Thursday, July 31, 2008

A story that's got the lot

Every now and then you read a story in the media that ticks all the boxes for a great news story: exotic location, bizarre occurrence, danger and crime. This story from the Northern Territory News is the 'complete package', involving masturbation, dangerous driving, drugs and firearms in the Northern Territory. Nothing out of the ordinary for the Territory I hear you say.

NT news

But it has definitely livened up my slow news day.

P.S. Love the headline from the NT News

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bloop, bloop, bloop - another one bites the dust.


Don Smallgoods was founded in 1940-something by the very successful butcher / abattoir owner, RJ Gilberston (some of our older readers may remember his chain of butcher outlets). Named after his beloved football team and suburb (Essendon), he changed the menus of ‘ordinary working families’ (c) K. Rudd.

Who hasn’t been to a party where Don kabana, stras, salami or frankfurts were served? Amongst Australian readers, I assume none. Before old RJ founded the smallgoods manufacturer, processed cured meat was, just like soccer, garlic and spaghetti, for ‘wogs’, but he put thinly sliced strasbourg on the everyman's plate (next to the Coon cheese squares and those sickeningly sweet green cocktail onions).

Cut forward 60 years later to today, where the current owners of the brand, George Weston Foods Limited, have announced that 620 people (many of which do not speak English) have lost their jobs. Of course, marketing and HR departments get to keep their jobs, but the manufacture of the smallgoods looks like it’ll head off-shore.

They have promised to offer the sacked workers, “transition program employment assistance” – I speak English fluently and I don’t have any idea what that means, so god help their migrant workforce.

“They were incredibly sad and disappointed that this is the decision that's been made and we took them through the reasons for the decision," he (Don Sutton CEO) said. Mr Sutton said Don Smallgoods had suffered about $80 million in losses over the past nine years ...

If that’s the magnitude of the financial loss then yeah, that’s what has to be done, and I feel genuine pity for the workers. But the reason why I’m posting on this dry corporate matter is because I know a bit about this joint.

Here’s my version of events. RJ Gilbertson founded a top quality company and it was highly profitable. His descendants largely hate each other’s guts and the company got bundled up in the 80’s and sold off in bits because greed was good back then and none of the family could get along properly. History is full of examples of families falling apart when money gets involved. You want your grandchildren to all get along like kissing cousins? Well, if you’re a millionaire businessman leaving your company to your children, I tell you, no fucking chance.

Some of them still live handsomely on the proceeds of the sale but the company itself has gone down the drain because large multi-national companies quite often have no idea how to run a boutique family business which should not have been sold in the first place. Much of a company’s equity exists in the ether and can only be understood by people who personally care about the product and helped build the company.
The Gilberston name is still revered in Essendon - at the club, and throughout the streets, but old RJ, who by all accounts was a top bloke, is turning in his grave tonight.

I’m not a knocker of modern society. I think the world, despite pollution, gets better year by year. But one thing modern society can’t seem to handle is ‘family businesses’. Another Aussie icon bites the dust.

Is Don, Is Broke.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Hate Collingwood


Most employees in the free-world are able to quit their job and take another job if that's what they want to do. That's how the labour market works. Work needs to be done, employers seek out the best people to do this work, and the workers themselves in turn negotiate a price for their services. Sport is no different.


Sonny Bill Williams is a rugby player and is most famous (to AFL tragics such as myself) as 'that rugby player who shagged the triathlete in the public toilet'. Apparently, he is a very good rugby player though. So good in fact that a French Rugby Union team offered him more money than that he was earning in the NRL to play in France with them.


He did what most people would do. He quit his job and went to another.


He is now being sued by both his NRL team and the NRL itself for 'breach of contract'.


This is akin to an air hostess quitting Qantas to take a better job with Air France, then being sued by both Qantas and The Australian Civil Aviation Authority.


The NRL and the Canterbury Bulldogs need to get over themselves and deal with their loss, and quick smart, because as reported today, Williams' defence is frightening. He is counter-claiming that the NRL salary cap is inherently unfair and a restriction of trade. It's frightening because it's true - we all know it's true, but in order for sporting codes to remain interestingly even we choose to keep our heads in the legal sand.


The salary cap, like 'the head' in AFL, is sacrosanct.


If the NRL pursue this and the salary cap is tested in the courts and found to be a restriction of trade and thusly demolished, there can only be one result. Powerful teams with more access to sponsor money will then be able to afford all the best players and we'll end up with two or three powerhouses (a la English Premier League) and all the other teams will just make up the numbers.


And we all know in Victoria what that means. Collingwood will be unbeatable, and Eddie Maguire will become President of the Universe.


When the NRL are forced to give evidence at the hearing, I hope they turn to the judge and say, "Your honour, the salary cap may be restriction of trade, but in the name of all things holy, consider this image (above). We rest our case."




Politics for the under-fives

The other night, The Boy woke at three in the morning, grumpy and wanting Daddy to sing him a song.

Which led in turn to the following conversation.

Mrs Insertnamehere: “Sing him a song Ramon, so we can all go back to bed.”

Me: “Well, I can’t think of any kids’ songs at the mo…”

Mrs Insertnamehere: “For God’s sake, just sing him anything”

So I sang him Bandiera Rossa, the marching song of the Italian left.

He loved it. I had to sing it three times and now he wants it every night before bed.

I just hope his Italian babysitter isn’t a supporter of fascism.

In other news, Melbourne radio “personality” Helen Razer has just turned 40 and to celebrate has created a blog of such startling vacuousness that I feel obliged to report said blog.

I have long despised Ms Razer, both for the utter shite she’s ground out over the years and for the fact that her ground-breaking work has given other “writers” (hi Clam!) the idea that stream of consciousness, self-centered babbling is somehow acceptable.

Next week, Helen talks about her appointment with the cosmetic surgeon.

Given that, to date, she has received zero (0) comments, I suspect very few give a flying fuck.

Monday, July 28, 2008

That's just what they want you to think!

The other day, while strolling through the city on my way to lunch, I came across two spittle-flecked nutters shouting for an inquiry into “the truth behind the 9/11 conspiracy”.

I was tempted to ask them the fairly obvious question of why would the Australian Government would conduct an inquiry into an event that happened in another country, but somehow I don’t think they would have appreciated my unique brand of gentle whimsy.

My take on the 9/11 conspiracy theories is probably best summarised by Charlie Brooker writing in the Guardian some weeks ago, particularly this passage

The glaring problem - and it's glaring in 6,000 watt neon, so vivid and intense you can see it from space with your eyes glued shut - is that with any 9/11 conspiracy theory you care to babble can be summed up in one word: paperwork.

Quite so.

My years working in the Ministry of Truth have taught me bureaucrats generate two things in vast, astonishing amounts; paperwork and meetings.

To organise something along the lines on the 9/11 attacks would require a small army of bureaucrats and yet not one conspiracy theorist has been able to produce a single email, briefing paper or agenda minutes from the “Sinister Committee to dominate the World”.

Historically, conspiracy theories tended to be more common on the right side of politics; with Catholics blaming Freemasons, socialists and the Jews while Protestants blaming Catholics, foreigners and the Jews.

Now of course the left are busily producing their own conspiracy theories, with the finger being pointed at George Bush, Neocons and…errr…the Jews.

Gee, those Jews must be busy as.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What! What?

I think the only sensible reaction to this story from New Zealand is to say "oh, for fuck's sake".

Aunty reports

A New Zealand judge has ordered that the parents of an eight-year-old girl change her name, saying it is highly embarrassing and makes the child a target for ridicule.

The girl, who lives in New Plymouth on the west coast of the north island, is named "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii".

The Family court was told that the child is so mortified she has not told any of her friends her real name.

"Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii"?. And I thought Kate Langebroke was a stupid bint* for calling her son "Lewis" when his surname was Lewis.

The report continues

Judge Murfitt says he is appalled by the judgement of some parents.

He says in New Zealand there are children called Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence.

I'm just so glad I gave The Boy the plain, simple name of "Everybody who votes Liberal or Green is a moron who deserves to be killed".

We call him "Killer" for short.

* Now I just think she's a stupid bint.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

People, eh!

Something happened on my train carriage coming into work this morning which set me thinking.

The carriage was crowded as you would expect for the morning peak when a young Asian woman, probably in her early twenties, cried out in some distress and collapsed. Somebody pushed the alarm button and the train stopped at Croxton station.

Passengers carried her semi-conscious onto the platform and put her in the recovery position, while the train driver called an ambulance. I took my overcoat off so she could use it as a pillow but somebody else placed their handbag under the young woman’s head. Somebody offered her their water bottle; somebody checked her pulse while another held her hand until the ambulance came.

The question is, why did we do all these things for a complete stranger? The ambulance was on its way, we could have, in all conscience, left her on the platform yet we all understood such a thing would be unthinkable.

It was an ordinary train carriage; old, young, middle aged, blue collar, white collar passengers. Would we have behaved any differently if we lived in a society where death and disease were common? Or is the principle of empathy universal in all human societies?

And then you read something like this.

It’s got me buggered.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Right through the hey-diddle-diddle.

Last Saturday I was staring out the window at Lenin House, watching the rain lash down and trees blowing in the howling gale, and thought “time to take The Boy to his first footy match”.

So we rugged up and off we went to the local oval to watch the Northern Bullants play the Box Hill Hawks.

The Boy seemed to enjoy himself. True, he spent most of the time looking for interesting looking sticks to add to his interesting stick collection or trying to find girls to talk to, but he quite liked going onto the ground at quarter and half time to kick the football we brought along.

The interesting thing was that, despite me not having gone to a match since 1984 and having little to no interest in AFL, I found myself muttering “kick it, kick it you goose. Down the middle you clown, why are you farting around on the wings”.

Some things never leave us, it seems.

Monday, July 21, 2008

WYD ends - huzzah

Pope grabs drive-through snack on way to airport - more at 6

Captions anyone?


(Image courteously ripped off from ABC news - thanks Aunty xx - original article here)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pope reveals "I'm a huge Titanic fan".

My heart vill gooooooo onnnnnn

Journalists covering the visit of Pope Benedict to Australia were startled when the pontiff acted out parts of the film Titanic while cruising on Sydney harbour yesterday.

“I’ve always loved that film” the 81 year old Pope told journalists, before moving to the bow of the yacht and performing the “King of the World” scene from Titanic.

“And when Leonardo DiCaprio dies, I tear up everytime” Pope Benedict added.

A papal spokesman commented “Oh God, this shit again” before sitting down and having a nice cup of tea.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The day I endured Alison Stephenson

Hi all. I went to see a movie the other day. I didn't like it. It was dark and scary, whereas I like bright and happy kids' movies. Some parents who subjected their underage brats to it agreed. The end.

Don't like my movie reviews? Well feck you all, because it seems this standard is sufficient to get a gig writing for news.com, if Alison Stephenson's movie reviews are any indication.

Paid by her employer to attend the first Australian viewing of The Dark Knight, Alison gives us her imaginatively titled The day I endured the Dark Knight. Forboding an execrable, overhyped yawn-fest of a film, Alison instead spends most of the review telling us how much she dislikes scary movies, clowns, blood tests, superhero movies, dark themes, and sleeps with a night light after watching disturbing thrillers like Play School.

She doesn't fill us in on things like plot, character portrayal, subtext or potential for enjoyment by its intended audience, but apparently all those things are by-the-by for a movie review. First person impressions and subjective opinions are all that count.

She then caps it off with a quote from Sydney mother Laurina who took her 8 year old along to see it, was 'highly disturbed by the violent scenes' and spent much of the time covering her son's eyes, as an example of audience reaction. Why any parent would take such a young child along to an M-rated film described in most media reports as dark themed and psychologically disturbing is beyond me, but apparently such twits somehow represent TDK's intended audience.

I'd like to see The Dark Knight in the cinemas, but probably will never get the chance, since I really can't justify $60 in child-minding fees just to see a film, now matter how many good reviews it gets. And unlike Laurina, I understand what 'M' in the OFLC ratings system means, so won't be dragging my 8 year olds along to it. So suck it up Alison Stephenson. You got to see it on work time, paid for by your employer. Next time palm the assignment off to an appreciative colleague with above primary school level communication skills, and reserve the next Care Bears review assignment for yourself, you talentless git.

I give Alison Stephenson's effort a 7 on the International Clem Bastow Scale* for lazy, uninformative, self-absorbed reviewing.


* Abbreviated to ICBS - note that it ends with BS, which is kind of appropriate, when you think about it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Exclusive to TSFKA - Forthcoming Pope SMSs



  • menstr8ing wimmen r unclean
  • jews r going 2 hell 4 killing Xt
  • god h8s fagz, lol
  • unmarried sex, wtf?
  • god sez 2 cum inside ur dead bro's wife's vag 4 real*
  • pentecostals r n00bs
  • word, mary is da shiz
  • grrl priests, LMFAO
  • 7th day adventists, LMFAO
  • yo sexual abuse victims, brb
  • 4 sexy talk call 1800 xtremepell

* Genesis 38: 1-11




Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's cookin', average lookin'.

Yum!


As a leading figure in the blogging community*, I often receive emails from people anxious for my words of wisdom**.

“Ramon”, they say “how can we lead a good life? How do I get girls to like me? What’s the secret to the perfect roast chicken?”

To which I reply – vote Labor, good luck with that and good quality stuffing***.

I prefer to make my own stuffing and in the interest of boosting meat consumption I offer this recipe which will make even the toughest bird a feast for mind and stomach.

You will need;
One cup of chopped parsley,
Two cups of breadcrumbs,
A teaspoon of mixed herbs (I like to use sage and thyme)
Salt and pepper,
30 grams of melted butter,
One beaten egg,
One chopped onion and
One bottle of Coopers Sparking Ale.

Mix everything except the Coopers in a bowl and spoon it into the chicken (it helps if the chicken is dead). This will make enough stuffing for several chickens, so I like to put the remainder into a clean plastic bag and pop it into the freezer, where it will keep quite nicely.

Pour the Coopers into a glass and drink.

Some people like to put additional salt, pepper, butter and thyme onto the chook before popping it into a moderate to hot oven.

Part cook the potatoes before putting them into the roasting pan with the chicken and cover with a good quality olive oil.

There you have it. Roast chicken and potatoes, done to a turn..

* This is a lie.
** This is also a lie.
*** Some people might say this is also the answer to question two but I have no time for that sort of smut. Good day, sir.

UPDATE

Shit, I forgot. You also need to add the grated zest of one lemon.

The lemon is important.

It adds an extra level of yumminess.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bye bye, Big Bogan.

Well Big Brother has finally been given the arse.

It’s customary to start these sort of things by saying “the axing of Big Brother fills me with mixed emotions” or some such bollocks.

Not in my case, of course.

On the rare occasion I actually saw the programme, it filled me with hatred and revulsion. It was a celebration of everything mean-spirited, venal and odious in the human condition, populated by the sort of buffoons I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire, let alone spend my precious time watching.

In keeping with the spirit of the original Big Brother, I’d strap a cage full of live rats to all of their faces.

Except for Kyle. I’d shove a live rat up his rectum and lock him in a room filled with hungry cats.

I supposed we can now look forward to an unlimited number of cultural studies students doing their PhDs on “Being and nothingness in Big Brother; A post colonial deconstruction”.

Big Brother was also responsible for launching the howling mediocrity that is Ausculture Jess on an unsuspecting world. For this crime alone, there can be no forgiveness.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Hartcher

I resisted the urge to do an entire post lauding the benefits of Louboutins, and instead thought I would share with you a secret.

I think I heart Peter Hartcher.
I love his articles in the SMH, and frankly he just looks sort of hott.

We all know of Wari's infatuation with Julia Gillard, so who else has a "wrong crush"?

Homework

(I'm only putting these stupid posts up until Ramon perks up and Boogey actually bothers to post again).

If I was an L-Z list celebrity and was forced to appear in Brand Power or Zoot advertisements, I like to think I wouldn’t sell-out totally. I like to think that I would only advertise shit that I admire and personally use and therefore I'd only appear in advertisements for products that have never failed me. There’s one for me that’s a stand out… Exit Mould.

“Hi, I’m Perseus Q here to tell you about Exit Mould. I don’t know what’s in it... I don’t even want to know what’s in it ‘cos I’m sure it’s stacked with toxic carcinogens that muddy your brains, poison your house and pollute the galaxy. But, sure as Hell is hot, you spray this shit on your gunky tiles in the bathroom, go have a cigarette and a double-shot long macchiato at that cafĂ© where the waitresses all have great boobs, come back, and fuck me, your bathroom looks like it’s from Vogue Fucking Living. Fairdinkum, I nearly jizz my pants every time. Choose Exit Mould, cunts”

If you could be bothered, please write your own spiel for your favourite product.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Questions that keep me awake at night

1. I have an electric heater that uses 'energy' and a wood fire that uses 'trees'. Which is the better 'green' option?

2. How do I do roast pork so that the crackling is marvellously crackly but the meat is soft and juicy?

3. Why aren't we all driving solar cars yet?

4. Do you all have friends that claimed to hate Howard but you suspect they secretly voted for him time and time again (except the last time)?

5. Why would anyone pay $500 to see Meatloaf perform at Melbourne Park?

6. What's wrong with rubber-necking at a crash site? I figure if it's held me up in traffic for so long, I deserve at least a gawk at what happened. Why does Jon Faine get so angry about it?

7. Why is Wendy Harmer doing the morning show?

8. Where's Stubbadub? He's doing an Atari. Opens a site then pisses off to god knows where.

9. I know IKEA is disgusting, so why do I keep going back?

10. Who actually goes to modern dance performances?

*

Please answer at least one.
Thank you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wil Anderson does not exist!

For some time, the whole “Wil Anderson” issue has been troubling me.

What is it about him that sends me into such spasms of rage* that I have to leave the room every time he appears on the tellie (and it’s not just me. An Age reviewer summed up the Gruen Transfer as “the moment when your interest in the show overcomes your hatred of Wil Anderson”).

After much thinking**, I think I’ve hit on the answer.

Wil Anderson doesn’t exist.

He’s a construct that cannot exist in the real world, a hollow man*** with no substance, an empty suit they prop up in front of the cameras.

Have you ever heard Wil Anderson say anything that was thoughtful, intelligent or not written for him by a team of writers? Unplug him from the auto-cue or the life-support system kindly supplied by Aunty and he’d dissolve into a puddle of vile smelling goo.

He also whinged and bitched like a girl when the hateful Glasshouse was axed.

Sorry, Wil old mate, but the Glasshouse was old, stale and tired. It might have been producing a nice little earner for you and your otherwise unemployable pals but it was boring the rest of us rigid.

And calling Philip Ruddock a “right-wing pig-rooter” on the ABC is neither brave nor clever. You want respect? Call Bob Brown a “sanctimonious hippie” while doing your “edgy stage show”.

You’re the worst type of “activist”; a smug little bourgeois cunt who thinks making a cheap joke is actually doing something.

* He’s a nice enough bloke to meet in the flesh, though.

** Over a couple of beers in the backyard.

*** Another television programme I have no intention of watching.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh God, this nonsense again!

Robert Nelson with his daughter Olympia, now 11


I don't know what is more depressing about this entire sorry beat-up.

The utter predictability of the responses taken by the various parties, the fact that it allows Hetty Johnson yet more oxygen or the fact that a senior academic thinks it's OK to wear that shirt with a bow-tie out in public.

Sod the issue of child protection, I'm calling on Kruddy to do something that shirt.

And did anybody else wonder why Nicole Kidman called her kid Sunday Roast?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The End of Civilisation As We Know It

Oh. My. God. This is huge. The Age reports today that the Victorian Labour Party accepts political donations from companies that compete for government contracts.

This HAS SURELY NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!

I am so shocked. I can't believe this is happening. I won't sleep for weeks.

Someone bring in the Feds, ASIO, ACCC, FBI, CIA, UN, Nato, NASA, UNESCO, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Springer, Judge Judy, priests and soothsayers, Andrew Demetriou, Big Brother, Bono, Sir Bob Geldof and Arthur the barber from Gertrude Street to come in and clear this mess up. Heads will roll. Brumby will do time, surely.

Fuck it, the Queen of England, our royal majestyness, needs to step in here and have the entire Victorian ALP sent to Port Arthur and install Mr. Bailleii, umm, Ballieiue, umm, Bauliieu, umm, Ted, as Premier immediately.

In other shocking news today, a scientist has proposed that the Earth is round and not flat.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday morning moral questions.

These are the times that try men’s souls.

I find myself pondering the essential questions. What should we do, how can we live an ethical life in an age of terror?

But most importantly, where would Jesus bat if he played for the Australian test team?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always seen Jesus as an all-rounder, the sort of gritty, determined player who could come in at number four or five and put together a handy half-century that would steady the side and lead to a big total. Nothing too flash, but useful with the bat.

I’d imagine he could also be a handy leg-spinner and pick up the odd wicket or two.

“Oh and another beautiful cover drive brings up Jesus’ century. The crowd is getting on their feet to salute this major religious figure and plucky batsman. Now he’s taking off his helmet and looking up at the sky, Jim.”

“Probably having a chat with his dad, Kerry”

“You know Jim, Jesus is a religious man but I’ve never seen him cross himself.”

“Bit of a sore point there Kerry.”

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The joys of parenting

The scene: Lenin House, this morning.

Admid the hustle and bustle of trying of getting dressed, breakfast, trying to locate the cat so we can put her outside I hear a small voice coming from the toilet.

"Daaaad. Daddy".

Go in, to discover a series of ominous brown strains near the toilet roll holder.

"Please tell me that's chocolate, Boy."

"No. It's poo."

Oh well.

Is eight o'clock in the morning too early to start drinking?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Schlepping in a winter wonderland

Happy Melbournians on their way to work

Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of cold weather. Puss may want to turn away and have a crack at the crossword or something.

Winter has arrived at St Petersburg on the Yarra with a bang this week, with howling winds, driving rain, snow on the hills and temperatures hovering around the low 10s. The other day I was getting ready for work, pulling on the coat, hat and gloves while the cat was smirking at me from in front of the heater as if to say “well, good luck going out in that shit, human scum”.

So I threw her outside before I left.

Melbourne does winter well. It’s all rain-lashed laneways filled with people in big black coats, hurrying into pubs with open fires, discussing Kant and footy over hearty stews and roasts.

The city never looks better in winter, the cold light highlighting the mixture of modern and neo-gothic architecture scattered across the inner city, rain pelting down on the tram windows.

Some years ago I was covering the launch of a new tourism campaign for Aunty. The theme was “Melbourne in winter” and consisted of an impossibly glam couple dressed in black, hopping from fabulous restaurant to fabulous bar.

The tag line was “Melbourne in winter. Everything you expect – only much, much cooler”.

Fuck that was a clever ad.