Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Week That Was

Welcome

Marcus North

Victorian cricketer debuts for Australia in South Africa at the ripe old age of 29 and makes 117, effectively putting us in the box seat on the first day. I'm calling for more debutants and Ponting's axing (I just think he's a sour twerp). Mitchell Johnson for captain. Meanwhile Hussey continues to disappoint and suddenly his place looks shaky (to me at least).



Welcome Back

Ben Cousins

Of course he deserved another chance. Who doesn't? Tom Hafey can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut for suggesting he didn't. 21 possessions in his first game for 18 months. Not a bad return although he looked a little match unfit. So well done, Richmond. Instead of finishing 9th by 4 points come finals times, this time they'll finish 9th on percentage.



Fuck Off

Pauline Hanson

When will this perennial cunt just go away completely? Or die? Will she be allowed to loiter like she did when she first came to prominence, thanks to Howard's refusal to condemn her? Will Rudd or Anna Bligh condemn her? At least nobody's giving her preferences, although LNP leader Springborg looks tempted to seduce her. Here's my preference: stone her.




Good Riddance


Christine Nixon

A very pig-like policewoman. Hated by the rank and file. Hated by the union. And she wasn't even Victorian! Shame! Her efforts to redesign the Victoria Police uniform were met with derision. What's wrong with pink? Surely it's time for a Dirty Harry style copper.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let's club this dumb cliche to death, right now.

When Kruddy got up as leader of the opposition in December 2006 the commentariat had a field day.

“Dull”, “egg-head”, “pale shadow of the Tories”, “will fall apart during the election campaign” were some of the lines trotted out.

“Hang on”, I thought “this sounds familiar”, so I had a look back at some of the pieces that appeared in the UK media in July 1994 when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party.

Sure enough, the same clich├ęs popped up; “dull”, “egg-head”, “pale shadow of the Tories”, “will fall apart during the election campaign”.

It therefore pleases me tremendously that Blair went on to win three general elections before retiring as PM.

The media never “got” Blair and they don’t “get” Rudd (both intelligent, highly complex politicians who also were/are widely popular). Witness, for example, this particularly stupid piece in the Age recently or Crikey referring to “Kevin Chavez” – a reference to the authoritarian Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. I'm also sure they'll be using the same tired arguments from now until the time Kruddy finally decides to pull the pin

Veteran journalist Mungo MacCallum, in his book about the 2007 election Poll Dancing, was struck by the difference between the Rudd of the gallery (“boring”, “dull” etc, etc) and the Rudd on the campaign trail (warm, relaxed, easy-going, popular).

I think the gallery, in large part, hates Rudd because he’s smarter than just about all of them – and lets it show. Rudd also knows that the vast majority of the Canberra journos are absolutely irrelevant and prefers to talk directly to the punters, which prompted petulant foot-stamping from the likes of Barry Cassidy when Kruddy declined to show up on Insiders but appeared on Rove instead.

And I’m sure the (what I’m going to call for the lack of a more suitable local insult) Guardianistas will continue their irrelevant bleating for the duration of the Rudd government as they did for the Blair government; especially these pompous knuckle-heads.

Here’s a message chaps – nobody in Canberra really cares what you think. They don’t give a flying fuck if you call yourselves “citizen journalists” or “the new media” or “Captain Walt the Wonderful”. You want to witter away, feel free but don’t kid yourself you’re doing anything useful or important.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Some comedy themes never go out of fashion.

Each weekend, The Boy and I walk up to our local video shop and rent some kid’s DVDs.

This week’s selection included Garfield Two, in which an animated cat (with the voice of Bill Murray) trades amusing quips with less-animated actors – including Billy Connolly.

A key scene in this film features Mr Connolly being bitten on the arse by a wide variety of animals – which provoked screams of laughter from The Boy and the following conversation.

The Boy: “Look, look Dad; he’s being bitten on the bottom by that dog.”

Me: “Yes, Boy.”

TB: “On the bottom!!!!”

Me: “Yes, Boy.”

TB: “By that dog!!!”

Me: “Yes, Boy.”

TB: He’s a beastly man, isn’t he, Dad?”

Me: “He is indeed a beastly man, Boy.”

TB: “What’s that beastly man's name, Dad?”

Me: “His name is John Howard, Boy”

Mrs INH: “RAMON!!!”

Any film for the under-fives could feature just footage of people being bitten on the arse for an hour and a half and the audience could go away, well satisfied.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Docklands Park is a foul swindle!

The family visited the Docklands area on the weekend, to take in the new Children's Playground located in the Docklands Park.

What they say:

“A thriving oasis in the heart of Melbourne’s vibrant docklands precinct.”

What I say:

A couple of metres of dead grass and struggling trees; with no map, badly laid out and surrounded by remarkably ugly apartment blocks and building sites making it a “must-see” for those keen on experiencing what Beirut must have looked like at the height of the Lebanese civil war.

Oh and did I mention that it’s bisected BY A MAJOR FUCKING ROAD.

The Docklands Park proves what Mike Davis had to say in his book City of Quartz; viz that in any tussle between the public good and a bucket of dosh in urban planning, it’s no surprise who’s going down swinging* in that little encounter.

The Boy quite liked the Docklands Children’s Playground but I was under whelmed. It didn’t help that none of the public toilets had any toilet paper. Happily I had a copy of the Age’s “Good Weekend” magazine and I was able to tear out Maggie Alderson’s piece and wipe my arse with that**.

And I do like Hewson’s spray at Peter Costello this week.

This should be enough to convince you, but if not, then you should have an honest look at yourself. You are bone-lazy.

*Snort*

*I may be paraphrasing slightly.

**Thus making it possible for me to say, in all honesty, that Maggie’s piece was useful and much appreciated.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poetry Slam Friday!

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse

Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.


My ability to recite this by heart got me more roots at Uni than anything else I can recall.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shut up, Ben Lee.

For reasons which remain obscure to me, certain “personalities” become prominent in the media despite having next to no talent, ability or even that much of a personality (Myf Warhurst springs shudderingly to mind).

Another mystifying “personality” is musician Ben Lee.

I have no strong feelings about Mr Lee either way (other than he appears to be something of a cunt) but really, some people should just shut up and sing.

The Age quotes him as saying;

Lee says that as he approached 30, he also began paying more attention to what was going on in the world in a broader sense. He has read heavily about foreign policy and climate change. "We've become incapable of looking after each other," he says. "When Obama was sitting down and talking to the enemy, he was criticised. The message was that it was unmanly to sit down and talk. The very qualities frowned upon were the ones I wanted to make this album attributed to. It requires a shift in attitude and the way we look at things."

Actually Ben, that’s probably a bit too humble – do you think you could compare yourself to Jesus, Buddha and Allah instead?

In a break-out piece which only appears in the dead-tree version, the paper also quotes him as saying;

“Central to his spirituality is his relationship to India. “It feels like India is the heart of the world,” he says. “It’s not a hugely materialistic culture.”

Gee Ben, thanks for stereotyping a nation of several million people.

Next from Ben

“Those darkies really have a sense of rhythm.”

“Women are all gentle and nurturing”

and the ever populate favourite

“Jews are obsessed with money.”

The only disease I’d catch from you can be cleared up with a good dose of penicillin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Half" Nelson goes, few care.



Brendan Nelson announces the end of his political career

One of the great joys about being in government is watching those bastards on the opposition benches collapse into a confused rabble.

The Libs have never handled opposition that well. They were originally created in 1944 to grab and hold political power and opposition makes them feel uneasy (incidentally, the Labor Party is always a bit uneasy about winning elections. The Labor heroes; Keating, Whitlam, Chifley all lost elections. The exception is John Curtin but he sneakily died while in office).

A special joy is the announcement that former opposition leader Brendan Nelson is retiring from politics at the next election.

Labor types had a special hatred for Nelson, in part because of suspicions that he’s a “class traitor”* and in part because he gained the leadership by appealing to the legacy of the “Howard years”**.

The other thing that irked me was his habit of taking random goods (jars of jam, I recall, were a particular favourite) into the chamber and angrily shaking them at the Government. I think it was meant to represent political passion but to me it suggested a slightly dodgy shopkeeper, going out of business.

Bye Doc. Can’t say you’ll be missed.

*Yes, we are that petty.

**Whatever that may be.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Weekend in 'Real Australia' (TM)

Time to be silly again, briefly.

Sorry, it's a bit long, and it may contain traces of buttocks.



Last weekend I went to visit my lady friend, Pony Girl, at her family farm on the outskirts of Ponytown*. Ponytown is deep in The Mallee, a desert region in Victoria's north-west. The largest town in The Mallee is Mildura, which has, you know, some civilisation and long macchiatos and stuff, but Ponytown is nowhere near Mildura. It's just another Mallee town which means dirt, dust and blowflies the size of water buffalo.

When you hit The Mallee, you have also hit Real Australia where you can go all Henry Lawson and shit, and talk about distance, and dirt, and rusting fences drawing lines across your soul and hearts as harsh as landscapes... and you can also start referring to the weather as 'she' ("She's hot today!").

You know, where a Melbourne suburb will be proud of its multiculturalisn, its sustainable local policies, world's best practices and its commitment to recycling, Mallee Towns like the first one I came to are proud of the size of their bull's testicles.



The towns I came across were prima facie dry, barren and loveless. Romance? No. Well not that I could see... it'd be more that Thomas Hardy thing, where haystacks are involved.

Here is what a Mallee Town looks like:



A bowling green that is a bowling greeny-brown. Flies on the lens. Silos at the rear. Every single town looked like this, but boy, the sausage rolls were fantastic. Country-town bakeries = Very Fucking Good.

In between towns, the landscape is this:



And when there is some scrub, it looks like this:



And this is sadly a common sight:



The good news is that fire is rare up there. A) The farms are well watered, and B) The rest is desert so there's nothing to burn. Fires can go up, but they go straight back down again. It's dust storms that cause the problem up there, as well as the odd cyclone or two - they caused havoc last year in the region.

So who would settle in this place? Who would willingly come out here and think, "I might live here"? My great-grand parents, that's who. My Dad is from The Mallee, from a town called Ouyen which is famous for its annual vanilla-slice making competition. That's not a joke.

And so, at my Dad's request, I made a major detour on my way to Ponytown to go and see the town where he came from, because I'd never seen it. More spcifically, he wanted me to see if the house where he was born was still standing, though he was vague on the address. To find out where he lived I visited the Ouyen Historical Society (open Fridays) and sure enough, the lovely old biddies in charge there knew of my family (great grandma 'Digger' was the church organist for years) and they showed me an old 1920's map of the town with all the names of the householders on it, as well as a 1923 record of my great-grandfather paying his rates. They even suggested I go and visit 'old Alf' who is 90-something but 'still of keen mind, and an Anglican' who knew them, and my grandfather. If I ever visit again, I may drop in on old Alf (interestingly, from what the old biddies were saying, and the manner by which they spoke of people, the old Catholic vs Protestant thing is alive and well in country Australia). Also, one of the old biddies was the current organist, and there were only two organists between my great-grandmother and her.... almost 100 years and there's only ever been four organists!

So anyway, I found the house, and it was still standing:



Then I went to Ponytown, nervous as hell, because, you know, I'm in love with her and all, but I was going to be in a separate room because that's how it's done up there. I gave the family a rocking chair and a tartan blanket as a gift. Then we drank beer and wine. Luckily, her parents were grouse and made me feel welcome and I liked them.

Night came. That's when the work on the farm really starts... actually it never stops. The evening involved riding on a massive vine harvester thing, turning sprinklers on and off, checking things, moving things, dealing with things... farm work, and all under the influence of grog. This doesn't happen in Melbourne, but it happens on farms.

The next day was the killer hot day, and Ponyman, Ponygirl's dad, worked all day in the 48 degree heat, doing farm stuff, and we did a little bit of work but not much. I was amazed at the water usage. Thousands of sprinklers are going all day every day, in the middle of the day and all night. In the city we can't water a single geranium properly, but up there, thousands and thousands of litres are spat out continually across even just one farm, the reaosn for which is simple: No water, then no wine or avacados for us in the cities.

Here is Pony Girl in the avacado patch.



I spent a fair bit of time in the trees helping myself to avacados, not just because I like avacados, but because we were both in thongs and she said quite casually about ten minutes into the avacado tour, "Oh, watch out for brown snakes. They're everywhere."

By lunchtime it was 873 degrees, and so the pig-hunting was called off (not a joke either... pig-hunting was the plan) and so because I was being all Real Australian and stuff, I did the next best thing to shooting wild animals. Skinny-dipped in the nearest river.



Why no, I don't have any shame.

In the late evening, when the temperature had dropped to a cool 38 degrees, and when Ponygirl's parents had gone into a town to a do, we sat drinking wine looking over her vines.



There was something intoxicating above and beyond the wine that was to do with the farm itself. The lush vegetation on top of the red earth. The quintessential Australian-ness of the landscape, of the sunset, of the sounds of the birds and the threat of brown snakes. The Henry Lawson-ness of it all. I live in a tourist surf town that has none of this, even though we're 'out bush', sort of. The resorts out my front door graffiti all that's bush about my town, but up in The Mallee, like many other regions of Australia, there's that thing we learnt about in Primary School, that we sense in old bush songs, that we're meant to identify with as Australians. I just don't know what that thing is called other than to call it, with a dose of cityboy arrogance, Real Australia.

It is not to say Melbourne and other cities are not 'real'... it's just that their reality has a lot less to do with the ground.

And so, when the sun went down on Real Australia and Ponygirl and I were left in the dark to fend off mossies and our own inebriation, we kissed, finally, on the lawn, and then went a bit Thomas Hardy for a while.

The next morning she took me into town. Nothing was open. NOTHING.

I was gone after lunch, and may not see her again. She's off, soon. To England. One-way.

And so, to finish off this post, here's some Henry Lawson, which I dedicate to my Ponygirl:

It may be carelessly you spoke
Of never more returning,
But sometimes in the London smoke,
You'll smell the gum leaves burning;
And think of how the grassy plain
Beyond the fog is flowing,
And one that waits in shine or rain,
Where forty cheered you going.



* It's not actually called Ponytown.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

God's Priorities


Isn't this great? The return of Netanyahu and his band of right wingers. What I really find disturbing are comments like these:

With God's help, I will lead the next government.

Can't do it alone, pissboy?

Firstly, as we know, God doesn't exist. Secondly, even if he did, he doesn't give a shit now does he? I can just picture Netanyahu's God sitting behind a mahogany desk eating matzos and thinking "I'm going to give Ben a hand with the running of his government. God knows, he can't handle it himself. Let's face it, he's a fuckwit."

The following sportsmen (among many others) have thanked God upon winning a tournament, a game or a match of some sort:


Gary Ablett
Aaron Baddely
Matthew Hayden.

I'm here to tell you boys, God doesn't give a rat's arse about you, you saps.

God:

"Rather than help people avoid starvation, disease, natural disasters, pain, torture and death, I'll give Haydos another hundred. And as for those stupid Victorians who support abortion, I'm going to burn them alive. Now, back to my witty Darwin rebuttal."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well done, those people.


Oddly enough, I don't see Pastor Danny Nalliah in this photo.

I don't think much more needs be said, do you?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ease up a bit, chaps.

This is all your fault, damn you koala!


Traditionally, after every big bushfire, the good citizens of Victoria indulge in the time-honoured pastime of working out who to blame.

This year letter writers to the Melbourne Age have identified an additional player to the usual suspects of; the CFA/the DSE/the WHO/greenies/farmers/mountain grazing/not enough mountain grazing/rocks/God/atheists/trees/too many trees and Freemasons*.

Apparently, it’s all the fault of Kevin Rudd.

The reasoning goes something like this. The fires are the result of climate change, the Rudd Government isn’t moving fast enough on climate change for their liking; ergo the fires are all the fault of the Rudd Government.

The fact that bushfires have been a part of the Australian ecosystem for thousands of years, to the extent that some species of flora depend on them to germinate is also the fault of the Rudd Government.

Oh and private transport. Private transport is to blame as well**.

Chaps, let the families grieve and bury their loved ones first before indulging in the cheap finger-pointing.

*I’ve never understood some people’s obsession with Freemasons.

**I’m not making this up, unfortunately.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shut the fuck up, you spiv!

A certain P.J. Keating had Peter Costello pegged.

“All tip,” he said “and no iceberg”.

Amen to that, comrade.

The man was a dud, a smirking, lazy dud. It really doesn’t take much to run record budget surpluses during the biggest resources boom in thirty years (not that he actually did much with it, other than throw money at strategically targeted groups at election time). Offered the Liberal Party leadership after the 2007 election, his response was basically to say “nup, youse can all get fucked”. Cut off from his public service life-system during elections, he floundered to the extent that even Wayne Swan could wipe the floor with him.

So why is the media pandering to this prick?

Appearances on Lateline, a regular piece in the Age? Fuck that!

This piece in the Age illustrates perfectly why Costello’s sole function in public life should be as a toilet brush at Parliament House.

His response to the Government’s stimulus package is to label it;


Whitlamesque!!


Jesus wept; we’re talking about a Government that was voted out of office more than 30 years ago. Nobody gives a fuck about the Whitlam Government anymore, Pete.

What’s next; blaming John Curtin, John Watson, David Lloyd George?

Update: And this fascist cunt can get fucked, as well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Very Moving


I just moved house for the tenth time in 15 years. I can assure you I'm over it and I'll never do it again.

The stress is enormous. The logistics of buying and selling - particularly when dealing with banks, conveyancers and loan brokers - are extremely complicated, while the process of packing, organising removalists, changing addresses, moving, picking up keys, signing various documents signifying who knows what and then unpacking and settling in (with a 3 year old and a cat in horrendous heat) is a veritable nightmare.

What I didn't need was additional grief from Telstra. But really, what else should I have expected? I attempted to complete a 'move request' online, where you could migrate your home phone, mobile and internet all on one form. A brilliant idea which, of coure, didn't work. So I called the number specifically relating to moving. Moving house? Call this number. When I did, I just ended up in the same old queue with the same old menu. I waited a good ten minutes before it was answered. When it was, I dealt with a lovely guy who was more than willing to help, was sympathetic to the online request being faulty and was polite. He put through the request and said everything would be fine and when I moved in to the new address, all I had to do was call the bigpond number and they would 'flick the switch' and I'd have my internet.

Yeah right.

I called the number the day after moving in. The lovely girl based in Darwin said the home phone and mobile were done but there had been no request for the migration of the internet. She offered to put through the request then and there. For some strange reason it took 15 minutes of holding and listening to awful music and telstra ads. When she came back she said the internet would be up and running in 3 working days once she's processed the codes, whatever that means. In 3 working days it was, of course, not up and running at all. So I rang again. Unbelievably, the guy I spoke to this time said there still had been no move request. This is where simmering anger suddenly exploded. I demanded an explanation, got nothing near it and was promised (after another 15 minute hold) that it would be 'up and running' in 3 working days once he'd processed the codes.

That was yesterday. It works now. And they gave me a month's rebate. Aren't they great?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Practical anarchy.

On Friday, my efforts to return home were stymied somewhat by my train line throwing a major hissy fit and declining to take trains in the burning, burning heat.

“No matter”, I thought and after a relaxing beer, decided to take the #86 tram home.

The interesting point, comrades, is that from Westgarth Street to Preston, all along High Street the traffic lights were out, not a cop to be seen and yet we made it home without incident.

That’s a pretty fair stretch of what is a busy road, around five to 10 kilometres or so, yet there was no aggro that I saw, no near-misses, not so much as a horn sounded in anger. It was all “you go first, no worries mate, after you – please”.

I don’t know what the situation would be in a mega-city like London or some squalid hell-hole like Mexico City or Sydney but I think we’re entitled to feel pretty Goddamn smug.

Maybe Kropotkin was onto something. Maybe the natural state of human society is a state of “mutual aid”. Maybe it’s possible to create a society where laws are obeyed, not through the threat of compulsion, but because we agree to treat each other with respect.

Or maybe we were all so fuckin’ hot we couldn’t be arsed.

Either way.