Saturday, 23 March 2013

Australian author comes second in prestigious book prize

Queensland author Loani Prior has narrowly missed out on giving Australia its second successive victory in The Bookseller publishing trade journal's prestigious Diagram Prize. Ms Prior's How Tea Cosies Changed the World received 31% of the votes cast in the competition to choose the Oddest Book Title of the year just behind the winning Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop with 38%. Last year the Australian published Cooking with Poo was a clear-cut winner.

Horace Bent, The Bookseller's diarist and custodian of the prize, said: "In Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop the public have chosen a hugely important work regarding the best way to protect one's fowl from the fairy realm's most bothersome creatures. Everyone knows well the hazards cats, dogs and foxes hold for owners of chickens, not to mention red mite, but the public has recognised the need to illuminate this hitherto under-reported nuisance."

Bent added: "It is perhaps no coincidence in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title on our six-strong shortlist. It also illustrates that the public at large is afflicted by an incredible amount of paranoia regarding the threat foreign invaders pose to their property."

The book, published by Conari Press, was written by Reginald Bakeley, with a foreword by its US editor Clint Marsh.

Marsh said: "On behalf of Reginald Bakeley and Conari Press, I am honoured to accept this award. The Diagram Prize celebrates the playfulness that is at the heart of much of the world's best book publishing. Thank you to everyone who voted and allowed Goblinproofing to join the distinguished list of Diagram winners. Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops. Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues."

The full shortlist of this year's entries and their share of the vote:

1) Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley (Conari Press) 38%

2) How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior (Murdoch Books) 31%

3) God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis by Tom Hickman (Square
Peg) 14%

4) How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (Melville House) 13%

5) Was Hitler Ill? by Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)

6) Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne (Foy's Pet Supplies)

Winners of the prize in previous years include Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Bombproof Your Horse and A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

Echoes of Kevin Rudd reach the UK

For any Australian feeling leadership withdrawal symptoms, relief is at hand. Just transfer attention to the mother country.

Boris Johnson: I'd love to be Prime Minister if the public called me to serve - Telegraph:

"Boris Johnson has declared he "wouldn't say no" to being Prime Minister if he were urged to help rescue the country like the Roman leader Cincinnatus."
The Mayor of London gave yet another strong sign that he has leadership ambitions, telling school children that he would be happy to run the country if called upon in a crisis.
He compared himself to the Cincinnatus, who was asked to lead Rome after an invasion even though he was living simply as a farmer at the time.
Asked whether he would like to be Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said: "If, like the Roman leader Cincinnatus, I were to be called from my plough to serve in that office I wouldn't, of course, say no."
He went on to repeat his familiar denial that the chances of actually becoming prime minister are "about as good as my being reincarnated as an olive".
However, he added: "If people genuinely wanted me, of course I would want to do it."

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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Getting the political message across

Now this is what I call an innovative way of using government funds to get a message across:

Indian laptops that crash if users try to remove pictures of minister - Telegraph

"One and a half million laptops given to poor students by India's largest state government crash if their users try to remove pre-loaded screen savers featuring pictures of the new chief minister.

The laptops, which feature pictures of Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam, leader of the socialist Samajwadi Party, appear to be hi-tech election leaflets for the next election.
The laptop's political drawback was discovered by a number of students who tried to remove the screen savers shortly after receiving their £210 Hewlett Packard machines earlier this year."

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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Tony Abbott's huge political mistake

You can take a silvertail out west from Manly but you can’t take the Manly out of a silvertail. Tony Abbott made perhaps the biggest mistake of his election campaigning so far when he preceded his foray into Sydney’s west this weekend with the promise of giving taxpayer’s money to the arch enemy of all rugby league westies - the dreaded Manly Sea Eagles.
The horror among Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers, Canterbury Dogs and Parramatta Eels fans when they read the sporting section of the Sun Herald this morning would be enough to make Julia Gillard think that the Opposition Leader was more unpopular than her.
Other political heavyweights in attendance included the NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, the state Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, and Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop. The NSW government's stadiums strategy has outlined plans to shift funding away from suburban grounds and towards major venues such as ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium. However Abbott raised hopes that one of the NRL's most dilapidated grounds, Brookvale Oval, could finally get the money required to bring it up to standard.
''I am confident that [Manly] will be doing well come September and I hope you aren't the only ones in this room doing well come September,'' Abbott told guests in the Chairman's Lounge, in reference to the coming federal election. ''Opposition is OK but government is better. Opposition is about promising, government is about delivering. I hope I will be in a position to deliver to this club, to this code and to this stadium come September. I look forward to working with my friends and colleagues, the state Treasurer Mike Baird and the state Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard.
If we've got the planning right, if we've got the finances right then we can deliver. And I've got my coach Bronwyn Bishop to make sure I perform on and off the field.'' Former Senate president Kerry Sibraa is heading a Brookvale Oval Committee tasked with finding ways to salvage the historic ground. ''It was great to see Tony there and other respected politicians,'' Sea Eagles general manager David Perry said. ''It was positive what he said in regards to the future of Brookvale Oval.''

Swiss vote 'to crack down on executive pay' - Telegraph

This is one for an Australian party wanting to inject a little class warfare into its campaign!

 Swiss vote 'to crack down on executive pay' - Telegraph:
A plan to limit pay to executives based in Switzerland is expected to be passed on Sunday, as people vote on the referendum against “rip-offs” remuneration.Under the proposal, shareholders will be given the right to hold a binding vote on executive remuneration. Companies would also no longer be able to pay so-called “golden hellos” and “golden parachutes”, whereby senior managers receive a one-time cash lump sum, often running into millions of pounds, when joining or leaving a company.Polls show the majority of Swiss plan to vote “yes” in the referendum, despite businesses warning it will drive out companies from the country.
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