Sunday, January 29, 2006

RED A New Global Initiative

Looks like a logical extension of the wristband idea to me but quite a brilliant strategy and cooperation!!
Bono has launched the Global Development Fund initiative that involves consumers buying a range of RED products [to be progressively launched] that will benefit AIDS and other illnesses in Africa. Spookily for non fashionitstas and fairwear advocates two of the first products will be a red no fees Amex Card and an African design pair of Chuck Taylor Converse shoes. Whatever works?
Check it out here...

Seeing RED
Bono has launched Product RED, a global brand which will raise funds to fight AIDS in Africa. It’s not philanthropy, he said, but ‘doing good, will turn out to be doing good business.’The launch of RED took place in Davos, Switzerland today, when Bono and Bobby Shriver joined with American Express, Gap, Converse and Giorgio Armani to unveil the T-shirts, shoes, sunglasses and credit card which are the first items in the new line.
A portion of profits from the sale of RED products will support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria, particularly programmes in Africa with a focus on women and children.
Bono warned that the world was losing the fight against HIV/Aids - with 6,500 Africans dying of the disease every day -and that RED is a commercial venture and not philanthropy. ‘Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands,’ he said. ‘Red is more like punk rock, hip hop, this should feel like hard commerce.’American Express will launch its no-fee RED Amex card in the UK promising that at least 1% of every pound spent will go to the global fund.
Gap will bring a range of RED-branded T-shirts, made in Africa, into US and UK shops, with more products later in the year.
Converse are putting out a range of limited edition Chuck Taylor All Star shoes, while designer Giorgio Armani unveiled sunglasses with plans for clothing, accessories, watches, perfumes and jewellery.
Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director, the Global Fund described RED as ‘a breakthrough in corporate and consumer engagement for the greatest global crisis of our time – the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
’‘RED can make a substantial contribution to financing the massive scale up of prevention, testing, treatment and care that are desperately needed in Africa.’ he said.
"RED is a 21st century idea.’ added Bono. ‘It's an amazing thing that these companies are doing - lending their creativity and financial firepower to the Global Fund's fight against AIDS in Africa, the greatest health crisis in 600 years.
I think doing the RED thing, doing good, will turn out to be good business for them.’

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Triple J Hottest 100 2006

"Wish You Well" from Bernard Fannings [previously recommended here solo album] "Tea and Sympathy" topped this years poll on national youth radio network Triple J. Fanning held Ben Lee's "Catch My Disease" to cast another chapter in their interesting relationship over the last couple of years.
The album includes tracks from its folk/blues/rock style about relationship, seperation, redemption, hope and cleansing. As a PK "Wash Me Clean" [also mentoned here many times] would make dad proud!!

Showing their usually discerning taste 600,000+ voters included 50% local acts including Wolfmother with 6 songs in the hundred [a record].

Australia's top songs as voted by 606,060 Triple J listeners.
1. Wish You Well, Bernard Fanning
2. Catch My Disease, Ben Lee
3. Feel Good Inc, Gorillaz
4. Best of You, Foo Fighters
5. Dare, Gorillaz
6. Mind's Eye, Wolfmother
7. My Doorbell, White Stripes
8. O Yeah, End of Fashion
9. Joker and the Thief, Wolfmother
10. Do You Want To, Franz Ferdinand

No doubt Bernard's title relates to the 1956 film "Tea and Sympathy" starring Deborah Kerr as the Head Masters wife attempting to help young student Tommy Lee battle the barbs of other students who question his masculinity and sexuality, calling him "sissy-boy". It's an adaptation of a Broadway stage play.

As such the themes of someone misunderstood, fumbling, unsure and disappointed fit with the mood and lyrics of many of the songs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


At the Cricket Test Match in Sydney this year Day Two was a terribly slow day. Perhaps Kerry Packers recent demise got people thinking and before we knew it a group of my friends and acquantances had hatched a competition which will run for the next twelve months. I know some people will be horrified... such is the nature of these things!!
We have all parted with $5 [not really a significant part of the activity] and entered a list of TEN names of people we think might DIE in the next YEAR... winner with most correct names will take the cash!!

New ABC Radio 702 breakfast announcer Adam Spencer was at the end of our row and I think was equally mortified, amused and wickedly inspired!! Despite taking several hours to finally cave in and craft an entry he wisely declined [first scratching out all the Aussies and then being left with only a few ideas]. Good decision I feel!! Any note could end up on eBay and imagine if Gough Whitlam or equivalent died and within 24 hours the story emerged that Adam Spencer had him on a competition list... I'd hate to be page one with that story instead of Gough!!

So, here's my list [apologies to all concerned]:
Cricketer Bill Brown
Vice President Dick Cheney
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Legend Nelson Mandela [I hope not but you'd kick yourelf if he wasn't on your list]
Cuban Leader Fidel Castro
Morag from Home and Away [what a shame she only hit her head this week]
Political journo Laurie Oakes
Actor Robert Downey Jnr [I really hope he doesn't fall off the wagon]
Actress Blythe Danner [Meet the Fockers. mother of Gwyneth Paltrow
Baseballer Barry Bonds [home run king with drug allegations and bat corking rumours]

I feel I could have done better BUT time was of the essence... I did enjoy Geoff's entry of Harry Potter!! Had I thought longer I would have included Shelley Winters and been up 1 nil already. I considered Humphrey B Bear already gone [just Carols and Supermarket appearances without a show is no future for mute bear!!

Mind you, after all the 'on the day' entries were in one participant wished he could recant his list having remembered and exclaimed "OH, NO... THE BALI NINE!!" But Indonesian justice is slow and even if found guilty the sentence might not be carried out this year!! Is that a step too far? You're probably right!!

Anyhow, I am pleased to hear that Ariel Sharon is doing so well [no realy I am] and imagine my interest when Dick Cheney went to hospital with heart flutters!!

Watch out for the website...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Worship Unplugged # 34 Wading Pool

Have ben wanting to try this for ages....
At our Summer Camp we used [albeit Donald Duck themed] a blow up wading pool filled with water to symbolise recconnecting with God via the sensation of being washed clean or having cleansing water poured out of a jug, over your arm, running through the fingers, crossing yourself or whatever made sense without mess.

It was not a guilt response but a symbol of God's love that "washes us clean" in good relationship.

The soundtrack for this brief time was "Wash Me Clean" by Bernard Fanning from his solo album "Tea & Sympathy." Brilliant !!

You could use this to: clean dirty stones, trace a prayer by letters with your finger on the surface of the water, float flowers or paper notes on the surface... or even as happened with our youngest daughter Ellie... use the water for christening etc!!

Worship Unplugged # 33 Air Drying Clay

At a recent Camp we had used Playdoh* on an earlire day so a creative variation was to invite punters to shape a symbol they could keep beyond the week. By moulding air drying clay the symbols could be left out overnight and taken home the next day!!
It's available at toystores, hobby shops and art suppliers at a reasonable cost.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Great Escape Festival, Newington Armoury

With Sigur Ros now announced to join Silverchair, Bernard Fanning etc this new festival is sounding HUGE!! There's the river, artspace, drama and lots of other espects of festival life beyond music.
The innovative site is at the back of the Sydney Olympic site on a former armoury. The Festival includes Camping and Day Visit tickets. [$200 the weekend $70 for single days].

I mention it because colleague [Darren] had talked in the lead up to a previous Easter about the idea of camping with a group of young adults at 'The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival'. The idea would be to breakfast and spend a relaxed morning together in community for worship, discussion, reflection, action of being mindful or Easter and of your experience of the weekend at hand... great idea in theory!! A great context to explore the life and faith issues for this age group ina very typical activity!!

The Great Escape opens up a Sydney opportunity where no UCA regional Easter Camp exists and many of the performers plan to hop between both Festivals!!

Someone should do something about this idea!!
April 14-16 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

2006 What to Look Forward To

Just a few reminders of whats ahead culturally and newswise for 2006:

[3] State Elections here in Australia with Labor favoured all round
In March John Howard will celebrate 10 years as PM [he appears not to be done yet]
The sale of T3 Telstra
Continued dabbling in the social agenda by the Feds e.g. RU486, divorce rate, education

"Kangaroo" the young danish bub will be christened on 21 January
Feb/March Verdicts against the "Bali Nine"
5 March Clean Up Australia Day [get involved at a local key site]
28 April 10th anniversary of the Port Arthur massacre carried out by Martin Bryant
11 September 5th anniversary of the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks plus Flight 93
19 October hsc exams begin in NSW

24 January Commonwealth Games Baton Relay
10 February Rugby Super 14 Kicks Off
10-26 February Winter Olympics [more re-runs of Stephen Bradbury's amazing win!!]
15-26 March Commonwelth Games in Melbourne [yawn!!]
9 June to 9 July World Cup Football from Germany
June-September International Rugby
10/11 v England [Sydney]
17 v England [Melbourne]
24 v Ireland [Perth]
8 v All Blacks [Christchurch]
15 v South Africa [Brisbane]
29 v All Blacks [Brisbane]
5 v South Africa [Sydney]
19/20 v All Blacks [Auckland]
v South Africa [vtbc]

23 September AFL Grand Final [tbc]
1 October NRL Grand Final

7 November Melbourne Cup
Nov-Jan The ASHES

January/February various Open Air/Outdoor Cinemas in Parks etc around the country
personal favourite is the OpenAir at Mrs Macquarie's Chair on Sydney Harbour [have been attending since it began]
16 January Golden Globe Awards
February TV ratings return
5 March The 78th Academy Awards [Oscars]
31 March Small Irish Folk Group touring Oz [U2]
14-16 April The Great Escape Festival and East Coast Blues and Roots
18 May international release of "The Da Vinci Code" film by Spielberg starring Uncle Tom
26 June Coldplay hit Sydney
October ARIAs 20th anniversary though little know Oz band from Sydney's northern beaches may be inducted into Hall Of Fame at second annual Dinner to be possibly held in March this year [Midnight Oil]

Mambo Clothing Still Kicking in with Social Comment

Mambo t-shirts are available in response to the dreadful events on our Sydney beaches last month. The Mambo "No Hate" t-shirts raise money for local charities fighting racism and violence.

Unreliable Idea # 28 Kanga Cricket

Games that encourage participation are springing up in all sports: tryrugby; minileague... etc BUt amongst the first in Oz was Kanga Cricket. Cricket Australia commissioned a set of plastic cricket equipment and I purchased a set in 1990 for $90. There were two sets of stumps, two bats and I ordered several of the yellow rubber balls. It was designed so that unlike a tennis ball the rubber ball would only bounce as high as a cricket ball and be easier for the novice to hit. Its the lunchtime entertainment at the Test Cricket but is also played in primary schools across the country. It realy opened up the game to the novice, girls and kids frightened of the ball. They included a hitting tee for youngre kids and now produce bats with rubber grips and bigger size.

A set can be doubled to play rounders or four wicket grids with a central bowler and it provides hours of fun!! Many a bus trip has been enhanced with a quick whip out of the cricket set in the park for a twenty to forty minute hit. Youth Groups, Kids Clubs etc could buy several sets and get quite a number of kids involved at once. Start four games and rotate teams, set up four wickets and one central bowler. Batters rotate around the four wickets when a run is hit and new batters race to guard their stumps by replacing anyone who gets out BUT the bowler can bowl once they have the ball!!
Kookaburra and others now manufacture kits and many are available at K-Mart.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

TV in 2006

While "Veronica Mars" continues to be the only show I watch all summer here in Oz [besides wall to wall cricket and tennis] there are a few offerings to look forward to in 2006!!

Saw this one previewed on "the Tonight Show":
"My Name is Earl"
Looks like it will appeal to my draw and willing to be escapingly entertained sense of humour. Earl Hickey is a petty thief who wins and loses $100,000 and sees it as proof of karma. So he sets out to right every wrong he's ever committed. Latest of the earthy middle to working class America series...

"Commander in Chief" with Geena Davis is already in full promo mode.
Described as more relationships than politics it means her job is the end of comparisons with West Wing [which will please many by moving to ABC TV]

No doubt "Desperate Housewives" will continue to shine in 2006!!
It's still kind of 'Six Feet Under' meets 'Ally McBeal' and so is an acquired taste

"The OC"
There's not much else to rival this teen market winner!!
Though the cast seem to appear more in the gossip pages than in the TV Guide these days!!