Archive for January, 2011

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“Take on one of us . . . you take on all of us”

31 January 2011

A very interesting article in the Guardian (UK) about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

It’s rather long but worth reading.  I hadn’t known for instance that 5 of the world’s leading newspapers have collaborated on the release of information to protect themselves from prosecution. 

“It would be virtually impossible to prosecute Assange for the act of publication of the war logs or state department cables without also putting five editors (The Guardian, The NY Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais)  in the dock. That would be the media case of the century.”

It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

 

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Opera With Knitting

30 January 2011

It’s become a regular event in Sydney’s knitting calendar – sitting and knitting in the Domain for about 10 hours and enjoying a free Opera performed by Opera Australia.

There was a good crowd of us yesterday, desperately trying not to get sunburnt. We were even interviewed for Channel 7 TV – they didn’t broadcast the interview but there was a quick photo. I did wonder at one point if we’d stumbled into the Annual Day Out of the National Incontinence Society as a constant stream of people climbed over us to get in and out of the grass area. Have they never been to the theatre? Don’t they understand you’re supposed to stay in your seat while the performance is on?

I’ve seen such great operas at these events and was a tad disappointed this year. The sound quality was pretty poor (and the sound is more important than the visual when it’s a semi-concert performance and the stage is a fairly small dot in the distance). Some of the performances were lack-lustre to say the least. And the French! That’s the only foreign language I have more than a passing acquaintance with and for the first 10 minutes I wasn’t sure if that’s what they were speaking. It totally confused Amanda, one of our group, whose mother-tongue is French. She had no idea what language they were using but it wasn’t anything she recognised.

BUT Teddy Taho Rhodes was as usual wonderful (and gorgeous into the bargain), Julian Gavin did eventually come good in the second half (quite dreadful in the first) and Rinat Shaham – what can I say? –
incredible performance. Apparently this is the 27th production of Carmen she’s done and I can see why. Everything about her just reeks of Carmen.

Next year, Opera Australia, get your sound system sorted and take a leaf out of the English National Opera in London who perform all Operas in English. And we’ll be back (with our knitting, of course)

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Meaningless Figures

27 January 2011

Do you know how many people were killed on the roads in Australia last Saturday? Or the Thursday before? Or on the same dates last year?

No? Well, don’t worry. Neither do I or most Australian residents, I would imagine. And I’ve no idea whether there are more or fewer accidents on week days than on weekends.

So why do the local media insist on giving us daily figures when it’s a Public Holiday, as in “X number of people died on the roads on Australia Day”? Is this figure more than usual for a Wednesday? Is is greater or less than normal for an Australia Day?

I don’t mean to belittle these tragedies – one person dying in a traffic accident is one too many. But when I’m given these figures, I don’t know whether I’m supposed to rejoice that our driving skills are improving or mourn the fact that too many of us are lousy drivers or drunk.

So note to the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and the rest of your ilk – when you’re giving us accident figures, may we have them in context, please?

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Just Testing!

23 January 2011

I can be a bit slow sometimes (!) and have only just discovered that WordPress allows me to send posts to my blog direct from my email program. So I’m just testing to make sure it works.

And the good news is that my camera is fixed so I should be posting (albeit pretty unprofessional and crappy) photos to my blog this week. I HAVE been knitting. I just haven’t shown anyone.

ETA:  It worked!  That will be really useful when I’m travelling or when I just want to post a quick note.

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Well, You Know What I Mean

15 January 2011

I’ve just been reading a really funny forum thread about words that people misunderstand and mis-spell. I thought it would be good to share them as they’ve put a smile on my face all evening.

*  .Someone being described in a magazine as a Pre-Madonna.

*   The student who wrote about a particular author’s achievement in winning a pullet surprise.  (Say it out loud!)

*   In the days of working with dictaphones, in a legal office, a typist translated “The accused was found in bed with his paramour” into “The accused was found in bed with his power mower”.

One woman (in America) saw an ad in a local paper for a Sioux chef.  I’ve actually seen this in an Australian employment magazine about 6 years ago.  I sent the cutting to the Sydney Morning Herald where it was published in Column8.  (No Apache or Chinook chefs need apply, I presume).  

It doesn’t take much to make me laugh.

 

 

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The Floods

13 January 2011

I’m sure (and I hope) that the whole world knows by now that Queensland is a disaster area of epic proportions.  Large amounts of the State are now under water and even the capital, Brisbane, has been hit.  There are some extraordinary pictures on this page. For those of you not familiar with Australian geography, this is an area roughly equivalent in size to the UK, France and Germany combined.    

I’ve thought a lot about my father in the last few days because he used to tell us stories when we were children about the Lynton & Lynmouth flooding   (go to the link for The Flood) in the UK. Both villages disappeared under water in August 1952 and 34 people died when they had 10″ of rain in 24 hours, 5″ in the first hour. The villages were at the junction of two rivers.  

I was too small to remember it but he was in the army at the time and responsible for the feeding of all the villagers and emergency services.  He told me they set up kitchens in fields that were soaking wet and muddy.  And they provided everyone with three meals a day plus morning and afternoon tea. 

And what meals he provided!  He says he always remembers standing up to his ankles in mud, in the rain, making strawberry jam.  Everyone was served freshly-made scones and jam for tea that day!  He didn’t mention whether there was also cream.

Only in England!

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N.Y. Times Article

10 January 2011

The New York Times, no less, has an article about knitting and knitters that doesn’t refer to old ladies (in fact, talks about women with school-age children).

Good to see writing about the sort of knitters I know, not those that are the result of a journalist’s imagination and prejudices..