess I didn't know much about them, time to do some further research I guess.

Category: Christo
I don't know much about art but apparently Mike Bloomberg does because he's mates with Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude. They don't wrap any more but they do build saffron coloured gates. I hope this isn't being funded with public money but I have a suspicion that it is. Maybe I'm wrong - "The Gates is financed entirely by the artists, who do not accept sponsorships. The public will bear no expense of any kind", but where does their dough come from?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Category: Words
The Word Detective has some really interesting reading.

Category: Ripley
Not the racing car driver who was in the Alien pitchers. This one is the Believe it or Nuts guy. A woman has children nearly 2 months apart. Do we call them twins if they come from different wombs?

Catagory: Recently Dead Celebrities
I'd missed this one, Grantley Dee. I used to listen to him when I was very young on 3AK (where no wrinklies fly) (I believe his competitor at the time was Johnny Young on 3XY). 3AK had a promotion where you could send in a Stamped, Self-Addressed Envelope and they send a prize. When I got mine it contained a note informing me that "Sorry, yours got away". Can't find the orbituary, but in searching for it I found this which definately looks worth a further look/listen when I get the chance.

Monday, February 07, 2005
Catagory: xPod
Chewie RAID!

Category: DNA
This story from The Hun declares:
The State Government has admitted many Victorian parents are unaware DNA samples taken from their child at birth were to be stored in the gene bank.
The DNA samples -- called Guthrie Cards -- are held by privately-owned company Genetic Health Services.
The cards have been collected with parental consent via a heel prick from every Victorian aged under 42 years.
Not the consent of this parent! And...
Since population-wide testing began in the 1960s, hospital staff have been required to obtain verbal consent from parents and guardians before performing the procedure.
Verbal consent for a reasonably complex issue from a woman just coming out of labour... WHAT BULLSHIT! Anyway, I was there for the birth of both of my children and no such consent was requested. How about other recent parents? What is your memory?
Also, how many parents understood the implications of this collection when/if their consent was requested during the mid-1960's? Why were they doing this at that stage? Did they presage DNA testing? Something is very strange about this whole story!
UPDATE: The TTT was talking about this same story on Jose day last year:
A child's birth is a special moment - the labour, the joy, the chaos. And about 48 hours into a new life, each baby has a medical test that has saved countless children's lives.
Blood from the baby's heel is soaked into an absorbent card and then tested for a range of rare, usually treatable conditions. Most parents hear nothing more and life goes on.
But what becomes of the cards? In Victoria, they are tested and stored by Genetic Health Services Victoria, a company set up 16 years ago. It is paid by the State Government to do the tests, yet believes it owns the cards, which date from 1965. All Victorian babies were tested from about 1970.
The Parkville company ultimately controls who can get access to the blood, and DNA, of more than 2 million people born in Victoria. Its collection is the largest in Australia and the only one not in government hands.
Am I just being naive here or is this a disgrace?

Mostly complete Apple Form Factor Evolution 1976-2005.

Sunday, February 06, 2005
Category: Words
From Michael Quinion's World Wide Words mailing list (which I have subscribed to for many years):
Rachel Hitchcock e-mails: "Being a student of linguistics, I'm really amused by ambiguous sentences. I'm on AOL and they have news headlines that appear on the welcome screen. One such heading today (January 26th) read, 'Iran: U.S. threatens world peace' and the corresponding news story had a headline that said, 'U.S. Tops List for Threatening World Peace: Iran'." Your political standpoint will determine whether you see ambiguity here ...
Some readers of TramTown may be interested to know that Michael Quinion was the founding "Curator of the Cider Museum in Hereford". Subscribe for a one-a-week email that is great fun and edifying to boot.

Category: Voting
Miranda Devine writes about violence around and about an Iraqi voting booth in Sydney. I hope the police find a way to deal with this post-haste.
The second half of her article is interesting too. It seems women change shape at various stages in their lives and the New Idea takes a misogynistic approach to reporting that fact. No surprise there. My problem with the New Idea is the same as for the vast majority of free-to-air telly, I can't believe anyone really watches/reads it.

Saturday, February 05, 2005
Category: Bacon
From my favourite childish humour site I Love Bacon:

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem.
A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.
Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.
He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.
There are teachers, and then there are educators.

Catagory: xPod
Some very nice clips for the ipod Chewie (I especially like the push pin).

Friday, February 04, 2005
Catagory: Kinky
K2, the adventure continues.

Category: Weather
We've had a bit of wet weather here in Melbourne over the last couple of days and general infrastructure and emergency services have dealt with it magnificently. Depending on what statistics you go by, we are four days into February, which is generally a dry month, and it is already the wettest month on record. On Wednesday I woke up and saw the precipitation since yesterday at 9am and thought "whoa, an inch and a half in 24 hours!". The next morning I woke and found something more like 4-5 inches since 9am Wednesday.
For the first time since the current state government has been elected there has been an official acknowledgement that rain has fallen in Melbourne's drinking water catchment deserts areas.
My favourite moment, though, was an interview on yesterday's AM where a journalism school lightweight was interviewing a BOM operative and offered him every opportunity to invoke the Global Warming devil with questions of the form "what is the cause of this extraordinary event?", he replied that weather is a bit like cricket, there's always a record to be found. I could feel her deflation through the airwaves.

Thursday, February 03, 2005
Catagory: xPod
iPod Stereoscope. (Related story. My long dead Grandma used often to send stuff to me and my siblings through the post. They were always things that she thought we'd like. Sometime in the mid-sixties Weet Bix had a promotion where they would include Stereoscope "images" in 'specially marked packs and you could send off to Sanitarium (or whoever) for a viewer for about $1-2 to view the photos on. OK, sofar. Granny collected all of the photo's she could from her Weet Bix and saved them for her Grand kids. Still OK. Caring Grand parent as she was though, she pre-cut the photo's to save us the trouble (she thought they were "swaps"). On arrival at the DB family mansion the envelope contained 50+ de-stereoscoped photos.

Catagory: Case Mods
(well, sort of...) Do the Mac-a-Nova.

Catagory: Derbyshire
Bit of a download, but worth a bit of a look, or, listen, as the case may be. Thanks AEB.

Catagory: Apple
No Defrag, no Regedit, no PS/2 or parallel ports, no anti-virus software, no Windows Update, no Outlook Express, can't install Office for Windows, no Scandisk! The new Mac Mini is obviously a pile of Rubbish! It's bigger than an iPod Shuffle too! (and this bloke would know as he's MCSE certified)

Catagory: xPod

Category: Hostage Doll
Ther are some great comments on the kidnapped doll story over at Tim Blair's site. Follow the links from there for the whole story.
The turkey was made of plastic, the soldier was made of plastic, nightly news anchors look like they are made of plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic. . . and WHERE does plastic come from? That’s right: petroleum!!! See, it WAS Haliburton all along!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Category: Four More Years
An organisation called Citizens United in the US has taken out a couple of billboards outside the auditorium where the Oscars are presented thanking "important" Hollywood "actors" for helping in the re-election of the President.

Category: Goodbye
I'm sad to see that The Chaser has ceased publication. I bought it every time I saw it on a Melbourne news stand but that was all too rare.
The Chaser team to pursue forms of media that post-date the invention of electricity

Category: Unix
I'm looking for a Game Boy game for my son's birthday. Unix Edition 5 appears to be an option. Unfortunately, that is pre Curses so it's ed rather than vi for editing.

Category: Freedom
The Bolta is back from his Summer break with a cracker of an article titled Freedom's triumph

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Category: Space 1999
The complete set of Gerry Anderson's Space 1999 is available now from JB's for $A40.99 for year one and $A24.99 for year two. It's a pretty silly story but I guess that's true of most of the shows that I watched as a kid. Oh, also, Space Balls for $A12. That is all.

Category: Wal-mart
Here's an interesting fact:
Wal-Mart now consumes 10% of China's exports to the U.S. and 1% of China's GDP.
It's an interesting article, too.

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