Ah yes.

From finding out that Skype actually works PC to PC (thanks Sheree!) (username: fnersh, of course) to waiting four hours in a hospital waiting room (now I know) to riding the highs and lows of the internal monologue thanks to various documentaries, it’s been quite a week.

Now I have a long weekend with no private students booked, so I’m actually… wait for it… CLEANING MY APARTMENT!! So far one garbag has been filled and I can actually see the top of one table. Another to go plus the floor of the computer room and I can say I have actually achieved something. Hence I am procrastinating!

A couple of relections on September 11.

Yes, I bought an iPod. Yes, it’s rather nice. No, I didn’t know it was based on technology developed in the 1970s.

Why I often buy books based on their titles alone…

I watched the Panorama special on Scientology which was very informative. I suggest you try to track it down. Scientology has recently engaged in another series of attacks on YouTube to take down videos seen as critical of them. No other ‘churches’ do this so it makes you wonder what they have to hide. (Aliens! Wooooo!)

Another religious organisation, this time the pentacostalist Hillsong church in Sydney, has been infiltrating state schools under what could be seen to be false pretenses. They stage events which are billed as free barbecues and concerts but evangelise the students who attend, which is in violation of the NSW Education Charter, which says that any religious instruction should take place within designated religious education classes. Either the very large and well organised Hillsong group is ignorant of the laws of the country, or they are being deliberately devious. Naturally, they have denied any wrongdoing. But still, it’s not exactly the message they should be wanting to send either way…

More on what could happen if Sarah Palin becomes President of the USA – which is more likely than you think. One focusses on what the environment, especially in Alaska, stands to lose. The other looks at the very real chance of a theocracy taking hold in the US.

This one looks at how Sarah Palin has managed to overcome her previous perceived anti-Semitism (after all, she is a fundamentalist Christian), all in the name of her personal ambition. It’s amazing how ones’ morals can be happily sacrificed for personal gain… (sarcasm is firmly switched to ‘on’.)

The teaching of Creationism to children just won’t go away. Equal time for the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Ramen.

Another article in as many days about how students in the UK cannot spell. What’s just as sad as these students likely going through life illiterate is the way the educational establishment is being encouraged to tolerate this state of affairs. One boffin actually said that forcing children to memorise irregular spelling of words was holding them back. Holding them back? From what? It certainly didn’t ‘hold me back’. Being able to spell correctly (in most cases) has enabled me to perform well in hand-written tests, to be able to communicate lucidly and clearly through any text based medium I’ve needed to be able to utilise. Why? Because I can spell and the people who’ve read what I’ve written have been able to read. I shouldn’t have to sit and waste my time trying to decipher some precious little snowflake’s scratchings just because it might hurt their feelings. I certainly would think that those who hire these students once they end up in the job marketplace would also be of the same opinion; can’t spell: no job. My solution? No TV, no PC and only books (comics accepted, providing they spell words correctly) until children are at least 5 years old. And yes, if I ever do have kids, look to the posting of the epic plan of how I plan to hide that technology from my kids and the wonderful adventures I have in keeping them hidden!

The background and story of the Japanese man who was recently kidnapped and murdered in Afghanistan.

Japan has joined the 20th Century in another aspect of life related to women – this time by requesting them to fasten their seat belts while pregnant. Believe it or not but it’s a commonly held belief that having a crash while pregnant and wearing a seatbelt causes miscarriages, so many pregnant women don’t wear them. Never mind that they could be thrown from the car and onto the road or in front of another vehicle in an accident… Amazing.

Another story on how Japanese households are struggling. (I sure wish I was earning the average wage.) Bear in mind that Japan calculates wages per household and not per person. This figure would very likely include situations where the children are living at home and working. It happens much more in Japan than in Western countries. And they’re still ‘struggling’…

Another day, another rocket or mortar attack on a US base. Iraq? No, Japan. Wait, what?

Another day, another girl auctioning off her virginity to pay for her university course. The bonus is it’s for a master’s degree in family and marriage counselling…..

If you thought people would stay away from China during the Olympics, you were right.

Really cool travel guides for Eastern Europe. Share and enjoy!

Before I leave for there though, I’d like to stop off and have a glass of champagne at St. Pancras Station in London.

That Large Hadron Collider experiment that was going to kill us all? Well, for those of you who breathed a sigh of relief, get ready to freak out again. What happened on the 10th was that they turned it on and made sure it was working and calibrated correctly. The big stuff (ie. what you were all worried about) will happen later.

It does lead to a discussion of the end of everything and while predicting the end of the world is an imprecise science at best, it hasn’t stopped all manner of people from doing just so, and even more people believing them.

A primer of articles from Mother Jones on the US imperial presence around the world, including an interactive map of where US soldiers and bases are stationed. 761 bases, in fact…

Is Google creating its own navy?

The actor who played Monkey is releasing a new album. Monkey Magic!!

Lastly, an exercise in what goes to make a good piece of descriptive writing, as well as clever use of internet technology. Language students, take note!