How I cheated on my wife… with my wife

When I heard about Noel Biderman and his website, sleazyparasite南京夜网.au (not sure if that is quite correct), I wanted to write about it but couldn’t – at least not straight away. I had to wait for the bile to die down so I could do it without swearing in front of the kids, or smashing my fist through the iMac.As someone who has just spent his “seven-year itch” year interviewing couples in great relationships, I realised how deeply anyone who signs up to that site misunderstands what it really takes to make love work.But, rather than rant and rave, I’ll just tell a quick story, then get a little obnoxious and judgemental to finish off.For my 40th birthday, my siblings gave me and my wife a voucher for a weekend away in the Hunter Valley. Even more importantly, mum and dad chipped in with the priceless “babysitting coupon”.Four weeks ago, we finally organised the time off and had a wonderful two days away. I am now 42 years old.As we planned for the break, we realised this would be our first weekend away in over five years. We talked about everything else we’d managed to squeeze into that time: we’d moved back to Australia; I’d gone back into advertising; got a book deal; had a second child; finished my first book; ran screaming from advertising; started comedy and corporate speaking again; saw our first child start school; had both kids in hospital; and finished my second book. How could we not sneak in a lousy weekend away? We really, really, really needed a break.It was wonderful how quickly we recaptured the spark. By the time we’d driven the three hours from Sydney, we felt like “Allie and Marty” again, and not just “Mum and Dad”.We have some friends who talk about how things used to be “BC” (Before Children). We could now see what they meant. We were slower, calmer, softer.We checked into Wilderness Grove, a gorgeous, secluded place with only four suites in the middle of an expansive olive grove, and spent the rest of the morning doing nothing much. We had a huge spa bath in the afternoon – because we could – and my wife said, “Isn’t it a glorious luxury to lay in a bath without a toy shark sticking into your bum cheek?” I agreed, “It’s just lovely doing a wee without a three-year-old barging in asking, ‘Are pterodactyls herbivores or carnivores?’ ”A typical conversation went like this: “Isn’t the scenery lovely? It could be Europe, with the hills covered in vines and the olive trees. Remember that trip to Italy we had when we lived in England? I miss that.”Instead of this: ”Isn’t the scenery lovely? (Connor take your fingers out of your brother’s nose). It could be Europe (Elliot, beans are not lightsabers), with the hills covered in vines and the olive trees (finish your lunch or no ice-cream. That’s one). Remember that trip to Italy we had (Boys! That’s two) when we lived in England? (Three. Right no ice-cream). I miss that.”The next day we went for a lengthy walk. This was by far the highlight of our weekend. We ambled along, adoring the stunning vineyards and we (drum roll please) talked, to each other and no one else, for almost four hours.We hadn’t done that in five long years, except for those sporadic dinners when you’re so ecstatic to be outside the four walls of your house together you end up ordering that second, sometimes third, bottle of wine and not remembering exactly what you talked about.It all felt so natural, so easy, so just-like-it-used-to-be “BC”. It reaffirmed our commitment to each other and reminded us both why we got hitched in the first place.I may be playing amateur psychologist here, but I think if only more couples made time to have weekends away, these revolting and brainless websites would never get off the ground.Here comes “judgemental and obnoxious”: Noel Biderman is promoting and preying on what can only be called “emotional consumerism”, and his view of love is as deeply soulful and rewarding as a new pair of Dolce&Gabbana undies.If you don’t understand why love doesn’t work that way, be my guest and sign up with Noel, and enjoy your life full of romantic skidmarks.Marty Wilson is a stand-up comedian, professional speaker and author of the bestselling What I Wish I Knew series. His latest book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, is in stores now. Read more of his blog www.whatiwishiknew南京夜网
Nanjing Night Net

Next ban for smokers: the great outdoors

SMOKERS should prepare for the day when they are virtually confined to lighting up in their own backyards.They will not be able to smoke on footpaths, and feeding their habits in public will be restricted to a few designated smoking zones.A wide-ranging ban on outdoor smoking in public areas is the logical next step in stamping out smoking from public life altogether, according to Cancer Council NSW chief executive Andrew Penman.Dr Penman said it was becoming increasingly unacceptable that people could be subjected to drifts of smoke from fellow pedestrians when they walked down the street.”It should get to the stage where there are only certain places you can smoke a cigarette, that is, smoking-permitted parks or small squares,” he said. “We are recommending to the government that outdoor smoking needs to move . . . to the assumption that smoking is prohibited from all outdoor areas unless otherwise stated.”Smokers, and retailers who sold tobacco products, needed to prepare for a “post-tobacco world”, he said.NSW legislation already bans smoking from enclosed public areas, workplaces, hospitals and cars carrying passengers under 16. In what anti-smoking campaigners describe as a loophole, lighting up is still allowed in semi-enclosed rooms in pubs and clubs.But the smoking battleground has moved from indoors to outdoors, with councils leading the charge. Smoking is banned in many children’s playgrounds, sports fields, public pools, beaches, outdoor dining areas and bus shelters.Heart Foundation NSW chief executive Tony Thirlwell said 74 of the 152 councils in NSW had introduced smoke-free outdoor areas policies, with 14 of those policies covering alfresco dining areas.The latest councils to enact smoke-free policies are City of Sydney, Leichhardt and Waverley. Warringah is expanding its policy to cover bus shelters and the grounds of Brookvale Oval. Newcastle has banned smoking at bus shelters. Mr Thirlwell said the next step should be a state law banning smoking in all outdoor crowded areas, including concerts.Anne Jones, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, known as ASH Australia, said councils had taken responsibility where the NSW government “was doing nothing”.Queensland and Victoria had been more active. “The focus up to now has been protecting people indoors,” she said. “Now, it’s crowded outdoor areas.”Ms Jones praised tough measures announced last week by the Rudd government to raise the prices of cigarettes by about $2 and mandate plain packaging by 2012. In another federal assault on the tobacco industry, displays of its products in shops will stop by July 1.Smoking kills 15,000 people a year in Australia. The government’s aim is to reduce the smoking rate from 16 per cent to 10 per cent within the decade.
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Farmers not sold on climate change

AUSTRALIAN farmers are sceptical about climate change and many do not believe it will affect agriculture during their lifetimes, a report says.But the CSIRO research is calling on rural producers to increase their knowledge of the implications of global warming so they can make their farms more resistant to changing climatic conditions.The report, A Participatory Approach to Developing Climate Change Adaption Options for NSW Farming Systems, identifies ways farmers can protect their livelihoods, such as by planting crops that can withstand hotter and drier weather, identifying ways to manage fertiliser, and maximising water use through efficient harvesting.The report confirmed there was significant scepticism and misunderstanding among farmers on climate change and the impact it would have on agriculture. Farmers must also prepare for a future carbon emissions trading scheme.CSIRO research team leader Steven Crimp said the need for improved climate change knowledge was paramount.”There is a lot of information about climate change and climate projections but there isn’t a lot of information on how to make changes within farm management,” he said.”Many farmers don’t believe that climate change will affect them in their lifetime but we are already starting to see the effects of climate change and variation on the land.”A spokeswoman for NSW Climate Change minister Frank Sartor said the government was working with farmers to assess regional areas for climate change vulnerability.”The impacts of climate change pose a considerable risk to farmers,” she said. “Probable effects include hotter, drier conditions, which will put crops under greater heat and water stress.”Agricultural business workshops for young farmers have been established by the food and agribusiness specialist bank Rabobank to deal with emerging challenges for Australian producers. They cover leadership strategies, business planning and economic management.Andrew Stott, 23, from Whitton in the NSW Riverina, took part in one workshop. He runs the family farm in partnership with his father, Richard, and brother Mathew. It has been operating since 1977.The 2200-hectare property produces grains and seed crops including lettuce, onions, sorghum, pumpkin, maize and sunflowers. It also has a 100-hectare vineyard.Mr Stott said climate change would prove a challenge for farmers.”Climate change and carbon emissions will drive some farmers off the land. You can’t produce a product without making the changes needed,” he said.”Farmers need to accept that there are going to be changes [in the future] that will mean we have to pay more taxes. The drought has been affecting us for eight years and, up until this point, that has been our biggest challenge.”The workshop taught me how to be economically sustainable in our family business and has improved my management skills. We have to keep a very close eye on what we’re spending and constantly watch our overall crop costs.”Workshop co-ordinator Skye Ward said the seminars prepared farmers for the possibility of a carbon emissions trading scheme and further water shortages.”My husband and I run a farm and decided that we needed to address the emerging issues in the farming sector,” Ms Ward said.”These workshops allow like-minded farmers to come together and share ideas and compare what business tools they are using to prepare for the impact of climate change on their business practices.”
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Jeers expected for acting Premier

UNION leaders will steer clear of using tomorrow’s Labour Day march to protest against privatisation, but the acting Queensland Premier Paul Lucas can expect to be heckled and jeered.A Queensland Council of Unions spokeswoman, Tanya Reeves, said the theme for the march was ”Working for a better life”, although each union was free to have its own theme during the walk.Ms Reeves said several unions were likely to vent their frustrations about the Queensland government’s privatisation plans and the Health Department’s payroll bungle.”We expect about 30,000 for the march … [that] is about standard,” she said. ”Some unions [have a] sub-theme or campaign against issues that are affecting them.”Issues such as health and privatisation, I’d imagine, would be featured during the march.”It will come down to common courtesy regarding Paul Lucas.”I’d imagine there may be some heckling from the crowds as they march.”Mr Lucas will head the march, along with QCU president John Battams and QCU secretary Ron Monaghan, and outgoing ACTU president Sharan Burrow. Ms Reeves said the Builders’ Labourers Federation would be the first union to take to the streets in honour of its centenary celebration.Mr Monaghan said the focus of the Labour Day march would be the ”big-picture” gains made during the entire history of the union movement.These would include highlighting successes such as the eight-hour working day, four weeks’ paid leave and compensation for injuries.”We’ve always seen Labour Day as an opportunity to reflect on the successes of the past as well as to look ahead [at] what we’re still fighting for,” Mr Monaghan said.”Regardless of the battles that still lie ahead, Labour Day is a day for celebration.”The march will begin at 10am at the corner of Wharf and Turbot streets in the CBD and will conclude at the RNA Showgrounds at Bowen Hills.Ms Reeves said guest speakers would address the Labour Day crowd, and there would be children’s rides, a barbecue lunch and live music would also at the showgrounds. ”Labour Day is a major family day and we try and stick to that,” Ms Reeves said.
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Multiple births to cash-strapped IVF mums on rise

TWIN and triplet birth rates are set to rise as more Australian women undergoing IVF ask doctors to implant multiple embryos to reduce the cost of fertility treatment.Specialists say cuts to the Medicare rebate have pushed up patient costs by about $1500 for each IVF cycle, forcing many to delay or abandon attempts to conceive.They say there is more pressure from cash-strapped patients to implant multiple embryos to boost chances of pregnancy in one cycle.Despite multiple births carrying a fivefold greater risk of death, prematurity or other complications, clinic chiefs say more couples are taking the chance.”They’re saying, we understand that it’s more dangerous but we can’t afford to do another cycle so we’ll have two embryos put back and we’ll deal with the consequences. If our [premature] baby … has to have eight weeks in intensive care, well Medicare pays for that,” said Gab Kovacs, international medical director at Monash IVF in Melbourne.Medical director of Fertility First in Hurstville, Dr Anne Clark, said while some patients asked for more than a single-embryo transfer, more opted out of having a second child through IVF.IVF Australia medical director and Fertility Society president Peter Illingworth said the trend would affect the health system.”There can be long-term health complications for twins born as a result of IVF,” he said.”Ideally, we would like to put one embryo in at a time because of those risks but we are getting more pressure from patients to do two.”In January, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon capped Medicare safety net payments – which paid 80 per cent of the gap between doctors’ fees and the Medicare rebate – after a review found specialists were charging patients excessive fees.Ms Roxon vowed patients would be no worse off if specialists charged $6000, the cost of a typical cycle, according to the government. But doctors said the average cycle cost up to $7500, or higher if patients required extra treatment.Sandra Dill, from infertility support group Access Australia, said it had been receiving 30 to 40 calls and emails a week since the changes, from patients complaining to be under increased financial stress.
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