I knew I shouldn’t have read the Australian news.
“John Howard has vowed to push through the Senate all of the Coalition’s workplace reforms blocked since it took office, signalling the biggest crackdown on union power in the nation’s history.” (n.c.a)
“We run the risk in this country of a shortage of employees because of the shrinking participation rate and the shortage of skilled people.”
It might be time to write another ‘Dear John’ letter. At least a tiny part of the reason for any skills shortage is that people with desired skills are choosing to stay out of the country while he’s in power.

Dublin was lots of fun. It feels like I was away a lot longer than three days/two nights. It was the first time I’d ever been in a country (other than Australia) whose history was directly relevant to my family’s history. I’m still working out what that means.
We saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College, visited the Guiness Storehouse, where an informative and interesting tour was followed with an informative and interesting pint. The literary pub tour Foo had recommended was really entertaining. We spent Sunday afternoon in the Archaeology and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland.

Hearing other people’s spam stories is the new hearing about other people’s dreams but I’m getting up to 100 comment spam attempts daily so it’s a bit topical.
Some spam is so beautifully random. I’m sure the one phrase designed to attract search engines will play havoc with my referrers, but it’s too cool not to post:
“Little “pics of black girls in thongs” story about Britney Spears and George Lucas
“Damn it! Stop biting my ass!”, George Lucas hissed, as Britney Spears ran her glutinous third leg into her grey and lifeless pie-eater.
“Do you behave like this to every passenger?”, George Lucas vomited, as Britney Spears sucked his lust swolen Clinton.
“fucking shit!”, George Lucas climaxed, as Britney Spears banged on his encephalitic bowl of fukk.
George Lucas diddled her ecliptical magic hat.”
I also liked the email headed: “healthier, happier, harder carp”.

Have a pretend vote in the American election.
“Even if you are not a US citizen, the November 2 presidential election will have a huge impact on your life. The very idea of democracy requires that you should have a say in choosing who determines your destiny. This site therefore allows non-Americans to vote in the 2004 US presidential election.
GLOBALVOTE2004.ORG is totally neutral. You may vote for any candidate. Your vote will be kept secret. And you may only vote once.We will count the votes 48 hours before the election and submit the result to the US media. Just letting US citizens know how the world has voted could influence what looks like a tight race.”

Shropshire is cooler than Wigan.
Canine-shaped tree stump mystifies man
“But more specifically, the 73-year-old said he thought the bizarre stump of Beech bark, which he discovered in Willow Bank Road, Aqueduct, looked just like an Airdale Terrier.”
But wait! There’s more!
“In 2002 a Shropshire schoolgirl amazed her friends by growing a face-shaped tomato with an uncanny resemblance to Gallic heart-throb Gerard Depardieu.” (shropshirestar.com)

I’m tempted to copy and paste some of the ‘your say’ comments from various news sites about the Australian Federal Election but maybe I’ll just tear up my passport and practice a New Zealand accent.
(I’ve turned comments back on, I’d been finding the comment spam overwhelming)