Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monash uni boffin Nathan Grills is concerned that Santa encourages, among other things, obesity, smoking, alcoholism, sloth, lack of hygiene and drink driving. In other words, he is too politically incorrect and must change his ways, or go.
None of this bothers me much since, as a family, we don't do Santa Claus, so to speak.
What is a little disturbing is that a publicly funded university pays a professor to analyse the vices of someone who doesn't exist.
First Global Climate Warming Change alarmism, and now this. Do we need any more proof that research departments should stop receiving all that juicy taxpayer funding?
If they must harass Santa Claus, why can't scientists stop being such killjoys and spend more time coming up with stuff like this. I'm prepared to believe in a Santa who's arrival is accompanied by a thermonuclear explosion. BOOM! Merry Christmas, all.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Sure, it's important to raise awareness about breast cancer. But what I really love about this, is that it proves something I've always believed: Real people are so much more interesting and beautiful than celebrities.
From the brilliant Tim Blair, whose readers are possibly more brilliant:
Lyle’s History of Global Warming:
Ah, looking back, I have to smile,
When I was but a little Lyle
In summer, and I used at play
In gentle Narragansett Bay.
Then panic grabbed ahold of me
When suddenly I had to pee
And to my shame, I now admit,
I warmed the ocean, just a bit.
That reckless moment, I suspect,
Set off a domino effect;
And here’s a fact I now must face:
I have destroyed the human race.
And so I must apologize
As all life on this planet dies,
I’m sorry, I was only three
And really, really had to pee.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Casting my mind back to 1989, I do vaguely recall nonchalantly trudging past the TV while Mum and Dad excitedly exclaimed "Look, the Berlin wall is coming down! I never thought we'd see the day!". I (probably) responded with a grunt and wheelspun noisily away in the Datsun 1600, more interested in what my equally fashion-challenged mates' thought of my new happy pants.
I'm thankful that 16 years later, my nerd-ish curiosity forced me to bone up on my cold-war history in order to make the 2005 trip a little more interesting. And boy, did it...
Yet the world seems to have gone in the reverse direction to me. I'm (still) discovering the sheer weight, scope and relevance of "The Fall of The Wall". Others seem to think it almost a tragedy. We've been numbed to the significance of it. With articles like this in the UK's Guardian it's no wonder. It's called "creeping socialism", prevalent throughout our mainstream politics and media.
I'm bemused to see some influential members of the modern intelligentsia reflecting on the euphoria of the Berlin Wall's destruction, yet elsewhere champion the very things which put it up in the first place. It's one thing to have Ostalgie- morbid fascination for the quirky things of the former east. Sharon and I sure did; the time-capsule chic, serial blandness, happy traffic light icons, and the wonderfully awful Trabant.
Happy little communist girl says WALK...or we'll lock you up in a small, steel cell and deprive you of sleep for ten days...
But it's another thing to willfully ignore the arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and murders of those who simply had an opinion, the surveilance, the corruption, the gulags, the deprivation, the control.
Let's break it down into two often-quoted expressions of socialist romanticism, which were said to me first hand, by some of my dearest German friends from the former east:
There was no poverty in the GDR.
There was no crime in the GDR (former East Germany).
Indeed. Poverty is relative. There was no poverty in the GDR because everyone was poor. And of course there was no crime in the GDR- amongst the citizens. All the crime was being committed by the government.
I was also told this: Secret State Police? Everyone has them! Australia has ASIO, no?
Sure, except here our "secret" police protect us from terrorism. In the GDR, they protected the regime from criticism. Using whatever brutal means necessary.
If you're like me and let the actual event pass you by, it's not too late to learn what it meant. And, let me spell it out for you, why it was a fantastic day. The wall didn't "fall". It was pushed. By very, very brave people. I hope that spirit doesn't remain in the past.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here's a headline from the Sydney Morning Herald: Casey Stoner quick to criticise circuit after slick effort , with an opening claim that Stoner took a "swipe at the condition of the track".
Those not sophisticated enough to read past the sound-byte will think that this great Aussie World Champion comes to his home event and does nothing but whinge that the circuit is rubbish, the corners all go the wrong way, it's too far from anything, the flag marshalls are all ugly and the toilets aren't clean.
Note to SMH journalist Martin Boulton: Either you learn your subject, such as how racing drivers or riders always criticise a racetracks' early lack of grip, and this is perfectly normal... or stick to something that you're good at, like busting a footy player getting drunk, or something.
And the stones in the sandtraps are too big and cause ouchies..
So, congratulations to Casey Stoner and Mark Webber for breaking an Aussie drought in world motorsport, all in one weekend.
Although I do hope the Sydney Morning Herald don't catch wind of Webber's post-race press comments, when asked about his fuel strategy; "I knew that Barrichello ...was a bit shorter than me..."
Please, Mark. We know you're a lanky guy but go easy on the dwarfist comments. Rubens is shorter than just about everybody.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
-somebody or other
I had to share that. In other news, the bride and I traveled to sunny Whyalla recently to investigate our "Spec home". For the uninitiated, we purchased a reddish coloured block of land in mining-boomtown Whyalla to build a new house, and rake in all the profits of capital gain, negative gearing and carbon trading* before the Gum-mint changes it all and steals our hard-earned money.
Unfortunately most of the builders who set up in blossoming Whyalla forgot to bring some semi-vital services, such as bricklayers, carpenters, roofing people, plumbers, electricians and telephone sanitisers. You know, the kind of people who come in handy when you want to build a house and can't do it yourself because you live too far away.
So we headed up north to see if being in the same town as the builder for a few days might spur them into action. It kinda worked. We feared the boomtown had become a ghost town on the Monday, before remembering that rural South Aussies do take their time getting to work at the beginning of the week.
Despite the house not being finished, beloved bride saw positives. Whilst hanging curtains she noted that the rudimentary state of the interior helped us become more detatched to the newness of the place, knowing that we would never live in it.
She was right. It would have been even better if that state of detatchment could have produced an extra 5K to pay the massive mortgage whilst vacant. We still await the builder to finish, some public services to be connected, property management appraisals, and all the rest.
But I guess we'll burn those bridges we we come to them.
...and after (spreading 400 sqm of mulch bark with nothing but a shovel. Never again. Ever.)
The reserve over the back fence is currently around 150,000 acres
A heavy roller would have been better, but less likely to get us home afterwards
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Here's a selection from their current top twenty.
Looking for Bridesmaids
...my fiancee and I are getting married in June. He has 8 groomsmen lined up and I only have one bridesmaid. So, I need some girls who are attractive and around my age to stand up in my wedding. You can be single or taken. It doesn't matter....you just have to be hot. But, not hotter then me. ..
Do you have a small, incontinent dog?
Or perhaps you work for a small dog rescue of some sort. Either way, I have a package of small doggy diapers. I don't want to throw them out coz they are pretty expensive. (as someone with a small, incontnent dog would already know). Please don't try to put them on a cat. It won't work. Trust me.
Ferocious attack kitten
This destructive kitty has been trained as a proud warrior and will fiercely defend your house, even against you. Has a very soft and furry belly, like a teddy bear - however he will bite your face if you try to touch it. For the love of God, someone please take this thing out of my house
Collectable Ralph Nader chair
Yes, that's right. Ralph Nader, perennial Green Party candidate for the U.S. presidency MAY have sat in this very chair! ... It has a nice red, commie upholstery and a sleek black plastic backing. The wheels don't function well, but that is a small price to pay for state control of the means of production.
You hit me with your Prius
Me - Bicyclist, heading to jury duty on 10th Street, Friday at 8:50am.
You - Prius driver, crossing over two lanes, hitting me with your car and speeding away.
I was hoping we could catch up for a cup of coffee, so I could get your views on the environment, and strangle you.
Monday, September 07, 2009
What do you get with an Australian major event? Well, you get world-class organisation, unrivalled Aussie hospitality, blossoming local economies, beautiful scenery, and of course, the most standard issue...PROTESTERS.
Can I grab a lift? Our Kombi Van collapsed under the weight of placards and hemp...
I'm unsure as to whether they oppose the rally for environmental reasons, road safety reasons, or because there aren't more women drivers.
I'm presuming it wasn't for road safety reasons, since they threw rocks at Rally Drivers. Because as we all know, death is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
The delightfully sarcastic (my kinda guy) Tim Blair has more.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
For example; I'm sitting at work idly wondering why it's so quiet. At that precise moment, three tradesman vans elbow their way into our carpark, both phone lines light up with two unrelated customers complaining of an identical problem, two competing sales reps make an unsolicited call, and my mobile lights up with Sharon telling me that the car has broken down again.
I then contemplate whether this is some kind of universal Murphy-esque phenomenon, some kind of man-made (and baffingly well co-ordinated) conspiracy, or a message from God. And not in a Blues Brothers way.
Here's the latest: My interest in the Jewish people and the Hebrew roots of my faith, and my love for Formula One racing, with particular favour for Brazilian Catholic and all-round-nice-guy Rubens Barrichello, could not be more detached and unrelated.
Until I saw something rather interesting on Rubens' helmet from an in-car shot.
Freaky. Now let me contemplate this. And don't try any "perfectly logical explanation" claims, I won't hear of it!
Well, I am rational enough to avoid suggesting that it brought him the luck he needed to win the Euro GP last night. He won it because he just drove faster than everyone else...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Fancy travelling all the way overseas for a holiday...
On previous overseas trips I have attempted to create some kind of compressed adventure travel where we bounce from place to place, immersing one's self in reams of boring geo-politics to extract maximum value from the experience, then arrive home totally exhausted.
The strange logic behind this is that if I, a nervous aerophobe, am to sit in a metal tube ten kilometres up in the sky being propelled at 900km/h by thousands of exploding chemicals, for hours and hours, I want it to lead to a real experience. Relaxing on a beach trying to think about nothing, I can do in Adelaide, or even Melbourne for that matter (if one doesn't care about weather).
But this time, for Sharon's 40th b'day, the plan was to put aside my need for cerebral geo-political, historical and spiritual stimulation, and keep it simple for the bride: Tigers (her favourite), beach, palm trees, no stress, no rush, and my undivided attention. No history, politics or war stories...
And you'll never guess- we almost achieved all of the above.
In keeping with the original plan, I shall try to itemise the holiday without being excessively wordy, and will use catchy present-tense to feign the impression that I was writing as we went. Creative licence is used at my discretion (I know no other way);
DAY 1: Flight is fine until we reach the tropics where it becomes annoyingly bumpy. Using Jetstar's individual DVD players, wife and I manage to synchronise watching My Life In Ruins. 8.5 hours goes fast. Arrive in Bangkok, humid as expected. No probs. Taxi cheap. Accor Hotel magnificent.
DAY 2: Go looking at pagan shrines. Sharon takes 200 photos already. Get scammed by a Tuk-Tuk driver into visiting tailors and jewelers so he could get a petrol bonus. Don't care. Actually, yes...yes I am interested in a tailormade silk lined dinner jacket for $120...
DAY 3: Early back to BKK airport Suvinarbhumi (pronounced Su-Bi-Nar-POOM) for a flight to Koh Samui. Shocked to discover it is a prop plane, not a jet. Manage to talk myself into believing it will be the worst flight ever, will get blown around like a plastic bag, and if the plane doesn't crash the heart failure would get me anyway.
After the smoothest most pleasant flight ever, land at Samui which looks suspiciously like a tropical paradise, if the airport is anything to go by.
Taxi almost can't find the bungalows recommended to us by our pastor. Then we wish he hadn't found it at all. Promised beachfront room is indeed beachfront, but not actually a room. It is a hastily converted kennel with a padlock, scary light switches, and non-flushable toilet with accompanying bucket. The dog who once lived there is now sleeping on the balcony. Flee for our lives, gladly losing 350THB ($15) deposit.
Find another hotel room with a less third-world feel. Make mental note to question pastor's travel standards.
Lounge around poolside reading The Shack. Start crying as tragic plot unfolds. Stop reading. Dinner at Hotel's beach restaurant, which is actually on the beach.
DAY 4: The saying goes "when in Rome, rent a motor scooter". We do ($8 a day). Best way to travel. Initially safety-conscious with long pants and helmet for Sharon (despite hair issues) but eventually don't bother and ride just like everybody else here, i.e. no helmet, shorts, thongs, and on the wrong side of the road three abreast playing chicken with SUV's.
Go to main attraction, Tiger Zoo and Aquarium, which holds the entire cast of Finding Nemo, and has tigers. Real ones.
Sharon gushes over finally meeting a tiger and feeding tiger cub. Magnificent experience, beautiful, majestic beasts. Marvel over God's cleverness-ness.
A lone traveller, equally gushing over big cat experience, starts chatting. I'm thinking Ukranian, Czech or Polish. Mentions she's Israeli. One main objective of trip (see above) dies an instant death as I start bombarding the poor woman with my geo-politics and respect for Israel. She doesn't run away screaming, which makes me happy.
Go to sea lion show with loud Thai presenter and barely discernible Engrish. Sea Lions very funny but don't they know it, the slippery little prima-donnas. Tiger show not so. Something wrong about seeing these incredible beasts made to do tricks.
Evening: Cheap meal (third Thai green curry for trip and looking forward to many more) and romantic beach walk with bride trying to remember conversation sans kiddies. Lamai beach not loud and debauched like other parts. Manage to avoid loud Australians. Catch up with Israeli later for more geo-politics and girl talk. So I get to have cake and eat it too.
Order cake for dessert.
DAY 5: Meet elephants for ride and visit anti-climactic waterfall. I slip and almost take a comical wet-bum ride down waterfall, in true National Lampoon-style, lacerating hand. Feel like buffoon. Go back down and feed elephants. Wonderful animals. Not worried about sticking hand in elephant's mouth, more worried about the trampling thing.
Ride scooter around rest of Island. Shopping. Drink fruity drinks on beachfront bar. More shopping. And more. Become smug and proud that only a good husband can endure so much shopping. Visit pagan shrine, the "Big Buddha" on an estuary hilltop, right in airport flight path, with enormous Buddha arms stretching up to touch the belly of the passing planes for good luck (which, somewhat ironically, would cause them to plummet into a fiery crash, killing everyone on board).
Get puncture. Think we're going to be stranded until nice Thai mechanic spots us a mile away and fixes puncture for 20THB (around 0.80cents). I give him 40THB.
Love the way Thais greet and show gratitude with slight bow and praying hands. Adds to the truly wonderful experience.
Get another puncture before arriving back at Lamai. This one costs 170THB ($6) to replace tube. Again, mechanics appear from nowhere and rescue us.
Bump into Israeli again (yes she has a name. It's...um.....) at Lamai cafe after dinner. Dining alone (poor thing). Tolerates more geo-politics from me (poor thing). Gotta love secular Jews. You can eat and talk non-kosher.
DAY 6: Do a big fat dose of nothing but lie on hotel's beach lounges. Get sunburned with a view to eventually getting some kind of tan. 1000THB ($40) gets pinched by room cleaning staff but a swim in beautiful ocean cools me off and I am surprisingly less livid than I thought.
Remember Israeli's name now. It's .
More shopping. I'm exhausted from all the nothing. Sharon is taking less photos, discovering that immersing ones-self in the moment is actually more relaxing. Kudos! Keep reading The Shack. Cry again, but in a happy way.
DAY 7: Wake up. Bum around. Taxi to the most relaxing airport in the world. Catch flight. Almost disappointed to see it's a full size jet this time. Bangkok. Cheap Taxi. Back to the Accor Hotel with even better room this time. Last chance for a real green curry. Watch a movie with the appalingly bad Haydn Christensen (the one who played Darth Vader as a pouting kid). Sleep.
DAY 8: Check out, need to kill entire afternoon before 10pm flight. Suggest skytrain to a boat ride on Bangkok's river. Bad idea. Loud diesel engine, smog, fumes, takes forever. Stop at one last pagan shrine mainly to escape fumes. Still not sure why we missed a Thai massage. Back to hotel lounge for free cocktail and cheap taxi to Su-bi-nar-POOM.
I blinked and it was all over. Arrive in Melbourne. Freeze half to death.
Tiger time and general wildlife level: 9/10
Beach quotient: 10/10
Palm tree factor: 10/10
Lack of stress offset: 6/10
Avoidance of geo-political discussion: 0/10
Undivided attention to wife: 6.5/10 (subject to external audit).
This whole travelling-for-a-holiday thing is actually growing on me...
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
But first, some news. Not days after a terrorist plot was blown open in Australia , the apologising begins.
The article I linked to above goes out of its way to avoid using any reference to the religious affiliations of the alleged perpetrators. It's an ABC article (feign shock and surprise... now).
You haven't guessed yet? They're Islamic (feign shock and...). I guessed that all by myself, from picking out the words "fatwa", "Al-Shabaab", "links to Al-Qaeda", and "Broadmeadows".
Perhaps now is not the time to be pondering this, since, in case I didn't mention earlier, we are GOING TO THAILAND ON SUNDAY !!
I stopped by the gum-mint's travel advisory website yesterday to see if anything had changed on Thailand, and fortunately, it was still business as usual:
There is a high threat of terrorist attack in Thailand. We continue to receive reports that terrorists may be planning attacks against a range of targets, including tourist areas and other places frequented by foreigners.
Forgive me, but I have a kind of naive optimism about smartraveller.gov. I suspect they give those kinds of warnings about anywhere, so that if someone does end up getting injured in a terrorist attack in somewhere like, say, Iceland, they can do a "don't say we didn't warn you" routine and avoid a litigious nightmare.
But just in case the warnings are remotely legitimate, here's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to steer clear of Islamic people.
Yep. I'm going to put aside fear of being considered offensive/racist/intolerant/ bigoted/ etc, and worry more about what protects my beloved and cherished wife and mother of my three children. You can charge me with hate crimes after we return safe, sound, and refreshed.
Unless of course we get mauled by Tigers. Still, that's a risk we actually choose to take.
To lighten the tone of this post before I depart, I leave you with this mild attempt at humour, courtesy of the irrepressible Iowahawk:
A person from a country, a person of a religious persuasion, and a member of a non-endangered animal species walk into a bar. The bartender says to the animal, "hay, we don't get many of your kind in here." After reporting the incident to the appropriate civil rights agency, the bar's liquor license was revoked.
...and this rare 70's Star Wars photo, for which I would welcome submissions for a better caption:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
If you're smart (unlike me) you'll try and remain voluntarily ignorant about politics, but try to avoid, at least, thinking that all political bents are the same. Take the 1970's socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky for example. His book Rules For Radicals, a step-by-step handbook on how to rise to power, has been used frequently by various US Democrats.
This useful instructional tome reads like it's a workshop manual for VW Beetles, but with bigger words. It has some marvelous pointers on stuff like; how to discredit and personally destroy your opponents, how to deflect criticism, how to create job vacancies (i.e. "push" people out of your way) and such like. It even contained an "over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: Lucifer". Quite the magnanimous hat-tip coming from a militant atheist.
Here's one of Alinsky's famous methods, paraphrased somewhat: Force your opponents to live up to their own standards. When they don't, attack them.
Matthew Littman was a Democrat strategist and a speech writer for now-VP Joe Biden (which may explain why Biden so often strays from his script. Tragically, he's even worse at ad-libbing). In an article in the factually-challenged news portal Huffington Post, Littman wrote of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 US presidential race...
I am offended by the attacks on Senator Clinton because there is no question that the slams against her are hypocritical and come because she’s a woman...
Such a nice thing to say albeit where his grammar is slightly awkward because also the lack of punctuation makes the sentence look a little strange and because he can't write quite right.
Yes, as speechwriter for one of Clinton's opponents, it's really quite sweet of him to be worried about Hillary mainly due to her scary woman-parts (that's a feminist term so don't get snarky). I totally agree with him.
But wait. The same Littman, in a recent interview, made comments about resigned Alaskan governor Sarah Palin which were, by his own logic, misogynistic and sexist. And, of all the media-driven twisted, sick and depraved mockery of Palin, Littman excused it, and joined in. The bi-partisan feminist website New Agenda has the story. He even talks down to a female co-interviewee in the most hideously patronising manner, clapping at her like a dog.
Okay, so the guy is a low-brow, bigoted hypocrite who enjoys being nasty. Check. But isn't he running contrary to the much-heralded, Democrat-practised Alinsky method?
Not at all. He's adhering to it fastidiously, actually. Because, like many of his political allies, he has no moral standards at all. So there's nothing to hold him to.
As opposed to Republicans, who often can't hang on to their own standards. They still haven't worked out that to make the party platform "bugger marriages, bugger families and exterminate inconvenient pregnancies en masse" gives them licence to stuff up almost anything.
In that light, I would almost have to disagree with the Sarah Palin response to "comedian" David Letterman's jibe about her daughter, were it not for the fact that the media incited Palin into responding. You see, Letterman had nothing to apologise for. He has no standards to adhere to. So, building a "joke" around statutory rape of a 14 year-old girl is just another day at the office for Dirty Old Dave.
Likewise, when the leftist gossip site wonkette.com made fun of republican nominee John McCain's daughter recently. Megan McCain was desperately trying to help an unknown person who sent her a twitter message saying that he wanted to kill himself. She contacted Twitter, and even the Seattle Police, such was her concern. Wonkette.com mocked her for it, calling her "hyper-emotional" and saying she was going "progressively nuts" for attempting to help some guy who was just "writing some sadsack stuff about wanting to die".
Nope. Wonkette.com, a gossip site who want you to believe their personal, insidious mockery is actually savvy political satire, have not done anything wrong. To call anything "wrong" is so yesterday.
That last example resonates somewhat more than usual. You see, down here in Victoria, a 14-year-old girl and former classmate of my daughter's best friend, committed suicide after repeatedly receiving demeaning comments on the internet.
Any suicide is a tragedy. That it was someone so young is exceedingly heartbreaking.
But then, a broken heart would be my own fault. If only I didn't have standards....
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I was watching my beloved F1 at Hungary on Saturday pm. For my past ponderings on F1, go here.
I suspected that the crash involving Brazilian Felipe Massa, where the car seemed to just drive off into the wall with little or no input from the driver, was not actually a car problem, but a driver problem. It was almost as if he just lost consciousness.
Of course, I had no-one to explain this theory to as I was all alone, which I mostly am when I watch F1. Funny about that. Well, Sharon was away for the weekend at a scrapbooking boot camp, where hopefully she will finish the wedding photo album.
Anyhoo, my theory was proven correct when replays showed a suspension spring bouncing down the track and hitting poor Felipe (who I affectionately call "FES", for fans of That 70's Show) in the face. As good as carbon fibre helmets are, they can't stop a metal spring from penetrating and lacerating one's face.
As a diversion from the hard reality of it all, commentators waxed bafflingly over how the spring had bounced into Fes's path when there were no cars immediately ahead to kick it up. Well, I thought. It's a spring. It bounced. That's what they do. It could have been bouncing around for hours before poor Fes came along. But again of course, no-one was there to hear my brilliance.
Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello, a fellow Brazilian, had visited Fes at his bedside.
The next morning at little league footy, where, incidentally, Sammy's team won, I met a Pommy guy who had raced formula Ford in the UK and once worked on the car of Roland Ratzenberger.
For the uninitiated, Ratzenberger was the Austrian who was tragically killed on the Saturday practice at the Imola Grand Prix of May 1st, 1994. The Sunday race was then made infamous by the death of Brazilian Ayrton Senna, where a piece of suspension had peirced Senna's helmet. Besides visiting Ratzenberger's crash, Senna had also been to the hospital bedside of his Brazlian friend, the young hotshoe Rubens Barrichello, who had survived a horror crash two days earlier. It had all happened, one big ugly mass of incidents, in the one weekend. They say things happen in threes.
Back at the footy; we also discussed the timing of it all. A week ago, Henry Surtees, son of the great world champion of both motorbikes and cars, John Surtees, died in a Formula 2 race. 18 year-old Henry Surtees, driving a Renault, was hit in the head by a loose wheel. The race contained other second-generation F1 drivers Jolyone Palmer and Alex Brundle.
So that night I watched the Hungarian GP. Early in the race, a pitstop error by the Renault team lead to a wheel coming loose and bouncing, as wheels do, down the track for quite a distance. I haven't seen a loose wheel in F1 for a long time. This season is particularly interesting for my age group of F1 tragics, as there are three second-generation F1 drivers in Piquet, Nakajima and Rosberg. All of whose dads drove in my era.
I love F1, but learning to put it into it's proper place has been quite a journey for me. I pray that Fes will be okay. I also pray that the delightful Rubens Barrichello will quit at the end of this year. Sharon and I both love him as an F1 driver, but wife Silvania and his new munchkins Fernando and Eduardo love him even more as a hubby and dad.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
There's also a cameo appearance from Mum and Dad, who were over for the weekend to enjoy our sub-arctic temperatures, no doubt due to global warming.
I would post them on You Tube. But a) I can't find the cable that sends the pictures from the camera to the papooter, and b) Mum worries that everytime I put something about our family on the interweb we increase our risk of being kidnapped by jihadis. I do wish she wouldn't flatter me so.
It's not like I haven't uploaded stuff to YT before, which should scare anyone who rightly thinks I already have way too much publishing space on the interweb. The stuff I've experimented with thus far is not quite as cerebral as you'd expect from me:
That's me channeling Steve McQueen in the blue car. I'll let you know as soon as I upload something involving reality.
UPDATE: According to ABC's Insiders, a different camera angle exonerates The One from any carnal intent so I should not be so unfair. Sarkozy, however, is still guilty-as-charged. Oh well, he's French. (We know he is French from his outrageous accent).
And now, for the crime of attempting to criticise Bams, I am off to the gulag with my shovel, for re-education...
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Please, no jokes about what's considered newsworthy in NZ. This guy actually deserves the attention. Nice to see true talent being recognised, since there's so little of it on TV.
Oh, and the bidding for his cruddy old Fisher and Paykel is up to $275.
NZ dollars, but still...
UPDATE: 14th June- Bidding for the washing machine is over $2600, along with this memorable Q&A, amongst hundreds of others:
Q: I think when Trademe unplugs this auction, the whole Auckland would have a power surge & all eletrical appliances has gone POPCORNS !
A: You were doing really well right up to the end bit there when the Tuoretts kicked in but you have a the makings of a valid point
Just when I thought the pop culture savagery of Sarah Palin would subside after Obama's success. Good thing I never watch David Letterman. Pity 25+ million Americans do.
The columnist writing about this latest low-brow excuse for comedy, makes the following observation:
...the surest way to have good people say cruel things (is) to bury them in a crowd.
Politics don't matter. Principle matters. Step out from the crowd.
Interesting that she prefers to talk about the fact that she has her finger on solving 80% of North America's energy problems, but CBS just want to ask her about smut. Still, it was articulately handled. Somebody tell me again why she is regarded in pop culture narrative as an embarrassing fool?
It bears repeating; time to turn down the pop culture influence in your life. Or turn it off altogether.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
First, some family news. Very soon, Sharon is turning 40. Sadly I had to cancel the live performance by Darren Hayes, the fireworks, the official statement by Kevin Rudd and banquet for 3,000 people when she insisted on having a quiet little gathering of...get this...girls only.
I'll ponder the self-value implications of that later. Meanwhile I'm kinda glad the Darren Hayes thing was called off. Some of his roadies were looking at me in ways that just weren't right.
Our little princess Becky Boo is experimenting beyond artistic pursuits and is now trying out sport: Netball. I got to take her to a Saturday prac recently. In hindsight I should have taken the video cam, in case I caught that elusive cute-6-year-old-girl-getting-hit-in-the-face-with-a-ball shot for Australia's Funniest Videos of Kids Seriously Maiming Themselves. Perhaps not.
I actually quite like netball. It's a fast-paced game where the ball moves around a lot, and the plot is simple. I'm not so sure about the mass TV coverage it's getting though. Sure, netball deserves it. I'm just worried that it will turn an army of cute little good-natured netballers into ravenous, violent hyenas. That's what happens when sports and sheep stations get mixed up.
By the way, if anyone is into cliche entomology, I would love to know where the term "playing for sheep stations" actually arose. Did a backyard cricketer actually win a sheep station once? Did they keep it?
Elsewhere on the wonderful internet, it appears the most talented writers ply their gifts in online auction postings. In New Zealand, a young man was simply trying to sell his washing machine, and his ad copy skills ended up on TV, Radio, and a fan page on facebook. Exhibit A- he described the washing machine as
the loudest most violent sounding washing machine I have ever encountered. It makes guests scared and children cry. Once while washing a load of towels it...got so out of control for a minute that I swear I actually saw a porthole to another dimension open above it just for a second, there were dinosaurs on the other side and they looked scared too, it almost sucked me in but I held on for my life to the deepfreeze.
Just to show it was no flash of freak genius, the seller's responses in the "questions and answers" section is not only brilliant, it appears to have become a full time job. Observe...
Q: Did you see any hot cavemen through the portal? Not only do I need a washing machine but I need someone to do the lawns and fix the squeaky door
A: Look lady I was terrified and holding on for my life. I didn't really have time to sum up the hotness of cavemen as my pants and shoes were being sucked into the vortex of death. I only remembered seeing the dinosaurs because it was quite remarkable. I've seen a lot of cave men before, I grew up in Waiuku. But dinosaurs is a first for me.
I doubt the designers of this online auction ever dreamt that their Q & A forum would become a long, Pythonesque soap opera with recurring themes, instructions on how to turn your goldfish into fridge magnets, and paranioa about NZ being invaded by Iceland.
There's even philosophy: I try to learn obscure skills in case of dramatic life changing occurrences- I am learning to toe type at the moment in case I accidently dip my hands in liquid nitrogen.
And .. OHS would rain down on you like a tonne of bricks. Incidentally a tonne of feathers would be just as heavy as a tonne of bricks...a thought I have always puzzled over. ..I'd rather be smothered under a tonne of feathers though, I would rather risk the suffocation than be battered to a pulp by bricks
And ...I've seen what acid can do, I watched Robocop. A lot can be learned from Robocop.
And ...I've never understood the fear of cursed mummy hands. After all it's just a hand, no claws, no poison glands, no fangs, all it can do at worst is make rude gestures or wipe its smell on you.
And ...Isn't the term "sustainable life" a bit silly? All life is sustained, if its ceases to be sustained its stopped. When it's stopped it becomes death.
Reading through the comments is better than two hours of TV, and I don't just say that because TV is rubbish. He deserves to get over $10,000 for his washing machine, or at least the price of a major publishing contract.
In news far less palatable I have begun a course of herbal stuff to combat a condition I have which, in the interests of good taste, I will describe merely as "digestive issues". I am confident that this stuff will do the trick. I base this optimism on the fact that it is, without peer, the most foul tasting substance I have ever come near. It tastes like fertilizer. I suppose I should have purchased the "berry flavoured" version, but I'd reckon it would simply taste like fertilizer with berries in it. And I'd prefer my affection for berries to remain intact.
You might argue that, just because this stuff leaves you feeling like a demonic being from Hades has urinated in your mouth doesn't mean it's effective. But you see, I'm applying the logic of Darren Hayes in reverse. He once sung that "junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you".
Or so one of his roadies said.
Monday, May 18, 2009
For the Pope's visit to The Holy Land, as he constantly called it (when surely "Israel" would be much easier to say) those wacky guys at Hamas made sure the right billboards were set up to herald his arrival. Like this one in Nazareth.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then, it hit me.
The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large
The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
And, my favourite, which should be read by all motorsport people who take it all too seriously;
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
It's not that we wanted him to lead a sheltered life, or were worried that he would pick up bad, aggressive, competitive habits.
And it's not that we were dubious about his chosen sport, AFL- what with the fact that 500,000 other children from the area play it. I can readily admit that AFL is a good game, a fast-moving powerful clash of skills. It's the millions of barbarians who yell at their TV's over it and refuse to talk about anything else which is occasionally annoying.
That was it right there- the main reason we've been baulking on poor Sam was that we didn't want to become sporting parents.
But we finally relented and took Sam to the local mini league, the only outlet for his 3 million daily kilowatts of boyish energy. He was slotted into the Lara Panthers for his first game. They were playing the "Devils"- another annoying irony considering we had to miss church for all of this. The Devils, it seemed, were a bunch of overly skilled little ferrets who had been playing for a while. Sam, and all of his teammates, were the exact opposite.
So when the Devils kicked several dozen goals to the Panthers' zero in the first quarter we feared Sam would find it all a bore and become demotivated. Or worse. But the whole mismatch seemed to drive the little Panthers harder and by the final quarter they were peppering the goals with varying accuracy. Including our little panther, Sammy boy, having been thrust into full forward since Q2, grabbing his moment of glory and putting one through for six points.
By which time I'd fist-pumped the sky at least three times, audibly cursed an umpire's decision twice and jumped when Sammy kicked his goal. I am now a sporting parent.
But it's not about me. My little guy plays footy now.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
She's absolutely right, but it could always be worse. I have been given permission to use the details of a good friend who has sunk into the lowest depths of facebook addiction and wants his case to be highlighted to warn others.
I did promise to change his name, however, so we will simply refer to him as "Mr. S. Anderson".
A true barometer of the degree to which facebookery has ruined one's life, is the number of pointless facebook "fun" quiz's one takes part in.
So far, Dave...er, Mr S. Anderson has partaken in the following banal facebook quizzery.
- The "What's your Bible IQ" quiz
- IQ Test
- Brain game
- The Ultimate Grammar Quiz
- The "What's your inner nationality?" quiz
- The "What's your five favourite breakfast cereals of all time?" quiz (he picked Cocoa-pops three times)
- The "what type of chicken are you?" quiz
- The "which Harry Potter character are you?" quiz
- "Are you smarter than a 5th-Grader?"
- "Where should you be living?" (His answer was San Fransisco. Hmmm. Big hmmmmm...)
Folks, I realised something was wrong after doing the "Which 'Scrubs' character are you?" test, and I stopped immediately. Keep David in your prayers.
(I was JD if anyone wants to know).
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
To atone for this, here's a selection of April 1st 2009 pranks. I got them from an international source, with an unsurprisingly large number of them being from Australia:
Archie McPhees describe Twitter as "It's like a giant party where nobody can say more than 140 characters at a time". Twitter is like Facebook and MySpace, but more current. For now.
The Guardian also revealed an ongoing project to rewrite its entire news archive in the form of "tweets" (Twitter's style of text messages). Examples included:
"1832 Reform Act gives voting rights to one in five adult males yay!!!"; "OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"; and "JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?"
Buckingham Palace as a holiday rental
Website Holidaylettings.uk posted the following listing for Buckingham Palace on its site:
This stunning accommodation offers deluxe living in the heart of England's capital city. A gated property with secure parking and armed guards.. Exquisitely furnished with many priceless antiques, royal collections and rare artifacts. 400 people work at the Palace to cater to your every need, including domestic servants, chefs, footmen, cleaners, plumbers, gardeners, chauffeurs, electricians, and two people who look after the 300 clocks.
...and a throne room which is an unusual but popular additional feature.
The owners do reside in the property but are discreet and are available should you require any assistance. They also own other properties throughout the United Kingdom. Please contact them for further details.
It includes "guestbook" testimonials from Tony and Cherie Blair and George Bush and advises people withn allergies that there are corgis.
World's longest National Anthem
UK Tabloid The Sun revealed that during the qualifying match against Ukraine, fans would have to stand for the world's longest national anthem, the six-and-a-half minute version of Oi Ukrainy. Fans caught sitting down during the anthem would be ejected from Wembley stadium. The anthem would be sung by the folk star Furstov Aprylova (think about it). Apparently the anthem's closing line contains a dig at their former rulers: "Kiev, Kiev — there is no such thing as a Chicken Moscow". Yummy!
Aussie Rules G-ball
Google Australia announced it had partnered with the Australian rules football league to develop the G-ball, which contains inbuilt GPS and motion sensor systems to monitor the location, force and torque of each kick. The data is interpreted by a new curvilenear parabolic approximation algorithm. Google can provide users - from amateurs to professional players - with detailed online kicking tips, style suggestions and tutorials based on their gBall kicking data.
Geelong could have done with that in September last year.
The Daily Mail revealed that Walkers Crisps had designed noise-free crisps, to be marketed as "Ready Silent Cri-sshhp." They would allow people to "eat loud snacks in the cinema without disturbing the person next to you." The crisp was said to have "the same flavour and crunchiness, except it comes already crushed."
But would the salt and vinegar ones still get you high when you inhale them?
GM and Chrysler ordered out of NASCAR
According to Car and Driver magazine, president Obama ordered that "GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government. .. corporations must demonstrate they will spend it wisely. Racing has been said to improve on-road technology, but frankly, NASCAR almost flaunts its standing among the lowest-tech forms of motorsport..."
Obama telling the private sector what to do? NASCAR being the lowest-tech form of Motorsport? That one sure had me going...
Personally I think the kiddies would be safer at an ABC Learning centre, even if they do occasionally get locked in overnight.
Mannequins for Climate Justice took responsibility, saying it was getting a head start on Fossil Fools Day, an initiative to use April 1st as a day to mock and resist the fossil fuel industry.
Mannequins don't have brains. Methinks this creative prank may have backfired.
Apparently the White House was excited and asked for the algorithm, but didn't mention why.
Other pearls include $99 flights to Mars (savings of over $3 trillion- "at this price, you can't afford NOT to go!!"), an invisible car, and Turtle Wax made from free-range Turtles. All this and more at the Museum of Hoaxes.
..until next year, then.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Social Networking Explanation Service
Have you given up trying to get your parents to understand your blog, let alone Twitter and Facebook? We're here to help. Hire us, and we'll have a patient ten year old call your parents and explain the intricacies of social networking and micro-blogging to them. Our 10 year olds are selected not only for their knowledge and expertise, but also for their ability to present the information like the kind of polite young ladies and gentlemen that appeal to parents. Plus, they call home every once in a while, which is more than we can say for you. For an extra $100 we can have our operators convince your parents that they shouldn't use any of these services or their identity will be stolen by a cyber-stalker just like they showed on that one 60 Minutes episode. We highly recommend you pay the extra fee. No one wants their parents on Facebook. No one.
By the way, I have a facebook page now.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Having done a workshop in stand-up comedy shortly before I moved to Victoria, I am familiar with the concept of the "science of laughter". Our comedic instructor, SA funny man (apparently) Dave Flanagan, said that people will laugh at something even if they find it mildly offensive, wrong or just plain un-funny, simply from the mass laughter of others- the will to be amongst the peer group. The power of comedy combined with the power of the groupthink.
Take Good News Week 's recent little tirade against Christians and Christianity. Nothing new there, but the political and social bias of this show is now so overwhelming it's unashamedly declaring "laugh with us or you're not cool". It's not alone.
" Most comedy show audiences probably believe they possess a substantive understanding of the issues of the day...In truth, the live audience sycophants would cheer like trained seals no matter the content. Being on TV or around those that make TV is just - “cool.” Informed content is not required. Check informed opinion at the studio door. Allegiance to what is “hip” is all that is necessary. "
Yep. Include some of the TV viewing audience in that. Apologies to GNW fans, although I doubt GNW's lampooned victims will ever hear an apology from them.
Here's the article expanding on the manipulative power of entertainment, paying particular attention to how it can ruin politicians who probably deserve better, and sometimes save them when they deserve less. (Warning; lengthy)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Although some say I am becoming even more cynical, jaded and brutally conservative. Who the hell knows really?? But a true barometer of my social/personal leanings, can be measured from that yearly religious experience, the Grand Prix.
You see, I have managed to shock some people, who rightly say they know me well, by saying that Formula One is a ridiculously indulgent, hideously expensive exercise in hedonism and half the money burned to live out these fantasies could better be spent feeding several small poor countries. Or freeing them from despotic regimes and installing healthy democracies (just in case you were worried I was sounding too progressive and compassionate there).
Indeed, I have even let slip once or twice that I reckon being manipulated by that greedy little Bernie Ecclestone into paying more bazillions and having a"twighlight race" to passify his Euro TV requirements is ludicrous. And, if Melbourne is really losing $40m a year on running it then we should say bye-bye GP, send it over to the Arab Bloc with their oil fortune, good riddance, Bernie and them are made for eachother. I could, believe it or not, live without it.
But there's still that nagging tinge of respect: I love how humanity can achieve. Expertise, skill, and desire to compete are all good. There's just too much to like about that. And I will volunteer my time to help the event run well, and try and do the job well for the sake of doing it well, not just because I get the best seat in the house (for free).
And occasionally I get rewarded for that. Not by getting to see these engineering masterpieces close up (which I do) or witnessing a cracking race (which I did). Not by getting two free access-most-areas tix which I seem to have trouble giving away (Adelaide peeps, are you listening? Need any more excuses for a trip to Melbourne?)
Nope. The big reward in 2009 was seeing F1 step up and pay tribute to those amazing folks who fought deadly bushfires over a month ago.
So even the filthy, indulgent capitalism of F1 has a heart. Even if it is only a V8 Supercar clearing a $50,000 piece of advertising space on their bonnet for a Bushfire appeal notice. Or a bunch of second-string F1 cars and relatively unknown drivers doing runs up and down the main street of fire-ravaged Kinglake. Or an F1 driver's parade on CFA trucks, instead of shiny Corvettes and exotic open-tops.
And, as if humanity's massive outpouring of financial aid to the victims (during a GFC, no less) was not enough. Before the drivers' parade, these superstars of F1 milled around in the background while an army of fire fighting volunteers lined up in front of the grandstands, and guess who got the loudest in applause and cheers. And so it should be. Maybe our indulgent, money-dependent, planet-wrecking humanity ain't so bad after all.
As always, I got some great F1 shots this year. But here are the best ever.