Friday, March 31, 2006

And another thing - just how f_cked is this???

According to the SMH (and on ABC radio on the way home), check out what some mongrel of a company is alledged to have done.

Twenty-nine workers at a NSW abattoir have been sacked and told they may reapply for one of only 20 positions, the peak union body says.

The ACTU said workers at Cowra Abattoir, in central-western NSW, will be paid out their entitlements and invited to apply for one of the new contracts, which involve pay cuts of up to $180 a week and the loss of performance bonuses.

Just how unbelievably fucked is that?!?! And they wonder why people are deserting regional Australia. Could it possibly have something to do with shitty bosses fucking people's lives over in a quest for a profit? I suspect so.

See the story here

Thanks to Howard and Andrews these people's lives have been well and truly turned upside down.

That's supply/demand for you when controls and regulations are removed. I'm sure Howard and Andrews will think that down the track these workers will get new jobs, and possible economic improvements as a result of people being let go across the country, will kick the economy up by 1% or so. Now, explain this macro theory to these people and their families Mr Howard. Sit with them in their lounge rooms which may or may not get repossessed by a bank, how they, and we, are all better off now this sort of thing can happen.

Australian Business Limited - world class hypocrites

ABL have slammed unions today claiming that the ACTU and others are mounting a scare campaign over the wave of unfair sackings that are going around the country in the wake of Howard and Andrews Prison Pound Laws that triggered on Monday.

Here's the ABC News story - see here

Here's the relevant quote

Addressing a Sydney University conference on workplace laws, Australian Business Limited chief executive officer Mark Bethwaite pointed out that in a workforce of 10 million, it is not unusual for people to be fired.

"Trade unions would like everyone to believe that employers this week have been indiscriminately firing people all over Australia," he said.

This is the very same ABL whose business survey the Chamber of Commerce used as justification for their ptich to have these laws changed in the first place - the survey claiming that businesses knew of people who'd paid go away money to disgruntled workers.

Did the Chamber of Commerce actually cite the survey? Actually no. They cited the press release from ABL about the survey. The actual survey and the actual questions asked are not on the ABL website. And emails go unanswered when the survey data is sought. It's quite rich for the Chamber of Commerce to cite a press release when the methodology cannot be assessed.

It's just pathetic and it's hypocritical. ABL claim a scare campaign when their dodgy brothers press release with the backing data notmade publically available was used in turn to prison pound workers when Howard and Co in their let's screw workers mantra wanted some justification, however weak, for putting bosses ahead of workers.

ABL - you are a twat. Yes, that's right, the entire organisation.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cyclone Glenda

Good luck to all those in its path. See SMH story here.

I found this on the web whilst searching for nerd maps - kewl !

From here



Sell, sell, sell – all ETA items must go

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), or Basque Homeland and Freedom, have declared that in addition to a permanent cease fire that all ETA merchandise must go.

'Tea towels, mugs, pens, hats, our prices have never been this crazy,' intoned masked and hooded leader "Juan".

ETA have announced that their natty beret/hood combos that have long been synonymous with the Basque separatists would be walking out the door at a price that a businessman would regard as being assigned by a mentally impaired person.


Left: "Fernando", "Javier", and "José" model various items for sale, with no offer refused on their quality terror goods.

'14 Euros ! Madness,' said local businessman Carlos Mendez, modelling one of the beret hood combos. 'Their prices are reflective of someone who having nothing to lose straps a bomb to themselves and detonates it in a crowded train.'


Long sidelined by mass killing attempts by Islamic terrorists, ETA spokesmen said they simply could not compete with foreign imports of idealised Muslim men hand picked by Al'Qaeda trainers to unleash terror against European states.


'We wanted to be able to listen to our language, continue our customs, and have our ways taught in schools. But frankly our message of independence now was drowned out by these low paid imported workers of mass terror, and no one was still listening to our quality occasional exploding judge,' added the spokesmen, whilst indicating an ETA rug that was not 50 euros, not 40 euros but an insane once only offer of 15 euros and 95 whatever euro cents are called cents.

'If you ever wanted a T-Shirt, polo-shirt, or even business shirt that had our logo of a snake entwined axe representing the twin pillars of secrecy and strength but considered such a purchase a revolutionary tax that funded our desperate struggle, then worry no longer. The monies earned from our closing down sale will go solely towards re-training our hard core members as security consultants in war torn Iraq. Frankly who better to have in your corner to guard against a bomb being stuck under your truck or ambushed in a pincer movement by Opal sedan filled militants with AK-47s, than "Fransisco" or "Luis" on your team - who have done both at some point.'

According to senior executive Ronald Singlesource, Halliburton is said to be very interested in employing the ex terrorists, and senior executives have already bought 1000 units of beret/hood combos for a staff retreat later in the year, not to mention as gifts for those in political life who have been good friends to the company.


'Let me just say that Dick [Cheney] our former Chairman is pretty sick of seeing his face on national media. One of these bad boys [the beret hood] will help Dick feel he can go out and about in public again without anyone glaring at him like he's a gun toting killer.'

Backyard Panadol not considered trustworthy

Backyard Panadol, paracetamol that had been adulterated with other white substances like chalk or baby laxative, is not considered trustworthy according to street sources, who have named the homemade tablets 'hammer times' because hammer like head-aches remain despite consumption of the tablets.

'I scored a sheaf of 12 Hammers for $1 after I was cravin' some sweet relief from a pounding persistent head-ache, but it did nuthin' man,' said Crazy Dave, street person.

'Hammer Times' are derived from common supermarket bought paracetamols, which are then cut with various substances, in order to bulk out the precious low cost powder. The tablets are then reformed back into pill form and sold to unsuspecting punters with a headache that just won't quit.


Left: MC Hammer ... not associated with the manufacture or use of 'Hammer Times' backyard paracetamol.

'I tell ya, next time I'll be purchasing my head-ache tablets not from a disreputable bikie, but from a trusted pharmacy or supermarket,' added Crazy Dave.

Apparently the only customers that purchase 'Hammer Times' in bulk are would be suicide victims, unable to obtain more than two boxes at a time from retailers due to the fear they will be used incorrectly and beyond the 'if pain persists – see a doctor' time frame as stipulated as a requirement on purchase of the product.


However it seems that the 'Hammer Times' merely prolong the agony of suiciders, since death by paracetamol actually takes several days normally and results in mortality through acute and very painful liver failure, with a weakened dose thanks to the stepped down pills lengthening this process.


The other problem is of course that as a segment of the 'Hammer Time' market, suicide seekers are not a regenerating customer base.


'Frankly, if you're involved in the manufacture of 'Hammer Times' then you're a bloody idiot,' said Inspector Adrian Blake. 'It costs more in time, effort, and materials than you'd clear selling it as a normal licensed vendor so you end up losing money anyway. But then criminals are not known for their smarts, are they?'


The police also recommended people do not use backyard domestos (typically cut with GBH), backyard Omo (often stepped down with raw cocaine), or backyard sunscreen (hash oil).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kancer Kids thwart Balloon Escape

Beckie and Jeremiah Phol, plucky twins with several advanced cancers, have once again thwarted criminal activity thanks to their surprising resilience and smarts despite their dire conditions.

The twins, known as 'The Kancer Kids', were taken on a last outing before their untimely deaths, the fourth such outing this year due to their ability to linger on, and on this occasion the outing was a balloon ride from a nearby park.
It was as the twins were carefully climbing into the basket, with their IV units containing their death defying liquids being passed to them, that two bank robbers, who'd just knocked over the first national bank came screaming in to the car park nearby.
Left: The Plucky Twins' Balloon

'The robbers run from their car and leapt into the basket with their cash, pushed the balloon operators away then unanchored the balloon with the Kancer Kids trapped in the basket with them !' said Mr Julke, a volunteer who spends his time with terminal children.


The robbers unfortunately did not know how to operate a hot air balloon and the inflated vehicle bumped along the ground towards the parked ambulance that had bought the Kancer Kids on their penultimate journey.

But fortunately for them, the Kancer Kids knew what to do, gaining knowledge of balloon operations from spending their final days reading children's encyclopaedias, now liberally stained with flecks of phlegmatic blood from the dying children.
'As I understand it Jeremiah took control, operating the mechanism that heats the air beneath the balloon sending it into the air, and skimming the top of the emergency vehicle below,' said Mr Julke.

With the children the only ones able to operate the vehicle the robbers were at their mercy, for their dire threats to shoot Becky were met with a scornful cough from the enfeebled girl, who ripped open her pyjama top and dared them to shoot her and release her to baby Jesus.


This distracted the robbers long enough for Jeremiah to direct the balloon into a rough current of wind causing the thieves to stumble and drop their guns. It was then that the courageous in the face of rapidly onsetting mortality never reach his teenage years or to lie with a woman pre-pubescent boy spotted an ideal landing spot … Carson's Correctional Facility for the Criminally Minded and Beastly.


The young aeronaut smoothly directed the balloon to land in the exercise yard, giving guard enough time to assemble to greet their arrival and take charge of the evil dooers.


'Another day, another freedom preserved,' hacked Becky before she fainted from the exertion on her frail bones protruding through skin body.


The robbers were heard to make dire threats against the Kancer Kids as they were taken away, but it fell on deaf ears as the brave youngsters were too busy eating crunchie bars which blocked out the sounds of revenge promise, the bars provided by admiring guards.


'The only bars those robbers will be seeing in their future are iron bars,' chortled one portly guard as he handed more crunchies to the grateful twins. 'Unless they are being raped in the bum by an iron bar from behind that is... or a truncheon.'

(on a side note I had to google Kancer Kids so as to find their names - as I had forgotten. And guess who has the number one spot in Google? That's right - Kancer Kids save Christmas ... at cost to long term survivability)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Work Choice, that is if you choose to take one in the butt

Well 27 March was apparently kick off in the Andrews/Howard prison pound Australians with their Work Choice legislation. The greatest crock of shit they have yet foisted on the public, in conjunction with the good fascists at the Australian Chamber of Commerce.

Howard's overt slip about 'there's one person in an office who makes trouble and this lets bosses sack them easily' stands as a proud indicator of what this is all about. Making it easier for people to be sacked. The economic rationale appears to me to be minimal. Hendy of the Chamber of Commerce claims some 84 odd studies indicates the goodness this will bring. I had a look at the CoC website - the report he is quoting that claims 84 studies can be found here. In the bit under unfair dismissal their proof seems to rest on a press release about a survey by Australian Business Limited. The actual survey it seems is unavailable.

For the SMH article by Hendy see here.


And of course let's not forget the 'you're being sacked for operational reasons' get out of jail free as opposed to 'the presence of a guest in your ovaries means I'm booting your preggers arse to the curb' that they happily bought in.

This boils my blood. And hopefully because unlike Children Overboard this actually affects the average punter, it may actually mean the Howard unpleasantness we've had to endure will face its comeupance. Will it enough to change office in 18 months time? Likely not. But the Libs may lose the Senate so cross fingers.

I wouldn't wish being sacked on anyone. It's happened to me twice in my life and one time I even cried when it happened cause I felt like a scumwad. But, when people do get sacked over this, I hope on balance they're the traitorous battlers that Howard has been coyly courting off for the last 10 years. Maybe then they'll realise that putting their wallet before their morality was perhaps not such a great thing after-all.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ah Andrew Bolt...

Generally I end up watching Insiders on the ABC if I am up in the morning. An unfortunate side effect of that is having to watch the infamous split pelvis himself, Andrew Bolt.

Today Bolty made me laugh. He manages to make me laugh most times I watch. Laughing at, not with though, lest he think I thought him humerous.

No, it's his blinkered right wing views and love of all things Federal Liberal that get me laughing. And I find it delicious that were there a journo as unobjective as Bolt batting for the ALP he'd be frothing at the lips decrying the left wing menace that corrupts the pinkos factory.

Today Bolty managed to label the totality of the AWB investigation as 'a minor issue' and that 'talk back callers didn't care about it'.

Yes Bolty because talk back callers are of course the democratic pulse of this nation and statistically do not lean to the conservative side of politics at all. Oh, and that the average punter thinks that swinging bucks to Saddam is just part of doing business.

Bolty however managed to slam the Howard government (a first as best I can tell) for not sending back the terrified West Papua refugees to face the music back in Indonesia. Thank God he is a compassionate man.

He makes my skin crawl. Imagine having to live with that sanctimonious wind bag droning on and on about his career highlight of impregnating Matilda the kangaroo at the '82 Commonwealth games.


Nob.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Crash

Finally saw it.

Fuck me.

What a film.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The cross that doth shine its beacon

I did script writing at uni once, don't worry, turns out I suck at that, and during said script writing we discussed themes. You see themes in a piece are important. Believe it or not most scripts are not like Homer's concept of 'some stuff happened - the end', you got to have the why running through it.

One of the many tools at a scripie's disposal is the 'X leads to destruction' as a theme (eg Greed leads to destruction, lust leads to destruction, being allergic to peanuts leads to destruction). And naturally destruction also equals death. And as part of this particular theme, one of the tricks in script writing it to give the viewer a subconscious clue that a character will die soon. Indeed, this works in any fiction. And one of these methods is the showing of a cross.

Basically it goes like this. A character who will soon die is seen looking at a cross, or having a cross prominently in shot with them. Preferably in their eye line and with them either aware or unaware depending on the script's needs. There are many ways to shows this - such as a lingering glance on a cross as the doomed character leaves the shot, or have a pan onto a cross, or even show a point of view of a cross. It need not even be an actual Christian cross, a crossed bit of wood, or such as in Boys from the Blackstuff, an overhead concrete walkway and up thrust pillar will suffice.

This is all very good, but what is HM's point?


Well, on the way home from nerd nights where I play nerd games at Techno's, I drive past Calvary hospital here in the north side of Canberra.
Calvary so named for the place where Jesus died. It also means suffering and pain, which I would think is not a word you'd want to associate with a hospital. Hey, their choice. They do a good job, and if we're lucky to birth us a baby at some point it will most certainly be there.

But, being a Catholic in origin hospital, what with the name, it's also not afraid to whack a ruddy great neon cross on top of its building proudly proclaiming it's Christian roots. And again, fair enough. And a big thumbs up to the church for kick starting a very fine medical practice.


It's just that when you pull up to the downward slope intersection at Bindubi and Belconnen Way, said cross, much like the one here, can be seen ghostlike blazing through the trees yonder. It's right in my eye line. So, basically, thanks to my POV shot of the cross it means that if I were a movie character it'd be curtains for HM in a couple of scenes time.


Thanks a lot Calvary. Way to remind me of my rapidly oncoming mortality.

From Today's Crikey - Coonan sticks the knife in the ABC staff elected directors position

From crikey.com.au. Crikey is an e-newsletter that costs $100 a year ($70 with concession). Well worth it. This excerpt comes from their email for Friday 24 March 2006.

ABC Board Structure - is it all about control?


Crikey editor Misha Ketchell writes:

In breaking news this morning, Communications Minister Helen Coonan has announced she's going to restructure the ABC board to improve corporate governance at the national broadcaster. Judging by the text of the release, the "restructure" amounts to one thing – axing the staff-elected director position.
The staff-elected director position on the ABC Board will be abolished and legislation to give effect to this change will be introduced as early as possible. Unlike the other national broadcaster – the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) – the ABC Board includes a director appointed through a staff election process.

This is an anomaly amongst Australian Government agency boards that has given rise to concerns about conflicts of interest and the effective functioning of the ABC Board, including maintaining the confidentiality of Board deliberations.

“As the staff-elected Director has been elected by staff rather than appointed, there have been claims that the position creates uncertainty about accountability.

“However, there is a clear legal requirement on the staff-elected Director that means he or she has the same rights, duties and obligations as the other Directors, including to act in the interests of the ABC as a whole. “

The Government is of the view that there should be no question about the constituency that ABC Directors are accountable to,” Senator Coonan said.
It's a bold move for Coonan to make at a time when the government has been accused of waging war on the ABC and stacking its board with political allies. She can expect hot opposition from staff and pro-ABC lobbyists such as Friends of the ABC, groups which claim the ABC has already been getting the rough end of the pineapple under the Howard Government.

Meanwhile some ABC watchers are asking if the move is intended to mollify Coalition members who had opposed the reappointment of ABC Chairman Donald McDonald amid claims, published in The Bulletin last week, that he had become the Coalition's John Kerr and has failed to change the culture at the ABC.

Current staff-elected ABC director Ramona Koval sent this response to Crikey once news of the decision reached her:
Contrary to the Minister's view, there has never been uncertainty about the accountability of the staff-elected director to the ABC Board. I am required to act in the best interests of the ABC, as are all other directors, and it's a serious responsibility that I have carried out with passionate commitment.

The position of staff-elected director is important to provide the Board with a working knowledge of the role and functions of a public broadcaster, and, at times, as a balance to the practice of party political stacking of the ABC board I have never breached confidentiality in this role. I have simply raised concerns about the potential for political interference.

The government's intervention in abolishing this position while an Australian Electoral Commission election is underway, reveals the urgency of its desire to control the organisation.
And Kirsten Garrett, who was a staff rep on the ABC board from 1996-2000, said the argument that the staff position created an untenable conflict was rubbish:
This is just red raw politics with an extraordinary disregard for the Australian people. If it succeeds, the Government will have complete control of the ABC. The staff-elected director is already the last independent voice on the board and the accountability argument is a furphy.

During my time on the board I found that the staff-elected director position was of great value because of the knowledge about the ABC and its place in the wider community that the person holding that position has. Many other directors were keen to hear the information a staff-elected director could put before the board. The debates and disagreements merely strengthened the board's decisions.

Once he or she enters the boardroom, the staff-elected director is answerable to the charter of the ABC and the Australian community. You are informed by staff but you are in fact an executive director of the board and must behave as such, that is independently. The staff-elected director is accountable in exactly the same way as other directors.

This is about clearing away any impediment to further weakening and dismembering the ABC and getting it ready for commercialisation. The campaign in the media of the last two weeks shows that the ABC, the media and the community are being softened up for this assault.
Expect a long and protracted debate, but in the end, it might all count for nought. The Government has the numbers in the Senate, and in this case that's what matters.

'What are ya, a bunch of c***s?' Ad campaign encounters controversy

The latest ad by Tourism Australia has encountered controversy after the tag line 'what are ya, a bunch of c***s' was deemed offensive by some advertising regulators.

The ad, featuring a now older Lara Bingle in prison having tried to smuggle in 2kgs of cocaine internally into the country, has the model speaking the tag line whilst waving a shiv made from a sharpened toothbrush handle at other inmates.

'I can't see what the fuss is about,' said relevant low grade tourism minister Fran Baily, who has spent the past several months trotting the globe with the shiv wielding Bingle in tow pleading with regulators to accept the salty sailor talk tinged advertisments.

Left: Lara Bingle ... has shiv

'We're proud of our country and our convict heritage,' said Ms Baily. 'So naturally we felt that showing Lara [Bingle] in a modern convict setting heightened the desire of those who'd yet to tread our sun dappled shores to visit here. And even if they do happen to pack a couple of keys of [a] class A [drug], they'll see that the jails here are clean and packed with attractive lesbians, unlike other jails which feature bull dykes and ugos.'


Several ad regulators have banned the ad not only do to the implied violence as Ms Bingle attempts to defend her vaginal honour with sharpened dental hygiene implements, but they include the word 'c***' which most cultures find offensive.


'Frankly what are they complaining about?' said Ms Baily, preparing to transport Ms Bingle, Hannibal Lecter style after the model's method acting had caused her to absorb her role a little too heavily.

'Here in Australia it's a term of endearment. I mean a cabinet meeting doesn't pass without someone calling someone else a c***. Like 'I need more money for the federation rail project ya c***', or 'Defence spending needs to increase in real terms by 3% a year due to block obsolescence issues C***y', and stuff like that. Besides, it's not like we all don't come out of a c***. I mean, it's the first thing you see!'

Ms Baily admitted that she would be conducting a hard sell strategy, with the young Miss Bingle released from her straps and armed with her trusty tooth cleaning friend prior to any encounter with a regulator.


'And ladies, if you happen to dance the furry cup fandango, let's just say Lara's time spent immersed in her role as a banged up mule has not gone to waste.'

Ms Baily ended the interview by splitting her fingers over her lips, tilting her head and flicking her tongue in and out like a blue tongue lizard - one of the many exciting animals you can encounter in our fair brown c*** tinged land.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mr T's just gotta be pissed

Today a report in SMH that DIMIA had managed to fuck up again and lock up a mentally ill person incorrectly. That person known only as 'Mr T'.

Man, I pity the pool that made that decision.

'I'm sorry Mr T, we're locking you up.'

Cue sound of chains shifting menacingly.

'Say what?'

Wow, you know you fucked up big time when you mess with the T. Dimia better be careful the A-Team don't open up a can of whoop-ass on them. Luckily for them that in their 10 odd year career of mercenary automatic weapon firing and fridge to car front welding they did in every episode that they only killed like two people.

Still if I was Amanda and a certain red banded black van with a fresh melded to the bumper passed me, I'd be runnin' up some stairs, evading Daleks style, quick smart.

Today Tonight's recipe for success ...

... Fear and Fat

Seriously, I see their promos and it's always 'FEAR SOMETHING' and 'YOU'RE FAT.'

The former being vaccinations / poor cars / insects / bird flu / being ripped off / muslims etc. The latter concerning all manner of fatty faulting such as how not to be fat with some fad thing, or successful ex-fatties, or how fatties make skinny Naomi physically recoil in horror if she has to be near one. Indeed, I read an interview once where Naomi defended TT as a serious case of journalism because it looked at the issues that other shows feared to confront - namely us jelly armed types that are infecting her perfect 4WD filled planet of gym going slinkmeat.

I have an image of TT's key demographic being a fatty lodged in boarded up house, munching on a cupcake as she peeks through a splinter filled crack of wood like the once ler as muslims/asians/mentally ill/pokie addicts/shonky repair-car-real-estate types are lurching zombie like through her neighbourhood - as TT blares on in the background.

As Naomi would say. 'Hmmmmmmmmm, pretty disturbing stuff.'

Code 46

My wife got this out from the video store.

It's awesome. A trippy, trippy movie.

Set in the near future and like all good sci-fi films you're left guessing as to what has happened to the world to make it like it is. William is an investigator for 'The Sphinx', an insurance company that 'covers' everyone in the world - and without cover one cannot travel or gain access to many services. It is during an investigation he meets a girl to whom he forms an instant attachment. The why is the crux of the movie.

The film is enhanced by the score which sets the mood for the entire piece. Visually impressive. Tightly plotted. Great acting. In short, an excellent film where the setting compliments the story, not the other way around.

Tim Robbins and Samatha Morton are the leads. Totally worth watching.

Hey, my first review. Sure, I hate a lot of things. Certain politicians of a certain rightist ideology of 'me, me, me'. But I'm not afraid to say whats I likes either.

Darn tootin'

Link to the movie at IMDB is here

More fond ABC derived memories

Australians, particualrly those who matured in the 80's, have fond memories of the ABC. The government run broadcastor that is the equivalent to the Beeb in the UK and the CBC in Canada. Alas my American brethren do not get such goodness and I feel for you, though as I understand it PBS is a sort of like ABC environment.

As discussed at length I love tellie. Big fan of it, love nothing more than watching it. But I don't watch crap. For example I would rather chew on a wad of skiddy stained toilet tissue than watch a whole ep of Biggest Loser.

One such not crap program was the CBC made Beachcombers, which I understand ran for 350 odd episodes from the 70's to early 90's. It was a dramedy and it rocked. And it instilled in me a deep love for Canada despite the fact I have never been there.

But then, so did Police Academy which was filmed in Canada too eh.

Anyway, Beachcombers. Featuring the heroic Greek imigrant Nick, the dastardly Relic, Molly's Reach cafe, and native americans as normal folks going about their normal lives. Multi-cultural goodness. Set on the Canadian seaside where Nick and Relic battled each other for wayward logs.

Check out it's wiki entry here.

My favourite comment from this article is this;

East German television ran the series because it had so little controversy. In one episode the whole episode was based on people arguing over who owned a wayward log—this in a region covered by forest.


The German version of the series was titled Strandpiraten.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

e-Bubblewrap !

It's g-o-o-o-o-d

bubblewrap!

Harrangueman's WTF site of the week

http://www.olsen-twins-news.com/

Seriously, WTF????

Uni makes my head hurt

I used to think I was a smart guy. Well, scratch that, I am a smart guy. Incredibly lazy and fat sure, but still smart.

So I'm in my final unit of my Masters having struggled six long years part time (missing a year here and there due to lack of interest or health). And I am doing the reading as you do, having learning that doing the reading is important when studying - not having actually cottoned on to that when a drunken slightly less fat undergrad in the early 90s.

And I keep coming across words I have never seen before. Now admittedly it's a new field for me, international studies or some such, but I swear to God these seem like made up words like from the Simpsons. I am pretty sure I saw the word cromulent used.

Bugger me, now that's in the dictionary - cromulent

I know new words get added to the dictionary all the time. There's usually a list out at the start of each year with a new techy related word or phrase that's entered the volumes held sacred to the heart of wordsmiths and scrabble fiends the world over. Or courtesy it seems of programs like the Simpsons.

But even so, it's got me flummoxed. Or even Keseradiited. Or Nuglantesteretic.

I am a complete furnateragonic apsulatted nerstakoid. A total and utter one.

So what happened? [RE The aftermath of HM Vs BW]

Well, in a word, nothing. Well, nothing yet. Been careful to be polite. Haven't strayed from the path of non potty mouthness. So expect it's a dead issue. Boss has said nothing about it.

I spent all weekend and the public holiday fixated on it. Typical.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Am I a two faced arsehole?

As you know, I am in a constant battle of wills against Buckwheat, a semi-skilled older lady with, in my opinion, not all that much upstairs.

Today we had our weekly morning tea and Buckwheat was spinning one of her many tales of well something. Then she said this. 'There were these two poofters up the road...'

At this point, and admittedly still annoyed at the Come on Down it's Crazy Laptop Giveaway she'd been doing earlier, I kind of slammed her in front of everyone. I wasn't loud, or angry, I just said 'Buckwheat's-real-name, you can't say that. It's offensive.'

'Huh?!?' she blinked in that way she does.

'Don't use that term. It's offensive.'

'Aw what? I wasn't even talking to you.'

'It doesn't matter. Saying Poofters is offensive. Please don't.'

'Aw it's getting so I can't say anything at all.'

She was getting pretty heated at this point and, as it always happens in an office environment when there's a fight on, it got pretty quiet. My fellow leftie co-worker tried to diffuse it by saying that he had gay friends who didn't like the term and found it offensive, but Buckwheat was giving him the flick off, crossing her arms and saying she didn't want to talk about it.

I got steamed enough that I said 'that's it, I'm leaving' and stomped off muttering - not sure if they heard me - but basically along the lines of 'fucking bigoted witch'. Leaving everyone else being quiet as I did so. Much like a western saloon eventually the piano and dancing girls kicked off and conversation returned to normal.

She's right too. I have criticized her before for saying stuff like 'blackfellas' and 'we should shoot illegal fishermen on sight.' So I can certainly see why she feels picked on.

Later, after Buckwheat had stayed in an office bitching about me to two fellow workers, I asked one of those workers her opinion of whether I was out of line. She shocked me deep to the core, so deep I got that shitty 'I'm in trouble' sick feeling you get like when you're sent to the principal.

'Yes, you were way out of line. You say things that are very offensive all the time and we don't pick you up on it. You let her get to you too much. You were wrong to slam her like that.'

I'm paraphrasing here but that was the gist.

She was right. I am offensive. I swear too much, with fs and cs, and my somewhat overt leftist ranting does take on a mean tone about certain political or cultural current events. I am for example often yelling at my PC when it's malfunctions or if I read glowing crap about John Howard.

So, does that make me two faced? Buckwheat has said she finds the F word quite upsetting. That was a general comment, and not specifically at me. And here in the good old public service I can put my hand on my heart and say 'she has not complained of my behaviour to me.' Although I know, ironically from the co-worker that gave me the hard word, that Buckwheat did complain about my being 'mean to her' late last year.

It's all true. I friggin' hate Buckwheat. I don't go out of my way to be mean to her, but I don't help her out if I don't have too - and I am a moderately helpful person. It's just that she has said so much bigoted crap, and is so frigging useless at her job, and makes so much work for everyone else, my tolerance for her bullshit has evaporated.

Would I have stomped someone that hard if they had said the same thing? No, I would not have. Sure, I would have felt uncomfortable, but I wouldn't have admonished anyone else like that. So that's true. But then I don't have any other co-workers that routinely propose final solution esq plans to illegal Indonesian fishermen in our waters, or claim that 'all blackfellas are smelly' and other racist shit like that.

I am letting her under my skin. And I do swear too much. And I know if I ever made a formal complaint my own actions would come back at me.

Then, later today I remembered that I was laughing about how some bogan chick in Take 5 (a magazine here in Oz) had named her kid 'Feenix'. So I was using the same exclusionary or persecution language style she was. So I guess that does make me two faced.

Besides, as my wife said, am I really going to change anything by saying it? They only change I would have made if any was make her hesitant to say crap that she believes anyway. And as we found out in Oz that's just putting a bandaid on a festy scab.

I guess what it boils down to is I don't like her, and I don't like people like her. So I am hating her for her and her for being what she represents. She represents to me all the deadwood in the Australian Public Service of people who have been here for 20 years and suck the life out of anyone in earshot, have no idea what they are doing, and cause work for other people, and to top it off have a lack of compassion and a bigoted mindset.

So, to answer the question. Am I a two faced arsehole? The answer is yes. But was I right to say something? Well, I have to say, on balance, well yes. Because it's when fuckwits like her fire off their filth mouths with bigoted dribble and no one calls them on it that it allows sentiments like that to take root.

All up I think I did the right thing. But I felt wretched for the rest of the day, and only until I thanked Buckwheat for some assistance with a task she'd been of absolutely no help on that I felt better.

Which makes me double two faced. Or manipulative. Ah, who knows? If I get called into the bosses office (X was away), all I can say is that 'I found it extremely offensive and I didn't think and got upset. It's just that she says this stuff all the time (cue several examples) and while I admit I have a potty mouth on occasion I can put my hand on my heart and say I am not as bigoted as she is.'

Er, maybe scratch that last point. That does not cast me in a good light. Even though its 100% true. Because I am bigoted when I think I am better than other people, smarter than them, or think their opinions are all shit just because I've only heard them 'talk' on a couple of issues. She could be the nicest person on earth outside of work, if she didn't have to be near gays, aboriginals, or Indonesian fishermen. So maybe I'm just not giving her a chance?

So, the plan. Be nice. Be courteous. Try not to get angry when she fucks up - and she likely will since we all make mistakes - and if she says her bigoted crap again I will consider my options in the coolness of logic, as opposed to ruining morning tea for everyone by stomping off like a petulant fuckwit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Logging a job

Today I had to log a job with building maintenance. Why? Because I went to the toilet, did my business, and the fucker failed to flush. The water just swelled up to near the rim when the button was depressed, with me looking on with abject horror at the very real possibility of a spill over.

I tried three times then gave up. So I locked the door (you just have to run your thumb along the vacant-engaged sign to operate the lock from outside), then came back with a post it note saying it wouldn't flush. Then...

...I logged a job.

Yes, I am well aware that the word 'log' and 'job' (as in 'jobbie') can apply as descriptives of fecal matter. I too would have seen the hilarity. Except for the fact I had to leave my name and number as the contact officer. Later that afternoon the door was opened and the log/jobbie was missing.

However I can only assume that whatever poor soul was tasked with that shitty job, knows both the name and contact number of the person what left a floater.

And believe me. I can't stand nothing more than walking in on a floater.

I will be checking my desk/phone/chair for signs of potential sabotage. Or even my turd returned on my keyboard.

Aw man ...

Buckwheat - is she the stupidest person in the Australian workforce?

Today whilst cruising to the bathroom I noticed Buckwheat was handing a laptop over to a fellow worker. A laptop that belongs to my unit.

I asked her what the fuck she thought she was doing.

'X said it was okay,' she said, looking at me with that freaky boggled expression of hers. X in this case is my supervisor. But, they are not X's laptops - they're my section's - and X is not the head of my section. It's just that our section reports to X.

I stressed to Buckwheat that lending wasn't an issue. It was the not being asked or told of it. Since we have to know where these things are in case we get fucking audited. Later she angrilly tossed me an electronic items loan form that had been signed by X, but she still didn't get it. I had to walk away from her because she made me so fucking angry that I was about to lose it.

Later I emailed X to say that loaning of laptops was fine, but as their guardian I had to be told. X said something about 'well they're the branch laptops so I am allowed to loan them.' Which I agreed. But I still had to repeat the phrase 'TELL ME FIRST.'

Buckwheat by the way is the same woman - and I use that classification lightly - that tried to throw said laptops out as surplus because 'she had never seen anyone use them in the five months she was there.'

Yes, because when we use them we parade the fucking laptops past her workstation just so she is fucking aware that a resource is being accessed. Perhaps I should order a giant float, with models holding the laptops indicating the myriad of ways they might be used. For example, LOANED TO PEOPLE. Which is what she did - without telling us.

Why do I have to work with her??? WHY ??? (looks to heavens, shakes fists).

Do you have a Buckwheat at your work? Someone so pathetically dumb and ignorant of how to use a computer that they are a time thief causing more work for others just by their very presence?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Culture Jammed - the PM's website

Richard Neville, for whom the ideals of the 60's never ended, has culture jammed the PM a good one. Check out his spoof site which looks rather official, indeed a lot like a real one.

John Howard PM Spoof Site

This spoof spotting was bought to you by the good people at crikey.com.au

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Where Harrangueman ruminates on the mixed messages on obesity

I do not eat well. I've been a heavy dude since I cracked puberty and have heard all manner of fat witticisms you can hear in English. And I am looking forward to the day when a car load of P plater fuckwits yells out 'ya fat cunt' in a different language so at least there is some variance. 'Das Ein Vaginal Man Booby' for example would be a fun thing to hear.

The other night I was at Techno's place where I was to run a game of some nerd fun. Alas they were watching Biggest Loser Oz Style, tail end of, with some of the gang present obvious fans. Me? I went and relocated to the kitchen so bone up on some nerd rules on ship sinking since I was about to load that on to them. Naturally people asked why I was not watching.

'It's a matter of principle,' I muttered. 'I don't want to support shows like that.'

Now of course it's not like AusTam have been tracking my viewing habits from a rice grain sized implant attached to my retina and add my preferences to the great book of ratings. But still it was important to me I did not watch.

And here's why. It reminds me of just how fat I am.

No offence to those participating in the program. But I honestly think you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Fame is a wonderful thing. But it's fleeting. And it's not fame of doing well, or being viewed by viewers as a success in life. But as a McFatty Fatto jiggling it up for the camera and carrying around dinner trays of food into the bit where they dismiss one of the struggling jiggos from the show.

To me this is rank tellie. It's fucked. It's more fucked than big brother (which I admit I do watch on occasion). It's taking people's pain about their appearance and with a wink to the audience mocking it. Sure, some of these people may benefit from a short burst of attention. Who wouldn't? Unless, like me, you wouldn't want several million Australians having a good old chuckle at your wobble bits going the full wob.

However, that being said, here in Oz we are a fat country. Something like 65% of us are overweight. Me so overweight I could blob for my height class I am sure. So a large bunch of the viewing audience would be chunkers themselves (but likely not as chunky as those on the box).

But this is what I don't need. Media constantly criticizing me for being large while maintaining their 'when we're not going the mock on the fatties, svelte people only on tellie policy.
Can you name the fatties in the OC or on the news - can't think of any? - neither can I. I particularly dislike their constant frigging faux concerned news readers narrating away while the screen shows waist to neck shots of jiggos who had the misfortune to be near a news crew looking for some library filler as they wank on about the obesity epidemic. Then have the gall to run fucking junkfood ads two minutes later about the latest dripping in crap treat from Hungry fucking Jacks.

Yes I am aware its a constant struggle in TV land of content Vs funding where they occasionally clash with each other - but it still shits me. I'm fat because I ate crap for a long time - and still do - and didn't exercise (cue Troy Mclure slap to face). And indeed with someone with IBS where I now have blood appearing in my shits and I have a stool jar I am supposed to keep with me so I can scoop me out a sample of a blood laden turd like I was excising a fecal Elgin marbles to take to pathology, eating badly is not a good thing.

I am trying. I do try to walk. Thank god for Techno and Cass because without them being there to motivate me to walk the fucking 15 odd extra minutes a day I do move, I'd likely be sweating at my desk after a hard breathe.

I'm digressing a bit. So what's my point? Well I know I am fat. I hate seeing myself clothed and worse unclothed. The only good reflection I have is in one particular window pane at my work (ironically on the way back from our 'fridge of fun' social club minibar) whose distortion makes me look slimmer.

But when not viewing a grotesque me in reverse, I don't actually feel fat most of the time. I feel normal. I certainly am not physically attractive and indeed have never been in a position ever in my life where someone was attracted to me by my smokey good looks. But I don't feel ugly unless I have to see myself in a mirror or other reflection. And despite my +50% size when I walk I can keep up with my slimmer co-walkers save for the odd pant as I furiously offend anyone in earshot with talk of wee and blood frothed stools.

But then I see ads for Biggest Loser, or am forced to be near it when it is on, and see these poor fat people desperate for the love gaining their only measure of fame from being a mockery of the human body parading themselves in a probably vain attempt to slim down. And it to me it brings out the same feelings I get when I see myself in a full length mirror and wonder what it would be like to see my fucking penis without having to push my gut out of the way (seriously, is that fun? I could imagine it is).

I wish the gladiators of girth the best of luck. And I hope the weight they shift off stays off when the overhead bright lights, luminating the video cataloguing every tremor in their currently wobble frames, dims for the last time.

But Holy Christ their already punctured self esteem will take a kick when the whispers and the stares of passers by restart once more, and made far worse by the fact they tried and failed on national TV, and these very starers will possibly be in full schadenfreude at the ex biggest loser's evern more of a loser misery.

By all means I hope they succeed. But doing it in front of cameras is only going to be bad in the long run if they don't.

And as for me, I am fat, and will always struggle with my will to actually try to eat well and small and exercise lots. But all shows like Biggest Loser do for me is remind me that for 99% of people who I merely pass by in life, will see me as nothing more than as a blubberous fat cunt that ate all the pie.

So a big thanks Channel Ten. And even when I managed to avoid 'attention you at home, you so fat' show you run at tea time, you very kindly ran
back to back fattys focussed recent Simpsons repeats straight afterwards. Presumably so you can pad out the so called 'new Simpsons' episodes you've been spruiking ad nauseam since early January - a ruse which I feel neatly for.

Congrats. You managed to make me feel even more shit. Let's hope my misery isn't distracted by the Dominos (131888) or Pizza Hut (131166) ads that might very well appear in the same fucking commercial break as one for the delightful self esteem building 'you've got a shortened life and no one will fuck you' show.

Now, where is my trusty dialling wand ... ?

WWASP (aka World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools)

This is on SBS now (Cutting Edge: Tranquillity Bay [Cc]). It's about re-education camps that folk can send troubled teens to. I'm having some flashbacks to my time in a private school in NSW that I was sent too. And I had it easy. I was a day boy and by and large I was okay. Apart from being disciplined by other students and thrown in a room and yelled at and assaulted on the odd occassion.

Man I'm glad I left there.

If you're curious, see the wiki article here

Fucking unbelievable places of abuse and misery. May the fuckheads that came up with it, ran it, staffed it, and profited from the wrong that went on there get theirs in the end.

Apparently the parents asked the US Attorney General for help. He said no in a legally technical round about way. I wonder why? Probably because he's the first AG in western world history to try and defend torture by the state.

And the Chamber of Commerce wonders why people consider them the arm of our rich overlords

My wife and I are struggling with the decision to buy a house. We're in our mid thirties (33 mid?), and rents being what they are ($260 a week), it seems sensible to save up and buy - even though the Canberra market is the second most expensive on average for the country.

Whilst waiting for my betterness to finish shopping (my having purchased goods that prevented my access to Woolies), I bought the Canberra Times, which had an article on just this issue.

The article is available here

This is the bit that caught my eye.

'ACT Chamber of Commerce chief executive Chris Peters said the high cost of renting and buying homes was having an impact on attracting new residents.

"We are a significant high-cost city and that problem has strengthened over the past few years," he said.

Mr Peters said he was aware of a senior executive who had moved to Canberra from overseas and had spent the past three months searching Canberra's inner south for rental property. Despite a willingness to pay up to $2500 a week, he was yet to find an executive home so had been living in a serviced apartment.'


Wah ! Me poor widdle rich man who couldn't find an executive house he liked for less than $2500 a week. Wah ! Me so poor and unhappy about not having access to gold plated fixtures and a solar powered sun roof, and presumably an elevator to take my poor little rich arse up to the next floor. Wah ! Where will my servants sleep? Wah ! $2500 and nothing out there for me.

Fucking rich pricks and their $2500 a week houses. Two fingers to you Mr Peters of the ACT Chamber of fucking Commerce that may as well rename itself 'the ALP are ghastly oiks responsible for the compwete wack of suitable toff homes for their social betters.'

Does the ACT Chamber of Commerce head realise what a complete dick he sounds like to actually poor people in Canberra that are struggling to find a suitable and cost effective house to rent or buy? I wonder where the ACT Chamber of Commerce head lives? Red Hill? Forrest? Or other suburbs where snooty McSnoot palaces abound?

It's shit like this that gets my goat. Sure, I'm all for personal success. But I'm not for personal excess. Spread the wealth man. Okay yes some tradesmen will get money for building your putrid palace, but after that? Perhaps the 12 person spa you have installed. Or maybe you didn't like the colour of tile so you had all of that redone. Then what? Grow your investments and make sure your kids to go to some sort of elitist snob factory then on to a fully paid university degree?

Probably that. Or a new luxury vehicle.

God I hate the ACT Chamber of Commerce. I bet their communications officer read that today and shook his/her immaculately styled head, tutting as they sipped their $12 fucking latte at the bad PR that possibly might get them. But then, look at their target audience. Other members of the fucking chamber of commerce.

PR damage probably nil.

Home invasion by gang wearing masks of sweet pastry

Bondi, Sydney; A gang of three men, described as being tall of a swarthy appearance with faces covered in pastry, honey, and nuts, broke into a unit on Bondi Road, Bondi shortly before 5am today and assaulted two men inside with poles, say police.

‘One of the men in the raiding party was referred to as Achmed,’ said a police spokesman, after one of the criminals used the name when complaining about their choice of disguises.


‘The victims claimed the criminal grew angry at Achmed, repeating the words ‘Balaclava, Balaclava,’ whilst pointing at his face which was obscured with phyllo pastry and chopped nuts plastered across his skin.’


‘As it so happens the pastry derived disguise proved effective, with the victims unable to distinguish the invader’s features due to the combination of sweetened pastry and a mixture of ground nuts, honey, cinnamon and cloves.’


Police have asked that anyone seeing any activity on Bondi Road at around 5 am to contact Crime Stoppers, especially if they happened to see any unusual baking.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Miranda Devine gives me a headache

The Sydney Morning Herald is actually a fairly well balanced newspaper, despite shrieking assertions to the contrary by their right wing opponents in the Murdoch stable - characters such as Akerman and Bolt.

One of the reasons the SMH is shown to be balanced is by running opinions from the triumvirate of the right in Fairfax publications; Devine, Henderson, and Sheehan.

Devine makes me annoyed. To her credit I get annoyed more because she's from an opposing political viewpoint to me, and embraces causes that get my anger motor running - things like Global Warming is a leftie plot, Muslim youth bad, and other assorted crap, than just firing off at the mouth with a minimal skerrick of knowledge on her chosen subject to froth on.

This is her effort from today's paper. Found here

By George, Hollywood's out of touch

Date: March 9 2006


Unlike Brokeback Mountain's cowboys, film's liberal luvvies are out and they're proud, notes Miranda Devine.

CALL me a masochist, but I do love a good Oscars night, preferably surrounded on the couch by fellow Tinseltown tragics and with the phone on redial to cross-town fans during ad breaks for further forensic deconstruction of dresses, speeches and candid camera shots.

As the annual acme of pop culture, the 78th Academy Awards on Monday night didn't disappoint. The movies themselves might be a "lagging indicator" of the zeitgeist, simply because they take years to make. But the Oscars telecast, said to be watched by a billion people around the world, is an instant snapshot of the "out of touch", as the heart-throb George Clooney calls them, the globalised arts establishment which has wielded supreme cultural influence over Western society for many decades.

Clooney perfectly epitomised the box-office troubles of this year's batch of "op-ed" movies (reflected in shrunken Australian and US audiences for the Oscars telecast).

Golden George was the hero of the night, feted by all, his ample charms and enviable sex life mentioned several times by the host and various hoofers on stage, his smiling visage bobbing up on the red carpet, in the opening spoof, as a presenter, flirting with our Nicole, and "speaking truth to power" everywhere.

Clooney, 44, was nominated for three awards for two movies - for best director and best original screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck, his McCarthy-era period piece, and for best actor in a supporting role, for the anti-American oil industry flick Syriana, which he won.

Such was his ubiquity this year the awards could have been renamed the Clooneys, or the Clowneys, after his nickname in the right-wing blogosphere.

Thank God, you could almost hear Hollywood sigh, we finally found a replacement for that hirsute, four-eyed, frumpy fatso whatshisname. That would be Michael Moore, 51, who made a spectacle of himself at the 2003 Oscars when Bowling for Columbine won for best documentary: "Shame on you, Mr Bush! Shame on you! Your time is up," he cried, to scattered boos. Much as the bejewelled luvvies agreed with Moore's far-fetched left-wing conspiracy theories, in a town famously obsessed by appearances, they just couldn't abide his look.

But Clooney is the scrumptiously palatable face of Moore, who was last seen in Team America as a tomato sauce-covered suicide bomber with a hot dog in each hand.

Much has been made of the fact that the five contenders for best picture this year - Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Munich and Good Night, and Good Luck - were slow-boilers at the box office, message movies with a combined audience smaller than that of the Chronicles of Narnia.

And while in previous years the Oscars telecast has been hijacked by the odd actor to promote one cause or another, there was always the sense that the Hollywood establishment was exerting discipline, penalising overt politicking, cutting speeches short, attempting to keep proceedings light and entertaining. This year was different, maybe because the establishment has changed.

The Canadian billionaire co-founder of eBay, Jeff Skoll, 41, is at the vanguard of a generation of rich activists, plunging money into three message movies lauded at the Oscars this year, Clooney's Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck and the feminist-themed North Country.

There is also a new president of the all-powerful Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose 6000 members vote on the awards. Sid Ganis told Time magazine last month that he wanted to change the image of the academy so it was "not a bunch of old conservative guys". It was Ganis's wife who suggested giving the hosting gig to Jon Stewart, 43, a rabidly anti-establishment, left-wing, Bush-hating satirist from an obscure cable TV show, who was destined to alienate a conservative audience.

There has always been a fashionable left-wing current of Hollywood flowing through the Oscars telecast but previously it has been kept in somewhat hypocritical check by the fundamental economics of movies - all the jewels and gowns and obscene salaries and private jets, which give the luvvies the luxury of being politically correct, only exist because the great unwashed are willing to fork out for a ticket to see their films.

This year, however, there was a suicide bomber aspect to the Oscars - and it wasn't just a scene from Syriana. There was an end-of-empire recklessness in the focus on limited-appeal message movies, the choice of Stewart, the nose-thumbing pride in being "out of touch" with the reviled mainstream who used to go to the movies in droves.

"We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while," said Clooney, accepting his Oscar. "I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And, we, you know, we bring up subjects."

No longer do the liberal luvvies have to suppress their ideological fervour, or be content with speaking in code or silently endure being the butt of Team America jokes. Unlike the cowboys of Brokeback Mountain, they are out and they are proud. But Hollywood's brave new attitude coincides with a new economic reality, which is that, like all other forms of media, movies are under attack from the internet and technology.

Stewart alluded to the problem of video piracy - which threatens ultimately to strip the revenue base from Hollywood. The days of the big movie studios may be numbered, leaving the luvvy lunatics to run the asylum. And then - who knows? Their politics might change when they have to do some real work for a living.

-------------------

Actors are it seems all luvvies, which from what I understand from my lingo makes them effete limp wristed artistic types. Nice one Miranda. Of course it's the unwashed masses that make these overpaid actors and actresses able to fund their PC lifestyle according to Miranda - for if the common trailer folk stopped attending these hideous leftie message pics then they would all be forced to do a hard days work for a hard days pay instead of sitting at home and masturbating to Das Kapital like they clearly do.

First up, Miranda's economics theory. She seems to infer that quality 'message movies' don't cut it economically so thus they should not be represented in getting awards. More people eat at fucking McDonalds than they do in nice sit down places where it's hard to pronounce the wine and/or menu items. Is there a junk food awards? No, there is not. They are awards given for excellence, not mass fucking appeal. Unless it's something like the Grammies.

As for the Narnia crack it probably helped that Narnia, like The Passion of the Christ, was helped along nicely by pulpitorials from the churches encouraging the faithful to attend because the Narnia story is a loose Christian allegory. Very loose. No talking lions in the bible. But there is sacrifice.

And witches and fantasy creatures. In fact I still find it odd it was spruiked by the megachurches when the appearance of creatures from myth and legendin films and books such as in Harry Potter or Dungeons and Dragons gets routinely blasted by the good church people (some of them mind) as fodder unfit for young WWJD focussed minds.

Any way, I digress.

The salaries. I am too often outraged by enormous sums paid over to people that seem far beyond the pale. But guess what Miranda? This is your precious market forces at work. They get paid this because this is what the market deems they get paid. All part and parcel for being a piece of the movie industry in the top ranks. I'm sure you don't get a pittance for your minor rumblings on the right and that you don't give it all away in some sort of 'Come on Down Charities - I'm Crazy' sale at your place.

Yes some of them deck their halls with boughs of money but many of them also get down and dirty with causes or are concerned with the plight of others. Fundraisers, speaking out, actually pitching in and doing something about the wrong in society, many top of the line entertainers do exactly that. And they put their money where their mouth is. Not all of it. Since there's not many hair shirted rich people out there who live in a fibro shack and give it all away. Especially not on the right where Miranda hangs out I'll warrant.

I cheered when George Clooney stated his pride in being a small L liberal. In being part of those who will be on the right side of history. Unlike the carping Miranda Devine, presumably sitting at home with popcorn on her grannie PJs hissing corn bits out her teeth when Jon Stewart stuck it to the man.

And guess what Miranda. The Daily Show is not an obscure cable show. It's huge in the states, especially amongst the 46% of people who did not vote for Bush. It mixes humour and politics and slays the dragons of the right like the lawyer shooting Cheney night after night. In short it fucking rawks.

Unlike the dribbly bits of poo you occassionally burble out in the SMH. Of course, that's my opinion. And I for one am glad you are writing in the SMH. Because it reminds me that there are people out there who are like you, and think the way you do. People to be pitied, not admired.

Again, that's my opinion. Like you have yours.

Aren't opinions fun?

Jovicic home at last

Robert Jovicic as you may remember was deported on character grounds under orders of the greyman of politics Phillip 'sold-my-soul' Ruddock. Jovicic was a petty thief with numerous convictions who came here as a baby and is to all intents and purposes an Australian. Except he didn't take out citizenship as at the time he assumed he was a citizen. Ruddock had him deported to his 'native' Serbia where Jovicic was unable to speak the language or legally get a job.

It took two years and lobbying from his sister but he made it home. Under what status is still to be determined.

Here's the SMH story link

My hat goes off to Amanda Vanstone. Of all the Liberals in federal parliament I have a grudging respect for her. All the DIMIA crap happened on Ruddock's watch and she was left to carry the can. She's a pragmatist but she's got a sense of humour and she has a spark of compassion. She's still with the wrong party though.

Of course it depends on what status exactly Mr Jovicic ends up with, but for now, a tentative well done to Vanstone on this one.

And while I am at it, some of you may recall my utter and continued disgust with countries that practice the death penalty - specifically of the ngyuen case in Singapore.

Well recently Vietnam apparently commuted the sentence of an Aussie under the death penalty in that country, after obbying by the Australian government. See the SMH article here

So kudos to those in government, politicians and public servants alike, who worked on this issue.

Of course this story didn't make front page news, nor was it publically commentated on at length by the government. I suspect the reason being political since those on the right tend to favour brutal punishments over those on the left. That may of course be the leftie cynic in me talking.

Animal Cruelty ...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rule One, No Pooftahs

Ah America. Land of the free, home of the brave, and only ever occassionally sullied with the odd mincing cowboy fagging up their pristine heterosexuals only mountain country.

American Idol runner up Clay Aiken, a seemingly clean cut Christian youth, has been enjoying a burst of fame with his Pat Boone cardigan clad like recordings of wholesome non gayness and praising of God.

Except recently he got outed. Now Clay has yet to agree he is one of those nasty shirt lifters that God will undoubtedly smite even though he created him like that, but it seems the 'Claymates' who adored him god style have gotten rather upset. See the SMH article here.

Naturally, it involves planning for a lawsuit. How, might you ask, could they sue? Well, this is America and apparently Clay is not a person, but a product.

Aiken's former fans have drawn their own conclusions. In a statement, they said: "As consumers, we feel ripped off. It is obvious now that the private Clay is very different from the manufactured, packaged Clay that was marketed to us … This is tantamount to a manufacturer concealing information about a defective product. Therefore these actions were unfair and deceptive to consumers."

I don't know why they're surprised. I mean it's not like homosexuals ashamed of their cursed and un-natural state have not gone hidden amongst us like a sodomite wolf in sheep's clothing before.

But I do take solace that even with an outing, there is a space for Clay in the US of A. As can be seen in the opening verse of America, The Beautiful

"Oh beautiful, for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."

See, "fruited plain". So as long as he hangs around in the mid-west, he'll be okay.

Ghandi's Seven Social Sins

Look I know quoting Ghandi is about as leftist as you can get without waving a small red phrase book around with 'Life's Little Revolution Instructions' scribed within its tiny pages.

But this is cool.

The SMH ran an article on Howard's recent visit to India. Cue article reference here

The article was by Louise Dodson who, from my years of reading SMH as my preferred broadheet of choice, I have determined is just fuck off awesome.

Here's the relevant snippet.

On the first day of his visit to India, Mr Howard and his wife, Janette, visited Gandhi's tomb to throw flower petals over it.

After the ceremony Mr Howard was handed a scroll of Gandhi's writings that were also engraved in a nearby wall.

Written in 1925, Gandhi listed what he regarded as the "seven social sins". Top of the list was "politics without principle". They included others such as "wealth without work", "commerce without morality" and "science without humanity". Mr Howard accepted the scroll and no doubt will study it later.

Anyway, I was curious, and went and found the seven social sins.

  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice
Neato. I know these should appear on a poster featuring a struggling cat with the slogan 'hang in there', but even so. I like them a lot. If I was a voter I would expect a political party would likely try and adhere to these as general guidelines. After-all is there anything anyone with a heart could disagree with? I'd say not.

Wait, I forgot. We're talking about John Howard ...

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Sci Fi nerds will know this actor best from the Joss Whedon classic Serenity (is it too early to use the term classic? I think not, it rawked).

Ejiofor played 'The Operative', an uber pragmatic ninja-esq counter intelligence agent with no other name sent to track down a psychically gifted young miss named River. It's a long story. Go see the movie. Better yet, buy the movie and the precussor seriesd Firefly so more of these get made.

The Operative was a cool character, who did evil that was apparently needed. A classic definition of 'ends justify the means.' Much like US foreign policy under almost every Republican government.

Except of course the ends didn't justify the means.

Anyway, the wife and I went and saw Kinky Boots, a light frothy working class comedy from the UK about an ailing shoe factory that switched to trannie wear to stay afloat. One of the main characters was Simon aka Lola, a transvestite with a rich voice who did classic show tunes out of a transvestite bar and whose opinion on tran wear was required to kink up said boots.

The character was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. It took until the end of the film to realise it was him, and an IMDB check to confirm it.

Fuck me if Chiwetel Ejiofor can't act. The man is freakin' talented.
And you know what? He made quite a reasonable transvestite. Still obviously a man, but boy could he carry off wearing thigh high red leather boots (not the ones in the photo - they were the pair that convinced Simon/Lola the shoe factory did not know how to design for the needs of today's she males).

Hooray ! It's working

My wife and I blew our gap trying to download a legit copy of LOST, only to discover it ate 70% of our allowance and was riddled with viruses.

Needless to say, pissed off.

I don't think this is going to work, but, cross fingers...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Difference

This world is an amazingly varied place, with difference working together from the smallest bacteria through to the largest of creatures and trees. Sure, in the animal/plant life this interaction is largely based on one consuming the other, but in society difference is good too. Difference keeps us from being stale, it teaches us new things, and it gives us a choice of delivered food goodies from restaurants of varying cultures. I particularly like Thai food for instance, and love the fact that when I choose to eat in I get to use their fuck off large brass cutlery that appears to be used nowhere else on the planet except in Australian Thai restaurants.

In school however difference was bad. A physical deformity, a mental condition, being fat (and in my case the other two as well) was bad news bears as far as fitting in went. Those marked by difference to the norm had a tough time in school. And, outside of school, while the tough time is no longer as bad, occasionally it's still there.

I was sitting in a plane once with a work colleague and struggling to fit my belt on. I'm not in 'asking the steward/s for an extension belt' territory yet, but not far off, and so I felt I had to apologise for being morbidly obese. He looked at me and said this time honoured and hackneyed phrase, but which for some reason resonated with me that day.

'Mate, it'd be a boring world if we all looked the same.'

He's right of course. Because determining who the cool kids were in school would be made a lot harder for one. They might actually have to base on something like substance as opposed to whether someone was carrying a bit of extra weight. Of course the if you played Dungeons and Dragons or not options is still there to exclude people.

He's right though. It would be a boring old world if we were all the same.

The Howard government does not embrace difference. It embraces sameness. It demands we adhere to 'Australian Values' in one breath, then violates them in the other (like the spirit of egalitarianism or a fair go). It points at those different to us and declares their difference a threat. Be it Muslims as terrorists, aboriginals as land stealers (remember bucket loads of native title extinguishment?), refugees as line jumpers, gays as not fit to legally marry or adopt children, women who elect not to go through with a pregnancy as evil (some of the Large L Libs, some not), and looks down on anyone stupid enough to offer those in chronic pain and in the latter stages of terminal illness a means to exit life while still consciously able to make that choice.

Howard in my mind is like the nerd the cool kids in school adopted as a sort of pet, a mascot if you will, that would caper and prance for their amusement. Like the nerd who recommends the evil Lord of the Flies games the other kids play in Unman, Wittering, and Zigo

To stay in with the cool crowd Howard points at all those who are different and that should be excluded, or mocked, or put upon, or made to feel unwanted. As if he so craves the respect as an equal of the cool kids, even though he is desperately uncool himself, that he's willing to sacrifice his like disabled peers.

Howard is partially deaf, and looking a tad nerdish with a hearing disability in the 50's must have been a living hell. But he managed to leave that behind, and make it where he made it. Surrounded by the same toadying private school nerd beating fuckers that he had to put up with as a kid. Only now he's their 'leader' - for as long as they let him be leader. Coming up with the 'Lord of the Flies' schemes to remain popular with them, and to keep them in power.

Howard preaches home ownership, Australian values, material acquisition, having children for the economy (but making sure the wife stays home), buying shares, owning cars, and looking down on difference as a threat.

I'm 33, and I doubt I will change. I'm not comfortable in new situations, and I've never been overseas as an adult. But I've fortunate to be around some difference in my life, and I've enjoyed it despite my limitations. It opens my eyes to what works and what does not.

And what does not work, and never has, is preaching the idea that somehow one cultural subset of humanity, in this case anglo-celtic christian values, is far superior to any other - and that those other views are a threat to this superior cultural subset. Sure there are aspects of other cultures I'm not comfortable with - like amputation of limbs, or sticking bone through your nose, or cutting the foreskin off (which happened to me - my parents convinced I'd be better off with a helmet in case of future desert warfare).

I'm sure Howard huggers would violently disagree with the idea that Howard promotes this view that sameness good, difference bad, and relies on this view to remain in power. I'm sure they would. But I wonder if they will remember the eve of the 2001 election when Howard stood upon a podium, thumping his slim power walk pumping fist on the lectern, and stated in unequivocal terms, that 'we decide who comes to this country, and the manner in which they come.' The cheering and fawning clapping he received was not for a national security policy. But to support a nationalistic stance of be anglo-celtic in views and values or be not here at all. Their adopted nerd, all growed up, making sure his cool kid mates still know who all the weak and feeble and different from the norm are.

Economies are great things, as I presume owning a house is a grand thing. Economic growth is always preferable to decline (or negative growth for economists), unless I believe it happens at a large cost to environmental or cultural health.

So we as Australians, at least those who voted for Howard's party, have made the choice it seems to me to sacrifice the idea of a better society, where difference is embraced and explored, for one where the economy is all, and that difference is threatening or strange. To point out those different to the majority experience of anglo-celtic Australia, and deem it un-Australian.

Happy 10 years in power anniversary Liberal party. I hope you think at the end of the day your playing divide and conquer on the Australian people, for fostering a mean spiritness where Australians see those in a burka are potential bomb carriers, that refugees are potential terrorists or queue jumpers, or that aboriginals are unfit parents and drunks, was worth it to remain in power. That strutting it up to thugs and the ignorant was a valuable exchange for your time in office.

Because I don't. And when history is once again able to objectively view the past without being accused of distortion of 'black arm bands' they will justly label you for what you are.

Predators of the greedy, fearful, and ignorant.

Cafe Menus

About three years ago, well at least that's when I noticed it, cafe menus went from dollar and two decimal places to dollar and one decimal place.

Eg Instead of $8.40 for a meal, it became 8.4. They even left the dollar ($) sign off, lest presumably they thought it uncouth.

Is this some sort of high brow marketing thing I am unaware of? Are these people suddenly selling a higher order of food and drink because they shaved signs and points off their menus? Do they not believe in the sanctity of the five cent piece?

Do they think I am going to take a seat, crack open a menu and decide that 'hmmm, no second decimal place, I'm going to come here all the time!'

You know, I bet they did.