Archive for the ‘Avenues of Harm’ Category

What Will They Think Of Next?

Hot off the Facebook Presses from the UK where car thieving is at the cutting edge and they are forever coming up with new ways to be nasty:

On Wednesday, I approached my car from the passenger side to place my computer bag on the front passenger seat.
As I reached to open the door I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle.
My first thought was, “Someone has shot the car !”
I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the “light” slowly began to dawn.
I phoned a friend who owns a body shop, and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole.
“Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass, or anything.”
I then placed a call to my insurance agent and explained it to him. I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings.
Here is where it gets scary !
“Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don’t even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where “home” is. Or check your address from Insurance and Registration documants in your glove box. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn’t there they assume you aren’t, and break into your home.”
He said they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple of days or more to use them. (I didn’t realize my situation for two full days!) They even give you the courtesy of re-locking your doors for you.
Periodically, walk around your car, especially after you park in a shopping centre or other large parking area.
Report thefts immediately….your bank w/missing cheque numbers, your credit card agencies, police, and insurance companies, etc.
Below is picture of what the hole looks like.
One would have to look pretty darn close to notice a hole like that. If the hole was on the passenger side I would never see it.

Lynda Poulter

Not Welcome In Australia

This is absolutely beyond the pale. What is it with these people? Shooting two teenage girls because they were filmed dancing in the rain? With other children and wearing full traditional dress, yet according to the twisted, misogynistic madmen that masquerade as men in their community, they brought dishonour on the family and had to be killed. What a sad, tragic joke!

I don’t care what the limp wristed types will say, there is no excuse for this in any society in this day and age. It is not right and never has been and trying to excuse it as a cultural anomaly is insulting. I hope our immigration people take note and refuse entry to any from these communities. interrogate them and discern if they hold such  a medieval mindset and if so, refuse them entry on any grounds. Even if the rest of their family are here, don’t let them in.

We have seen these so called ‘honour killings’ in the UK among some communities. Mostly Middle Eastern, Pakistani and Indian but not limited to these nationalities. Girls brought up in a western culture savaged by the beliefs and practices of a foreign culture that has no place among western communities. We can’t go there and behave in our ways, they would kill us. So why do we let them come to our society and bring their evil mindsets with them?

Of course not every Pakistani, Yemeni or Muslim holds these views or condones such behaviour. I would be certain of saying most would condemn these murders. I am not talking about denying them entry; just the other kind. Too many are already here as asylum seekers or with legitimate visas and some have committed crimes against women such as the rape at Macquarie University by a Sri Lankan asylum seeker housed in student accommodation recently and other attacks. It is not Islam or Muslis (in the Macquarie case I doubt the Sri Lankan was a Muslim; most likely Tamil) but the individuals and the specific cultures they come from within larger ethnic or religious societies that simply do not get it. They do not share our views on women and their place in our society.

Sadly, many of our older generation, politicians and even younger people from some demographics are still behind the times. But they are our own, home-grown problem. Let us not add to the issue by importing more of their ilk and worse. If this post makes me a racist, then so be it. Call me what you like but don;t call on me and cry when it is your daughter, sister, wife or mother that has been brutally introduced to what ‘real men’ in some parts of the world believe is how to treat other human beings, albeit the female variety.

Let us be very clear on this; it has NOTHING to do with religion and everything to do with ego, pride and men being evil. Religion is often quoted as the rationale, the authority for such crimes but no religion in the world condones this. As the BBC write on their web site:

‘Tradition, not religion’

None of the world’s major religions condone honour-related crimes.

But perpetrators have sometimes tried to justify their actions on religious grounds.

“Honour crime happens across the board in the Asian community,” says Ram Gidoomal of the South Asian Development Partnership.

“People try to blame Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs but it tends to happen in families where there are the strongest ties and expectations. It’s a very strong cultural issue.”

Leaders of the world’s faiths have also strongly denounced a connection between religion and honour killings.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

A Christian minister finds a valuable bracelet in a carpark. Hands it in to the Police and after two months it becomes his property as the owner was never found. I doubt the police bothered to look because the minister had no trouble doing so. In fact it was the jeweller he took it to for valuation who found an engraved code and tracked down the owner. Now the Rev wants the owner to make an insurance claim and give him half the payout and he is happy to return it to her. How very generous and perfectly legal. The Reverend was a lawyer (why does this not surprise me?) and is within his rights. Forget doing the decent thing, he wants the money.

Why do we hold religious officers up to a higher standard of moral behaviour? The church (name one, they are all the same in every religion)are business entities. They make vast amounts of money and always have. One way to be rich and powerful is to rule and be stronger than anyone else by force of arms; the other is to control the masses through superstition and myth, in other words create a religion and get people to believe their lives depend on doing as they are told. To achieve this it helps if you set your officers on pedestals. Why do the words pederast and pedestal sound so similar, I wonder?

Make no mistake religions are big money. L. Ron Hubbard said if you want tog et rich quick, start your own religion and he started the wack job known as the Church of Scientology… or rather his fans did as he always denied starting it. Hahaha. The Catholic CHurch Inc is huge in insurance, mostly re-insuring the big insurers. Given their exemption from ‘Acts of God’ it is a joke, don’t you think? Why do religious businesses get tax free status? We lose billions because of this and it doesn’t reflect what is put back into the community.

Make no mistake, there are many genuine, wonderful people who believe in the tenets of their faith and live their lives accordingly. There are, however, far too many who are just nasty, greedy little shits hiding behind pious BS. People like the piece of work in the news story are, in my opinion… nah, better not. I’m sure the pricks would sue.

UPDATE: 1 July 2013 After the media splashed this around the Reverend’s church had graffiti daubed on its walls and a brick through a window. The clergyman has returned the bracelet and now seeks forgiveness for his ‘wrong-thinking’. The more cynical among us might feel this wouldn’t have been the outcome had the matter not become public knowledge and that, like those who ‘get religion’ in prison just before they are up for parole, this is a convenient coincidence. As his apologetic relative says, he made a mistake, one mistake. Well, he made one we all know of, now. If you want to hold yourself up as being a leader of the community, someone who says their beliefs are the truth and so forth then you need to not make such mistakes. I’m glad the matter was resolved and the bracelet returned.

Toddler Drowns In Bucket

Many years ago when I was a boy my father warned me how you could drown in as little as a teaspoon of water. He meant that it doesn’t have to be a river or an ocean for you to die from drowning. That imagery, of someone diving into a teaspoon of water and drowning stuck with me and has helped me stay alert to the danger water can pose. Tragically in Sydney today an 11 month old boy has drowned in a bucket holding just 10cm (4 inches) of water. On the same day another little boy lost his life in a backyard swimming pool. The bucket of water had been used to mop the floor but hadn’t been emptied. In the army we were taught to empty the bucket immediately, then clean the bucket and put it back where it belonged. It seemed anally retentive at the time but it is attention to such details like that can make a life or death difference. Be aware, be alert but accept that accidents, however tragic, do occur. My heart gose out to both families at this sad time.

Winbase Equities – Thieves, Conmen or?

Last year I was contacted by a salesman from Hong Kong based investment firm, Winbase Equities. I was looking for a place to invest some of my Self Managed Super Fund money so I agreed for him to have the broker call. David Sperring called me and came across as a knowledgeable and decent professional. The pitch was that they bring new clients aboard with an investment in Heating Oil in November and vacation gasoline in June as these futures always make strike and you never lose your investment. I did my due diligence and while the basic information seemed accurate I can’t say their promise of making $65,000 from $5,000 seemed a lot to make from one trade, especially as they said they only take 1% if I make money but I figured plenty of others make millions this way, why not give it a try. Of course, I was naive and uneducated in the ways of investing on the stock market but I did my best to investigate the firm, the broker and the market.

All seemed plausible and I was prepared to risk my five large because sometimes you have to take risks to get anywhere. If I had known about Puts and Calls I would have hedged this ‘bet’ with a Put, or sell order so that if the price dropped I could get my money back. I would lose all if it didn’t make ‘strike’ without the put. In this case that was about 34 cents per share more than the starting price. In fact the price never went up more than a few cents this year and so when my option expired I lost my money. No problem, that’s the risk you take. At least that is how I would have felt if I hadn’t been let’s say, managed, or handled.

Let me be the first to say I have little doubt everything David and Winbase Equities did was legal and by the book. The book of course doesn’t say they have to ‘educate’ the investor but one would think it ethical to at least advise him properly; at least it is considered so in Australia. David, once I had sent my five grand off to the bank account they use in China, said I might be in luck and Richard, the big boss, might call me and give me some of his precious time. Lo and behold Richard did indeed call me. Spoke to me at length and very ‘folksy’ he was too. Lots of ‘genuine’ interest about the wife and kids and of course how rich he had become doing this very same investing thing.

It was then the alarm bells rang loud. He was too suave and smooth and I knew a sales pitch when I heard one. He told me about puts and calls and how you must have a put or else you could lose the lot. OK, why didn’t David warn me of this, he knows all about puts and calls? Oh, I would have to invest more to ‘qualify’ for a put to cover my calls. I didn’t have another $5,000 to invest but Richard let me stew on this over the weekend then called back with the ‘good news’. The company was willing to throw in $3,000 f the needed $5,000 because they like me or whatever. As if! They would never risk a dime of their own money, no company would. I told Richard I was not spending another dime, we’d see how the options I had fared.

Of course they dived so I sent an email to David Sperring asking him where was my $5,000, exactly? I didn’t mention I had recorded the conversations we had and those I had with Richard but I did get a response. The reply I got was a call from Richard. He wanted me to invest a few more grand and all would be well. I refused and told him I thought his behaviour was sharp practise in my book. A set up. An obvious rip. I accepted it was probably 100% legal but it was certainly not ethical and he wasn’t getting another penny. He was taking this well until I mentioned how I would be blogging about my experiences. That’s when he offered to extend my investment another month! Free of charge. OK, so all of a sudden my $5,000 wasn’t ‘gone’? No, the company would do this just for me because Richard liked me and didn’t want me thinking he was a conman. Please, Richard, don’t expect me to swallow that one.

He did reinstate my account and for another month I watched the price of heating oil go nowhere near where it had to for me to make any money. I doubt it would have and I think the 34 cents was too much, but all part of the sting. They hook you with the call, then advise how you need a put. You save your money and have confidence in them to invest again. I didn’t have the extra to throw in and I guess they are not used to dealing with true peasants like me. Actually I had the extra but I had made it a rule when I invested the $5K that I would test the waters with that and that was all I was prepared to lose.

For me it was a calculated risk, a gamble. It may have paid off but it didn’t. No sour grapes, no crying. What miffed me no end was the way David (who has never once replied to several emails or calls) set me up and Richard finished me off, or tried to. Winbase Equities are still out there, of course. As I said, no doubt they operate within the laws of wherever they are but I would not, based on my personal experience, recommend them to anyone. Even someone I didn’t like. I should have stuck to my original plan and bought that much in silver bullion but I admit to being tempted by the chance to make a significant return. I did think the investment had legs when I paid in but as soon as they closed the trap with the phone call from Richard I knew then, with months to go until the option ran out, I had lost my money.

I have since invested on the stock market and made a small gain by using the hard won knowledge of puts and calls. They lied to me when they said the minimum to have both a put and a call was more than my $5,000. Other brokers do it for less, even if they don’t. I’ll be in Hong Kong in a few months and I know where David works and lives. I think a visit and an apology are in order, but we all know that will take some getting. What do I think happened? I think they buy a swag of options and of course have puts to cover their calls, then they sell parcels of these to punters like me. They get us aboard with the good news, then once they have our money they hit us with the bad news. They select the strike (34 cents in my case) knowing it will never get there. They have their calls at  a more reasonable 15 cents or whatever. They will never lose and they make a ton of money from silly punters like me who buy in at $5,000 and above a time. All legal I guess but hardly ethical. Caveat Emptor. I am aware, have paid for my education and will put the investment to good use. Meanwhile I am starting to investigate just what happened to my money as it was not mine, it belonged to my SMSF and next October the ATO will want to know where it went. Having lost five clams in one year isn’t that bad though, before I started my own super fund the professional incompetents running my other fund were losing me far more!

No Risk, No Reward

If you play with fire you are bound to be burned sooner or later. These three teenagers performing a stunt where they ride their bikes through burning cardboard were doing this for the first time. The organisers have set this stunt up many times before without incident, apparently; but this time it went ‘horribly wrong’. Given the ingredients of fire and teenage kids, how else could it go if it goes wrong other than ‘horribly’?

Should we now call to ban all such events? Stop teenagers doing anything remotely risky? Or perhaps ensure those responsible for the safety and setting up of these things double and triple check them first? Even then, f there is no risk of it all going ‘horribly wrong’, where is the thrill? The danger? The reason for doing it in the first place?

Life is not risk free, even today. Humans have only ever moved forward after taking risks, daring mightily and pushing the envelope. Along the way there are casualties but so long as we learn from our mistakes and keep trying to do better, then their sacrifice was never in vein. If we aren’t prepared to take risks then we can’t expect anything to happen… good or bad and that can’t be good for mankind.

Trust Me, I’m An Expert

A woman is in a critical condition in a South African hospital after she was gored by a rhino. The tour guide advised her, it is alleged, to stand closer to the rhino and she did. The animal attacked and now she is fighting for her life. Moral of the story, don’t trust ‘experts’ with your life just because they are claiming they are an expert. Also, never trust a wild animal. Look up ‘wild’ in the dictionary and there is nothing about peaceful, calm, safe, trustworthy to be read. Now check the thesaurus… still nothing akin to ‘you’ll be right, mate’ is there?

So Glad I’m Not An American!

What is it with these people and their guns? Another nut job with high powered firearms has gone on a rampage in a school in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 kids and 6 adults murdered. Imagine the sheer bloody terror those children and adults experienced in the last moments of their lives! The murderer kills his mother, a kindergarten teacher, then  her entire class! What the f…. is it with these Americans and their guns? I know there are 300 million of them and over half own guns and so very few go berserk but… one is one too many.

On Tuesday a man killed two in an Oregon mall, raking the place with fire from his semi-automatic then he killed himself. In July a man killed 12 and wounded 58 at a screening of a Batman movie in Colorado. Let’s not forget  Columbine or Virginia Tech or the Amish school a year or so ago. What is it with modern day Americans and their fetish for firearms? Is it a small dick thing?

I know if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns… ok. But it is not the ease with which guns can be had, legally or otherwise although that does make it less inconvenient to tool up. It is the mentality of the people who must have their guns. They point to the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution which states:

‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’

That is all about keeping and bearing arms so they can maintain a militia to defend the state, most likely against the government if it got out of hand but also against natives and neighbouring countries. In 1791 the average soldier was armed with the same basic longarm as the average citizen could own; a flintlock musket. Today a hunting rifle isn’t much use on the modern battlefield but semi and fully automatic assault weapons surely have no place in home defence unless your home is in downtown Kabul. That amendment is about keeping the power, the ultimate power to change government, in the hands of the people who elect that government to represent them. When they stop representing their will then they need to be replaced and if they refuse to go or use the power of the military against the people they are there to serve; then the people have the ability through the well regulated militia, to force the government to do their bidding. That’s pragmatic democracy.

Today the American fears their federal government and not without some justification. Americans believe in small government and lots of it, it seems. They vote for sheriffs, judges, school boards, city councils, stage governments and federal representatives, school presidents and class presidents and lord knows who else. They love voting and elections and feeling they are in control of those who control them. The gun is merely an extension of this need, a tool they feel empowers them yet a handgun in every home isn’t much use against a UAV armed with a Maverick missile or two. There are tons of guns in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Yemen and elsewhere and that doesn’t stop Obama’s drones doing the dirty work of cleaning up America’s enemies, foreign and in some cases, domestic.

So why the big gun gig thingy? If everyone carried a gun, openly, then it would be a deterrent to some. If everyone could carry a gun but concealed then it would deter many more. Although some would simply switch tactics and pop a cap in the back of people’s heads before they knew they had to go for the draw. Of course having a gun is a deadly responsibility. How many times do you think arguments that end in fisticuffs or foul language would end in bloodshed and dead bodies if more people were armed and packing heat at the time of the altercation? There are enough unstable, mental midgets out there masquerading as sane citizens as it is. Arm them with 9mm hand guns with 15 round magazines and you are asking for a decline in peaceful anger management outcomes.

You watch; as many people cry out for fewer guns, just as many there will demand the right to carry and protect themselves. I firmly believe the body count would be lower if more people on the scene had their own gun and knew how to use it. Not just point it and shoot it but really knew how to employ that weapon effectively and legally. The dilemma is that to achieve that you risk arming a bunch of people who may not react well under stress, might add to the friendly casualty list and even add their gun to the murderer’s arsenal as they become yet another victim.

In 1941 Japanese Admiral Yamamoto advised against invading the USA because there would be ‘a rifle behind every blade of grass’. Wise words. Today there are more people, more guns and more chances of your kids not coming home from school thanks to one of these people and their pistols. If you are unemployed or working a job that doesn’t include ‘benefits’ (health insurance), then you are plum out of luck if you happen to survive the shooting with just a debilitating, long term, incapacitating, life changing wound. We grieve over the dead and rightly so but we forget those who survive being wounded face months, even years of rehabilitation and that anywhere in the world that is expensive. In the USA it can be crippling, bankrupting the victims who may never see a dime in compensation. Like the title says, I am so glad I’m not an American. Nothing personal guys, just sayin’.

Brave But Stupid 1

No doubt this category will have more candidates in coming months. Today it is all about the California family that have died saving their dog from high surf conditions. Sadly the dog made it out on his own while the 16 year old son that went in after him is yet to be found. The dog chased a stick thrown into the water… begging the question why do that when the surf was so rough? The boy followed to rescue the dog but made it out after realising how bad the conditions were. He was followed by his father and when he got into difficulties, the boy and his mother went to his aid. She was dragged out dead by others, the father’s body washed up while the boy is still missing. Meanwhile the dog swam ashore unaided. I wonder who will throw sticks for the dog now?

I wonder what people are thinking at times like this. I remember many years ago a family rip to the Colo River which was in flood at the time. My dog fell in and was paddling like mad against the current when my sister bravely leapt into the water and helped Bolo to shore. The thing was, as much as I loved my dog and still have sibling moments with my sister, I wouldn’t swap him for my sister. She risked her life because that river was in flood and full of fast flowing debris. I figured Bolo would get back to the bank in a second or so and then we could drag him out. My sister acted instinctively and this is what gets people killed more often than not. It can also mean the difference between life and death, tragedy or heroic rescue but we need to weigh up the risks if we have the time and presence of mind to do so.

The Army use explosive sniffing dogs for two reasons. One, they can smell explosives better than humans, although nowadays we have electronic devices that are pretty close in capability. Two, it is always better to bury the bits of a faithful canine comrade than a human one. The dog is there to take the hit, not the handler and not the people the team are protecting. Throwing a stick into heavy surf is not the smartest way of playing with your dog, nor is going in after him in such conditions. Think before you do anything and accept that Nature is not a theme park, it’s not a ride you can hit the emergency stop switch for and everyone just gets off.

Dead And No Python To Show For It

The things people will do to win free stuff. In Florida a man eating live cockroaches in order to win a python at a contest held in a Miami reptile store finished the contest but collapsed and died outside the store from asphyxia. The roaches got their revenge! Cockroaches are full of protein and have kept many a prisoner alive. The trick is to purge them of any stomach contents and bodily waste, in other words starve them for a day or two before consuming them. In Thailand they cook them and along with many other insets are on sale at street stalls in the later evening. So other than personal revulsion, they can be eaten and they are nutritious.

The problem, as always, lies in the amount of cockroaches eaten and how quickly they are wolfed down (not that wolves eat cockroaches as far as I know). Moderation in all things is a good maxim to live by but it doesn’t win contests. Sadly, knocking back dozens of roaches, not winning and then dying as a result isn’t exactly my idea of a good time but Edward Archbold thought otherwise. And paid the penalty.

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