Monday, 30 September 2013

Just what is the meaning of blog?

Although I've been blogging for a while now I had never really thought about the meaning of such a weird word - after all they seem to be the norm now. So I was surprised to learn that the word blog is derived from 'web log in'.

I blog therefore I am (Non Sequitur by Wiley)
I'd like to think that there's more to me than blogging but maybe.....

What is it about business names these days. It seems the bigger and more successful a company, the more immature/insignificant the name. There's the recently turned 15 year old Google - a $290 billion dollar company. There's Apple - a $375 billion dollar company, there's Facebook - a $100 billion dollar company, there's 10 year old Linkedin a $20 billion dollar company and now there's Twitter - planning to go public soon with a value listed at just a small $14 billion!
Sign up to be my friend.  Please like me.  Follow every thought that spills out of my head! (Non Sequitur by Wiley) (The Age)
Thumbs up or

Is this the lowest common denominator. And do we have to have 'likes' when we don't really 'like'. I certainly don't 'like' but maybe I just need to get with it!

 About 20 years ago in a past life (!) I was asked to launch a new computer with the extremely creative and business-like name - Apricot! It didn't make it I'm afraid or I might have been famous for launching it! Still them's the breaks!
'I'm sorry, but Grandpa had to put the internet out of its misery now that 'facebook' is being used as a verb.....' Non sequitur again - Wiley
Well the computer as we know it probably is on the way out. Even grandpa above is shooting a 'laptop' not a 'desktop'. Now we have 'pads', 'tablets' (not for headaches but you might need the old fashioned kind to work it all out!), 'netbooks', 'notebooks', 'ultras' - the list is never ending. And then there is the old fashioned keyboard using a 'mouse'  and now the 'touch'. It's a whole new language. Are you a fan of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Google? I must admit I Google all the time!!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Flowers that bloom in the spring - tra la!

Melbourne is abloom with blossom and it's divine to discover trees bursting with buds, flowers, perfume and bees!

Soft pink blossom at the Abbotsford Convent
I'm always reminded of the Gilbert & Sullivan opera The Mikado (or its less common name The Town of Titipu) at this time of the year - even though I'm not a great G&S fan (it seems you either are or you aren't!) Written in 1885 it has been a crowd favourite ever since. Setting the opera in exotic Japan and far from Britain, allowed Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese. (Would that be politically correct these days!?!)
Cover of the vocal score 1895 (wikipedia)
Of course the names have always been amusing and it's Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah who sing the song - here is the first verse! (the link is here for the remainder! - there's an awful lot of tra la's!!!)
The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Tra la,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine —
As we merrily dance and we sing,
Tra la,
We welcome the hope that they bring,
Tra la,
Of a summer of roses and wine,
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that's what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
Tra la la la la,
Tra la la la la,
The flowers that bloom in the spring.
An English spring meadow in Richmond's Burnley Gardens
So enjoy humming along as you look at the photos I've taken in the last couple of weeks. Blossom is everywhere this year and the smell.....heavenly.
Burnley Gardens again
Gorgeous new growth - Fitzroy Gardens

And finally - one of my favourite spring flowers - our very own 'hanging gardens of Babylon'
Wisteria arbour at Burnley Gardens
Tra la, tra la, tra la

Monday, 16 September 2013

Someone's trash is someone's treasure

I love the idea of small projects that get off the ground to help others - they often seem to have come from a 'lightbulb moment'. As the footy season comes to an end it might be donating unwanted (grown out of!) football boots for footy loving children in Northern Australia with Boots for Kids (donate at Coles) or through Boots for all (see link here).

A happy chappy who would be happier with footy boots
There are a whole range of areas where one can give - and the website includes bikes, blankets, knitting goods, electricals and even corks (sadly the Melbourne Zoo has finally closed their elephant enclosure fundraiser - after 62.5 million corks were collected - unbelievable). Do take time to click on the links and be inspired.

I was reminded of the quotation - someone's trash is someone's treasure at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival where I picked up a brochure and bookmark (clever marketing) on the Footpath Library campaigning for books for those less fortunate than ourselves. Their aim is to make books more accessible to the homeless and disadvantaged members of our society and to change our attitudes to these people and encourage literacy.What a wonderful initiative.

As we move to Kindles, Ebooks, Ipads and Tablets sadly our home libraries are loaded with books we will probably never read again. So if you are having a spring clean then why not consider making a donation. Here is the list of the books that are accepted. I liked what they had to say: 

We have great respect for our customers.  In support of their self esteem and pride, please consider our clientele when donating books. Please do not send damaged or poor quality books especially those that may have been sitting in a garage for years.  Books over 10 years old are not suitable. Books which do not meet these guidelines will be thrown out. 

Books We Accept
Novels including thrillers, historical, romance, science fiction, fantasy, teen
Biographies and autobiographies
Puzzle and crossword books
Music theory
Art history
Cookbooks – very basic, no gourmet, desserts, cordon bleu etc
Sporting books – biographies, histories etc
Children’s books
National Geographic Magazines

Books We Can Not Accept
True crime
Anything with suicide or drug themes or extreme violence
Religious material
Coffee table style books on any subject
Wine and restaurant guides
Street directories
Travel guides eg Lonely Planet
Magazines except National Geographic
How to get rich quick guides, investment or small business guides

The list of books they can't accept is particularly tellling. Look on line to see where your donations can be dropped off or contact the office direct. I'm off to do a bookcase spring clean right now!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Some things never change

I don't know where he sources his quotations but Noel Whittaker (who you may be familiar with - he has a column in the weekly Money Section of The Age) always has an amazing array of pertinent quotations in his enews. Here is the link to his easy-to-read and good-advice newsletter - you can easily sign up. He's the best selling author of 17 financial advice books. But this is not about finances.
Noel Whittaker - the wise 'old' man of financial advice (and still going strong!)
Today's post is about the most boring election campaign yet - with both leaders throwing money at us, throwing their families in our faces, vying for the cruelest way to deal with those less fortunate and taking their debates to the lowest common denominator (regretfully you can see what I think of both campaigns). There will be those who voted for the winner now in a euphoric state whilst the losers will blame everyone but themselves and hopefully put their tails between their legs and slope off to I don't know where!

So enjoy the following - we need a bit of humour which has been sadly lacking in the political arena for far too long.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Aesop - Greek slave and fable author

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
Plato - ancient Greek philosopher

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
Nikita Khrushchev - Russian Soviet politician

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
John Quinton - American actor/writer

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor, and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
Oscar Ameringer - ‘the Mark Twain of American Socialism’

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn.
The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

PJ O’Rourke - American comedian and writer

I offered my opponents a deal - “if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them”.
Adlai Stevenson - campaign speech, 1952

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
Texas Guinan - 19th century American entrepreneur

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
Charles de Gaulle, French general and politician

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
Doug Larson - English middle distance runner, gold medallist 1924 Olympics

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
Variously attributed to Will Rogers and George Bernard Shaw

Thank you Noel. It just goes to show that absolutely nothing has changed since Plato!

So before I sign off - here is our newly elected Prime Minister - Triathalon Tony - let's hope he will focus on the enormous job at hand for this country as much as he does on his fitness.
Lycra Tony pushing ahead

Our newly elected Tony splashing through the water in his.....
Running to the job at hand

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

An inner urban humpy

Walking through the little park at the end of my street the other day I was thrilled to see a rather well made humpy. It had been really windy and many branches from the big gum tree that is the main feature of the park had broken. (what is it about gum trees - they are messy things - love them as I do but....) The dead branches had been lying around awaiting the Council clean up (not often - and not well!) 
The Hodgson Humpy
I was interested to see the definition of a humpy. It is a small, temporary shelter made from bark and tree branches, traditionally used by Australian Aborigines, with a standing tree usually used as the main support. The names humpy, gunya and wurlie (SA) have now become part of the Australian lexicon.
A 19th-century engraving showing Aboriginal people and humpy (wikipedia)
At first I thought it was just a pile of old broken branches but as I got closer - there in my little park was a humpy - sometimes called a lean-to. I don't know who created it but I suspect it was children. How much more fun to be creating a hidy-hole than playing in the Council supplied playground.
The humpy 'doorway'
The Council-created playground next door!

If I was a child - I think the humpy looks more fun - especially if I had made it! I could let my imagination run wild!