Anders Breivik short sentence! It’s the Norwegian Laws which are insane.

I only have one question for the Norwegians.

How many people do you have to murder before you get a life sentence in Norway?

Well, it seems as if the vilest of killers can only get 21 years in Norway. That is the law, apparently. Why? Who knows? But after that period the sentence can be extended by five years at a time.

What is wrong with a real life sentence…meaning ” for the rest of his life”?

Apparently, 77 dead is not enough for the Norwegian Laws

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Thumbs up for Craftee Cottage in Oakleigh!

Just when you’ve decided that retail shopping has no future you come across a pleasant surprise in Oakleigh, Melbourne.

It’s called Craftee Cottage and as the name will imply it’s for people who love knitting and crochet.

Needless to say there are several wool stores in Melbourne. Some are quite okay but nothing special. There is one, in fact, quite close to my home which is so unfriendly that I have decided it’s not worth going there because the owner acts as if she finds customers to be a nuisance.

I have to make it clear that I am not referring to the Wool Store in Malvern which is known as Wondoflex Yarn Craft Centre and is extremely welcoming and so I go there very often. In fact it was this Wool Store which directed me to Craftee Cottage when I was searching for a special ball of yarn.

I appreciated their kindness so much that I will definitely continue to visit the Wondoflex Centre in Malvern.

But nothing can compare with the extra service that I received at Craftee Cottage which is at least 10 kms from my home. The owner and the rest of the staff obviously love their work. They know about knitting and there is no hard sell.

The visit reminded me of how knitting and craft shops used to be before those huge haberdasheries came into being. I always dread going into them because there is hardly any service and the whole visit is a wander through aisles and then a long queue at the end if one actually finds something to buy.

Compare this with Craftee Cottage and you soon realise that good service will always beat the internet. Personal good service is what makes a shopper come back over and over again even though retail may be taking a beating.

I believe that there is a great advantage in being able to feel and see a product before buying it, especially in a craft situation. And if one can discus its merits and get expert advice then the visit to the craft shop is a happy experience.

It isn’t easy to choose a yarn over the internet. Colours just aren’t the same online in many cases. And there is always the problem of having chosen the wrong thing and not being able to return it easily. That can be a disincentive for online buyers.

Some products are quite suited to online shopping, but when it comes to a hobby or a pastime then the entire shopping experience has to be emotionally satisfying. Selecting yarns and needles should be a leisurely experience. After all, this is discretionary shopping rather than simply going to a supermarket to buy bread and milk.

Ambience plays a major role in this type of purchase. So if we get a great welcome and can take our time in the store then we will always choose the store which makes us glad we came.

In other words, it’s all about “the feel good factor.” And it is the genuine personal service which will make me go out of my way to find it at Craftee Cottage.

How satisfying it is to discover a breath of fresh air in a harsh retail environment that often fails to deliver!

“And if We all Lived Together” –movie review

I rarely want to walk out of a film theatre. It’s the former film and TV critic in me that obliges me to stay until the very end so that I can give an honest review of a film.

“And if we all lived together” really tested my resolve. This supposed French? comedy?… whatever, is a miserable and uninspiring, unentertaining and definitely not amusing depiction of aging from the point of view of “Oh My God, if I ever get like that please shoot me.”

The screenplay is badly written. There is no resolution. There are silly cliche stupidities about Viagra. There is one guy who has Alzheimer’s, one who is always vacuuming and another who has had a heart attack and who asks a young man to buy Viagra for him. Oh yes, he also pulls his pants down and shows his bottom in front of a video recorder. In other words, a barrel of laughs.

I found it hard to believe that Jane Fonda would accept a role in such a silly movie about old people. You know the ad she made for L’Oreal cosmetics? In it she says “Because she’s worth it?” Well, she ain’t.

And I can’t imagine why a great comedy actor such as Pierre Richard of “Les Fugitifs” fame would accept a role in such a pile of trash.

When you think about it, for whom was it made? Young people couldn’t care less about such a theme and older people expect either substance or entertainment or both if the film is really good.

“And if we all lived together” offers neither.

By now my message should be clear. This is not worth seeing. Avoid it at all costs.

Shame on Kerry Stokes! Shame on New Idea!

I cannot imagine what got into the heads of the advertisers of “New Idea”. This publication is run by Kerry Stokes and Seven West Media. In an effort to boost sales of the magazine the executives have decided to stoop to disgusting depths with their latest TV commercial.

They have decided to pick on the Amish!

Can you imagine a less offensive group of Americans who don’t cause trouble, don’t get political or use violence? They don’t carry guns. They don’t blow themselves up in suicide attacks. They just want to be left alone to live their lives.

So what does the TV commercial for “New Idea” portray?

Well, it shows a young Amish woman reading “New Idea”, removing her modest cap and shaking her hair provocatively. Another scene shows a young Amish woman (under the spell of “New Idea”) lifting up her skirts and poking out her thigh the way that Angeline Jolie did on the red carpet.

All this is done in front of stunned Amish elders.

This commercial is in poor taste and extremely offensive to the Amish. My consolation is that the Amish will probably never see or hear about the “New Idea” commercial but I would like the rest of the U.S.A to be aware of the shameful mocking of some of their population.

Just as our Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, is prepared to offend the people of New Jersey for his own political gains, I think it is immoral to make fun of a peaceful religious sect like the Amish.

My question to Kerry Stokes and “New Idea” is would you cowardly guys have dared to portray a Muslim woman doing the same as the Amish woman? I think not. The Amish are easy pickings, aren’t they?

Higgs Boson…who cares? It’s the little things that count.

So they’ve unearthed a subatomic particle. Wow! Good news for Professor Higgs who said “I told you so” when nobody believed him, but so far I’m unimpressed. I admit this is due to my general ignorance about its benefits but I don’t really care how the Earth was formed or what’s going to happen to it.

What I care about is the little things. Not the subatomic particles but little everyday things such as the annoying bags that supermarkets and greengrocers supply. You know the ones I mean. Those frustrating plastic things that are difficult to open when you want to buy some vegetables. You tear the damn things off the roll and then you fumble with every end trying to find which end opens.

Is it this end? Or is it the other end? You try and try squashing the bag in an attempt to fathom where the opening is. Then you wet your fingers because they’ve dried up. You utter some words that should only be expressed in the privacy of the Collider in Cern.

Anyone watching this display would be correct in thinking that you are struggling against the odds and the odds are winning. These ruddy bags will not open and so you try another one.

Fiddling, fumbling, muttering, you proceed to attack several of these bags and feel very inadequate. They make you feel bad and you say to yourself “Surely they could invent a better bag than this!” By “they” I mean those scientists such as Higgs who waste their energies looking for what makes the world go round instead of making it go round in a user-friendly manner.

Imagine a world where that stiff plastic packaging which cuts your fingers when you try to open it were replaced by something sensible and easier to open and yet perfectly secure. Is that so hard to do?

Imagine a world where you don’t have to fumble trying to open containers without the benefit of an engineering degree. I possess all kinds of tools which should help but don’t.

Imagine a world where you don’t have to curse those damn bags that supermarkets provide.

Imagine a world where those ring-pull tabs from Eastern Europe don’t break off just as you begin to open the can and you are left with a tab in your hand and sharp spikes ready to puncture you.

Well, guess what? I have recently discovered some greengrocery bags in Woolworths (Aussie supermarket chain) that are easy to open. They even have some instructions that read “Open this end”. How smart is that? I was so impressed that I took a couple of them home just to play with them and they work well. No fumbling needed. These bags are made in the U.S.A by a firm called Crown Poly and contain 30% recycled material. So they are good for the planet and save your sanity as well!

Imagine a world in which every supermarket offered these bags to customers.

Now that would be impressive!