Monthly Archives: August 2018

Just another day at the orifice on Embarrassing Bodies

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The Embarrassing Bodies doctors: James Russell, Priya Manickavasagar, Christian Jessen and Pixie McKenna. At the Embarrassing Bodies clinic, Amy seeks advice about an extensive scar.
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Would you flash your fractured penis or your prolapsed vagina on international television?

Well, thousands of Britons do, and Australians are enjoying it in their hundreds of thousands. Welcome to the world of Embarrassing Bodies.

It’s an oddly addictive hour of television, featuring all manner of strangely-accented Brits confessing and showing all manner of odd maladies that can afflict the common person.

It’s hard to say what exactly is the most gripping element of this car-crash television, which is often best viewed with hands up to the face and fingers spread. As each episode concludes, the thought comes: “Surely it can’t get any worse.”

But it does. The bloody operations, the skin conditions, the genitalia viewed in close-up and the mangled bodies pile up.

At first glance, many of the complaints appear trivial.

“My labia’s too large,” complained one 23-year-old. Why do we care? Because “it affects me every single day, and every day I feel more bad about myself”.

The complaint is not for aesthetic reasons but for comfort; the labia has swollen so far that it rubs her underwear and she dreams about cutting it off.

Another woman who appears only to have the mild problem of persistent acne is instead diagnosed with the rarer cystic acne, which affects her to the point where there is not a day where she does not feel pain.

It’s the human side to the stories, and the triumph over the adversity, that has plagued many of the patients, often for years at a time, which endears the show to viewers.

One can’t ignore the gross-out attraction to the show, and, indeed, there are many cases or examples when the viewer doesn’t feel so bad for giggling.

Sometimes the giggles are triggered simply by the straightforward way in which the aggrieved explains their problem.

“Every time I poo, my bottom bleeds,” said one woman boldly.

Another young woman sheepishly admitted that her toe had been infected “for about a year”. The cause? An ingrown toenail.

Behind the show’s voyeurism, there is a message – that the doctor isn’t scary.

Its narrator and its doctors, the stars Christian Jessen, Pixie McKenna and Dawn Harper, each have a distinct way about them, but the overall tone is educational. The science and facts behind each condition is explained – how it’s caused and how common, or uncommon, it is.

As the number of series stacks up, a new doctor has been added to examine gungy and mangy British teeth – Dr James Russell. (Admittedly, this is even too much for your scribe to bear!)

The name of the program partly explains why participants have hitherto failed to have their conditions checked. But one does wonder why some on the show would expose their problems on TV. (The show is believed to pay for surgical treatment for those featured on the program.)

Yet despite its confronting nature, Embarrassing Bodies and its spin-offs – Embarrassing Fat Bodies, Embarrassing Kids’ Bodies and Embarrassing Teenage Bodies – maintain their appeal, and, in fact, are particularly attractive to the desired TV-viewer demographics for advertisers.

The show rates particularly well in Melbourne, which suggests that Melburnians are either seeing a lot of themselves in the patients or are just voyeurs.

Nine says last Wednesday’s edition, with 974,000 viewers across the five capital markets, won its timeslot for all viewers, and in the advertiser-friendly demographics of people aged 25 to 54, 18 to 49 and 16 to 39 (although the program started 30 minutes late because the Big Brother final ran overtime).

In the fortnight prior, there were just 485,000 viewers, down on the 587,000 the previous week. Just under half (230,000) were in Melbourne, where it performed better than lead-in program Big Fat Gypsy Weddings (208,000 in Melbourne, but 611,000 nationally).

On Monday, the GEM screening reached 201,000 viewers, ranking eighth across the day’s multichannel ratings, beating Family Guy (7mate), Criminal Minds (7TWO) and action flick The Expendables (GO!).

But it was down on the previous Monday, when it was the top rating multichannel program with 288,000 viewers – 102,000 of which were in Melbourne.

Nine and its digital channel Gem show three episodes each week and there are countless replays on Foxtel.

Here’s to more!

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

‘Thuggish’ police face action over death of Brazilian student Roberto

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Roberto Laudisio Curti … died after being Tasered by police. Inquest … Maria Fernanda Laudisio de Luca arrives at Glebe Coroners Court. She is the sister of Roberto Laudisio Curti.
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Roberto Laudisio Curti … died in March.

A coroner has recommended five police officers face disciplinary action and others go before the Police Integrity Commission for their “thuggish” role in the death of a Brazilian student.

In a scathing critique of many of the 11 officers who arrested Roberto Laudisio Curti in the early hours of March 18, the NSW Coroner, Mary Jerram, said they acted like “schoolboys in Lord of the Flies”, with no idea what the problem was, or what threat or crime was supposedly being averted by the chaotic and violent struggle.

Mr Curti was tasered multiple times and sprayed with OC spray.

“The actions of a number of the officers were … reckless, careless, dangerous and excessively forceful,” she said.

“They were an abuse of police powers [and] in some instances even thuggish. Roberto’s only foes during his ordeal were the police … Certainly, he had taken an illicit drug, as has become all too common in today’s society. But he was guilty of no serious offence. He was proffering no threat to anyone.”

Ms Jerram handed down 35 pages of findings in Glebe Coroner’s Court on Wednesday morning following a two-week inquest into the death of the 21-year-old Brazilian student and football player.

While stopping short of recommending criminal charges, Ms Jerram delivered a damning indictment on the entire episode. “It’s impossible to believe that he would have died but for the actions of police,” she said.

Mr Curti was chased by police down Pitt Street, tasered several times, sprayed with almost three cans of OC spray, handcuffed and restrained by seven officers on the ground.

He had earlier jumped the counter of a convenience store in a paranoid, LSD-induced psychotic state and taken two packets of biscuits. It was reported over police radio as an armed robbery.

Ms Jerram said many officers had lied to the inquest and “conveniently forgotten” evidence.

She said the most senior officer present during the violent struggle on Pitt St, Inspector Gregory Cooper, gave evidence that was so conflicting and self-serving it “hardly deserves narration”.

He claimed that he told the junior officers to stop using their Tasers. None of those officers heard the order and the Coroner said it was likely he never made it but was seeking to shift the blame onto other officers in court.

Ms Jerram suspected that some officers were angry and emotional because they had been hit by Taser shots and inadvertently sprayed during the botched arrest.

However she said it was not right to refer them for criminal charges as it was about “policing issues warranting investigation by policing bodies”.

Ms Jerram recommended five officers, including Probationary Constable Daniel Barling, who tasered Mr Curti five times after he was handcuffed, be disciplined.

She also called for an immediate review of the vague and confusing standard operating procedures relating to the use of OC spray, Tasers, handcuffs, restraint and positional asphyxia, particularly the use of multiple taser shots and its “drive stun mode” as a pain compliance tool.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Upholding the law in Gotham

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Gotham guerrilla fighters … Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight Rises Questioning authority … Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises
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Pushing a rock up a hill … Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight Rises

As Jim Gordon and John Blake, actors Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt represented the best of the old and young members of the Gotham City Police Force as well as the right and left hand men of Batman. We sat down with Oldman and Gordon-Levitt to talk about being Batman’s boys in blue.

Gary, can you talk us through what you believe Jim Gordon has been doing since The Dark Knight ended and where he is at the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises?

GARY OLDMAN: Well, he’s still pushing a rock up a hill in terms of policing Gotham.  I mean, we haven’t had anyone like the Joker come back but it’s kind of imploding, I suppose.  I mean … it’s cynical and a world that’s cynical and that the poor are poorer and the rich are richer. And I carry around that secret of what happened – what really happened with Batman and Harvey Dent.


GARY OLDMAN: And it’s against type really, he’s such a sort of true blue kind of honest guy, Gordon, that I think it’s eaten away at him.  And it’s cost him his marriage and then he sees this young guy who – I guess he sees himself in – or a younger version of Gordon, less jaded. He sort of sees himself in this young rookie.

Joe, what about your character, John Blake?

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: John Blake is a rookie police officer in the Gotham City Police Department and an idealist, an idealist amongst cynics, where everyone around has become sort of set in their ways and just bowing to the status quo.

I think he’s a guy that’ll raise his hand and say, I’m not sure everything’s right with this and shouldn’t we be looking at this, or, shouldn’t we be asking this question? And, you know, questioning authority doesn’t always meet with the warmest reception but it’s often the right thing to do.

How were you welcomed into the cast?  You have worked with Chris [Nolan] before but you’re new to this group that’s been on for two other films.  What was that like coming into it?

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: Well, having done Inception, it felt very familial and familiar because so much of the crew is the same people, not only Chris and Emma [Thomas] and Wally [Pfister], but everybody from make up to the sound department. And so many of the same people come back and work on Chris’s films over and over again. And it’s really warm and lovely to feel part of that family and it makes the work better.

I think Chris does it for that reason ultimately, not just because it’s comfortable, but because then there’s a shorthand and there’s an established way of doing things that then becomes efficient. And I think that’s a big part of why his movies turn out so well is because he’s got a crew that’s really on it.

GARY OLDMAN: There’s a Nolan Repertory Company.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: Yes, the Nolan Repertory Company.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New rules on mobile phones catch 780 drivers

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NSW Police booked 780 drivers for illegal mobile phone use in the first 11 days of new phone rules which came into force on November 1.
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Breaching the rules attracts a $298 fine and the loss of three demerit points and this rises to $397 and four demerit points if the driver is in a school zone. Of the 780 people booked, 24 were in a school zone.

The new laws state that when your vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked) drivers may only use a mobile phone to make or receive a call or to use the audio-playing function if the phone is in a fixed mounting cradle or does not require you to touch or manipulate it in any way.

All other functions, including texting, video messaging and emailing, are prohibited. To use GPS on phones, the handset must be placed in a fixed mounting located in a spot that does not distract the driver from the road. Holding the phone is prohibited except when passing it to a passenger.

Learner and P1 drivers and riders are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving.

In 2011, 46,667 motorists were booked for illegally using a phone while driving. This works out to an average of about 897 a week.

When a police spokesman was asked if the lower number of drivers booked in the first 11 days of the new laws indicated that police were not enforcing the laws as vigorously, or that drivers had smartened up, the spokesman said the number appeared small but was “likely to increase during high-visibility police operations targeting dangerous driving”.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (ATMA) advised drivers to buy a cradle and install it on their dashboard, use smartphone voice-activated dialling or take advantage of automatic answering features.

The Melbourne entrepreneur Alex Kain is attempting to cash in on the new rules with a new in-car gadget featuring a detachable Android tablet that allows drivers to control all apps – including radio stations, Skype, email, text messages, Facebook and podcasts – by voice. Kain said the tablet hardware was from China but he was developing the voice control software that powers it.

ATMA cited research showing the risk of crashing or having to take action to avoid a crash increased by 23 times when a driver took their eyes off the road to write or read text messages. Looking down to dial on a handheld phone increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 2.8 times.

Police said eight motorists had been booked for roundabout offences since the introduction of other new road rules and a further 190 have been booked for U-turn offences. Details of all the changes that came into force on November 1 can be found in the RTA’s handbook.

“The safety of NSW motorists remains the number one for priority for police and officers will continue to diligently patrol the state’s roads in order to catch dangerous drivers before they hurt themselves or other road users,” said Inspector Phil Brooks, from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

What kind of mother do you aspire to be?

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I’m in the honeymoon phase of packing lunches. It might sound silly but this is the kind of task I looked forward to in becoming a mother. It’s mundane but in its own way it’s creative, and it gives me an opportunity to love and care for my child in a very practical way.
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I look forward to other things too. I look forward to dropping him off at school, waving him in and kissing him for as long as he lets me.

I look forward to taking him to sporting games, sitting on the sidelines and cheering him on, unless he chooses to play cricket – then it’s all Dad!

I’m going to be the mother who brings the oranges, the bottle of ‘Magic Spray’ to fix bumps and bruises, the volunteer in the canteen and, if need be, write the minutes at the Club meeting.

I’m going to be the mum that takes him on adventures to far and away places, like the local blueberry farm.

I’m going to be the mum who reads books every night and reads “just one more”.

I’m going to be the mum who introduces him to classic films like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Labyrinth and The Never Ending Story, because they’re awesome.

I’m going to be the mum who cooks with my son. We’re going to make pikelets in the shape of rabbits and we’re going to add chocolate chips just because we can.

I’m going to be the mum who plays endless games of handball, because I’m really good and I fancy whipping his little butt.

I’m going to be the mum who makes hand-made kites and then sits on the hill and sulks with my boy when they won’t fly.

I’m going to be the mum who helps him look for fairies in the garden. We’re going to Google the best way to catch them.

And I’m going to be the mum who dances in the rain, jumps in the puddles and pretends the off-cuts of timber in the shed are grand ships to sail down the overflowing gutters.

That’s the kind of mother I’m going to be.

What kind of mother do you aspire to be?

Bree blogs about motherhood at A Twinkle in the Eye. This post has been republished with permission.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.