Monday, June 30, 2008

Breaking news from the weeekend

*National Party candidate holds safe National Party seat of Gippsland. Dennis confidentially predicts the triumphant return of The Rodent.

*Fat, smug self-promoter Les Twentyman fails to win safe Labor Party seat of Kororoit. Much rejoicing at Lenin House. Mrs Insertnamehere sums up Mr Twentyman as "a stupid dickhead".

*Return of Doctor Who. Kylie Minogue fails to sing and later falls to painful death. Further rejoicing at Lenin House.

* Cat described as "moody, depressed".

Friday, June 27, 2008

One possible reason why the "left" is silent on Zimbabwe.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez getting chummy with Robert Mugabe, October 2005

Most of my comrades on the hard left usually have a ready answer to the world’s ills.

“Palestinians good/Jews bad, nationalise stuff, troops out now”; the sort of stuff they can rattle off the tops of their heads, no thought required.

Mention Zimbabwe, however, and the reaction is a nervous foot-shuffling and sudden desire to be elsewhere.

This is because Zimbabwe is a bit of a tricky one for the comrades. They can’t blame the Jews, they can’t blame the US or UK governments (although some of them do give it a fair old crack), they can’t even blame the Mainstream Media.

Bugger, eh!

Best to say nothing then, since the alternative might be to analysis the situation in a way free of cliché and rhetoric and we can’t be having that.

The net result is that we have an issue the maddies would normally be slobbering over; a brutal dictator oppressing his people, a crisis that could fuck over destabilise all of southern Africa, heroic trade unions in South Africa refusing to supply a ship carrying weapons to said brutal dictator and we hear not a word.

Not a demo, not a chant, not an online petition.

Not even a word from that vile Leninist cunt Jeff Sparrow

They just can’t bring themselves to criticise a man who calls himself “Comrade Mugabe”.

Good to see the spirit of aligning yourself with any fuckwit, as long as they spout the right clichés, lives on.

Incidentally, it was George Orwell’s birthday this week (25 June 1903).

I can’t imagine he would have stayed silent.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ten things you must do before you die.

Anytime when the editors of any glossy magazine are running a bit short of copy, they start casting around for something - anything - to fill a page.

Sadly, this often results in some high-profile putz writing something like "ten things you must do before you die" or somesuch nonsense.

This is usually a list of staggering pretension, such as climbing a mountain in Africa or hiking around some lake in Eastern Europe.

Well, fuck that.

Who has the time, money or inclination to do anything of the sort? Yet we're asked to believe that our lives are in some way poorer for not ticking off this list.

So, in the interest of the time-poor, pizza-rich readers of TSFKA, I present the Ramon Insertnamehere piss-easy;


1. Drink a nice cup of tea.

2. Get out of bed before noon.

3. Eat a chicken sandwich*.

4. Call someone an "oleaginous cunt" to their face.

5. Go into a pub and order a "black and tan". You don't have to drink it. You can just sit there and look at it.

6. Stare moodily out of a window.

7. Ring the speaking clock.

8. Hum.

9. Wear sensible shoes.

10. Pick a cat up and turn it around so it's facing the opposite way. The look of baffled fury on their furry faces is priceless.

Please, there's no need to thank me.

* If you're a vegetarian, eat a toasted cheese sandwich**

** I don't know what to do if you're a vegan. Eat a chick-pea sandwich or whatever the hell you people eat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So, it’s goodnight Irene for The Australian Democrats. It’s a shame. I mean, one-legged vegan bisexuals and drunken Goths aside, once upon a time, say, late 80's and early 90’s, the balance of power in the Senate was in reasonably good hands. From Don Chipp to the brilliant Janine Haines to beard-lovin’ Cheryl Kernot, the Dems’ mantra of ‘keeping the bastards honest’ was fundamentally noble, and they stuck to it as best they could.

There was much to like about them. When holding decent numbers in the Upper House they were vigorous in fighting for concessions on any bill that seemed unfair to any reasonable thinker (though this backfired on them when Meg Lees went all retarded and shit on the GST), but they were never stupid enough to totally block supply. There was a country to run, and they were just sitting there with 10% of the numbers, representing the 10% of us that voted them in. There's a bit to be said about proportional representation, and indeed, Stottster said in Parliament yesterday, "We have achieved a great deal, we've changed the political landscape for the better, transforming the Senate from a house of the living dead to a genuine house of review." In their final hour, give them that spot in history.

They did my vote proud, unlike Bob Brown who got my vote two elections ago then pissed on that vote by turning his back like an 8 year-old baby on the President of the USA. Yo Bob, I voted for you to speak on my behalf, not not speak.

Now who’ve we got as a ‘third voice’? Well, there’s the Nationals, but they’re just a federal faction of the Libs. The Greens? Family Fucking First? Nope, they’re all shit, and all we can hope is that traditional argey-bargey between emotionally corrupt ALP factions will keep the machine in-check. Kind of like Nietzsche's notion of Dionysus pulling one way and Apollo pulling the other and the tension between the two is life. Unions pull one way, the chatterers pull the other, the tension between the two is ALP policy.

The Australian Democrats were almost perfect in theory. Not left, not right, just decent. But as a mathematician once told me, “In theory, theory and practise are the same. In practise, they are not.”

Vale, The Australian Democrats.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thank you for not kvetching

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” Oscar Wilde.

Everyday when I pass that Quiline ad that asks you “Do you want to stop smoking?” I have to answer – no, not really.

Yes, yes, yes, I know all the arguments, the facts, the figures but fuck, I love smoking.

I love everything about it. Getting the cigarette paper out of its little packet, opening the pouch of tobacco, rolling the smoke, lighting up.

Just the act of rolling the ciggie calms and soothes me. I find it relaxing, like counting on a rosary or chanting – not that I’ve done much of either recently, I admit.

If I’m wrestling with a difficult media release or groping to find the right words, I walk outside, have a ciggie and everything seems to fall into place.

I smoke outside, I don’t smoke near other people (apart from other smokers), I don’t smoke on the street and I don’t smoke near The Boy.

I also have private health insurance, so you can cut out the old “drain on the public health system” shtick.

In the end, you can no more legislate for wisdom than you can for virtue – despite what my old chum Maximilien Robespierre might believe.

Smoking – it’s grouse.

The hacking cough is a bit of a worry, though.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Frank's Wild Years

Frank settled down in the Valley
and he hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife's forehead
He sold used office furniture out there on San Fernando Road
and assumed a 30,000 dollar loan at fifteen and a quarter percent
put a down payment on a little two bedroom place

His wife was a spent piece of used jet trash
Made good Bloody Mary's
Kept her mouth shut most of the time
Had a little Chihuahua named Carlos
that had some kind of skin disease
and was totally blind

They had a thoroughly modern kitchen
Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit
Frank drove a little sedan
They were so happy

One night Frank was on his way home from work
He stopped at the liquor store
Picked up a couple of Mickey's Big Mouths
Drank 'em in the car, and with a Shell station
he got a gallon of gas in a can
Drove home, doused everything in the house
Torched it
Parked across the street laughing
Watching it burn
All Halloween orange and chimney red
Then Frank put on a top forty station
Got on the Hollywood Freeway
and headed North

Never could stand that dog

As a young man, I yearned to write something half as wildly brilliant as that.

After several years, however, I realised I didn’t have the talent and settled down to writing media releases that harm few.

I am indeed lucky I never attended any of the “creating writing” courses that have spread like Patterson’s Curse in recent years across Victoria, convincing the gullible that despite their withering lack of talent all they need to do is “find their inner voice”.


Writing is a skill, like plumbing or taxidermy. With enough training, you can acquire the basics but without talent, you’ll never advance beyond that level.

At least talentless taxidermists have the good grace not to display their wares in public in displays of “performance taxidermy”.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Georges Clemenceau was never called an imbécile

Georges Clemenceau and moustache

French politician Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) was a man of many accomplishments; journalist, physician and twice Prime Minister of France.

But any dispassionate analysis would surely agree his greatest achievement was growing that rockin' walrus moustache.

When I get old, I am so growing a walrus moustache.

I may also affect a French accent and opt for total war against Germany.

I'm sentimental that way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Not Derryn Hinch

When I was 14-15, growing up in Generica (a suburb of Melbourne), Dad would sometimes let me drive his car from the footpath, down the driveway and into the garage. More excitingly, on weekends, I was sometimes allowed to reverse the car out of the garage and out on to the (quiet, small) street. After doing this for a couple of years, I was allowed to drive the car from one house down from ours and turn into our driveway. About 30m. The neighbours would come out and offer me hints, and cheer when I got into the driveway without mounting the gutter. Throughout all this time, I don't think I exceeded 10km per-hour. I didn't get over that speed until I got my Learner's Permit and was under the careful supervision of the RACV.

Today's Age reports that a 4 year-old boy has died after being run over by a 15 year old driving a car, with his father in the passenger seat. Like, on a road.

Forgive me for my knee-jerk reaction without knowing ANY of the real facts. Judge and jury, right here. But, prima facie, I suggest:

The 15 year old should get a slap on the knuckles for being a naughty boy.

The father of the 15 year old should be jailed for at least 25 years for manslaughter, and in jail be subjected weekly to anal rape by obese mongoloids with herpes and questionable hygeine standards.

Thank ya mother for the rabbits.

Distressing article is here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


So, seconds after I posted an hilarious Sarah Silverman invective-laden comedy skit on this site (warning that it was NSFW) I came across an article in The Age detailing a police visit to an art exhibition which is part of the Biennale of Sydney.

The exhibition features work from Australian artist Mike Parr and includes:

* "...footage of Parr sitting in a chair slicing his arm with a blade and holding his index finger over a lit candle until his skin burns"

* More footage of Parr, "...having the flesh on his face stitched with a needle and cotton thread, and vomiting what appears to be blue dye"

* Footage of chickens being beheaded.

Apparently, the art is Parr's "...most daring and demanding performance and explores "trauma and subjectivity", and the curators claim that they are, "poignant artworks where the viewer is confronted with revolting situations"

Parr was born with a mutilated arm. I suggest he was born also with a mutilated brain.

Is this art? Is this what it's all come to? Was Warhol right when he said, "Art is anything you can get away with"? But Jeez, at least Warhol's stuff is great to look at. Even Bill 'Creepazoid' Henson's works display an 'artistry' of sorts, but what Muse in Hell inspires a man (and an Arts Community, funded by Government) to get some old footage of chickens getting their heads chopped off, pressing 'play' on a VHS and calling it 'art'?

Maybe I'm getting old, I don't know. I just like some art with my art, if you know what I mean. I blame all of this, every performance and installation artist and every two-bit writer who is all form and zero meaning on Gertrude Stein. It's all her fault, all of it.

This shit is truly not safe for work, or for life.

The article is here if you're interested.

Swear Words Are Funny

Slow news day.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Canberra press gallery 'pack of nutjobs'.

Over the past fortnight the over-paid sock puppets in the Canberra press gallery* have been working themselves into a lather about the ‘crisis” in the Rudd Labor Government.

Remember them; Fuelgate, Neilgate, Gategate** were all supposed to spell “the end of the honeymoon period for the Rudd Government” with some of the more excitable types speculating that Kruddy might be a “one-term wonder”.

And indeed, all the media noise does seem to have an effect, with the latest Newspoll showing support for the government and Kruddy himself going up.

Two-party support for Labor went up, from 57 to 59 per cent while satisfaction with the Kruddster rose from 56 to 59 per cent.

All the blather, the endless speculation, the mindless re-hashing of the same tired clichés from the gallery has had absolutely no impact. The super-minds in Canberra still seem unable to understand that the punters like Kruddy and they’re prepared to trust him.

The gallery has always been an insular, self-important lot but now they have apparently lost the plot completely.

* I have met a goodish per centage of the gallery over these many years. Many of them are cunts.

** I don’t know if you are aware of Gategate. Apparently there’s a farm gate in Gippsland that’s a bit squeaky. “Half” Nelson has been demanding the government “do something about it. WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE SHEEP”.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Unbearable Triteness of Clam.

When dealing with a truly awful writer like Clam, it’s difficult to know where to start.

Should you begin with the self-indulgent twittering with which she starts all her “reviews”, the mixed metaphors, the sloppy sentence construction, the general air of smug tweeness which hangs over everything she writes or the general impression the entire thing was written by the Cliché-o-matic 3000.

Happily, Clam’s latest supplies all of these elements in one handy review.

True to form, Clam spends the first two pars blathering on about a friend’s birthday party at The Vic bar before lurching into the review proper.

Prizes will be offered to any reader who can work out what the blue hell she’s trying to say in this little example;

Such moments are pretty much par for the course at this friendly Abbotsford institution, whose street-front windows don't necessarily convey the warmth of the interior (from somewhere cosy to hide on a wintry night to the tones of the lighting and the cheerfulness of the staff).

How do “windows convey warmth” let alone the “cheerfulness of the staff”? There's a meaning trying to escape there, like a puppy from under a blanket, but I'm jiggered if I can make it out.

Or this;

Decked out with exposed beams and aged woods and metals, the mood isn't quite barnlike but it's not intensely "rustic" like some of its peers tend to be.

Or this;

The further back in the venue you move, the more relaxed you are - one imagines - expected to become.

You either become more relaxed or you don’t Clam and the simpering “one imagines” sets one’s teeth on edge.

Even a simple sentence like “Wines are available by the glass and a decent collection of beers are also represented” fails to convey anything useful. What wines? How much? What beers” Bottled or on tap?

At the end, the only thing we manage to get from a review of more than 400 words is;
1. It’s a bar,
2. Clam liked it and
3. They’ll pop out and get some coconut milk if required.

Gosh, thanks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why does the Age continue to slobber over Chris Lilley?

One of the more sick-making events in the Australian media over recent months was the Oz’s Dennis Shanahan’s slobbering over John Howard in the lead up to the 2007 election.

I’m sure you remember.

“The ‘little master’ John Howard is set to defy the polls and be returned for a record…

“Oh wait, he’s been tossed out on his arse.


The other was the Age’s slobbering over Chris Lilley.

I’m sure you remember.

“Chris Lilley is a comedy genius. Chris Lilley is the comedy messiah. Anybody who doesn’t like Chris Lilley is a yucky poo-head.”

And on and on it went, especially in the “Green Guide”*.

Now, not content with disgusting us most of last year, the Age is now set to take on the English for their effrontery in not falling to their knees at the shrine of Lilley.

The journo, Lucy Battersby reports in today’s paper;

The ABC production, which was sold to BBC3 in May, premiered on Tuesday night and was watched by 194,000 viewers. While creator and star Chris Lilley was recently awarded Logies for most popular actor and most outstanding comedy, the British reviews suggest new audiences may take a while to warm up to his comic style.

Leaving aside the question why is this in the news section, I’m amused by the line “new audiences may take a while to warm up to his comic style”, suggesting there is no option that the Brits too will fall into line.

Comedy often doesn’t translate well into other countries and the negative reviews do have a point, especially this comment;

"Summer Heights High is a richly detailed and determinedly offensive creation. At the same time, it's a bit too studied, and not as shocking as it wants to be. Nor as funny."

I have no strong feeling about Chris Lilley either way, other than to say Summer Heights High was not the work of transgressive genius the Age wanted it to be.

But cripes Luce, ease up a bit.

*You note - I name no names.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The bravest man you've never heard of

Buy that man a beer

Sometimes, when you’re having a couple of beers with friends and as the sun is going down, someone will ask that old chestnut – “who would you invite to a dinner party, if you could invite anybody in history.”

Up until now my response has always been;

“Nobody because I hate dinner parties and if I had to invite anyone, I’d invite people I know and liked, as opposed to somebody who’s been dead for a couple of centuries. Oh, you’d invite Joan of Arc – suddenly become fluent in mediaeval French, have you?”

But now I’ve given it a bit of though and if my German could ever miraculously expand beyond asking for a beer and inquiring where the toilet was, I’d like to invite Otto Wels.

Who, what, where, what the fuck, I hear you cry. Who is Otto Wels.

I’m glad you asked..

Otto Wels was the leader of the Social Democratic Party in the German Parliament in 1933, when the vote on the Enabling Act – the piece of legislation establishing the Nazi dictatorship – came.

Wels lead the 93 other SPD MPs through lines of jeering, violent Nazi Party members. While speaking, guns were aimed from at public gallery at Wels’ head, for fuck’s sake, yet he could still get to his feet and say this

At this historic hour, we German Social Democrats pledge ourselves to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and Socialism. No Enabling Law can give you the power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible ... From this new persecution too German Social Democracy can draw new strength. We send greetings to the persecuted and oppressed. We greet our friends in the Reich. Their steadfastness and loyalty deserve admiration. The courage with which they maintain their convictions and their unbroken confidence guarantee a brighter future.

Looking directly at Hitler, Wels proclaimed, "You can take our lives and our freedom, but you cannot take our honour".

With those words, the SPD voted against the Bill, the only party to do so (the Community Party of Germany having already been banned) and left the Reichstag – many of them to imprisonment and death in concentration camps.

I think anybody who can do that deserves a couple of beers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MMR is safe. Get over it.

Being the father of a young child, this article in today’s Oz had me walking around the office, spluttering in rage and wanting to punch hippies.

The Oz states

Increasing numbers of upper-middle-class parents are opting out of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine because of fears over a link to autism.

Although the link remains unproved, autism cases are continuing to rise - the rate in the US is about one in every 150 eight-year-old children

I’d actually quibble with the paper’s slant on this slightly; rather than “the link remaining unproven”, it would be more accurate to say “there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism” but that’s a small matter.

It’s not as though The Boy is at any risk, he’s had his MMR shots with no adverse affect. I’m angry because this approach is based on quack science that can put the lives of children at risk – at risk from a virus that can prevented with a proven, safe and simple series of injections, offered free at any Maternal and Child Health centre across Victoria.

You may say “Ramon, you grumpy old Marxist, surely parents should have the final say about the medical treatment their child receives”.

The answer is, yes, well, up to a point.

The more children who are not immunised against the measles virus, the greater the chance that it could be passed onto a child who has not yet received the MMR vaccine.

These people not just putting their own children at risk, they’re putting at risk any child under six months they may come in contact with.

To repeat, there is no scientifically proven link between the MMR vaccine and autism, as medical journalist and doctor Ben Goldacre noted as long ago as 2003.

If you want to bypass MMR, fine – be my guest.

But don’t come crying to me when your child dies or is crippled for life because of a decision you made.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Go away, David Williamson.

Australia’s tallest and most ponderous male playwright, David Williamson, is all over the media like a bad fungal infection to announce his earlier statement with regard to his retirement was erroneous and he’s back with another play.

To which, the universal response must be – who gives a fat rat’s.

Dave-o produced some classics of the Australian stage, Don’s Party, The Removalists, which are still performed today. He then tarnished his reputation over the next twenty years or so by producing a string of stinkers; Sons of Cain, Soulmates, Influence, Amigos, Face to Face, The Great Man, that have rightly sunk without trace.

The other question is why on earth is why The Age producing not one but two puff pieces about this non-event?

My suspicion is that the paper has given up trying to attract younger readers, apart from some half-arsed blogs and is instead concentrating on the dwindling collection of ageing, cashed-up baby-boomers.

It would also explain the Age’s continuing fascination with that other talentless cunt, Barry Humphries.

The reality is Williamson will continue to churn out his mostly harmless, middle-brow shtick for theatre companies like MTC and STC, edging out more dangerous work from younger playwrights – so that's a positive.

And any development which means less work for Australia’s second-worst playwright, Hannie Rayson, is also to be welcomed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bo Diddley is dead. R.I.P.


I am genuinely sad that one of my favourite musicians, Bo Diddley died today. A great guitarist with a fantastic stage presence. I was lucky enough to see him a couple of times when he came to Australia and he was a great inspiration to lots of young men with not quite enough talent to bang out three chords (when one would do). And after all, any musician whose band included a full-time maraca player (the late, great Jerome Green) - an inspiration to any half-decent singer who needed some kind of prop on stage - can't be all bad.

The usual eulogies will tell you of the influence he had on Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, The Clash, U2 and so forth. But sadly, there is a black mark that blots the otherwise spotless escutcheon of Bo Diddley, namely Craig McLachlan and his 'band' Check 1-2 who stumbled their way through a play-in-a-day version of Bo Diddley's 'Mona'

But on the other hand, to counterpoint the ridiculous with the sublime, Bo Diddley also influenced arguably the greatest English R&B star of the 1960s, Bo Dudley. Below is a clip of the reclusive singer performing at the London jazz club 'La Maison Sophisticee' circa 1966. Enjoy.

MP Jason's Wood

So he made a mistake and said 'orgasm' instead of 'organism'. Why is this such big news? Who cares?

P.S. Since I'm sure you're all dying to read my obviously spectacular contributions to this site, I just thought I'd let you know I have final exams this week and next, so I guess you'll just have to wait for your fix of boring nonsense.