I keep forgetting to mention that David Tomkins, a.k.a. Apodeictic, came and visited some time before Christmas. He slept a night in our loungeroom, and we talked theology, politics and watched The Big Lebowski. It was a thoroughly enjoyable time and it was nice to meet another one of my blog lurkers.

If you are reading this and live in Oxford, make sure you give Dave a call and invite him 'round for dinner or something. He's welcome back here any time he wants.

Oh... and David, have you made actual contact with Michael "I don't believe in Limited Atonement" Jensen yet?

Thinking Points

  • The News Blog reports on a DailyKos diary where a person asserts that American troops in Iraq don't have clean drinking water. An email from a US Soldier (probably a Marine) seems to indicate this. Part of me worries that this might be a crock.
  • Riverbend is finding life in Baghdad increasingly scary - and this from a person who managed to live through the American bombing in 2003.
  • Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, has an interesting article about Paul and whether we should listen to such a cranky, old and ignorant person.
  • Tom Hinkle gets even angrier at George Bush, if that were possible.
  • Interesting postings on Prophecy continuation at Kiwiandanemu. It's a pity that a lengthy comment to this article that I wrote got lost somehow.
  • Shyborg, a 22 year old young single Christian woman from Australia, continues to attract unavailable Christian men to her various websites.
  • Tom Ascol continues to prove that he's everything that FIDE-O tries to be, without all the problems.
  • George Michael is arrested for drug possession. Think of all the young people who will model his actions because he is a famous star. *yawn*
  • Glenn McGrath will miss the Australia - South Africa Test series. Bring on Bracken.
  • England's Ashes-winning side is in total disarray. Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones, Marcus Thescothick and Ashley Giles have all gone home from India. Freddie Flintoff will be captain.
  • Neil Foster's account of his trip to India in 1984-85 seems interesting.
  • Was the Da Vinci Code plagiarised? Hopefully it was.
  • Six new ways to inflict pain on yourself.
  • This is interesting - apparently the "little ice age" that gripped the world in the 14th century may have been due to a dip in CO2 levels. What caused this dip? The growth of trees and forests on land formerly used for farms - farms that were no longer needed after millions had died during the black death in Europe. At least there is one solution available to us to counter global warming. I wonder if this thesis could also back the fact that the world was in a minor "cooling" phase in the thirty years from 1945 to 1975 - the period directly following the deaths of millions in the second world war? The black death, though, did not contribute to the Maunder Minimum.
  • 31 years ago today was the Moorgate Tube Crash, which killed 43 people. They still don't know why it happened.
  • Pretty Astronomy Pictures here and here.
  • Turkey is getting a new national flag.
  • America's best Winter Olympics in 54 years continues to make Americans unhappy. (New York Times: registration required)


Cold Medals

Whenever America fails to win something, it's always a good day for those of us who aren't Americans. We enjoy it when the world's superpower gets humbled - in a good way of course. And there's nothing like America losing on the sporting field to get me going.

So it was with the Winter Olympics. America finished second in the medal count, and was never threatening Germany (the eventual winners). Moreover, Germany's neighbour, Austria, nearly pipped America and came third. Russia, who came fourth, could have easily beaten America too. Canada, who came fifth, was only a couple of medals away from America as well.

Moreover, in the last few days I have been reading some American Winter Olympics reporting. Talk about self-flaggelation! Skater Sasha Cohen comes second again; some African-American skiier gets roasted for not being a team player; and some other guy manages to complete his fifth Olympics and, despite all his effort, still finishes his career without a single Olympic medal.

It all sounds good (or bad if you're American), but, again, the cold harsh facts tell a different tale.

America has won only one Winter Olympics - the 1932 games in Switzerland and only the second winter games at that point. They have finished second three times - 1928, 1952 and 2006. They also finished third in 1960, 1976, 1980 and in 2002. Their other attempts are obviously not worth mentioing here.

So despite all the American moaning and international glee, the fact remains that America's winter athletes have performed a remarkable deed - they are the best American team to compete in the Winter Olympics in 54 years. Moreover, considering their third placing in 2002, it is probably right to say that America is possibly entering into a period of dominance.

And spare a thought for Norway. Norway has been one of the most consistent Winter Olympics participants throughout its history. After finishing first in Salt Lake city in 2002, and having very high hopes in Turin, they have had their worst team performance ever, finishing 13th overall - even Estonia performed better.

So, all I can say is, well done America.

Baptising Children

Here's a response I want to make to an article at FIDE-O. Since the guys there are apt to determine which comments are worthwhile and which are not, and because of the insufferable blind spots that naturally come from being American Dispensational Baptists, I'll post it here instead.

It took me a while, but I think Baptizing kids is biblical. I'll be presenting some pretty dense arguments that have been shrunk down, which means that there will be a lot of assumptions.

First, we need to remember that God's people have always been on earth. The church started when Adam and Eve were around. Before Christ, though, God's people were pretty much confined to the political and cultural entity known as Israel. God's people since the fall have all had their sins forgiven through Christ, with the only difference being that those before Christ placed their faith in God's promises, while those after Christ placed their faith in Christ's death and resurrection. In other words, "Christians" existed long before Christ in a theological sense (they were God's people and placed their trust in God's promises), but obviously not in a literalistic sense (calling them "Christians" would be anachronistic).

The problem with Israel was that while those who were "true followers" or "true believers" or "Christians who didn't know it" could only be found within the political and cultural entity of the nation of Israel, there were many examples of Israelites who were not true believers. Korah, for example, was obviously an Israelite (he was a Levite) but his actions in opposing Moses earned him instant supernatural burial. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of Israel and (later) Judah know that there were many Israelites who were not true followers of God.

So we have the "visible" people of God obviously being the nation of Israel, and within that visible people of God is the invisible people of God - the "true believers" if you will.

After Christ came, a new visible people of God was instituted and the old one dispensed with. All true believers within the old people of God recognised Jesus as Messiah and became Christians. What is the visible people of God after Christ? It is the Church.

And just like Israel, the "true believers" exist within the church, while the church itself has many unbelievers present.

The Old Testament people of God had two important ceremonies that helped define them as a people. The first was circumcision, whereby a male child soon after birth was circumcised on the eighth day. This was a once-off ceremony that occurred early on in the life of the person, who had Israelites as parents. The second ceremony was the passover festival. Celebrated regularly, the festival involved the ingesting of food that helped represent God's act of salvation by rescuing them from captivity in Israel.

It is obvious that the Passover festival is mirrored in the celebration of the Lord's Supper in the New Testament people of God. The church, meeting together in the name of Christ, ingests food that helps remind them of how Christ's death on the cross saved them from their slavery to sin.

In the same way, Circumcision is mirrored in baptism. Circumcision and baptism are explicitly linked in Colossians 2.11-12. Like Circumcision, baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event that occurs in the life of the Christian.

But remember that, just as circumcision and the passover were external signs for the Old Testament people of God, so are Baptism and the Lord's Supper today - they are the signs of the external people of God.

In practice this means that the children of believers should be baptised since they are already part of God's external people of God. If a person is an unbaptised unbeliever who is then converted, then they should be baptised. But if a person has been baptised as a child, and who then comes to faith later in life, then their baptism is perfectly valid (this is my own personal experience - I was baptised as a baby but became a Christian when I was 13).

The big argument that Baptists promote is the idea that, in the New Testament, only believers are baptised. When Baptism and Circumcision are understood side by side, though, it means that, in addition to "believer's baptism", the baptism of the children of believers is perfectly biblical.

The fact that the children may end up rejecting Christ is no evidence at all that pedo-baptism is wrong. After all, Korah and his followers ended up rejecting God's servant, Moses, and were sent directly to the grave for their actions - and these people were circumcised as children.

So while the NT describes only the baptism of believers, it does not prescribe the baptism of believers only.

From the Theosalient Department

© 2006 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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FAQ now has more pictures


Op-ed section now up-to-date

I've just finished updating the Op-ed section of my blog. This section contains what I believe to be my best work. Most of these articles have been emailed out to the Liberal blogosphere and to about 30 US newspapers in the hope that they would get published or linked. While I have yet to get published in a newspaper, many of my articles have been linked by Liberal blog sites and, in the case of Steve Gilliard at the News Blog, fully reproduced.

Underneath each article is the date that they were written, along with a short topic description ("Iraq", "American Politics", "Evangelicalism", etc).

Be careful - it bites

A picture of one of the most dangerous and feared creatures in the entire world. Oh, and there's a spider there too.

(Don't go here)


Silver for Ali G

Is this the face of someone who is happy with their final points tally?

(Photo from the LA Times)

Ignorant Marketing - an international problem

A few years ago here in Australia, Telstra, the country's largest telecommunications carrier, put out a controversial television advertisement showing how wonderful they were.

The advertisement focused upon some severe flooding that afflicted some part of Australia (probably western New South Wales). There was footage of rooftops sticking up through floodwaters, people splashing through flooded streams and damage done to power and phone lines.

The idea of the ad was to show how wonderful Telstra was in fixing up all the problems associated with the flood. I can't remember the specifics, but the message was clear - Telstra will come through quickly and efficiently during a national disaster.

The controversy surrounded some footage that the TV advertisement used. In one section, a woman is seen splashing through raging floodwaters towards the camera, which was filming from inside a helicopter hovering over the water. The entire thing lasted probably 2 seconds.

What was the problem?

1. The footage was actually from a flood in America.
2. The woman pictured never made it to the helicopter, and eventually drowned.

The fact that Telstra would use footage that was not from the flood being depicted was bad enough. The fact that they used footage of a woman who eventually drowned made the situation intolerable. When news of this mistake was reported, Telstra quickly removed the ad from circulation.

I'm mentioning all this because there is now some controversy in Russia.

The BBC is reporting that official posters commemorating Russian War Veterans prominently features a World War 2 American Battleship - the USS Missouri.

The mistake was made within the marketing department. You can imagine the people sitting there making the decision and one person saying "well I think this ship makes the poster look 20% more aggressive and 15% more patriotic". The graphic designer, present in the meeting, would have said "But... I only used that ship as a way of comparison. It's not a Russian ship - it's an American battleship," The Marketers would have then scoffed and said "Who cares? No one will notice!"


V for ?

This is a picture I found at the BBC website about the destruction of the Al Askari Mosque. In the foreground is an Imam holding a ceremonial turban that was on one of the sacred tombs or whatever.

What interests me is the kid giving the "v" signal in the back. I think he just did it because the camera was there. A little more to his right and it would've been behind the Imam's head.


Secular Humanists to blame for Sea Level "rise"

(For Steve Camp and Douglas Burtt)

It has been reported that the Pacific island of Tonga has recorded a 10cm rise in sea levels in the past 13 years.

We Christians need to resist the use of scientific instrumentation to make such spurious claims. These instruments were created by unbelievers who think nothing of honouring God, and of putting forward so called "facts" that fit their atheistic, evolutionary, secular, humanistic, satanistic, communistic preconceptions.

Every objective and reasonable person knows that "Global Warming" is just a theory, and that there are ample amounts of evidence that shoot holes through the mangled plastic bag that holds the putrid, polluted water of the theory in place. These so called "theorists" (a radical and activist minority within the world community) actually argue that if all the ice caps melt, all the dry land in the entire world will be covered by water!

We need to remember that, as Christians, God is in control over the creation, and has promised that another world-wide flood will not occur! (Genesis 9:15) More than that, cursory study by reputable scientists indicate that, even if all the ice caps and ice sheets melt, there would never be enough water to cover all dry land on the earth! Yet another blow to these global warming theorists.

(By the way - did anyone ever see that film Waterworld with Kevin Costner? That was funded partly by organisations with ties to the global warming community)

Can we trust these people, these "envronmentalists", to make rational decisions for us? I think not. I have nothing against clean air and water, controlled growth, and organic farming. I'm all for good stewardship of God's creation. But the close association of environmentalism with unrepentant socialism and paganism is a stench in my nostrils. In my heart I'd rather burn the planet down than hand it over to such ruffians.

From the Department of Attempted Humour and Biting Satire.

© 2006 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Another Cassandra Moment

One of the patron saints of the Liberal Blogosphere, Juan Cole, has just written an article which argues that the US should remove its troops and replace them with international forces under the control of the United Nations.

The thing is, of course, that I suggested exactly the same thing back in August 2005, and then expanded it into a full blown article in November 2005.

So yes, another Cassandra moment, where my calls were ignored. It's hard realising just how far ahead of the curve I am... (examines fingernails)

From the Department of ha ha I was right all along and I deserve to be smug

© 2006 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Firefox: Viewing the page once it's ready

I've just slightly modified my Firefox about:config. After doing some research, I have changed the value of nglayout.initialpaint.delay from 0 to, wait for it, 1000000. Let me explain further.

If you use Firefox, chances are you know about about:config. If you don't, simply type it into the address and press enter or click on "go". about:config contains a few hundred lines of small tweaks you can make to Firefox. Of course, changing them willy-nilly may ruin your browsing experience so make sure you do the research first before changing any of the values.

nglayout.initialpaint.delay controls the time the browser takes between receiving the webpage information and its choice to actually show the page in the browser window. If it's set at zero, or some other small amount (I think the default is 250 - the number refers to milliseconds I think), then Firefox will begin to show the page while the information is still being downloaded. You know what this means... it means that you can view the webpage, but pictures and other things are still appearing as you look.

By changing to value to an absurdly high amount (in this case, I have changed it to 1000000), it essentially means that I have told Firefox not to bother trying to show the page until all the information has been downloaded.

In practice, this means that when I go to a website, the screen remains unchanged (if I have gone from one page to another) or is blank (if I have opened a new tab) until the entire page is ready to be viewed. Large web pages (like the Washington Post) can take over a minute to view, while smaller ones with hardly any graphics and information (like Google) take only a couple of seconds.

Of course, if you have viewed the page before, then the amount of waiting time is shorter, since a lot of information is kept in the cache.

Why do this? I have an obsolete processor (Pentium 3 600E) but a relatively large amount of memory (384mb). When
nglayout.initialpaint.delay was set at zero, my poor processor strained so hard to cope you could hear the cries of dying slaves coming out of the box - which meant that while I was waiting to view a webpage, everything else I was doing had slowed down a bit. Setting it at 1000000 means that about 25% less processor power is used while, at the same time, all the information gets sent into my ample RAM to wait until it is needed.

I'm not sure whether this will actually enhance my browsing experience, but I'm testing it as I go. So far the only drawback is when I open 5 or more websites simultaneously in tabs - it can take a long time to actually view them all.


The US Savings Crisis

America is in a crisis when it comes to savings. For the first time in a long time, American households have reached "negative saving" - they are dipping into their cash reserves and spending it.

The reasons why households (as well as businesses) save money is to "put it away for a rainy day" - in other words, there is a deliberate choice to put off spending money in the present in order to spend it in the future. Saving is a normal economic activity.

There is, naturally, extremes that have to be avoided. If there is too much saving, less money is allocated to normal economic activity and causes an economic downturn. In this sense, an overdose of saving can actually be very harmful to an economy. On the other hand, if the savings rate is too low, then the economy is far more vulnerable to any economic shocks that happen - ordinary households would not have the "safety net" of savings available to cushion the blow.

The problem is that saving money differs from culture to culture and from country to country. While America (and to a lesser extent, my own country Australia) are reaching dangerously low savings levels, the Japanese, the French and other peoples are saving quite well thank you very much.

Another problem is that the strict definition of saving involves having money set aside. There is no doubt that many people choose not to set aside money because it is much better for them to invest in something else, such as their house or in the stockmarket. In this sense, although "savings" may be low, there are plenty of people who see their investment in stocks and property and other things as an alternative form of saving. Given the choice between cash and the mortgage, many people would naturally choose the mortgage since more money will be gained in the long run - or so they believe. For example, if the cash rate is 5% and the value of their property is going up 7% per year, then choosing to put the money into the house is a no-brainer.

It's this final issue that is causing historically low savings rates. Rather than setting aside cash, households are investing in other things, as well as increasing their consumption.

Should we be concerned about this situation? Yes. We should be very concerned.

Saving is the main way that households can cope with any future downturn. While the price of other assets may plunge, the value of money will stay more or less constant. The reason this is so is because of the Federal Reserve, who will not let money devalue more than it needs to. When money devalues, inflation is the natural result. To control inflation, the Fed raises interest rates. The Fed sees price stability as one of its main goals, so while the economy may be suffering, at least you can still buy things with your dollar.

But the Fed backs nothing else - not property nor stocks, only the dollar. If households have invested money into property and stocks and a recession comes along that knocks these investments out, the Fed can do nothing about it directly. The only mechanism the Fed has is controlling the money supply, and when faced with a recession the Fed usually increases supply by dropping interest rates - a process that helps, but which will not guarantee that property and stock prices return to their previous state. The upshot of this is simple - if a recession comes along, those who have not got sufficient cash reserves will be hurt the most.

So what is the solution? In today's New York Times, an editorial focuses upon a bold new plan that will increase the national savings rate. The basic plan is to set up an "automatic individual retirement account", whereby employees set aside a small amount of money each week that is directed towards this particular account. The plan, which has been proposed jointly by the Heritage Foundation and Brookings Institution, has received a great deal of praise from the NYT editorial.

But this plan fails to take into account one very basic thing - the reason why savings is so low. Rather than try to understand why such a rate is low, people have instead tried to focus on setting up schemes to solve it. But in order to properly solve such a problem, one must understand why it exists in the first place.

The simple reason why the national savings rate is low is because households have decided that there are more valuable things than cash. I have mentioned two - property and stock - but there are a multitude of others. In order to increase the national savings rate, money itself needs to become more valuable. When this occurs, the market will naturally respond by increasing its cash reserves.

So how can money be made more valuable? Again, the answer is simple - it is the actions of the Federal Reserve that give money its value. It is therefore up to the Federal Reserve, not schemes and plans from various thinktanks, to solve this problem:

The best way to boost national savings is to increase interest rates.

At this present moment in time, America, Australia, the U.K. and a number of other countries are experiencing a boom in asset prices. Yet such a boom will naturally come to an end. The reason why such a boom has taken place is, I believe, because the "target rate" of inflation that central banks have been using has been too generous. While inflation rates of 2-3% per year sound normal, I would argue that such a practice has inevitably led to this asset-price boom - a "bubble" if you will. The "bubble" has not been quick in inflating, but it has grown to become a very serious problem. If Central banks lowered their inflation targets (I would argue for zero inflation), bubbles such as these would be exceptionally difficult to form, and money would be valuable enough for the market to have a healthy savings rate.

Unfortunately, raising interest rates causes problems of its own. In the current environment, there is no doubt that setting rates high enough to keep inflation at zero will result in a recession. However, I have always argued that the effects of a recession are worse the longer it is delayed - which, in this instance, means that the recession caused by inflation-less monetary policy will not be as bad as the future recession that occurs due to the asset-price bubble popping.

But, of course, what I am arguing goes against the tide of modern economic thinking - yet there is no doubt that the best solution for increasing the savings rate would be to make cash more valuable in relation to everything else... and to do so would require a shift in thinking within the world of monetary policy. After all, monetary policy at the moment is hardly preventing the horrific national savings rate.

From the Osostrian School Department

© 2006 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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The Adventures of Mrs. Norah J. Postlethwaite

Hello, my name is Mrs. Norah J. Postlethwaite. I live on a housing estate highrise in Thamesmead in East London and I am 56 years old.


This is my home. It was built in 1970 and has been described by some as being an example of "Brutalist Architecture". I live nearer to the bottom floor however - too many stairs gives me back pains and my arthritis plays up.


One day I was walking my dog. My dog's name is Beck, whom I named after the American musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Beck and I love going for walks and afterwards he goes to sleep on my lap while I have a cup of tea and watch ITV.


As per usual, those unemployed halfwits who live and breed in our housing estate use the courtyard for their rubbish tip. The shopping trolley had been there for a month, while the paint tin and other muck had been there since last Thursday (pension day). For some reason some git left his tellie there.


I was sick of those losers dumping stuff there, so I let Beck look for a place for him to do a wee wee.


I then heard a strange noise. I hoped no one knew that I was letting Beck do his business here.


Suddenly, an electric spark jumped from the tellie at Beck. I had no idea it was still plugged in. I couldn't see a power lead, so it must have had some battery inside I suppose.


Well, Beck got very angry and began barking at the tellie for electrocuting him.


Now my story begins to get very strange. While Beck was barking, this weird guy appeared on the screen. I hadn't seen anything so strange since The Quatermass Experiment was on the BBC. He started singing this stuff that I couldn't understand but my my it sounded evil.


"Oh my goodness gracious me, my dog's soul is being sucked into the tellie!"


Well after that I really needed a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Trying to cope with the vision of having Beck being eaten by a tellie meant that I had to use the nearest wall to lean against.


I walked around the corner and what did I see?


A bunch of kids with ponytails and beards staring at me!


Apart from the goatees and ponytails, these little kidlets were normal, playful little devils. They ran around the carpark under the housing estate in joyful abandon while I found myself a rusty seat to rest in.


Then what do you know? As they played around one of them picked up the malfunctioning tellie and ran around with it. I yelled at them to stop, saying how dangerous it was and that it could electrocute them or eat their souls, but they ignored me.


Just at that point, Martin, the nice young man who lives in the flat next door walked out of the stairwell and started heading for his car. The young kiddies then began throwing rocks at him. Instead of confronting them, Martin decided to run away from the bunch of kids. Bad move.


When he reached the car, one of the children ran up to the car window and smiled madly at him. Martin was terrified but couldn't seem to start the car.


One of the kids then put the dangerous tellie on the bonnet of Martin's car...


...and Martin screams as his soul is sucked into the small screen. At this point I was worried. Without Martin to take out my garbage bin, what could I do? I asked this of the bearded children who laughed at me and told me to follow them where they would take out the garbage for me.


Skipping and playing innocently and happily, the young children led me to the place where the garbage bins were stored.


Well obviously I was a little concerned about their health when they got there. Not only did they start throwing all the garbage everywhere but they also started fighting with one another. This old spinster's warnings did them no good however, and I was wondering if they had been innoculated against some of the more common preventable diseases. What parents let their kids do these days...


Then one of them picked up the tellie and dropped it on the ground. While I was relieved that the tube didn't break, I was concerned when bright flashing lights began to shine everywhere.


And wouldn't you know it! Martin pops out of the tellie, except he's covered with some membrane that looked icky. It was as though the tellie had given birth to him, only there were no midwives around.


I gawked as Martin stood up. There was something strange about his demeaner.


Then he began screaming at me: "You boring old Cow! Don't you understand that I hate putting out your garbage? Don't you understand that you have old person smell? And why the heck did you name your dog Beck? Huh?" It was terrible, all the more so because of the gust of wind that came through the car park and ruined my hairdo.


But Martin had a kind heart and immediately apologised for his harsh words, which was nice. "Come on back to my place!" I said "...and I'll fix you a roast beef dinner that'll put some meat on your bones!". And we all lived happily ever after.


Do not click here


Strange movement of clouds over Australia

I have seen this phenomenon quite often and have mostly thought that it was due to technical issues with the satellite data, but I have just witnessed something else that puts paid to this.

Often I watch how the clouds are going over Australia from the Weather Satellite feed from the Bureau of Meteorology. The images are taken every hour, and the feed I look at has a loop of four images showing the movement of the clouds.

So there I was, 20 minutes ago, looking at the clouds move across Australia when suddenly every single cloud, including those to the north over Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, "jink" southward for one cycle. In other words, there I am watching clouds heading east when suddenly their trajectory heads south-east. I have seen this before, and every time this has happened, once the southward "jink" has happened, the clouds continue along their previous trajectory.

I have had two theories about this. The first is that somewhere in the atmosphere there has been such a disturbance that the entire atmosphere "moves" to compensate. The burning up of a large meteorite or comet would cause a change in the barometric pressure all over the place, but since the burning up happens in the upper atmosphere, the lower atmosphere would only be affected in a small way.

Of course this possibility is exciting, but I have always maintained that the reason is probably due to the electronics in the weather satellite. The satellite may have moved slightly in its orbit, causing the clouds to look as if they have "jinked", or maybe it was some recurrent malfunction in the data or the processing. Of course this is not terribly exciting, but it was my preferred explanation up until tonight.

As I write this, the Williamtown Radar is detecting a large cloud mass heading towards me from the west. Like the satellite, the radar images can be put into a loop to show the speed of the clouds as they head east. And so there I was watching it when, suddenly, the rainclouds made a slight but noticeable "jink" towards the southeast.

So, in other words, a completely different and separate detection device was able to verify that the cloud masses "jinked" south-eastwards. I have saved the images on my hdd just in case.

Any ideas? Dr Stephen Yeo would be helpful at this point...


Things on my mind

1. Family has had the 'flu since Friday.
2. I have had the 'flu since yesterday.
3. Hot weather makes me itch, badly - especially in the morning after I wake up. Night-time temps need to drop below 20
°C for me to have a good sleep.
4. New evening service at Church.
5. Aiden in his third week at school.
6. I feel everything I have been saying about George Bush has been said and is being slowly proven in the last few weeks.
7. The world we live in has the "the calm before the storm" feeling.
8. Psychocandy (The Jesus and Mary Chain).
9. Wasting away with my potential unmet.
10. Why do Aussie Cricketers now have trophy wives? (with the notable exception of Brad Hodge)
11. Saturday Cricket - my first regular sporting activity since 1987 - has been thoroughly enjoyable, not least because our team has been winning. My goals for this season are: to get into double figures; to hit a boundary. My friend Tom took 8-31 on Saturday - his best ever bowling figures - and I took a catch off his bowling, which was my first catch this season.
12. Ripped my CD collection - 13.2 GB. One day I will get a portable player too.
13. My friend Tom (8-31) has started work as a teacher again and will probably move house and church later this year.
14. Before the flu hit, I was averaging around 11,500 steps per day.


One of those things I can feel happy about

When I look back on my life, I can at least take joy in the fact that I helped a young girl overcome her poor literacy levels.

It was 2003. I was working as a tutor in Charlestown in Newcastle. I was given a year 7 girl with poor literacy levels to work with. She was 12 years old but had the reading and writing ability of an 8 year old.

The strange thing was that her low literacy had nothing to do with her motivation. She was already involved in competition waterskiiing and had a bit of swimming talent - she was training 6 afternoons a week and would often come to tutoring with wet hair and carrying a towel (the pool was across the road from the tutoring business).

She had ambitions to go to the 2008 Olympics, but she still had problems reading. I tried to work out what was going on - she was not intellectually impaired and her marks in other subjects (including mathematics) were never as poor. Was it dyslexia? I got her to read things on blue paper but that didn't seem to make an impact. Finally I suggested to her mother to get her eyes checked. Guess what! She needed glasses.

With glasses now prescribed, she made incredible progress in her literacy levels. Every week I bored her with spelling tests and reading tests and got her to write simple reports. It was hard work - she didn't always enjoy it, but as time went by her results began to improve. By the time I had finished my tutoring, she had turned 13 and had the literacy levels of an 11 year old - still not up to scratch but certainly a massive improvement.

And what of her ambition in swimming? Click on this link to find out.

I also taught this bloke at Hunter Valley Grammar School.


Super Bowl censorship issues

Oh my goodness! The Rolling Stones, singing songs that have been broadcast for 25-30 years, have had "certain" lyrics censored by the 5 second delay! These pernicious rocksters need to be stopped for using such terrible culture destroying words just in case the audience is damaged.

On another note, apparently the "Lingerie Bowl" (featuring models playing football and dressed in helmets, shoulder pads and not much else) was a wild success among the viewers.


Cats or Dogs

I know that there are some people who like dogs, and others who like cats.

I also know that there are people out there who absolutely hate cats, and will do all they can to run them over.

But, to butcher a phrase used by the pro-gun lobby, "Cats don't kill people, Dogs do"