So the other week I opened up the Good Weekend A2 (Saturday newspaper colour magazine). I ask you, does the world really need another profile of Barry Humphries?

I’m not asking for him to go and die or anything, and I find Dame Edna as amusing as the next person, but this continuing fascination for the baby-boomers is somewhat frustrating when so many other younger talented people aren’t getting a look-in.

Car hassles 1

This note on my windscreen this morning:

Notice from cranks

Dear whoever you are,

Tell you what, I’ll do you a couple of favours.

Firstly I won’t park in front of your house anymore. It’s not that appealing anyway. I don’t know what the hell you’ve done to your nature strip, which resembles an overgrown miniature botanic gardens, but it makes life difficult for my passenger to alight from my car. So I’ll park 3 metres forward or back from now on.

Secondly, I’ll explain the parking rules on this street. The signs are pretty clear: It’s one-hour parking from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm. That’s all. Other than that, it’s a free-for-all. Anybody from anywhere can park here. It matters not a jot that it’s in front of your house and your weed colony.

If you want to get the spot in front of your house restricted, talk to your local council. You probably have a gnat’s chance in hell, but if you’re really lucky, they might decide your request is worthy, and make it permit parking. Mind you I bet they’d love to take a look at that nature strip.

Please do let me know if you get so outraged with someone parking there that you call the police. I’d really love to know what they say.

Annoying bankers

I didn’t buy a house on Saturday. Despite assistance, I was outmanoevred. It does strike me that the auction process is not dissimilar to professional poker.

Anyway in preparation for the auction, I needed to be ready to pay a 10% deposit of (argh) tens of thousands of dollars by cheque. So last week I moved a heap of money from my St George DragonDirect account (which is fee-free and has pays pretty good interest) into my Commonwealth Bank account (which I use for every day stuff, and has a chequebook attached).

St George will let you do this in hits of up to $100,000 per day. All good.

Commonwealth, however… They limit you to $5,000 per day by electronic banking. And though their Netbank teases you by implying you can get that limit raised, when I rang up to get it done, they told me you can’t. $5K is it ($10K from business accounts). Their alternative involves going into the branch and either buying a bank cheque (which means then going into a St George bank branch to get the money in… like I have time for that), or doing a slow-but-cheap electronic transfer which will cost about $4 and take a WEEK. Or paying a $28 fee to transfer the money electronically instantly.

Apart from not really having the time, I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of that. I’ll trickle it back to St George, $5K a day. And it’s time to find out if St George can do chequebooks. ‘Cos this is ridiculous. WTF did they build electronic banking for anyway if they force you to go into the branch for stuff like this?

The humungatron

It bugs me sometimes to see those huge 4WD/SUVs rolling down the road, like every other car carrying the average 1.1 persons, and burning up way more petrol than is necessary and blocking everyone else’s view.

So it’s somewhat comforting to read this followup to the article in The Age Good Weekend a few months ago, about them. Oh, wait a minute, is it the SAME article? Or a US version of it? Whatever, a good read again anyway.

One of Ford’s senior marketing executives was even blunter: “The only time those S.U.V.s are going to be off-road is when they miss the driveway at 3 a.m.”

(via Scoble)

Equally fascinating is the same author’s piece on shopping malls.

Proper nouns

Brand namesA name is a proper noun. Under the rules of the English language, proper nouns are to be written with capital letters. Obviously this kind of rule can be ignored for stylistic reasons, such as for corporate logos. But in normal writing, such as you might find in a newspaper article, that’s a rule which should be pretty much followed, right?

So what makes K D Lang so special? It’s fine by me if she wants to put her name on her albums in all small letters, but why has this got into newspaper articles? Is it a name, or isn’t it?

Metlink, Amazon and Vodaphone have logos with all small letters. Doesn’t mean we write their names in small letters. Qantas uses a logo with all capital letters (why may be reasonable — it was originally an acronym after all). So do Australia Post, The Age, and a lot of other companies. Does this mean their names should be written in all caps?

Hell no!

(Actually, Australia Post do call themselves POST in their own literature. Doesn’t mean anybody else will though.)

Update 6pm. Just to clarify: I have no problem with her calling herself “kdlang” on her albums, in her publicity material, web site, etc etc. I just don’t see why the media and others have automatically adopted her convention, ignoring one of the basic rules of the English language. I reckon it’s kind of on a par with the media pronouncing Colin Powell’s name as Colon…