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My Favorite (Unofficial) Water Conservation PSAs

Water conservation messages are usually 60% boring and 40% preachy; here are two from Australia created by The Chardonnay Club that are just 100% funny. As you might guess, they are not officially sanctioned and, as one video notes in the endframe, “Never ever will be authorized by the Queensland Government Brisbane.” Maybe that’s why I love them!

The first is a parody of government psa spots that urge citizens to report friends & neighbors for water violations. Just call 1-800-DOBBER (For the non-Australians, a dobber is what we’d call a snitch or tattletale.)

“Warren’s Water Warehouse”  is a hysterical take-off on those low-brow, low-fi clearance sale spots we’re all so fond of…

Aussies + Fish = Funny

Two recent items prove the equation true!

First, it was raining fish from the sky! Twice! Read all about the ultimate fish story from the territorial town of Lajamanuat via ntnews.com.au and don’t miss the memorable first-person account in the story:

Mrs Balmer, the aged care co-ordinator at the Lajamanu Aged Care Centre, said her family interstate thought she had lost the plot when she told them about the event.

“I haven’t lost my marbles,” she said, reassuring herself. “Thank god it didn’t rain crocodiles.”

And there’s hard proof that Mrs. Balmer hasn’t lost her marbles: she had enough of her wits about her to snap the following photo of some of the fish collected in a bucket!

The second item again involves fish showing up in an unexpected spot. In the inland community of Mutchilba, Tony Bambino nabbed the catch of the day by grabbing a 30kg barra from an irrigation channel with his bare hands!

While driving home he spotted the huge fish swimming in the Sunwater irrigation channel.

“It was about 4pm in the arvo and I saw something shiny in the water,” he said. “Once I realised what it was, I grabbed it by the mouth with my hands. It took about 10-15 minutes to catch it and the hardest part was pulling it out of the channel and into the back of my ute.”

The story at Cairns.com.au notes that “Mr Bambino said the irony of his large catch was that people spend thousands of dollars on fishing rods and lures and he managed to bag one driving along the channel.”

And there a photo! (Jennifer Eliot, Cairns.com.au) Good thing, or we’d all think he’d lost the plot!

No Blame in the Catchment Detox Game

If you imagine you could do a better job managing waterways than the powers that be, now you can put your theories to the test, with no one to blame for bad decisions but yourself!

Catchment Detox is an easy-to-play but tough-to-master online simulation game from Australia. You’re in charge of successfully managing a river catchment while creating a sustainable, healthy economy. In 100 turns, you decide how and where to plant crops, when and where to log forests, where and when to build factories or set up national parks. Not so easy, because to do well you’ve got to make money, provide adequate water, skirt environmental problems and still provide food and economic support for the citizenry!

Keep your eye on the impact stats to compare the economic and environmental pros and cons of your decisions.

Some activities bring in more money, but use a lot of water. Others environmental benefits, but not much income. You can add or remove as many activities as you like (until you run out of money and/or turns!)

Good thing I’m not making any such decisions…here’s a screen capture of my game on Turn 20…water status “terrible” and almost broke! And logging those forests would be quick money in the bank….hmmmmm.

Par-tay! Croc Inna House!

If you really want to  get the party started, how about throwing on a skimpy bikini and cage dancing on a crocodile trap, like these blon…uh, spirited young Australian ladies? Despite ongoing and frequent warnings in the media and from wildlife officials, it seems the lure of croc-infested waters is too strong for for exuberant partiers and sportsmen to resist.

From a November 19 story at www.netnews.com.au,

.

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ANOTHER photo has emerged of more “idiots” risking life and limb by larking about atop a crocodile trap in the Territory.

These bikini-clad ladies were spotted singing in the rain, using champagne bottles as microphones, while standing on a croc trap in a crocodile-infested river in Maningrida.

Their mates were in a fishing boat several metres away taking photos.

The image, taken at the weekend, surfaced yesterday – a day after the Northern Territory News published a picture on the front page of two male tourists tempting fate by doing a similar thing at Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu National Park.

The hooligans were laughing and joking as they posed as cowboys riding atop the trap.

Park ranger and crocodile expert Garry Lindner said the behaviour of the men was absurd.

“Crocs are attracted to the bait in the traps, so it is extremely dangerous to fool around like this,” he said.

Read the rest of the story here, where they have thoughtfully included these witty obervations from readers:

One reader suggested the photo caption should have read: “Dinner is served! Tonight’s menu features two courses of stupid.”

And another browser said: “I don’t know about a croc trap but it certainly works as a moron trap.”

Also worth perusing is the “Croc Bait” photo gallery at ntnews.com.au where you’ll find this hysterical photo series with captions: (All photos by Doron Aviguy)

Fisherman Novon Mashiah thinks he's safe from this croc on a Territory river.

Fisherman Novon Mashiah thinks he is safe from this croc on a Territory river.

But the croc thinks he might not be so safe.

But the croc thinks he might not be so safe.

This monster croc came within a metre of making a meal of fisherman Novon Mashiah on a Territory river.

This monster croc came within a metre of making a meal of fisherman Novon Mashiah on a Territory river.

WTF: New Water Trivial Features Update

MOM ARMED WITH A WATER BOTTLE SAVES SON FROM ATTACKING COUGAR

A 5 year old British Columbia boy is recovering after a cougar attacked him on a family hike at Colville National Forest. As his father Mark Impey recounted, he heard his wife and son’s screams, ran to check and

…he saw that a big cat had his son, Simon, by the head and his wife, Dawn, was trying furiously to fend the animal off with a metal water bottle.

“I really think it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Impey said in an interview.

Dawn’s repeated blows with the water bottle finally forced the cougar to retreat into the bush.

WTF footnote: Just try that with some flimsy, disposable bottle. You couldn’t fight off a house cat with your Dasani.

Read the full story at www.chandlerswatch.com

PEE MINUS 5 SECONDS AND COUNTING

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 10th, sky watchers across North America watched in curious awe as the space shuttle Discovery glided silently overhead, sprouting a flamboyant comet-like tail.

In Madison, Wisconsin, photographer Abe Megahed witnessed a similar display: “The shuttle was sporting a massive curved plume. What could it be? Something venting? Reaction Control System thrusters? A massive, record-breaking urine dump?”

It was in fact, his last guess. The shuttle, while docked with the International Space Station, sprayed about 150 pounds of waste water and pee-pee out into space on September 10. Shuttle pilot Kevin Ford was scheduled to carry out a number of “waste water” dumps around the time these observations were noted. Pristine water supplies and condensates were also dumped overboard in preparation for landing on Thursday, Sept. 10th.

WTF footnote: Do the astronauts eat tomatos? If so, someone should research whether this could cause tomatos to grow on the moon.

Read more and see photos of the zero-gravity sewage here at www.jimonlight.com.

SWEET AUSSIE TEENS HOOK DIRTY BAG OF CASH

Australian police said two teenage brothers reeled in a plastic bag stuffed with $86,000 while fishing for catfish in Tuntable Creek, near the town of Lismore.

The boys spent three weeks deciding on a plan of action before telling their mother and obtaining legal advice on how best to turn over the cash, The Times of London reported.  Mama knows best! From UPI.com,

The mother of the boys, who requested anonymity, said the family did not want to keep the money because it might be “dirty.”

“We just don’t want any trouble,” one of the brothers said. “We were sweet before the money and we’ll be sweet afterwards.”

WTF footnote: An estimated two-thirds of media comments by teen boys include the phrase  “We don’t want any trouble.”

Wine Cheaper than Water? Crikey!

Stock-up time! We heard it through the grapevine… there’s a wine glut in Australia to the point that wine prices have been driven lower than some bottled waters. Where are we headed here? Maybe the 21st-century religious miracle will be changing wine into water! (Last fall, we posted here about cheaper-than-water alcohol in the UK.) According to www.news.com.au,

Major wine retailer Dan Murphy’s is currently selling cleanskins for $1.99 a bottle – cheaper than some bottled water – due to the oversupply crisis that has led to some vineyard owners leaving grapes to wither on the vine.
The unprecedented meltdown in the Oz wine biz has also precipitated a fire-sale of unprofitable vineyards. Australia’s biggest winemaker, Foster’s, is selling 31 of its vineyards across the country. Winemakers pow-wowed at an emergency meeting and concluded that 20% of vines needed to be phased out in the next three years to correct imbalance. 
Strong export sales led to over-optimistic outlooks for Australia’s wine industry and a doubling of vine-producing areas over the past decade. But forecasts of more than $3 billion in export sales by next year have been dashed by overseas competition, an excess of cheaper wines and the global financial crisis.
 

h2o mp3: We’re Mostly Made of Water: Kid Sam

Kid Sam is a duo of two cousins, Kishore and Kieran Ryan, from the climate change bellweather of Australia (Melbourne, Victoria) so they’ve got extra cred backing this song in my mind. Rhythmic, clangy, easy to love with a tinge of folk influence… gives me a pleasant case of the head bobs.

Lyrics:
the earth is slowly dying
the icebergs all are melting
they melt into the sea
and the sea keeps on rising
there’s nothing that can stop him
he’s gonna flood the whole world and take back what is his

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/08_were_mostly_made_of_water.mp3]

Download We’re Mostly Made of Water: Kid Sam
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.
Like? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or amazon.com

Only the Best Beverages for our Precious Poopsie!

“Some people love it, some people hate it and think we’re mad but we just love our dogs,” Pets Palace spokeswoman Diane Costa said. “I don’t have children and my four dogs are like children to me so I don’t mind spending money on them.”

Yes, Dianne, we really do understand! But you should know that most of us would never buy our children water (or anything else I can think of) in a handmade, jewel-encrusted bottle!

Nevertheless, Australia’s Pets Palace now offers Bellaqua, a crystal-clear sparking natural mineral water just for pets.

Via news.com.au,

While are humans tightening belts during the credit crunch, it seems money is no object to certain favoured furry friends, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Sydney-based animal product company Pets Palace has launched a range of natural mineral water for dogs that’s more expensive that bottled water for humans.

And if you think crystal-jugged mineral water is where it ends at the Pet Palace, you’d be wrong.

Pets Palace sells, via the internet, dog joggers, lifejackets, pirate and skeleton costumes as well as sunglasses.

Ms Costa said she had spent more than $2000 on clothing for her dogs Lulu, Honey, Coco and Annie and would not think twice about food and water.

“Pets really are one of the family. We treat them and spoil them,” she said.

“It’s just as much fun to put a dog in a cute sweatshirt as it is a child so why not offer them a decent drink every now and then.

“As humans we drink bottled water and every now and then it feels good to give them bottle plus the bottles are cool.”

Bellaqua sells for $42.50 a box of four (that’s about $33 US).  For the less flashy pooches, there’s Pet Pop, available in colorful hues and flavors like Luscious Lulu, Lemon Lola, Betty Blu and Candy Pop, $22.95 for a box of four (US $17.50).

Bottled Water + Solar Power = Scare in the Air

Nervous flyer? Then here’s another thing to worry about when you’re airborne: Is dangerous bottled water perched up in the cockpit, ready to ignite?

“Doomsday Jim,” this blog’s eyes and ears in OZ, tips us to this story. From the Courier Mail Queensland,

A bottle of water caused a fire in the cockpit of a Airbus A320 passenger aircraft as it was about to land at a Queensland airport.

According to an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report, the pilots were lining up on the runway when they smelled smoke last month.

It was coming from the cover of a log carried in the cockpit to record inflight defects in mechanical, navigation, electrical, hydraulic and radio equipment.

The incident was reported to the bureau, which investigated and concluded a water bottle was to blame.

“The sun was shining through a water bottle at the side of the cockpit,” the ATSB report said.

“The bottle was focusing the sunlight like a magnifying glass on the cover of the cabinet defect log, which began burning.”

One reason I love Australian news media is their mastery of the subtle-but-clever news story punch line. And in this story, it’s a winner!

The bureau did not say whether the water in the bottle was used to douse the fire.

h2o mp3: A Water Song: Extradition

Fair warning, this is a weird one, but I’m posting it today because I’m imagining it’s just the sort of entertainment that likely took place at Earth Day celebrations in the early seventies! From the music blog swanfungus, where I got the track,

“Extradition were an obscure early seventies Australian psych-folk group…What sets them apart is how they shade their haunting and graceful compositions with an adventurous use of natural elements as instruments including leaves, branches, water, sticks and stones along with more exotic instrumentation of Chinese and Turkish gongs, harmonium, harpsichord, tablas and a Lebanese bell tree.”

Lyrics:
Father of water speaks
in the whistling spring
drink deeply of the song.
He touched my head with the crown of white
peacefully, peacefully
I was here when the first rains fell
water sings a song

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/extradition_-_a_water_song.mp3]

Download A Water Song – Extradition
This is a full-quality 7MB mp3 file (because I can’t find anywhere for you to buy it!)