Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pokies 'n' stuff

"Damn you Andrew Wilkie"

There's been much comment in the mainstream media about the Commonwealth Government's revised plans for pokie reform - most of it shit.

Sure, there's been endless tripe about what it means politically but I'm not aware of any journo having a good, hard look about the proposed trial itself; will it work, is it a good idea, what are the policy implications.

You know, the stuff journalists should be doing.

Being of an inquiring mind, I've managed to find this post by Tom Cummings who has done what just about every single journalist in Australia has failed to do; produce a coherent, well written analysis about what the proposed trial may mean.

I urge you to read it.

But the question rises again; why is this sort of heavy lifting being left to bloggers? Or more to the point, why is political journalism in this country so deeply shallow?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Hate Everything and Everyone

It has been five days since my last cigarette.

I'm doing it cold-turkey, no nicotine-replacement shit at all, and without even any 'winding-down' process beforehand. I gleefully smoked twixt 20 and 30 cigarettes a day for 23 years, then, last Sunday morning, I smoked two cigarettes with my morning coffee and that was it.

The physical side-effects of quitting are:

* Dizziness.

That is all. I was waiting for sweats, trembles, DTs, viruses due to drop in immune system and so on, but nope, all I get is a bit dizzy when the cravings are at their worst.

Now here's a list of the mental side effects:

* Anger
* Sadness
* Impatience
* Melancholia
* Boredom
* Confusion
* Disorientation
* Loss of short-term memory
* Loss of libido
* Loss of concentration
* Self loathing

The last one is almost the worst. I hate myself for starting smoking. I also hate myself for quitting. Nobody told me to quit, so why am I quitting? It's fucked. But I want to live longer, so I have to quit. But what's the point in living longer if I'm this sad? Oh, I know, I'll be less sad as time goes by, but I'll certainly be more boring, and bored. Smoking is cool, I don't care what anyone says. It's cool, and now I'm not cool.

I've not read one good piece of advice from Vic Health, or Quit, because they refuse to say smoking is cool. And I think it is cool. And because they say it isn't cool, I have no interest in what they have to say. They can't help me. But I reckon I'm going to make it - in my own way. I have three little helping thoughts that are getting me through this, and they are:

1 - Andromeda (who now lives with me) slept a few times in another room, and when I asked why, she said, "You were wheezing..." That is so not sexy, and I am prepared to lose coolness in return for sexy.

2 - I am only ever quitting the next cigarette. Dad actually gave me that little advice - it's how he quit. I get a craving, I want a cigarette, it consumes me, but I tell myself, "No, I won';t have this cigarette right now...". Magically, the intense craving passes after a few minutes, then I just repeat the same thing twenty minutes later when the next craving comes.

But, even with those two motivations, I was still thinking that I was going to fail and start smoking again, until I came up with the third and most genius motivation...

3 - I'm going to take up smoking again when I'm 65 years old.

Believe me, just thinking about that glorious day (in the year 2035) is giving me the strength to quit for now.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I still can't think of a snappy title for this one!

The woman in the background is clearly thinking "nice bum".

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said;
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"
And loud that clarion voice replied,

"O stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

"Beware the pine tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Or in my version.

Maiden: "Fancy a fuck, then?

Youth: "Gosh, thanks for asking but I have to freeze to death for no apparent reason."

Maiden: "Suit yourself. I really prefer chicks anyway."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Well done, that woman!


Honestly, would it kill some people to say "well done" to the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon?

Through quiet negotiation, diplomacy and generally not being a dick, Ms Roxon has managed to get the Japanese authorities to agree to release the three dickheads whale freedom-fighters who jumped on that Japanese boat earlier this week.

Ms Roxon has proven herself to be one of the best performers in the Gillard Government - again.

I think large parts of the media and commentariat were gearing up for another extended rant about how the Gillard Government "can't get anything right". It must irk them beyond belief when the Gillard Government, in fact, gets it right.

And while I'm in ranting mode, the Shonan Maru No. 2* was not inside Australian territorial waters at the time of the boarding. It was in our economic zone, which is not the same thing at all.

* Which reminds me. Whatever happened to the Shonan Maru No. 1?

Friday, January 6, 2012

A "value for money" PSF

"Fuck this shit"

I stood on the bridge at midnight,
  As the clocks were striking the hour,
And the moon rose o'er the city,
  Behind the dark church-tower.

I saw her bright reflection
  In the waters under me,
Like a golden goblet falling
  And sinking into the sea.

And far in the hazy distance
  Of that lovely night in June,
The blaze of the flaming furnace
  Gleamed redder than the moon.

Among the long, black rafters
  The wavering shadows lay,
And the current that came from the ocean
  Seemed to lift and bear them away;

As, sweeping and eddying through them,
Rose the belated tide,
And, streaming into the moonlight,
  The seaweed floated wide.

And like those waters rushing
  Among the wooden piers,
A flood of thoughts came o'er me
  That filled my eyes with tears.

How often, oh, how often,
  In the days that had gone by,
I had stood on that bridge at midnight
  And gazed on that wave and sky!

How often, oh, how often,
  I had wished that the ebbing tide
Would bear me away on its bosom
  O'er the ocean wild and wide!

For my heart was hot and restless,
  And my life was full of care,
And the burden laid upon me
  Seemed greater than I could bear.

But now it has fallen from me,
  It is buried in the sea;
And only the sorrow of others
  Throws its shadow over me.

Yet whenever I cross the river
  On its bridge with wooden piers,
Like the odor of brine from the ocean
  Comes the thought of other years.

And I think how many thousands
  Of care-encumbered men,
Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
  Have crossed the bridge since then.

I see the long procession
  Still passing to and fro,
The young heart hot and restless,
  And the old subdued and slow!

And forever and forever,
  As long as the river flows,
As long as the heart has passions,
  As long as life has woes;

The moon and its broken reflection
  And its shadows shall appear,
As the symbol of love in heaven,
  And its wavering image here.