Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Can't you see it in my eyes

On this week back in 1976, the number 33 hit on 3XY's chart was Sister Golden Hair by America. The band are still active, and periodically tour Australia. It peaked at number 28 on the national ARIA chart.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top stuff, mate

To honour our national day, Australia Day, I attended a flag raising and citizenship ceremony held in a park in my local area. In typical Australian fashion, the organisers found a way to be serious and laid back at the same time.

The master of ceremonies felt it necessary to point out to the audience that the brass band who were there to play the national anthem and other patriotic songs had just one rehearsal session. Reading directly from the event program, he listed nominees for various community service awards, but managed to miss a page, and hastily had to correct his mistake.

Ever the pedant, I also also noticed typos in the program, such as the incorrect use of an apostrophe, and upper case characters where a lower case character was needed. He also fumbled his way through as he mispronounced the names of individuals and families who were receiving their Australian citizenship. There also seemed to be a lack of communication between speakers beforehand, because two of them gave a welcome to country to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, when one would have sufficed.

Nobody in the audience seemed to mind. Some of them were distracted by their smart phones, which they didn't bother to mute or turn off, or carried on talking amongst themselves as speeches were made.

In ninety minutes I was reminded of what I like about living in Australia. We are proud, yet unpretentious. I count myself blessed to live in a country that for the most part is peaceful, safe, and prosperous. I pray that it stays that way.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

No ambitions to be a copy editor

Attention to detail is an essential attribute in my line of work. Yet again I noticed more errors in today's edition of The Age. Exhibit one is from an article reporting that Australian businessman Dick Smith being asked to stand as a candidate against Bronwyn Bishop at the next federal election, due to be held some time this year. It states that Smith used to run his National Geographic business from inside the electorate.

The journalist who wrote this article got his wires crossed. Dick Smith founded Australian Geographic magazine and the Australian Geographic Society in 1986, and sold it to Fairfax in 1995. National Geographic magazine and the National Geographic Society were founded in the United States in 1888.

Now for Exhibit 2. I later found an inaccuracy in an article in the business section, analysing Australia's present economic conditions. "We haven't had a recession since late 1991," writes our esteemed journalist. Technically this is correct, because the recession technically ended in the September quarter of that year, but his statement is ambiguous. Statistically speaking, the recession lasted from 1990 to 1991, but it ended much later in Victoria, which was particularly hard hit. The meaning would have been clearer if he had written "we haven't had a recession since 1990-91."

If you aspire to a career in copy editing for print or online, please check the copy for incorrect information, or poorly worded sentences, because automated spell checkers won't fix these for you.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kippers for breakfast

This is a television advertisement for the admittedly spiffy HP Sprout, which is a combined desktop computer, scanner, and 3D printer. As you can see, the advertising jingle is a reworked version of The Logical Song by Supertramp, a massive worldwide hit from their 1979 album, Breakfast in America. I don't begrudge them for monetizing their back catalogue. If I was in their position, I'd do the same thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wearing out your welcome

Bronwyn Bishop has announced that she intends to renominate for preselection for her seat of Mackellar, which she has held since 1994. I agree with commentators such as former federal opposition leader John Hewson, and former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, who believe that she should retire from Parliament altogether.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took a lot of political damage for his loyalty to her during the 2015 controversy over the misuse of her travel allowance, and she repayed him by backing Malcolm Turnbull when he challenged Abbott for the Liberal leadership in September 2015.

Any potential challenger to her preselection knows that she is vulnerable because of her poor conduct towards her former leader, and her inept performance as Speaker. Her standing with her conservative Parliamentary colleagues and with the voters of Mackellar must surely be greatly diminished. Even if she contests the next election, she might lose her seat. It's time for her to move on.    


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Where's a red pen when you need one?

The Age's editorial standards have really deteriorated since they changed from a broadsheet to their tabloid (no, it's not a tabloid, it's a compact) format. I took a picture of this article about the Victorian state government's proposal to build a new toll road in the western suburbs. As you can see, it was published with an incomplete sentence in the last paragraph. No, I'm not offering them my services.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


I sometimes debate online with atheists and agnostics who sincerely believe that Jesus never existed. I post this summary of a recent article, linked at the foot of this posting, for the benefit of them and any other spiritual seekers.

Firstly, recent archaeological finds reveal that Nazareth existed and was settled in the time of Jesus.

Furthermore, Jews in the time of Jesus believed that there would be a messiah figure who would suffer and die, that Christians always believed in Jesus as being divine, and this was not a later innovation.

The gospels were based on written sources, and not oral transmission, as skeptical New Testament scholars have claimed.

The gospel of Mark, widely believed to be first of the gospels to be written, may have been written 5 to 10 years after Jesus was crucified, and not in the late 60s or early 70s AD as scholars often claim.

Finally, many contemporary authors claim that Jesus was an illiterate peasant. However, looking at the debates between Jesus and the Pharisees in the gospels, Jesus shows a thorough knowledge of Jewish law and scripture.