Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 13, 2008

Hotel Drinking Glasses
This put a dampener on my excitement about going to Melbourne this week. If you have ever used a glass in your hotel room when travelling, this news report video will give you shivers. As you’ll see, hotel staff in four reputable hotel chains in the USA are caught red-handed with shocking hygeine standards when it comes to hotel drinking glasses.
You’ll see that one maid, wearing rubber gloves, places the glasses in the sink before heading into the bathroom to clean the toilet, only to return, still wearing the same gloves, to clean the drinking glasses. And the cleaning solution seems to be the same, multi-purpose clearer they are using to clean bench tops, bathrooms and floors.
What is even more disturbing are the comments to this article, some from self-described former maids confirming that this is standard practice around the world, and some from travellers with horror stories – especially the one about diarrhea in the bed. [Visit Hotel Drinking Glasses]

Royal Family YouTube page
This is a fascinating selection of Videos on YouTube, owned and compiled by the British Royal family. It begins with the Queen’s most recent Christmas message, which has now been viewed almost a million times, and includes intriguing, archival footage of Royal Family moments.
Of particular interest is silent newsreel footage of the wedding day of The Duke of York (later King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) as they travel to and from Westminster Abbey for the ceremony. You can also watch the Queen’s first televised Christmas message from 1957, and coronation footage,
And then there are the nausea-inducing, self-indulgent videos like “A day in the life of Prince Charles” with its fawning narration, and the sterile, corporate-speak infomercials about the Royal Household and State Dinners.
I have two criticisms – comments are disabled and there is not enough historical footage. The latter might be remedied over time, but the former will need some courage because not all comments will be decent. [Visit the Royal Channel on YouTube]

LOL Cats
This is a g
reat collection of LOL Cats (Laugh out loud) cat pictures.
There are other cat galleries online, but LOL Cats features SMS or Instand Messenger language, which makes the site funnier.
Some examples: Cat on man’s back, inside his t-shirt, but looking over his shoulder, with the caption: “Zombie slayves so hard to steer”.
One kitten alone, two kittens curled up in mini cat beanbag with caption: Third Wheel cat starts to get clue”
Another has a black cat lying across 6 identical sneakers with caption: Centipede cat spendz much munny 4 shooz
The other thing about this site is the guide to LOL language. There is a glossary of LOL words and a guide on how to change your caption to LOL language, or Engrish.
Step one: Think of something to say. This is tricky for some people.  “This is Sean. He is a big star on the radio”
Step two: “Engrish” it by misusing verbs, rearranging syntax, using the wrong tense, dropping articles like “a” and “the”, and/or pushing through a translator such as English to Japanese to English. It is now: “This is Shaun. He is the star where the radio is large”. We could also give some further treatment, getting: “This Sean. He is being the star where radio is large”.
Step three: Misspell everything, such as adding extra Ws and Hs, using Zs instead of Ss, and going for cutesy versions of words. “This be Seanny. Hez being starr where radio is largest!!!” [Visit LOL Cats]

Newspapers of the world
Despite the rapid growth of the World Wide Web many of us are still enjoy getting our news from traditional newspapers. Newspaper Index is a great site that helps you find the right newspaper for you, with reviews of publications from major cities and countries all around the world. Of particular interest, is the ability to see the front pages of newspapers or go directly to their websites – anywhere in the world.
I didn’t pick up a Sunday Mail today but via their website I saw their columnist Clementine Ford proudly stating that she’s had two abortions and is that it was quite easy, then I went to PNG and saw they have a Shock Power Tariff on the way.
As I flitted about the world, I was struck by how similar our issues are, as humans, or, rather, how similarly newspaper editors can engage our emotions worldwide.
The Singapore Star led with a disturbing story today that, “Many Singaporeans have never spoken to neighbours”.
The story covered a poll that found up to 20 per cent of flat occupants in Singapore have never spoken to their neighbours who live just a few metres away, that 53 per cent would “do nothing” even if they believed something was amiss, such as not seeing their neighbours for a long period of time, that 81 per cent did not have their neighbours’ phone numbers, and that 60 per cent did not know them by name. Not that I think Australians would fare much better, at least not in 2008.
The poll was triggered by the discovery of the badly decomposed bodies of an 82-year-old man and his daughter in their flat last week, even though the 80-year-old wife was still in the flat alive and well. Neighbours had not seen the family for seven weeks and police were finally called because of the smell from the flat.
Some of the non-communication is ascribed to people not wanting to be labelled as busy bodies, and fear of “shady” characters.
A sociologist was quoted as saying “In a dense city, you get people in your face all the time, so you learn to value the privacy of your home.” [Visit Newspaper Index]