Friday, May 26, 2006

I was too sick on April 25th... Anzac day... to go down to the Town Green... so Don went anyway. It was a cold misty day... and the sight of him returning "flags" a flying later that day was a real hoot.

I was certain that there was no breeze or wind at all but there was a tad of "Hot air" around that day and this may have had those flaggies a flyng a treat.
On the home turn - even the dog went outside in the cold to provide a guard of honour... which Don took as his due of course.

He burned round that last corner like a speed demon and even the dog dropped back to give him his place in the sun. : )

So I took us inside and made my flag streaming sentimentalist a big cup of tea and a plate of soup to warm the cockles of his heart...

and its a very big heart I may add but please don't tell him I said that. EVER!

"Its not true at all...none of its true."
"I am never sentimental."
"My heart is a normal size, maybe actually smaller than normal!!"

"Now just pissoff! Ha ha ha ha!"

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This, is as some of you will already know, is the wonderfully handsome and gentle old doggie Thorn. He is a red Kelpie; although most of us in Australia are used to the fine featured kelpies the big reds were used in Australia for sheep herding up until the 1920's...

I think it was the extreme heat here which made it so that the thinner and finer kelpies were then favoured for sheepherding and these big red ones just got to live the life of Riley which they thoroughly deserved.

Thorn showed his true gentlemanly nature the other day when the plumber was here for a day (you do not want to know why!) and bought his little fine featured female - and young - red kelpie called "Wuss" with him.

For you furriners to be called a 'wuss' here is a bit of a putdown but done in an affectionate way. Wuss means to be a big sook but a tolerable sook.

So Thorn and Wuss gambolled round our paddock. he even let her eat his dried food!!!

When I threw the tennis ball he wasn't even in the race to catch it, so finally I just gave it to him while she danced around him like a sweet young thing.

You know what he did when he finally got the ball?

No he didn't chew it to bits. No he didn't bring it back as he should have. No he didn;t stand on top of it, look me in the eye and piss all over it!

He took it over to her and put it down between her paws reverentially. She just picked it up without a backwards glance and skipped lightly away with it.

He sure is a lovely doggie but I think she broke his big old heart.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

This dear little chappie gave us all some dreadful moments, well hours yesterday and today the world is a much sunnier place for us . My sister who lives right down the bottom of New Zealand has three little children. The youngest 11 months. Early yesterday morning he swallowed a snakes and ladders piece and it lodged oover his windpipe and he couldn't breathe. They live in a very small town with the nearest ambulance a fair way away.

They tried that method (can't recall its name) of dislodging things from throats but no go. He went blue and then limp. He was dying.

Mike then rammed his index finger down the baby's throat which caused a fair amount of injury to his throat, but the object was dislodged and he began to breathe...

The ambulanceman said he would have died without that. He was given a clean bill of health later that day re any lasting lung or brain damage. He's very hoarse and swallowed a fair amount of blood but this sweet little boy who I grew to love so much while they visited recently, gets another chance at life... so it is a blessed day for us. It could have ended so disastrously for My little sister and her family.

: )
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

The new World order!

Each year in our family birthday cards become poems extrordinaire…this one I just rediscovered was sent to my older sister who is now big old 56… It was done with photos, which I am having trouble uploading with the word doc…any hints..
Where there are italics there were photos…and they were bewdies too…

Happy Birthday Veronica.

This year ...your 51st we have chosen a different theme, Veronica.
No, its not abuse, nor sarcasm...
it is a view of “The Wonderful World Of Moronica”.

“My world is one of laughter and joy,
of shops with no tills
of nothing to annoy,
and no paying of bills.” (Veronica old age sister’s photo)

“I’d better quickly phone to warn all the family men...
of plans afoot
who knows where or when.
Of plans to make us clean up all our own mess,
to make us iron our  own clothes before we dress...
to make us clean the toilet and the bath.
No don’t hang up...don’t dare to laugh.
Our lives of leisure and expectation
that male is king in the Aussie nation...
will be no more our right, no more will we oppress,
those human beings who wear a dress.” Photo of Don looking alarmed.

Melissa and Alison... “About Bloody time too” M& A already know how it all works poor kids.

Andrew “Uh..Oh!”photo of nephew who still was getting his clothes ironed…sacre bleu!

In The Wonderful World of Moronica...
(a) The older and uglier women get
The more they get the men’s respect.

Therese (the Mumma)Thatsa me!
“Ima two young and bewidful
to getta da respecta yet”

(b) Motherhood deserves and is given a title and a car each time...
and a castle given to each mother of nine.

“What! It takes nine to get the castle!!(”She only had one at this time – now had three)

(c) All men will hide their face
in the presence of strange women,
and know their place...
and be bound to look good when they go swimmin’

Veronica “Nothin more horrible than an ugly man at the beach”
Therese “Yeah! they should stay at home”
Jackie “And be grateful” The sisterhood!

It is hereby decreed that the State of The Wonderful World of Moronica will come into being on 3rd September 2001

Pictures of all the office holders... sadly unable to upload and dazzle you all…
1.Veronica--Mother Very Superior and Most Worthy Sister Allyoishus Benedicta Machaelia
2. June--Sister Exalted One Honoured Gymnasius Instructorium Martinus Cecilia Adenoidus
3. (Me) Therese-- Sister Scriptorium Anarchiarcus Well Respected Dominica Angelica Whiskiarsius
4. Joan--Sister Articus Craftiouriium Well Loved Paulus Annunciartia Callathumpia
5. Jackie--Sister Youngious Fertilicia Robustus Once Beautified by the female Pope Agustus Boneventure Scheplucre

For far too long an unjust state
has existed
One we have grown to hate.
While Men have slept
the house was swept.
They thought the sun rose when they did
never noticing all the shitty never ending work we did.

Photos… whata shame…
Therese and June “Washing up means cleaning the whole kitchen, not just the plates”

Joan and Veronica “Grocery shopping is not a shopping trip”
Jackie “You stand in all the queues and pay all the bills!”

Veronica (looking at Mum’s picture)
“It was she who sewed the seed and allowed it to grow”
Therese “Thank you Mum, you taught us all we know”

In the Wonderful World of Moronica
(d) All women would get two full days off a week...
i.e. no washing up at all...let us speak
No unseen slavery known as Wifework
Simply the monotonous unending maintenance
of all the men if they lurk
in our houses.

(e)As there are no more mammoths to hunt
and put upon the family table,
All men will shake off their domestic laziness
and prove that they are able...
or be evicted.

Andrew( nephew) “Lauren close your ears”
Lauren (niece)  “I don’t think so Andrew”
Melissa( daughter 1)“Goodie can we play too”
Alison (daughter 2)“I like the sound of this”

(f) All labour paid and unpaid will be counted in hours...
including all cups of tea made
and all emotional support of tender male egos
which eats us time thats ours!!!

(g) No woman should ever be expected to wash anyone’s clothes
unless they are under thirteen.
This includes all towels, sheets, smelly socks men drop around
not even caring if they’re seen.

Alanah, Tricia and Lauren-( nieces) ”Girl Power!”
Dennis ( nephews)“But I like to come home to clean clothes”
Andrew “ And who will iron my school clothes...I don’t know how”

Well its done...our birthday present starts now...

Shops that never close!
Each week to buy new clothes!
A sisterhood who covers for all our little failings!
There are no hangovers,
Only stress and pressure headaches caused
by men’s unending needs...
and the list of good thing for us in Moronica Land go on.

A Happy Woman Makes A Happy Home INC. 2001
Have a look at this blog I have been reading it this afternoon and found it well written, gentle and easy on the eye... we all need a bit of that these days.
Hi some litle bits of humour or someink to lighten things up!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It would be the same in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britian and please tell me where it would not be happening...but what I have to ask is WHY? Why have all this crap stored away??? Most of my calls are an hour of chat about family and the queerness of them all... tres interesting..
NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls Updated 5/11/2006 10:38 AM ET
By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: The NSA record collection program
"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.
For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.
The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.
The sources would talk only under a guarantee of anonymity because the NSA program is secret.
Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, nominated Monday by President Bush to become the director of the CIA, headed the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005. In that post, Hayden would have overseen the agency's domestic call-tracking program. Hayden declined to comment about the program.
The NSA's domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA's efforts to create a national call database.
In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States."
As a result, domestic call records — those of calls that originate and terminate within U.S. borders — were believed to be private.
Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.
Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, declined to discuss the agency's operations. "Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide," he said. "However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law."
The White House would not discuss the domestic call-tracking program. "There is no domestic surveillance without court approval," said Dana Perino, deputy press secretary, referring to actual eavesdropping.
She added that all national intelligence activities undertaken by the federal government "are lawful, necessary and required for the pursuit of al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists." All government-sponsored intelligence activities "are carefully reviewed and monitored," Perino said. She also noted that "all appropriate members of Congress have been briefed on the intelligence efforts of the United States."
The government is collecting "external" data on domestic phone calls but is not intercepting "internals," a term for the actual content of the communication, according to a U.S. intelligence official familiar with the program. This kind of data collection from phone companies is not uncommon; it's been done before, though never on this large a scale, the official said. The data are used for "social network analysis," the official said, meaning to study how terrorist networks contact each other and how they are tied together.
Carriers uniquely positioned
AT&T recently merged with SBC and kept the AT&T name. Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T are the nation's three biggest telecommunications companies; they provide local and wireless phone service to more than 200 million customers.
The three carriers control vast networks with the latest communications technologies. They provide an array of services: local and long-distance calling, wireless and high-speed broadband, including video. Their direct access to millions of homes and businesses has them uniquely positioned to help the government keep tabs on the calling habits of Americans.
Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.
Qwest's refusal to participate has left the NSA with a hole in its database. Based in Denver, Qwest provides local phone service to 14 million customers in 14 states in the West and Northwest. But AT&T and Verizon also provide some services — primarily long-distance and wireless — to people who live in Qwest's region. Therefore, they can provide the NSA with at least some access in that area.
Created by President Truman in 1952, during the Korean War, the NSA is charged with protecting the United States from foreign security threats. The agency was considered so secret that for years the government refused to even confirm its existence. Government insiders used to joke that NSA stood for "No Such Agency."
In 1975, a congressional investigation revealed that the NSA had been intercepting, without warrants, international communications for more than 20 years at the behest of the CIA and other agencies. The spy campaign, code-named "Shamrock," led to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was designed to protect Americans from illegal eavesdropping.
Enacted in 1978, FISA lays out procedures that the U.S. government must follow to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches of people believed to be engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States. A special court, which has 11 members, is responsible for adjudicating requests under FISA.
Over the years, NSA code-cracking techniques have continued to improve along with technology. The agency today is considered expert in the practice of "data mining" — sifting through reams of information in search of patterns. Data mining is just one of many tools NSA analysts and mathematicians use to crack codes and track international communications.
Paul Butler, a former U.S. prosecutor who specialized in terrorism crimes, said FISA approval generally isn't necessary for government data-mining operations. "FISA does not prohibit the government from doing data mining," said Butler, now a partner with the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.
The caveat, he said, is that "personal identifiers" — such as names, Social Security numbers and street addresses — can't be included as part of the search. "That requires an additional level of probable cause," he said.
The usefulness of the NSA's domestic phone-call database as a counterterrorism tool is unclear. Also unclear is whether the database has been used for other purposes.
The NSA's domestic program raises legal questions. Historically, AT&T and the regional phone companies have required law enforcement agencies to present a court order before they would even consider turning over a customer's calling data. Part of that owed to the personality of the old Bell Telephone System, out of which those companies grew.
Ma Bell's bedrock principle — protection of the customer — guided the company for decades, said Gene Kimmelman, senior public policy director of Consumers Union. "No court order, no customer information — period. That's how it was for decades," he said.
The concern for the customer was also based on law: Under Section 222 of the Communications Act, first passed in 1934, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination. Inbound calls, as well as wireless calls, also are covered.
The financial penalties for violating Section 222, one of many privacy reinforcements that have been added to the law over the years, can be stiff. The Federal Communications Commission, the nation's top telecommunications regulatory agency, can levy fines of up to $130,000 per day per violation, with a cap of $1.325 million per violation. The FCC has no hard definition of "violation." In practice, that means a single "violation" could cover one customer or 1 million.
In the case of the NSA's international call-tracking program, Bush signed an executive order allowing the NSA to engage in eavesdropping without a warrant. The president and his representatives have since argued that an executive order was sufficient for the agency to proceed. Some civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, disagree.
Companies approached
The NSA's domestic program began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the sources. Right around that time, they said, NSA representatives approached the nation's biggest telecommunications companies. The agency made an urgent pitch: National security is at risk, and we need your help to protect the country from attacks.
The agency told the companies that it wanted them to turn over their "call-detail records," a complete listing of the calling histories of their millions of customers. In addition, the NSA wanted the carriers to provide updates, which would enable the agency to keep tabs on the nation's calling habits.
The sources said the NSA made clear that it was willing to pay for the cooperation. AT&T, which at the time was headed by C. Michael Armstrong, agreed to help the NSA. So did BellSouth, headed by F. Duane Ackerman; SBC, headed by Ed Whitacre; and Verizon, headed by Ivan Seidenberg.
With that, the NSA's domestic program began in earnest.
AT&T, when asked about the program, replied with a comment prepared for USA TODAY: "We do not comment on matters of national security, except to say that we only assist law enforcement and government agencies charged with protecting national security in strict accordance with the law."
In another prepared comment, BellSouth said: "BellSouth does not provide any confidential customer information to the NSA or any governmental agency without proper legal authority."
Verizon, the USA's No. 2 telecommunications company behind AT&T, gave this statement: "We do not comment on national security matters, we act in full compliance with the law and we are committed to safeguarding our customers' privacy."
Qwest spokesman Robert Charlton said: "We can't talk about this. It's a classified situation."
In December, The New York Times revealed that Bush had authorized the NSA to wiretap, without warrants, international phone calls and e-mails that travel to or from the USA. The following month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T. The lawsuit accuses the company of helping the NSA spy on U.S. phone customers.
Last month, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales alluded to that possibility. Appearing at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Gonzales was asked whether he thought the White House has the legal authority to monitor domestic traffic without a warrant. Gonzales' reply: "I wouldn't rule it out." His comment marked the first time a Bush appointee publicly asserted that the White House might have that authority.
Similarities in programs
The domestic and international call-tracking programs have things in common, according to the sources. Both are being conducted without warrants and without the approval of the FISA court. The Bush administration has argued that FISA's procedures are too slow in some cases. Officials, including Gonzales, also make the case that the USA Patriot Act gives them broad authority to protect the safety of the nation's citizens.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., would not confirm the existence of the program. In a statement, he said, "I can say generally, however, that our subcommittee has been fully briefed on all aspects of the Terrorist Surveillance Program. ... I remain convinced that the program authorized by the president is lawful and absolutely necessary to protect this nation from future attacks."
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., declined to comment.
One company differs
One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the program: Qwest.
According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.
Financial implications were also a concern, the sources said. Carriers that illegally divulge calling information can be subjected to heavy fines. The NSA was asking Qwest to turn over millions of records. The fines, in the aggregate, could have been substantial.
The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as "product" in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest's lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.
The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard.
Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.
In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.
Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.
The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.
In June 2002, Nacchio resigned amid allegations that he had misled investors about Qwest's financial health. But Qwest's legal questions about the NSA request remained.
Unable to reach agreement, Nacchio's successor, Richard Notebaert, finally pulled the plug on the NSA talks in late 2004, the sources said.
Contributing: John Diamond
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Port Macquarie 20002

My eldest sister's son wrote this when he was about 16. he's 22 now... I had lost it for a while and just came accross it...its his version of one of the many Christmases he spent with us. Means a lot to us and some of it only makes sense to us...but a wonderful thing for a kid to write...can't have been all that bad to be here.

Port Macquarie- 2000/2001

Every year, we gather here,
To create memories and relive them.
To see faces and places, and we should be gracious
And savour with patience
The times and the dimes we spend in line – just for a pie.
Or the tedious nights, prone to fights,
Where plates must be washed before tempers are lost.

But it’s all in good fun, because after are run
Archives of Dougal and Ted, talking in bed,
And Jack out of wack, with his face turning red to his neck,
Shouting “Drink, Girls, Nickers and Feck!”

Is it the people that make Port all that?
Therese… Don… the cat… the ghost in the flat?
Maybe the green Volkswagon van,
With its wheelchair ramp and sliding door slam.

Or the essence of Christmas/New Year still in the air,
But more precious to share than any of its flare.
Added to, by the fine vintage wine the adults use,
To better the time, and damage their minds,
But that’s okay, ‘cause they’re old anyway,
And maybe only living on borrowed time.

Now lets take a moment to remember,
Those too unfortunate to be present,
Like the ones at Palmer Cresent,
And although not here physically,
They are here through their spirit,
Which lives on through the memories of their latest visit.

It’s been ten years since we’ve been here for Christmas.
Its been a while and we missed ya’s.
But for New Year’s we’ve always come,
For the sun and the sand and the fun
On the Town green, smuggling drinks,
Exploiting the chinks in the Security’s armour;
Then the fireworks, could have been done by a farmer,
But they’re still a charmer for us, fool!
Because they’re done in Port and Port’s real cool.

Because Port is very Veronica, blatantly Barry, absolutely Andrew,
Delectably Don, Totally Therese, Mostly Melissa, a lot of Alison, A bit of Ben, a shake of Sharley,
A rasher of Rodney. A flash’a Natasha,
A cafuffle of Corgi and a thicket of Thorn.
And nothing this morn,
While I write these last words,
Could make me deny that Port is anything less,
Than simply the best!

Andrew Burt - 2/1/01 - 16yrs.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

These two also taken in 1977 are some more of my favourites...I have a lot of favourites I can tell you...49 photo albums... but three of them are from Don's side of the family so that makes 46.

But I started in 1969 so that sounds better.

This is melissa just 3 with her new sister Alison... but its the next photo which is the worry. This was posed for at the top of the flight of starir to our old rented home ($12 a week!!!)

And she looks like she'd ready to say "Bombs away usurper"...

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I just came accross this photo of Don and our eldest daughter Melissa taken in 1977, (and Boris the Labrador also ) Seems like yesterday but our two daughters are older than Don was when this was taken which is a bit of a shock. It was a lovely time but not without its moments. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Us Bloggers need to read this!
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War on The Web
By Robert B. Reich – May 11, 2006This week, the House is expected to vote on something termed, in perfect Orwellian prose, the "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006." It will be the first real battle in the coming War of Internet Democracy. On one side are the companies that pipe the Internet into our homes and businesses. These include telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon and cable companies like Comcast. Call them the pipe companies. On the other side are the people and businesses that send Internet content through the pipes. Some are big outfits like Yahoo, Google and Amazon, big financial institutions like Bank of America and Citigroup and giant media companies soon to pump lots of movies and TV shows on to the Internet. But most content providers are little guys. They're mom-and-pop operations specializing in, say, antique egg-beaters or Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia. They're anarchists, kooks and zealots peddling all sorts of crank ideas They're personal publishers and small-time investigators. They include my son's comedy troupe-streaming new videos on the Internet every week. They also include gazillions of bloggers-including my humble little blog and maybe even yours. Until now, a basic principle of the Internet has been that the pipe companies can't discriminate among content providers. Everyone who puts stuff up on the Internet is treated exactly the same. The net is neutral. But now the pipe companies want to charge the content providers, depending on how fast and reliably the pipes deliver the content. Presumably, the biggest content providers would pay the most money, leaving the little content people in the slowest and least-reliable parts of the pipe. (It will take you five minutes to download my blog.) The pipe companies claim unless they start charge for speed and reliability, they won't have enough money to invest in the next generation of networks. This is an absurd argument. The pipes are already making lots of money off consumers who pay them for being connected to the Internet. The pipes figure they can make even more money discriminating between big and small content providers because the big guys have deep pockets and will pay a lot to travel first class. The small guys who pay little or nothing will just have to settle for what's left. The House bill to be voted on this week would in effect give the pipes the green light to go ahead with their plan. Price discrimination is as old as capitalism. Instead of charging everyone the same for the same product or service, sellers divide things up according to grade or quality. Buyers willing to pay the most can get the best, while other buyers get lesser quality, according to how much they pay. Theoretically, this is efficient. Sellers who also have something of a monopoly (as do the Internet pipe companies) can make a killing. But even if it's efficient, it's not democratic. And here's the rub. The Internet has been the place where Davids can take on Goliaths, where someone without resources but with brains and guts and information can skewer the high and mighty. At a time in our nation's history when wealth and power are becoming more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, it's been the one forum in which all voices are equal. Will the pipe companies be able to end Internet democracy? Perhaps if enough of the small guys make enough of a fuss, Congress may listen. But don't bet on it. This Congress is not in the habit of listening to small guys. The best hope is that big content providers will use their formidable lobbying clout to demand net neutrality. The financial services sector, for example, is already spending billions on information technology, including online banking. Why would they want to spend billions more paying the pipe companies for the Internet access they already have? The pipe companies are busily trying to persuade big content providers that it's in their interest to pay for faster and more reliable Internet deliveries. Verizon's chief Washington lobbyist recently warned the financial services industry that if it supports net neutrality, it won't get the sophisticated data links it will need in the future. The pipes are also quietly reassuring the big content providers that they can pass along the fees to their customers. Will the big content providers fall for it? Stay tuned for the next episode of Internet democracy versus monopoly capitalism. Robert Reich is professor of public policy at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He was secretary of labor in the Clinton
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Last updated 15/05/2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I believe that these kids are the children of one of the other Hopper girls in that picture of four. Posted by Picasa
One of the four Hopper Girls...again I am not sure which but these pictures have always made me wonder. Posted by Picasa
These are the four Hopper Girls. Girls in white dresses! One of them is the mother of the two boys, and another one is the sister who raised the surviving son. Who or what happened to the remaining two is unknown to me. Posted by Picasa
This is one of the Hopper Girls...there were four or five of them...I'll find the photo of them all together after I post this. This girl was from my Mother's side of the family, being Flanagan, Butler, Tripp and Hopper; all from Ireland. I believe that the story about this lady is that she had one son and whilst she was pregnant with the other son, the living child fell off the sulky she was driving and went under the wheel and was killed. Of course knowing the times she was blamed for the death by her husband and relatives.

Grandfather told my mum that she went through the pregnancy as if all was normal and then when she gave birth to another son. After that she never spoke to another human being.

His aunt whom I recall (her sister Nan White) bought up that son...have no idea what happened to the loving husband) and weekly the pair of them visited her at Gladesville Mental institution, till she died as an old lady.

I imagine her son is alive or his descendants and would have no idea that some of us remember what happened...but contact has been lost. I only hope he has this photo of his young mother and that of the ones I will post next to see her as she was...young, beautiful and strong.

But I do know that Nan White who raised him was one of the gentlest and most gracious of my oldest relatives and would have given him all the love he needed. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

Charlie or Nicki mentioned a book called "The devils Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce (1911) on the Writers blog a little while back. Its so clever and handy also. Its all there on the net so have a look at it if you've never come accross it before.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Last one I promise for today anyway... Here is that known Cat- Hater Don pretending to pat Pussy Gardiner "Good bye and have a safe journey cat... y'all come back again soon you hear now!" Oh sure and hell might just freeze over... and No the cat did not punch Don fair in the gob as it should have done... that tooth lost is another story! Posted by Picasa
Over the Easter break one of my sisters "Attila she of the Hens who must be obeyed " bought her old cat Pussy Gardiner with her and she had to share the cat compound with our old cat Archimedes. Archimedes has Top Cat position in this picture.

Charlie you would approve of how we keep our cat... because the wildlife in Australia has no evolutionary protection against foxes, cats and feral dogs some of us in especially bushy areas have taken the step and keep the cat in a cat enclosure during the day. Ours is an old milk bale converted and has tree stupms fro scratching, a bit of grass , a bit of sand and a few climbing places. There is lots of sun and plenty of shade and I bring her in between 5 and 6pm depending on the weather. She actually volunteers to go in and is happy enough. She has about an hour or two mouse hunt in the evening thenis inside the house the whole night. Cats do a lot of damage at night to birds nests...

Things were fine till old Pussy Gardiner turned up.

This is Archimedes not that darn old snaggletooth Pussy Gardiner from Queensland.

Now this is the gutsy and very aloof Pussy Gardiner who mewed and mewed till my dizzy sister whet down to give her a few hugs.

All the while Archimedes stood tall and proud on the top rungs of the compound and miaowed

What a battle of cat wills it was.
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I was flicking through a disc of Easter Photos my sister posted and came accross this one...

I am wondering what the deal going down was here. "Ill trade you my glass of wine for that chip there there okay Tessa." "Nuh I'll have the glass of wine and the chip Mummy and you can have the glass of milk...its really good for you age old mummy."

What do you reckon they might be saying?

Jackie my youngest sister could have been saying, "No Tessa, I won't look like old aunty Therese in 12 years time I promise, now give me that bloody chip okay." Posted by Picasa


George W. Bush meets with the Queen of England. He asks her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government?  Are there any tips you can give to me?""Well," says the Queen, "The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."Bush frowns. "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?"The Queen takes a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligence test. Listen to this".The Queen pushes a button on her intercom. "Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"Tony Blair walks into the room. "Yes, Your Majesty?"The Queen smiles. "Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answers, "That would be me.""Yes! Very good," says the Queen.Back at the White House, Bush asks to speak with Vice President Dick Cheney. "Dick, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?""I'm not sure," says the Vice President. "Let me get back to you on that one."Dick Cheney goes to his advisors and asks every one, but none can give him an answer.Finally, he ends up in the men's room and recognizes Colin Powell's shoes in the next stall. Dick shouts, "Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"Colin Powell yells back, "That's easy. It's me!" Dick Cheney smiles. "Thanks!"Cheney goes back to the Oval Office to speak with Bush. "Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Colin Powell."Bush gets up, stomps over to Dick Cheney, and angrily yells into his face,
"No, you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"

Friday, May 05, 2006

Home Town

Home Town.

I’ve gotten used to coastal cool in summer.
Its November here in Aberdeen, unbearably hot.
I have walked the streets of my child years today
and now know it lives only in my memories.
Its dry, dusty and hot and it never felt very friendly anyway.

In winter its achingly beautiful...
always buy in summer.

I only come back for the memories;
to bring a wilting bunch of flowers for Mum and Dad...
plucking a few stray flowers
to distribute to grandparents and others we knew... now long dead.

Thanks for the memories Aberdeen...
maybe I am what I am, who I am, whatever that is
partly because of you...

Thanks for nothing else.
I have not forgotten nor forgiven
the cruelty and the grasping crude commonness
you boxed around my poor mother’s head,
when she should have been folded lovingly,
into the bosom of the people she was part of.

Yet I remember the heaven of our home, and yard...
our island, and all honour to my parents for that glorious gift.



I don’t often see the moon,
Through the clouds at night.

I don’t often see the morning frost,
On the wild mountains.

I don’t often see the rainbow fade,
Behind a summer rain.

And Ah!
     The Sea Eagle -
     I don’t often see the Sea Eagle,
     Bringing home her future.

But it doesn’t matter.
     I know they are there for me.
     When I am able to see them.

The Faeries Road

The Faeries’ Road.    
Sun! Mellow on this time, and all the world is quiet.
The trees are still, time is still -
All the world is watching for the change.

A flash! One brilliant light,
And the world is blue with twilight.
The leafy corners deepen, opening for the night.
The people leave - with primitive fears of night fall
And the forces governing
Are making a tally of the day.

Who is walking on the faeries’ road?
Following me.
I welcome them with my arms outstretched -
As night deepens, the world of misty life begins,
As in time forever.

Quiet! No reason to talk,
We’re home in the still bush.
Hills of gold go slowly in peace,
Like old people ambling down the street.

Down in the town people stir.
Boredom brings them to clubs and halls.
No time to sit on the ground
And watch the sky’s silky worship.
No time to sense the harmony that comes
When the forces suddenly show themselves
So in quiet we can understand...
And I understanding...know for the flash of light
All that is just and right.
I know how to be blithe along the faerie’s road,
Whether gravel or dirt...and lined with grass
Or marbled and lined with precious jewels.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Its sure been a strange couple of days. On Sunday about lunchtime Don and I came back from town, and he went for a bit of a wander down the yard when we got home. Whenhe came back inside he lowered the wheechair and had a bit of a sleep in the sun. When he woke up he seemed a bit vague, but after a while he was really confused...asking me over and over had he been outside a second time. Repeatedly I told him no he'd just been outside the door having a sleep. Then he had a really big sleep and woke up with numbness down one side of his face, an arm that wouldn't behave properly and major gaps in his memories of peoples names etc etc.

We both felt he might have had a stroke, but luckily later on at the hospital the CAT scan showed no actual damage so it was most likely a transient type stroke...a bit of a warning.

Half an evening at the hospital... a very long wait whilst sprained ankles and sore wrists got treated... (he/we got pissed off and we came home... then got scared again as you would) and half the next day ...tests done and memories returned we were glad to be home.

How strange it is to think how ordinary this evening is and just luck for us to not have a major bloody tragedy happening rght now. Sometimes it is really surreal the way we live. My eldest sister who is a nurse says we seem to lurch from one crisis to another...and thats how it is but the ordinariness of life in between is wierd.

Poor bloody Don is quite spooked as he isn't out of the woods yet. Me, I just don't think at all much...just do it and hope for the best.

Its been a strange couple of days.

Opal Whiteley's works and web sites

I couldn’t believe it when I found these sites on the net. Back in 1995 I read “The Singing Creek Where Willows Grow” By Opal Whiteley who was a child when she wrote the diary. Most of it was written on bits of brown paper bags and scraps of paper and it appears her mother was uneasy at her daughter’s writings. Opal died aged 91 - I believe a few years back so her childhood in country USA in the early years of last century is a record of the goings on inside her world…and understandably her mother was concerned…as Opal wrote about the animals and grass and trees as living conscious beings.

Might not be your cup of tea but I just immersed myself in this book for some time reading and re reading it…. Benjamin Hoff who wrote the Tao of Pooh (as in Winnie the pooh type pooh) did an excellent job and its worth a look if you want to see inside the head and world of an exceptional child from less sophisticated times. It rang a bell with me because my own mum, an only and very lonely child with no mother and an older father…wrote stories in an exercise book about the creatures around her father’s farm. Wouldn’t I give my eyeteeth to have them today and for them to have been preserved? But the lady who looked after mum when her dad worked destroyed them in the fire??? Why? What on earth could a child have written which could upset an adult so much? Then I wonder about that.

But Opal’s works were saved, by chance…and this little girl did have her voice heard.

NOTE: All page numbers refer to Benjamin Hoff's The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow, published by Penguin Paperback Books, 1995.
Lichen is the moss that grows on rocks and trees in the Northwestern United States. Seven year old Opal correctly notes that it grows much faster in the wet winter than summertime.
As I did go along, I saw many gray rocks. Some gray rocks had gray and green patches on them. Some of these patches had ruffles around their edges. The gray patches on gray rocks are Lichens.
Lichen folks talk in gray tones. I think they do talk more when come winter days -- I hear their voices more in December than I do hear their voices in July and June-time. Angel Father did show me the way to listen to lichen voices.
Most grownups don't hear them at all. I see them walk right by in a hurry, and all the time, the lichen folk are saying things; and the things they say are their thoughts about the gladness of a winter day. I put my ear close to the rocks, and I listen. That is how I do hear what they are saying.
Then I do take a reed for a flute. I climb on a stump -- on the most high stump that is near. I pipe on the flute to the wind what the lichens are saying. I am piper for the lichens that dwell on the gray rocks, and the lichens that cling to the trees grown old.
GOING TO SCHOOL (Pages 113,160,176)
The one room schoolhouse Opal attended is still standing. She was a brilliant student, despite often getting into trouble for daydreaming and bringing her pets to school.
Today I do sit here at my desk, while the children are out for play at recess-time. I sit here and I do print. I cannot have goings to talk with the trees that I mostly do have talks with at recess time. I cannot go down to the river across the road, like I do sometimes at recess-time. I sit here in my seat. Teacher says I must stay in all this whole recess time.
I was quite late to school. Teacher made me stand in the corner with my face to the wall. I did not mind that at all. There was a window in that part of the wall. It was near the corner. I looked at my book, sometimes. Most of the times I looked out the window.
I had seeing of little plant folks just peeping out of the earth to see what they could see. I did have thinks it would be nice to be one of them, and then grow up and have a flower, and bees a- coming and, having seed-children in the fall.
I have thinks this is a very interesting world to live in. There is much to see out the window when teacher does make one stand in the corner to study one's lesson.
This diary entry describes the transition from fall to winter - the evolution of life from birth to death and rebirth, and how nothing in nature ever really dies.
The Clouds go slow across the sky. The water goes slow in the brook. No one seems to be in a hurry. Even the wind walks slow. I think she wears a silk robe today - I can hear it's faint rustle. I think the wind is dreaming, too. With the whispering leaves, she sings a dreamsong. This is a dream day ...
Now are come the days of brown leaves. They fall from the trees; they flutter on the ground. When the brown leaves flutter, they are saying little things. They talk with the wind. I hear them tell of their borning days, when they did come into the world as leaves.
Today they were talking of the time before their borning days of this springtime. They talked on and on, and I did listen to what they were telling the wind and the earth in their whisperings.
They told how they were a part of earth and air, before their tree-borning days. And now they are going back. In gray days of winter, they go back to the earth again. But they do not die. And in the morning of today it was that I did listen to these talkings of the brown leaves.
Then I faced about. I turned my face and all of me to the way that leads to the house we live in, for there was much works to be done.

Monday, May 01, 2006

No reason for these two photos whatesoever... just two little girls (my youngest sister's girls) sharing a chair in my eldest sister's kitchen...happy with something sweet and full of chemicals but hey, what did we all know about chemicals at thei age... things just tasted good, looked goos and were good unless you ate too much or were allergic.

How nice to be this age and just enjoy and maybe share...although i haven't seen little tessa get any yet.

It'll be a year till we see them again and they'll be older and know more and all of that. So the memories of them at this time are lovely.
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