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Paradise Preoccupied is very close to receiving its 4,000th comment. Wow.

In appreciation, and because I find it fun, whoever posts number 4,000 will get a free copy of “It Gets Verse”.

If you’ve already purchased the eBook … well … hm … I’ll write a story just for you.

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What a lovely dawn! And bloody good thing, as I’m on Day 2 of no Internet connection. Once again, beauty and BlackBerry save the day, but frustration levels are high.

Yes, I am aware my ISP is called Kokonet and that does convey an image of a company run by Gilligan, so I guess I must now assume he and the rest killed off the Professor.

One truly crazy-making aspect of life on this rock is the un-charming tendency for peeps to answer questions with what they think one wants to hear.

Yesterday, for example, I was told every hour that my connection would be restored, “in about an hour”. Not that that was ever a real possibility, but it must have been assumed the answer would please me.

It didn’t.

Professionalism often here means nothing more than one is paid for what he does, no matter how poorly they do … or don’t do … it, and when their pay is partially supplied by bills I pay for a lack of service … well, pleased I am not.

Do I phone with the request: Lie to me more, please.

Uh … nope.

If I had less work pending, I’d say fuck it and head for a beach, but I do have stacks of things needing doing, and doing online, so I’m heading to town where I will threaten testical removal in hopes that inspires some action, then finding friends with another ISP that may or may not be working in hopes of getting something accomplished.

Sheesh. If only I was Mrs. Thurston Howell the Third! I’d just pour martinis and not bother with work …

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This is cool …

Just sussed out how to post blogs from my BlackBerry. Not that I want to write 350 words on my phone, but at least now it can be done if it must!
I do love the age we live in …

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2010: Blog in review

Many thanks to all for stopping by, reading, commenting, interacting, and generally helping me to feel I’m not shouting in an empty room!

The following is from WordPress …

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 124 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 462 posts. There were 86 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 4th with 4,463 views. The most popular post that day was News from NASA: Life comes in other flavors. No kidding ….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com, facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, WordPress Dashboard, and worldpress.org.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for sandra hanks benoiton, paradise preoccupied, sandra hanks, baby octopus, and bachabaze.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

News from NASA: Life comes in other flavors. No kidding … December 2010
272 comments and 171 Likes on WordPress.com

2

Sandra Hanks April 2007
85 comments

3

What’s with the tits? May 2007
15 comments

4

Pulling on the “big girl panties” … August 2009
26 comments

5

Answering questions on life in Seychelles February 2008
17 comments

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I’m almost sorry about banging on so much lately about the Catholic Church, but neglecting to respond to the crap coming from the Holy See-no-evil is simply beyond my powers of resistance.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, church officials are turning six shades of cardinal red over the Belgian government’s attempts to unearth information on allegations of sexual abuse and are reacting about as one would expect someone guilty as shit to react.

The RC royals aren’t accustomed to having authority other than their own consider it a matter of course to look for dirt in the dark nooks and crannies so well tucked away for centuries beneath their voluminous skirts.

Perhaps it’s time they get the message that they no longer rule any part of the world, other than the 110 acres of the country the where the Pope wears the big hat. Yes, they can deal with sexual abuse of children any way they like in the Vatican … that’s what the Swiss Guard is there for … a moot point, since no children live there.

Vatican City is home to approximately 920 full-time residents who maintain passports from their home country and diplomatic passports from the Vatican. Thus, it is as though the entire country is composed of diplomats.

Which, one could suppose, makes it pretty easy to keep a wrap on PR.

(An aside: In looking for info on how many women live in Vatican City, what came up on a Google search was a dating site … “Men seeking women in Vatican City”, Considering the fact that the place is completely surrounded by Rome, it may be safe to assume these guys don’t get out much.)

Anyway …

It was only a matter of time before the Pope-ster weighed in on the “serious and unbelievable” treatment his poor bishops were subjected to, forced to hang around during a police search, and perhaps more than annoyed that keeping them incommunicado greatly reduced the chance of stuffing damning files up their vestments.

As the BBC leads:

Pope Benedict has joined mounting Vatican criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling them “deplorable”.

Note that it’s “mounting Vatican criticism” in the paragraph, and although I have trouble suppressing a sneer when “mounting” and “Vatican” are used in the same sentence, it’s important to catch the fact that people outside the web of the church are probably more than okay with raids, seizing records, even digging up dead bishops for DNA.

That the church’s version of the bishops’ isolation holds less water than a cracked baptismal font doesn’t bode well, either.

Belgium’s justice minister has responded to the criticism robustly, saying normal procedures were followed.

Stefaan De Clerck defended the police action, in a series of TV interviews on Sunday, and said the investigation was legitimate.

“The bishops were treated completely normally during the raid on the archdiocese and it is false to say that they received no food or drink,” he said.
Continue reading the main story

Mr De Clerck said the Vatican’s reaction had been excessive as it was based on false information.

Hm. False information … ? Rather like going to hell if you eat meat on Friday or the sanctity of Christopher? How about covering the asses of child-screwing priests?

Sorry, Old Ben, but your cred is shred.

And you need to clue up to the fact that statements like this …

I hope that justice will follow its course while guaranteeing the rights of individuals and institutions, respecting the rights of victims.

… grate more than a bit, especially amongst real victims.

Those of us outside the grip of the 110 acres very much hope that justice will follow its course, and if part of the process is keeping bishops away from the hard drive for a while, so be it.

Ben’s predecessors may have had the power to run the world on their rules, but those days are over. I can imagine how that pisses him off, but we’re all done with outrage issuing from the palace and insist that confession comes out of the box … and, since it doesn’t, digging is enthusiastically encouraged.

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Cheating … at golf?

A bit behind the pop culture curve as always, I’m just catching up with the flap over Tiger Woods and his wandering putter and can’t help but wonder about the reactions his now-admitted infidelity is getting.

It seems people are surprised … and disappointed.

Why?

Because he’s such a “nice guy” in his public personal? Do the People Mag photos of cuddling a new baby in tender fatherhood sum up the man? Does the fact that his wife presents the best of model-like beauty convince the world that he’s bound to be bound?

Gimme a break.

Tiger is a man.

It doesn’t matter one bit if he’s a famous, rich, handsome, charming man … in fact that makes philandering even more likely than for the obscure, poor, ugly and socially clumsy.

It doesn’t matter one bit that he’s happily married with children.

It doesn’t matter one bit that screwing around could cost his reputation, his marriage, his career.

It doesn’t matter one bit that sinking one in other women’s grassy greens could rip the heart out of the woman who dedicated herself to him, threaten the stability of his children and ruin lives.

Nope.

The only thing that matters is an easy hole at the end of a short fairway and a chance to make the shot without drawing a crowd. The hole doesn’t need to be special in any way, nor even well groomed … a hole is a hole is a hole.

Because there are so many public courses offering free play at the drop of a smile, opportunities to take off-the-books strokes are aplenty, and few players resist the pull of a new lay, especially those that offer no real challenge.

Tiger can cry now, beg for forgiveness, plead for privacy, experience deep and profound remorse … because he got caught.

Men are dogs, whether they carry a seven iron, a fishing line, a football, a guitar or the Presidential Seal.

It’s time to revisit this post, perhaps …

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Recent news puts me in the mood for dumb blonde jokes … sorry Sis, Shrone and anyone else who is blonde enough to possibly take offense, but you, too, have had your moments.

Q: What do you call 10 blondes at the bottom of a pool?
A: Air Pockets

Q: What do you call a blonde with half a brain?
A: Gifted!

Q: How do blonde brain cells die?
A: Alone.

Q: What do you call a blonde with 2 brain cells?
A: Pregnant.

Q: What’s the difference between a blonde and a supermarket trolley?
A: The supermarket trolley has a mind of its own.

Q: How do you get a blondes eyes to twinkle?
A: Shine a torch in her ears.

Q: Why should blondes not be given coffee breaks?
A: It takes too long to retrain them.

Q1 How can you tell if a blonde’s been using the computer?
A: There’s white-out on the screen.
Q2: How can you tell if another blonde’s been using the computer?
A: There’s writing on the white-out.

Q: Do you know why the blonde got fired from the M&M factory?
A: For throwing out the W’s

Q: How do you know when a blonde has been making chocolate chip cookies?
A: You find M&M shells all over the kitchen floor.

Q: How can you tell which blonde is the waitress?
A: She is the one with the tampon behind her ear, wondering what she did with her pencil.

Q: What happened to the blonde that was tap dancing?
A: She fell in the sink.

Q: What do you call a brunette with a blonde on either side?
A: An interpreter.

Q: What do you do when a blonde throes a hand grenade at you?
A: Pull the pin and throw it back.

Q: What do you get when you offer a blonde a penny for her thoughts?
A: Change.

Q: Why did the blonde get so excited after she finished her jigsaw puzzle in only 6 months?
A: Because on the box it said From 2-4 years.

Q: How do you amuse a blonde for hours?
A: Write ‘Please turn over’ on both sides of a piece of paper.

Q: How do you get a one-armed blonde out of a tree?
A: Wave to her.

And the inspiration for today’s tirade …

Carrie Prejean … taking dumb blonde all the way to the bank.

Last week Ms Prejean announced that she would star in new $1.5m ad campaign funded by the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Oh … and one more …

Q: Why do men like blonde jokes??
A: Because they can understand them.

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Three stories about orphans in Africa in today’s news are overlapping interestingly.

The first is a follow the the story I posted recently on the new flap over Madonna’s efforts to adopt again, and the reaction of a guy named Nutt from Save the Children.

He’s now ramping up the media attention with an appearance on CNN and rehashing his hash.

Well, would it not be better to solve the problems of Malawi and help Malawians solve their own problems by educating their children and feeding their children and helping their children so they can get off that cycle of poverty? Not just literally transporting the whole population of Malawi.

That dovetails nicely into this report out of Ghana that starts off with numbers:

Available statistics collated by Ghana AIDS Commission indicate that about 160,000 children have been made orphans through HIV/AIDS in the country.

Then, this one out of Kenya states that 2.5 million orphans in that country will be shifted from children’s homes to relatives.

It seems that the Kenyan government is looking to “trace the orphan’s relatives” because, according to the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, “We want to ensure that these orphans lead a humane life. We want to link them with relatives, where they will live a good life with other children.”

Good luck with that.

How families as poor as most in Kenya are are to be expected to absorb 2.5 million children, in addition to the large families they already have, is a question not addressed, although the country is in the process of amending their Children Act to penalize abusers.

“We have had an increase in defilement, child labour and child neglect cases, and the amendments will ensure the perpetrators are equally punished,” she warned.

… Kenyan children were at a higher risk of trafficking since the country was a transit, selling and receiving centre.

Unhelpfully, Mr. Nutt chose to lob a crap grenade into any potential discussions that might include the fact that there are so few options for so many children:

But we know from our case studies in working in Liberian orphanages that in many cases, these children are [picked] off the Internet, without much research going on, and sometimes it doesn’t work out, and the children can be sent back to their own country. And all that has happened is that that child’s life has been messed around with.

I’d like to see his stats on that, then sit down with some Liberian kids without families their opinions.

So … what do we have here?

Save the Children attempting to prop up the notion that organizations like theirs have it within their power to turn Africa around and make it a peachy place to be born … soliciting donations all the way.

Ghana trying hard to address the issues of the devastation of AIDS in their part of the continent through education and development projects … just up Save the Children’s alley and part of their mandate for the past 30+ years. And, gee, problem solved, heh?

Kenya passing the buck big time as they shove 2.5 million kids off their rolls and into homes where they will do little but add to the strain of families barely making it, thereby guaranteeing that many of these children will be worked, starved and abused.

Three stories, one news day.

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Sam got a cool camera for Christmas from Uncle and Auntie … thank you!!! … and shoots and shoots and shoots. He has quite a good eye and takes some amazing pix, which has been no surprise considering his talents.

What has been a revelation, however, is what Cj accomplishes when she’s behind the lens. Of course, her model is top-class …

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Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

As seen in yesterday’s post, we celebrated Sam’s 6th birthday with a party on my veranda. I’m prompted by the event to wax on about life in the greater world … the world that includes other countries, cultures and concepts.

Not only did we have people from Seychelles, Cambodia, the US, the UK, Norway and Australia here, Sam also received birthday greetings … via Skype, facebook and emails from a whole bunch of folks in America, Sis … New Zealand-born, now living near Portland, OR … Sas and Miss B … born in India … in Luxembourg, Liv-Synnove in Norway, Calum in Kenya, Nadiera in Sri Lanka, Mervyn in China, Clint in Lebanon, Oscar in Finland, and friends living here from France, South Africa, and so on.

The fact that the world is small should be an easy one for all to take onboard, but one that appears to elude far too many on this tiny, interconnected planet. Our differences pale in comparison to our similarities, yet seem to get most of the focus outside social networks like facebook and myspace, and blogs, where people tend to go to look for like-minded folks to share with.

We’re a simple species, apparently, and although we can conceive the most amazing ideas and birth creatures that bring us together in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, we tend to lose the plot more than we follow.

I can only hope that the closeness that happens when people from so many different places and backgrounds communicate … I’m not talking about the pinheaded fools who try to turn chat to porn every chance they get — boring, stupid gits, they are — but those who build bridges and lifelong friendships with people they never would have had a chance to know before the world shrunk … will eventually make a huge difference for the positive and lead us away from our base nature and move us into a new realm where we are happier to share hugs than lob grenades.

And send birthday wishes to a little boy in Seychelles.

Cool.

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