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?

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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!

Addicted to Aldi

It was a pretty pathetic scene. The city of Melbourne was suffering from the coldest minimum temperature since the Neolithic Age.

A group of lost souls was pacing up and down outside Aldi at 8 am on Saturday, waiting for the store to open at 8.30.

We were among this bunch, watching the others surreptitiously, planning our onslaught so that we could reach the limited specials in time before they ran out

When I say “we” I’m exaggerating slightly. My husband thought the whole venture was ridiculous, but he accompanied me anyhow. So what I really mean is the “Royal We”, that is, yours truly, who was being sucked it by one of Aldi’s special offers.

Sleeveless puffer vests for ladies for only $12.99!

Who could resist that? Not I. So I dragged my husband along at the crack of dawn on Saturday to get my hands on one or more of these amazing vests.

I’m on Aldi’s mailing list, you see, and every week I receive an email with their upcoming special buys.

I used to think that I was above that sort of thing, but apparently, I’m not. I love getting the catalogue to see if I “need” anything in it.

Anyhow, there I was last Saturday, hovering behind a man in a wheelchair, working out a strategy for a quick and efficient entry.

Being the genius that I am I concluded that there was very little chance that the man in the wheelchair would be heading for the ladies puffer vests, so he was no threat to me.

The door opened and we all rushed in like a bunch of desperadoes. I headed for the centre aisle, picked up three vests in every size, then I took three more in another colour. My husband was holding my handbag so that I could try on one of each.

So far so good.

“So how does it look?” I asked the keeper of the handbag. There’s no mirror in Aldi, unfortunately.

“It’s looks okay,” he replied. “Do you really need these vests?” he asked.

Poor man, I muttered to myself as I mucked about with the vests. Sometimes I feel so sorry for him. He really hasn’t a clue about bargains. I mean these were only $12.99!

So I selected two of them. Pleased as punch, I was.

We went home with my treasure. I paraded in front of the mirror. “Don’t you think they’re a bit loose?” I asked my spouse. “Well, yes”, was the reply. I told you they were okay and they are okay. For the price”, he added.

The next day, Sunday, we returned to Aldi with the two vests and got a refund.

Wonder what’s on special next week? Pretty pathetic, eh…

Why Julian Assange is dangerous

Yesterday, we commemorated the contribution made by Alan Turing. Born exactly a hundred years ago, Turing was a brilliant mathematician who headed the codebreaking unit in Britain during the Second World War.

It was he who was largely responsible for inventing the Enigma machine at Bletchley Park, the secret British centre for codebreaking. His team could decipher cryptic German messages and this information was used against the enemy itself.

Naturally, it was crucial that the Germans not find out about the Enigma machine and so the secret of Bletchley Park was kept until well after the War when the danger was over.

It was the secrecy around the Enigma Code which shortened the War.

Which brings me to Julian Assange and why he is dangerous. In my opinion, had amoral Assange been around during this war and had he learned about the Enigma machine, I am convinced that he would have blabbed it to the World and endangered the lives of many millions of Allies.

Le Chef- movie review

Funny thing about this film. I enjoyed it very much while I was watching it, but on thinking it over what struck me was how silly it all was.

So what did I enjoy? Well, 99% of the acting was excellent. Jean Reno is his usual consummate self as is the rest of the cast, apart from the villainous manager, Stanislaw, who is oh so evil!.

I particularly enjoyed the pomposity of chefs being satirised. It is only food, after all and chefs are not deities. Not really. So when the film makes fun of molecular cooking and those big white plates with microscopic portions on them, I feel validated for thinking that chefs have delusions of grandeur and that some cooks take themselves far too seriously.

The French are good at comedy, as are the Brits. They have finesse and they don’t go for stupid special effects etc, which bore me to tears.

So what I really enjoyed about Le Chef is that it made me laugh and nowadays I am desperate for a chuckle what with Greece and Syria and all that stuff.

On reflection, however, the film is very predictable. No surprises there and not much depth. I particularly winced at an embarrassing scene in a rival restaurant which would have been more appropriate for a Dumb and Dumber scenario.

So what? I ask myself. A bit of amusing froth is what I wanted and Le Chef is well worth it for that.

The Dictator- a movie for the politically savvy

I was bowled over by the movie, “The Dictator”. Sacha Baron Cohen’s ventures in the past were quite amusing but I did squirm occasionally at the crassness of his humour. In his latest production, however, Baron Cohen is very impressive. His script is tighter and the acting is much better, but, for me, the most impressive trait of “The Dictator” is its acerbic satire.

This film is strictly political and if you want to enjoy it to its full potential then you have to be au fait with current affairs. It is not a children’s movie, nor is it for teenagers who are more familiar with Justin Bieber, say.

The satire revolves around the latest Arab Spring’s toying with democracy and the downfall of a few regimes. Cohen is quite ruthless about dictatorship in general and Arab and Muslim dictatorships in particular. He attacks racial prejudice and stereotyping and even the U.S cops a bit of a beating.

The main target of his satire, however, is a dictator who reminds us just a tiny bit of the former and currently defunct Libyan ruler. Baron Cohen plays the part of the dictator as if he were born for this role.

He is refreshingly politically incorrect and I have to admit that I roared with laughter many, many times and even clapped out loud. Cohen says it like it is. No spin, no BS, just the truth as many of us see it.

It felt good to have one’s feelings validated. For those of you who like a bit of romance, well, there’s even a dose of that in “The Dictator” and it’s handled in the Frank Capra style of romantic comedies.

I would honestly describe “The Dictator” as sophisticated satire. If you like politics and you like biting satire with brains, then you should not miss this film.

One Direction is haunting me

Hard to believe but I was there when the new One Direction pop up store opened this morning. This is the second time that I have come upon the One Direction circus.

Please don’t think that I was in the long queue of fans like several hundred silly girls were. I just happened to walk past in Chapel St at 9 a.m and heard some squawking and squealing followed by a countdown.

“What the…is that noise?” I asked and then I saw them. Not One Direction, cause they aren’t even here. They apparently aren’t due in Australia until next year. No, this was a gaggle of pubescent girls and a couple of boys as well. There were even some parents there, for crying out loud. They were all lining up outside this small shop which is cashing in on the hysteria about the boy group.

We stood across the road and laughed, but to be honest, the laughter soon turned to sadness as we watched those girls make fools of themselves over T-shirts and other paraphernalia about One Direction.

That Simon Cowell is a very smart man, isn’t he? To think that he can organise a non-event on a frosty morning for a boy group that isn’t even present. To think that hundreds of girls would get up early in the morning to line up outside a pop up store and chant and squeal for hours. (Some of them for seventeen hours, so I’m told) to buy some trinkets with pictures of their favourite member of the One Direction farce, is absolutely mind-numbing.

Once the countdown for the opening of the store was over the girls rushed in and we continued our walk.

The whole thing was senseless. I actually had to explain to my husband that One Direction aren’t even here yet.

“So what was all that fuss about?” he asked. “Why were they screaming?”

He got a shrug from me in response. “Let’s get out of here,” I said and we walked on anxious to distance ourselves from the hysteria.

Why is the ABC protecting Peter Slipper?

At 5 am today I read that Peter Slipper, Speaker of the House in Parliament was being accused of sexually harassing, James Ashby, a young man in his employ.

By 6 am the story had disappeared from the ABC’s online site. Other online sites were still reporting the allegations while the ABC story was gone.

I was puzzled about this disappearance. Who told the ABC to remove the story?

By 7.30 am the ABC put the story about Peter Slipper back on its site.

Hmm…

One Direction-Wrong Direction

There are some horrible scenes around Melbourne. Pre-pubescent girls and even some weird six year old boys are experiencing fits of hysteria outside the Crown Casino. Some of them are crying and shrieking, others are fainting while others, who are still upright, are gesticulating and wriggling about under a spell of some sort. Perhaps St Vitus dance?

Until today I had not even heard of the boy group who are the objects of their affection and the cause of all these histrionics. Apparently, they are called “One Direction” which evidently refers to the one direction, straight to the bank, that promoter, Simon “Midas” Cowell is heading once again. He certainly has the Golden Touch.

I had a serious look at those youngsters in his boy group. Stupid hairstyles full of gel, naive faces, so sissy looking and I wondered what is the matter with those silly young girls that would cause them to tremble at the mere mention of the name “One Direction.”

I’m fully aware that hysteria over pop stars has always gone on, but there seems to be a pronounced trend towards effeminate boys being the flavour of the moment. Justin Bieber comes to mind. Not very macho, in my opinion. Pity about that.

Did I ever behave like that at that age? In all honesty, I could never, ever swoon over a “celebrity” the way that those girls are doing. It’s simply not my style and I can’t relate to such pathological hysteria.

How degrading it all is to see yourself on TV behaving like a randy goat. Simon Cowell must be killing himself laughing when he watches the circus that he has created. Surely, those girls must suspect that they are being taken for a ride in the wrong direction.

p.s
Good Grief! I just found out that there are two “One Direction” boy groups. One is from the UK and that’s the one that is driving Aussie females crazy at the moment. And there is another in the US who aren’t very happy with Simon Cowell and are threatening to sue him…allegedly. Two directions. Take your pick. lol

Chadstone Shopping Centre cleaners protest

Well, well, well, who can deny that coincidences happen? In yesterday’s blog, I finally expressed my exasperation with the dirty toilets at the Chadstone Shopping Centre- the biggest mall in the Southern Hemisphere. My gripe was with the management at the Mall and not the cleaners.

This morning ABC radio has interviewed a cleaner from Chadstone who is about to start a long protest march from the Mall to the city with his fellow cleaners. The cleaners complain that they are having to do more and more work for less pay. Apparently, their employers, Spotless (lol) who have the contract for Chadstone are taking advantage of them.

Doesn’t look good for Chadstone management, does it?