new short story collection. Out now!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Z End

Appalling and cheap. Unworthy of me and the high standards I set for this blog. Yes and yes, and yet I have reached the end. This is my third year of blogging A to Z in April and it really has been quite a challenge. There are multiple demands on my time, and I have been staying up later than usual to manage. I haven't had a bed time read for a month because by the time I get to bed, I'm too tired to even open the book. The Hobbit has been waiting patiently on my bedside table, silently craving my attention.

The challenge pushes me and I love that. Deadlines work for me. I can drift into unproductive nonchalance quite easily, and I do have a propensity for procrastination. I would love to have a editor demanding I finish my WIP, because of all my readers who were dying to get their hands on my fifth novel, and because of all the money they, the publishers that is, would make. I reckon I would rise to that challenge, instead of finding other things to do because really, where is the urgency? I do not have a galaxy of eager readers salivating over the prospect of another literary gem from D.A.Cairns. (Incidentally I do write literary gems) No one expects anything from me, except me.

So I end this whingefest in the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge, with a complaint against myself. I am indeed my own worst enemy. Fortunately, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, and I can go with that quite happily.

A couple of questions to finish with: Do you do better working to deadlines, or setting your own pace? And secondly, who or what is your worst enemy?

Photo sources:
http://muls.org/2015/03/31/ill-later-said-law-student/
http://pha.purdue.edu/news/mu-deadlines-approaching-eps-and-hospitals

Y is for Yeasty

My thanks for the inspiration for this post go to phrontistery. I now know a new word. Actually, I may have heard it before, but I would have assumed it had to do with yeast, as in add a 'y' to make an adjective saying that something has a lot of yeast. Yawn. I'm bored already.

A definition of yeasty: characterised by upheaval; restless and turbulent. Phrontistery says it means full of restless energy or creativity. So here's the rub. I am full of restless energy and creativity, and my life over the past year in particular has been characterised by upheaval.

I've wondered why God has made me such a creative person if he had no intention of providing me sufficient outlets for that creativity. The answer is that he wouldn't, and he didn't. Not provide me adequate channels to express my innovative thoughts, I mean.

This is why I get so frustrated and bored with mundane tasks. My job is replete with inordinate paperwork demands which demand nothing of me other than my attention. Life itself requires much ado about nothing which likewise consumes my time and energy while stifling opportunities for inventiveness.

Why, oh why, I cry, can I not have more time to write stories which is my real passion? Poor thing. Yawn. Still bored? Me too. It's over now. 

Is yeasty a word which you could apply to yourself?

Photo sources:
http://www.lallemand.com/featured/page-accueil
http://blog.adw.org/2014/11/thank-god-for-the-little-and-mysterious-pleasure-of-yawning/

XXX or XOX

Welcome to Square Pegs all seekers of pornography. Sorry to disappoint you but there is no porn here. I don't like it, but, even though I may have brought you here under false pretences, I do have an important point to make..so hang around. There is a massive difference between XXX and XOX.

Where did these symbols come from and which came first, X for sexually explicit or other extreme material, or X for a sweet kiss? To answer this question, I have undertaken the most extensive course of research ever on Square Pegs.*

It would seem that X was used to denote the strength of liquor, sometime in the 19th century. More Xs indicated increasing strength. In the mid 20th century, X appeared for the first time in the Oxford dictionary and was listed in relation to discussions about X ratings for strong adult content in films. During the 1970s adult film makers applied more X's to indicate more explicit content, and here we are in the 21st century where XXX is synonymous with pornography including some very, very sick stuff.

The X itself is very old, dating back to the early Christian era where to sign with an X was the same as to swear an oath. Read more here the origins of X and O

Hugs and kisses are much nicer than pornography, so I am going to go out on an extremely prejudiced limb, and say that X has been stolen and perverted just as many beautiful things like sex itself, have been distorted and perverted. There is such an enormous chasm between 'I love you. xoxo' and 'I want to XXX you', that it's worth seriously pondering, and deciding that sex should never be divorced from love, and that love does not always even need sex.

There! What do you say about that? And no pictures in this blog either...ah ha!

* extensive research = Yahoo answers

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Worrying thing about Worrying

It really is a worry how much we worry. I am a worrier and I'm quite worried about it because I although I know how unproductive my worrying is, I still do it. When I get told not to worry, I worry even more. I'm very worried right now about overusing the word 'worry' in this post. I'm worried that no one will read this post, or comment on it. I'm worried I should be doing something else now. I'm worried that I should be worrying about something else besides the worrisome issue of worrying.

Jesus said that no one can make their lives any longer by worrying. I believe in Jesus. I'm a Christian, but it worries me sometimes that I worry so much.

There is one saving grace, two actually: worry does not usually deprive me of sleep, or affect my appetite. I know someone who routinely goes with little or no sleep because she can't stop worrying. I lay my head on the pillow, think a few happy thoughts and I'm gone. I reckon if you can't sleep, or eat, or you are turning to excessive amounts of alcohol or some drug because of your worrying, then that qualifies as a problem.

Everyone worries a little here and there, and many of the things we worry about are worthy of concern-if not anxiety. However, there are many things we worry about which are totally beyond our control, Where then, is the sense in worrying over those things? I'm telling you not to worry, but we all know it's not that easy, and if you like me, you're probably more worried now.

You know what worries most of all? This blog may not help at all. In fact, with all my harping on about worrying, I probably caused you some worry. In fact, I may have inadvertently elevated your worry to anxiety.Sorry about that.

Are you a worrier?

Photo sources:
http://www.dandavisblog.com/blog/worried
http://www.rich20something.com/vortex-worry/

Friday, April 24, 2015

V is for Victory

Today is ANZAC Day. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. April 25 is a national holiday of commemoration to honour members of our Defence Forces who have served, and who are serving our country in the cause of peace. In particular we remember those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

I am having a right royal time in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, complaining about things, with a couple of experimental exceptions, but today I cannot complain because I feel very grateful. I live in a great country: Australia, and it's great because of the ANZAC spirit which was immortalized on April 25, 1915 at Gallipoli. The Australia and New Zealand soldiers who landed at Gallipoli at dawn on that day, suffered a calamitous defeat. 8000 brave men died. The campaign was an unmitigated disaster, and had no impact at all upon the wider European conflict. However, it spawned the ANZAC legend which is now an intrinsic part of who we are, as Australians and New Zealanders.


We applaud their bravery, and honour their sacrifice on this day. The battle at Gallipoli was lost, but the war was won albeit at an unspeakably high cost. The ANZAC spirit symbolises victory over fear and tyranny. 

No, no complaints from me today. Just thanks. I especially want to mention my late grandad, Victor Rayner, who was a paratrooper in WWII, and my uncle, Alf Cairns, who fought in Vietnam, but to all who served and are serving...thank you.

Honour the fallen. Lest we forget.

The Underwhelming performance of Umbrellas



It's Autumn in Australia, and Autumn is a season typically characterised by increasingly cool mornings and evenings, but pleasant, sunny days, and mild temperatures. However, the weather has recently been much more wintery. At the beginning of the week we had three days of continual rain, storms and chilly temperatures (by Australian standards anyway). It can be very difficult to stay dry when it rains all the time. Difficult? Okay, virtually impossible.

Umbrellas do well in their designated task of protecting one from rain...unless it's windy as well. A gusty, wet day usually sees the demise of many unfortunate rain guardians. It's indiscriminate carnage really. Smaller umbrellas, the type that are convenient to carry in your bag, in case it rains, are the generally the first victims. Larger, sturdier versions are not immune to this destruction either. I lost a dear friend this week, a faithful servant who made the ultimate sacrifice for me. (See picture above right.)

If you get one large and strong enough to give you a hope of real defence, and let's not forget that unless the rain is vertical, you'll still get wet - you are armed with a cumbersome device which makes doing just about anything extremely awkward.

I love it when you get to your car and try to close the umbrella before, or at the same time as, you try to get in. Love that little shower, and the water which flicks all over you car's floor and seats.

When the weather is really appalling, one has to realise the mortal limitations of umbrellas, and just accept the tragic inevitabilities...or somewhat comical outcomes as seen in the video below. I hope the weather is all right wherever you are in this wonderful world of ours.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tea is Terrific

The experiment commenced on Day 7 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge continues today because the results weren't especially illuminating nor what I was expecting according to my as yet unrevealed theory. To either prove or disprove my theory, I clearly need more evidence. Hence this rather mundane blog about one of my favourite drinks (I have many actually)...tea.

I really love tea but I never have more than three mugs a day. Yes, mugs, I do not drink from tea cups. Although there are billions of varieties of tea, I generally stick to good old fashioned black tea. I'm a teabag guy, (no pots) and I like it strong in the morning, but weak in the afternoon or evening. I take it with one sugar and a little milk. It is generally accompanied by chocolate in one form or another, and sometimes a cigarette, if I am alone.

Now for some fast facts about tea courtesy of 66 Sip-a-licious facts about tea


  1. There are an estimated 1500 different types of tea (my 'billions' was a little off the mark)
  2. Tea is the national drink in Afghanistan and Iran.
  3. Ireland is the largest nation of tea drinkers per capita.
  4. China is the world's largest producer of tea.
  5. Tea is the second most widely consumed drink in the world (you can probably guess number one)
Okay, it's over to you. Share your thoughts on tea, and if you can guess what theory it is I am trying to prove with both my Grape Grapes are Great and Tea posts, I'll give you a digital copy of one of my novels.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Silliness of Soulmates

Are you looking for Mr Right or Mrs. Right? Maybe you have had the good fortune to already have met them, and you are deliriously happy together. You've found your perfect match. The only one for you. Your soul mate.



I wonder how many soul mates have divorced over the years. How many have fallen out of love? How many have come to see that Mr or Mrs. Right was only such for a period of time, not forever and always. I will always love you. Always? Perfect match? Come on. Get serious.



Without wishing to throw a wet blanket over the multitude of starstruck lovers floating around the world on fluffy clouds which smell like strawberries, the fact is that fairy tales are the exception not the rule. Which isn't to say that we shouldn't believe in them, or even aspire to have them. We should, but we should also be realistic enough to accept that we may never find a perfect match, and we may have to settle for, a pretty damn good match. And sometimes, relationships go sour. 

I think the idea of a soul mate is a silly juvenile concept. What do you think?

Photo sources:
http://wojdylosocialmedia.com/soulmates-exist-facebook-internet-era/
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/02/02/exploring-soulmates-twin-flames-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-find-them/

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ravenous Rain

Quite a title, isn't it? A little incongruous perhaps, but here you are so I achieved my goal by getting your attention.

I get hungry a lot, but I don't eat a great deal in one sitting. Usually, eschewing seconds, and seldom partaking of dessert, I eat until I am comfortable. However, I do eat often, and that can be a real pain sometimes. Variety is the issue you see. Although I have my favourites, you can have too much of a good thing, so I need to find different things to satisfy my ravenousity (new word - don't you love language?) The other problem is timing. Much like toileting, eating is not always possible when the call arrives. Ah, what to do with those awful and overwhelming problems?

As for the rain, well it's been coming down non stop for two days here, and I'm over it. I like rain in small doses, and unaccompanied by cold and biting wind. My umbrella was destroyed yesterday and I am still morbidly distressed. That's enough now, thank you.

Any thoughts on hunger? Or rain?

Photo sources:
http://ezeedictionary.com/meaning/ravenous
https://allergicauthor.wordpress.com/tag/rain/

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quintessentially Quirky

With a great title like that, I am tempted to leave well enough alone. However, the subject of quaint habits and idiosyncrasies dovetails perfectly with the title of my blog, Square Pegs. We're all just a little bit odd in one way or another, aren't we? Don't we all have funny little practices and affectations? Haven't we all felt our distinctiveness (positive connotation) or weirdness (negative connotation) from time to time? Isn't there just a whiff of Square Peg about each one of us?


Yes. We are individuals; products of both genetics and environment, prone to all manner of esotericism. ( No, I didn't intend to write eroticism- that subject is coming up later in the challenge.) Unique, fresh, one of a kind. 



Rejoice fellow humans in the abundant psychological and physical diversity of our species, and fear not that you occasionally feel like you don't belong. This is not our true home...it's temporary, and for that reason, queer little behaviours do not really matter in the overall scheme of things.

Quirk up my brothers and sisters! Quirk on! Do you have any quirks you'd like to share?

Photo sources:
http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/10/art_exhibits_and_events_around_12.html
http://oldpeoplelol.com/quirky-old-people/page/7/

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Private health insurance Problems

Yesterday, I was in hospital again for a planned procedure. Hopefully that will be the end of the matter which started with my visit to the emergency room nearly a month ago. Ambulance Action It was my third admission, and due to the fact that my hospital admission excess of $500 is capped at $1000 per year, I did not have to pay this time. That's good. (So was the sandwich which broke an 11 hour fast, when I woke up after surgery.)

Of course I still have to pay for the surgeon, and as he charges above the scheduled fee, there will be a gap between what Medicare pays, what my health insurance pays, and the total cost. Ah, the dreaded gap. If you think private health insurance will cover everything? Think again.

Two more examples will suffice: I am booked in for another procedure next month (unrelated to previous misadventures). I was offered the choice to have it done in the surgeon's room, under local anaesthetic, or in hospital under general anaesthetic. The procedure costs $708. If I do it in the surgeon's room, I am considered an 'outpatient' and my health insurance won't pay anything. If I choose hospital, I am an 'inpatient' and the insurance will pay about $100. Medicare will pay just over $100 regardless. Either way, I am left once again will a gap fee.

My final example is orthodontia. When asked to explain why they would only pay half of the $7000 bill for my daughter's orthodontic treatment, the insurance company representative said that orthodontia was 'complicated'. What a cop out! What they meant was that they didn't want to pay for it.

Is private health insurance worthwhile? The above examples, and others I could cite would suggest perhaps not. If I paid myself the monthly premium, and put it into a health fund for myself instead of swelling the coffers of the insurance company, would I be any better or worse off? I wonder.


On the plus side, I do get two free pairs of glasses per year, I get pretty good rebates on dentist fees, and if I need to go into hospital I don't have to go on a long waiting list. There is also no charge for ambulance services.

For around $250 per month for me and my family, I think it's probably worth it. What do you think?

Photo source:
http://www.medindia.net/patients/insurance/universal-sompo-general-insurance.htm

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oh my God! OMG! Oh my God!

It is the most overworked, overused, annoying phrase in the universe. It is a contagion, a pandemic. A blight on the shiny surface of the beautiful English language. A cheap, meaningless misappropriation of words, used to express everything from mild surprise or disapproval, to extreme elation or disgust. It is the socially acceptable and ubiquitous equivalent of the F bomb, in all its splendid variety. It is...oh my God, I have to write it again...Oh my God!

I detest this expression, and despite the frequency with which I hear it nowadays, I still cringe when it invades my ears.

Is there any cure? Can anything be done to stop the spread of this disease, to inoculate oneself against infection? I fear not. Woe is me!

I never use 'God' except when I am talking to him, or about him.

That felt good. Any comments, precious readers?

The Necessity of Nastiness

An old song by Nick Lowe once proclaimed that you had to be cruel to be kind. Referencing the adage that love sometimes has to be tough, the lyrics stated such love was a good sign. Of what? I presume that it was real love. The Switchfoot song, "Yet", declares that "if it doesn't break your heart, it isn't love. If it doesn't break your heart, it isn't real. If it doesn't break your heart it's not enough."

Is being nasty the same as being cruel, or even tough for that matter? That is the question I am posing.

People can be very nasty, especially when they are upset, and nastiness can be very hurtful. Tough love can be painful too, but surely there's a difference between speaking hard words of truth, or acting in a superficially unloving way, in order to truly love someone, and simply being spiteful. Love desires the highest good for its object. Love wants what is best. Undoubtedly, this requires some very stern, even hurtful words, on occasion.

I suppose it depends on the intent. What motivates the nastiness? I'm not a mean person, I never deliberately try to injure people with my words. It isn't likely that anyone would confess to being nasty, but we have all met nasty people. Bullies are nasty but they aren't motivated by anything even remotely resembling love. People say nasty regrettable things when they are tired, stressed or angry, but it isn't with the intention of somehow ultimately displaying some kindness, is it?

A distinction between nastiness or cruelty, and tough love must be drawn. Is nastiness necessary? Ever? Do you have to be cruel to be kind? What do you think?



Photo source:
https://traciecarlos.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/tough-love-is-a-human-condition/

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mad about Motorbikes

One day, when my son was about six months old, and we were travelling along in the mighty Holden Kingswood, I heard a distant thunder. Thirty seconds later, it became a raucous roar, right beside us, which frightened my son sufficiently to make him cry. It did not last long, thank God, but long enough to cause me to rue the invention of the Harley Davidson: the source of the noise pollution. 



Why is it that cars are not allowed to have noisy exhaust systems, but motorbikes are? Can't someone design a quieter muffler for motorbikes, or is the noise part of the attraction? Are they supposed to be annoying? Are they designed to attract attention?

I once got booked by police for undue noise because my tyres squealed a little (maybe it was a lot) when I did a U-turn. A tiny hole in the exhaust pipe can prevent the issuing of a road worthiness certificate for a car because of concerns over noise pollution. How come the noise pollution generated by motorbikes is acceptable? I mean, they are seriously loud, right?



Actually, I have nothing against motorbikes except that I don't like them. The comfort and convenience of a car has always held far greater appeal. You can't have a conversation on a motorbike, listen to your favourite tunes, eat a sandwich, turn on the heater or air conditioner, nor carry your family around or the 'truckloads' of associated equipment and supplies. And when it rains you get wet!

What do you think of motorbikes? Love them or hate them? Share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lazy Litterbugs

Leaving the cinema recently, I could not help but notice all the empty cups left in cupholders, and all the various wrappers left on the seats or on the floor. As I left, I placed my rubbish in the large bin conveniently positioned near the exit, and said to my friend, in a nice, loud voice, 'What's so hard about that?' It was an audacious protest against laziness which sadly fell only upon the ears of my companion.

I wonder if those who left their rubbish behind do the same thing in their homes.

I'm a neat person. I try not to spill things, and generally to minimise mess. I put garbage in garbage bins. I'm responsible with my waste, and I think  most people are, but there are enough litterbugs to successfully deface the landscape, to disgrace the surface of our planet and to compel me to write this blog post of complaint against them.

What's so hard about carrying your rubbish to the nearest bin and putting it in? Is it really too much of  a strain to carry an empty can or cup ten metres to the provided receptacle? And car tossers? Don't get me started. I've seen all sorts of crap thrown from car windows. I used to live on a main road and wake up every morning to a new collection of fast food wrappers, cigarette packets and empty bottles on my front lawn.

I could go on forever about this, in fact, I did just that in my first ever book (unfortunately and unbelievably unpublished) What's Your Problem? Anyway, let me finish by saying, that if you are a lazy slob at home, that's your choice, but if your laziness extends into the public sphere, you should reconsider your sloth and carelessness for the greater good. Do the right thing! See instruction on the right.

Do you have any examples of the laziness of litterbugs to share on Square Pegs?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kingly Kids

Of course I am not going to complain about children. Children are wonderful...generally speaking. They are a source of both agony and ecstasy, and everything in between for parents, but I believe that children are our future. (sorry about that: I couldn't help myself.)

There are nearly 4 trillion blogs devoted to children but Square Pegs is not one of them. However, this is a whingefest and we all complain about children. Our own children. Other people's children. Even the cutest of kids can be pretty annoying so they are worthy of inclusion in this themed blogging challenge.


Specifically, I want to complain about kids who act like, and/or are treated like kings. The television channel must be changed to appease the child. A toy must be purchased to meet its demands. A separate meal must be prepared to ensure the child eats. An inconvenient trip to the supermarket is necessary to satisfy its requirements. Detours and pit stops on road trips. White flags to nagging. I could go on.

Children should be taught that they are important but, and it's a big but, they must also learn their place. Children who are treated like royalty grow into brats, and brats terrorise us all. Little brats become big brats, and the world has enough brats already. (Also I have used the word 'brat' enough already.)

Advice to parents: Dads should be kings, mums should be queens and children should be children, and do what they are told.

What is your opinion of children who think the world revolves around them? What of parents who allow their children to rule their lives?

Photo sources and further reading:
http://mochadad.com/2009/03/10-signs-your-children-are-brats/
http://blog.choremonster.com/choremonster-vs-a-nation-of-brats/

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jocularity and Jokes

Jokes can be jocular, and many people do find them amusing. However, I am a Square Peg and I am here to confess that, generally speaking, I do not find jokes funny. I do have a sense of humour, but I just don't usually laugh at jokes. Even if I think it's a funny joke, and that is rare regardless of how well told the joke is, the best response I can muster is a smile. And truth be told, that smile is often only a courtesy smile.

What do I find funny? Before I stun you with revelations about what makes me laugh, I must share with you a story from the Aboriginal Dreamtime about the great frog, Tiddalik who was so thirsty one morning that he drank all the water in the world and caused a global drought. All the animals got together to discuss how to solve the problem. Wise old Wombat suggested that if Tiddalik could be made to laugh, then he would spew out all the water he had consumed. 

They all had a crack at cracking Tiddalik, including Kookaburra who told him a joke, but all of them failed. Finally it was Nabunum the Eel who, with a crazy, contorted dance caused the great Frog to burst out in laughter, and thus gushed forth all the water he had consumed to replenish the land. read the full story here

What makes me laugh? Things that I find funny. Whata surprise! And there a lots of them, just not jokes.

A challenge then to visitors and regulars alike: tell me a joke and make me laugh. Keep them clean please. Anything which offends me will be deleted. (After all, it's my blog.)

Photo sources:
http://museumvictoria.com.au/about/media-centre/media-releases/archive/leap-into-melbourne-museum
http://rosnay.com.au/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-after-organic-wine/

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Irrationality of Independence

Independence can be a good thing of course, and in fact is often seen as an admirable quality and rightly so, but -you knew there was big but coming- independence has a dark side too. Oooooo!

We train our children to be independent. We teach them how to do things by themselves, and praise them when they do. We laud those who achieve things by themselves in various fields of endeavour, and the legendary 'self made man' is a paragon of independence. However, can anybody really achieve anything completely independently? And what attitude of the heart arises from 'Lone Ranger' accomplishments?

Everybody needs a little help sometimes. Some of us more than others, but there is no shame is asking for help when we need it. Even if we don't need help, sometimes it's just nice to work with others rather than alone. Some people are too proud to accept help or even ask for it. That's dumb! We were made for each other, to work together, to help each other, to share our burdens. 


The extremely independent cry "I don't need anyone's help. I can do it all myself." I say even if you can, and it's more than likely you can't, why suffer a solo voyage when there are willing shipmates all around you?

Which do you prefer independence or interdependence?

Photo sources:

http://www.professionalplanner.com.au/featured-posts/2014/09/15/independence-is-not-a-synonym-for-poverty-ifaaa-invites-planners-to-peek-over-the-fence-30796/
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/2013/07/05/every-day-is-interdependence-day/

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hooray for Harry

Prince Harry is in Australia, and I am so excited I can barely contain myself. I was at Sydney airport, before dawn, waiting with all the excited single ladies, gushing and cooing at whatever shadowy glimpses of him were possible. I want to be the next Australian princess, following hot on the heels of Tasmanian's pride and joy, Mary. Marry me Harry!

Harry arrived on Monday morning for a month long deployment with the Australian Army. After his plane touched down in Sydney, he was soon up in the air again, on his way to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial before beginning his stint with the ADF.

The coverage of his arrival made me laugh, and almost cry at the same time. There was a reporter. There was an aeroplane. There was a car. There was a tiny Harry in the distance, in the back seat of a car. It was the top news story of the morning. Beats all the bad news I guess, but seriously do we have to go so gaga over the arrival of a member of the royal family? Maybe so. He's a popular prince, a soldier and a bit of a lad. 

I have nothing against Harry, but his name happens to start with H and that's today's letter in the A-Z Blogging challenge, so this gripe was barely a grumble. I don't want to marry him by the way.

Who's your favourite royal?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Grapes are Great

This post is an experiment. I have a theory and am testing it out with this brief article which is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge for 2015. 

I like grapes. Green ones and red/purple ones. They are very refreshing to the palate, and I love how they kind of burst in your mouth when you bite them. I can't eat too many of them at once though because my stomach rebels. I remember, as a child, always being concerned about whether the grapes had seeds or not. Nowadays, they are all seedless which is good.

What else can you do with grapes, aside from eat them fresh? How about grape muffins? A Great Grape Recipe

Any thoughts about grapes?

If you can identify what theory I am testing with this post, I will give you a free digital copy of one of my novels. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Flies on me

I'm not at all sure that the existence of flies can be justified, but I'm curious. Do they serve any purpose, any useful purpose? I know they function very well as intense irritants, and are therefore the object of endless curses and attempts to murder them, but do they actually do any good? I wonder.



One thing that comes to mind is the wonderful expression, 'no flies on you' or on 'me' as the case may be. It's a compliment meaning that you are eager to do or understand something, or are quick witted. We must offer our gratitude to flies for this saying. What else though...there must be more.

Here are some amazing and fun facts about flies courtesy of The Amazing Fly Gun Fly


  • There are 120 000 different species of flies
  • Flies are the only insect with just two wings
  • A house flies foot is 10 million times more sensitive to the taste of sugar than a human tongue
A big thank you to flies for that entertaining trivia.

Lastly, as incontrovertible evidence of the value of flies I present the Louis the Fly series of ads for Mortein. Here's the original television commercial.


Do you have any kind words to say about flies?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Elderly Engines

Many years ago, as we drove north along a very busy main road towards our holiday destination, I saw a man on the side of the road. This elderly gentlemen began to cross the road. I foresaw disaster and immediately felt my stomach tighten. There was no pedestrian crossing, and no traffic lights to facilitate his safe passage. He began a faltering journey, stopped, hesitating a moment, before setting out once more.

He walked slowly as cars approached quickly; seemingly unaware of the danger at first. Suddenly struck by the urgency of the situation he attempted a dramatic acceleration which was nowhere near as fast as he assumed. The result?

Not a car versus pedestrian accident, thank God, but a fall nonetheless, and one which required cars stopping to avoid running him over. I was one of those cars which stopped, and I immediately jumped out, helped the man to his feet, and escorted him back to the safety of the footpath. He was okay.

I've seen this too many times, and I get so fearful for these elderly people who have clearly forgotten that they have no accelerator, that it makes me angry. I worry for them. Elderly engines do not have the power they once had, and the drivers of those engines are often time wearied and weakened minds.

Please, please, elderly people use designated crossings. Recognize your limitations, avoid danger, and live out your days in peace and relative good health.
Perhaps we should all recognize our limitations, don't you think?

Cartoon source:
http://www.medicalobserver.com.au

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Damn! Damn! Damn!

I recall back in primary school, when I was maybe seven or eight years old, being told off by a teacher for using the adjective bloody to describe something. She said such a word was offensive to Christ who shed his blood for the forgiveness of sins. I didn't understand her reasoning, and still don't really, but I have never forgotten how upset she was. How genuinely offended she was.

Several years ago, the Berri juice company had an advertisment on television which featured an angry boy mowing the lawn. Obviously upset at being forced to cut the grass for his parents when he really just wanted a drink of orange juice, he mowed the word shit into the lawn. Well, partially mowed it: just enough for the viewer to know what it said but not enough to have the whole word on the screen. I stopped drinking Berri products for a long time after I saw that ad.

Currently, Holden have a TV ad featuring a dad driving a new Colorado. It features a child emulating his father's use of  the term 'bloody caravanners.'


Do we want our children to use swear words? Is it cute to hear a kid use the word bloody as an adjective to describe they don't like? Is it okay for an angry child to swear? Parents do it all the time, and some of them then reprimand their children for using the same language. If you don't care, then I'm wasting my breath in this blog, but I just don't like it. I think swearing has become much too acceptable dammit, and I think it's shame that less and less people are offended by bad language. What do you think?

Photo source:
http://pixgood.com/kids-swearing.html

Friday, April 3, 2015

Cats are Cute

Actually cats aren't that cute. Kittens are really cute, and are the subject of quintillions of videos and photos all over the world wide web. I saw one recently with a line of kittens 'dancing' to some inane tune about what to do with big fat butts and wiggling. Anyway, kittens starts with K not C, and I'm up to C in the A-Z Blogging Challenge of 2015.

At the risk of offending 50% of the population of the world, I need to say that not only do I not especially enjoy cat videos, but I don't think cats are that cute, nor do I even like them very much. Gasp!

I'm not a cat hater. In fact I apologized to any cat lovers in my class today when I used the expression 'there are many ways to skin a cat." I would never skin a cat one way, let alone in any other of the variety of ways by which it is allegedly possible to skin them. It's just that I don't find felines particularly satisfying as pets. Mice kill cats...as far as their performance as pets goes. Dogs too, despite their ability to be bloody annoying at times, are much better companion animals.


I'm just not comfortable with 
any animal which thinks it's better than me. Cats are just a little too lordly for my liking. They want life on their terms. Well don't we all? But seriously, here's a questions for any cat lovers who are still reading. Do you know who is the master and who is the slave in your human/feline relationship?

Photo sources:
http://stylonica.com/cat-pictures/
http://www.wallspick.com/cute-cat-2.html

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bewildering Bulldogs

The Canterbury Bulldogs are a team in the National Rugby League competition here in Australia. I have been a mad Bulldogs fan all of my life: ridden the highs and lows, the eight premierships (most recently 2004) the wooden spoons, the heartbreaks of losing grand finals (two of those in the last three years) and the gut wrenching calamity of the 2002 salary cap breach. I am very tense watching the Bulldogs play whether I am there at the ground or watching on television. They are a consistently good team, most years mentioned in pre season talk as at least certain finalists, and can be extremely good. The problem is we often win ugly.

Some teams perform like the well oiled machines that professional teams should be, and they do it week in and week out. You know what you are going to get. They will win more than they lose and even when they lose it will not be by much. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are a little bit ‘rocks and diamonds’. They sometimes play as though they would rather be doing something else, and this results in them getting their pants pulled down, as in the infamous loss to the Titans late last season. They sometimes play as if this is the last game they will ever play. Fans are never quite sure which Bulldogs team will run on to the park.

It’s frustrating to watch, really maddening. True fans, like myself, spend a lot of time yelling at them to wake up to themselves. Most of us have never played what is arguably the physically toughest team sport in the world. Nevertheless, we expect our team to smash lowly ranked opponents and to win by any means against highly fancied teams. I want to watch us win pretty. Comfortably. Complete domination. As exciting as last round’s 'come from behind' win in extra time was to watch, I would much prefer the excitement of watching the boys run in seven or eight tries to nothing. Too much to ask? Perhaps, but that’s why I follow the Bulldogs. Victory and glory.


Who’s your favourite team? Do they drive you mad?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ambulance Action

It wasn't the burger from Hungry Jacks, which is a relief because I might have never been able to eat where the burgers are better ever again. It wasn't wind pain, severe wind pain; the kind which has caused me to pass out twice before in my life. It wasn't like anything I had previously experienced...and it frightened me enough to call triple zero.

When the paramedics arrived, they examined me, questioned me and decided to take me to hospital. The shot of morphine in the rear of the ambulance where I lay down in agony, provided some relief. I said I felt sick so they gave me a shot of something for that as well.To cut a long story short, the doctors diagnosed renal colic caused by a 6.3mm kidney stone, and gave me some medicine to hopefully dissolve the stone and allow me to pass it naturally.

Despite having arrived home from the hospital in a taxi at 5:45 am, I went to work pacified, albeit by painkillers. Fast forward to the evening, almost exactly twenty four hours after I called for the paramedics, I was again in the back of an ambulance. This time, with two females who had me sit in the rear facing seat without offering me anything for pain relief. When I said I felt sick -who knew that severe pain and travelling backwards in a small vehicle could induce nausea? - they handed me a vomit bag into which I promptly despatched the contents of my stomach.

I don't know why the two male paramedics were so much more sympathetic and accommodating than the two female ones. I don't know why ambulances have backwards facing seats when travelling in that direction causes many people to feel unwell.

Please share your thoughts on these mysteries, and also your ambulance action stories, if you have ever had such misfortune.