Equal rights for women in Australia and Saudi Arabia. Wow!

So in five years time Aussie women will be able to take part in frontline combat. Now this is certainly a boost for equal rights in the military. Here comes Private Benjamin, I guess.

No, I’m not poopooing the idea of women fighting hand to hand in combat. On the contrary, I think that on some occasions it will be fantastic since there is nothing more frightening than women with PMT. The Taliban will be shaking in their boots (or sandals) at the prospect of a temperamental shrew hating everybody in the world and ready to kill. If the women are given lots of salty French Fries to eat and they then become bloated with fluid retention, the enemy had better watch out.

Unfortunately for the military, the male soldiers in the Aussie defence forces will cop it as well and they may even feel a little sympathy for the Taliban who are destined to be savaged by these “hormonal” women.

Still, all’s fair in love and war.

Which brings me to another equal rights story. In 2015 women in Saudi Arabia will be given the right to vote. Unfortunately for them, however, they will still have to hitch a lift to the polling booth as they are not allowed to drive a car. Anyone else see the humour in that? I think it’s called irony.

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Shame about the Gloss store at Chadstone

Thought I would buy an eyebrow pencil while shopping at the Chadstone Fashion Mall. Was told by the staff in Gloss, a cosmetics and accessory store, that there was no difference between eyebrow and eyeliner pencils. Was persuaded to buy an eyeliner. Left the store unconvinced that the advice had been correct. Decided I had better return the wrong product and was told that there would be no refund. It had been half and hour since I had been sold the wrong product.

I could get a credit or buy something else of a similar value since Gloss’s policy is “no cash refunds”. I was forced to choose something else since the young girls were adamant that Gloss does not give refunds if you have doubts about the product. Mind you, the pencil had been unopened and had not even left the shopping centre.

There was no warning in the Gloss store about not giving a refund and so this came as a surprise to me. This sort of meanness would not occur in other stores such as Priceline, for example. So in future I will shop at a store that cares about its customer service.

The things people do that turn me off

There are some people in this world who feel a powerful bond with other human beings. They love humanity with all its shortcomings. They love to be in crowds with the rest of the world, the closer the better. They sing folk songs about everyone being a sister or a brother to everyone else. “If you need a friend… blah, blah.”

I’m not one of those people. If I see a crowd, I go the other way. If I travel by public transport I distance myself as much as possible. And the same goes for theatres or restaurants and other public places. Quite frankly, other people’s personal habits make me sick. They cough, they sneeze, they snort, they burp, they yawn and they do it all without covering their mouths.

Yesterday, I was disgusted by a woman who was excavating her boyfriend’s earwax with her fingernails. They were sitting opposite me on a tram. That endeavour wore her out. She then went on to yawn and displayed a cavernous gob which reminded me why I’m relieved that I’m not a dentist. Imagine looking at that all day. Well, I guess it could be worse. There are other even more nauseating medical fields, and perhaps the money makes up for it.

It would have to.

Which brings me to what turns me off. You guessed it, it’s lack of manners and we know that manners, courtesy and consideration are alien to many people. They simply don’t know any better. It must be their upbringing and that is unfortunate. But sadly, understanding that they don’t know any different doesn’t make repulsive behaviour easier to take.

I still can’t bear being near somebody who is snorting mucous from the bowels of his or her innards. I can’t stand it when anyone sneezes in my direction. I am not drawn to hug a stranger. Well, you don’t know where he’s been lol.

It really worries me that etiquette and by that I mean basic consideration rather than which correct fork to use with which food, has disappeared. How long has it been since I’ve heard “Excuse me” or “Sorry” when someone bumps into me?

How long has it been since some fellow passenger has noticed that others on the tram may not be interested in his or her boring mobile phone conversation?

I’m stuck with sharing this world with all those inconsiderate excrescences. I’m also fully aware that they are not going to change. So I turn away and fantasise about a Great Flood.

p.s the following bit of my post was added on the 1st October which happens to be AFL Grand Final Day in Melbourne.

Famous author, Alexander McCall Smith has just given an interesting interview on this very subject during his current visit to Australia. He is dismayed by the lack of social values in the U.K. He refers to a broken society in which honesty, decency and good manners have become unfashionable concepts. Moreover, he links these failings with the recent riots in the U.K. One of the demons in the U.K is binge drinking, he says.

We have similar problems here in Australia to the ones that McCall Smith talks about. Young people binge drink and that includes young women as well. The problem here is that alcohol is everywhere and not much happens without a drink. Today, for example, the alcohol outlets are making a fortune because there is going to be a Grand Final of one of the football codes and you cannot watch sport without drinking and drinking and drinking. Not if you are a real “Sportsman” lol.

Hopefully the shopping mall will be empty this afternoon since everybody will either be at the football or glued to the T.V.

Some of my best friends are not Muslims

Ten years after 9/11. The horror of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York stays with me. I refuse to forgive. I refuse to understand why it happened. I don’t believe that it had nothing to do with Islam–the religion of peace as the Muslims describe it. In fact I don’t care whether Islam is a religion of peace or not. The truth of the matter is that Muslims committed this atrocity and have been committing these atrocities before 9/11 and since then.

Think of Bali and over two hundred deaths there. Think of Madrid and London. Think of India. Think of the school and the theatre in Russia. Notice the common thread?

After 9/11 I happened to visit Paris. It was the first time that I had been confronted by the great number of Muslims in that country. My reaction was one of recoil. I felt threatened. I wanted to get away from them. I wondered how France would fare under these conditions and as it turned out the answer is “not well.”

I have to admit that I don’t like to be prejudiced, but the Muslims make it hard for me to be more tolerant. They didn’t show much outrage when some of their fellow Muslims attacked the Twin Towers. An image of Palestinians dancing in the streets and the women doing those screams of celebration remains etched in my soul.

Why didn’t some of the so-called moderate Muslims come out and shout their condemnation of this atrocity? Why so silent?

Instead, many of them denied that Bin Laden and his fellow murderers had done it. Some of them said that it was because of disaffection with the system. Whatever their grievances, surely there was a better way to complain about things.

I remain extremely angry with Muslims. I resent how they want to change some aspects of our Australian culture to accommodate them. Why is it that they left their Arab countries because they didn’t like how conditions are in those countries, but then they want to change Australia to make it more like the countries which they abandoned?

It doesn’t make sense to me.

I love Australia and don’t want it to become like Europe. The revulsion that I felt when I was in Paris was palpable. The association will always be there. Muslims=9/11 and 9/11=Muslims. A tragedy for the whole world, Muslims included.

Mother feeds baby in no stopping zone

What is the matter with this silly world? I have just sat through two news broadcasts on the TV which aired the story of a woman whose car had been photographed in a “No Stopping Zone.” She was on her way to the airport when her baby mucked up in the car and so she decided to stop her car and feed it, the baby, that is.

She subsequently was sent a parking infringement notice for $120 and she is annoyed about it. Why should she have to pay when she has many expenses? She has better things to do with that $120 than pay a fine for breaking the law.

Apparently, she doesn’t understand that if there is a “No Stopping” notice it means that it is dangerous to park in that spot.

Now this “victim”, Renee Buckley, has already been informed that she can appeal her “special” circumstances. Baby was hungry and couldn’t wait a few minutes to be fed in a safe and legal area.

What would have happened had some car crashed into her as she parked in that dangerous spot? Why did she place her baby in danger like that?

For crying out loud, why is it that some people think they are above the law? And why does the media report such silly stories?

This is most definitely a storm in a B-Cup.

Pathetic joke, I know…but I just couldn’t resist making it.

I return the MacBook Air

The folk at the Apple Store were very gracious when I gave back the computer yesterday. I had no problems getting my refund. After all, they had promised that if I could not get used to the annoying track pad they would let me bring it back.

My previous post had already mentioned that I found it hard to get used to being mouseless. It was just too strange for me to have to do those crazy movements with my fingertips instead of simply clicking the mouse.

Quite seriously, the advantages of having a small and portable computer failed to compensate for the frustration of stuffing things up.

So now I am back to my iMac and it’s good to be happy in familiar territory.

However, I must emphasise that the problem was not with the MacBook Air, nor with the people in the Apple Store. They could not have been nicer.

It simply was a case of what I am used to.

I look forward to the day when Apple can incorporate a mouse with a small resting platform into their MacBook Air. A sort of platform that would jut out when necessary, something that doesn’t require loops and strokes of the fingers to make it work. Then I would love to give it another go.

I buy a MacBook Air…

It’s possible that life was becoming somewhat too bright. The sun was making a shaky attempt to shine through the clouds. Birds twittered excitedly in the fecund branches. Fluffy white clouds floated serenely in an azure sky and I was becoming comfortable with things in general. Well, more or less.

Such a sorry state of affairs could definitely not go on. I would have to louse things up for sure. So I decided to go to the Apple Store and investigate the possibility of buying a MacBook Air computer.

Most computer experts like moi would, no doubt, be familiar with the insides of an Apple Store. A large but crowded place filled with teenagers in blue T-shirts, a sort of kindergarten for nerds, one of whom you summon by pressing a key on an iPad. You are then informed that you are next in line for service.

Presently, a beaming Matt or Hamish welcomes you to Apple World and offers to help.

Where do I start? Do I know what I want? Not really. Well, yes, of course, I’m thinking about getting a new computer or an iPad or…I really don’t know.

Why don’t you show me what there is?

Hard to describe the expression of joy on Matt or Hamish’s face. Because it wasn’t there. I felt sorry for him. This was going to be a long night.

The store was crowded and hot. Everybody was talking loudly and I could barely understand what M or H was saying to me. I looked around for a white flag to wave and a cry for HELP flashed silently in my frazzled brain.

What did I want from a computer? Well, I just want to be able to use it with as little fuss as possible.

Simple simple simple. No gimmicks, no creating my own memoirs of trips to Antarctica replete with pixies of penguins. I just want to surf the net, look up info, catch up on world news and do a little writing on my blog.

As I said, very simple, very basic.

The drone of voices in the shop sounded like a rattling train crashing through an ancient Roman tunnel. Apparently there were a million amazing apps I could buy. This computer would do cartwheels. I desperately wanted to press the ESC key or the FORCE QUIT key and leave the building.

Dear Reader, I took the MacBook Air home. Apparently, in the midst of all the racket I agreed to buy it.

This thing has no mouse. I am now having to caress the pad with three fingers or two or press hard in a certain way. I cajole the damn thing and titillate it with occasional success. But hey, isn’t that the way with most things in life?

You tickle this and fiddle with that and hope for the best. Sometimes you end up in the wrong place and have to start again.

And just when you think that you’ve got the hang of things you decide to try something new.

And that’s when the troubles begin all over again.