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29 March 2007

Happy slaughtered cow

The other I was up late somewhere and there was a show on SBS. It was a documentary about a Latin American jungle village. The scene I saw was of a group of people killing a cow to get it ready for a feast. They tied it between to trees, with its head tied to one and its tail tied to the other so it couldn't really move. If it sat down the rope around it's next would start to strangle it.

All the people were laughing and joking about it. They gave a machete to a girl who didn't seem to have killed a cow before. The others described how she was supposed to do it. You had to thrust the machete down through it's collar bone to get into the heart. She thrust in and the cow bellowed. She wasn't strong enough to get it in all the way, so the cow just stood there with the machete about 6 inches into its body. A boy came over and starting pushing it further in. The cow really screamed and blood started spurting out of the hole. It fell down onto its knees and the rope around its kneck starting to strangle it. Someone came over and cut the rope so the cow fell to the ground. It lay there screaming and gasping while buckets of blood poured out of the hole. They pulled the machete out and you could see the blood pulsating out. The cow struggled to get up again. It really made the most harrowing noises. Eventually it fell down. Its tongue fell out of its mouth. It just lay downing gasping quietly.

The people starting poking it in the eyeball to find out if it was dead. When it was they started cutting it up.

Maybe sometimes killing animals in the wild yourself is more romantic than this was. But what I saw made abattoirs seemly thoroughly humane.

Sex better alone

Oh dear. Apparently, when Australian men get into bed with a woman, they only make things worse. Doctors think that men are an unwelcome "distraction". I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised.

27 March 2007

Hick’s Trial

The United States seems to have absolutely no interest in maintaining even the appearance of fairness. Hubris seems to be the defining characteristic of the country.

Apparently hubris was illegal in Ancient Greece. Not such a bad idea actually.

26 March 2007

Election Day

I went to help out the Greens on election day. It was going to be with Libby at Asquith, but it ended up being with Rachel at Hornsby South. It was a fun day. We handed out how-to-vote leaflets and tried to reveal as little as possible when people asked us policy questions. Our little stall didn't have a single policy brochure so when people asked us things like "How do the Greens feel about seal clubbing?" we had no idea. It's one of those tricky questions where the Greens could go either way. Seal clubbing increases the number of fish in the ocean, but it reduces the number of happy baby seals. You can never tell if it's Greener to love fish or love baby seals.

Cath was a good candidate. Better, I think, than the one at the last election. She was definitely more photogenic than Judy Hopwood and the Shooters Party fellow. I guess it goes to show that in politics it's not always the most photogenic person who wins.

I made friends with the guys from the Shooters Party. I spent most of the day chatting to one fellow about hunting. He had untold numbers of amusing anecdotes about hitting or failing to hit animals with bullets. He invited me to go hunting with him. Probably too late in the day I told him that I was vegetarian, and probably wasn't likely to start shooting at living things. But when he suggested I go visit them at the rifle range I was keen. They said they'd lend me a gun, but I had to get a shooting license.

Rachel and I had really tasty [non-vegan] margarita pizza for lunch. It was only $10 for a giant one and it was huge. There was a Chinese chap standing next to us in the queue. He announced that the pizzas there were excellent. And so cheap! He was really excited about how cheap they were. Very very excited. I asked him if it was the first time he'd been there. He told me he came there all the time.

It rained towards the end and we had to huddle with the Liberals and Christian Democrats under an eave. Rachel and I were going to do scrutineering, but we arrived a few minutes too late. So we went to the pub while we waited for Libby to finish her scrutineering.

We finished up with a party at Cath's house. We watched Peter Debnam on TV. I've never seen him talk before. He's a bit embarrassing. Then we went home and watched Green Wing. It was all tops.

Cute, sad puppy

This little puppy was so cute. We met him on our first visit to Bangkok.

Green Wing

I love Green Wing so much. It has become like one of my friends. It's pretty much the best TV show ever. So much joy to be had.

No phone or money

I left my phone, wallet and keys in Emily and Martin's car. And I'm at uni from 12 til 8, so I'm going to get pretty hungry.

25 March 2007

Wife chopped up by husband

A Brazilian housewife has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for killing her husband, chopping his corpse into pieces and frying it.

Police said the killing was either part of a black magic ritual or a bid to get his life insurance money.

She denied killing her husband but said she copped up his body, claiming she was forced by masked assailants.

Straight out of The Sun Herald.

23 March 2007

Parental Employment in 2004

This is the sort of graph that makes me sad. I used it in a presentation last year and I was just looking back through it.

Single mother families are only ones that start going back to work as their kids grow up. Mothers with partners don't start working, although the number of married mothers working when their children are young starts out very high.

I think at least one parent should stay at home. Preferably two. That's probably why I like farms. Everyone's always at home.

Obesity causes eating disorders

Child obesity is the cause of many health problems, including high blood pressure and eating disorders.

Preventing Chronic Disease

This is a fascinating collection of statistics and graphs. I suspect even people who mostly find my blog boring with find this page fun. It shows how children's exercise patterns have changed since the 1970s. And it has some super nifty graphs of the change in calorie intake.

Apparently, the amount of activity American kids do has stayed fairly similar. Energy intake has increased by a tiny amount, but it's not statistically significant.

Fat mums make fat babies

A mother's weight during her pregnancy may have a lasting impact on her child's health. British researchers found that women who had a relatively high percentage of body fat tended to have fatter babies, and other studies have linked an overly high birth weight to an increased risk of obesity later in life. Doctors advise mothers to be to exercise regularly and to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet before and during pregnancy.

Obesity During Pregnancy Has Lasting Effect on Babies

Presumably it's also important to maintain a healthy weight after pregnancy.

I should add that I'm inclined to think that this is bollocks. I can't think of a way you could work out if this was actually true without force-feeding mothers. Newspapers are so crap.

Videophilia!

In 2003, the average American devoted 327 more hours than in 1987 watching movies, playing video games and using the Internet.

Videophilia' Keeps Americans Indoors

Also, between 1800 and 2007 the number of Americans driving petrol-electric hybrid cars increased by several million.

Less guns more health

No guns, less TV, better health care what children need

I love those people who work at newspapers trying to think of neat titles.

Rudd’s Broadband

I think the idea of investing the Future Fund in broadband is a good one. It's a profitable investment in Australia, not an investment just to increase our current consumption. The economy will be grateful for it. If, as John Howard says, the private sector should be doing it, then it's obviously a sound investment. So the issue isn't that Labor wants to spend money from the Future Fund. Even Howard is acknowledging that the investment is a good one. Predictably, it looks like the natural monopoly of telecommunications has beaten the private sector. There's no good reason why Australia should have worse broadband than Slovakia and Hungary.

If it's a good investment it probably doesn't really matter where the money comes from. Probably the Future Fund is a good way of financing future liabilities, but increasing economic output (by building better infrastructure) is another method. So the Liberals are effectively saying that Australia doesn't need broadband badly enough for the government to build it when the private sector won't. That's debatable, but I suspect that the Australian people and businesses who benefit from it (which is all of them) are going to side with Labor. I think we could be waiting a long time for Telstra to do it. Regardless, I think we'll get a better outcome if the government gets involved. There is no effective way of getting the private sector to manage this sort of resource. For the government, what you don't build yourself you have to regulate, and that can be worse.

In the Herald Peter Hartcher was saying that this is Rudd's first mistake. He says that it's a political mistake more than a policy mistake and perhaps he's right. But I'd prefer a flawed politician with good policies than a flawless politician with bad policies. My impression of Rudd so far is that he says what he believes. And he's smart and thoughtful enough that what he believes is usually pretty good. I just hope he doesn't back down on it because he's worried they'll look bad.

Debnam’s Reputation

I've read a couple of complaints recently about how Labour has so brutally demolished Peter Debnam's reputation. Maybe there are some ads I haven't seen, but to my eyes Debman himself is 100% responsible for his current reputation. I haven't heard Labour say anything about him at all. I actually can't think of a politician who appears to have demolished themselves so quickly and comprehensively. I actually do feel sorry for him.

Brief or trivial

Have I been outblogging people so convincingly lately because I write shorter posts or just because I'm more trivial? My weekly tally hasn't gone below 20 for ages. Like at least a week. Maybe I just have more spare time. I feel like I do have a lot. But then if spare time was the criteria you'd think Howie or Jenny would be kicking arse.

This post would lead me to think that briefness and triviality both play an important part in my blogging dominance.

The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale was super awesome. Miserable but awesome. One of the best movies I've seen for a good stint. There are quite a few movies like it perhaps. But I enjoy all of them. I'm thinking of movies like We Don't Live Here Anymore and Me, You and Everyone We Know. This was rather more bitter, but so good. The characters were great and the conflict was so entrancing. One of those films where I was aching for something bad to happen to the main characters. And for the people who were still sincere and functional to get away from the mess. I think the most interesting bit was just the relationship between a son and his dad. There were a few bits that reminded me of myself. But then best movies (and books) are the ones that encourage you to ponder the blackness of your own soul. Well they're my favourites at least.
5/5

The Wrong Man

The Wrong Man was a good film indeed. Josh Hartnett has so much potential to be another sleazy Ben Affleck sort, but I always seem to like him. I'm not really sure why I liked this film either. It was mostly just people getting shot. The script was good, though kind of self-conscious. All the acting was nifty. The romantic banter was romantic. The twist was obvious, but satisfying, but rather drawn out. There is something about killers with morals that makes for good films.
4/5

21 March 2007

Twelve Good Natured Human Types

This is for Beck, and the world.

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