Thursday, November 30, 2006

Iraq - now utterly well fucked

Iraq is not a good place to be. It seems on balance now to be a religious ethnic divide meets Mad Max.

But this one death for some reason resonated with me. Above and beyond the hundreds that die each day from direct violence, or the knock on deaths from an infrastructure that is collapsing around the people's ears.

This guy stuck it to everyone - without fear or favour. In an unfunny place he found things to laugh at. Then a bunch of cunts who did not like the concept of someone pointing out through satire what fucking morons they all were chased him down and shot him to death.

RIP Walid Hassan.

BTW - looking for a litmus test of how badly a counter insurgency is going? When they start assassinating comedians.

Thanks a lot ex-Yellow Wiggle

Great, wonderful, thanks.

Already I feel like a failure due to my average life with an average job doing average things - while morbidly obese -and with the realisation my existence amounts to a hill'o'shit in the grand scheme of things.

But now I discover the now former Yellow Wiggle - or as I like to call him the 'Freaky, Unsettling Wiggle' - is the same age as me.

I know I shouldn't fixate on the achievements of others. Life is after all completely subjective. And as a fat anglo in a western country I already have it better than 92% of the rest of the world in regards to access to the full gamut of the hierarchy of needs.

However that being said he achieved so very, very much, all while coated in the garb of a primary colour, and his wiggle hands pulled in so, so, so much of the cash, cash, cash. Plus he got to make people happy - even if they're small people who will deny, much like Peter did when asked if he knew Christ and realized as the cock crowed three times he had forsaken his master, they ever liked said Wiggles. Kind of like we all did with Sesame Street until we reached the middle years of high school and we sorta liked the muppet bits again (especially for those of us who partook of the arvo-wag bong - not that I did).

So I wish him well as he deals with his adult onset orthostatic intolerance, which I note whose wiki has already updated the fact that Greg "Yellow" Page has the condition, likely dealing with it by piling all his money into a huge mound then seeing how long he can stay on top before his sense of balance causes him to fall off.

But, is it my imagination, or does his replacement Sam Moran look a bit like Pauly Shore?

Mongo Emperor let down by flaw in nameplate at Evil Gathering

Emperor God King of Mongo, Ming the Merciless, was badly zinged due to an inaccurate nameplate at a recent Conference for Galactic Evil, which led to the balding, goatee clad dictator’s being unmercifully teased by other attending interstellar warlords.

‘Baw, haw, haw,’ had thundered Karnak the slaver, who has enslaved over a billion sophonts from across the galaxy selling them as forced labour on hundreds of worlds. ‘Tell me Ming, is that facial fuzz you sport indicative of your own womanly thatch?’

Left: Ming, pilloried for error-laced nameplate

Ming, with the nameplate facing out from him, was unaware of the seed of Karnak’s jest and simply took the comment as being representative of a failing mental state of the brutal slaver, a condition Ming inferred by waggling one elegantly gloved (made form the skin of a she-leopard from Barin’s forest realm) finger round and round next to his ear.


But as the conference got underway Ming again received numerous ribbing attempts from all manner of evil and twisted mega-villain, such as the Robot Cyborg Android Doctor Metalflesh, and Phut-Kak-Kak, alien-hybrid lizard fiend of the planet Neblos four, both of which implied that Ming was in possession of womanly genitalia.

‘Your penis does not compute,’ had intoned Metalflesh in his lifeless Stephen Hawking-esq voice upon reading the nameplate, earning a hearty clang of a back slap from Phut-Kak-Kak, who himself proceeded to ask Ming where in fact the pig had bitten him.

Ming had been wounded in a melee with Boaragas, last surviving barbarous boarman of the pig-planet Swiine who, when brought before Ming to die in combat in the Mongo ruler’s arena broke free from his bonds and sought to kill the God Emperor. Thinking this referred to that incident Ming proceeded to roll up his expansive wizard sleeve to show the healing flesh and recount the events of that day causing yet another roar of laughter to break across the conference room.

‘I don’t have to take this shit,’ yelled Ming, who swept from the room, knocking the offending nameplate from the table with his over-robe.

In anticipation of Ming’s return appearance at next year’s conference, the remaining scum and villainy then unanimously approved a motion to have made, then wear, T-Shirts commemorating the delightful mistake.

Left: Doctor Metalflesh road tests hilarious Ming teasing T-Shirt

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What’s the deal with abandoned stick mags in vacant rooms or houses?

Twice now, twice in my life have I ended up moving into a house or hostel and found a jizz crinkled jazz mag colocated with storage space, either on top of a unit or within.

Just what is going on with the quality control mechanisms where people checking the room/s after the previous occupant has left for things like the fucking mini bar being used, or the same number of table lamps/light bulbs being there as were there before, or a general lack of damage, but somehow a clag-meets-paper bundle'o'fun passed their eyes by?

And why is it the quality of the porn of the leave behind salt lacquered jazz mag is always of the low rent 58lbs to the dollar euro-truck stop variety where the word Brazilian is apparently a foreign term not used in those parts and the ‘spot the vulva’ is of a similar difficulty level to a Where’s Wally book?

You feel just so dirty handling it that you look around for a sharps container or one of those funky women’s only blue bins to shove it into. Basically anywhere where a sanitary engineer is confident they won’t have to handle hazardous wastes.

It’s very upsetting.

Plus, for the really stubbornly stuck together pages, you have to kind of insert a ruler between them and very, very carefully slide it along to ensure separation where you don’t rip the glossy fun bits off the models and get left looking at essentially a white paper tear.

Nothing uplifting about that. Unless you’re into sexy paper tears I guess. Kind of like a Rorschach ink blot test without the ink.

‘It’s a nude albino running through a snow storm!’

Really, what p0rn makers should be doing is crafting their sexy tomes out of the same washable plastics that books designed for chewing for the under ones have.

Think about it p0rn merchants.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Green Left Weekly Sold by Polite Man in a Suit

Canberra, Civic; A Green Left Weekly today was sold by a polite, well dressed man who sported no metal in his face, stomach or bell end, and whose hair was clean and above reproach.

'I couldn't believe it,' said passer-by Amy Sadderly. 'I happened to browse at his stall and he asked, quietly, whether I might wish to purchase 'their little periodical which features news items we believe of import that does not receive attention in the media as much as it possibly could.' Frankly I was so shocked I bought three.'

The man attracted further custom to his booth by a series of polite coughs and the occasional, quietly yet firmly voiced 'Green Left Weekly for our leftist perception of today's society which may conflict with your own, but it would be most splendid if you took some time to peruse our paper in case you find something you might find of possible interest.'

The besuited man then packed up his stall and made sure all his rubbish was collected, gave five dollars to the reedy voiced heroin laced artist who warbled opposite him, then made his way to the bus stop where he tutted disdainfully at the recent headlines regarding the Cole inquiry.

Howard to purchase Gorbachyov Head-stain

John Howard, Prime Minister for Australia for the last ten or more years, has announced his intention today to purchase the head-stain that graces the last premier, and first and last President, of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachyov.

‘Er oh um er Mikhail is one of the shining figures of 20th century history, much the same I and George [W Bush] are. Er um oh um George’s dad George was the Vice President and later the President of the United States during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he often remarked that he found that the stain he sat across the table from was a beacon of hope and reform, much the same way I am such a beacon for dragging industrial relations into the 19th century.’

Mr Howard remarked that he hoped the stain would lend him the same air of credibility and trust that Gorbachyov had and that the Australian people would come to see him how he saw himself, super awesome good.

‘It’s about time the public caught up with my own self perception,’ said the Prime Minister. ‘That I am great. Truly great. I have seen off two, count them two Labor opposition leaders, one of them whose back for a third helping the er great um er greedy guts. I’ve changed the political landscape so greed rules over the heart, and that people now barely blink at the idea of others being locked up without charge for long periods of time. Seriously – that’s awesome. I hug myself to sleep every night just thinking how awesome it is that all I have to do is whisper ‘interest rates’ and the concept of human decency goes right out the window. The times suit me, and that’s all down to one person – me.’

After blasting fifty three times with a dog whistle after filming himself replicating the infamous Bob Dylan alley way clip, the PM, a professed admirer of Dylan in instrumental mode only, where he discarded various signs with phrases like ‘Muslims go home’, ‘Burka Bad’, and ‘Jihad Jack is coming to take you away ha ha, hee hee, ha ha’ for an upcoming series of political ads, said the premier and he shared many interests which could only help the stain adhere to his own shiny soon to be statesman scalp.

Left: Artist's impression of the former Soviet Premier's relocated head-stain.

‘He er likes Socialism with a human face, and I like grounding my boot in the face of socialistic principles. Er um Doc Martens are good for that. He once starred in Pizza Hut commercials because his bankrupted country could not afford to properly house his archives, I once ate a pizza. Uncanny.’


Mr Howard said he expected to take delivery of the excised naevus flammeus shortly and would celebrate the arrival with wine and cheese at the lodge.

‘Red wine obviously,’ chortled the soon to be visually enhanced Prime Minister. ‘So it matches my lovely new head.’

The Prime Minister concluded by saying he hoped that Premier Gorbachyov had been rubbing the lotion on its skin, and once it had been affixed he would entertain guests with a special dance.

‘I’m not er um saying I’d er sway around with my er um penis tucked between my legs or anything, but er I would consider an delighted y-fronts and socks + suspenders duck waddle across the carpet.’

The Watchmen

I am a comic nerd from way back though now all I really get is Knights of the Dinner Table and the occasional Viz.

But a friend told me about the Watchmen and whilst pleasantly half cut after the Xmas party at the office I happened to end up in Impact comics. They were selling the complete series in a single graphic novel from about $40.

Wow.

Talk about a textured tome. I believe Time listed it as one of the best 100 novels of the 20th century, the only graphic novel to make it on the list. It is seriously fucking good. One of the best comic novels I have ever laid eyes on.

So if you're a comics nerd, or even if you're not and you just like the juxtaposition of art and text, then it's an excellent read/scan.

Who watches the Watchmen? You should, that's who.

One Foot in the Grave

(...spoiler for last series...)













Just finished watching the full One Foot in the Grave on DVD. Man, it puts the black into black comedy. Or despair into despair. It really is the sad clown of the sitcom world. Great writing, excellent acting, and over-all just a paradox comedy of laughs and pain.

If you're going to obsessively watch a TV series all the way through you can't go past it for excellence. That being said, the sadness and the futility that life can bring - and that death is at the end of it - shines through and can be a tad depressing. Still - well worth it. But if you're feeling low, I'd probably steer away from the last episode.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Naomi Robson steps down!

See the story here

Mmmmmmm. Finally some good news for battlers.

But what will the miracle fatty fatty fat fat pill, bra makers, and bad neighbours do now?

Bloody Ear Wax

Yes, I am bored. Bored enough to talk about this.

For some reason I get a huge wax build up in my left ear. And it ranges from solid grit through to liquidy waxy badness that curls down the ear pronger like the red on a barber's pole.

Well if you're interested - here's the wiki.

I once actually had to get it syringed. Later I saw the kidney dish the wax was floating in. It looked like the greasy spots you get when you stick a roasting pan to soak in the washing up.

It was foul.

Anyway - I was off work sick with IBS today. It was horrible. The heat and the gut pain meant no sleep for me and as such I've been dosing on and off all day in between failed attempts at toilet business. It seemed there was little movement at my station and the word had passed fuck all anywhere.

Damn blasted bowels.

I vaguelly hoped one day someone would say 'excuse me HM, it turns out you weren't a fat bastard afterall. It seems you had a 35kg benign tumor growing. We cut it out of you and while you may currently look like your stomach has a joker grin it will heal up nicely and you will be able to do all the stuff you couldn't do before. Riding, swimming, dancing, jogging etc.'

Wait a second ... that sounds like the words from a tampon box!

What else? Ah yes, the AWB findings came in. Bloody typical. Thanks to a dodgy frame of reference "just the AWB - nothing else" naturally the government got off scott free. Except in one sense of course. The shining light on the fact they created a culture where public servants knew to simply sign something off instead of give it the attention it deserved. Well, what do you expect when the top three layers of the public service are now individual contracts and performance linked so if you give your minister bad news then adios matey at your next review?

That's "accountability" for you. I suppose the flip side was the 30 years in the top job mandarins that used to subtley undermine ministers of governments they didn't like (witness the Whitlam years) but as a public servant I think they flipped it too far the other way.

By the way - check out the sheer unmitigated gall from Mr Vodaphone claiming that because his ministers "didn't know" they deserve an apology for their rank incompetance. Un-fucking-believable.

Anyway - off to bed in my stinking hot house after draining my left ear once more.

Once more! Once more into the breech dear friends. Or close the wall up with our Cerumen dead.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Anti Women’s Day Ribbon Campaign Falters

November 24, 2006

Melbourne; The Australian Misogynists Association, ‘You burnt me fuckin’ tea bitch’, today expressed disappointment of the lack of take up of black ribbons on offer as a counter to the White Ribbon Day of 25 November which is the United Nationals International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

‘What about when she don’t take me dick in her mouth?’ complained Erwin Ghent, a short skinny man with a food stained brown velvet jumper. ‘Surely I is allowed to give her a couple of taps eh?’

Ghent, who has not had a relationship in the last ten years said that it was time women knew their place, not bedecking themselves in white ribbons as if they didn’t fucking deserve it.

‘Where am I going?’ thundered Dirk Hadrog from beyond his bandana mouth mask, a barrel chested man with a thick Santa Clause like beard stretching over his ample stomach. ‘None of your fuckin’ business ya mol.’

The Association’s Black Ribbons, Black to represent the Shiner the Bitch got for talkin’ back, remained largely untaken up by passing commuters where the ‘You burnt me fuckin’ tea bitch’ campaign had set up their stall on the steps at Melbourne central station. However it did attract some criticism from passing female office workers.

‘What the fuck?’ said Esmeralda Phillips, a 23 year old communication professional. ‘Are they serious? I mean look how they presented themselves. The skinny bloke look like he got shat out by the fat bloke. They’re both poorly dressed and their bandanas covering their faces are graced with traces of snot and spitting tobacco. Furthermore their manifesto stapled to their crude over-pass style bedsheet banner has numerous typos such as ‘Wimmen’ and missing the all important C in the word ‘Fuck’. Which is ironic given they are clearly a pair of fuckwads.’

Hadrog and Ghent copped considerable abuse from passing workers – ranging from pointed avoidance of proffered ribbons to outright telling the duo that they were ‘cretins’, ‘gits’, or ‘a twin set of classic examples of the distilled essence of the worst aspects of Australian ockerism.’

Hadrog and Ghent said they were inspired to offer ribbons by their membership of the Blackshirts anti women movement, whose hatred of the concept of ‘your seed, your breed, you pay’ that is part of modern progressive cultures has led blackshirts to stand outside the houses of member’s ex partners with abusive posters and make threatening announcements via megaphones.

‘Dem blackshirts know about them bitches,’ said Hadrog, winking and tapping his nose. ‘They know the three holes is just there to make babies and not wear shoes and cook me fuckin’ tea without fuckin’ burnin’ it.’

Hadrog and Ghent then high fived each other but quickly took flight the moment the local chapter of ‘Dykes on bikes’ arrived on the scene to have words in regards to the Association’s viewpoints and offer a countervailing argument involving the insertion of 100 white ribbons in somewhere unpleasant.

-- AAP

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bogwatch

Are you a Walkaway or an Ensureaflush?

To me Ensureaflush is the only moral stance to take when it comes to twosies. To leave behind your leavings bobbing away like the chocolate bar in the pool in Caddyshack is a mental crime to inflict upon someone when they enter a loo after you.


Obviously, Ensureaflush means you not only must ensure it has flushed but that, if it has not, then you must wait for the chance to flush once more!

Yes, I agree. To wait as the tank slowly fills hissing and bubbling away until eventually the pitch of the water's rising peaks and hushes to silence is most annoying, especially if you risk the 'nearly full but not quite' re-flush that simply rocks your toilet gift from side to side in the manner of a hormonally charged East German au pair and fails to cause it to Dive!Dive!Dive!

But no, like sacrificing some of your freedom by accepting your place in a queue, you must, must, must ensure that you have flushed.

Lest you too encounter ... The Horror ... The Horror...

Just as an aside. If you leave stainies from a slopper, and there is brush cleaning equipment there, do you brush? I do.

Even if I gag as badly as one might at the sight of an ant covered piece of the Colonel's chicken left rotting just next to an overfull council park bin.


Ensureaflush. Because Australia needs you to give the all clear.

Dear God Why Do I Do This To Myself?

Whilst cruising into work just past Sparrows this morning I decided to once more have a crack at eating a work cafe Bacon/Egg/Cheese Muffin.

They are without a doubt horrid. For some reason I thought getting one fresh, near 7.30 am, would make it better.

I was wrong. I don't know what it is exactly that they do, but it reminds me of the Autotea vending machine in Hitchhikers of the Galaxy that can make a cup of something almost but not quite entirely unlike tea.

Furthermore the grease paper they use to secure it sticks without fail to the muffin like fucking glue. You have to peel it off carefully lest it pull off half the fucking cheese comes off or it leaves scrapes of paper behind for your mouth to encounter after you take a bite.

Besides, given what happened last year, I really should stay the fuck away from them all together.

I love my food and I take risks with it - eating stuff I know could have me doubled up in pain five minutes later. It's a real struggle not to. But tonight I resisted getting drive thru (theWife was getting some after going lunchless in a 12 hour work day). Of course it helped having a cafe steak sandwich at lunch to make that decision easy. That and I was suffering milk bloats from shotgunning half a Caramel Latte milky drink from the servo and was so nauseous I had my head near the open window like a curiously hesitant dog.

Do you ever suffer the KFCreturns? I know I do. You eat it, feel horrid, the grease performing osmosis on your skin, and vow 'never again!'. Yet about three plus months later the lure of batter meets something that is almost but not quite entirely unlike chicken settles once more, and like a pipe smoking meglomanic General MacArthur returning to wade through the surf of the Phillipenes I am once more descending down, down, down into the depths of the cavernous Colonel.

Bastard food.

SMH - maintaining the neutrality

The SMH and Fairfax in general, despite the howls of the right in this country, are balanced periodicals. Classic anti SMH statements can be found in sneering referals to it as 'the Aboriginal Morning Herald' back when Mabo was happening, and more recently partisan opinionist Piers Akerman as 'the Syrian Morning Herald' for their unbiased portrayal of the recent Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.

Miranda Devine has been shunted to the News Review on the weekends. Which is good because I don't like reading her stuff. Know thy enemy is all very well but she writes such bigoted 'Look at me Andrew [Bolt], Looks at me! I'm a big girl on a swing' crap that I get tempted to email her from work and break the 'thou shall not communicate with the media unless authorised' rule and get in trouble. Least this way it will be the weekend and I can do so.

Anyway, to replace her, and to maintain the balance, SMH have seemingly hired ‘Bill of Rights – no thanks’ James Allan, a QLD Law Professor who seems to think that giving judges the ability to determine the impact of laws on people before them against a bedrock of protection dangerously undermines the ability of a fear inducing government of right wingers to erode our civil rights.

Lousy Beatniks … with their music.

This was today’s effort – located here
Sigh. Another right winger on the SMH. Well, like I said. Fairfax believes in balance of it’s opinion makers – and I guess they need a counter to Richard Ackland and his wacky insane views of laws are there to protect people not hurt them.

Allan today noted this;
All those key issues simply get brushed under the carpet. Being for Kyoto gets turned into a branding exercise; it gets taken as a sign of moral virtue. Meanwhile, few people notice that many of those most vocal in demanding that the US and Australia sign up to Kyoto change their own (often affluent) lifestyles not one whit. They continue to jet around the world, own multiple houses, drive two four-wheel-drives and more.

It was such a breath taking piece of poo laced mummery that I started shouting very loudly and had to break out my ‘these are my views and not that of the agency I work for’ sig
n and wave it above my workstation like a parley seeking soldier in a mud filled trench.

No evidence of course – none needed – this is opinion baby. But it was such an antithesis to every one I know concerned with environmental issues that it just angered up the old blood.
But surely he's right. As far as I know prominent environmentalists – like Gore – do nothing but drive around in four wheel drives at 115 miles per hour getting one mile per gallon sucking down Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers from McDonalds in the old-fashioned non-biodegradable Styrofoam containers and when they’re done sucking down those grease-ball burgers they’re gonna wipe their mouth with the American flag. And then they’re gonna toss the Styrofoam containers right out the side and there ain't a Goddamn thing anybody can do about it. (with thanks to Dennis Leary)

By the way Allan given your seeming shrieks of delight at the concept of the green minded living energy profligate lives you’d be pleased to know that many of them – like Gore – are participants in personal carbon trading ventures where they seek to balance the
ir needs to communicate their views of ‘please can we stop killing the earth’ against their personal extra contribution to the problem by doing so (such as flying on a jet) - even if from a pure risk management strategy to emit a fraction more carbon as part of a means to attempt to massively curtail excess carbon production is a dangerously logical move.

Here’s some more righty goodness from Mr Canada/Kiwi/Now-Australia serial country hopper.


Lots of so-called civil libertarians insist on deal
ing in moral abstractions. It is their stock-in-trade. But any criminal justice system worth its salt requires tough lines to be drawn that are in no way self-evident ones and over which smart, reasonable, well-meaning people will inevitably disagree.

For instance, how many guilty people are worth letting go free to prevent wrongfully convicting an innocent person? (Anyone who thinks that any system could ever operate that never convicted an innocent person, by mistake, is incredibly naive or hasn't considered what it would mean to demand 100 per cent certainty of guilt.)

Similarly, ought those same levels of protection apply - to prefer having 100 guilty go free over one innocent being convicted - outside the straightforwardly criminal realm, in the realm of terrorist activities, or when fighting a war (explicit or implicit), or when administratively confining people to their homes at night?


These are not easy questions. But neither are they answered by the ritual incantation of civil libertarian sloganeering. Nor is it remotely plausible to imply, in apocalyptic undertones, that any cha
nges at all to the existing criminal procedures in other contexts will inevitably leave us all in a Stalinesque hell where none of us have any rights or civil liberties.

Only those who bask in moral abstractions could find such frequently mouthed claims remotely plausible.


Yep because civil libertarians spend all their time thinking about crime and punishment in terms of moral abstractions and think things like ‘being charged with a crime is mandatory to detention’, having ‘control orders placed on one’s movement without being tried for a crime’, and ‘evidence under torture is not admissible in court’ is just esoteric Geoffrey Robertson style hypotheticals where a blinking out of his depth politician has just said that yes there is a circumstance where he’d mount a struggling goat (saving it from drowning) and damn the hides of the people watching from the shore with their camera phones out.


Apparently civil libertarians are not grounded in reality and spend their time coming up with complex equations to determine how many guilty people need to be free in order to prevent miscarriage of justice? It’s true, they do. It’s right up there with the ‘Angels on a pin’ argument. I believe it’s 12. 12 guilty people can go free as l
ong as it means an innocent can walk.

Any loss of freedoms is a dagger to the heart of the secular morally progressive west. Like the end of slavery or indentured servitude. Like the end of torture. Like the ability to vote if you’re a woman or an indigenous Australian. Like the ability to claim refugee if you fear persecution on the soil of another country these are freedoms worth fighting for and worth dying for.

And I’ll be fucked if same Canuck Kiwi globe trotter starts bleating on about my fucking freedoms being traded away as part of a massively distorted scare campaign designed to bolster the ruling parties of the day, is both legitimate and correct. It’s not. It’s wrong. It's always wrong because to reduce freedoms can create a climate where greater
freedoms are reduced. If not two weeks detention without charge where the media cannot disclose this has occured, why not 28 days like in the UK? Indeed why not 90 days which is what the Blair government pushed for? Why stop at 90? Why not at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure'?

Why not indeed.
Finally, I just do appreciate the boot into the ACT in his side splittingly hilarious ‘this is who I am but in the third person’ on the website for his uni. Go look here.

He is delighted to have moved to a country without a bill of rights (the ACT one being too insignificant really to count).


James, I’d be delighted if you fucked off back to New Zealand or Canada and go and wank on about horrible nasty unpleasant bills of civil rights and bastard judges thwarting the goose stepping desires of right wing political parties trading not on hope for the future but Fear Uncertainty and Doubt over there. I’m sure with your simply magnificent wit you’d be able to strip such hideous legislation away from protecting the people and deny a yard stick by which the courts could measure our freedoms should a future government come in that’s even more prone to put on the puffy directing pants in the future.

Indeed James, should you ever come a cropper with the law, and you’re able to access the ACT’s bill of rights or its better balanced Anti-Terror legislation, I’d appreciate if you didn’t. Really, we wrote a law in where anyone that’s mean to us does not get the protection they deserve. For example not to be strip searched by a cop in the aftermath of a terror attack without due cause. And if that happens I just hope they don't use the whole fucking fist.

But he's from Canada! According to the delightful Police Academy movies (that are shot in Toronto) then a sizeable number of Canucks may be into that sort of thing.

Okay I hope it happens only if you want it to. And if it doesn't happen that they don't instead dong you over the head with a baton against a phone book or something. Then while beating you up force you to sign your confession. Which is accepted by the court - because torture - well it don't count as a no no, no more.




Know your right wing think tanks

In the spirit of the Colbert Report ‘Know your Congressional Districts’, HM is proud to present this special column (report? Highlight? Ah – spotlight). Shining a big bright light on the sometimes shadowy sometimes not world of intellectual ‘No Homers’ clubs that right wingers gather in safe from the teeming hordes of reality based leftists crawling around academia.

We’ve done ‘The Sydney Institute’, who while not shadowy are now on some sort of mission of balance despite the fact everyone in the know knows that are as bout as balanced as I am when I play solo seesaw in the local playground.

I think we should go with a yank tank. Let’s say – the Frontiers of Freedom. Indeed, in the manner in which socialist countries where people lack democratic freedoms tend to have the word ‘People’ in their title, so too do right wing think tanks like to have words like Frontiers and Freedom. And in this one – well it’s a twofer. So already off to a great start.

Oh – I just hope it has a flag prominently displayed on it’s website – or a flag morphed into a majestic animal like a bull moose, beaver, or eagle. Because you know just how great a think tank is by the size of their flag placement (esp if morphed into a mighty animal). Indeed a good flag/animal placement reminds me of Pauline Hanson draping herself in our flag when she was the self declared ‘mother of Australia’ – before of course she spent time in jail (later acquitted) for using a Tennis club constitution as the basis for the One Nation organisation mechanics then later rehabilitated by a broken voiced appearance on Uncle Colourful Jumper’s Dancing with the Stars (C listers only).

Who are the Frontier’s of Freedom? Well they were started by Malcolm Wallop, a former three term Republican Senator from Wyoming – who is a big believer in small government. Like many Republicans are. And that of course free markets are the bees knees and that government should keep their proboscis’ out.

But what do they stand for? Let’s find out. You can find their 10 point plan here.

We Believe...
1. The most basic moral obligation of the federal government is to defend America, which requires military and economic preparation and strength. The only proper use of the military is to protect America's homeland, citizens, borders, and vital interests.
2. Property rights and economic freedom are the fertile soil in which all other rights grow and thrive. The environment is best protected and preserved where free markets thrive, capitalism is robust, and property rights are respected.
3. The Constitution's enumerated and limited powers, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, and guarantee of basic rights are the foundation of America's freedom.
4. "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" and each of the other rights guaranteed in the Constitution are necessary to the foundation of freedom - including the right to bear arms and to not be deprived of property without just compensation.
5. The courts have a constitutional duty to faithfully and strictly interpret the law and the Constitution and may not invent or create new law.
6. Justice is the equal treatment of all individuals regardless of ethnicity or religion. Fabricating group rights undermines individual freedom and civil rights.
7. Taxes may be legitimately imposed only to the extent necessary to pay for the essential and constitutionally permitted activities of government. To tax more than this is a form of tyranny and extortion.
8. Government mandates and regulations too often exceed constitutional authority, waste resources, erode freedom, diminish property rights, and produce harmful unintended consequences.
9. To remove sound science from public policy is legislative and regulatory malpractice. To employ junk science in public policy is unethical and irresponsible.
10. Basic standards of morality and civic virtue are essential to maintaining America's economic strength, military might, and freedom. Parents and families, not government, are responsible to rear and educate their children.

Lot’s of nice uses of the word freedom huh? Well done. They seem very stalwart chaps. I like the look of number 9. Damn scientists and their crazy realities. If only they could counter science with some sort of special right wing science? Here’s hoping (crosses fingers).

Sounds expensive running a think tank. There’s dinners to pay for, and functions, and director’s fees, and researchers and all sorts of yummy goodness. Damn it – where can they get some money?

Frontiers of Freedom receives money of tobacco and oil companies, including Philip Morris Cos, ExxonMobil and RJ Reynolds Tobacco. According to the New York Times: "Frontiers of Freedom, which has about a $700,000 annual budget, received $230,000 from Exxon in 2002, up from $40,000 in 2001, according to Exxon documents”.

George Landrith, President of FoF told the New York Times: “They've determined that we are effective at what we do”, He said Exxon essentially took the attitude, “We like to make it possible to do more of that”.

FoF has also received some $388,450 in 13 grants from the following five conservative foundations:

This is according to Sourcewatch. Of course it’s important whenever you post sources from the net that you identify potential biases. You know in case you’d like to be able to assess credibility against an ideological platform. Like for example those ‘planned parenthood’ organisations that tell tearful young women who are considering an abortion that they are baby murders and that sometimes aborted babies cry as they die in the bucket after a partial birth abortion.

Sourcewatch are part of the Centre for Media and Democracy - their mandate being the strengthening of
participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism, media "of, by and for the people."

Sounds pretty lefty huh? Well lefty perhaps, but grounded in reality in the sense that they are merely providing sourced information on these PR spin groups who like to huddle and hide under the skein of science hoping that if they muddy the waters enough – like with second hand smoke or even smoking full stuff – that governments won’t do anything to thwart the interests of their bottom line.

Won’t anyone please think of the share holders?!

Anyway, back to Frontiers of Freedom. Such a grand name. It’s the sort of name that demands someone be wearing a coonskin cap and stabbing Mexicans with a Bowie Knife. Take that potential illegal immigrants – you were thinking about it (jab, jab), don’t say you weren’t.

What is FF’s view on the environment? Surely a brave think tank like this must stand up for the freedom of people to enjoy their lives surrounded by unextinct animals, colourful coral reefs – not to mention enjoy things like food whose amounts has not been lessened by extreme weather events like floods or drought? Of course they would. Let’s find out.

Their policy centre for Free Market Environmentalism and Conservation is dedicated to promoting clean air, water, and soil by championing property rights and free market solutions and combating the misinformation of extreme environmentalists with sound science, thoughtful research, cost benefit analysis, and sensible market solutions.

This apparently links to number 2 with a bullet of their manifesto and they also note that Government mandates and regulations too often exceed constitutional authority, waste resources, erode freedom, diminish property rights, and produce harmful unintended consequences.

They are right. A classic example of naughty government eroding freedoms is the Patriot Act and things like Gitmo and secret prisons and other wonderful stuff like that. But it should be noted that's freedoms of non-Americans. Not Unamericans. That's just anyone who doesn't believe what they do.

Thank God the brave people at FF are protecting the frontiers of my freedom. Why big business and corporations should take the reins from silly governments trying to do things like set up carbon trading and free market their way out any environmental issues we face. Oh – and if we are facing environmental issues lets make sure the science is 127% confirmed before we do anything at all lest it endangers property rights and free trade.

Sound Science and Thoughtful Research sounds wonderful. And most balanced.

Quick – a flag went by.

(stands to attention – salutes – waits until it is out of sight)

Phew, that was a close one. I could have had my patriotism challenged there for a second.

FF also offer up the freedom poll. Which is a poll listing the top four things, you the person who values freedom, is concerned about. What are today’s choices?













I see. Glad to see pinko-lesso-femonazi-climate-change isn’t listed. Damn junk scientists and their logic!














Phew!
Terrorism is number one. I am SO not surprised. Given the serious curtailing of basic freedoms in the West in the past few years both in the US and in say Australia, these Freedom loving Frontiers of Freedom types are battling big government every single day. Go freedom fellahs go!

How else are they protecting our freedoms?

“Since our founding, Frontiers has grown from a start-up organization with big ideas to a preeminent think tank that is making a real and tangible difference advancing common sense ideas for government. One of our greatest sources of pride has been our position on the front lines in the battle to make a national missile defense system a reality. Our efforts earned us a seat across the table, literally, from President Bush on the day he announced our withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. In addition, we have both provided and received briefings from Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz. We are proud to be considered an asset to the national security community during these times of serious global insecurity.”

FF talk tough

Thank God (again) that lousy lesbian factory of an ABM treaty was scrapped allowing the United States to develop anti missile technology that would possibly potentially prevent anyone from attacking them with 20 or less ICBMs which in no way would encourage countries with 20 ICBMs – like China – to massively upscale their interest in making more ICBMs (especially MIRV ICBMS which are very hard to defeat with a missile defence shield) or indeed Russia to continue with previous mothballed projects like Anti Ballistic Missile Defence defeating re-entry warheads that could change their descent characteristics whilst hiding amongst decoys and still be able to destroy their target quite easily despite the roughly 100 billion US the US will spend over the next decade or so to protect the US (and us) – or indeed encourage other would be members of the nuke club to either likewise proliferate or choose non ICBM delivery systems like a container ship or truck or a low flying cruise missile launched from 20 kays off shore.

It’s people like Frontiers of Freedom who are at the Frontiers of Freedom. Presumably stopping immigrants and other scum from wanting a taste of our freedoms.

Frontiers of Freedom, thank you for participating in today’s ‘Know your right wing think-tank’. You have proved that even though right wing think-tanks tend to be place holders for when the Republican administration has been run out of town and that tobacco and oil company revenues can support you in the life which you deserve all the while you defending special interests and promote extremely minor dissenting views against commonly agreed upon theories or scientific consensus in order to protect share holders, your love of Freedom will always, always be enduring.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America (and associated English Speaking Judeo Christian Countries).

Oh - for some interesting views on think tanks see Uncle Bruce's site here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Toadys and sycophants take note - this is how you do it












Prince George: Why, sir, you are the hardy stock that is the core of Britain's greatness. You have the physique of a demigod. Purple of cheek, and plump of fetlock, the shapely ankle and the well-filled trouser that tells of a human body in perfect working order.

Blackadder: He's dead, sir.

Prince George: Dead?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Awesome line (paraphrased)














"It’s the old, old story. I remembered to apply the sunscreen but completely forgot to baste my groin with crab repellent."

From One Foot in the Grave

Foundation - take four

Are there books in your life that you have tried to read time and time again but faltered around the same spot each time you got back on the horse?

I have. One is Greg Evan's Quarrantine. Which is an excellent book - it's just that the probability bit in the middle gets to me and I put it down. I've had three cracks at it.

The other is the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Three cracks likewise.

So that's it. Make or break time. I'm going to read it all the way through this time!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

(Fades as HM marches into the darkening horizon)

(Note - where I got these lyrics - there's the music auto playing too! Freaked me out in my tiny dark study in my very dark and hot house it did - see here)

Hendo just don’t get it – or does he?

Stalwart conservative Gerard Henderson, who for some reason sticks with the dangerously lefty Fairfax press (it’s not – right wingers thing it is since the centre is to their left), today once more stuck the boot into the left.

His complaint? That the left apparently dominates the Intellectual life of Oz. This despite for example his beloved Howard and his righty cronies deliberately stacking the ABC board with their beloved conservative megathinkers.

How does Hendo come up with this idea?

Let’s see.

As the 2006 Lowy Institute poll showed, 42 per cent of Australians regard the [US] alliance as "very important" to security. Twenty-eight per cent regard it as "fairly important", with 22 per cent believing it is "somewhat important".

This leaves just under 10 per cent maintaining that the alliance is "not at all important" - about the vote of the Greens. The evidence suggests opposition to the alliance is significantly higher among academics, artists, commentators and professionals than it is within the general population. Yet it will be from this group the [Australian-American] centre will recruit its staff.

Really? That’s it. That’s his evidence that the left controls the intellectual life of this country. That because the Greens get about 10% of the vote, and about 10% of people are against the alliance, that they auto match up. And that the staff of the impending centre will naturally be taken from professional ranks just swarming with nasty socialists and communists and greens etc etc.

He then bags out Hugh White for his initial role in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute because he once served as an advisor to Hawke in the 80s and criticises some government policies because he sees himself as an independent. Yes Gerard, White was an advisor about 20 years ago and he was recruited not from political ALP ranks but from the Office of National Assessments where he was a senior fucking analyst. He was recruited not because he was a brother as you imply but because unlike yourself he was an objective strategic analyst recruited for his ability to fucking analyse strategy.

Of course he shouldn't let facts get in the way of his wacky anti left theories.

According to Hendo an independent strategic think tank set up by the government to give impartial strategic advice isn’t allowed to be critical of government policy even if the government policy impedes our strategic safety. For example getting involved in wars of the middle east, or importing uranium - such as to India - possibly leading to a regional arms race.

Today, under new leadership, the institute remains an occasional critic of the Government. On September 1, for example, The Age newspaper led with a warning that "an Australian decision to refine uranium for export could trigger a regional nuclear arms race". Its source was a "government-funded think tank" - the institute,, which had published a paper to this effect by a staffer, Dr Andrew Davies.

Jesus Christ, what kind of a partisan hack is this?!

Let's find out at the ASPI website

Andrew is a theoretical physicist by training, and published research papers in the area of high-energy particle physics while at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University.

Andrew [Davies] joined the Analytic Studies Group in the Department of Defence in 1994. He worked on a range of scientific studies in support of Defence decision making, including submarine detection for the RAN, Army firepower options and RAAF stand-off weapons effectiveness. He led the Capability Analysis Branch within Defence Headquarters for a time, before moving into the world of signals intelligence and information security with the Defence Signals Directorate, where he held a number of positions.

Andrew joined the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as director of the Operations and Capability Program in 2006.

Holy fuck what a communist! Quick, call ASIO. If they're fast they may be able to apply the three second rule in case his red germs have coated the rest of the likely pink staff! In fact, better put the lot of them under control orders just to be sure.

Hendo clearly does not understand the concept of independence. He seems to think that just because an organisation that receives government funding (the ABC, ASPI) that is set up to be independent shouldn’t actually criticise said government – even though it is independent. It’s the sort of woolly thinking that is home to other extremist governments like the kind of 'big on May Day parades features missiles and lots of fruit salad be medalled generals waving from elaborate balconies' types.

Then he chucks this in.

For historical reasons, there are fewer conservative intellectuals - on a per capita basis - in Australia than in the US or Britain. What's more, many leading conservatives have left-wing or mainstream pro-Labor social democrat backgrounds. There are very few cradle-to-grave conservatives here and it is not clear to what extent this is changing among the younger generation.

No figures provided at all for this assertion. No evidence. Just typical Hendo out of his arsehole righty rhetoric along the lines of ‘it is true because I have said it is.’

Why Hendo? Why are there no cradle to grave conservatives? Maybe here’s why. We don’t have a class stratification like the UK has where the toffs end up in elite schools and universities and have a nobility as part of their political system. And here in Oz we don’t have evangelical Christians warping the message of Christ into some sort of bizarre crusade against Adam and Steve saying ‘I do’. Least, not yet.

Australia is a modern, secular, progressive state. And gee whiz it could just be that many of its professional classes appear to lean left.

If that's the case I doubt it’s not because of some conspiracy about the left dominating universities. I bet it’s because professional people tend to be able to think. Tend to be interested in what is happening in their society. And tend to look at conservative ideologues fostering a campaign of dog whistling wedge attacks on vulnerable members of the community as a bad thing.

But hey Howard is doing his best. His backing of Hillsong and his enforcing the message that it’s about what’s in your wallet or McMansion that what’s in your heart is having an effect. Those growing up now are growing up potentially more mean spirited and materially focussed than previous generations. Classic conservative fodder. Remember the South Park Conservatives theory?

Finally I also love the fact that Hendo is described as the Executive Director of the Sydney Institute, which doesn’t have to explain what it’s mission statement is. I think it should. I think it should say this.

‘Gerard Henderson is executive director of the Sydney Institute, a right wing think tank that is latched to the underbelly of the Liberal Party in the manner of a sucker fish on the stomach of a shark’.

For Hendo’s ‘lefty lament’ see here.

BTW I had a quick squiz at the site. Hendo seems to be attempting to present the Institute as some sort of non partisan think tank with the removal of key words about its conservative role - and with prominent pics of ALP members in its masthead.

Alas he is undone by google - with the following tag appearing under the URL if you search for it via there.

"
A conservative think tank dedicated to the principle of policy debate. It conducts more than 50 lectures, seminars and panel discussions each year."

Nice one Hendo. Way to try and Gobbels your site as appearing to be, dare I say, "Fair and Balanced"?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hello f_ckwit - and I just love his 10% for Tsunami victims - dude that was SO 2005

Greetings

I am Mr. Charles Brown, a Canadian attorney based in
Manchester, United Kingdom and the personal attorney to Late Mr. Mark
Michelle, a French National. Late Mr. Mark Michelle until his untimely
death was a private oil consultant/contractor with the Shell Petroleum
Development Company In Saudi Arabia, hereinafter shall be referred to
as my client.

On 21st April 2000, my client and his wife with their
three children were involved in a ghastly auto crash; all occupants of
the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then, I have made
several
enquiries with his country’s' embassies to locate any of my
clients extended relatives. After several unsuccessful attempts, I
decided to personally contact you with this business partnership
proposal.

The deceased had a deposit valued presently at Eighteen
Million United states dollars and the company has issued me a notice to
provide his next of kin or beneficiary. Having been unsuccessful in
locating any of my late client relatives for over two (2) years now. I
am now seeking your consent to present you as the next of
kin/beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account
can be paid to you.

I have worked out modalities for achieving my
aim of appointing a next of kin as well as transferring the money
abroad for us to share in the ratio of 50% for me and 35% for you, and
we shall collectively donate 10% to the Tsunami relief course while 5%
will be set aside for any incurable expenses both local and
international.

The money transfer paperwork itself will include a
certificate of origin so that the receiving bank does not ask
questions. Also the paperwork will include proper certificate that the
fund being transferred is from non-criminal sources. In short this will
be a proper and legal money transfer with no risk involved. The
transaction is guaranteed to succeed without any problem. All I need is
your trust and confidence. Provide me with these information:
1. Your
contact phone and fax numbers.
2. Location address

As soon as I hear
from you, I shall provide you with further clarification that you may
need to know.

Faithfully yours,

Mr. Charles Brown

Charles Brown [lawoffice02files@virgilio.it]

PM while lauding veterans makes an interesting comment

Howard, whilst out wearing what appears to be a barber's smock in the annual APEC 'national costume' parade, made an interesting comment today which I heard driving into work.

Now this is paraphrased since it was on the radio - though I will try and find if a transcript exists.

As background these comments were made in advance of an impending visit in another country to a memorial where we shot a bunch of that country's people, Long Tan (and let's not underplay the import to veterans - we held our heads high in that country in regards to our conduct and specifically for the battle - as far as conventional combat went the Oz scored an impressive victory against the odds - even if the motivation for being there in the first place could be considered in error).

Of Vietnam Howard said that 'Australians who supported or opposed the war both treated returning soldiers pretty shabbily (and we did - he's right). As a result Australia collectively owes its apologies to these men (and some women) for the abuse and pain and suffering they received when they came home.'

Again - he's completely right. Which is why anti-war movements have learned their lesson and not attacked troops when they return from overseas service for the simple fact they had to go where they were ordered to go. Remember - the military is a sword. It can be used for fell purpose and for good purpose - witness the stability roles the ADF has performed admirably in the past few years, in addition to saving thousands of lives in the aftermath of natural disaster such as in Indonesia and Pakistan.

But - such sentiments - of expressing the belief that Australians owe an apology for the mistreatment of a particular segment of our population (whether for altruistic purposes or out of ignorance), that being veterans in this case, stands in remarkable contrast to his refusal to apologise or express the opinion that what happened to Aboriginal Australians since White Settlement was a black stain on our nation's history.

We have 50,000 Vietnam vets, or thereabouts. Some of whom are grappling with injury, poverty, post traumatic stress and even genetic abnormalities in their children. All veterans deserve to be supported if not lauded for doing a shitty job when asked to do so and risk their lives - however mistaken the intent - in defending others. We owe them an apology and whatever assistance they require to help them with the difficulties they face. Goes without saying.

Yet Aboriginal Australians have a life expectancy of 20 years less than whites, are many times more likely to end up in jail or with lifestyle caused diseases like type 2 diabetes, and lack access to services and educational norms we in the larger centres expect and enjoy. And there's no apology for the shit they went through from the federal government - and precious little support beyond beating the law and order drum and demanding police where health and educational professionals should be instead.

And there's about ten times as many of them than Vietnam veterans.

Makes you think. But then at the end of the day politically it makes sense. Supporting veterans is a plus, is visible, and the wider community has a better understanding of the need to provide for them. Supporting aboriginals is a waste, a crime, a tax payer leech, since typically in media stories they are only reported for the loss of their humanity and waste of resources invested rather than the need to help them, long term, over generations, so their lives become richer, fulfilled, and better akin to the norms most of us enjoy. Or at the very least given every opportunity to do so should they wish to.

God bless the 18 men who died at Long Tan. And God bless the hundreds and thousands of Aboriginal Australians that too will live shortened lives under this current government.

Playing with Mice

TheWife is away in Sydney for work. So I am all alone here in Canberra. As a married person I look forward to occasional absences - as she does with me I am sure. Because you can do things that ordinarily requires negotiation otherwise. For example listening to your music loudly. Watching a movie only you would like (Conair for example). Or eating what you want without having to clear it first.

Last night I went too far. I had a steak dinner - nice piece of steak, peas, potatoes. Delish. So delish I had it again - almost to the same size. Why? Because I could.

Then I had dessert. A mini blackberry apple pie & cream & ice cream. Yum. So good in fact - I had it again.

That's right. I ate two main meals and two desserts.

I lay on the bed about 11 pm, my stomach distended like a fly blown child in a charity advertisement - only of course mine was full not the result of malnutrition that was imperilling my organs like said starving children.

(Donate to Save the Children - they rawk).

So much pain. Slept terribly. Went to work no breakfast, and had an apple for lunch. Feeling better now - just - and am going to have another crack at a Mikey only dinner. Same again as last night - only half as much.

IBS - a cure for being greedy, because if you go overboard with your consumption then literally it's a pain in the arse.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

B*gger

I was reading the Australian Magazine, the colour supplement to the Weekend Australian. They had an article on survivalists.

Not the Montana Militia kind with Aryan mindsets we know and love from movies and literature. But rather the genuinely concerned normal Australians who are looking at a world running out of resources and taking steps to be able to adjust their way of life if society as we know it takes a massive hit. For example a sharp increase in Oil leading to economic depression across the globe because the supply of oil has peaked (aka the peak oil theory).

Sensible things like having a water tank installed, energy efficient transport (like a rugged bike or motorbike), learning to grow vegies, actually growing vegies, putting in fruit trees, choosing jobs that are likely to continue even in a depression such as teaching. Even to the extent of learning esoteric survival skills like plant identification and rope making should the need arise.

The people interviewed did not seem like crack pots. They were not concerned with purity this or aliens that. They instead see a world that's heading at speed for a brick wall and they're opening the car door in anticipation of a shoulder roll into the gutter.

I'm reading this just having finished the awesome novel Underground, about an Australia in 2011 that is under the emergency dictatorship of the successor to John Howard. Sure it's fiction. But it's fiction a little close to the bone. Here's a review from the Age.

In fact here's the site for the book - here.

I am not a Chicken Little. I tend to wait for facts to roll in, or at the least pretty rock solid theories, before I get worried. But I remember on the night of September 11 (was it 12 for us?) thinking how much the world was going to change for the worse.

It's getting worse. I can feel it. Environmentally and resource wise things are not looking good. And while I am a public servant, and my employment in theory is sound, cost cuttings happen and I could find myself unemployed and unable to cope in a collapsing world pretty quick smart.

Eeep.

I think I might have to think about learning how to grow vegies. I sometimes joke about how I'd be meat on the hoof for badland mutants if the world went to shit. But could that actually happen? Maybe not so much the mutants, but when you think about it that adage that society is only three meals from collapse does spring to mind...

Chart Throb by Ben Elton - a review by HM

I love Ben Elton books. I love everything he's done. In fact I have a tattered old page from a Rolling Stong magazine with his photo in a crap $2 shop pine frame with ticket stubs from the one time I saw him live somewhere in this room.

Chart Throb is no exception to the goodness he produces.

Elton likes to look at popular culture. Since he's part of it I guess. He's done a book on Big Brother, one on the power of the web, and now one on Idol. Sure - it's not Idol as such but it may as well be. About a comp called Chart Throb of a similiar vein to Idol as we know it.

It's a dramedy. Lots of funny bits, lots of laugh out moments, but most of all it peels back the vinyl that is Idol and shows it for the completely engineered evil show it is.

TheWife loves Idol. Loves it. But she knows its fiction. And like my brother said it's Australia's leading karaoke contest. Except of course it's rigged to present a limited array of possible outcomes.

If the people in Idol are as evil, manipulative, and foul as the ones in Chart Throb I feel bad for them.

As ever - an excellent book. Well worth it if you love Elton and his stuff.

Basically it follows one season of Chart Throb, how they vet the contestants, the tricks, the edits, the storylines they craft, and the joy the producers take in destroying the lives of others.

If you hate reality TV, you'll love this book. If you love reality TV, you should read this book.

Did a mechanic try a shonk on me?

Our car being old and feeble has old and feeble things happen to it. Especially when XXX,000 of kays occurs. Naturally shit breaks on it.

The other week the engine temp soared. I filled the over flow tank (by mistake) instead of the radiator and it did it again. Sufficiently concerned we arranged for Lube Mobile to swing past and have a look - despite the fact I was trapped at ANU helping someone move out of college.

Two hours later he turned up and had a look. It cost $170.

The end result was this. 'Your water pump has gone, and your timing belt will need to be taken off to get it - since you're near 300k kays better get that replaced. You can probably make it to our workshop in Mitchell but you will have to have it in over the weekend. It will cost you around $1100. Oh - your head gasket may be on the way out too, the total cost of repairs being in excess of the worth of your vehicle so I will check that (it wasn't).'

Me? I said I would finish transporting said friend to his new place then arrange a tow if I needed to, to our actual mechanics in Belconnen instead. Mr Lube Mobile shook his head and clucked disappointment. He also wrote ‘I advised client to get towed from ANU’ on my ‘what’s wrong’ snapshot, which was frankly utter bollocks since he was all set for me to follow him.

With the radiator properly full of water I risked the drive, having paid the $170 and bidding farewell to Mr Mobile. I made it easily to drop the stuff off. Then, I thought (after a conference with TheWife) I’d risk driving it home. Needle didn’t move at all past half way on the temp gauge.

Nor has it moved since.

Nor has it had water in it since.

Yes – TheWife did fill up the radiator two months ago and it went dry now (since refilled) – so the chances are there is a slight leak in the water pump. But Lube Mobile didn’t say that was a possibility. No – it was all chicken little ‘follow me lest your head gasket implodes’.

Mechanics. Geez they shit me. And the funny thing is the last one that ripped us off worked for … Lube Mobile.

Suggestion. Find a mechanic that you trust. Maybe a friend knows one as a friend and they won’t rip you off. We’ve apparently got that now (the ones in Belco) and if I hadn’t had been paranoid about driving the car from ANU I would have headed there.

So, did a mechanic try a shonk on me? I'd say so.

Grrr. Still mad.

Go Carnie Woman

Whilst at a neighbourhood fete I was lining up with a friend's kid to have a go on a whizzy chair ride. Ahead of us were a gaggle of year 6 girls who, as disturbing luck would have it, were around my height.

Some of their mates snuck in to join them at the head of the queue.

I was annoyed and wanted to say something, because I fucking cannot stand queue jumping especially by little grognards replete with braces, dabs of make up, and a litany of 'ohmygawd' bubbling out like a peck of prattling parrots.

I didn't have to.

Tattooed 'my hard life is etched on my hard axe like face' carnie woman took one look at them and said 'oi, you lot were never there, sling your hook to the back of the line.'

Go you good thing.

Of course the girls shrilly protested their innocence, the ones that were there claiming (rightly) they had been there first but ignoring the fact they had encouraged their hideous little Bratz like mates to join them in a queue buster. Eventually I think three of the ring ins left and the carnie woman still let the letthemins onto the ride in their original line up order but still it gave me hope for the world that a professional amusement provider can assess a line and weed out the queue jumping shonks.

My long standing fear and/or concerns about carnies have now been lessened. Thanks Carnie lady.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yahşimusiz


Saw Borat tonight.

I cannot believe what he got away with, or what he did. Sacha Cohen is one of those comedic actors willing to put his balls on the line for his work. Almost literally.

It's comedic gold. But ... be warned. There are some cringe worthy bits in it. I kept saying over and over 'I cannot believe he said/did that.'

If you like your comedy strong, like bench pressing woman, then this film - you like.

What's the deal with the over lit feminine products aisle in Coles?

Actually I think Woolies does too. You walk in there and the bright light stabs into your eyes and you can barely make out the products on the whiter than white shelves. So bright in fact that my transition lenses kicked in.

Maybe it's because light is cleansing, pure, ethereal or something? All it did was give me a headache.

It looked like something out of close encounters of the third kind. I half expected over the PA for the staff to announce the person I was passing was taken up by aliens in 1927 from a steam yacht or something.

Children of Men

Finally got around to seeing it.

Fuck me. Now that's a movie. You know the sort of movie that has you on the edge because it seems so chaotically real? The action sequences were devoid of the usual gleaming muscled Nietzschean superman killing everything in sight. Instead every bullet winging into brick, stone, tar, and the ground felt real. Felt incoming. At me. I got the same freaked out buzz that I got from Saving Private Ryan.

It was set in the UK in 2027, devoid of children, a locked fortress against a decaying world. Soldiers, police, ubiquitious slogans of watching for the enemy. A world without children turning itself on who was left. See the wiki here.

It starts with the death of the youngest person in the world, Baby Diego, and Argentinian just 18 years old. Killed after he told a 'fan' to fuck off.

And I know this undercuts the atmos of the movie - an intensely searing emotional film where death seems meaningless and meaningful both at the same time - but my mental picture of Baby Diego was ...

... you guessed it!


BenJumping

Friday, November 17, 2006

Where HM explains to fellow bloggers how to create an internet link

It's very easy just to paste in a URL into a comment field or a blog and not actually HTML it. But it's also annoying for us quick click types to laboriously paste it into our internet explorer. So to you bloggers out there who have not grasped it yet here's how you do it.

Ready?
Let's begin.

This is how you do it.

Peer Review

Peer review is an important part of empirical research methodology. It enables someone to posit a theory in a journal or other publication, which like minded and similarly qualified people can access and study and be able to then test suppositions contained within said theories.

Least that's my understanding.

Peer review is especially critical in the physical sciences for obvious reasons. Sure talented amateurs can attempt to post theories etc to said peer reviewed publications but generally speaking unless they meet a base line qualifications they face an uphill battle. Especially if their science is shonky.

When a supposition or theory has political ramifications, for example sociological theories, public health, environmental, etc, then it's even more critically important that theories or suppositions are presented in peer reviewed documents to divorce those making said claims from any perception of bias or ideology or even in some cases to ensure they have appropriate training or skill in the area concerned. After-all why would any one waste time on assessing a theory or supposition if it came from a moron. However - there are notable exceptions. Einstein for example was a patent clerk when some of his big theories were released (though he had at the same time obtained a doctorate for his knowledge of physics around when this occurred).

However let's not lose sight of the fact that was over a 100 years ago.

Now. Suppose an amateur weighed in to the politically charged debate of climate change, said amateur having no formal qualifications in the field in question. They have a contentious theory, or are attacking established theories, and thus are seeking an audience. Would it be fair to assume that this contentious argument would be best served in a peer reviewed publication like a journal? You’d think so.

If instead it was submitted not to a peer reviewed publication but instead a news periodical that was likewise politically tinged and by its very nature was a known backer of contentious counter theories about a politically charged physical scientific theory would not you assume therefore that this contentious theory was automatically suspect?

I think so.

Yes, playing the man and not the ball is a common counter argument tactic by many in a debate. It’s especially useful when you can’t attack what they are saying on logic. However, this is not a debate. This is science. And if someone is presenting a theory without qualifications or formal training in a physical science field and present it in a periodical that is both not peer reviewed and is politically aligned with elements to whom current scientific theories prove commercially difficult then raising both those points is valid.

By and large it’s safe to assume that minimal qualifications are required when someone is acting in a professional capacity, or attempting to debate professionals is always preferred. For example for the most part you would trust a doctor over a layman when it comes to your health (Mikey’s recent experiences aside), the same way you trust an engineer over a layman when it comes to public works, the same way you trust a teacher over a layman when it comes to knowledge of how to instruct.

When someone lacks those qualifications and further more elects to test their armchair theories not against professionals or academics, but in the public arena via a publication that is political and lacks objectivity it is not only acceptable to challenge what they are saying on that basis, it is right to do so.

Especially considering that a random selection of points raised in a theory were picked apart and shown to be rather pathetic. Basic errors where peers by and large agree they are errors. Let alone pointing out that sources promoted as unbiased were anything but.

But what the fuck would they know? They’re only experts in their field with between them thousands of degrees and PhDs.

Anyway make up your own mind. For the 'leave him alone! Stop picking on the fact he has no qualifications and that he chose to run his theory in a biased organ and attack the facts (even though they did)' see Iain's blog here. For the original debunking of Mr Puzzle and his wacky attacks on basically the common consensus amongst climatologists see here.

By the way. I decided not to respond at Iain's site because, well, what's the fucking point?