Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Twatwatch - 28 September 2005

Freaking legend

Hubert Horatio Humphrey II (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978)

The 38th Vice President of the United States, and twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota and as mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Naturally this afternoon when I should have been working and/or doing uni, I was indulging in a spot of Wiki. When I read papers online I like to see who they're referring to here because chances are Wiki, the ... best ... website ... ever... will have it.

So I came across this bio of HHH here. He was Vice President to Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded JFK.

HHH helped drag the Democrats kicking and screaming out of its embracement of racist policies that disenfranchised African Americans in the southern states of the US. It caused some Democrats to leave and form their own party for a limited time (Reminds me of Bender - "with blackjack, and hookers") but they eventually came back, or joined the Republicans.

Here's what HHH said at the '48 convention.

"To those who say that this civil rights program is an infringement on states' rights, I say this, that the time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadows of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights."

Now that took balls back in '48.

He was a bit too anti Communist, for example trying to have even membership in the US Communist party listed as a felony. But by and large his heart was in the right place. Here's another memorable line that seems to sum him up.

"It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

I wrote something crudely similiar on a suitibility assessment for a job at work. I didn't get the job.

At any rate, HHH - a legend. And a case example that a politician can do good.

See his wiki entry for more info

Goin' to a wedding

I was still at work frantically working on a hateful assignment (don't ask), up until about 9pm. Needless to say I am Sergeant Schultz here.

"I know Nothing, NOOOOTTTTHING !"

Anyway, with work done, and home now, this is my last of these for a few days. For tomorrow I am off to the wedding for who the Bachelor's party was recently held (see previous blogs).

It's in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains in NSW. For those of you not in the know The Blue Mountains are basically a series of small towns along an escarpment outside of Sydney. It was known in the 1920s as a place for the well heeled to hang out, and it kind of has a bohemian atmosphere even now. It's known for the number of alternate life stylers that live there, the many tourist spots to gawk from, and a high number of incidences of mental illness from an incredible level of drug use.

As noted I previously met the bride when I woke up in her laundry (her clothes, not the room) at a party at her place. Well, soberly met her. I vaguely remember having met her the night before. She was best friends with my wife - and they have stayed good friends ever since. Indeed they used to procrastinate on psych assignments together by sitting on the verandah of my Wife's share house smoking entire packets of cigarettes and drinking coffee, then writing the whole assignment in a single 90 minute sitting while whacked out on nicotine and caffeine.

So now the friend is marrying her boyfriend of four years standing, a Colin Firth look alike geologist whose mad about cricket.

As noted this I don't get. In fact not getting cricket, football, rugby (any iteration thereof), and not being able to drive a manual car very well makes me as about as lesser an Australian male as you can be and still have testicles and citizenship in this fine country.

But I get him. He's lovely. He's the sort of person you meet and instantly warm to. And I am so happy that he and she are together. If any people deserve some happiness it's them.

So I will be hooking up at this shindig with her and his families, and her and his friends. There will be people coming from Uni (circa 1992-1994) that I don't really get on with, but I figure with 100 or so close friends and almost all family I can bear this for a while. Plus my old friend Mr Alcohol will be able to help there - though I have to do this in moderation lest I get kicked in the guts by the IBS fairy.

"Did anyone call for me and me intestinal trickery ??? Tee ha ha hee hee ha ha"

I have no idea if there is a bridal table, where my wife will be located as chief wench, which means if so I will get stuck somewhere down the back where the after thoughts are assigned at weddings. Which is kewl. I will try and emerge from my protective shell and engage in witty conversation, which, knowing me, will likely be turned to the subject of my bottom and it's many idiosyncrasies.

There will be thrills, spills, speeches (thank God not me - my Best Man's for my brothers started 'I have known the happy couple for some years now...' without a hint of intentional wit), dancing I am sure, and all sorts of other wedding type action - like karaoke. So it will be a blast.

Wish me luck punters, and I will likely check in a couple of days (if able to), and of course give you a post action report of what occurred - warts and all. Let's just hope there's no enforced counting of urinal cakery like at the Bachelor's party.

♪ “If you think I’m sexy AND you want my body, come on baby let me knoo.” ♪

No Homers

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oh yeah - Don Adams

I note with sadness that Don Adams of Get Smart died. I had only just recently written an entry on my love of TV repeats on 80's TV, especially Get Smart. And part of me can't help thinking that because I lauded his work, that the universe took note and took him from us. What if my praising someone causes somehow their immediate future loss to us?

So given that...

"John Howard is the best Prime Minister we have ever had. He is considerate, wise, compassationate, and his hygiene is above reproach. If I had a dollar for every truth he told I would have thousands of dollars. He has never ever lied to the Australian people and everything Labor says about him is in fact a lie. He may be the greatest human being ever to power walk in a vodaphone tracksuit across this earth. Long may he rule over us - for ever, and ever, and ever."

Left John Howard. Power Walker in charge of our days, and our nights.

"Why has this man not got a knighthood? Why is he not the Sir John that justice demands he be? After-all he single handedly determined who comes to this country and in the manner in which they arrive - and leave if you are a crippled Philipene born Australian citizen and so forth. I bless each and every single day this man came to power, on a bed rock of honesty and truth. I care not that the 'Honest John' tag was actually a Labor slur on his minor failing at being a Treasurer and somehow the Murdoch press turned it into a compliment. He deserves it. In fact his name should be henceforth Sir Honest !"

Twatwatch - 27 September 2005

Jesse Alexander Helms (born October 18, 1921) a former five-term Republican U.S. Senator from North Carolina (now retired)

I came across this happy camper in wiki (see his article here)

I had heard of him before that, but curious as ever, I read it.

Man - he was quite the character. Formerly a Democrat then a Republican. A man who wasn't afraid to use racial segregation, gay vilification, general racism and the like, to push his far right agenda.

Here's some quotes from the wiki article. Now bear in mind he had a long time in office, and hell we all make gaffs now and then. But I gets the feeling he's a man who stood by what he said.

On diversity:

* "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races." - From an attack ad Helms helped create while working on the 1950 campaign of arch-segregationist Democrat Willis Smith against a more moderate Democrat, Frank Porter Graham. Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham's wife had danced with a black man. (FAIR 9/1/01, The News and Observer 8/26/01)

On homosexuality:

* "Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches."

On popular newpapers:

* "The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian."


* "We've got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts."

-In reference to why he opposed approval of the Ryan White CARE act, which funds AIDS research

* "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."

- States News Service, May 17th, 1988

I wonder why it is that some people suspect that conservative politics is home to bigots and f_ckheads. Yes, I note he was a Democrat first, but eventually found a happy home on the other side of the aisle.

Why is it in Australia we don't have to put up with c0cks like helms publically making these statements and getting away with it? Is it because we don't stand for this? (I am aware that such statements do creep out from the lips of certain polies when their guard is down - but nothing really of this level).

I suppose if could be that many of the above quotes were back in the 80's when us evil PC types had not yet thwarted the right of bigots to spew forth their ranting tosh about lesser races, and the gays, and so forth.

F_ck I hate republicans. Can anyone nominate a Republican they like? If so, why? I will also accept Nixon if you have a good enough excuse.

Where Harrangueman has a spray about 4WDs

The SMH had an article today about a study into 4WD drivers. It was most illuminating.

Here's a fun bit.

It found 66 per cent of men who owned large 4WDs were obese, compared with 57 per cent of the population overall. On homosexuality, 51 per cent of 4WD owners thought it immoral, while only 43 per cent of Australian men overall agreed.

Isn't that interesting? Conservative fat people drive 4WDs – though of course as a 1.9 version of a normal man for my height I can hardly make fat jokes.

I read this article and remarked that perhaps it would be good if 4WD owners had to have a special licence proving their ability to handle these vehicles safely. A co-worker disagreed. His rationale was that if you can't drive a 4WD then you shouldn't be driving at all. Hmmm, here's my points on why they should have a special licence.

4WD are more likely to kill people in an accident, if it's a 4WD Vs sedan. And by killing I mean the sedan people – not the 4WD people.

4WD have a greater likelihood of rolling around sharp corners. They also have a greater chance of killing the occupant when it does since the heavier vehicle means it's more prone to cave the roof in.

4WD are more difficult to park due to their size – especially when avoiding objects to their rear such as, I don't know, say a small child.

Left: Whoops...

4WD obstruct other traffic meaning other drivers are reduced in their ability to perceive road conditions, making them more prone to an accident – eg trying to overtake a 4WD and discovering to their horror that another 4WD was coming the other way.

4WD being heavier have a longer breaking distance and require a greater level of skill to handle when attempting a controlled stop.

While 4WD are designed to go off road (the fact they don't often is beside the point here in this analysis), their high centre of gravity means things like slopes, and angle of climb and so forth means they can … roll over. It takes skill to handle these bad boys in off road conditions – which is why almost any organization who uses them in this manner sends their regular drivers on a course to ensure they can. Just having a normal licence and 'daddy bought me a RAV4, let's go sand duning' is likely a recipe for disaster.

So that's just my case for having a special licence to operate one. Nothing to do with actually owning one.

My leftier friend Cass (just – she pipped me on the Socialist % on one of those online tests) thinks perhaps there should also be a proof of requirement to own a 4WD. Well, that has its merits. I'd like to see that – if only to prevent the kind of people who would buy designer spray on mud accessory from getting anywhere near one. But realistically it's alas not going to happen. Fat liberal party voters will see to that. However it is worth noting the following additional points.

4WD's are classified as light trucks according to the tax system. I believe it's around 5% tax for one of them Vs 22% or so for a sedan. This is a f_cking joke. This tax rebate was designed for primary producers and trades people – people who in the lovely Cass's system would actually meet the requirement of ownership. It was not designed for lawyers, architects, small business owners, and other wealthier types to honk around town in and take out in the bush once or twice a year. This is an unfair aberration that has artificially lowered the price of 4WDs.

4WD's consume a lot of petrol. Yes I am aware that some of the newer models are paying attention to fuel efficiency, but consider this. Normal sedan 50-60 litre tank. Normal 4WD 100+ litre tank. Goes the same distance, carries the same number of people. Yes a sedan may not carry as much shopping as a 4WD but on average how much of that space is fully utilised? I'd suggest barely ever. So 4WDs typically carry the same load but at twice the consumption of fuel. Is that really wise?

4WD's are only safer when they crash into another sedan. Which they are more likely to do anyway – being a 4WD. As noted they are more likely to kill the sedan occupants than those in the 4WD. On every other scale of typical accidents 4WD are more dangerous. So in effect only a poor driver would be better off in a 4WD from a personal safety viewpoint – but is more likely to have an accident it seems in the first place.

From a personal experience, having driven a 4WD I found them a vastly different vehicle to operate. Yes I am aware that after having purchased a 4WD that experience would begin – however without proper instruction certain poor habits will ingrain that perhaps are not good. Such people without training when encountering an unusual driving event – eg breaking in the wet – are more likely to have a far more damaging experience. Since normal use does not prepare one for such events. So on balance it seems the special licence is a good idea.

From a moral viewpoint I think owning a 4WD where it is not required for your chosen profession is questionable. 4WDs consume more fuel and make the roads more dangerous for other users. If someone wants to go bush bashing at some point, then they can go out and hire one for that – and should do a course first.

My $0.02? Stick to a sedan in the meantime.

The article ended with a quote from Clive Hamilton, of the Australia Institute, the organisation behind the study.

"Some North Shore mums don't seem as community-minded as the rest of us and they'll continue to happily focus on themselves, their friends and worry about what schools they get their children into," he said.

"For them the price of petrol is not a problem. In fact, higher petrol prices for these women bestows … a certain cachet that only money can buy."

Un f_cking believable if that becomes true.

Any stories of near misses with an 4WD? Let Harrangueman know.

[Edit - Capital Mum likewise took her pen to this subject, and did it far better justice than me. Not only is it vastly wittier it has a kewl pic of a red neck. Go here]

Monday, September 26, 2005

Twatwatch - 26 September 2005

Ok - I can't paste his photo for some reason. Blogspot won't let me. Not sure why this is exactly.

Anyway here's a link to Peter Dutton's parliament page - click here.

Peter Dutton. Ex QLD cop, now Minister for Workplace Participation. This is a weasel word substitute for 'stripping benefits from dole scum and lousy cripples on disability leeching money from out manly teats.'

He's sometimes on Sunrise. Why is this man a twat? I'm glad you asked. This from his maiden speech.

"The fight for a better place in which to live is today made even more difficult for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the boisterous minority and the politically correct seem to have a disproportionate say in public debate today. The silent majority, the forgotten people—or the aspirational voters of our generation, as some like to term them—are fed up with bodies like the Civil Liberties Council and the Refugee Action Collective, and certainly the dictatorship of the trade union movement. Australians are fed up with the Civil Liberties Council— otherwise known as the criminal lawyers media operative—who appear obsessed with the rights of criminals yet do not utter a word of understanding or compassion for the victims of crime. Their motives are questionable and their hypocrisy breathtaking."

The 'boisterous minority and the politically correct.' Let's change this to 'scoially aware' and 'small l liberal thinkers.'

Then he puts the boot into people like the Civil Liberties Council and the Refugee Action Collective. Clearly dangerous PC thugs with their outrageous views like liberties and assisting refugees. Let's not forget those scum the trade unions.

And what a massive blast of bull dust on criminal lawyers. Criminal lawyers have to best serve the needs of their client. And get this - if they do not - they are breaking their code of ethics. They are such an easy f_cking target for right wing politicians to take aim at.

Here's another great bit.

"At this point in time it is stating the obvious that in my opinion the courts are not representing the views in the large of the broader community. Time after time we see grossly inadequate sentences being delivered to criminals whose civil rights have far exceeded those of the victim and others in our society. This imbalance must be addressed, and for the sake of living standards and reasonable expectations for all Australians must be addressed as a matter of urgency."

Ah the old law and order card. Time after time I have to put up with shiny toothed f_cks like Dutton wittering on about law and order as a means to garner votes from the elderly too scared to leave their fibro shack (his words - see the rest of his speech).

I also particularly love how the bio on his website slips into a present tense press release mid way though

"Peter Dutton is a hard-working person who comes from a small business family and appreciates the hard work required to achieve goals.

"I really don't mind what people's politics are," Peter says. [cough, bullshit, cough]

"I want to hear what their problems or concerns are, and help in finding solutions. I hope I can use my real-life experiences to find solutions to some of these problems."

"I am not a career politician, or a barrister. I haven't spent my working life behind a desk. I want to bring some common sense and real life experience to the position."

Peter regularly travels around the electorate in his mobile office to meet with residents and identify the issues of most concern to them. He is happy to attend local meetings of any description to work through issues with constituents.

"Please call my office on 3205 9977 to make an appointment," Peter says.

Peter Dutton is a strong believer in the principle of mutual obligation and in stronger sentencing options for criminals who commit serious offences. He has also been a strong campaigner to have the outdated double jeopardy principle revised in Queensland."

See his site here.

"This man is clearly a f_ck knuckle," says Harrangueman of Peter Dutton.

"He claims not to worry about people's politics and just wants to help them. Unless of course they believe in civil liberties, equitable treatment of refugees, or belong to a dictatorial trade union. What a nobsicle."

Why can't I post photo's to Blogspot?

I've tried a dozen times and nuthin'. Is there a cap or something? I really want to Twat someone but I need the photo to do it.

Ok - I'll post this and see what happens next.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Twatwatch - 25 September 2005

Santo Santoro,

Senator for Queensland

I was trawling through the web, as you do, and came across the Young Liberals website. Then I followed a link to the Australian Liberal Students' Federation here.

Then I found this charming speech by Senator Alliteration here.

Here's some excerpts

"More than any other political philosophy, Liberalism is about standing up for what’s right – not just for what’s convenient, or easiest, or the “best sell” to special interest groups."

Does he actually mean the Liberal party?

Here's another one

"The mere presence of a Liberal Student Club on a campus fundamentally changes its intellectual climate. For Liberal Students are an elite group."

Yes my social betters, tell me how I should obey you...

"Among those of the Left it is acceptable to slam Western culture for its materialism and greed, its despoliation of the environment and extermination of indigenous cultures, its racism, its intolerance, its supposed disgraceful treatment of refugees, its militarism, its indifference to the Developing World, even its sexist male patriarchal power structures.

But it is just not acceptable to slam a Third World country that is brutalising its women on a regular, institutionalised basis for its backwardness, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, savageness, plain cruelty or simply its uncivilised nature."

He got the first part right. Not sure how the second part relates exactly to the first part. Is he honestly saying that because he 'stood up to Iraq' (a secular country until we took it over) that the Liberals are emancipating women?

This is the worst kind of racist reactionary dribble you'd expect from a hoity toit like Alliteration man. Let's deflect from all the things we do wrong here in Australia and try and equate it to something we have little, if any, influence on that's overseas. Gee I wonder where I have seen that happen before?

I note too that the Republicans, and the Liberals, all very happily dealt with despotic Islamic government for years and years until one day one of their pets bit the hand that fed it and they had to smack his head with a rolled up newspaper.

Why did the people of QLD elect this man? Oh wait, he's a Senator...

I think I have a Hernia

In 2002 I had my gall bladder removed. It was packed with stones and it was interferring with my ability to enjoy not having agonising pain.

Things were better once it was done, but eventually I realised a chunk of the pain was still there. Courtesy it seems of having Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Now I am convinced I also have a Hernia. I get stabbing pain there now and then (near the site of the surgery - which was open cut on account of my happily fat build), and I have to physically press in my stomach when I want to successfully perform certain, er, bodily acts. With my arm.
I think I will have to go see a Doctor.

To those of you without a large gut let me tell you it's not fun. You have trouble going up stairs, and running is a major operation requiring vast lungfuls of air. I weigh roughly 90% more than I should according to that BMI height scale thingy.
Stupid love of eating and not moving much.

I hate exercise. I feel uncomfortable, look ridiculous, and generally feel miserable. But there is one think I don't mind doing and that's walking with a purpose. So a big thanks to Cass and Mr Horror my walking
buds - because without you I'd probably be a panting shut in waiting for the ambos to get here with the jaws of life so they can widen my doorway or something.

But back to the Hernia. I was born with one. Two in fact. They didn't know for three months aparently which as a baby is not that fun. So it might have something to do with that. I guess I will end up getting an ultrasound. Which, if you've had one, is not pleasant. The last time was by a cold voiced russian technician who was scanning my testicles for unpleasant lumperies (none were found). And if the gel cold then OUCH !

And of course you need to take a shirt cause yer stomach is all greased up, and unless you're lubed to go retrieve a dog from a narrow air vent system, Willie style, or you're about to entertain those that prefer your sex for attraction purposes, then you really have to wipe it off. And you can't get it all either. Your work shirt ends up sticking to you.

Left: Grease me up woman, I'm going in

Friends are here for tea so I'm best to go and entertain. Think of me and my soon to be greasy tum tum gentle reader.

XXX and all that.

Twatwatch - 24 September 2005

I'm opening this one up to you punters. Who is a twat and why? Tell me, tell your friends, tell Jesus ! But most importantly, tell Uncle Harrangueman.

Who is getting your goat?

We'll make this a Saturday night thing (yes, I am aware it's Sunday morning when I post this). Every Saturday it's Open Mic night on Twatwatch !

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Aggressive c0ckheads on Australian roads

I have come to the opinion that Australian roads are jammed pack full of aggressive c0ckheads.

Now I am not saying I am a great driver. I'm not. For example I can legally drive a manual but there's no way I should (I once drove a work 4WD at 80 kays an hour in 3rd for about 20 minutes). But I do like to think I have some common courtesy for other, more able, drivers on our roads.

For example I know when and where to use an indicator. I also do not tail gate - which is why people keep pulling in front of me when I drive home since I leave the required three car gap between me and the car in front.
And if someone f*cks up in front of me, causing me to break suddenly, swerve, or clench my wheel in bottom opening fear, I may honk the horn, or give the old dissapointed head shake, but that's about it.

Left: "I say good sir, you appear to have inadvertantly cut me orf !"

Here's what I don't do. I don't tail gate them, flashing my lights, then, as I pass them, get my passenger to roll down the window and flip me off. Nor do I chase them around Canberra doing the same and presumably hope they'll stop so I can take a club lock to their headlights or body work like they're Jack f_cking Nicholson.

Sometimes I have made a mistake on the road and suffered this. About three times now I've been followed and had to detour towards a police station in the expectation there may be violence.

What the f_ck do dickheads that 'chase' cars hope to achieve? Do they honestly think their road threatening is somehow going to magically make up for the slight they received? Or that their going the thickness of a bumper behind the offender and blasting their horn is somehow going to make that person from now on a safer driver that won't offend them?

Blasting their horn and basically using their car like it's a 2x4 and that they're going to bash someone with it I think says a lot more about their mental mindset, maturity, and abilities behind a wheel, than it does about the person that may have cut in front of them and didn't indicate when they should have. Yes, I loathe having someone pull out in front of me - and I detest people who lane weave without indicating. But I certainly don't slip into Operation "I'm going to Nail Your Ass" and weave off in pursuit screaming incoherently, bashing my horn, and fumbling around for some sort of blunt object so I can enter melee with them when they stop.

Left: This gentleman seems a tad upset and I'm guessing is going to use this wheel thingy to gently tap on the window of the other driver so they can begin a mediation process.

My wife once worked as a courier. She can be distracted sometimes, there's no doubt. And she likes to fumble around on the radio for a song she can sing too. So on occassion she has had a near miss. Once when driving a government car, she had just parked and was about to get out when this man, purple headed with rage, started bashing the crap out of her window. She wound it down an inch so she could hear what he was saying and eventually worked out that he was a tad miffed she'd cut him off five minutes before. She didn't even realise. Finally he threw his hands up with frustration and stormed off - probably because the government car had a phone in it which my wife was pointing at it and mouthing the words 'I am now going to call the police.'

I think I read somewhere that because the length of our roads have not changed much, but the number of vehicles on them are steadily increasing, that it means road rage is on the rise. Tempers flare because compressed traffic magnifies mistakes, causes delays, and adds to levels of frustration. But what this says to me is don't get angry, get calmer. What we need to do is to instill in drivers is a sense of decency and fair play instead of 'me, me, f_cking me.'

Case in point. My wife and I rear ended someone on Parkes Way - a major arterial road in Canberra. Our accident caused the car behind us to get rear ended by the one behind her. So four cars in total taken out (and it was our fault). We ended up blocking a lane of the highway for about two hours until the police and towies finally turned up.

Now admittedly this was rush hour, so it was a major inconvenience to a significant chunk of Canberra citizenry. And I apologise for that.
But here's what I don't get. There's a bunch of dazed drivers, who've just been in an accident, swapping insurance details and stuff by the road. And some passers by feel that they have not had enough distress, roll down their windows, and scream abuse at them as they drive past for making them late. I think I got called a f_ckwit, a f_ckhead, and of course my perennial favourite a fat c_nt.

Boo f_cking hoo you f_cked in the head psychopaths. May you have a hideous accident someday and some A-hole does the same to you.

In fact, when I think of it, c0ckheads drivers who like to abuse people, and tail gate, and blat their horn, and all of that, are probably also c0ckheads in life. And c0ckheads I have found, generally speaking, get theirs in the end.

Cause that's karma baby. And what goes around comes around when a c0ckhead is involved.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Twatwatch - 23 September 2005

Good old Shane Warne.

Not even you cricket aficionados can claim he is not a twat.

I may not enjoy cricket, but I am a proud Ozzer. Warnie on the other hand can't keep his hand of it - be it his nob, his mobile phone, or some slattern that boned him to ruin him for the Ashes (or make poo loads of cash off the Daily Mirror).

See the Mirror article here

Maybe I'm just jealous of his ability to attract women despite his obvious twatness. Ladies out there? What do you think? Is this man a sex machine? Or just sex deprived?

Watching TV as a kid in the 80's

As many of us Ozzers who are Gen X will remember (and having had our seminal teen years in the mid to late 80's), our TV screens loved the repeats. And I mean loved them. They honoured 20 year old TV series well into our teens in that all important crucial block of time of arriving home from school (around 4 to 4.30 pm) and being called for dinner (6 - 6.30 pm).

Now as a kid I did not have the ability to properly
contextualise television. For example, when the 60's Batman series was run again I was I think in year one or two. I believe it repeated on us, like a bad curry, at several periods right into high school. Same bat time - same freaking bat channel.

And I ... f_cking ... loved it.

I did not see the camp side of it. I only saw the kewlness of it. Like the fights. Batman going the uppercut (BAFF !), the swinging Robin around in a circular motion to catch advancing henchmen (SWONK !), then diving off a staircase and hanging off a curtain rope / chandelier / noose /ele
ctrical cord and knocking more henchies down like nine pins (WHACKO !).

Left: Batman sorting a crim out with some sock action.

Did this translate to the school yard? You betcha. I can remember playing Batman and Robin for hours at an end. Of course all the sexual subtext was missing in action as far as I was concerned, as was the references to the 60's throughout like the lurid pinks and purples, and the references to swinging ('How about a Bat Sandwich Robin?')

And of course the always useful utility belt. That had anything and everything, all prefaced with the word Bat. Bat Shark Repellant. Bat soap on a rope. One episode, at the end, Batman pulled out a fish to feed a particularly helpful seal. Pure gold.

And we cannot fail to mention the spinning logo and the 'duna - lunna - lunnel - la' music to indicate a scene change. I used to do that at the dinner table when the switch was made from main to dessert.

And as I kid I had a complete ignorance about things like logic (for example Henchman that had the words 'HENCHMEN 1#' on their skivvys - which made them stand out in a crowd). Not to mention and the complete inability of super villans to assassinate Batman properly, or kill him outright upon capture (which routinely happened every second episode to provide a cliff hanger).

Left: Robin and Batman in a cliff hanger - obviously poisoned with some bad acid. If only batman had something in his utility belt that Robin could fumble for to get them out of this dastardly scheme.

Like Scotty says. 'Dad, I got a gun in my room. Let me go get it and we'll pop them.' To recall more Batman goodness go here

Man I'm pounding my fist into my hand now, just thinking about watching all this golly gosh goodness.

The other routinely replayed program, that stood the test of time, was of course Get Smart by the redoubtable Mel Brooks.

Again, I was a kid. So the fact it was a comedy completely escaped me. 'Missed him by that much' entered the lexicon. As did 'Would you believe two girl guides and an escaped inuit mental patient.' And let's not forget 'the old (insert surprise) in the (common occurence) trick' eg 'the old midget assassin in the mailbox trick'. Didn't get the underlying humour - but it just seemed the right thing to say.

I loved the opening sequence with the ten or so doors, and the phone booth lift (I'd stand behind the couch and hit a pretend button to 'vanish' out of sight). At school we'd whip off our shoes and make calls to each other. Villains of course all spoke in a dodgy German accent ("Schmart !").

Left: Ahh, the shoe phone. Now comedy gold - and a useful plot device in an era where mobile communications was not possible.

The Cone of Silence. Man how kewl was the f_cking Cone of Silence? Everytime I'd be raging 'Why are you using that you fools? It NEVER WORKS !' I think I used to run in and complain to mum about their IDIOCY !

Left: You frickin' idiots. Again with the Cone of Silence.

But the best thing of all was that emergency code thing that Max would yell, and the alarms would go off, and in come three guys. I can only remember two of them. One was a frogman in the full get up with a submachine gun and flippers. The other was a fireman in a hazmat suit that would periodically squirt foam from an extinguisher.

For more Get Smart recollection see here.

Occasionally I'm home from work sick during that golden glow of the day between 4 pm and 6. And I will flick on the TV. And what's on? Shit all. It's all frickin' pony club bitches and their 'do I ride Silver, or stick with Andrella?' woes and tribulations, or Bold and the frickin' Beautiful (which is neither bold - nor beautiful), or Totally vomit inducing Wild, or shithouse game shows for kids, or various other mind sapping dross.

What kids need is a damn good repeat of Monkey !

At least the ABC has gone back to its roots with Dr Who repeats. And it's on the same time as when I was a kid too.
I may be too fat to crawl under the couch away from the Cybermen. And the exotic alien locations may now be recognisable as merely them shooting footage in the steam pipe room at the BEEB, or the roof, but I don't care. It's still awesome tellie and it kicks the poo out of today's lameness for kids.

Rock on 80's repeat TV. I salute you.

(Punters - what awesome afternoon TV from the 80's do you cheerish with a warm inner glow? Monkey got your tongue? Are you a Ghostbuster's Cartoon Booster? Goodies fanatic?)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Compulsory Voting and Oz - Harrangueman, he like

Crikey had a report today about Senator Nick Minchin continuing his campaign to make voting voluntary in this country. This is but one of the reasons why we should be worried.

Here's my take on voluntary voting.

It already is voluntary. What's that Harrangueman? It's not voluntary. I have to turn up and get my name marked off and if I don't vote I cop a fine.

Yes, you're right. You do get fined if you don't turn up at a voting booth and get your name crossed off. But not actually fined for not voting.

You see punters you don't have to vote. You can jam a ballot in there that's all the way blank. You can write angry messages about how this exercise of democratic freedom cost you 30 minutes out of your life. You can draw poo poos and wee wees all over that ballot. You can even screw it up, drop it on the floor, flip a custodian two fingers and walk out.

There, I'm glad we sorted that out. Vote for who you want, I don't care – or rather I do care – very much. Because some healthy chunk of voters elected John Howard back into office – who most of us can all agree, even if they do have a mortgage and got a tad worried last time out, is a spack eyed nob.

But this is why I support mandatory turning up at voting booths.

As an Australian citizen of 18 years of age and older you have a responsibility at making your voice heard. Don't carp and moan and bitch about politicians not taking you seriously, or that 'it be just the same if the other guy got in' just because you don't want to vote.

It's when people don't feel they have a say in the democratic process that bad things happen. And here's a case example. Who won Florida by just 500 odd votes in 2000 to change the geo-political landscape? Why George Bush. And if it had not been for a significant amount of African Americans tricked out of making a vote, or excised without their knowledge from electoral rolls, and some befuddled elderly retirees in a certain county who mistakenly voted for Buchanan, then the world would now be a nicer place.

Left: Voluntary voting makes this more likely.

Mandatory turning up to vote means politicians have to pay more attention to their electorate. For example they can't just pander to likely voters – which tend to learn towards the conservatives – which is why the Liberals want to bring in voluntary voting. Pandering to conservatives includes things like trying to restrict abortion, one laws for hetro couples, and one for the gays. Oh – law and order is a big one. You think it's bad in Oz. Check out the UK and the tories recent 'Are you thinking what we're thinking' signs about, of all things, itinerant gypsies.

In the UK the tories used to get their moneyed up chums to trawl around neighbourhoods with Rolls Royce's to offer plebs a chance to ride in one to take them to the voting booth as an inducement to vote their way. Do you really want to see Heffernan curb crawling for voters in a Commonwealth car? I think not.

Mandatory turning up to vote means a more accurate snapshot of the people's wishes is taken on that day. As opposed to being skewed towards certain demographics. For example those who follow a set ideology (cough, Hillsong, cough) where their leaders have effectively suggested who they vote for. It also means certain demographics are less likely to vote – like blue collar workers who work shitty jobs doing shitty hours and the last thing they want to do is waste 30 minutes of a really nice day standing in queue to vote for 'some prick.'

Some feel that forcing Australians to the polls is a violation of their civil liberties. And that it is morally wrong to force people to do something they don't wish to.

I heartily disagree there. No one is forcing you to vote. They are asking you to turn up to any one of a number of places to have your name crossed out – or you cop a small fine. There's a big difference.

You have to have a licence to drive a car. You have to have an ABN if you're a business earning over a certain amount. You have to pay taxes. You have to fill out forms. You have to have a library card to borrow a book from a library. These are all small sacrifices we make to function as a modern society.

I hardly think 30 minutes out of one day every 18 months or so is too much to ask to help ensure this country is governed with as close to the complete will of the people as possible.

Even if they did pig ignorantly give Howard the senate.

And are the people really that upset about voluntary voting? Historically we average about 5% misfires in ballot filling in this country. This rolls in all the people who filled in their form incorrectly (and with the Upper House votes in same states and at the Federal level, I'm surprised it's not higher). This also rolls in the people who draw the poo poos and the wee wees and the hateful sprays about being forced to vote (which they're not) in the first place. So assume, somewhat generously that this 5% is divided equally between mistakes and 'shaking fists of rage' against the system.

That's just 2.5% of people having a whinge about being forced to do it. You'd think it be a lot higher if people were genuinely upset about it.

Besides, voting places usually have a nice carnie atmosphere. And I don't mean travelling sideshow alley folk with their small hands and cabbage breath. Here in the ACT polling booths often double with school fetes, and fairs, and what not. You can get a snag and you can have a vote. Yes, you could do that voluntarily too, but it'd just be dickheads in four wheel drives turning up and moaning about how the high cost of petrol makes their environment killing, pedestrian killing, sedan killing, and them killing (in a roll over), car more expensive to drive. You really want to share a queue with those f_ckers?

And compulsory voting helps avoid unpleasantness that can happen with voluntary voting, such as the targeting likely voters of opponents by some groups to encourage them not to vote. For example a certain party who sends operatives around to the housing tracts with many elderly minorities and explains to them that because they had a parking fine in 1983 that they have been stripped of their rights to vote.

Wikki, naturally enough, has an article on Compulsory Voting. Read it and see what you think. Click here

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Twatwatch - 21 September 2005

Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove,

Deputy Chief of Staff for the George W Bush Whitehouse.

The person on this planet most responsible for the rise and rise of George W Bush (and that includes George W Bush).

What can I say about Karl Rove that hasn't been said? See his wikki article here

Harrangueman ruminates about the evil bullies who picked on poor widdle him and made him cry

That peanut post got me to thinking about bullies.
I have been both. I wasn't very nice to a kid in year nine and with all the other people in my year, picked on him. I feel bad for that. Especially considering I should have known better for having appeared in Modern Bully as their Victim of the Year. That guy left in year ten because of all the shit he copped. But my brief turn to the dark side was 0.2% of my full bullying experiences. The rest was as the bullied, not the bully.
What do peanuts have to do with bullying? Well I guess it reminded me that being different largely is the thing that decides whether you will get bullied at school. Difference from the norm is a very big thing when you're a kid. Being different means … well … I don't know. Being different. That's it. That's all it has to take. Maybe because if you're feeling sad and blue and there's someone different to you then it's all their fault or something.
Popular differences include;
Being fat
Being of a different racial type to the standard
Reacting to abuse quickly
Crying easily
Talking differently (e.g. accent)
Being overly smart
Liking nerdy things (like Dungeons & Dragons)
Having something wrong with you physically (e.g. having a peanut allergy or severe acne)
Having something wrong with you mentally (e.g. dyslexia, phobia, panic attacks)
Liking Hyundai's instead of Ford/Holden
Not being sporty
Having a smart mouth
Not saying much
Not being physically attractive
Being overtly religious
Wearing a favourite piece of clothing
Liking a lame TV program beyond the time period you should be liking it
Not having a TV
Not dressing in accordance with acceptable fashion (e.g. not having brand name clothing, not having your hair/croptop a certain way, wearing brown corduroy)
Liking a lame singer beyond the time you should be liking it
Having parents that declare their love for you in front of people you may know
And so on, and so on, and so on, and so on.
I met much of the above criteria. I was also socially awkward. Way awkward. Like I was mentally ill or something. I rarely got invited to parties, I rarely got invited to people's houses. In my first two months at a state school, having voluntarily left the insane asylum that was my private school, the popular girls told me to fuck off from near where they were sitting because I was bringing the tone of the area (a wall) down.
It got better by year 12. And by uni I could pick and choose who I wanted to hang with and by and large did not have to subject myself to constant abuse. Which was nice. And in fact since I have been gainfully employed I have rarely had to put up with people acting antagonistically towards me. It does happen now and then, because I still do have a big mouth, but mostly it’s a disagreement over something—not bullying—which is cool.
What are some classic bullying episodes enjoyed by Harrangueman?
Being taken into the Prefect's room at the private school and thrown against a wall for telling a senior student to get fucked. Then physically and verbally abused for the next 20 minutes.
Left: School bully Gregson from Tomkinson’s Schooldays (Ripping Yarns by Michael Palin and Terry Jones). Really not that much of a caricature.
Being beaten up at the year ten party for walking past some drunken panel beater kids. They didn't like me doing that. Me and my crazy walking past antics. What was I thinking?
Being thrown into a bonfire by a panel beater kid at the year twelve party when I accidentally snagged the blanket which protected us from the sight of him having public relations with his slapper girlfriend (actually—probably fair enough—save I think he was one of the ones who beat me up in year ten). I had to go run and hide in the woods for three hours until things calmed down (I landed in the one un-burned spot in the fire, jumped out and fled).
Having kids from the years below me follow me home from school chucking rocks at my back.
Repeatedly having my head slammed into a window on the bus, and having the hair on my neck burned off by a lighter.
Having various items stolen off me such as bags, stationary or clothing. Some got returned, some didn't.
Having the teacher stand in front of the class and sing insulting songs about me to the delight of my classmates. Wow, still can't believe that happened.
Basically I was a walking victim. I had a smart mouth, I had a fruity accent (apparently I sound a tad English—well I did back then), I was overweight, I had sunken eyes, I had no concept of dealing with the opposite sex after having moved to a co-ed school at the height of puberty, and I had a quick temper. Oh, and I was self deprecating. You know what? As a kid—don't do that. As an adult it's endearing. As a child it makes you a target.
I still do find it odd that if you get beaten up in the street then the assailant is charged with assault. Back then at least, you got beaten up at school and it was considered character building—or deserving.
Bullying is as bullying does. It doesn't matter how old you are, when it happened, or indeed what differences caused you to attract the fell attention of those that like to inflict pain to salve their own internal discord. It still hurts years later and can colour the way you live your life ever after.
But it's been nearly 20 years now. So I should just get over it.
Besides I've been lucky since I left school. I have some class act friends. Occasionally cock heads call me a fat cunt as they speed past, but that says more about them that it says about my morbidly obese and/or vulvic qualities.
So attention bullies. I say yar boo sucks to you.
On a happy note I discovered a couple of years ago that one of the bus bullies, the one who led the others, ended up as a junkie.
Sucked in you sad little prick. I hope you die in a fucking gutter.
By the way, the reason I hate the Liberal party so much is that they are essentially well organised bullies that use their victimisation of others to their political benefit. Such as with refugees.
History will judge them and I hope harshly. Assuming we still have books to judge them with and that they haven't all been thrown on a big fire and that the only information we have is from the heavily screened and monitored internet.
Praise the leader!
[Nananananananana Leader! Nananananananana Leader! Leader! Leader! Leader!]

Schnappi !

Schni Schna Schnappi ♫♬♪

♫♬♪ Schnappi Schnappi Schnapp ♫♬♪

♫♬♪ Schni Schna Schnappi ♫♬♪

♫♬♪ Schnappi Schnappi Schnapp ♫♬♪

Where Harrangueman gets into an argument over banning peanuts in some schools

(Apologies to Cass who already heard this and whose points I shamelessly stole for my own use.)

This morning we were shooting sh_t as normal, and somehow the subject of peanut allergies came up. To whit the schools banning of peanut butter and peanuts when they have students that suffer from this allergy.

I was for it. My colleagues, bless 'em, were against it.

The general line of argument against banning peanuts and peanut butter was that it was up to the child, and that family, to manage, and why should the other school kids as a whole suffer. Oh, and that if schools did ban it, then it was because it was a legal issue, not a health issue.

This is where Harrangueman gets annoyed.

For some people with this most unfortunate allergy, they will die when they ingest nutty goodness. Die. As in dead. As in their throat closes over, they can't breathe, and they suffocate. To death.

Left: A cartoon peanut going crazy ape shit with a golf club.

Now in a modern society such us ours, it's reasonable to expect able bodied people to occasionally make a sacrifice for their less able people. The 80/20 rule. As in occasionally the 80% of people who are not affected by something have to make consideration for the 20% of people who are. In this case food allergies are not 20% of people,
and nor are they necessarily life threatening. But for that small segment of people that will f_cking die if they do ingest nuts then there is something we can do.

Here is the link to the NSW Health guide for schools for managing students with this disability. (click)

This is a guide for managing risk. It doesn't say to ban products containing traces of nuts outright – and indeed that would be an unreasonable expectation of other students– but it does recommend banning nuts themselves and clearly linked products – eg nutty chocolate bars, and peanut butter.

Here's why.

Because if a kid with a peanut allergy ingests it they may very well die – and to avoid death usually requires their emergency injector pen with adrenaline and that an adult jabs it in their leg to save them. Now this isn't a 'la-de-dah' manuever. It's not a case 'no worries lads, got me lucky pen, nut away chappies, I just will need one of you to stick this in me if I get too much of a whiff of nuts.' It's a f_cking shot of adrenaline to the system designed to stave off immediate death.

I've been in situations where I've nearly died before. But I've never, ever, had to go through a 'can't breathe' scare save for the odd being winded when as a kid. My wife is asthmatic. I've had to take her to casualty when she couldn't breathe before – and it scared the pants off me. And she just had trouble breathing. Now imagine being the poor kids who gets an instant reaction like this.

Flushing and/or swelling of the face

Itching and/or swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth

Itching and/or a sense of tightness in the throat, hoarseness, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing

Hives, itchy rash and/or swelling about the face, body or extremities

Nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting

Shortness of breath, repetitive coughing and/or wheezing

Faint, rapid pulse, low blood pressure

Light headedness, feeling faint, collapse

Distress, anxiety and a sense of dread

I've had panic attacks before – which exacerbates the breathing thing. This is like a panic attack taken to the next level. Now imagine being the child going through this because some kid next to you swapped sandwiches with you and it had peanuts in it. Imagine buying a vegemite sandwich from the tuckshop and, because the knife had been used 10 minutes before to spread peanut butter, you started to choke to death. Imagine doing arts and crafts and using a jar that used to contain peanuts, and you touch the slightest remnant, and accidentally got it in your mouth and your throat closed over and you started to die – oh, and that morning you forgot your e-pen, and the one at the secretary's office got accidentally thrown out.

Removing nuts from the school helps prevent attacks. It's not asking people not to bring stuff that may contain traces of nuts – that's up to the family to manage – just not the actual nuts themselves – or products laden with them.

Yes this condition it is up to the family to manage and be responsible for. But other students can help them with a really sh_tty condition. They don't have to face it alone – and –by removing nuts from the school you're reducing the chance of accidental exposure. And just because a nut prone kid is aware of their condition, doesn't mean they won't forget sometimes, or won't have it constantly at the forethought of their minds. BECAUSE THEY'RE A F_CKING KID THAT'S WHY. Children do stupid things – because they're children. And sometimes they don't think about what they're doing.

Another counter argument expressed was "I'm allergic to bees. You don't see schools banning bees."

This is an incredibly lame and f_cked argument (you know who you are). How many times has anyone been stung by a f_cking bee in their lives? Not that many I'll wager. In fact unless you're a professional apiarist chances are it's less than 10 times. For me it's once. And some ant stings. That's f_cking it.

Now compare that allergy to a school with a nut allergic kid where those products are freely available. Being constantly exposed to peanuts in a school is the insect allergic of dancing around a f_cking hive in a wasp costume covered in pollen.

Left: "Bye mom, I'm off to dance around a bee hive in my wasp costume" ... "have a nice time dear"

That and of course the rather logical counter of 'you can't do much about bees, but you can about nuts.'

I'm not a parent. But I can imagine what it's like to be a parent that has to constantly watch their child and make sure they will come home alive that night – and that a common supermarket food item that is a staple in many homes will f_cking kill them.

In fact, to all you pro-nut people out there who think schools with nut allergic kids should not ban nuts products, here's my challenge. When a kid comes into contact with nuts and either nearly dies, or dies, then you sit with the parents and tell them it was 100% their responsibility that this happened.

If you disagree with me then read the PDF. All the way through. Don't just briefly skim it. Get to the end. Then, if you honestly think that keeping peanuts in a school near children who may well die if they eat one, is still hunky dory – or that the guidelines are unnecessarily alarmist, then I'm afraid I will suspect there is something f_cking wrong with you.

Environments have to be risk managed for safety, and that means factoring in the risk prone. Schools can manage the risk for children who experience this condition by banning nuts. They are doing the right thing here.

Oh – and here's another thing to leave you with. Want to know another risk management strategy designed to cater to someone with a disability?

How about f_cking wheelchair ramps in public buildings? Going to not build those just because only a small segment of people have trouble with stairs? Crippie goes wah,wah? Of course not – you would be a heartless cock if you did. Maybe it's just easier because a will-die-if-contain-traces-of-nut people don't look any different to you and me? Maybe you still think that it's all a f_cking myth and it's just a bunch of Volvo parents overly concerned with their fragile and un-robust child?

Left: What's the matter crippie? You got no widdle rampie wampy? You goanna squirt some cripple tears? Are you crippy ??? (pokes cripple with stick) Are ya? Yeah, youse is crippled. If you want a ramp you get on your hands and knees and drag yourself over there and start building. Loser.

No, it's not. They are parents who simply want their kid not to die. That's it. Not being precious about it at all. It's an unfortunate allergy that requires the small sacrifice of other children to help reduce their exposure to it.

A good school will communicate this need effectively. They will tell the kids about it. They will explain it to the parents. And any parent that is sat down and explained this I am sure will understand. If you are such a parent, and you never got the sit down and the walk through, demand one.

Oh, and to those people who know adults with peanut allergies and think this some how makes it okay for schools to have nuts where nut allergic kids are, guess what. Allergic adults who have a reaction are less likely to have a severe reaction. And, as an adult, they are far more capable than a ten year old at taking steps to avoid contact, and to manage it if it occurs. For example have an e-pen on them, and be able to administer it themselves.

Workplaces don't need to ban peanuts for allergic adults. But schools do.

Got a counter argument? I'd like to hear it.