Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tom Jones collects his knighthood

BBC NEWS | UK | Wales | Tom Jones collects his knighthood

Since I took Australian Citizenship in 1995, I have always fancied the idea of being Knighted. If I am, I will use this line as spoken by Tom Jones, he said: "It is fantastic. It was lovely to see the Queen again."

(No, I did not meet the Queen once before. )


Cranky koala

Someone tries to steal a koala and then a crocodile to sell so they could buy drugs.

Cranky koala meaner than stolen croc - National -

The point of this story is the amusing way that Aussie newspapers will print profanity (perhaps if it is a direct quote?).

"[But] apparently [the koala] scratched the shit out of them.''


Earl and Ferrell

I had a cold for a few days last week and over the weekend. It gave me the opportunity to watch some movies and DVD Television series.

Digression: since I left the states in 1989, its always been something of a problem for me to get the good stuff from Amercan television and especially the Cable programs. I am amazingly ignorant of what is playing. When I meet an American traveling through Prague and something comes up regarding a good show that everyone knows about, its always a bit wierd. In fact, I never could tell which shows were on cable and which shows were normal free-t0-air TV.

Digression 2: If you have any DVD shows that you might want to snail-mail over to me, I would always appreciate it.

Anyway, I have been watching "My Name Is Earl" and also some old Wes Anderson movies, and movies with the Wilson brothers.

Quick comment? Earl is pretty good. Good character relationships, and Jason Lee is might not have formal acting training, but I like the guy.

Anderson movies: I liked Steve Zissou and the Life Aquatic movie. The Royal Tenenbaums was quirky and fun, but Steve Zissou was far more happy, if you will.

Wilsons: Bottle Rocket was fun. Luke Wilson is not as well known as his brother Owen but better only because Owen has this Schtick that gets old.

Oh, and I saw Old School with Luke Wilson, Vince Vaugh and Will Ferrell. I have seen a few things in the last year with Will Ferrell and, well, somebody has got to tell me what is it about Ferrell? I just don't get it.

Anyway, thats my head-cold review.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

What Planet?

What the heck?

This is a photo from the FT website about the latest Basque overture for a ceasefire.

But let me ask ... who designed their outfit? Looks like the same guys from the Scary Movie series (I couldnt find a photo of the white mask and black hooded robe, villan).

I will say they look much cooler than your average muslim thug (PLO, Al Quaeda, etc).

(Note: I don't agree with the Basque terrorist acts of blowing up things. At least they aim not to hurt people these days. )

But still, they look almost as if they are Aliens.

ps. I went back to find the link to the photo and it mysteriously disappeared. The article is linked above, however.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dude, Where's My Civil War?

I can't get this article title out of my head. Just because it is a sadly amusing, catchy title. (Indeed,I just googled it)

I was looking at the definition of civil war the other day and trying to apply it to past so-called wars of this nature. (A war between factions or regions of the same country.) I am sure that I am not an expert. But if I can find some holes, there must be something wrong.

Look at Greece after WWII. Was that a civil war, or take Liberia where the rebels were trying to remove Taylor. Was that a civil war or a bloody coup?

An online encyclopedia gives these first choices to study civil wars:
American Civil War
English Civil War
Irish Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
Russian Civil War
Spanish Civil War
Yugoslavian Civil War

I also tried to work from a big to small. That is, what would be obviously too small to be considered a civil war? Use that and try to consider other close-but-not-quite civil wars.

I mean, what does it take to really push a conflagration, or multiple gang wars, or feuding religious groups... to finally achieve the civil war status. Whatever it is, I don't think Iraq is even close to it. I am not counting numbers of involved people (and interestingly, neither is the MSM) but seems to me that the tensions between the two biggest religious groups, and the Al Queada terrorists, and even the disenfranchised old regime hangers-on, do not add up to the requirements for a civil war.

I might even go so far as to put the question, for it to be a war, who is the enemy or who is the target? When 40 or so civilians are blown up in a marketplace, they might be mostly one religious sect or the other, and this could be one qualification, i.e. a few factions dominating a region. But then the bombs in the areas with US troops, the thugs outside of town hunting down the road trains, the kidnappings of the odd, unprotected foreigner, are not really signs of a polarized affair. The enemy is not clear. And again, they are normally in a small troublesome sections of the country. Most of the country wants to get on with the future. Again, I am not counting numbers, but if you were to mistakenly believe CNN, it looks like the whole country is divided and involved, leading to a bloody overthrow. Of course this only helps :
  1. Those that want to continue the violence.
  2. Those who want to point blame at the US administration
  3. Those that want to be re-elected somewhere *(did you see that now even the former Iraqi prime minister is calling it a civil war; he should be sued for operating on someone else's advertising campaign).

"So why were we told that Iraq was irreversibly in the throes of civil war when it wasn't remotely true? I think the answers are straightforward. First, of course, some parties in the West are anxious to believe the worst about Iraq. They've staked their reputations on Iraq's failure. " Ralph Peters, New York Post

I think the net affect will be to have a loosening of the requirements for the usage of the phrase "civil war". Perhaps the next time gangs go on the rampage in California, they will call it a civil war?


Monday, March 13, 2006

Bird Flu Advice: Keep this somewhere

I was going to say keep these links for when the outbreak comes. But now I think it would be better to copy this text and PRINT it to paper. Why? because when people start dropping no one is going to care if your internet is working. Hell, forget the generators that power your house!

Print this.
From a few links starting from the World Health Organization regarding the Bird Flu. The text below is about recommended treatment at the onset. Read the whole thing from the beginning, (not given below). It gets scary when it talks about organ failure at about the 5th day.

Antiviral Agents

Patients with suspected influenza A (H5N1) should promptly receive a neuraminidase inhibitor pending the results of diagnostic laboratory testing. The optimal dose and duration of treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors are uncertain, and currently approved regimens likely represent the minimum required. These viruses are susceptible in vitro to oseltamivir and zanamivir.46,47 Oral osel-tamivir46 and topical zanamivir are active in animal models of influenza A (H5N1).48,49 Recent murine studies indicate that as compared with an influenza A (H5N1) strain from 1997, the strain isolated in 2004 requires higher oseltamivir doses and more prolonged administration (eight days) to induce similar antiviral effects and survival rates.50 Inhaled zanamivir has not been studied in cases of influenza A (H5N1) in humans.

Early treatment will provide the greatest clinical benefit,15 although the use of therapy is reasonable when there is a likelihood of ongoing viral replication. Placebo-controlled clinical studies of oral oseltamivir51,52 and inhaled zanamivir53 comparing currently approved doses with doses that are twice as high found that the two doses had similar tolerability but no consistent difference in clinical or antiviral benefits in adults with uncomplicated human influenza. Although approved doses of oseltamivir (75 mg twice daily for five days in adults and weight-adjusted twice-daily doses for five days in children older than one year of age — twice-daily doses of 30 mg for those weighing 15 kg or less, 45 mg for those weighing more than 15 to 23 kg, 60 mg for those weighing more than 23 to 40 kg, and 75 mg for those weighing more than 40 kg) are reasonable for treating early, mild cases of influenza A (H5N1), higher doses (150 mg twice daily in adults) and treatment for 7 to 10 days are considerations in treating severe infections, but prospective studies are needed.

High-level antiviral resistance to oseltamivir results from the substitution of a single amino acid in N1 neuraminidase (His274Tyr). Such variants have been detected in up to 16 percent of children with human influenza A (H1N1) who have received oseltamivir.54 Not surprisingly, this resistant variant has been detected recently in several patients with influenza A (H5N1) who were treated with oseltamivir.21 Although less infectious in cell culture and in animals than susceptible parental virus,55 oseltamivir-resistant H1N1 variants are transmissible in ferrets.56 Such variants retain full susceptibility to zanamivir and partial susceptibility to the investigational neuraminidase inhibitor peramivir in vitro.57,58

In contrast to isolates from the 1997 outbreak, recent human influenza A (H5N1) isolates are highly resistant to the M2 inhibitors amantadine and rimantadine, and consequently, these drugs do not have a therapeutic role. Agents of clinical investigational interest for treatment include zanamivir, peramivir, long-acting topical neuraminidase inhibitors, ribavirin,59,60 and possibly, interferon alfa.61


Corticosteroids have been used frequently in treating patients with influenza A (H5N1), with uncertain effects. Among five patients given corticosteroids in 1997, two treated later in their course for the fibroproliferative phase of ARDS survived. In a randomized trial in Vietnam, all four patients given dexamethasone died. Interferon alfa possesses both antiviral and immunomodulatory activities, but appropriately controlled trials of immunomodulatory interventions are needed before routine use is recommended.


Milosevic's Body: I Know What To Do With It.

There are a few stories about how Milo's family are 'divided' or 'split' over where to bury his body. I am thinking that these words were intended to give us ideas.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Milosevic family split over funeral

Sure, lets cut him in pieces! Divide him into 5 to 10 parts, and spread him across the countryside to the West and to the South (Bosnia and Herzegovina and also Kosovo) so that the burial places can be marked with the same red flags used to mark bodies found in mass graves. But with one difference, a sign that says "SPIT HERE".

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hey Ho, Another Bastard Goes!

I once bought a tee shirt with Milosevic on it with the title Narodni Heroja on it. It was in Cyrillic and it meant National Hero. I also got one with Mladic, the general.

They were being sold right at the border between Serbia and Hungary by guys walking through the lines of cars. I never saw them on the border going west to Croatia.

Just now on CNN the dipsy anchor lady says, "it is probably surprising to many of our CNN listeners but there is still quite strong grass roots support for Milosevic". I wanted to say Duh! but then I lived there. And on BBC radio I heard that Kustonica, the president who took over when Milo was deposed, still depends on Milosevic's supporters as part of his power base. Duh again! Kustonica is a nationalist as well and not a guy on the opposite end of the political spectrum, as he was portrayed by the international press. Sure there is a more western oriented, a bit more educated group, but they seem to lose in most elections. This other group.. name escapes me.. gave the prime minister for a time, Djinjic, but then,.. he was SHOT! a few years ago.

Too many bastards. But its been a good year. First Arafat, and now Milo. Gosh, I am cruel.

One more quote from another talking head being interviewed just now (and there seems to be a long list of these experts): "Milosevic had the capacity to lie right to your face".

Oh, and his wife? She is in hiding somewhere in Russia, because she, too, should be in jail. Sure Putin knows where she is.


Bloody Silly

After all the time I lived in Australia, and the interest I had in all the slang, sayings, vocabulary malfunctions for the pure and enjoyable amusement, I never, ever understood the problem with the word "bloody".

For example, if a news report said, for example, "a bloody handkerchief was found at the scene of the murder" it would be okay. But they probably change the wording to say "blood soaked handkerchief". But if a tv show said the word in a different connotation, for example if a sports commentator said "that bloody fool" it is recieved almost with the strenght of the the word "fu*k". (that asterisk is used to shield the more sensitive readers to the word "fuck").

However, here is a very, very silly problem. In England the Australian Tourist
Minister is there to 'rescue' the latest advertising embarrassment. It seems it was too rough for the Brits.

Go figure.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Takes You Seconds For A Laugh

Now this guy is funny. It will take you only a few seconds to start laughing.

Thanks to As I Please