A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times



Of course I love ya darling 
You're a bloody top Notch bird 
And when I say you're gorgeous 
I mean every single word 

So ya bum is on the big side 
I don't mind a bit of flab 
It means that when I'm ready 
There's somethin' there to grab 

So your belly isn't flat no more 
I tell ya, I don't care 
So long as when I cuddle ya 
I can Get my arms round there 

No woman born who is your age 
Has nice round perky breasts 
They just gave in to gravity 
But I know ya did ya best 

I'm tellin ya the truth now 
I never tell ya lies 
I think its very sexy 
That you've got dimples on ya thighs 

I swear on me grannies grave now 
The moment that we met 
I thought you was as good as 
I was ever gonna get 

No matter wot you look like 
I'll always love ya dear 
Now shut up while the soccer's on 
And fetch another beer

And all that money wasted 
on widescreen television 
the pictures lost behind your arse 
he says with no derision...



KEEPING IT REALSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend



Once upon a time there was a cloud and as is usual with many clouds, we had rain falling from it. And when that rain falls, it falls on what is commonly called a catchment. And the catchment is the area that surprisingly ‘catches’ the water that you drink. And it may be nowhere near where you live. It could be up in the hills or some other place, depending on where you’re from.

So the water falls in the catchment and at this time, it’s relatively clean. We say relatively, because the atmosphere is not real clean either, so the rain is known to pick up stuff from the atmosphere and interestingly enough, it actually lands on the ground a little acidic (acid rain?), which means it can actually take stuff out of the soil like heavy metals which will from then on, remain in the water.

Anyway, some of that water makes its way through the ground into what we call the water table (Ground water). And even though any water that comes into the water table gets purified a little by the great filter that is the earth, it still needs a little work even though some people are still happy to drink it.

However...

This ground water can have a lot of stuff in it too - again, those beastly heavy metals. And a lot of Australian (because that’s where I am writing this from) water isn’t good for you because of the content of these metals that you really don’t want to be consuming.

Fortunately...

We on the eastern coast of Australia are not too reliant on ground water. Instead, most of our supply comes from what is classed as surface water. Water that runs down the catchment, is stored in a dam and comes to you via those awfully nice people at the local civic water treatment plant.

And that’s how it works. The water runs across the ground and it picks up all the stuff that’s on the ground with it. And what runs around on the ground too? Wildlife, that’s what. They run around, pick up some ‘stuff’ to eat as food and drop other ‘stuff’. Domestic animals like cows and sheep do the same. They walk around, eat and drop ‘stuff’. 

And the point is that all that ‘stuff’, one way or the other, ends up in your water supply. Which is ok if you’re a kangaroo, wallaby, sheep or a cow because intestinally speaking, you’re good with that stuff. But we humans are a little more delicate that that and are not designed to deal with That kind of ‘stuff’ like they can, we simply don’t have the antibodies for it.

A quick fix...

Now when you think about water treatment, and what the council/water supply company does for us, you may be shocked to learn that they only really concentrate on trying to get rid of the stuff that’s going to kill you quickly, mainly because that’s the stuff that will get the most media coverage in a worst case scenario. They concentrate on the stuff that comes from the stuff in the previously mentioned catchment that they are looking for; the bacteria, the cryptosporidium, giardia, e-coli, all those sorts of things, they are trying to get rid of. And they do all that in the treatment plants through processes like chlorination and sand filtering, taking out the big chunks while trying to kill all the bacteria. 

This is pretty good news for us as it means you’re probably
not going to die through drinking your tap water.

However (again)... There’s a lot of other problems that come with chlorination and one of those is that there’s a whole host of organic compounds already in the water that the chlorine changes from being harmless into being quite toxic. Chlorinated organics they’re called and there are more than 6000 different known compounds created through chlorine treatment. And chlorine itself is not good for you either... it is not healthy to drink water with chlorine in it.

So while the water companies are concentrating on getting rid of the stuff that will kill you quickly and hey they’re doing the best they can. It’s really bad news when a major outbreak of gastro breaks out. it’s not good for their business or the local health authority.

And what about all of the daily basis little stuff that never really shows up? Where twenty or thirty years down the line, dying of cancers, or other diseases won’t even register on the radar because you can’t immediately put it down to the toxins left in your water? 

So water treatment is like a huge balancing act, a trade-off where they
do something about this which means they can’t do anything about that.

So to quickly recap, there’s a whole lot of compounds created that are not immediately toxic but must have some form of cumulative effect on us.

And then there’s another problem...

Your water has to now get from the water treatment plant to your tap. And in that journey, there’s a whole lot of other stuff that can happen because the water treatment plant could be thirty, forty or fifty odd or more kilometres away from you and that means a whole lot of pipes, some of them in not so good a condition and sudden changes in pressure can cause huge problems in a water supply pipes. When pressures drop, vacuums are created, along with backflows.

Pressure differentials can be induced by many things. Like the ground changing - causing cracks in the pipes, people accidentally digging through them etc. 

So the water that was treated at the treatment plant, was on its way to your house, and it has now gone via the ground for a while. And then there are the other pipes that run alongside your water main, sewage pipes for instance. And sometimes our digger friend is more than capable of breaking through both pipes together and inadvertently ‘connecting’ them underground. Cross-contamination they call it, and it happens quite often too.

So even though the water was safe to drink when it left the treatment plant (if it was), by the time it gets to your tap you really don’t know what you are getting. 

You honestly don’t know.

And there’s a whole lot of stuff I can guarantee is in your water that you don’t even want to know about. One case in particular was the Sydney water crisis where everybody in Brisbane was saying “Ha Ha don’t go to Sydney, they have bad water”


Well at the time, Queensland deemed fit to do something about it. And the thing they deemed to do was... NOT MEASURE for CRYPTOSPORIDIUM GIARDIA!! “We don’t want to know,” they said. And do you know why they don’t want to know? Because there is NOTHING they can do about it. There is no physical thing you can do at that scale to get rid of Cryptosporidium giardia. It’s in your water, it’s in our water, it’s in every water supply across the globe.

Everybody will know somebody who has had some form of giardia OR a bit of a tummy bug OR some degree of unexplained gastro-intestinal distress. 

"It was probably just something from the water,"comes the off pat dismissal..

So the point is you don’t know, you really don’t know how pure your water is, even if it was treated properly at the treatment plant, it come a long way to get to your door. A long, long, very long way.

And a lot of things can happen to it en-route...

It can therefore be concluded that the only sensible thing to do, is to treat all drinking water at the point of use. It’s the only way you know that what you’re getting is what you really want... 




THE LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIEDSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend



Whatever the latest food trend—chia seeds, coconut flour, kale chips—you're on it. But you might be skimping on the most basic thing you can do for your health: chugging enough water. 

"I see this happening a lot with busy women," notes Pamela Peeke, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Body for Life for Women. "They become so absorbed with work, answering e-mails and texting that they neglect to grab a water bottle." Soon they're parched and draggy.

Other signs of mild dehydration: muscle cramps, dizziness and headaches. Women who are even slightly dehydrated may find it harder to concentrate than those who aren't, according to a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition. And if your body is regularly running low on water, you're more likely to be constipated, too.

Brace yourselves... Dehydration tends to happen most during the summer months.

"On top of transporting nutrients to your cells and protecting your kidneys, water also regulates body temperature," Dr. Peeke explains. As you heat up, your skin starts pumping out water to cool you off, which can put you at a deficit if you're not careful. But don't sweat it... this expert guide makes it easy to stay quenched all season long.

So how much fluid should I drink every day? 


You've probably heard you should have around eight glasses daily, but it turns out that's a little low. (This popular recommendation has been around mainly because it's easy to remember—8 ounces eight times per day.)

"A good baseline is 2.2 litres, or about 9 cups of fluid a day," Dr. Peeke says. You may need even more if you're overweight, live at a high altitude or are working in extremely hot weather, all of which are dehydrating factors. Experts agree that your best gauge is that time-tested one: checking your pee. "You want it to be the colour of lemonade," says Kim Larson, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

If it's medium to dark yellow, down a glass, stat (latin for this instant). Sorry, but you don't get any bonus points for clear urine, a sign that you're actually drinking more than you need. According to a major review published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, there's no significant evidence that guzzling extra glasses will help flush your body of toxins, improve skin tone or reduce headaches any better than being adequately hydrated will.

But wait—don't I have to get more when I exercise? 


Well that depends.

If you'll be indoors and have managed to stay hydrated all day before the workout, then no. But if you're in the summer heat, you can easily sweat out the equivalent of 4 cups of fluid in an hour-long outdoor session. In that case, drink 20 ounces of water an hour before, and try to take in about one half of a cup during every 15 minutes of activity, Larson advises.

Going for a jog first thing in the morning? Have a drink beforehand. And if you're training for a marathon or playing a sport for a few hours, weigh yourself before and after, says Leslie Bonci, RD, a sports nutritionist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre: "For every pound you've lost during your workout, drink 24 ounces of fluid to get hydrated again."

Well does my daily morning coffee count? 


Surprise: It does, per a new study from the University of Birmingham in England.

Researchers asked java drinkers to sip either coffee or water and found that caffeine isn't dehydrating. There's a caveat, though. If you never drink caffeine and then have a cup of coffee, it acts as a diuretic and draws water from your body, explains Leslie Spry, MD, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation.

"But if you have coffee regularly," he adds, "your body becomes habituated and it doesn't have the same effect." Other beverages, including tea, milk, OJ and sports drinks, also work, although you don't want to over caffeinate or down too much sugar. What to avoid? Soft drinks, even diet kinds. "They have salt, which dehydrates you," Dr. Peeke says. "So many women think, Ahh, how refreshing! But soda just sucks fluid out of your cells."

How much does the water that I consume from foods like fruit matter? 


Water in food accounts for about 20 percent of people's daily fluid needs, according to the Institute of Medicine. "And the hydration you get from food is just as good as what you get from drinking water," says Dr. Peeke.

For example, a grilled chicken breast, served with cauliflower and one-half cup of spinach, nets you almost a full cup of water. There's even a hidden perk to watery bites: They may even help you slim down.

If I drink a lot one day, can I drink less the next? 


Reality check: You are not a camel. Human bodies weren't designed to store excess water. "After a couple of hours, you just pee it out," says Bonci.

The reality is, you need to reach your H2O goal every single day to sidestep energy dips and other health troubles. If you tend to skimp, especially at times when you've got a lot going on, tap an app to help; try Waterlogged, which will send you reminders to drink up. The good news is that even if you get seriously thirsty and realize that you haven't been drinking enough water, your body will rebound after you down a glass or two. Cheers!

Do I really need a water filter? 


Despite mandated monitoring, "there can still be trace amounts of impurities in tap water, including lead that leaches from plumbing," explains Cheryl Luptowski, home-safety expert for *NSF International. Even very low levels of lead in water have been linked to cognitive issues, particularly in children. First, call your supplier to get your water report. A simple carbon filter may be enough. But if there's just a tiny bit of arsenic, lead or perchlorates, you'll need a more comprehensive home water treatment system designed for your issues. A system like ours, the eSpring water treatment system, is just what you need.



*NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit public health organisation dedicated to maintaining quality standards for food, water, and consumer goods.

The NSF has certified the eSpring Water Treatment System reduces more individual contaminants than any other carbon-based UV filtration system.

The eSpring was also the first home water purifier with carbon/UV technology to be certified as meeting NSF International Standards 42, 53 and 55 for water quality.




STAY HYDRATEDSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend




I had the misfortune to need new tyres on the old jalopy last week and was surprised to learn that Ford are about to phase out their much beloved Escort and a young fellow by the name of Tony Blair is tipped to be the UK’s next Prime Minister. Okay, it wasn’t quite that bad, but if you’ve ever sat in a waiting room of any kind, you can’t fail to have noticed that the magazines are very rarely current.

And that’s something that the medical profession have noticed too with The British Medical Journal recently publishing a study by a professor Bruce Arroll from The University of Aukland in New Zealand who set out to see exactly what was going on.

Motivated by his own frustration, Professor Arroll purchased 87 magazines, including non-gossipy ones like Time magazine, the Economist, and National Geographic, and gossipy ones, which he defined as having five or more photographs of celebrities on the front cover, and he subsequently placed them in a family practice office in Aukland.

Forty seven of the magazines were less than 60 days old, while the rest were between 3 and 12 months old. Each magazine was individually tagged and monitored twice a week. The purpose of the study was to find out if the new or old magazines disappeared first, to measure the rate of loss, and to determine if the type of magazine affected the rate of loss.

After a month, the results were analysed. 47% of the magazines had disappeared. 59% of the recent magazines had disappeared versus 27% of the older ones. The gossipy magazines disappeared at a rate fourteen times higher than the non-gossipy ones. Of the 27 gossipy magazines, only one was left.

The authors of the study concluded that waiting room proprietors could save money by only offering old copies of the Economist and Time magazine. It’s an interesting recommendation and one that could be improved by suggesting that they only have copies of magazines written in Swahili. Maybe supermarkets could embrace this principle and reduce their own ‘shrinkage’ by only stocking crap which nobody wants. Or better still, clear the shelves completely - That’ll stop the buggers.

I don’t suppose doctors/dentists/hospitals/car tyre fitters are major marketing people though, so they’re probably not that interested in giving people a particularly better experience. Nor are they that interested in what the research actually means, But I am (oh really? Who would have thought?).

If you take the fact that the gossipy magazines are fourteen times more likely to disappear from doctors waiting rooms than serious ones, what does that actually imply? What might it imply? Is it obvious? Give it a bit of thought before scrolling down to see some of the things I think it might mean…

Gossip magazines are generally more interesting than serious magazines.

Ill people are more interested in gossip magazines than serious magazines.

People who are interested in gossip magazines are more likely to steal than people who are interested in serious magazines.

People who are interested in serious magazines are wealthier and have no reason to steal magazines.

People who are interested in gossip magazines have worse health than people who are interested in serious magazines.

People value gossip magazines less than serious magazines and so are more prepared to steal them.

People value gossip magazines more than serious magazines and so are more likely to steal them.

Gossipy magazine fans are slower readers than serious magazine fans.

Doctor’s patients buy lots of serious magazines and have no reason to steal them.

Gossipy magazines are just more popular than serious magazines. The rate of disappearance is in line with sales volumes.

There are probably plenty more possible conclusions, (and I’d love to hear what you think they might be) and that’s the problem with research of all kinds… it’s very easy to jump on the most obvious meaning when the truth might be far more complex. Without further research, it’s impossible to conclude anything concrete from the study which might answer the simple question – why? The truth may be a combination of several factors.

Whenever you see the results of a study or piece of research, it’s worth giving serious thought to what it might actually mean. Seizing on the first – and most obvious conclusions – can send you down blind alleys and cause you to miss things that are a little more subtle but a lot more useful. You might return to the most obvious conclusion, but having picked up many useful insights along the way.

In my own reception area at Localad Services HQ (the more popular of the two uses for our dining room), I have solved the problem of magazine theft completely by only having copies of this blog permanently displayed on the computer’s main monitor available for all and sundry to read.


STOP PRESS...

I just checked and I appear to have more magazines there than when I first started writing this crap!



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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