The Wednesday Word - horripilation

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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Today's Wednesday Word is horripilation. It is the technical name for goose bumps or chicken skin or the process of hair bristling on the skin either due to fear or the cold or very bad romantic comedies.

Here is my quote for it:

"It was a dark and stormy night and his horripilation was playing up again quite disturbingly on areas of his skin that did not normally horripilate".



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Will she really be apples?

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I saw this vehicle the other day and noticed this sign on the back. Is it just me or have they made a major boo boo?



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Legalistic bathrooms

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Monday, 27 April 2009


You may not have realised it but restaurants in Sydney, depending on their size, must have a certain number of toilets. But while the regulations stipulate the number of toilets (and urinals for men) they don't stipulate the exact way in which they must be set out. Here is a very legalistic restaurant that I went to in Randwick. Here's hoping that they never have, and never will be used at the same time.



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Posts you may have missed

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

If you are not a regular here at Daily Vowel Movements then here are a bunch of posts that you may have missed.

If you are a regular then here are some of my more popular posts as voted on by all my loyal fans - thanks to both of you.


"The Wednesday Word - pandiculation"

Leunig and the crucifixion of Jesus

Emergency Chickens

Skin Deep

Literally, my best post ever!



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Radio, television, internet ...

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Friday, 24 April 2009

"Radio is the theater of the mind; 
television is the theater of the mindless." - Steve Allen

I hate to think what that makes the internet – the vacuum of mindlessness?



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Naughty Newspaper

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Thursday, 23 April 2009

Here is a story from yesterday's Daily Telegraph:

Worker slashed with machete as bandit took cash

Sounds pretty bad, and I'm sure it was, but when you read the article it turns out the slashing that actually took place was a "a small laceration to the person's right index finger".

Once again, while I'm sure the experience was terrifying, I'm not sure whether the word "slashed" in the title is totally accurate.



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The Wednesday Word - frowzy

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Today's Wednesday word is 'frowzy'. It means dirty or stuffy or smelly or musty. Here is a proper quote for it from Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist:

"The cold wet shelterless midnight streets of London; the foul and frowsy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn; the haunts of hunger and disease; the shabby rags that scarcely hold together; where are the attractions of these things?"

Here is my quote for it:

"Hers was the frowziest room of the lot, complete with a frowzy desk, a frowzy bed and frowzy clothes strewn all over the frowzy floor."



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Park your bike in the city - fine

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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

I saw this today on the way home from work - a parking ticket for a bike. Do they really expect someone to ring up and confess that they owned the bike parked on Pitt Street in the city and would now like to pay the $79 fine? (or whatever it is) But even before that, I didn't realise they could fine bikes ...



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Always Look out for Number One

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Elizabeth's bookshop is a second hand bookstore started by a lady who I'm told has the name Elizabeth. It has a great range of old and odd books to browse and buy and blush about. But even better for someone like me, who has to walk past one of the stores quite often, is that every day they put a new quote on a notice board out the front of their store. Here was one from a couple of weeks ago that I thought was fun

"While walking down the road of life, always look out for Number One, and be careful not to step in Number Two"
Rodney Dangerfield



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The importance of the hyphen

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Saturday, 18 April 2009

Here is a school that apparently doubts the theory of relativity.



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Chiasmus and Thomas a Kempis

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Another chiasmus, from good ole' Thomas a Kempis:

"He who loves with purity considers not the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver"



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The Wednesday Word - pandiculation

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

I am about to start something very nerdy. What’s that you say, more nerdy than a blog? Yes worse than that. In my working, social and private life I come across lots of great words that I smile upon, laugh at, wonder about and ultimately hope that they come back into common parlance. I then forget about them and find some other trivial thing to occupy my thoughts. Well no more. (here’s the nerdy part). I have decided to collect these words and publish one per week, sometimes with commentary and sometimes without. I shall call it “The Wednesday Word” (because today is Wednesday and the word ‘word’ starts with the letter “w” and I thought it would be good to put the two double-u words together).

Today’s Wednesday Word is ‘pandiculation’ which means an instinctive stretching, as on awakening or while yawning. Here is a sentence in which it could be used – “Although I was not that tired, I just could not stop pandiculating.”

Please let me know if you have ever used any of these Wednesday words, or if you get actually get the chance to use them in a conversation.



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Leunig and the crucifixion of Jesus

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Monday, 13 April 2009



In case for whatever reason you can't read the script on the bottom, it says

"Look at that! Brilliant! You kill the leader and you nip the whole movement in the bud."



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Verdict

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Perhaps one of the most significant breaches of criminal procedure in the trial of Jesus was the verdict. That is, that there was no verdict. The Roman Procurator, Pontius Pilate, failed to find any charge against Jesus and he repeated that on three occasions (John 18:38, John 19:4-6). Despite not reaching a decision, he did have Jesus flogged and he did then hand Jesus over to be crucified. However, what is worse is that he knew that Jesus was innocent and he knew that it was out of envy that the leaders had initially handed Jesus over to him (Matthew 27:18). As an aside, Pilate had even been told by his wife that she believed Jesus was innocent (Matthew 27:19).

But in a final act of monumental blame shifting, Pilate washed his hands, and declared himself 'innocent', before he then handed another 'innocent' man over to be crucified (Matthew 27:24-26)

The point of any criminal trial is the determination of guilt. In NSW, where either a not guilty verdict is entered, or where there is a hung jury (the failure of a jury to reach a unanimous decision) it would be entirely improper for any form of punishment to be imposed. There was no such system of juries and verdicts for the trial of Jesus, but I don't think it could be reasonable under any system of justice for a unjudged person to be handed over to be crucified.

While it is at this point that I could get all philosophical or theological as to why all of this happened or did not happen, and the significance of this or that, I am not going to. Firstly Easter is almost over, and to continue to post about Jesus’ death would be a little late for this year or far too early for next year. Secondly, as my blog is primarily made up of useless, inane observations and trivia, and as I haven’t posted any useless, inane observations and trivia in the last week, I now have a large backlog of useless, inane observations and trivia. And thirdly, that has not been the point of this series. Just in case you missed the point, (or thought that my series has indeed been like an unsharpened lead pencil - pointless), my point was simply to show the numerous irregularities of criminal procedure in the trials of Jesus.

While there are many more questions that do arise from the lack of procedural fairness, such as: why did no-one else speak up for Jesus? Why did Jesus (who is widely regarded among other things as an expert on the law) not say anything about the unfairness he was facing? Does this mean that Jesus deliberately chose to go to the cross and be crucified? And if so why would anyone choose that?

But if you have made it this far in my blog series, I hope you’ve enjoyed the rants and the raves about the lack of criminal procedure for the trials of Jesus. And whether you think the death of Jesus is significant or not, I hope, at the very least, you would agree with me that his trial either is, or stands a very good chance at being, the greatest miscarriage of justice of all time.

(PS, stay tuned for my very last post on this Easter topic - a Leunig cartoon on the crucifixion)



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Switching charges

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Saturday, 11 April 2009

As soon as a person becomes involved in the criminal justice system they are entitled to know the offence being laid against them. While it is perhaps not immediate, as police are able to hold a person for a certain period of time for the purposes of questioning, it is a fundamental principle that a person should be informed of the charge or charges against them. The reason for this is that a person may be able to shed light on the situation that would avoid them being charged at all, but it also enables them, if they so desire, to start gathering evidence in their own defence.

Of course during an investigation, or after a person has been charged, further evidence obtained may result in different charges, additional charges or even the withdrawal of charges, however, at least in NSW, all of this is generally done well before the beginning of a trial. It is because at this stage, the beginning of a trial, an indictment is presented (which is the formal document presented to court) and it is on this document a person pleads guilty or not guilty. There is however, a wide power to amend the indictment at any time during the trial, but it requires either leave of the court (that is the court must allow it to be changed) or it requires the consent of the accused (section 21 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986). Great care should be given as to whether an amendment may lead to injustice (R v Aldridge (1993) 67 A Crim R 371), but leave from the court should generally be granted “unless the accused would be irreparably prejudiced in meeting the charge as amended” (see R v Borodin).

While it is quite clear from the law in NSW that switching a charge mid-way through can lead to great unfairness, such unfairness was also recognised in first century Jewish law. The Mosaic law was based on numerous rules which included certainty in the indictment, the public nature of the discussion of the charges, and among other things the assurance against dangers and errors in testimony.

So to come to the actual charges laid against Jesus, as an earlier post indicated, Jesus was initially arrested without any charge or indictment at all. But the first allegation in his Jewish trial was a form of sedition in that he would destroy the temple and build it again in three days (Matthew 26:60-63). The indictment was then quickly changed to blasphemy after Jesus confessed to being “the Christ, the son of God” (Matthew 26:63-65).

Jesus was then handed over to the Romans for his civil trial, because although the Jews could hold trials and condemn people, they could not execute anyone – a right held exclusively by the Roman occupiers. So when Jesus eventually came before Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator (the equivalent of a regional governor) he was charged with treason in that he was the King of the Jews, a rival of Caesar (Matthew 27:11-14). In fact it was this charge that they ultimate hung over his cross (Matthew 27:37). Whether it was actually sedition (leading a rebellion) or treason (betraying the emperor or empire), the charge changed according to the circumstances.

All of these were not just amendments of the indictment, but were completely different charges and it is hard to see how it wouldn't fail the NSW standard of having an indictment amended to the irreparable prejudice against the accused (Jesus). It also failed the Jewish standard in that it was neither certain, public or free from danger or error in testimony.

While the switching of charges achieved their ultimate purpose of having Jesus condemned, stay tuned for my next post on the irregularities in the actual verdict.



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Happy Easter

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Friday, 10 April 2009

Today is Good Friday. Not bad Friday, nor Black Friday, nor ok Friday but Good Friday.

Here are two links you may find interesting (or not):

From instrument of brutality to symbol of love (an article on the Sydney Morning Herald)

GOOD Friday? (a post from the City Night Church website)



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Right to Silence

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Thursday, 9 April 2009

Thanks for all of your comments on this series so far and to reiterate, the main aim for doing this series is to demonstrate a number of significant legal irregularities in the trial of Jesus. As some of you have noticed, I am doing this by attempting to fit the case of Jesus into the laws of criminal procedure in NSW (primarily because that’s what I am most familiar with), but it is also interesting to notice that there are many similarities between first century Judaic law and twenty-first century NSW law. Why that would be so is the topic of another series, but now to continue with today’s irregularity.

The right to silence is an often debated, often criticised and often misused principle of common law, but to use a cliché, it remains a bedrock of our society. It is not a privilege, it is not an optional extra, but it is a right – a right for any suspect of crime to stay silent in the face of questioning by a person in authority. But it does not stop there, the right extends in that at no later stage can adverse inferences be drawn against a person who has decided to remain silent, and it certainly can’t be used by a judge or a jury to infer that because an accused person failed to answer any questions or to give a police interview that therefore they must be guilty.

The current caution given to people in NSW after they have been told they are under arrest is as follows:

“You are not obliged to say or do anything unless you wish to do so, but whatever you say or do may be used in evidence. Do you understand?”

Can you imagine the confusion if the last bit of the caution read: “but whatever you say or do, and even what you do not say or do not do may be used in evidence. Do you understand?”

Despite the simplicity and the importance of the principle, the most common opposition to the right to silence comes through the argument that if you have nothing to hide why not speak up and give your answers. Well put very crudely, Jesus had nothing to hide, and he remained virtually silent for both his religious and civil trial, and quite extraordinary inferences were drawn against him because of it. Furthermore, it was the very moment that he actually did say something that he was found guilty of blasphemy, and it was because of his lack of answers to Pontius Pilate that left him (Pilate) without any idea of what to do with him (Jesus).

There was also in Jewish law a further right against self-incrimination - a person could not be condemned on his own testimony but that fact had to be attested to by two other witnesses. While this latter aspect of Jewish law does not have an exact correspondence in NSW law, very rarely would a matter even get to the trial stage in NSW without some other corroborating evidence such as fingerprints, CCTV footage, DNA, or as suggested, the good old fashion way of other witnesses to attest to a person’s guilt, or at least some aspect of the case.

So once again, significant areas of criminal procedure done away with in the pursuit of a conviction against Jesus.



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Judicial Bias

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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The law in New South Wales is that a judge or a magistrate should not hear and determine a case against someone if they are affected by bias. This is worked out quite easily and quickly in most cases by the judge or magistrate themselves, as where they know or admit to a bias (legitimate or otherwise) they simply disqualify themselves from hearing the case. But the law goes further than this, in that even in the absence of any suggestion of actual bias, and where there is a question as to the independence or impartiality of a judge or magistrate (or even a juror, who is actually a judge of the facts), the test is whether “a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend that the judge might not bring an impartial mind to the resolution of the question that is to be decided”. (If you’re really interested see two High Court cases by the names of Ebner v Official Trustee in Bankruptcy or Webb and Hay v The Queen.

Some cases are obvious, such as where a judge has previously represented a client and knows more than they should, but other cases are not so obvious such as a juror who wears a t-shirt that suggests they are a communist-naturist-fascist-gun lobbyist-vegetarian-anarchist and the case involves a gun-toting vegetarian who murdered a communist naturist. I am not sure you could properly conclude that a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend the absence of an impartial mind in that case, but it certainly would be an interesting trial.

But what about a case of a political and spiritual revolutionary being tried by group of religious conservatives, where the former had allegedly said he would destroy their temple and the latter had plotted and planned for the former’s death. (see Matthew 26:1-4). I am of course talking about the trial of Jesus before the High Priest, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68), which quite obviously fails the NSW laws on the subject of judicial bias, also represented a rather large infringement of first century Judaic law as well. Judaic law (as far as my extensive internet research has led me to conclude) similarly required that the judicial bench be neither a friend nor foe of the accused, and that under no circumstance was a person who was at enmity with an accused person allowed to occupy a position among the judges.

Well this happened and surprise surprise they found him guilty of blasphemy and worthy of death. Apart from the many other things about Jesus’ religious trial that constituted further irregularities in criminal procedure, such as the requirement to be tried during the day and in public as opposed to at night and in private, the bias of the court in the case against Jesus is the second in my list of departures from proper criminal procedure.



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Arrest

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

When was the last time you arrested someone? Assuming you are not a police officer the answer is probably never. But perhaps a better question is when was the last time you thought about arresting someone? Or even better yet did you know that under section 100 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 that you, as a citizen, have the power to arrest people? While it’s not something I encourage, because if you’re wrong you might end up being sued for false imprisonment, the fact remains that any person in New South Wales may arrest any other person, without a warrant, so long as that other person is either in the act of committing an offence or has just committed an offence.

Of course a police officer not only has this power to make a ‘citizen’s arrest’, but is also given the power to arrest someone they suspect on reasonable grounds has committed an offence (section 99 of the same Act), and further powers to arrest with a warrant. But the first thing you should do if you are ever unlucky enough to hear those fateful words “You are under arrest” from anyone (police or otherwise), is ask, “What for?”. Without a valid charge, court attendance notice, or indictment of some type, it is almost certain that the arrest will be illegal.

Notwithstanding the 2000 years of separation, it is exactly this question that could have quite properly been asked by Jesus when he was confronted by Judas and arrested by the ‘crowd’ (Matthew 26:46-56). There was no valid indictment to base an arrest, there was no written warrant to affect his seizure, and in fact there was no accusation lodged against Jesus until he was brought before Caiaphas, the high priest. Far from being in the act of committing an offence or being suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed an offence, it appears from the gospel accounts that Jesus was off praying to his Father, or talking to himself depending on your religious persuasion – either way it is hardly the foundation for a valid arrest. In fact these days most of the evidence obtained after such blatant disregard for the laws of criminal procedure would be excluded from the court under section 138 of the Evidence Act, as it would quite obviously be improperly or illegally obtained evidence, and to allow it in might encourage further such behaviour.

The first departure of proper criminal procedure.



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The Greatest Miscarriage of Justice - Introduction

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Monday, 6 April 2009

Perhaps Australia’s greatest miscarriage of justice is the case of Lindy Chamberlain. Dubbed the “trial of the century”, it saw an innocent lady charged, tried and convicted of the murder of her own baby, and then sentenced to life imprisonment. Furthermore, the subsequent appeals to both the Federal Court and the High Court of Australia failed to overturn the original conviction, and it was only after a fourteen month Royal Commission that she was cleared of all guilt or responsibility. The case then made further legal history when in September 1988 at the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Lindy Chamberlain, became the first, and to my knowledge the only person in Australia that has ever been declared (as opposed to presumed) innocent - a verdict is always ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, never ‘innocent’. While the distinction may seem small, to my mind it has massive philosophical and theological significance, not to mention enormous practical effects on the laws of criminal procedure.

But the interesting thing about this case, is that apart from a few irregularities, her arrest, charge, trial, verdict, appeal and sentence were quite properly (albeit tragically) conducted according to law, that is, with correct criminal procedure.

Why am I writing about this? Well it’s a blog and I can write about whatever I want to, but in particular, I thought given the proximity of Easter and the unusual situation of having some free time on my hands, I would conduct a similar examination / comparison on the arrest, charge, trial, verdict, appeal and sentence of Jesus and whether his case was conducted according to law, that is, with correct criminal procedure.

So if you choose to follow along over the next few days, what you will find are some random comments on Jesus’ brush with the law, and a brief comparison here and there to the law of criminal procedure in New South Wales. And whether you are religious or not, I hope you enjoy the discussion of how a good (or bad) lawyer could have easily had the whole case thrown out several times over, and how this fact alone shows an appreciation of Jesus’ deliberate choice to go to the cross. The significance or insignificance of that last point I will leave up to the reader, but as always on my blog, any comments, queries, criticisms, or questions are not just welcome, but encouraged.



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New York Escalators

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Sunday, 5 April 2009

I have never posted a youtube video before, and I don't intend on posting that many more. But this is one that is short, unusual and takes only 22 seconds before the joke begins, and is complete by the 45 second mark. Please enjoy.



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Emergency Chickens

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Saturday, 4 April 2009

The other day I ate a KFC burger. Apart from thoroughly enjoying the clogging of my arteries I also had fun reading the blurb on the KFC wrapper:

    "Great taste starts with really fresh chicken...
    At KFC, our chicken pieces & breast fillets are
    deliver FRESH* not FROZEN & are sourced
    exclusively from Australia's leading producers"
It was quite interesting to discover that the little asterisk ("*") after the word "FRESH" means "excludes emergency stock".

I really wonder what situations qualify to bring in the emergency chickens? The arrival of the Japanese Sumo Wrestling team? The cancelling of the Biggest Loser? A chicken strike?

And do the emergency chickens arrive in a KFC ambulance with a clucking chicken siren?

Does anyone know? Your thoughts on, or experiences of, emergency chickens would be much appreciated.



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The yacht 'Excalibur'

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Thursday, 2 April 2009

For anyone who is interested in sailing or welding, here is a fascinating, albeit tragic, case about a yacht that sank because of a defective keel.

Boat boss caused Excalibur yacht deaths

If the conviction stands, it will have huge effects on the regulation of boat building right across Australia.



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