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The Good, the bad, and the cuddly of the week – Lady soldiers and pregnant ladies, including Lily Allen

17 Jun

The Good – Female Soldiers to Join the Frontline Next Year
If you believe in equality in the workplace, you’ll be happy to know that male soldiers have been told they’ll be joined by women on the frontline in Afghanistan in 2012. Of course, they’ll have to pass the same physical endurance tests as their male counterparts. But I think it’s a winning idea. These days, it seems that so much of a soldier’s role (particularly in Afghanistan) is to win ‘hearts and minds’. I’m going to make a massive generalisation here but I think most women have a strong sense of empathy which makes them ideal for this kind of work. The other point is this – women are still paid less than men for the same work, and are still vastly under-represented at the executive level in the corporate sector. If we want to achieve equality then we need to push some boundaries – and this is a big one. As the Prime Minister has said in the past, everyone deserves the right to die for their country.

The Bad – Your sleeping position can affect stillbirth
This is a rather alarming story. But, if you see knowledge as being power, then you could also see it as positive information. New Zealand researchers have found pregnant women who sleep on their back or right side the night before giving birth are twice as likely to have a stillborn baby compared with those who sleep on their left side. The authors said restricted blood flow to the baby when a pregnant woman lay on her back or right side for long periods might explain the link. But before you panic, you need to know that the ‘research’ was based on new mums who were asked to recall their sleeping position about 25 days after the event. In the haze of post-birth crazy hormones, I could barely remember what I did 5 minutes ago, let alone 25 days ago – so take it all with a grain of salt. Carrying a child is a massive, massive responsibility for a woman. There are rules about what you’re supposed to eat, to drink and how you should exercise – and now, it looks like there may be some rules on the way about how you’re supposed to sleep (left side, not right). But I guess if it prevents even one stillbirth, it’s worthwhile.

The Cuddly – Lily Allen Gets Married
Gee it was refreshing to see a celeb bride who didn’t cash in on her wedding day and wasn’t hiding under umbrellas or a tarpaulin due to a magazine exclusive. As the photo shows, Lily was like any other bride, allowing nosey onlookers to get pretty close. She didn’t even seem to mind the paps being there. Nice. And – just to put the icing on the wedding cake – Lily and her husband announced to the wedding congregation that they are expecting a baby. Doubly nice. Lily has suffered two miscarriages – one of them at 6 months. I sincerely hope it all works out this time. Coincidentally, I saw this gorgeous video tribute to Lily Allen, performed by the London-based Capital Children’s Choir. The song is called ‘Chinese’. Allen wrote it for her mum, and it highlights the beauty of simple domestic life, which she has clearly been searching for. I hope she’s found it.

The Good, the bad and the cuddly of the week that was

9 Jun

Good – NSW Government Considering Quiet Carriages on trains.
So apparently the NSW will consider pinching an idea from QLD where they’ve introduced ‘quiet carriages’ on trains – in other words – mobile phone and loud music free parts of the train. Read about it here. Great idea! I’m a slightly nosey person, and sometimes I eavesdrop on other people’s phone conversations, and they are mostly very very boring. They go like this. ‘Hi, it’s me.’ (who else would it be? Could you imagine saying ‘Hi, it’s not me.’) ‘I’m on the train/bus/walking in Martin Place/etc.’ (Who cares where you are? Is that really what you called to say?) I think such mundane (and often loud) conversations should be restricted to certain carriages so all the phone users can bore the pants off each other with their ravings. Can you believe they’re already doing this in QLD? A good idea from north of the border. Who knew? They may not be able to sort out daylight saving – but they’ve got this nailed. Let’s hope the NSW Government takes it up and extends the mobile-free zone to other enclosed spaces like cafes, shops and restaurants.

The Bad – Sarah Ferguson bares her soul in a new documentary series.
Poor Fergie. She just doesn’t get it. The latest in the royal black-sheep saga is that she’s been paid $300,000 for a six part doco called ‘Finding Sarah’ on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The series follows her ‘therapy’ to deal with issues from her childhood such as abuse at the hands of her mother who Fergie says would threaten to ‘beat the devil out of her’. Her mother also said a vein on her forehead was evidence she was the anti-christ.”When she used to hit me because I didn’t sit on my potty or wouldn’t eat, a little vein would come up on the centre of my head near my red hair …”It’s just the way I was brought up. No wonder I’m so flawed.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sarah’s Sydney-based sister Jane Ferguson has seen the show and says she ‘did not have the same experiences growing up.” I understand Fergie is skint and needs the money. But this isn’t the way to do it. After the recent scandal where she was caught selling access to her former husband, Prince Andrew, I think public sympathy for Fergie has run out. And how must her poor daughters feel – seeing their Mum having to expose herself in this way. How about just getting a normal job, like the rest of us, to make ends meet?

The Cuddly – baby scared by Dad’s snoring.
Yes – it looks like a set-up. But it’s cute. Watch it for a smile.

The Good, the bad, and the cuddly of the week that was

2 Jun
Kristy Hinze and Jim Clark

The Good – Hotness Delusion Syndrome in Men Over 40
I love this story. Demographer Bernard Salt has officially given a name to the syndrome suffered by a plethora of available older men – hotness delusion. At the age of 44, there are 15% fewer available men than women – so they are – to put it bluntly – ‘in demand’. The Herald Sun  reported “An available male in his 40s receives a lot of attention because he’s the only thing going around,” Mr Salt said. “He can be balding and paunchy, but this is not what he sees in the mirror. He sees nothing less than trim, taut and, so he is told, terrific.”
And – we have plenty of real life examples to draw from – Donald Trump, Hugh Hefner, Greg Norman, Jim Clark (married to model Kristy Hinze). None of these men are ‘hot’ but they’ve all got much younger, much prettier wives and partners. So what do they have? Money. Success. And a serious case of ‘hotness delusion’. My message to older men who think they are ‘all that’. You’re not. You’re just scarce. And if you think you’re being chased because you’re hot, you’re deluded.

The Bad – Four Corners expose of the live cattle trade to Indonesia
This important story made my blood boil. It was truly shocking. Much of it I couldn’t watch. It was a terribly graphic portrayal of the torture and suffering endured by Australian cattle in a number of Indonesian abattoirs. There were horrific images of cattle slipping to the ground on wet cement before being tied up, causing so much distress the cows were bashing their heads against the cement floors. To top it off, the slaughtemen were using blunt knives, requiring 10 cuts to cause a lingering and painful death. There was heartbreaking footage of one cow quivering with fear as it watched the rest of its herd slaughtered and sliced up. I have no idea of what happens in the cow brain – but I’m sure they sense death, and they can experience fear. By the end of the week, the Government had banned the live trade of Australian cattle to 11 Indonesian abattoirs, which is a good step. The next step is to ensure practices in these abattoirs are changed. The use of a stun gun to render a cow unconscious before death would be an improvement. The point is this – I’m a carnivore. I accept that animals are killed so I can eat them. But I do not accept for a minute that they need to be tortured in the process. A dignified and humane death is the right of every animal.

The Cuddly – video of a kitten being cuddled by its mummy
I am not cat lover. In fact, I’m a cat disliker. But this video of a Mummy cat cuddling its kitten has almost turned me. Almost. Watch it here to finish your week with a smile.

Bad – four corners