Google odd about Astro Satellite TV (Nusantara)

A couple of days ago, I uploaded a short, angry note about Astro Nusantara to this blog and, later the same evening, while searching for a follow-up or news on Astro came across a link to my blog on Google and now it’s completely disappeared.

The original article is here: Astro Sucks.

I do wonder what the hell happened but, let’s face it, who am I to question the mighty Google?

Anyhoo, on the topic of Astro, I’m going to cancel my subscription (hum, reminds me of the Doors…) sometime in the next couple of weeks and probably go back to Indovision.

Indovision are just as sneaky and gutless as Astro but at least their equipment continues to work in all weather (Astro goes down when it rains and the rainy season is coming up soon…) and you don’t have to wait a day for the guide to update if it ever updates. And the remote control wasn’t designed by Fisher Price.

A new outfit, AORA (http://www.aora.tv) has opened and will offer the Premier League but I’m “up to here” with new installations and silly promises from satellite TV vendors. If anyone signs up with them, good luck and, if you can be bothered, to tell me about it, drop me a line.

Sean

Astro (Nusantara / Indonesia) Sucks… No Premier League

A year ago, I switched from Indovision partly because they dropped the Premier League Football coverage but also because they dropped the coverage with zero warning… in other words, right up until kickoff on the first Saturday of the season, I was still waiting for the games to begin… and stayed in front of the set for an hour past kickoff thinking, maybe… just maybe, it was some kind of technical goof. But no: they just blew it and lied to all their subscribers.

So I switched to Astro and, tonight, had exactly the same experience… keep checking the sports channels but even though the channel guide refers to football, all I’m seeing is old Pool games and Baseball. Two things which generate less than zero interest for me even when they’re live… which these shows aren’t.

Damn.

I suppose the Braniacs at Astro just couldn’t risk losing that extra month of money if they’d announced NOT showing the Premier League as soon as they knew.

I wonder how that policy is going to work for them in the long run?

Hopefully, my case will be the same as for most of their subscribers… they don’t show decent movies; their entertainment shows are all a minimum of one year old. Their navigation and equipment is slow, failure-prone… out of date… crappy. And, now they’ve dropped the only thing I wanted them for, they’re less than useless. So, off I go: back to Indovision until a decent alternative becomes available. I hope every other subscriber does the same… it’s weird to think we’re all paying for old movies, out of date entertainment and now, no sports… no football, no Olympics… sheesh.

How disappointing.

On the bright side, I’ll sleep earlier and shout less.

Goodnight all.

Paris Hilton & John McCain

Another one of those stories that happened to catch my eye this morning — story by Devlin Barrett (Associated Press via Yahoo News) — the headline reads:

Paris Hilton issues tart rebuttal to McCain ad

Very cute: I was about to say, “Is Barrett implying that Paris Hilton is a tart?” but, in fact, I’ll have to credit the Associated Press and Barrett for being smart enough to wordplay on tart as in bitter and tart (as it’s frequently used in the UK) to mean hussy, slattern, slut, tramp, wanton, wench or whore. Or floozy.

Floozy is a lovely word, eh?

Barrett also describes Ms Hilton as doe-eyed… but I don’t think she is doe-eyed — ‘dough-eyed’, maybe but not doe-eyed:

doe-eyed

To the left, a doe; to the right, Ms. Hilton…

Barrett also took time out of an obviously very busy day to pad the article with descriptions like, ‘scantily clad’, ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and ‘revealing’.

Gotta love the news.

Sean

Niggled to WordPress 2.6

A quick note: I’ve just upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (2.6) mainly because I keep getting this little note in the admin area telling me I need to upgrade… it’s niggling. And I don’t like to be niggled all the time.

On the other hand, if you find anything broken or troublesome, please drop me a line and… how shall I put it? Niggle me, please. I’ll fix it. Eventually.

According to Collins Essential English Dictionary (via thefreedictionary.com) the verb to niggle means either to worry slightly or to find fault continually. As a noun, it is a small worry or doubt or a trivial objection or complaint.

You may also wish to fuss, nag, carp, criticize, cavil or nitpick but, if I were you, I would stick with niggling… it’s more polite. Although quibbling is also acceptable. You might also consider pettifogging.

Sean

Sophie Hynes — One Hundred Percent GURRRL

Went to the doctor yesterday for our regular check up… Athina had to pee in a cup, get immunised and get jabbed in the ear a few times to make sure she bleeds and congeals properly. I watched a replay from Euro 2008… you know, “DAD” stuff.

vlcsnap-1884358And the scan of course.

The montly event to which I look forward the most… wow, I sound like Yoda today. Let’s just say I love the scans.

At Merdeka Clinic, the scans are not great… I think it must be an old ultrasound image that gave rise to that popular phrase, “he can’t tell his arse from his elbow”. Apparently, I’m that bloke.

Ah well, forget about that: here’s the main news:

1. Sophie is — the doctor is “100%” sure — a GIRL. Which, of course, is brilliant. I was not looking forward to sitting down with my tearful young son (Boy Named Sue playing on endless loop in the background) and explaining why we named him Sophie. And hats off to the doctor… I have no idea how he could be so sure…

2. Sophie is a happy, healthy 730g (just a hair over 1.6 pounds if you’re Imperial) baby.

3. Likely expected date has been brought forward to September 29th so we’ve just taken a hop into the 25th week and heading at top speed into week 26. Excellent.

I’ll upload the incomprehensible and frankly not much-use-at-all ultrasound tomorrow morning.

Here’s the Video:

Or watch at Google:

Sophie Hynes – Ultrasound June 19 – I’m a Girl, Can’t You Tell?

Sean

Happy Anniversary to Us

BEAUTIFUL-LADY We’ve been married now for 2 Years …and, in that time, you’ve never looked more beautiful and I’ve never been more in love or more happy…

…you are my Queen and I’m happy & proud to be your husband.

I have loved every moment of our time together…

…that’s 63 million, 158 thousand and 400 moments of joy.

Thank You.

I Love You.

Sean

Getting Rid of Hunger

imageI read a few interesting news articles today… I’m not sure if there was just more ‘news’ or if I’m in just a more interested frame of mind.

Probably — no, definitely not important.

The most thought-provoking story was about the international summit on food and the plan to eliminate hunger (Reuters via Yahoo News, article by Stephen Brown and Robin Pomeroy — click here to read at Yahoo).

A U.N. global food crisis summit will draw up an emergency plan on Wednesday to mobilize aid, reduce trade barriers and invest in farming in poor countries to stop the spread of hunger threatening nearly one billion people.

“We commit to eliminating hunger and to securing food for all, today and tomorrow,” read a draft declaration from the three-day Rome summit, whose opening session on Tuesday was attended by leaders of about 44 nations.

44 nations — represents about a fifth of all nations (or a quarter if you only count the 192 UN member nations).

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) now estimate that there are 862 million hungry people around the world.

I am not smart about the issue of world hunger or about the FAO or any of the other organisations that complement or compete with them in addressing the issue of starvation around the world.

Anyone who’s well versed in the topic will, no doubt, be able to reel off dozens or thousands of carefully researched and thought out arguments and statistics and so on.

I can only summarise what I’ve read just in the past few minutes and go with my instincts:

  • 862 million people with not enough food.
  • The possibility of 100 million more being added to that list because of rising fuel prices along with worsening food and fuel shortages.
  • It would cost an estimated US$30 Billion dollars per year to ensure that no-one goes hungry.
  • To put that figure into perspective, according to what I’ve just read, US$1,200 Billion was spent on arms (guns, bombs & whatnot) over the course of 2006.

I am not in a position to check or confirm any of those figures… not in any meaningful way but I can reduce all the data flying around to a few basic points that are meaningful to me:

  • Everyone needs food but a lot of people aren’t getting enough… about one-sixth of the world’s population is going hungry.
  • If everyone had enough to eat, there would probably be less hassle on the planet… less anguish.
  • If we can take care of the global food shortage, maybe we can start to take care of some of the other silly little loose ends that have dogged us as a species since the beginning of history… things like War, Pollution… in other words, we’d be left with just the one horseman (Death) and that might be alright. Nah, it’s probably naive. Truthfully, we can tackle the other stuff some other day. Food now, I think.

I don’t have an answer, a plan for addressing the issue.

Maybe no-one does.

Or maybe there are too many plans and, like competing formats for High Definition, too much competition and fist shaking for one system to be given the opportunity it needs to run properly and be effective.

I think there’s enough money… my guess is that Exxon Mobil could probably handle the whole thing themselves.

I don’t expect that to happen but you get the idea.

All of that said, if I lived now in either the US or the UK and if there were any hungry people in the US or the UK, I’d prefer they were taken care of before anyone else.

And, if there were no hungry people in the US and the UK, I’d prefer that America and Britain checked to make sure everyone had shelter. Meaning, as a nation, I would prioritise food and shelter of my compatriots before looking to address issues abroad.

In fact, I’d probably lay out the priorities as follows, if everyone in the US (as an example) is provided for in terms of:

  • Food — enough to eat including meeting the established RDA for calories, vitamins, nutrients and clean drinking water.
  • Shelter — a roof over one’s head, a room of one’s own and a key to lock it with, a place to stow one’s gear, etc., that’s warm and dry.
  • Education — up to a certain, workable level and no more. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, enough to work on Wall Street or be President… kidding.
  • Safety — a decent, functional legal infrastructure (including police and legal representation).
  • Health — emergency and a respectable level of maintenance health care.

When all those standards have been proven to have been met (proven to the people of your own country), then I believe it might be appropriate for a government or a population to start cherry picking new ideas of how to help the species.

France is probably there already (I’m guessing). So they can do what they want. The US is a little behind and might want to take care of its own stuff before taking on any new elephants — talking about government initiatives.

Don’t get me wrong, the US is great and I’m not trying to pull anyone’s chain but from what I’ve seen, it’s ranked twelfth in the world in terms of Human Development:

1 Iceland
2 Norway
3 Australia
4 Canada
5 Ireland
6 Sweden
7 Switzerland
8 Japan
9 Netherlands
10 France
11 Finland
12 United States
13 Spain
14 Denmark
15 Austria
16 United Kingdom
17 Belgium
18 Luxembourg
19 New Zealand
20 italy
 
France is in tenth and I guess only the top ten countries are in a position to help anyone else.
By the way, if anyone was surprised at the list, drop me a comment… I was gobsmacked that the US and the UK are so far down. Ireland being in 5th place is a little funny also but… what is it they say? Lies, damn lies… and statistics.
 
I definitely believe a country or a government or a people should look to helping their own before helping anyone else. Of course, an Irish, Jewish, Catholic, African or Chinese American may elect to provide aid to their ethnic/racial/religious community (without regard to nation) but that’s more a question of how we define ourselves and relate.
 

I would certainly de-prioritise the environment; I believe it’s spiritually bankrupt to put trees before people.

I don’t think war works… meaning, I don’t believe it’s a meaningful use of resources, energy and money. As a citizen, I believe it’s that not only is it better to fix at home before fixing overseas, either one is better than breaking stuff overseas.

That’s it. I’m done.

Sean

 

 
 
 
 

The Bogeyman Resurfaces in Japan as a 58 Year-Old Woman

A homeless woman in Japan moved into a man’s apartment and lived there for a year without his knowledge… hiding in a closet.

He only became suspicious when food started disappearing.

Story by Mari Yamaguchi on Associated Press (via Yahoo) — click here to read.

Brilliant. A real live Bogeyman… bogeyperson? Bogeywoman. Forget Lost in Translation or The Terminal — this story has it all.

Best quote of the piece:

She had moved a mattress into the small closet space and even took showers, Itakura said, calling the woman “neat and clean.”

Yes. On one level, the story has me giggling away like a kettle lightly on the boil… on the other hand, there’s an element of sadness (you don’t need to embellish the story with metaphors for big city anonymity, loss and isolation) and then there’s the creep factor: holy shit — she lived there an entire year before she was discovered. Would have made a great Ghosthunters episode… Jason & Grant debunking the myth by finding the woman who would be a mouse.

For your further edification, here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the Bogeyman:

The bogeyman, boogyman, bogyman, boogey monster, or boogeyman, is a folkloric or legendary ghostlike monster often believed in by children. The bogeyman has no specific appearance whatsoever, and can in fact vary drastically from household to household within the same community; in many cases he simply has no set appearance in the mind of a child, but is simply an amorphous embodiment of terror. Bogeyman can be used metaphorically to denote a person or thing of which someone has an irrational fear. Parents often say that if their child is naughty, the bogeyman will get them, in an effort to make them behave. The bogeyman legend may originate from Scotland, where such creatures are sometimes called bogles, boggarts, or bogies.

You can read the entire article on Wikipedia by clicking here.

A lot of the articles I saw (turns out there’s a helluva lot of stuff online related to Bogeymen… can’t quite figure that one), suggest that Bogey may originate from bog… bog man. Silly, as we all know that bogeys are nose jelly.

Sean

Excommunication is a funny old game

I had thought, up until this morning, that the Roman Catholic church was pretty much done with excommunication. I had assumed it to be outdated.

I was wrong. It is, apparently, back in fashion. Particularly for Women would-be Priests and the Bishops that try to ordain them.

So, in case anyone was wondering how to get themselves in on the action, here are Wikipedia’s top nine or so ways to get yourself automatically excommunicated by the Roman Catholic church:

1 …  Apostasy (canon 1364)… formally quitting and turning against the Church. Ah. Hmmn. I know a lot of people who’ve done this. Pretty much anyone Irish who’s now atheist is an apostate or, more frequently, a Lapsed Catholic. Also, seems a fairly slack approach to the problem insofar as excommicating the apostate is somewhat like bolting the door after the horse has gone.

2 … Heresy (canon 1364)…or outright disagreement with Church doctrine. Oops, done that as well. Does anyone print T-shirts for this type of thing? And again, in terms of equine escapes, another belated bolting.

3 … Schism (canon 1364), to split with the Church… historically, that covers everyone who’s not Catholic or planning to be Catholic. This explains the lack of T-Shirts: who can print in that kind of volume?

4 … Desecration of the Eucharist (canon 1367) … makes perfect sense: similar to defacing a coin depicting the Queen’s head… which reminds me of a pub called the Queen’s Head just outside Brighton — had a picture of Freddie Mercury on it.

5 … Physical violence against the Pope (canon 1370) … ha, you were expecting him to turn the other cheek?

6 … Attempted sacramental absolution of a partner in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”) (canon 1378 §1) … if I understand this right, it would be forgiving or trying to forgive someone who’d committed adultery. Interesting.

7 … Ordination of a bishop without papal mandate (canon 1382)… No fake Bishops. Please.

8 … Direct violation of the sacramental seal of confession by a confessor (canon 1388) … no tattle telling or ratting on parishioners.

9 … Procurement of a completed abortion (canon 1398) … I’m not too sure about this one. I mean, I understand, getting an abortion but the ‘completed’ part… confusing.

10 … Helping or helping to plan any of the above.

I think that’s enough from me. No need to comment on the list. At any other time, I might have wondered why a few of those are included and wonder out loud why a few obvious ones are omitted but it’s Friday and I see no reason to fret.

Anyhoo, according to the news article by Phil Stewart (on Reuters via Yahoo News), the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (or VATCON-D-FAITH as it’s known in the US) has written and published  a decree that now makes it a full-on excommunicationable offense to be a woman and become a Priest or be a Bishop and ordain a woman as a Priest.

As far as I know, the decree says very little about being a Priest, quitting and becoming a woman. Or, being a woman, becoming a man and then becoming a Priest but usually (historically) the Roman Catholic church has been very good about getting down to the nitty gritty and hammering out all the details. Catholic, after all, does mean ‘universal’.

Sean