Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Signs of a Deeper Problem ?

Sunday Telegraph 29.10.06

GRAFFITI gangs are spraying 1200 tags a day on Sydney's trains in a vandalism spree costing taxpayers $15 million a year to clean up.
Official figures show there are 30,000-50,000 graffiti attacks removed from CityRail trains every month.

The attacks have continued despite costly measures introduced by the State Government, including a new rail vandalism task force, stronger graffiti-removal chemicals and surveillance cameras on the rail network.
The extensive graffiti damage has triggered calls by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union for the Government to publicly name and shame offenders.
Vandals are also slashing seats and breaking windows on trains with data showing that, in August alone, 1043 train seats were damaged and 245 windows broken.
"It's unfortunate that a few bad individuals spoil the hard work of rail cleaning staff for the million people who use CityRail per day,'' a RailCorp spokesman said.

"Vandalism on and around trains is dangerous, unsightly and expensive, costing taxpayers around $15 million a year to clean up.''
Surveillance footage shows that some offenders spraying graffiti on trains are as young as 12. Union president Nick Lewocki said teenagers who attacked the rail system with graffiti were usually part of a gang.

"We've seen CCTV footage where some kids look to be 12 years of age. They are generally in the 14 to 18 bracket,'' he said.
While Mr Lewocki sympathised with the Government in the difficulty of controlling graffiti artists, he said high-level security would help act as a deterrent.
"The Government should name and shame offenders. They (offenders) should be required to clean their graffiti up,'' he said.

"The Government should look at increasing penalties for people convicted of defacing public transport.''
Psychologists and police should also look at other ways to stop people spraying graffiti on trains to save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Premier Morris Iemma set up a rail vandalism task force in May where police and RailCorp transit officers work together to crack down on graffiti and vandalism.
While the Government is strengthening its response to vandalism on trains, with a rollout of 6200 CCTV cameras planned, the issue of graffiti has become a problem in the wider community.

Federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull said there had been an increase of graffiti and malicious damage in the eastern suburbs.
He said police were powerless to punish graffiti offenders if they were under the age of 18.

School Chaplains

PM John Howard is a master politician so in answer to the religious right, political forces stressing values, ethics and faith... we have the announcement without any consultation that the Fed government will invest $90 million in School Chaplains to guide students.

Schools can apply for up to $20,000

These moves always generate:
1. stern opposition
2. scaremongering about fanatical Christianity and the bias against people of other or no faith
3. former politicians with agendas coming out of the woodwork
4. the counsellor vs chaplain debate
etc etc

In truth this scheme could be a debacle... but if handled correctly it could be a great thing!!

Like effective hospital and university chaplaincy its offered as spiritual and pastoral care for all comers, with regard to their personal choices. This is a helping role, an empathic pursuit.

If the church embraced this well it could be a missional revolution!!
We might "be" Jesus for others...

Anyhow, thinking caps on.... Youth Workers, part timers, tertiary mission workers, volunteers with two days a week to commit to making a missional link with the local school...

Check out the Federal Government website 'Dept of Education, Science, Training'
and related stories...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Worship Unplugged # 33 "Hats & Photos"

One of the key elements of meaningful worship is context or how people can connect their everday experience with their worship experience!

Sharing about ourselves with each other can happen in prayer, discussion & reflection. We can also share stuff like what we do for a living or how we spend our time and delve into stories about each others lives.

Entry points into this with immediate meaning would include:

Invite people to display these, ask questions and prompt sharing ina smaller or the wider group in relation to the theme of the worship in question!!

Some people will share remarkable deep and important insights using such personal triggers!!

Take turn, take time!!

Maybe display the photos or scan and keep a collage and return the original...
Project the scans on screen

The bottom line is here's another activity around the value of stories...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Whats Worth Watching or Hearing

Check out:

"What the Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have" Sarah Blasko
"Shine On" Jet
"How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" U2 [getting ready]
"Hanoi" The Backsliders
"Flat Chat" Midnight Oil going...

"Worlds Fastest Indian" DVD
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Cars" DVD
"The Nativity Story"
Keisha Castle-Hughes from the new Fox Faith Film section...
Opens 30th November or thereabouts in Oz!!

100 to Go!!

Hey all,
Whatever it means...
There have almost been 7000 hits [careful how you spell that] on the pumphouse weblog...
It just means that hopefully somebody is finding the info, ideas and recommendations interesting.
Based on my stats about 700 of those hits might be mine so I suppose I should wait until 7700... but there you go!!

More to follow today... and of course ARIAs news later in the weekend, early next week!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

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Bar Beach Kiosk [Newcastle]

Two weeks ago it was still 27 degrees C when Simone, Lucy, Ellie and I headed into Bar Beach [a liesurely 10 minutes from home] here in Newcastle!!

After some paddling and cooling off we fronted up for Calamari, Fish and Chips... tell you what...
The Kiosk was open until a non specified 7.30/8pm and the chips were legendary... we all agreed, the best chips we'd ever tasted. They were fresh, hot and did the double trick of having crispy bits but they were still filled with potato instead of air!!

10/10 Bar Beach Kiosk!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clip Bandits

Great Youtube concept!! A band playing a tune when none are in the same room... via internet cameras!!


Monday, October 16, 2006

The Gap Year The Order of St Stephen YMin Interns

It's that time of year again, while in Oz NSW the students are focused on the HSC exams, others are thinking about what they might all do next!!

The Defence Minister is suggesting a paid 12 month military exposure to training, some take off surfing and backpacking, others fruit pick and some take any job going to have a break from the rigours of full time study!!

Some work needs to be done BUT we in the UCA NSW Synod are keen to offer productive faith and discipleship experiences while fulfilling the hope of a brain break...

The Order of Ste Stephen is under some threwat from the church' commitment to minimum wages but essentially this is about a person with skills wishing to contract a year of service in relturn for subsistence funding from the body who engage their service [i.e. the Youth Unit does not have a fund to make this happen... it still relies on an employing body giving it a go].

It will take an emplying body $17,000 to $20,000 to fund living, food, accomodation etc

People of any age can actually serve as candidates for the Order....

We would also like to specialise this and offer 'Youth Ministry Internships' for 12 months on the same financial deal!!

What it means is a person gains 12 months experience in working towards a realistic job description [i.e. start one new group, train one set of leaders, start one new worship] and the person receives enough money to survive 12 months or two years... and tests their sense of call to this long term!!

Win/Win potentially as the employing body gets a realistic outcome for minimal fair investment!!

UCA groups in NSW/ACT interested or individuals keen to have a go, email rjh43@hotmail.com...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

DVDs Coming Soon

These films or shows are all worth a look for a variety of reasons!!

Monday October 16th "Steve Irwin He Changed the World"
DVD of the Tribute from September 20th
Many elements of this tribute demonstrate the dilema we face as 'church' in terms of what unique thing we offer in relationship with Jesus Christ vs peoples own ability to pursue a grba bag of spirituality and move through grief as they say 'farewell' to an icon!!

Be challenged and use this tribute as a challenge to push yourslef about secular vs sacred, creative arts in worship, simplified liturgy, what people are looking for and how to lead people in worshippping God not the Crocodile Hunter!!

October 25th "Cars"
Great story of the journey of life and surprises awaiting down seemingly sidetracks!!

November 6th "Lano and Woodley: Goodbye"
Prounced Lane-oh....or Lay-no how else would you shorten Colin Lane??
The farewell performance of two great visual comics!!

November 8th "World's Fastest Indian"
Great folk tale of old values, warm story and inspirational tale of perseverence!!

"Seinfeld Series Seven" with complimentary Thermos if pre-ordered from ezydvd.com
Contains some of the best episodes ever including "The Soup Nazi"

November 16th "Love My Way Series 2"
earthy and greaty aussie series from Foxtel

December 6th "Click"
Adam Sandler with the remote control he wished for to get a handle on his life.

"Superman Returns"
A must for all students of christology

"Dawsons Creek Seasons 1-6" Boxed Set
Do yourselves a favour!!

It's Official!! Midnight Oil join the ARIA Hall of Fame!

Australia's best ever rock band will be inducted at the ACER Arena ceremony on October 29th!!
Better still, I'm gonna be there!!
Of course music is a matter of personal taste, some are even disappointed in Peter Garrett's 'politics' of late BUT I return to the story of the 1990 Earthquake Relief Concert held at Newcastle's International Sports Centre [now known as Energy Australia Stadium] where a massive crowd witnessed a full day of Aussie rock and roll from the likes of: The Angels, Split Enz, Crowded House, Barnesy, Ian Moss. It was a brilliant day and anyone there will remember the human towers reaching 20m into the air of the group blanket tossing where the smallest female in any group was hoisted aloft by ten or twelve close mates all grabbing a corner or side of a blanket and flicking them skywards.

At the press conference the groups were asked "this is the cream of Aussie rock, its a great cause and its going to be huge... how did you decide the running order... as one they all said... well, the Oils will go last, and before them its a matter of who cares, we'll just work it out!!"

12 million albums worldwide, only missing fame of Silverchair/ACDC proportions because collectively they came home after 18 months on the road and took a year off... crazyness by all measures... except the value of family, sanity and longevity!!

Disneyworld Florida must have seemed an awefully low point after that and I for one am glad they bailed on the mooted US Tour with INXS and did another 12 months run of shows at home before Peter announced he was leaving...

I have reflected a few times this year on how much I miss the buzz of seeing these boys live and how it feeds my soul and keeps me hopeful to know that a gig was always not too far away!!

I was only sharing the story of the all night drive to Parkes to lead a workshop after a Friday night at Newcastle Workers... it was either the second last or last time I saw them there... I must check that diary!!

Eskimo Joe are good, the Chair are inspired... Missy Higgins is great!! BUT none comes close to the affinity, power, transformational energy and passion of the Oils!!

Oils!! Oils!! Oils!! Oils!!
I hope whoever it is has a good speech [Tim Winton comes to mind also] because if not they will likley be drowned out by the call!!

SMH October 15, 2006 12:01am

LEGENDARY Australian rockers Midnight Oil are to be recognised for a long career that combined worldwide musical success with strident political activism.
The five-piece group will be inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in Sydney later this month.
Midnight Oil sold more than 12 million copies of their 14 albums worldwide, using their fame to bring global attention to issues such as Aboriginal rights and the plight of impoverished workers.
ARIA Awards committee chairman Ed St John said Midnight Oil "is one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands this country has ever produced".
"They were incredibly successful all over the world, but much more importantly, they made music that mattered," he said today.
"They covered subjects that had rarely been addressed in a rock song before: land rights, the environment, social justice, war, human rights and Australian history.
"The sound of their music, created by five supremely talented singers and musicians, evoked the very essence of Australia."
The band's lead singer, Peter Garrett, now a federal Labor MP, said being chosen for the Hall of Fame was a "mighty honour".
Midnight Oil are the final musicians to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame this year, joining Divinyls, Icehouse, Daddy Cool, Lobby Loyde, Rose Tattoo and Helen Reddy.
Previous inductees include Dame Joan Sutherland, AC/DC, Men At Work, The Bee Gees, INXS, Olivia Newton John and Split Enz.
Midnight Oil's induction will take place at the 2006 ARIA Awards event at Sydney's Acer Arena on October 29.

So, there you have it... I am looking forward to surviving the teeny bopper screams and boorish pop star behaviour just to pay homage to the incredible work of Moginie & Rotsey, the rythms of Hirst and more recently Hillman and the distinctive "he can't sing but he's got 'something'!" tones of Peter Garrett.

Inductees don't usually/always perform but we'll see...
Maybe Powderfinger, the Chair, or one of the tribute album bands will do the honours....

BUT please, please join me in wishing that for all the buzz it would create, ARIA resist the temptation to ask Bono to induct the Band.... Bernard Fanning, John Butler, Paul Kelly please...

Instores October 28th 'Flat Chat' a compilation of a few of the Oils 'faster' tracks!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What would Jesus Play?

Came across a great gif file doing an image search for the Che Guevara styled "Jesus. Meek. Mild. As If." advert....

'What would Jesus Play?' which may offend some and make others laugh out loud... but email me your 10 song playlist suggestions over the next few weeks and I'll post them here..

Email rjh43@hotmail.com

Friday, October 13, 2006

Unreliable Idea # 29 Homemade Cold Rock

Cold Rock ice cream is brilliant if expensive!!

The concept is simple, the queue is a long one...
If you mash icecream as a rule it will melt... enter Cold Rock with a refrigerated strip of rock on the servery counter. This allows them to crush in and knead crunchie, M&Ms, Snickers etc, to belnd flavours and for the ice cream to remain cold and hard in the process!!

Youth Groups have been known to use lumps of dry ice inder cake or slice tins to give a metal surface suitable for the task... great adaptation!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worship Unplugged Resource

Worship Unplugged Volume One is on its way to the printers!!
Anyone whose interested is just as likley to find and idea within its pages that was originally stolen from YOU!!

Volume One is my way of tentatively putting my work out there and we'll see what needs to go into Volume Two to justify the paper and ink!!

So keep those creative ideas coming and you never know where they'll bob up!!

"The Sunday Age SMH [Fairfax] Family DVD Guide" Rob Lowing

Looks a good guide for youth ministry groups and families and is available at most large bookshops!!

McDonalds Dinners

I've been meaning to post this one for a while....

From the SMH Friday August 18th
PLASTIC money, Tiny Teddy biscuits and Colonel burgers all share a little-known fact.
They were all trialled in the Hunter region in northern NSW, writes Paul Scott.

With a range of other products, they initially were subjected to the considered opinion of discerning Hunter consumers before being released to the nation's wallets and stomachs.

And this year the region is celebrating its 50th anniversary as Australia's top test market.
The Hunter has held a special place in the arteries of advertising hearts since Cyril Renwick, an economics professor at the then Newcastle University College, formed the Hunter Valley Research Foundation in 1956.

Professor Renwick's market research in the region, backed by figures and statistics, was well ahead of its time and attracted advertisers from Sydney and Melbourne.
Following Professor Renwick's lead, marketing gurus believed the place was a demographic microcosm of the entire country.
But while not all test products enjoy longevity after a successful launch in the Hunter, the general rule of the marketing thumb is: "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere."

A McDonald's launch of four new dinner meals will involve the products being test-marketed in 19 stores in Newcastle and the Hunter for the next three months before they are rolled out across the nation next year. Australian companies have used "live" test markets for decades, using locations such as Newcastle to test new products in what they believe are controlled and isolated environments typical of the national market.

"Newcastle has a self-contained media market and is close to head office, so the organisation is able to maintain a very close watching brief on product performance," a McDonald's spokeswoman said.

Last January, 12 members of a South Korean sales team came to Newcastle to work with the local sales team of global giant Coca-Cola Amatil for the launch of Coca-Cola Zero.

Chapman Meats, Greg Norman's Pasta Sauces and KFC have also tested new ranges on Newcastle and Hunter tastebuds. It was also where Arnott's Tiny Teddy biscuits first received the thumbs up from consumers.

But not everything launched in the Hunter has been successful. The Quicklink smart card (or computer money card), launched at the University of Newcastle in 1995, was marketed as the "missing link" in the shift from cash transactions to a fully electronic system.

Students boycotted the cards as "Big Brother's helpers" and the NSW Privacy Committee viewed them as "a potentially privacy intrusive technology".
First rejected in the Hunter, they are yet to be embraced in Australia.

Hunter Valley Research Foundation economist Robin McDonald said: "The Lower Hunter tends to have an older population . . . and a lower education attainment than Sydney."

Tried first in the Hunter
· Chapman's Naturalean low-fat meats
· Greg Norman's pasta sauces
· Arnott's Tiny Teddy biscuits
· The polymer bank note
· McDonald's breakfast menu
· KFC Colonel Burgers
· McDonald's salad plus
· Office supplies in Australia Post stores
· Quicklink Smart Cards
· McDonald's dinner meals

So, there you have it...
Beef Bolognaise, Beef Rendang etc...

The second batch of local adverts have couples invited to taste a sample while the second celebrity wheels up a set of Golden Arches behind the people. I have to say, unlike the low fat burgers, salads and wraps... these are a winner... low cost, good serves, nice food...

As someone who struggles with choosing healthy food options on the run/road these actualy work!!