Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20081201

Lego Cash Register
Lego Cash Register
The Spirit Of Christmas


OK, it’s December and that means that Christmas is now officially looming. Yes, I know that they have been selling Chrissy stuff on tele since Easter (remember only 130 days to get your chocolate eggs), but me I like to wait until December.

Last year I waited until the week before Christmas to send out the “really crass commercial Last Minute Gift Ideas”. A few of you suggested that I should do this a bit earlier, like BEFORE the shopping season really kicks into high gear, to give you all a chance.

So just like last year, once again lets consider stuff. We all have tons of stuff, and if this Christmas runs true to form we are all about to get tons of NEW stuff. (Jools could use a new MX5 if you have one lying around)

Stuff per se isn’t bad (although if you looked at what I carry about on a daily basis in my messenger bag. you would be appalled), here is the late George Carlin’s priceless routine on “STUFF”.

Excerpt: A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff!

Here is a Youtube video (Language Warning – Not Safe For Work. seriously USE THE HEADPHONES)

Here we go with the serious stuff.

One of my clients, the International Women’s Development Agency is promoting a great idea for you last minute shoppers (note how I casually implied that I am not a last minute shopper myself. I can see some of you rolling on the floor laughing as I type this).

The idea is that you give them some money, they give some women in a developing country stuff and you get to nominate the friend who doesn’t get the stuff but gets the warm feeling of having done good without actually doing anything. It’s like “Blame” but in reverse.

Seriously though, I have worked with these people for about eight years now. They are a non-profit organisation and they do make a difference for women and their communities in Asia and the Pacific.

Here is an example, $45 purchases stationery for 20 women in remote rural villages in East Timor to participate in literacy and numeracy classes. You receive an email card to send to the recipient of your gift. Low carbon foot print, the planet wins, the women win and believe it or not you win. (face it $45 wont buy a decent Single Malt… or even a bad one when I think about it)

Confused? Go to and IWDA will explain it in English (rather than the gibberish I type)

Hmmm. So you actually want to give stuff, no problem. How about music? (c’mon you knew I was going to get music in here somewhere). First up lets go with music with words and stuff.

Ross Ryan has released his “The Difficult Third Compilation 1973 – 2008′”, it’s a 19track CD, with a couple of my personal favourites (Chaplin & Harlow, Postmark Paradise and the reason I bought a Ross Ryan album way back in the Seventies, “Empire Lady”. he doesn’t get it but I do). Now in a hysterical (to me at least) piece of synchronicity, Ross is also throwing in a bonus album called “Stuff” (how perfect is that). Head over to give him money and he will send you two CD’s.

Now some of you have children or nieces and nephews and are maybe looking for something for the kiddies (small kiddies, trust me on this – 8 year olds want a Wiii. Now that I mention it…..err ) Back to the small kids.

Andrea Rieniets is a singer/composer/performer who has plays a very nice guitar (Martin) and has a couple of albums worth of kids music. If the whole Hi 5 thing leaves you a bit “errr” have a look at Andrea’s stuff. She will even send you an apology for putting “Up In The Sky” into your permanent brain storage, this song is more infectious than Leslie Feist’s “1234”, it’s just aimed a younger audience, you’re just collateral damage.

Head over to and hit the order page.
(Disclosure: Jools is currently doing the new website for them and should be up by next weekend)

Back by popular demand.My Friend Ian (gloriously vilified once again this year) has an album that is magic.

Disclosure: I have a credit on the album as “Devils Advocate” which means I made “respectful” suggestions about the mixes and stuff. Also Jools has done a mashup video as a project for her course. It’s over at and uses Ian’s song “Love Is A Thief” as it’s music. The things you can do with a computer.

The album is called “Drifter” and you can check it out at or his MySpace site

Lastly, let’s consider a pressie for yourself, everyone knows that Christmas is the most stressful time of year. So why not pickup a CD of relaxing music to help you through the season. I have mentioned Bill Canty before (we agreed that we weren’t going to call him My Friend Bill. it was just silly). Bill has a ripper of a CD called “Elysian Peace”, that is perfect for this purpose. I find arguing with Bill about music almost as much fun (but that would be me).

Anyway back to the commercial realities …er Christmas suggestions. Head over to and have a listen to “Elysian Peace”, you know you are going to need it.

Now back to some more Non Stuff bits. These people won’t send you a card but they can use our support.

Creative Commons is an organisation that provides free tools that let musicians, authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

They are a nonprofit organisation and like all free organisations need some bucks to keep going. Goto and have a read of where they are coming from.

Next up is Electronic Frontiers Australia.

Since 1994, on a shoestring budget and without business premises, EFA has led campaigns within Australia and overseas. Each year EFA spokespersons respond to hundreds of media and public enquiries about Internet regulation. Given the limited understanding of politicians and bureaucrats regarding Internet issues when EFA was formed in 1994, EFA can be justifiably proud of achieving a change in Government opinion in relation to censorship, ISP liability and telecommunications policies, and widespread support for EFA’s views among key stakeholders and the general public.

This year (and next) they are leading the push against the Australian Government’s “Great Australian Firewall” . Yep Kevin Rudd’s infatuation with the Chinese is about to get us The P*rn Proof Firewall (and it will be about as effective as the Rabbit Proof Fence), that’s right instead of getting rid of China’s censorship, the Oz government has decide to join in the party and put in place MANDATORY filtering. This particular piece of ‘policy” needs to be stopped, it is ill conceived, universally condemned and will slow up your internet access. Head to ,read about it and then slip the EFA a few bucks.. They are going to need them.

Last of the Non Stuff bits.

SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the name for a number of organized efforts to detect Extraterrestrial life. The general approach of SETI projects is to survey the sky to detect the existence of transmissions from a civilization on a distant planet, an approach widely endorsed by the scientific community as hard science.

There are a whole bunch of hassles in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterised as intelligent (sort of leaves out Qustion Time at Parliament House), imagine trying to tune in 3RRR if the tuning dial was about a mile long and you didn’t know where they were on the dial. Now scale it up to looking for 3RRR by pointing an aerial at just the right place in the sky at just the right time.

Tricky huh?

They could use some money as the US government pulled their funding in 1994. Head over to

And consider slipping them a few bucks. Remember if SETI goes under how will the aliens find us? No More Crop Circles (horror). This is your chance to make a difference.

So there you have a few ideas for Christmas. Hopefully they are neither crass nor too commercial.

Thanks for reading, have a good silly season and make sure you are careful out there.

Remember Single Malts and moving anywhere don’t mix.

Have a good one


{Currently listening to: Lots and Lots of Warren Zevon. Christmas and Cynicism. Just a perfect mix}
{Currently reading: Lewis Hyde – Trickster Makes This World. Just awesome }
{Quick Status Check: Christmas Looming. crowds are already hell }
{Crop Circle Status: Move along, nothing to see here ’til next year }

Categorized as Mondays

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