What a Funny Old Fellow

What a funny old fellow is Humphrey
He gets in all manner of strife
He leads a very exciting life
And honey’s his favourite fare

It was hard for mum to get anything done when I was a small boy. Even when she would entrust my care to “the babysitter”, a large, old black and white television, I would be constantly calling her back into the lounge room to see what Humphrey B. Bear was doing, which window we were looking through on Play School or to share the wisdom of Romper Room’s ‘Do Bee’.

I’ve always had a burning desire to share the things I find interesting or exciting with others. I guess that goes part way to explaining my many years of work in radio and the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for so many years.

These days my attention has shifted to more interesting and important things than a bear in a waistcoat (though I’m still concerned that he never wore any pants).

Tomorrow morning, while most people will still be sound asleep, I’ll be at the airport, heading off to Thailand with a group of people, so that I can share something of great significance, the work of Compassion.

Since I first saw Compassion’s work in Haiti in 2008, I’ve had a burning desire to let other people know how this holistic child development agency works. I find it amazing that since the end of 2013 I’ve been able to make that passion my work.

Over the coming week, we’ll hear stories of lives transformed, of hurts that have been healed and we’ll struggle with the messiness of the effects of poverty. We’ll meet children created in the image of God who, through no fault of their own, are living in unacceptable circumstances. We’ll also experience the difference that can be made when a local church steps in and says, “This stops here”.

I love the difference that can be made when a local church, with the care and encouragement of a sponsor, brings a child a hope more powerful than poverty. I love the fact that I get to see that life-giving reality up close again this week. Even more than that, I love that I get to share that with others so that they can capture some of the passion I have for the children Compassion serves.

No doubt I’ll share some of the stories of the week with you here on this blog.

And please remember, that you can be part of this life transformation. As I’ve mentioned many times before, on the 15th of September this year I’ll start cycling across Australia so that even more children receive the care they need and that we can ensure they are known, loved and protected.

Will you support me on this massive venture? It’s unacceptable that millions of children are living in extreme poverty so I’m putting my body on the line to do whatever I can to make a difference for as many of those children as I can.

Will you help me give more children a chance to live, dream and hope? Sponsor a child today or donate through my fundraising page.

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It’s Never OK …

… that’s why it’s called “cheating”.

I found it interesting to see a web-poll today being run by Channel Ten’s The Project today asking the question, “Is cheating on your partner ever OK?” The choices were ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Never’.

After clicking the ‘Never’ option I was pleased to see that results were saying that over 96% of respondents agreed with me. Unfortunately, when I checked back later I noticed that those thinking it’s OK to cheat ‘Sometimes’ had increased to over 12%. As more votes come in I guess that number will change around a little more but it concerns me that some people think it’s OK to cheat on their partner in some circumstances.

While I can’t excuse it, I understand that there will sometimes be circumstances that make cheating a fairly attractive option and that some people will follow through and cheat on their partner, but to say it’s OK is a little too much of a stretch for me. Haven’t we all seen too much of the devastation caused when cheating partners are caught out? How difficult is it for those affected to move forward in life after having their trust betrayed so totally?

I make a point of building a hedge around my marriage. While cheating is the furthest thing from my mind, I know that anyone can be caught in a weak moment so I take steps to avoid being caught in a compromising situation.

If you have been the victim of a cheating spouse or you have cheated and you want to find a way forward, let me recommend a blog called Marriages Restored. It’s written by Ben and Ann Wilson, a married couple who know the pain of infidelity but who have overcome its effects and are now helping others.

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Real Reality TV

I watched some real reality television recently.

ABC TV was showing On A Wing And A Prayer, a magnificent documentary which follows the life cycle of the Carnaby’s cockatoo through the story of one small cockatoo family. It’s a local production made by a Perth documentary maker. You can watch the trailer below.

Playful, mischievous and highly intelligent, Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos are adored by thousands, hunted by many and saved by few. Endemic to the south-west region of Western Australia, only a small pocket of these large, gregarious birds remain and these are permanently under threat. Some are still being poached and smuggled for private collections. Many are illegally shot. Together with land clearing, loss of native food habitat and injury from man-made structures, the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo is plummeting towards extinction.

I wasn’t the only one in our home watching closely. One of our cats was on my lap snoozing until she heard the bird sounds. Then she started watching TV too. Soon after that she jumped off my lap and after getting a little closer to the telly, lunged at the screen to capture one of the cockatoos.

I had to hold her tightly for the rest of the show to make sure she didn’t damage our television. She was fascinated by the birds and the sounds they made.

It was further proof that we’ve made the right decision to keep our cats inside at all times. I wouldn’t want to let them loose where there are real birds.

I’m wondering if you have pets that watch TV. Have you ever had a dog, cat or any other pet which enjoyed a good drama or a few laughs over a comedy?

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There’s a bear in there …

Around this time of the year I get to reflect on years gone by and look at what lies ahead. Another year will tick over for me later this week, and what a year it has been.

Interesting to see that a part of my childhood is celebrating a milestone today. ABC’s Play School, based on a British program of the same name, went to air for the first time on this day, the 18th of July, 1966. It’s turning 45 today.

I’ve got a few years head start on Play School but it was very much a part of my childhood and quite probably yours too. I don’t know about you but I was always a big fan of Big Ted, Little Ted and the round window. I wonder if you have any memories of Play School. If you’re not in Australia, or weren’t brought up here, what kids programmes did you watch when you were small?

I’d love you to share your memories of children’s television, especially Play School if you watched it. I certainly hope they’ve given Big Ted the day off to celebrate.

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Panasonic’s 3D Experience

Last night I was invited to hang out with a bunch of people, have a few drinks, some great food, and watch TV. Apart from the fact that I didn’t know anyone else in the room I had a great time.

It was a Soup event. Soup is Australia’s first Word of Mouth Marketing Agency and last night they were marketing Panasonic’s range of Full-HD 3D Plasma Televisions. There were several Panasonic experts on hand who gave us a very comprehensive understanding of how the 3D experience works and how Panasonic is at the forefront of developing 3D technology. (By the way, if you want to become part of the Soup community to sample products and have great nights out like I did, you can click here to sign up for Soup.)

The idea of 3D TV hasn’t really grabbed me in the past. I guess my previous experience of 3D is of clunky effects and dull colours. Not bad for an occasional experience but I’ve had my doubts about regular programming in 3D. It’s all seemed like too much of a gimmick. It’s OK to see objects flying towards you and people reaching out beyond the screen but if that’s all there is I can do without it.

I was pleasantly surprised watching the Panasonic VIErA Full-HD 3D Neo Plasma TV. The eyewear does reduce picture brightness a little but nowhere near as much as my previous 3D experiences. There was still plenty of colour and the 3D imagery was incredibly sharp, not like the slightly fuzzy images I’ve experienced in the past.

The content we watched wasn’t full of junky effects, instead it was a well shot slice of reality. The 3D effect was so good that it didn’t need gimmicks to shout out, “Hey, look at this”. We also saw a demonstration of 3D gaming. While I’m not a big gaming fan I could see that this would add so much to the gaming experience. It gave the user a much greater sense of being part of the action.

One of the things that really impressed me is that the eyewear and 3D vision didn’t leave my head spinning or feeling nauseous like other 3D experiences.

These plasmas are not only great 3D televisions, they’re excellent 2D TVs. They perform brilliantly with regular content with the added feature of going 3D when the content requires it.

So I guess I’m a convert. 3D TV isn’t simply a junky gimmick.

I’m not the only one who enjoyed the experience. You can check out more Panasonic 3D TV reviews here.

I can’t see our family affording a 3D television anytime soon but I would certainly recommend that you check them out. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience.

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