Sunday, September 28

Men cause ‘psychiatric disorder’
The Advertiser 27 Sept 2003
Men, not hormones, may be to blame for PMS. Uni of Western Sydney researchers and Relationships Australia are piloting a study into relationships and their impact on PMS.
[Not the other way around, ie the impact of PMS on relationships?]
“Men certainly play a very significant role in women’s depression and anger and frustration at that time of the cycle” says psychology professor Jane Usher.
Between ten & forty percent of women experience moderate to severe PMS. Up to ten percent experience the most severe PMS, which is classified as a psychiatric disorder in the US.
Professional incompetence
It has been said that kindergarten is good preparation for school. A lot of things are said. Sadly, not all prove true.

The Grinder household now has strong views on the merit of the state pre-schooling facilities, especially in contrast to the local community childcare centre. The following will help explain.

Kindy incident 1, the ‘Obstacle-athon’As a fundraiser, kindy staff organised a special day that was to incorporate a barbecue lunch for parents. (Note how it is implied that all children have a carer who can attend).

Being staffed by public servants more attuned to the ways of the early sixties, it was decided to open the centre forty-five minutes later because technically the staff were ‘working through lunch’.

The first this family (and several others) knew about the late opening, was the lockout by staff on the actual day. One frantic parent had to make calls and drop her child at a friend’s house because she was on her way to work. Others made journeys home to then return at 9-30.

A notice had been given to all parents/guardians about the fundraiser. It mentioned a start time of 9-30 for the obstacle-athon. Nothing was mentioned about changes to the actual kindy times.

Newsletters have since been patronisingly clear with bold and oversized text highlighting the opening hours.

Kindy incident 2, Book week
A notice was posted in each child’s pigeonhole, asking parents to dress their child as a favourite book character. Unfortunately notices weren’t distributed in time, so a staff member made a courtesy call to the grinder household the day before and left a message.

At the end of the workday Mr & Mrs Grinder played back the message, frantically put together an outfit and were grateful for the call, albeit short notice.

The next day, Grindling #1 is dropped off with his hook, hat and eye patch. Returning home Mrs Grinder was perusing the week’s newsletter and found a consent form attached. The centre was going on a small excursion as part of the dress up activity; only nobody had cared to mention it to the Grinders.

Racing back to the centre, Mrs G found Grindling #1 in isolation, as the other kids were about to head off. A consent notice was quickly signed and he was allowed to join his peers.

Kindy incident 3, ‘Helpful’ advice
Noticing that Grindling #1 was slow to get into the swing of things and join in group activities, the director made mention of her opinion that the child is probably not getting the same benefits like full-time students. She suggested either getting family day care in place of childcare so he could attend kindy fulltime. Or alternatively he would be better of with just the childcare routine.

Somewhat perturbed Mrs G decided to pull the lad out the following week in time with end of term. (End of term being one week before the end of terms, as it is common practice for the teachers to ‘wind down’ in the last week anyway.)

The director’s response was “Oh, he’s leaving now. But we haven’t finished his assessment. The one mentioned the PI meeting”
Mrs G: What PI meeting, I’ve never heard of it?
Director: Oh, I’m sorry did you miss out. No wonder you feel left out. Look, I’ll make a time next week and we can have the PIM then.

With no idea of what a PIM was, or what the point of a meeting after the horse had bolted, Mrs G turned up the following week anyway, only to be told the director was away ill.

Maybe it is true. Kindy is good preparation for school –for parents that is!

Thursday, September 25

What, no slogan?
Australian Democrats leader Sandra Kanck has come up with an idea.

“The surest way to smarten up driver behaviour [on South Australian roads] is the presence of a police squad car in traffic”. She said people thought twice when they saw a police car.

Let me do the honours Sandra, how about “More cruising cops, makes our roads tops”

Okay, who put the regular coffee in the decaf jar?
The big ideas just keep coming. This one didn’t even come from the Democrats!

Labour has proposed that the nation’s best teachers be forced to teach at the worst schools. “Incentives, a draft, whatever it takes.”

The reasoning?

“The cruellest thing we can do in our society is deny a smart kid a good education” says Opposition Treasury spokesman Mark Latham.

Lets just hope the caffeine wears off. Say no more.

Wednesday, September 24

The Australian Democrats are on the search for support and surprise surprise they have a new slogan:
"Senate Not Sexy? Without Us You'd Be Frustrated".

The Grinder would suggest they don't give up their day job if they hadn't practically lost it already. But seriously I hope they don't just vanish, the next elections just wouldn't be complete without the plethora of slogans belonging to the belated party. If only they put as much energy into policy, they'd get somewhere.

Just surrender now
This lad has just had his happy snap published in the Police News section of the local rag. The picture was taken by security cameras while he was breaking into a local primary school. His parents must be so proud...
" Aw, what camera?!"

With such pathetic image, police expect an early arrest, as it is unlikely the suspect will be able endure the taunts from his peers much longer.

Bad Joke - warning, really bad joke
Speaking of jokes, this one seems appropriate for the Grinder household at the moment. What with all the bugs, ailments and quantities of discharge being endured over the last few weeks:

What has four legs, a tail, and goes "Booo"?

A cow with a cold.

Tuesday, September 23

Two fish
Two fish swim into a wall.
One says "dam".

and there's more....

Two fish are in a tank.
One says "You man the gun, I'll drive"

Channel nine and ratings
Well the Emmys have past for another year. The Centrebet odds predicted The Sopranos ($2.40 to win) and sure enough the show won three awards that I know of. James Gandolfini (Tony), Edie Falco (Carmella) and Joe Pantoliano (Ralphie)

So will channel nine pay any attention and put The Sopranos somewhere near prime time and sometime soon? The odds should pay better than $2.40 if channel nine break their habits and put the show on when people might be able to see it.

Word of the day
FATTY BOOMBAH, look it up. (There's no anchor, so scroll down a bit to find it.)

Use it in a sentence today:

Mr & Mrs Grinder drew straws to see who would do the fatty-boombah run to the Mc Hungries drive-through for chocolate sundaes.


Neither wanted to be recognised as one of those fatty-boombah types wearing slippers and track pants roaming the streets for calories.

Wednesday, September 17

Health reforms
Warning, not a particularly articulate post, just a frustrated one.
This topic has been riding my goat long enough. Federal Health Minister Kay Patterson's health sector reforms are going to far.

Now the Grinder isn't known for cashing in on discounted gym memberships or buying subsidised camping equipment. In fact even discounted movie tickets from the family health insurer rarely lure the Grinder out of the home.

If an insurer decides that ancillary benefits are good for business based on theory of either attracting general custom or encouraging fitness and participation, its on grounds of good business principles. What right does the government have to jump in and start regulating this industry? Supposedly it's because of the 30% share tax payers are footing.

Can someone explain to me why I should care if an insurer offers extras. Their premiums still have to remain competitive to keep a share of the market.

This doesn't sound like the makings of Liberal policy. I just don't understand the meddling.

Monday, September 15

Inbred! Not true. (I know this is a little dated but this is still worth reading.)
I can't agree with the 'inbred' label. As I understand it, it was fate that Bunting's car broke down on a trek from Queensland to Perth. He then made himself at home in the Levi caravan park north of the city. So therefore half of the notorious duo came from interstate. The rest I tend to agree with though (as posted earlier).

Adelaide 'inbred, degenerate'
By Andrew McGarry 11sep03
ADELAIDE was a "stifled and inbred" city whose subculture of degeneracy led to atrocities such as the bodies-in-barrels murders, according to a leading criminologist.
While not the "murder capital" as it was sometimes portrayed, Adelaide University criminologist Allan Perry said South Australia's reputation for bizarre killings was not just bad luck or coincidence.
Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne had areas of similar social deprivation to Adelaide, but these were dynamic and social societies with more outlets for people's frustrations.
"Adelaide is much more of a stifled, inbred community," Dr Perry said.
"There is no vibrant social or commercial life (in the city). The question is why do the best and brightest in Adelaide never stay around, and why few in that category come here?
"The answer is clear - no one with ambition thinks that Adelaide is the place for them.
"(I'm referring to) the lifestyle of an increasingly significant subculture of people in the South Australian community, whose lives are totally amoral and parasitic upon society," Dr Perry said.
This "culture of degeneracy" had built up in some impoverished parts of the city created by welfare dependency and worsened by the breakdown of family units, leaving children growing up in "amoral environments", he said.
The comments come just days after John Justin Bunting and Robert Joe Wagner were sentenced to life for up to 11 grisly murders in Snowtown, 150km north of Adelaide.
Community attitudes were also being shaped by the state to some extent, Dr Perry said. The state Government has recently introduced legislation offering a defence for householders who injure home invaders.
"The justification for behaviour of Bunting and Wagner seems to have been that they were social vigilantes dealing with the problems of pedophiles and homosexuals," DR Perry said.
The inflammatory remarks prompted Attorney-General Michael Atkinson to suggest DR Perry move to New York (homicide rate of nine deaths per 100,000 people), Moscow (18 per 100,000) or Washington (50 per 100,000), while he was happy to stay in Adelaide (1.9 per 100,000).
"I think in Sydney horrific crimes are quickly forgotten, because they happen in such quick succession, but here in South Australia where there is a more stable and older population, we tend to remember every horrific crime," Mr Atkinson said.

Grog blog fellow
This persons blog site recently celebrated it's first birthday. Going through the archives I found why the site isn't entirely unlike the Grinder.

Sunday, September 14

I'd like to know how they propose to measure some of these commodities.

Breast milk a $2bn benefit to nation - Sunday Mail
BREAST-FEEDING mothers contribute more than $2 billion to the nation each year, new research shows.
Julie Smith of the Australian National University in Canberra estimates mothers produced more than $2 billion a year in breast milk.
Dr Smith wants mother's milk to be included in the nation's growth figures. "It is a commodity like blood, sperm or human organs which can, in principle, be valued for national accounts purposes," she said.
"Numerous milk banks operate around the world, buying and selling milk"
At $2.2 billion - or 33 million litres - a year, breast milk represented 6 percent of spending on consumption. Dr Smith said the value of breast milk should be included in estimates of national income.
"This would signal to the wider community the public importance of breastfeeding and give human milk the same statistical treatment as other food commodities," she said.

Here's an opportunity to open a factory and export some of these products. There's no shortage of w_nkers from what I've noticed and plenty of people not using their brains.

On the run?
Legless prisoner escapes - Sunday Mail
JOHANNESBURG South African police are searching for a prisoner with no legs who escaped "unnoticed" from a hospital.
"Two months later, he is still 'on the run' and the law enforcement authorities appear to be stumped," the Saturday Star reported.
The newspaper said Francois Johannes Pieterse, serving a l0-year sentence in the east coast city of Durban for fraud and impersonating a doctor, was taken to a hospital there but escaped m July.
The guard assigned to him has been charged with negligence.

Well, the story did come from the Sunday Mail.

Friday, September 12

Adelaide at it's best
Minister for the Environment, John Hill knows how to win votes. Protecting the beaches? Nup. Clearing the waterways supplying metropolitan dams? Nup. Replacing clapped out busses that belch tonnes of sickly rich diesel smoke? Nup. How about....

"Junior dolphin rangers have been appointed in the next step to establishing a dolphin sanctuary in the Port River.
About 150 junior primary school students, aged 9 to 12, have been nominated by their peers.

[Maybe we could harness the apparent intellectual abilities of dolphins to replace teachers - and have the dolphins teach stuff like maths and spelling. We could then set the teachers free.]

"Legislation for the sanctuary due to go before parliament will include:
Increased penalties for intentionally harming dolphins
[Oops! Did I accidentally skin, fillet and fry that be dopy fish?]
Provisions to improve water [I'm sure they mean dealing with the drought and water restrictions in SA]
Increased patrols [Another richly satisfying public service job coming up for grabs]

Minister Hill said community enthusiasm fir the rangers program and the sanctuary had been "just huge".

While we wait for the next round of serial killings we can be rest assured that the dolphins are safe.

Neat game
This game pinpoints the primal human thought processes that prevail when we are cooped up in an office all day. (Well, its how I behave) Turn up the sound before you start. Thanks to TV for the link.

Monday, September 8

The parents bar
Come and experience 'Parent on tap'. Brewed from years of clinging and whinging, Parent on tap is available at any hour and can be called upon at any instant. Whether you're in the shower, on the phone, at the checkout or negotiating traffic, Parent on tap can instill bitterness at anytime.

Terrible twos
Here they come! Grindling #2 is yet to associate his new found ability to voice his demands with the outcome. Being tired and grumpy and choosing to refuse anything offered should not mean you don't get anything, according to two-year-old logic.

Of course when coupled with "I want something, just not anything you give me or I'll cry" makes an unbreakable cycle just ideal for parents daring to make a social outing beyond the usual supermarket or burger restaurant.

Monday, September 1

Education review
A few words about an article in today's Advertiser,

Moves to give schools more flexibility and improve children's education are
gaining momentum. PAUL STARICK reports.

WITH education a hot political issue, both sides of politics are inching
along the path to relieving a growing crisis in our schools.
Prime Minister John Howard has repeatedly urged schools to adopt more
flexible hours so they can better serve modern society.

[Sounds good, what with more families having both parents working, it is difficult to balance childrens school hours and work hours.]

In Victoria last week, the Labor Government has produced an admirable
blueprint for school reform which has more than faint echoes of Mr Howard's
proposals. Some of Victoria's plans are already being tested in South
Australia. Liberal and Labor are calling for long overdue reform of the
education sector to improve the quality of children's education.
They privately acknowledge teachers are overworked and underpaid, with
children's education suffering as a result.
The rhetoric from both sides of politics is starting to acknowledge
improvements must be made if an exodus from the teaching profession is to be
stemmed. This involves better pay and working conditions.

[Hmm, not sure where this is heading, but yes, I understand there are a lot of contract positions offering little security. Of course it is well known that a lot of these contracts are attributed to by the more than generous leave entitlements that allow susbtantive position holders to retain tenure over their teaching positions for several years after leaving the department.
Reducing this liability and offering more permanent jobs would be the obvious solution...]

Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky is proposing giving teachers more
student-free days, more flexible school hours and financial incentives to
attract teachers to under-performing schools. These recommendations form the
basis of a major policy statement to be released in October, although they
are still only proposals and parents and other interest groups will be

[Too right the parents ought to be consulted! Exactly what is little Johnny or Mary going to be doing on these student free days while his/her parents are at work.]

The plans come from Government-appointed panels of teachers, principals and
academics and are designed to lift teaching quality and make schools more
accountable for their results.

[Ah I see, these panels are looking after who's interests exactly?]

One scenario involves letting schools change their hours so teachers have
time to plan lessons or undertake professional development courses.
For instance, some schools could have extended hours one day and a
student-free afternoon the next. It might involve starting and finishing
school an hour earlier.

[Yippee, days off for development. Hold on. What about school holidays?]

Other plans involve grouping schools into networks, so students and teachers
could attend a variety of campuses in a particular area. Teachers would also
be allowed to work across different levels, being able to teach from
kindergarten to Year 12.
Ms Kosky acknowledges the ideas are brave but declares: "Teacher quality is
the critical issue now for the improvement in student results."
The rhetoric from Mr Howard is not greatly different, even if the Federal
Government has little control of the school system.
At the Liberal Party national convention in Adelaide in June, Mr Howard
urged schools to adopt more flexible hours, labelling them "very
old-fashioned and anachronistic".
In the case of teaching, Mr Howard speaks from a degree of personal
experience. His wife, Janette, was once a teacher and he is understood to
harbour a degree of sympathy for their long working hours, inflexible
conditions and relatively poor pay.

[Yep, poor pay relative to that of a Prime Minister]

In SA, Education Minister Trish White is making some moves in the right
"The current State Government has introduced cash incentives of up to
$29,600 extra over five years to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools
in the country," she says.
"In Port Augusta, one of the hardest-to-staff areas of the state, we are
trialling an incentive scheme, providing subsidised accommodation and
removal expenses for relief teachers.
"The Government has introduced Country Teaching Scholarships, providing
financial support of up to $2500 a year over four years for country people
to train as teachers and return to the country for their first teaching
appointment. Ninety-five scholarships were awarded this year.
"We have also given permanency to many contract teachers working in schools
in outer metropolitan areas where positions can be difficult to fill. As
part of the current realignment of education districts, we are replacing
district superintendents with district directors.
"These people will have greater powers to manage their areas in terms of
curriculum delivery and local management.
"There are also a number of schools trialling more flexible arrangements -
such as a four-day school week."

[I bet the working parents like that extra day of having the kids home.]

These measures are all an admirable start. Clearly, they do not go far
enough. Anyone who knows a teacher will tell you that, in reality, staff
shortages mean every available hour of the working day is full - often to
the point of overload.
On top of that, they work long into the night to complete marking and
prepare lesson plans.

[Yep I happen to know one such teacher often up late marking work etc. I also happen to know they knock off as early as the can and avoid doing 'extra' work until 10.30 the night before.]

Critics argue they are blessed with an abundance of holidays.
This fails to recognise the vast number of contract teachers who do not get
paid during the holidays. Many are forced to get part-time jobs simply to
make ends meet.
At present, teachers prop up the system by making sacrifices in an
increasingly desperate bid to stop professional standards slipping. This
cannot continue forever.
Suggesting teachers should be paid more is simplistic.

[Yeah, why not give them more time off too...]

But the entire community will suffer greatly unless we realise most teachers are merely
complaining about their conditions because they are desperately worried
children's education is suffering.

[The kids education is suffering, so they better take more time off to better themselves]

Interestingly one rural paper has another angle.