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As a kid growing up in Melbourne, I had limited exposure to pre-made ice coffees. Big M, and later Ice Break and IC were the only options around, until the glorious day that Farmers Union invaded from the west and became readily available in supermarkets and servos across Victoria. I thought it couldn’t get any better, but I was wrong.

According to Wikipedia, Paul’s Ice Coffee is the second most consumed drink in the Northern Territory, and for good reason. It has a narrow edge over Farmers Union in taste, and has the added cachet of exclusivity – you can only buy it within the borders of the Territory. I’m taking orders if anyone wants a delivery.

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Do you read the newspaper?
What about a day old newspaper? Two days old?
Or do you check the Internet for the latest news?

Where does the value come from in news media?  Is it the lessons we can learn from reading the stories?  Entertainment value?  Neither of these is dependent on how out of date the news we’re reading is.  Yet somehow it’s only entertaining if it’s recent, preferably brand new.

I get why some news has to be breaking stories.  Information is crucial to making good business decisions.  Deciding whether to head out sailing for the day needs the latest assessment of weather conditions.  For Joe Schmoe reading the MX on his way home from work though, what’s the point?  It could all be completely fictional for what he cares, right?

Somehow there is a point though.  Nobody bothers to read a day-old newspaper lying on a train seat.  The stories just aren’t that interesting.  Either people are subconsciously preparing themselves for inane discussion about current affairs with acquaintances, or there is some inherent value in news being fresh.  But if freshness is its only appeal, is it really worth reading?  If you’re not going to read today’s news tomorrow, why bother reading (or watching) it today?

Of course all this discounts the appeal of a two year old Woman’s Day sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, or the entertainment factor of reading interesting articles at any time.

This guy is easily the sickest frog around.  I’m not sure what’s the best thing about him, his horns, the smug look on his face, or the camo style skin patterns.  It’s an Amazonian Horned Frog, from pretty much anywhere in the Amazonian Basin.  Not only do they look awesome, they are freakin huge.  Like as big as a small dog.  Not to mention aggressive; until I read about these monsters I didn’t even realise frogs HAD teeth.  I thought they were just little green creatures who caught insects with their tongues and just slurped them up.  This dude would seriously destroy Kermit one on one, believe that.

1. Cheap stuff: whether it’s petrol, equities, houses, or consumer goods, everything is that little bit cheaper.  Anyone who hasn’t had to take a pay cut would be feeling some relief.  2009 will be the big test though, as effects of the crisis flow through to the broader economy, businesses feel the pinch and start sacking people.

2. Better music: from angst and pain comes great art, right?  I’m hoping the recession drives the nail through the obsolete music industry business model’s coffin, and we start seeing artists emerging because they are good rather than because they can be marketed to sell half a million copies on release date then fade into obscurity.  Plus, tough times make for great writing material – Young Jeezy has already pulled off the seemingly impossible recently by making songs about things other than slanging rocks, so hopefully that’s a taste of things to come.

3. Innovation: in the immortal words of some dude on Deltron 3030, crises precipitate change.  There are plenty of things wrong with the world right now, and what better time to make fundamental changes than when the old way of doing things is proven to be so completely busted? 

4. Opportunity to learn: so like just about everyone else with a basic share portfolio, I’ve been taken to the cleaners by drops in asset prices over the past year.  Nothing like losing some personal wealth as motivation to build knowledge!