Saturday, February 26, 2011

Food glow ended before the meal did

I decided to take one set of four (4) sesame seed snaps (belonging to theBoy's array of snackage), some thin slices of cheese from the new packet (not as good as first use of the new soap bar but still pretty sweet), and add a dollop of sour cream covered with one kind of rich, creamery Paul Newman's South-West sauce - a sauce to which I am now immensely addicted to. So much so the other day I added it to a chicken parmie.

Was it good? It was. First I took a shard of snap. Then ripped and added a similar sized segment'o'cheese. What's this? Why sour cream (DIP), then a slip-side through the South-West sauce that was slow-lava flowing down the south slope of mount thick white (1).

Yum. Then I ran out of snap. My snap to cheese ratio had been too unbalanced. It was no longer pleasant. I discarded it and washed away the remnants.

Then I blogged this. I call lame.

(1) Awesome name for an p0rn niche albino long schlong. Hey pale love must be good - 100 million twihards can't be wrong.

Ear worm pwnage

Us ABC '80s TV kids find each other in life like the characters in the last season of Lost. Someone mentions Monkey - then it's on for young and old with the voices and shit they said ('Monkey stop it!' - 'AYETAHHYAYAYAY'). Star Blazers - cue the theme song. Fave Dr Who - Tom Baker. Fave Bond - claimed is Connery. Actual is Moore (1).

Today I was piss farting around on email as a break from actual work. When I get routine emails I like to ping some semi stream of consciousness stuff back. Today it was with N, a perfectly in proportion attractive six foot colleague. On a quick compare about initials the subject of TV came up.

Then she outed herself as a closest Degrassi Junior HIIIIIIIIIIIIGH viewer (2).

For those of you not in the know DJH was a reciprocal Canadian TV import. The ABC had a deal with their Canadian counterparts where we gave them Aussie fare and they gave us theirs. You Can't Do That on Television (Oh Moose ... your boobs were so big) and The Beachcombers (Oh Relic you're so old and mean spirited with your naughty black speed boat), to name but two.

N remembered the accents, the storylines, the show's minutia. DJH for those not in the know was set in a Canadian high school that experienced a statistically aberrant amount of befallment (3) as can potentially suffered by the kidz - drugs, teen pregnancy, being orphaned in year 10 (Damn you Joey!), anorexia, abusive parents and of course bad hair.

Then I remembered the band. Yes the cool boys had a band. The Zit Remedy aka The Zits. I remember one episode where they were flogging their single on long play cassettes for two bucks a pop and they got excited when they started selling heaps of them. Later they found out that the cassettes were being sold at below cost of purchase and their "fans" were just getting cheap tapes.

I went and found their song on YouTube.

I laughed at the song to N. She fired back an email with the lyrics, word for word, of the song. I complained she'd earwormed me. She tried to get me to mind-sing spice girls but that made it worse.

Anyway, I was on the way out the door, and went around her side of the horseshoe. She was pushing a small cargo trolley. She smiled as I went past. Then ... then she started singing.

'Everyone wants something they'll never give up,' she sang, dancing a rhythmic semi-Bangles Egyptian.

I screamed in mock terror, clamped my hands over my ears and ran off yelling 'NOOOOOOOO' like a '50s horror starlet.

I work with some kewl people. How awesome.

(1) You know it Beve. You know it. Declare your love for the Moore Bond. You know it to be true.
(2) Holy shit. They released Season 1 on YouTube. Go the the Canadian Broadcast Corporation!
(3) I made a new word (3a). Stick that in your Giblet Fascinator Dr Seuss.
(3a) I had worse there for a second. True snoring.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Update from my dad

We brothers got an update from our dad. Mum's now on the list to go into care as her short-term memory is completely shot.

First she got Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and lost use of her legs. But she kept active despite her disability. She stayed at work - her work building a ramp for her scooter and making arrangements to assist her in her day-to-day needs - and when she retired she remained engaged with the community through volunteer work like hosting quizzes at the local retirement home or sorting at St. Vinnies. She could have easily, easily become a shut in - a hermit from the world. I think I would have done that in her position.

Her greatest fear however was that she would go dotty like her mum . I think it's part of the reason that in the 60s she became a global adventurer instead of hanging around home. She couldn't bear it.

When her memory started to go I'd hoped it was just the MS. It can mess with short term memory but the impact of MS on that is typically mild.

However her memory got worse. Finally a couple of years ago she had an MRI and they found plaque on her brain. The classic Alzheimer's sign.

MS ... and Alzheimer's.

My dad, along with respite breaks and home-care care assistance, has managed to look after at home right up until now. Now ... now her memory is such that, combined with her lack of mobility, means she needs a greater level of constant care and supervision that is beyond the needs of one person to look after.

My mind denies the ability to contemplate what it would be like to live with your partner in life and see them slowly decay in mind and body. It rejects the concept as alien and unwelcome. Like thinking about death - a problem I have only solved by shouting mentally "I'M NOT DEAD YET" when it crosses my thought-path.

My dad is an incredible man. An incredible man. If you needed a poster boy for the definition of stoicism it would be him. It's partly heritage - British reserve. It's partially decency - I've never met anyone more so. It's partly his faith - a strong Christian belief in an active divine being.

I hope that he uses the freedom from this burden being lifted to do the things he craves to do. He deserves that time for his life. If my mother was compus enough to know her circumstances she'd push him out the door with a broom, held across the basket of her scooter (1) like a lance, and demand in her correct English that he Carpe Diem.

I hope this transition goes as well as it can.

Fucking decrepitude. At least when I'm a generic geriatric I can have sexy robot carers that aren't afraid to really get in there and give my ancient twig'n'berries a hearty scrubbing.

(1) I originally had trolley instead of scooter. When I re-checked the post I realised my error. It's a faux pas to call a mobility scooter a "trolley". My mum often shouted "IT'S A SCOOTER!" if I named it wrong. I guess because a scooter is an active thing and a trolley is passive. You ride a scooter ... you get pushed in a trolley.

A welcome surprise

When you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome pretty much the nature of your shits is akin to the random result from a Chocolate wheel. You never really know how it's going to come out.

I'm constipation dominate thanks to a likely case of slow motility where my wastes pass through my intestines with all the hurry of grey nomad couple David and Phyllis in their giant Winnebago ambling along the countryside and looking forward to meeting up with Berryl and Nate again whom they first encountered in the Gunnedah caravan park and who turned out to be just such a delightful couple (1).

So I am often bunged up. This pain is often accompanied by spams and occasional clenching deep within my cut that makes it feel Mola Ram stopped by for a visit went to reach for another Tim Tam, slipped, and accidentally plunged his hand deep into my abdomen.

Oh Mola ... you're always doing that.

However the wheel results can and do produce some interesting outcomes. There's the palmful of pebbles. There's the rusty water -- which I call a "Dan Brown". There's cigarillo - which looks like a normal motion only a 1:3 scale.

Occasionally, and it's a rare once every two to three months event, there's the uber one. It too looks like a normal healthy bowel motion - what my Doctor describes in his delightful kiwi accent as a "Lovely Log" which I assume in his parlance would be a "choice" thing to happen. Only instead of 1:3 ... it's 3:1.

That happened this morning. I awoke with severe cramps and lay there sleep befuddled and groaning. Eventually I got up and since the cramping indicated a pending motion, the chocolate wheel was spun and I sat on the toilet to pass it.

It started ... and kept going ... and going ... and going. My arsehole felt like a clown-car.

Eventually I was finished. I looked in. An uber. 4:1 scale at least. So big I was worried that's I'd have to find a stick and, for the third time in my life, break a shit up in order to flush it (2).

Fortunately it went down. In a blaze of fecal watery glory around the S bend.

Alas, no PAG. Still cramping. But feel better now. Mind you I did just have three Nurofen Pluses so that's probably why.


(1) Plus Berryl totally gave David a "gummie" in the tiny toilet when the others were preparing the salad.
(2) First occasion was when I was visited by an old school friend from when we were sentenced to the same all boys private school together. He'd won a principal's recommendation fueled place to the very degree I wanted to do but failed to get into because that year the mark needed to get in went from a projected 55/100 to 85/100 and I'd scored a paltry 63.15. I was mad at him for that. He was a big lad - some six two. He also wasn't a check behind person. He used the toilet then he left without confirming that his torpedo made it out the tube. I went in afterward and physically recoiled from the brown python that lay dead within, protruding from the water like a decaying shipwreck at low tide. I had to go out into the garden and find a stick, march back in, and with closed eyes jab around until it was broken up. I burned the end of the stick in the fireplace to clean it. The second was caused by a friend of theWife's. Oddly she was quite petite. Not the sort of person you think would produce an Uber. But Uber she did. Once more into the breach dear friends I went into the yard to get a stick and break it up. By rights theWife should have done it as it was her friend. But no. Apparently along with opening jars and killing insects my job also involves breaking up toilet blocking fecal matter ... and applying HazMat protocols to the outside drain when it overflows and sprays shredded toilet paper across the front lawn.

Can you ...

... fuck off with the ad for the 'trick of a flat belly' that seems to appear on everything I read on the web? Please? I don't want to know. And I don't want to see the cartoon of the 'Once were fatteriors' of the successfully slim lady in her fat pants stretching the waist out like it's the opening of a fucking tent.

What is it about me that screams to the web 'thar be fat person, arrr' like one of those fanciful creatures in the corner of a ye olde sailor's map?

Are my cookies swollen?

Wait, that makes no sense. A cookie is on my computer. All they get is my ISP. But then ... they can track that, right? It's Minority Report! Oh I hope not. In that movie the ads on the wall addressed Tom Cruise by name as he went past them then tailored themselves to subjects of interest like couches that could take a sudden bout of crazed hot-for-woman exultation. If that happened to me it would be 'fat, fat, diet, fat, bad back, bandaids, fat, fat.'

The future are bastards! (1)

Swollen cookies. That sounds like a tremendously excitingly bad case of hemorrhoids.

(1) Yeah, I know that's wrong. Sounds kewl though.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You know you're a tyrant when ...

... you use jet fighters and heavy weapons against your own people.

Gaddafi is a mongrel shit-stain of a human being. His hideous uber family has been sucking Libya dry for years. Now his country is in flames, with the eastern half effectively free, and Gaddafi trying to hang on to the rest.

Still ... there's some shining lights out of this. First the people, those brave as all fuck people, still going out there and facing off wanting to be free even though Gaddafi's mercenaries are firing machine guns and dropping bombs on them. Amazing. I am a stupidly cowardly person. I hid under the couch from cybermen until I cracked double digits and by then the couch was noticeably uplifted by my pudgy worming form. I cannot imagine doing what these people are doing. There's also the case of the air force pilots who instead of following those genocidal orders ... flew their planes to Malta and defected. Then there's the hundreds of Libyan diplomats who have resigned en-mass and thrown their support behind the insurrection.

Here's hoping that mofo's palace flames on all around him and that he's neutralized as soon as possible.

I leave you with this. Spinal Tap kicking Muammar Gaddafi in the butt.

One door closes, another opens

I lost my bowl today.

I've used that bowl at work for lunches - I hate eating out of plastic trays or tubs - for as long as I can remember. Even if I buy from downstairs I will still hive off the lunch into the bowl. Mind you that's also because I buy a large serve then have half the day I buy it and the rest the following day.

It was an Asian food bowl. You know the sort - with the rounded studs of clear glass with a faint blue finish and a dark blue pattern on the rim - which, thanks to a bump years past, has a chip in it.

I lost my bowl in the forever sense. Because it smashed. It slipped from my grasp and dropped onto the carpet by my desk, shattering into many pieces. Mostly big shards - but some of the little irritating ones. It was particularly annoying because lately I've been taking my shoes off and walking around in socks. Fortunately it was cleaner day so the tiny shards were vacuumed up - along with the food remnants because the bowl was dirty when it died.

I mourned my bowl. Then S gave me his. He rarely used it, he's not sure how he acquired it. It's a nice solid, rim-intact white bowl. It cleans up a charm.

Yay me! End of an era but a start of something truly wonderful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elton boned - Maguire foamed

Melbourne, Victoria: Bolshi British funny man, Ben Elton, has been boned by Channel nine after poor ratings and the network not willing to grow a fucking pair because their testicles have ascended so far into their bodies that they're now looking for a group house with the uvela (1) and give it a few more weeks on air.

Elton, perhaps one of the world's most consistently good comedians and producer of comedic vehicles such as books, sitcoms, and rock-musicals, was said to be rightly fucked off and contemplating writing a novel about a TV exec fuckwit at Station IX who sits at home in his shower bath and teases his anus with a shampoo bottle. Especially as this news was semi-delivered by none other than Eddie Maguire himself.

Maguire, who heard about the planned firing of Elton got extremely excited, running around the room and rubbing his hands screaming 'BONE, BONE, BONE.'

Maguire, who famously added a new meaning that hitherto never before been associated with sacking to the word bone, hasn't had another opportunity to wheel out that little number since and has been getting a bit toey according to Nine sources.

'I heard him in that executive bathroom - you know the one he got when he was chairman and mysteriously kept even after he himself was boned back to the front of the camera instead of deciding what's going to be there from behind it - and he was like singing 'BONE' to the tune of Do Ra Me from fucking Sound of Music,' said an unnamed producer who also called the celebrity a "tool" and "cheese eating surrender penis".

Maguire then slid down his special 'Boning Pole' installed in his office to the garage where he woke up his sleeping driver Syd and forced the octogenarian chauffeur to take the NINESTILLNO1 Lexus over to the lot where Elton was filming so he could give the news in person.

'So Syd's driving slowly on account he just woke up and Maguire's got his head out the window like a happy dog and he's screaming 'BONE, BONE, BONE' at the top of his lungs through a megaphone,' said a Best Boy - or is it a Gaffer? I don't know, what ever the fuck that thing is in the credits.

Maguire then raced into the set, ran up to Elton, then screamed 'BOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE' at full throttle only to then realise it wasn't the British comedy god but his cardboard cutout.

When the noise brought in staff to see what was happening Maguire had to be sprayed with a fire-extinguisher to drive him from the cut-out he was assailing, while slavering at the mouth and scoring a hole across the photo-printed crotch of Elton from the rhythmic gouging of the prong from Eddie Maguire's belt-buckle.

(1) If one of them gets lucky and has a girl home to let their flatmate know so they can fuck off for a bit they'll leave the pancreas tied to their door knob.

Ross Gittins on refugees as a political issue

Ross Gittins stepped away from his economics bully pulpit to look at refugees and how they're perceived in Australia, and how they're used today politically.

He notes that prior to Hanson both major parties had stayed away from this as a wedge issue.

Then she came along.

Pauline Hanson brought the issue crashing on to the stage of federal politics, forcing the major parties to respond. But politicians had begun walking away from their commitment to avoid politicising the issue much earlier. Perhaps they couldn't avoid responding to public concerns; perhaps, in the heightened contest between the parties, they could no longer resist the temptation to gain an advantage over their opponents.

It's a great article - and a welcome one - appealing to politicians to drive debate to empathy for those seeking a better life than fear for ... well I'm not exactly sure to be honest why people are scared of refugees. 'Those brown people have less stuff than us!' - hardly a clarion call to action to repel all boarders, is it?

I've been listening to the audio-book of Scott McClellan's time in the white house, What Happened. McClellan was press secretary for Bush II from 2003 to 2006 and later put out his book about his time there .

Some of the themes he explored is the idea of the permanent campaign. That parties seek a partisan route to success and where electioneering drives governance instead of the other way around. I take umbrage with McClellan's idea that Bush II was merely aping what Clinton did, and that Clinton caused much of the partisan divide in the US federal political arena in the 90s. That's horse-shit. Clinton was monstered from the get go by the GOP media machine and was blocked again and again by the GOP in congress, and though he did manage to get some stuff done he had a lot of big ticket failures - universal health dropping off and don't ask don't tell as a failed compromise.

However McClellan is right about the permanent campaign. When the focus of government isn't governing but winning elections it does no one any good at all. He talks about the impact Rove had on the government and how everything was couched in terms of what it meant in the polls.

Depressing stuff - but a good listen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When even the machines are against you

We bought a Wii last year. We finally hooked it up. I registered my details on Wii fit.

It factored in my height, my age, and my weight to map out a 'Wii fit age'.

It is 51.

So there you go. Even a mindless unthinking machine has judged me based on my physical attributes.

And people wonder why I have body image issues.

Also thanks to my flat feet I suck balls at the Snowboarding. Best score on the lowest level of difficulty was one minute seventeen seconds. I tried another eight times but I couldn't best that initial score.

I hate you Wii. Much like my used for less than a day Blackberry it inspired within me unwanted impulse rage. I wanted to take the balance board and march like John Cleese in the episode of Fawlty Towers where he was going to insert a Garden gnome into an Irish builder (see 13.28 onward) and do likewise to Mr Hiroshi Matsunaga.

However it is pretty kewl that we can web surf through the unit. I do like that.

Holy Christ(church)!

Good lord. That quake really messed Christchurch up.

I can't imagine what that would have like to go through - but the ABC has some accounts on its site.

All the very best to everyone affected. I hope you pull through it as best you can. What an incredibly messed up event.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

TheBoy came running in with a cardboard tube stuck down his neck hole

'Help!' he said pointing at the end of the tube peeking out of the neck hole.

I reached for it as he was still trying to grab it. His fingers locked on.

He whipped the tube out and lunged at me, striking my knuckles with the edge.

'GOT YOU!' he shrieked then ran off laughing out the room.

Sometime later...

That afternoon we were at the shops. There was this public shaded area with big plastic boat looking benches. TheBoy wanted me off the one he was on.

'Get off!' he demanded.

'No,' I said. 'I'm sharing.'

'No ... off,' he said again. He thought for a bit.

'Fireman say you off,' he said.

'What? What fireman? Over there?'

'... yeah.'

I looked at the place where the fictitious fireman "was".

'Do ... do I have to get off?' I asked, voice raised.

TheBoy, grinning, watched me.

'He say off too,' he said.

How can I argue with that?

On a previous occasion...

The other day I did one of my embarrassing public fails. I was looking after theBoy as he was bouncing up and down on the booth seating as theWife ordered lunch. I had the paper. 'Hey ... ' I said. 'How about I sing you a story from the paper?'

'Okay!' bounced theBoy.

I'm not sure why I had this one in my head, though I have a habit of idly singing the last song I heard, so I guess I heard it at some point.

It was Yellow Submarine.

It was an article about Abbott,
Morrison and Bernardi, the Three Dwamigos (1). All I did was sing the article to the tune - like that game in Spicks and Specks (2) - but the words matched up pretty well. But it was only when I glanced to see if theBoy was at all interested - he wasn't, there was bouncing to be bounced, that I noticed the table of three near-bidies were listening in.

Trailing off embarrassed fail.

(1) Dog-Whistling Amigos.
(2) I keep thinking I should send them one of my five Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbooks for that segment just to see if they'd do it. Once, in the midsts of time, The Late Show had a Draw Bert Newton contest and told people to mail them in. I did it ... I actually did it. I draw Bert as a Cartoon condom and mailed it to PO Box 9944 in my nearest capital city. For return address I put Jean Luc-Picaird for the simple fact I am a geeky fuckwad. Over the next few eps as they showed off the mailed in art I had the biggest heart hammer of my life. Kind of like when you buy p0rn the first few times.

Check your theology at the door

Religious faith is a cornerstone of being for many people - it can define them. It helps them cope with what life throws at them, gives them direction when they feel lost, and comfort as mortality approaches.

It's odd ... but while I am am atheist I have immense respect for the truly faithful. I admire and am even envious of their certainty of faith. I also disagree with Richard Dawkins for the militancy of his approach to jumping up and down and pointing fingers at religious people for the holes in their dogma or belief.

When it comes to politics, however, I dislike those politicians that use their faith to attack others. I have no problem with them being faithful or following a religion while in office, or even using the strictures of their faith to guide their decision process.

However they represent all of us, of all faiths, from Christians through to Jedi. People in a vast sea of belief. They should not, dare not, attack the faiths of others (1). Our representatives should be above this shit.

Cory Bernardi isn't. Oddly, he's a super-Catholic, and in his attacks on Islam as 'totalitarian, political and religious ideology' then he opens up his own faith for view - as Bernard Keane in Crikey (16 Feb) so aptly noted.

But Cory "ban the burqa" Bernardi is the Coalition’s most persistent Islam obsessive, regularly blogging about the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists. He joined in with Andrews last week, declaring -- presumably on the basis of the looming law to force-feed us all halal meat: "I, for one, don't want to eat meat butchered in the name of an ideology that is mired in sixth-century brutality and is anathema to my own values."

Bernardi position here is well-informed. He's an ardent Catholic and, courtesy of transubstantiation, every Sunday eats meat butchered in the name of an ideology that is mired in not sixth but first-century brutality.

Stow it in your gob Bernardi. You represent the people of South Australia, not Catholicism. You can't be both a rep of the people and a super Catholic who goes the dogma of other faiths. Therefore if you can't dial back the latter then the only step you can take is to leave office.

That would be the morally right thing to do. Yes, even us atheists have morals. Morals not dependent on a particular religious faith but on common sense and reason.

I'm okay however with politicians actively querying the influence faith has on political and cultural process - for example the Exclusive Brethren's role in attacking the Greens during past elections despite the fact their laity does not vote for religious reasons. Because that's theology seeking to influence politics and that too should not happen - such as George Pell weighing in on secular matters despite packing several odd beliefs and/or day-to-day practices.

Who is John Galt?

A duck turd.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another one!

Years and years ago (1), in the mid-noughties in fact, I'd ruminant'ed about how the filler for when a reporter is narrating about the subject on camera was usually the subject using a walking along, taking a book of the shelf and over to their desk to read it, sitting at computer or talking on the phone, and wouldn't it be nice if they did something exciting instead?

Well ... just thought of another one. I'm watching Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater story which is a surprisingly balanced doco about someone who changed the political campaign landscape to as bare-knuckled as they come in a modern era. I saw some footage of a man approaching a set of stairs heading up to the right. There was a basement window at the foot of the stairs. Just for a second I thought the man was going to instead of climbing clamber down onto hands and knees, crawl forward, open the basement window and slither through it.

How kewl.

It didn't happen.

But then I thought about all those many houses I've lived in that had the tiny door outside that led under the house because it wasn't a concrete block house but raised on brick with flooring over beams or what have you. And wouldn't it be cool if in a narrator filler and the subject is walking towards a door from outside that instead he went to the tiny door and crawled on through like the old people clambering into John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.

I know.

I once lived in an older house in my home town that my parents pimped out with extensions. They also ripped out the raised outside central courtyard and made it a sun room. The sun room now rested on a block of concrete at ground level so there were stairs from it up into the rest of the old house that was raised off the ground.

When we played table tennis in the sun room sometimes the ball would bounce up under the wall of the older house and into under its floorboards. We'd have to pry up the inside trapdoor with a butter knife, it bending with the strain and put the door to one side, a puff of moist earth rising up and smacking you in the face. Then lower ourself into the hole and crawl along the damp dirt until you reached the balls. Yes, balls. We didn't do it every time a ball went in there. Only when the last ball went in there.

How many ping pong balls did we have? About I think 40 something.

How did we get so many? Well it was the cold-war kids ("Gather round children, Grand-Mikey is to tell us a tale from beforetheycame") and even my regional hometown protested the idea of Nuclear Armageddon. Mind you it was a uni-town so that probably helped flame the rage. Now and then the local Army Reserve unit would participate in a parade, rumbling their M113s along the main street near the council chambers and saluting as they clink-clank-clunked vibrations, past the crowd, who themselves were riven with excitations.

♪♫ Dah dah dah dah ... dahdah dah♪♫

This attracted the protesters who made the same mistake their brethren did decades before and directed their vitriol at soldiers and not the people in the decision chair.
One year the peace-protesters decided to have some fun. They made up some slogan covered missiles and threw them at the armoured personnel carriers. Some of the missiles ricocheted down through open turrets and into the vehicles' bellies but most bounced off and tic-toc'ed across the road, gutters and bystanders.

♪♫ It's raining balls! Hallelujah they're painted-balls, woah oh oh!♪♫

Being at that time in our lives ping-pong players, or table-tennis depending on your nomenclature poison, balls were important. And free balls were the best of all. We scampered like merry Oliver chorus lads at free-play while the director has a private yell at the pianist, collecting as many balls as we could hold in our pudgy hands. I remember being annoyed that some older lady, bony thin with the tautness of skin that could only be achieved by careful eating and heritage, snapping a stiletto heel down to crush a ball that those foul-haired hippies had dare sully EIIR's tanks with.

What a waste of a perfectly good ball.

At home we kept our protest balls in an over-sized bread bag (2).

My favourite ball, and I may be conflating two separate balls, was the one that had artfully drawn cartoon snails on it. Along with a single word ... CUNTS.

(1) Can you believe it's been five years of HM?! I can't. How about that. All those posts. All those stupid, stupid barely read posts many of which had nothing to do with well anything - and esp those lame chaser-esq attempts that were as funny as a fart in the bath.
(2) Back in my day we had to make do with our own homemade fireworks. You kids ... and your music. We'd make pleasing fire by wrapping bread bag round stick and jamming it in the bonfire. We'd pull it out good and black, see, and then let fat drops of plastic hiss off to sizzle in ground. On occasion we'd even man up, giggling and let that drop on skin. That's the trouble with you kids today. Nowt imagination ... or sado-masochistic expressions of masculinity meets juvenile expression of latent pyromania.

For those who think voting doesn't matter

As the Libyan clashes worsened, a violent crackdown continued in Bahrain on Friday, where government forces opened fire on hundreds of mourners marching toward Pearl Square and at least one helicopter sprayed fire on peaceful protesters. There were also violent confrontations on Friday in Yemen and Jordan.

Gobble, Gobble!

In the community

(As seen at a recent community event)

How to have the impact of your awesome karate demonstration - complete with side kicks, front kicks, mid-punches, high punches and what I can only described as side down thrust elbow hand sky point - completely ruined.

Have, three feet away from you, a bunch of scouts - half grown-men - with hystagiggle laughter chucking rubber chickens at each other...

TheBoy visits a Fondle Farm

He ...

Chased the animals - despite the no chasing being the big rule of rules of entry.

He ...

Kissed a goat on its arse.

He ...

Winged my nuts with his fist.

Then he ran out.

Blackberry ... suckberry

So I have had it for 24 hours. My reaction?

It sucks. It sucks the wang. The QWERTY keyboard is too small. You have to hit a tiny alt key to try and get the numbers keys to operate. The numbers and alternate characters were the same size as the alphabet characters and I was forever confusing the I key with the 1 key. The text message interface likewise sucked the wang - as does its incredibly moronic contacts folder which gives you a hot key to delete a contact but forces you into the menu to add a contact.

Fucking piece of fucking shit.

I realised it was not the phone for me when I attempted to send a text one handed in the rain. I had to feather touch the keys to try and get the right person and more than often did not. I kept having to cancel out of a message and return to the screen to start again.

Maybe I am too used to a number pad now. Too set in my ways. The irony is that I can two finger type on a computer keyboard - as I am now - but I had to look and carefully peck each key on the Blackberry's QWERTY board. It took me about three minutes to send a four word text.

When I had the phone clenched in my white-knuckled fist and I had it hoisted in the air and was ready to dash the fucker onto the road I knew then and there my abortive love affair with the Blackberry was ashes.

Into the pocket it went. When I got home I swapped the SIM back into the old handset.

The cost of the Blackberry was built into the two year plan I am now signed on to. I have no idea how to reclaim any money from it apart from trying to sell the handset on Ebay or something.

Really ... it's my fault. I got so enamored with the idea of having a QWERTY board I totally didn't factor size of keys, keys serving multiple roles depending on the ALT key being actioned, and (oddly) the having to look for the keys to press it. I also thought for some reason I'd be able to one hand text with it - which clearly I could not.

The Blackberry is back in its box. And I am back to using to my shitty $40 Nokia handset. A handset I know how to use and that I can easily use one handed. Plus my personal dictionary has 'Fucking' in it now so at least I don't have to 'insert word' to get that up and running.

Blackberry ... suckberry.

That is all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coincidental but awesome

This may be a bit of an inadvertent Dark Side of the Rainbow but I swear this tribute to Swayze and Farley with their Chippendales skit on slow mo to The Final Countdown matches up action to the music almost perfectly.

Kudos, mattchewkissmyazz, kudos...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fare thee well, Quartet keyboard

Back in 2000 I realised that my Mac-PC hybrid was no longer the nose-news of goodness it once was.

I had an excitable friend who was an IT geek. He took me to the computer fair at Epic and we loaded up on parts. We went back to my tiny flat in the south of town and I supplied him with pizza and coffee as he built us our first PC.

It worked okay, though I should have gone for max-grunt off the bat instead of the somewhat low sub-gig in speed that I accepted.

For the keyboard I got a second-hand Quartet effort. It was a large keyboard - the full model with side number pad. It was white. I think it was stuck in a box like umbrellas by a front door. I got it for five bucks.

When we upgraded the computer each time we upgraded the box itself. We had mice die - usually they last a year - and would replace those as we did so. But the keyboard kept on ticking - doing its thing (1).

Until ... until last night.

It started with the h key. If it worked, at all, then it appeared much too late for use. Then ... then the g key went. It just went ... like a granddad who had a good life passing gently forth in his sleep.

With a heavy heart I got the travelling keyboard for the laptop from the nerd cupboard where all such goodness is stored, pulled old whitey from the IT line up - a keyboard so old it actually used the keyboard dedicated port at the back of the box instead of a USB - and I cast the Quartet into the dead diet coke box for the next trip out to the bin.

Although I have noticed that there's a fair chunk of dead keyboards at our day care. Maybe they'd want to use that in their armoury of 'hey kids, pound this' while the carers nick outside for a durrie' tools and devices?

Except ... as I recall from Dr Karl ... the keyboard is the most unhygienic surface in the house.

Looks like it's the bin for you mate.

We had a good run.

The new keyboard is taking getting used to. It's smaller and because it's black, when I just have the bedside light in the corner of the room then the glow of the monitor barely illuminates the keys.

I miss Quartet already. Maybe instead of the bin I can take him for one last walk in the woods across the road? 'Run boy, run! Go away! Go away ... I ... I hate you!'

(throws rocks, cries).

(1) It's funny ... but I am never going to be one of those people that has a loving heirloom useful item like an axe that somehow has been passed from one generation to the next many times. The item that can be held up proudly and boasted about for both its age and its functionality. Except of course, it's not the same axe, is it? Because bits get replaced through wear ... all two of them. So once you've replaced both the head and the haft ... it's a different fucking axe, OKAY!?

Please sir ... can we talk about the muzzies?!

Turns out Mr Krool, AKA Scott Morrison who has the unusually hard gig of being opposition spokesman on immigration given the typical views of the average retire-aged Liberal party member, decided that fellow travellers like 'Ban the Burka!' Bernardi and others were right and that the muzzies should be muzzled. Well ... that the Liberals at least should talk more about the Muslim question in public. Perhaps even subtly like when people sneezed and instead of 'bless you' said 'Muslimsscareme' (1).

I was unaware the Muslim question even needed to be asked. Well ... it does! There's anti-muzzy voting in them thar hills!

Yes ... the rum-int mill is ablaze with the news that last year at a shadow cabinet meeting Morrison pitched the idea of more hairy-chested beating thereof talk about Muslims because that's what the public wanted. Well ... at least if the discussion was in the public domain then chances are a combination of ignorance and hysteria would be kind to the conservatives vote-wise. You know ... helped along as ever by the man whose listening demographic spookily matches the strongest Liberal support base, Alan Jones.

THE opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate's growing concerns about ''Muslim immigration'', "Muslims in Australia" and the "inability" of Muslim migrants to integrate.

Mr Morrison's suggestion was made at a meeting in December at which ministers were asked to bring three ideas for issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack during this parliamentary term.

Wowsers. And I thought Sharman Stone was bad as the shadow. I wonder what treatment Morrison is going to get from Crikey's First Dog on this?

The thing however I was astonished about was this ... from Ruddock ... famous former wet who dried adobe strong to become one of the hard hitters on the Lib's team and later immigration minister and (I think) AG at one point.

The sources say Mr Ruddock, the shadow cabinet secretary, was particularly "blunt" in his rejection of the suggestion, saying a well-run and non-discriminatory immigration policy was essential for nation building.

I applaud that he said it... then ... in a private shadow cabinet meeting. So why the fuck didn't he do more to steer the conversation away from the moronic reactionary right in this country who looks at a poor likely non-white person who sold up ALL their shit to risk their lives for a better life for they and their family and decides they're a threat to their McMansion owning lifestyle?

Oh ... that's right ... the voting thing.

Well with the Greens getting power in the Senate soon at least there's going to be a brake on some of the meaner shit that can happen.

(1) In the SNL 25 Anniversary special David Spade was given the eulogy segment to discuss Chris Farely, his former cast mate and with whom Spade did a number of lad road-esq movies together before Farley snarked it on a near same drug combo that killed John Belushi at the exact same age. I know, spooky. Check out the wiki about the death rate of SNL players. Spade in his bit on Farley said that he and Farley were brain storming together about ways to boost the presence of their movie 'Black Sheep'. Farley pitched the idea of saying 'Blacksheep' instead of 'blessyou' when people sneezed (1a). The idea being this viral method of acknowledging a biological function that occurred loudly in someone's head would spread and the words 'blacksheep' would permeate into the subconscious and program people, Manchurian Candidate style, to go see the film. The idea said Spade ... didn't catch on. Farley was the only one who did it. Farley was a funny comedian. His un self-concious use of his large frame for comedy was as brave a fucking thing as I've ever seen a hefty person do. The skit of he and Patrick Swayze going going for the one slot on The Chippendales (link1, link2) is to be seen to be believed. When he died Spade was noticeably absent from the funeral. He later said that he couldn't stand the idea of being in a room where Chris was in a box. In the eulogy he gave on the SNL show he was visibly choked up. It was a raw moment. The sad-clown at the heart of many a funny person peeking out through the storm drain before gone again into the dark. Every time I see Spade give the eulogy it affects me deeply. Maybe perhaps Farley is a stand in for a lot of hefty lads who are wracked with the sads about body shape and the impact that has on everything you do, from sex to exercise to basic ability to give a first impression. But in his case ... he used it. Grabbed it, made it his bitch. I salute him.
(1a) I work with a loud sneezer. A loud, sudden sneezer. Her sneezes I think crack 100 db. She actually shouts them, barking a high-pitched burst of devil-air and rattling the venetian slats out of their sleeping stillness. Now and then I email her 'bless you'. I sit three, yes three, pods of workstations away from her - a good 10 metres. And it still makes me jump. Unless, that is, I am wearing my awesome Dick Smith wireless earphones. Oh ... yeah (thanks to LoneR for the gift of the Les Mis anniversary MP4 that I listened to today ... alternating with War of the Worlds on You Tube (1a1)).
(1a1.1) That's a leitmotif!

The X-Ray

Once I cracked about 25 the ill-health crap started happening. Pneumonia spawned arthritis, gall-stones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, chronic pain, pain-induced depression, bad-back, crap sleep, polyps in the ear, shattering teeth, and an ever expanding waistline that is best described as “ample”.

With ill-health comes medical tests: Many, many medical tests. Pooping in a bucket to provide a stool sample, seemingly hundreds of blood extractions—and they never put any back—MRIs, snakes in the butt and down the throat, needles into the gum, barium-meals, so on, and so forth.

It’s all very intrusive … and irritating. I have a hideous body image, thanks to a hideous body—Dom Delouise without the healthy head of hair meets Sir Aflred Hitchcock—so the wearing of the backless gown is always an irksome event.

Today I had to have an X-ray. I was in my jocks and socks for 15 minutes while the machine was prepared, with just a year old Woman’s Day —breathlessly declaring end times for Brangilina—for company.

I was wearing my recent undies. Simple black, but because my gut pushes out the waistband I tend to have a breezy hole where the leg holes are also stretched out. For once I had matching socks.

Because it was for a general ‘state of the union’ for my back it meant lots and lots of poses.

There was the Pink Floyd Face, where you open your mouth as far as it can go ala the screaming face on the VHS cover of The Wall rock opera.

There was the Zombie—arms outstretched before me.

There was the light lean, pressing my hair tufted shoulder against the receiving plate.

There was the ‘turn to the left now face forward’ just been arrested photos at the cop-shop pairing.

On it went.

The good news was that … well … weight aside and the fact I have a public-service posture—so coined by the chiro because he sees a lot of it in Canberra and it’s from being seated all day and slumping—my spine is by and large … okay.

So at least I got that going for me.

Oh lord I do hate medical tests so. I feel like Roger the Alien in the milk-extracting machine from American Dad.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vladamir Putin solves a number of crises by taking off shirt

Moscow, Russia: Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin, who tag teamed with stable-mate Dmitry Medvedev to swap executive roles on account of a legal technicality forcing him to leave office, reportedly solved a number of crises that had been brewing up of late by the skillful removal of his t-shirt to reveal a moderately well formed middle-aged chest.

'One aide came running in to tell Putin that there had been a blast at the railway station. Well quicker than you can say 'Officially licenced to use the name Manpower for a Russian language equivalent all-male stage-revue' Putin had his shirt off and gave the aide a three quarter profile of his naked chest, his head turned directly to face him to allow for contrast. The aide ... he quickly retracted the blast.'

Later poor press was resolved by Putin sending an 8x10 glossy of his chest to the journalist earning a return facsimile of a pair of ladies underwear with a giant presumed lip-stick kiss on it.

'The Prime Minister's freshly revealed chest is breath-taking,' said an admiring assistant. 'It can literally warp space-time like when Superman flew backwards around the world to go back in time so Lois wouldn't suffocate in that sink-hole.'

Following resolution of a banking crisis by a quick boardroom T-shirt torn from the torso Putin later did some ab flexes on a balcony as a number of missile trucks rumbled past on parade. Unfortunately there were several rear-ending incidents which caused the premature release of four missiles and at least one penis.

Ibrahim in drive-by Carrie'ing

Kings Cross, Sydney: Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim was subjected to a drive-by last late night when a late model Holden monaro drove past his house and the car's occupants proceeded to throw tampons at Ibrahim's door and scream "Plug it up! Plug it up! Plug it up!" before then peeling off into the darkness.

'We're treating the matter as both suspicious and a typical display of the bitchiness found in the Kings Cross club managerial element,' said Superintendent Fowler of Fairfield Police.

Later several men were seen at the rear of one of Ibrahim's night clubs attempting to hoist a bucket of pig's blood above the back door.

Leo gets it

I've developed a foodie crush of late. It's an embarrassing one. No, not as embarrassing as seeking pathetic attention at weekly work mornos by combining a savoury and sweet and forcing those in conversational distance to watch me double-team them into my mouth at the same time. That was embarrassing.

Last time that maneuver was let out for a play it was humus and a tim tam.

No ... no I have developed a food fetish for ... of all things ... McDonald's Hot Fudge Sundaes.

Why?! Dear gawd why HM?! You're pretty much self-diagnosed as having a milk protein intolerance that causes you to be like Mugatu when he has a foamy latte.

Well ... for some reason the soft-serve they use doesn't affect me as much. Maybe it's chemical concoction combination and dialed back the thing in diary that makes me farty?

I can eat one, or even two, in a sitting with a minimal effect.

So ... assuming that's the case, still, why? Why given your girth and your still plodding-walking each day - which is then ruined by that consumption by a good 400% of energy intake Vs expenditure in a single nosh of one of these fudgy efforts? (1)

Because ... right now ... right now in this space and at this time of my life ... right now ... I am enjoying them. Immensely. I get a massive serotonin spike from it and a cool sweet glow in my giant tum. They are delicious. I have even dreamed of them and, when in the drift from awake to sleep, sometimes they lazily tumble zero-g drift style across the velvet black of my eye-behinds.

Trouble is I've taken to getting a tray-worth at a time, which comfortably fits four, freezing the Sundaies then religiously devouring one - or yes, even two - each night when enjoying me-up-late time.

So yes it's embarrassing to order - like when you buy p0rn and you really want to leave and you're impatiently waiting for them to wrap it in the mandated brown paper bag (2). I like to pretend that I've been sent out on an ice-cream run for theWife and 2.1 kids back in my 224 square average Aussie home (3). Not that it's just for me ... for 1-3 sessions of quality alone numnum (4) time.

There's a McDonald's in a reasonable distance of my work on the way home. Tonight ... tonight I succumbed, risking a 15 minute trip with the tray on the passenger seat next to me sliding into the foot-well, as well as the matching of time Vs solidity and the varying clickage of the lid into the cup and a possible crack that could release a thin trickle of white dessert effluent.

Tonight I went to a nerd event. While I was there I kept thinking about the sundaes waiting for me. I prefer them frozen you see. The crunch of the soft-serve now not-soft as you slide the spoon in. The delight as it goes frozen to soft again. The sensation as you suck from the spoon.

So I got in, eager for the numnum fray. After de-bat time with theWife, I left her sleepy-sleeps and set up The Daily Show and got me my delicious treat.


Those fuckers.

I ordered Large ($3.15).

They'd given me Regular ($2.90; about 1/3 less).

All four ... Regular. I hadn't thought to check.

Yes, that's right.

I'd been fucked in the drive-thru

However I have some potential get-back. For on the window of the drive-thru was the (translated to reality) 'Have you been fucked in the Drive-thru? Let us know' email address and I am pretty sure I remember it...

(1) I looked it up. A large hot fudge sundae is 502 calories. It takes about 1.5 kays to walk off the energy of 100 calories from memory. So this is 7.5 kays in a cup. Eep. For a sedentary office type then 2000 Calories is considered sensible in a day. So it's a 1/4 burst of daily energy needs. Double eep.
(2) Yes, that is true. In the Australian Capital Territory, where hard-core p0rn is legally sold in walk-off-the-street stores, when you purchase an item it has to be packaged so as not to cause potential offense to the other people moving in and out of the p0rn store from and to the car-park that exclusively services the needs of the p0rn-store's customers and staff.
(3) Yes, I looked those numbers up.
(4) It's my Bunga-Bunga. Only far less attractive young female sex workers in assorted costumery and completion thereof.
(5) Again, I have to mention it. Lethal Weapon 2 was my school year's seminal movie. Not The Breakfast Club, out around four years earlier and embraced by even us Ozzer kids who may not have fit the defined archetypes of the US school system but could still see ourselves in elements or blends of one or more anyway. No, Lethal Weapon 2. I blame the rich, awesome dialogue and best villain accent ever - Hollywood South African.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Go big Joe

It's rare for me to give a shout-out to a Liberal politician, let alone a front bencher in shadow cabinet, but in this case it's well deserved.

I listen to ABC News Radio on the drive in to work, and typically in the afternoon as well (if Hack isn't playing).

This morning Scott Morrison, shadow minister for Immigration, was being interviewed over the flying of relatives to Sydney to attend the funerals of those who drowned in the Christmas Island landing disaster. Morrison was having a moan about the cost the the tax payer. He actually likened the event to that being similar to a typical Australian who also had a tragedy in their life and had to fly to attend an unforeseen funeral. The tax payer doesn't fund such things, argued Morrison, so why should we do that for those in the refugee system?

This of course treats them as being equivalent to typical Australians who have the freedom to do such things. You know, because they're not in mandatory detention while awaiting the outcome of their claim for refugee status.

This Morrison moan caused me to yell at my radio and describe Morrison's back-hander dog-whistle to Xenophobic elements in less than polite terms.

Abbott later also said something along those lines about relatives being transported at tax payer expense. He actually used the word "reloes" as in the Aussie slang for relatives when he did so.

Hockey, however, has broken ranks with Morrison and Abbott. Here's a link to the SMH story.

Here's what he had to say.

"No matter what the colour of your skin, no matter what the nature of your faith, if your child has died or a father has died, you want to be there for the ceremony to say goodbye, and I totally understand the importance of this to those families."

Amen Joe, Amen.

Speaking of Abbott, during his recent 'I would cut this instead of having a levy' media-stunt planning he actually nominated foreign aid to Indonesia for their education system as being something that could go on the block.

Seriously. This was a program started by the Howard government because they realised that if you wanted the most populous nation in the region - who happens to have Islam as the dominate faith - to avoid the trap other countries have had with free but religious focused schooling becoming a dominate feature within their culture then it would help to fund alternatives.

John Birmingham in the SMH believes that this was an actual planned dog-whistle by Abbott - who got rolled on it by Julie Bishop - as shadow foreign affairs minister - because being the shadow for that portfolio she absolutely understood how vital it is to support rigorous free secular education in developing countries. Or at the very least, help those countries administer their religious schools and bring them within an educational framework that ensured their teaching produced graduates who were going to enter the workforce with the required skill sets needed as opposed to just literacy and a really, really, really good understanding of the Koran.

I'm inclined to agree with Birmingham on this one.

Abbott is so desperate to do anything to win government that he's willing to hurt a lot of people in the process.

The Bali bombing happened in part because the schooling system in Indonesia helped foster conditions to encourage recruitment and encouragement of the development of fundamentalist radicals. Radicals that then fueled religion on religion violence within that nation such as in Ambon, let alone targeting of Western tourists or companies and even our very own embassy which suffered a bomb blast in 2004. To arbitrarily to threaten to pull the funding rug out from under programs designed expressly to address that is not just moronic, it's a threat to our national security and that of the region.

For what? To entice the vote of a few red necked 'dear editor' deep north types whose knowledge of multicultural and world affairs is severely limited? A demographic almost certainly going to vote for the Liberal Nationals anyway?

I say it again. The man is an arse-tick.

UPDATE: The opposition now plans to use the estimates process to reveal the cost of flying 27 grieving detained almost-certain refugees (1) to and from the funerals. Here's a snip from the SMH article:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and immigration spokesman Scott Morrison have questioned the cost - a position that has caused divisions within the party.

Coalition MPs plan to pursue the issue during estimate hearings next week.
Eight-year-old Iranian Sinan, brought to Rookwood cemetery to bury his father, is comforted.

Eight-year-old Iranian Sinan, brought to Rookwood cemetery to bury his father, is comforted. Photo: Nick Moir

"The Senate estimates will find out whether it was a reasonable cost," Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce told ABC Radio today.

The price of compassion is "not limitless", he said.

"You can't do it with a completely open cheque book."

Nice one Barners. I especially love the cheque book reference ... because was you know most of us still use cheque books in our day-to-day lives. Great kitchen-table fiscal planning shout-out mate. In addition, of course, to your pooo-eeee! Skippy-esq dog-whistle to your bumpkin brethren.

(1) I believe 90% of boat-borne refugees seeking asylum are found to be genuine refugees. I'll say it again, 90%.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Flower people think they're great but they're not

Valentine's day - the biggest day for florists apart from Mother's day.

I saw a delivery of flowers downstairs, roses naturally. Later, on the drive home, I saw a (hot) girl walking along with a single rose.
She was clearly chuffed but I'd hazard likely expecting it given her genetic advantage over the rest of us.

The most hilarious Valentine's sight was the queue of cars parked near the flowers and cherries van down by the light industrial district. There were frantic men, having just realized they'd epic Valentine-failed and forgotten to pony up some love-treats, attempting to rectify their error.

Ha, ha.

So HM ... what's your fave Valentines piece'o'trivia?

Well ... naturally ... it's the massacre.

UPDATE: We had Valentine's lamingtons (1) by way of our personal celebration, as well as theWife's delish stir fry combo of vegies and meat basted in a soy-honey concoction. It rawked.

(1) Google doesn't know how to spell lamington. That makes me sad.

Speedos Weathervane calls for stability

The idea of Tony Abbott calling for intra-party stability is exceptionally hilarious. This is a man who, after previously stating that climate change was 'a crock of shit', later telling Turnbull he was a 'weather-vane' on the concept, then proceeded to white-ant Turnbull over the ETS and force him to call a leadership spill which Turnbull legendarily lost.

Now you could argue that Abbott's then spooking the ALP to roll Rudd and the coalition's near win in last year's federal poll confirmed he was right to do so. But I do find it delish that the now cured of depression Andrew Robb is sniffing after Hockey's slot and this is causing the Tonester some angst.

Well, I say this with fierce schadenfreude, suck shit. Especially given he got his leadership over the moral issue of our time and that of the environment. As in he was standing up for the planet rapers.

Nice one Abbott. How the fuck do you sleep at night? You ghastly arse-tick.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If Mikey was an ad man...

Objective media

Many point and laugh at Fox news for its claim, indeed tag-line, of 'Fair and balanced'. Of course when the tagline was created it was not so much Fox claiming to be fair and balanced but that their presence would - they argued - make the media landscape more fair and balanced given the pernicious leftist-media (aka "lamestream" by that paragon of wit Sarah Palin). It's an odd argument and one with more holes in it that a cult's theology.

Then there's Al-Jazeera . In addition to social media Al-Jazeera has had a huge impact on the lives of those in the middle-east. A 24 hour satellite news company run out of Qatar it provides regional specific coverage of events and where applicable reasoned analysis of what the events mean or providing context to their viewers.

How is this important? Because it's meant people in that region get a balanced viewpoint unfiltered by state media censors which is so often the case in these civil rights retarding countries.

Here's a link to the transcript and interview with the director for the English side of the operations, Al Anstey, by National Public Radio (NPR).

This is what Al Anstey had to say about their ability to provide coverage

AL ANSTEY: We have been targeted in recent days. Unfortunately, we're seeing all journalists targeted today. But one of the fundamental reasons why Al-Jazeera, in particular, has been highlighted is because we are broadcasting live the events that are going on, which some parties in this story may not want to be seen.

Not that long ago, weeks and months ago, if there’d been a protest against President Mubarak, that would not have been seen on state television; that would not have been seen on Egyptian television. It is unprecedented in Egypt, in modern Egypt, to have this level of opposition publicly seen.

I was particularly struck by his fierce pride in their skills and ethics as journalists.

AL ANSTEY: It’s not for Al-Jazeera to say whether one side of a story or another is repressive or progressive, or one thing or another thing. It is for us to cover exactly what is going on on the ground now and provide the analysis and context, when necessary, when relevant, so that viewers and our audiences get the full picture of the story. It is truly objective reporting. And when we get documents, which we go through, and we apply the highest standards of journalism to those documents, we're reporting that story. We're not reporting one side or other of that story.

A free, objective media is the greatest threat to tyrants everywhere. Because it allows people to see that their fellow citizens are mobilizing and gives them the impetus to do the same. The effect of this objective non censored reporting is then further enhanced by social media which as evidenced by the Egyptian government turning off the internet likewise had a critical impact especially in providing the ability to both inform others and organise (1).

Then ... then you look at Fox. Which has all the hallmarks of state television in one of these countries. Only it's not the government but rather their chosen political party, that of the Republican party. Within that party the focus is further distilled on the fringe as evidenced by their embrace of the tea-party segment.

Media Matters, which is a activist media lobby group whose aim is to expose the ludicrousness of right-wing media, has this report from a former Fox employee about how the right wing conservative viewpoint is baked into every aspect of the organisation's reporting and commentary.

Here's a quote.

“For the first few years it was let’s take the conservative take on things. And then after a few years it evolved into, well it’s not just the conservative take on things, we’re going to take the Republican take on things which is not necessarily in lock step with the conservative point of view.

“And then two, three, five years into that it was, we’re taking the Bush line on things, which was different than the GOP. We were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece. It was just what Bush says goes on our channel. And by that point it was just totally dangerous. Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.”

Pretty different stuff to what Al Jazeera is offering. Murdoch may run a newspaper empire ... but the vast bulk of his products do not produce quality journalism. He is the junk-food of the media world, a vast titan combo of the Colonel and Ronald-fucking-McDonald.

So from now on I will call Murdoch Ronald McSanders in tribute of his ability to jam crap into the body politic and make it sick.

(1) Case example. Check out Time's report on the protesters. Not only did social media help organise people to turn up but how to come ready for it - such as by passing on tips about what to wear, how to tie your hair ("tie long hair into a bun"), and even that coca-cola was good for washing out tear-gas. If I was the coke guys I'd be on to that ad concept for a post-revolution feel good limited Egyptian release of the precious EFOL (1a).
(1a) Some Canberra-grew-up-here friends have that as their term for Coke; as in Ebony Fluid Of Life.

TheWife is mowing the lawn

We have a battery mower. It's awesome. TheWife is using it right now.

Myself? I hate mowing. I hated not being able to start it as a kid - even having at the age of 14 to get my mother to start it for me. I hate the vibrations on my hands and how it makes them numb. I hate the way the dirt crusts on your palms deeply like scabs of mud/dirt you find on your sandal innards or that thin streak of crust you get on your mouse button (1).

TheWife doesn't mind it. She has her hair in pigtails as she mows and they bounce behind her like that on a confident schoolgirl, her glasses lens transition having kicked to dark. TheBoy is tooling around the garden with a bug catcher but theWife keeps have to stop when he chucks a fritz about something. He's in one of those moods. He's wearing black tights, a green shirt that claims he's a robot, and near-new blue rubber gumboots with a matching-blue hat.

Me? I'm off to have a shower, still blessed with PAG from actually being able to go.

UPDATE: TheBoy came to the door, clutched the mesh frames like he was one of those caged refugees from '80s boat people documentaries, and in a plaintive voice asked me to come play with him. How can I say no to that puddum?!

(1) I was later banned from mowing when I ran over a hidden stump in the glass. My parents claimed it was a deliberate fail so I'd achieve that outcome. That felt good that they felt that way about me (1a).
(1a) The same way my mum once called me a thief because I treated her store of blank floppy disks as a consumable anyone can use resource instead of being something I needed to go, cap-in-hand, to ask for like a mill worker asking to leave the 12 hour shift early 'cos his bairns were sick. I recall that I had one of my legendary red-faced screaming rants back at her. Yay for memories. The irony is of course with her dementia chances are she's forgotten that. Or like that time I waved a knife at her. Yeah ... that happened. Not proud of that.

Books that smack you upside the head as a kid

For me it was Starstormers.

I must have been 12 or so when it came out. I found it in the free-standing library at the private school I'd been sentenced to for being a square peg.

A classic hitting-the-right-notes tale of temporarily orphaned kids on a dying earth trying to re-unite with their parents on a colony world. Unable to legally do so they build a starship out of a hollowed out meteor, using cunning and guile to secure the money and workers to construct it, and blast off for the stars. On the way they encounter a once long vanished colony ship filled with a second generation of would-be colonists who are in religious thrall to the Captain and the crew, separated forever from their charges by walls of glass.

That's enough of the description for now - don't want to spoil it.

It's barely 100 pages long and has one internal illustration (an isometric back-of-the-envelope design of the ship which I must have stared at for hours). The cover-art of the four kids looking at the monitor showing a retreating earth and the back art of their individual portraits made it fully appear as if the book as the novelisation of an existing kids tv series - but as best I can tell that's not the case.

The standard of writing is exceptional. Each of the kids has defined distinct personalities and traits. The descriptive text of their surrounds is incredible. The sense of neglected decay of earth itself - a common theme within colonialisation novels - permeates the first section of the novel where they on earth - the common room of their school with peeling paint. The detention hall with slipped tiles that let the rain in. The constant bursts of exploding noise as ship after ship heads for space but leaving them behind.

It was one of those rare books that imprinted on you and made you want to read more. More of that please! It was and is a gate-way drug for quality sci-fi books.

I found the first book yesterday at a mammoth warren of a book shop built inside a century old former government building in one of the towns that rings Canberra. Offices and storerooms given over to shelves and shelves of books - about 65 000 according to the skinny hippy oldster that owned it. He looked like Sam Elliot attempting to prep for a fifty years later sequel of The Machinist.

I may actually have all three of the Starstormer books already. That's the trouble when you go book hunting and you have a lot of books. You forget what you already have. I have a number of duplicates as a result of that.

We have four large Ikea white bookshelves in the end room where the books are alphabetically sorted. Well, shelves are dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and they're piled on by author. The shelf for F, for Fisk the books' author, is screened by the Ikea fold-out couch. I will have to drag it out to see if that's the case.

Still, I got the warm glow of the 'aw I remember this!' when I found it. Even if I have a duplicate I am sure I can find it a good home.

I am after-all a man that saves books. Which probably explains why I have five copies of the first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook ...