Thursday, January 29, 2009

Government to offer HECS discounts for people who volunteer for community work

a 2020 Summit idea, apparently ...

How on earth would it work ?

Government to offer HECS discounts for people who volunteer for community work

The Australian reports: THE federal Government is planning to offer discounts on HECS debts to university students who undertake volunteer community work.While the full details of the plan are still to be worked out with volunteer groups, a spokeswoman for senator Ursula Stephens, parliamentary secretary for social inclusion and voluntary sector, said the government would soon announce a broad framework for the plan."It is something that will involve a lot of consultation," the spokeswoman said. /...continues

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seven ill from eating blowfish testicles

When I first saw this headline Seven ill from eating blowfish testicles , as I did my usual early-morning media scan yesterday, I couldn't resist laghing out loud at the sheer funny sound of the story; and yet another example of some of those crazy Japanese people and the nutty stuff (fnaar) that they eat...

A number of other things occurred to me almost immediately:

It's not often we see the word testicles in print; and even rarer in a headline! The sub-editor must have been amused. The article goes on to discuss the "testes" (another rare word in the press) of the blowfish and how the "...testes, known as shirako, are praised as creamy and rich in taste." Ohh eeew, as my daughter(s) would say.

What the hell is a blowfish? (I'm assuming they could be similar to the "toadies" or "puffer fish" that hang around piers and jetties in Australian coastal/estuary waters). Their Japanese name is "fugu" - well, fugu'd if I've ever heard of them.

A brief search reveals a similarly unusual tale about a thirteen-year-old Cambodian lad who had accidently trapped a "puffer fish" in his net whilst fishing last year. Enraged, the wacky little fishie had "attacked the boy's scrotum" when freed, the Sydney Morning Herald had breathlessly reported.
Angry Puffer Fish Goes Nuts

And just while we're on fish testicles in general - has anyone particularly noticed the crown jewels on your average flathead or cocky (or even that?) salmon, as you clean your catch? I'm not sure how many thousands of the poor little beggars I have put to the sword over the years - but can't say I've seen a nutbag on any one of them.

More than likely it's all internal, I 'm guessing...however, many inquisitive childhood post-mortem examinations, searching through the entrails, Oracle-like, of scad mackerel, mullet, flatties - even flounder with their weird setup! - lying naked on the white plastic cleaning board or a pile of newspaper sheets, revealed absolutely nothing that even vaguely resembled testicles!

Perhaps it's just fugu, then, that are more obviously endowed (to their detriment, it would appear). The story goes on to say that "...Fugu, cooked in a cauldron or eaten in raw slices, is appreciated in Japan as a culinary delight, especially in the cold winter months." and "...Blowfish is even called teppou (gun) in western Japan for its famous danger."

Dangerous, indeed - and weird.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tasmania's Clown Doctors Need Help - Now

The Clown Doctors support sick children at the Royal Hobart Hospital and other regional hospital in Tasmania, and rely solely on donations and funding through the registered charity The Humour Foundation (see below).

In Tasmania, the Clown Doctors are fortunate enough to have a "Clown Car" - a 1962 Hillman Minx which as been resprayed and decorated through the U Turn Tasmania program and maintained by volunteers - however they no longer have sufficient funding to cover the running costs of the vehicle and are seeking sponsorships to enable them to retain the use of the car.

They urgently need financial help - if you can help, post.

The Humour Foundation is a national charity established in 1997 to promote the health benefits of humour. Clown Doctors is the core project, and children are the focus. Clown Doctor programs are established in all major children’s hospitals around Australia and some general hospitals and hospices. Clowns have also visited east Timor and Afghanistan. LaughterWorks provides speakers and workshop presenters on humour and health to the health and welfare sector. International research has demonstrated the health benefits of humour.

Initial noodlings

I've started a new blog, inspired by my friend Krispy and his rather fulsome postings at his blog

So, this is it. I'll post more soon.