Thursday, 29 January 2009

...patriot games

I recently came across the online quiz 'How Australian are you?' Sure it was a link in my hotmail page to a Ninemsn site so I expected pure, brainless rubbish, and was not disappointed at all. Here's the intro...

You may wrestle crocs for a laugh and kit up in the green and gold on a daily basis, but do you know who won Australian of the year last year? What's your state's flower? The finer workings of two-up? How Australian are you? Take our quiz to find out.

So I put down my croc, wiped the green and gold zinc cream from my eyeballs, took my prawns off the barbie, put the billy on to boil, took the baby out of my dingo's mouth, ate three Four'n'Twenty pies, drank two slabs of Fosters, violently puked (naturally) and got working on finding out just how "Aussie" I truly am. Oi Oi Oi!

The quiz was, how can you say it..... pathetic in every sense, which was expected. A quiz to make really dumb Australians feel smart. Remember all that kerfuffle with John Howard's Citizenship Test a few years ago? Well this quiz makes that quiz look like the Genius version of Trivial Pursuit. Maybe not, but it was so mind-numblingly lame that I had to include it here, just in case you missed it the first time, and so awful that I had to offer a fourth option in the multiple choice answers. I think my fourth option makes me even more Australian than Australian.

1. What's the fourth line of the Australian National Anthem?
a) Our home is girt by sea
b) Our home is dirt by sea
c) Our home is by the sea
d) Who cares. Real Aussies don't know the words to that song but they can recite Khe Sahn while blind drunk and hanging upside down in a Thai fetish bar, so I'm told.

2. What state is represented by the warratah?
a) Victoria
b) New South Wales
c) South Australia
d) None of the above. NSW is represented by the Waratah. Don't know what a fucking Warratah is.

3. What Melbourne suburb is Neighbours filmed in?
a) Frankston
b) Vermont
c) Red Hill
d) Vermont South (you un-Australian moron!)

4. Where is the big prawn?
a) Ballina
b) Berri
c) Kingston
d) On the Big Barbie

5. How many stars are on the Australian flag?
a) 5
b) 6
c) 8
d) Cathy Freeman

6. What does ANZAC stand for?
a) Australia and New Zealand Army Cooperation
b) Australia and New Zealand Alliance Corps
c) Australia and New Zealand Army Corps
d) Australians and New Zealanders Are Cool

7. When is the Melbourne Cup?
a) The first Thursday of November
b) The first Tuesday of November
c) The first of November
d) Too pissed. Can't remember

8. Who was the first Prime Minister of Australia?
a) Chris Watson
b) Joseph Cook
c) Edmund Barton
d) Don Bradman

9. What is a grommit?
a) A surf board
b) A novice surfer
c) Another term for bathers/togs/budgie smugglers
d) The little black rubber bit that makes the seal between the bong and the stem (must just be the suburb I'm from)

10. What does QANTAS stand for?
a) Queensland and Northern Territory Airline Service
b) Quality Aeronautical National Transport Aviation Services
c) Queen Anne National Transportation Aviation Systems
d) Queenslanders Are Not Technically Absolutely Stupid

11. Home and Away is primarily shot where?
a) Newport Beach
b) Avalon Beach
c) Palm Beach
d) Right in the middle of the screen at point-blank range

12. What is two-up?
a) A traditional gambling game, played in pubs
b) The term for a second round of drinks at the pub
c) When a person has two drinks before leaving home for the pub
d) One more than one-up

13. Who appears on the $50 note?
a) A. B. "Banjo" Paterson
b) John Flynn
c) David Unaipon
d) Some aboriginal bloke

14. Who won the Australian of the Year award in 2007 for his work on global warming research?
a) Pete Doherty
b) Tim Flannery
c) Ian Frazer
d) Cathy Freeman

15. At the 2000 Olympic Games, Cathy Freeman won gold in what event?
a) 100 meter dash
b) 200 meter dash
c) 400 meter dash
d) 600 metre Global Warming Research

16. Which British Royal Navy Lieutenant has been credited for 'discovering' Australia?
a) James Cook
b) Arthur Phillip
c) Charles Swain
d) Don Bradman

17. What year did Australia win the Americas Cup for yacht racing?
a) 1970
b) 1983
c) 2002
d) 26 years ago. Don't you think it's time to get over it?

18. What is the capital of Australia?
a) Sydney
b) Melbourne
c) Canberra
d) Yandoit

I got 18/18, even though I've never watched an episode of Home and Away in my life! Wow, I must be a fucking patriot. Wrap me in my Australian flag cape ala Pauline Hanson/Cronulla locals, but then again I suspect even Caribou herders in the boonies of Lapland would have scored at least 80%.

But at least I'm a darn sight more "Australian" than the dickhead who wrote this quiz. Not only are the 'correct' answers incorrect on two occasions (Q's 2 & 3), the author decided to use American meters as opposed to the 'correct' Queen's English metres. Traitor! Hang 'em high for treason I say!

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Friday, 23 January 2009're standing in it!

So fifty large Sperm whales die overnight on the west coast of Tasmania. Rather than sit around going "Ooh that's awful", "What a shame", "Ought not happen" and "'Tis a real tragedy indeed. Who can we blame?", why don't we chop them up and give the meat to the Japanese in exchange for them ceasing whaling in the Southern Ocean? There is more useful meat on those 50 whales than in the entire annual Japanese catch of small Minke whales.

And why not make a deal to give them the dozens of large and rare whales that get struck by ships or tangle and drown in the thousands of nets and craypots lines around the Australian coast every year, the "collateral damage" from our appetite for seafood and money. The whales we kill, the dead whales the Australian media rarely mentions, (unless the fisherman actually report it (why would they?) and there is some chance of survival and thus a happy ending). Why criticise ourselves? It's much more fun to criticise the bloody Japs (yeah that's right...we still remember the war)!

Anyhow, the whales we kill are not being deliberately targeted, so it's apparently all OK, kosher, hunky dory, not-our-fault-so-let's-not-think-about-it. Less than 3% of whale deaths from entanglement are actually reported, so the true Australian whale death-toll is not known, but it is likely to be in the hundreds per year. It's out of sight and therefore out of mind.

Wake up Australia! Let's clean up our own backyard before lobbing hand-grenades of self-righteousness at other cultures. The solution... we're standing in it! Lets give the Japanese a taste of our Aussie Sperm (whales) to stop them from playing with pointed sticks in our southern regions (I'm deeply sorry about that one but I simply couldn't resist).

And the mining boom is over. Well roll me in flour and bake me for forty minutes, who would have ever thought that would ever happen!!!

To all those people whingeing about the imminent job losses and the recently bustling towns that will now be largely abandoned, it's not called a 'boom' for nothing. Things that go 'boom' do not go 'booming' in perpetuity. This exact thing has been happening across Australia for 200 years. The country is littered with ghost towns, remnants of more prosperous times.

Why is it that the workers and their unions somehow think we should be somehow immune to the patterns of history and the fundamentals of our economic system that is tied up in a model of 'reliance' on unsustainable levels of growth through rampant capitalism. About time we seriously looked at the 'steady-state' economic model. If the human race is to have a future, this is where it will lie.

Woo, I think I need a cuppa and a lie down after all that. Next one will be a happy rant. Promise.

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Thursday, 22 January 2009

...strange days

On Monday I had my last cigarette after 20 years of smoking.

On Tuesday I was hypnotised to reinforce the point.

On Wednesday morning I watched a van plough into the back of a trailer in the lane next to me. Only problem was that the trailer had long lengths of wood tied on the roof, which went straight through the van's windscreen and crushed this poor chap's head. I was looking straight at him. On Wednesday morning, I saw a man die.

I also saw a black man become President of the United States of America.

On Thursday I had a needle in my gums and then a massive filling put in. Now I sit here wondering when dis fwoppy wip wiw subside. The sky outside is red-brown and I can feel the static electricity in the swirling, warm gusts that seem to be tearing my immediate world apart.

Strange days indeed. Not bad...... just different.

And drive safely folks. Life is fragile.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

...a pub with no beer

As of 4:00pm Monday the 19th January 2009, there is no more smoking at the pub.

20 hours after the ban and all is well. My vision has become heightened, I have a huge appetite, I'm having to chain myself to the desk to stop me wandering outside every hour or two and rather ironically, I have a sore throat. My mood is teetering between wanting to laugh hysterically and wanting slap someone in the face.

Due to the recent smoking ban, alcohol ie, Satan's Choice Elixir for Making People Make Bad Decisions, has been put off limits for a while until all this new strangeness blows over. So the pubs closed... except for coffee and cake.

After ~20 years of putting it off, I am now a non-smoker! Long way to go yet but "Yay for me" I say!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

... not the news (with Mr. T)

And in today's Judgemental News with Mr. T...


When some 26 year old goose got high on goofballs and took a swipe at a woman driving down Fitzroy St, St. Kilda, it was too bad him he didn't recognise the would-be-peacemaker was football legend Ron Barassi. Bad luck for him he and his girlfriend decided to put the boot into the ex-football player/media 'personality'. In Australia, striking someone is generally frowned upon (depending on what the strikee was doing at the time). But kicking a Brownlow Medal Winner in the head is akin kicking the country in the head. It's treason, like burning a flag... it's downright UnAustralian! I think we ought to take this young lad out, give him 100 lashes from a Today Tonight reporter of Ron's choice, tattoo "Un-Australian" on his forehead and send him to Christian Military Reform school in Tasmania.

And today Mrs. Barassi has given the youth of today and good ole fashion scolding. "Littering, tagging, noise pollution, vandalism, theft, bullying and cruelty to animals were part of this epidemic of bad behaviour", Mrs Barassi said. POW! That'll learn em'.

Ron Barrassi, National Hero. It's true, he is a hero because he's got it written on his website.

If he kicked a nobody, no one'd give a crap,
But he kicked a footy legend, and the worlds on his back!
I pity the fool!


Little hairy bloke who smells like fish and fishing tackle spruiker Rex *unt, was today ordered to stand trial for charges of "recklessly causing serious injury", "intentially causing serious injury" and "unlawful assault". If I were the judge I'd also throw in charges of "psychological turmoil to marine species", "selling overpriced fish'n'chips in Port Melbourne" and "generally being a complete and utter bell end!"

Rex was roaring down Ormond Esplanade last July in his very large, shiny 4WD when he decided to pull over, got out and broke the finger of a cyclist who dared to share the road with him. "Self defence" his lawyer told the court today. Perhaps Rex thought the bloke was going to run into the back of his car, scratching the duco. But Mt. *unt is sure to get off with a medal, after all, he is a 'Footy Icon'. It says so on his website.

The judge is gonna teach this sucker a lesson,
The fools gonna pay big time...
...for messin' up a Footy Icon's ride!


Victoria Police have arrested the son of celebrity gangland scrubber Roberta Williams on 30 charges of theft. The thefts amount to $84,000 which was obtained from several Coles supermarkets across the north-eastern suburbs. Proceeds from the crime were found at a Pascoe Vale house Ms. Williams is 'connected' with. She was not arrested, but neighbours later reported seeing Ms Williams climbing a back fence and jumping into a car after a couple of repo men from BMW tracked her down through media reports. Ms. Williams sauid she did not want to talk to the media... presumably until Channel Nine showed up with a big cheque.

Roberta Williams' son a criminal? Who could have thought that would happen? At least her 22 year old son will get to see heaps more of his serial killer stepdad now. Her 7 year old daughter Dhakota is currently under investigation for an Uncle Toby's Roll-Ups racket she is running from her Prep class, and her Mum may soon face charged with child cruelty, for giving her daughter a ghastly bogan name.

Carl Williams was the baddest cat around... 'till I showed up!
Now quit your Jibber jabber moll. Some people never learn!


Australia's finest dead actor Heath Ledger was awarded the Golden Globe award for best supporting actor for his role as The Joker in the latest Batman offering, The Dark Knight. The award was accepted by the movies director Christopher Nolan, and it has already been revealed that the award will be given to Ledger's young daughter Matilda Rose.

It will be a nice keepsake for Matilda, who now faces the prospect of growing up believing her daddy was a screwed up, super-evil, hyper-violent, psychpathic super-villain. Creepy stuff.

So kids, don't do sleeping pills. If I ever meet one of them doctors,
theyre gonna have to get the first aid kit... to use on themselves!


Outgoing US President George W. Bush today defended his controversial 8 years in power. Asked if he had any regrets, the oil magnate who presided over a period of corporate greed gone mad, the world's largest terrorist attack against the US, the budget deficit spiralling to a trillion dollars, thousands of poor people left for dead in Hurricane ravaged New Orleans and his country locked in two dubious and un-winnable wars responded by saying he had a "good, strong record". Asked if he had any regrets from the last 8 years Bush said, "I wouldn't say regret, I mean, some things didn't work out as planned, but I wouldn't say regret. I was dissapointed we didn't find any WMD's in Iraq."

So he doesn't regret going to war with hundreds of thousands killed, cities destroyed and the whole region turning against the western world, all that to find out if there actually were a couple dodgy missiles or not. It's quite an expensive way to find something out. Bush will be more fondly remebered for snorting cocaine and having a shoe thrown at him. Worst President ever!

That Saddam fool had no secret weapon, he was just crazy.
George W., when I see you next, I'm gonna hit you so hard, I'm gonna
knock you into next week! I'm looking forward to working with my man Obama... the new Secretary of Pain!


Palestinian death toll in Gaza reaches 1,000, hundreds drown after ferry sinks off Sulawesi, new cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, etc, etc, just the usual stuff.

Man at the Pub, I don't hear nothing but your pea brain rollin' around in your head! What you mean less important news? You'd better learn some sensitivity, coz when punks start hasslin' decent people, I make it my business.

Sorry Mr T. I'll do better next time... and be funnier I promise. You see I was at work slacking off and I wasn't really in a blogging mood and....

Shut your mouth, fool!

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Thursday, 8 January 2009

...when it's so bad it's good

I'm back (yayyy!) at work (boooo!) after a lovely camping trip to the Grampians (yayyy!) which went all too quickly (boooo!). The east Gippsland trip didn't eventuate, so we headed west to the trusty ole Gramps, into the heart of the Victoria Valley and away from the crowds. It's funny how when you plan a trip you think about doing some bushwalking, climbing a mountain or two, ride bikes around, etc (or is that just me?), but in the end you spend most of the time dozing in a hammock, drinking cold beer and wondering if 2 hours is a long enough gap between breakfast and lunch (yayyy!)
And hats off to those involved in the protection of one the worlds most unique and endangered forests with the recent announcement of the long overdue Barmah National Park. The folk at the Victorian National Parks Association should get a bloody medal for this. In fact 160,000 hectares across the state has been protected from the type vandalism that used to be called 'a few local jobs for the boys'. May the earth's splendorous biodiversity that remains in the few surviving wild places live long and prosper, albeit under extremely trying times and with a most uncertain future.

So now I look down the barrel of 2009 and from the outset it's looking much like the previous year and aside from now being a married man, impending plans to buy a house, quit smoking, find a new career and conceive a child, its business as usual.

On blogging, I'm still waiting for that rich, eccentric, old spinster to offer me $10,000 per month to continue spewing my try-hard witticisms into the interwebs. Old lady, I'll do two posts a day if that helps and I can't wait forever. That's a threat, not a promise.

Now I read other peoples blogs a bit, though not as much as I used to. There's a few I like to follow because they are consistently a good read. And there's a few I follow, not because they are a particularly good read, but as a courtesy (bloggers need bloggers). But there's a few I have followed not because they are a good read or as a courtesy, but because they are so goddam awful! They are so bad they are beyond belief, and therefore are kind of funny and memorable and piques ones curiosity. Woody Allen is known for saying "Sex is like pizza. Even when its bad, its good" and he's obviously saying that as a man and not a woman, but maybe blogging is the metaphorical pizza. Here's what I mean...

1. The Quest for Comedic Stardom

I don't know how I stumbled across this one but this US blogger decided to start a blog charting her anticipated rise to fame and glory to become the greatest US comedian ever. Only problem is that she's not funny. I always assumed that being amusing was a prerequisite to being a successful comedian, not just an unwavering belief in one's own capabilities, though I'm not sure if she was actually trying to be funny or was just incapable of being even the slightest bit amusing. Her posts consisted of links to other blogs from people that may have been slightly amusing to someone, interviews with successful comedians and YouTube videos of apparently funny people and things, with the occasional rant about how disorganised she is and how one day soon her career will take off and how you should subscribe to her (no doubt hilarious) emails and RSS feeds. I had to check back every now and then, just to see if one day she eventually figured out what the job description of 'Comedian" actually was. The blog was abandoned last year for a new and improved site Standup Comedy 101, which lasted one post and also appears to have been abandoned last May. Gotta love those Americans and their unshakeable optimism for self improvement.

2. The Other Cheek

I rarely look at this one because visiting blogs is tantamount to supporting them, and Andrew Landeryou's blog deserves no such support. At first I seriously thought he was taking the piss out of angry, right-wing bloggers, then I realised this guy is the ultimate aggro right-wing blogger. For those who don't know, Landeryou is known in Melbourne for bankrupting the Melbourne University Student Union in 2003 and for being sued by Solomon Lew for $3 million over a shonky business. Needless to say, the bloke has a few enemies. But rather than gracefully fade into obscurity, Landeryou set up 'The Other Cheek', his "Blog of Freedom!" which he shoots barbs from the windows of his mysterious "Tower of Power". His rants take aim at his plethora of enemies in politics, the media and business. The Labor Party (of which he was once a member) takes a pretty big chunk of Andrew's hateful venom, and the left in general. Solomon Lew took up a fair bit of blog space a while ago, though he cut that out after legal threats and now Sollie doesn't get a look in (so much for AL's strong belief in freedom of speech and anti-censorship beliefs) and predictably, The Age newspaper gets a fair bit of mention for it's left-wing bias, which apparently has nothing to do with the paper's investigative reporting of AL's dodgy dealings. Oh, and the Republican Party is regularly showered with praise for "defending our freedom" in Iraq and Sophie Mirabella is a Saint and anyone who thinks otherwise is smelly, leftist, commie, arab filth. Pretty nasty stuff. Sure I support everyone's right express whatever they feel about things, but when your blog is so bitchy, hateful and negative, it becomes a bit of a joke. Ah blogging. The last refuge for the disempowered scoundrel!

(This here criticism is likely to get me a nasty response from AL, from the fair assumption that he Googles himself daily, being the narcissistic, meglamaniac he is. But I'd be honoured to make his ever-growing enemy list and I could do with the publicity. "Game On!")

3. Lucy, I would like to improve my English

This one really shouldn't be here because it's not a bad blog and is actually quite sweet, though if I were an English teacher or pedantic about correct spelling and grammar, it would be pretty crap (evin thogh pobodys nerfect). Lucy is an average Japanese working Mum, making her way through life in Kawasaki, Japan and dedicated to the cause of learning English. Lucy gets top marks for dedication, as I've learnt through some of my OS friends just how much of a bitch of a language English is to learn, and she set up her own blog to help her. Here posts are short, sweet and whimsical, almost Haiku-like in structure, though I'm now sharing a blase, highly western-eyed observation. She loves food, and stuff', and you can learn a lot about Japanese food, the real stuff, not just Teriyaki and Nori rolls. I am fond of Engrish (its so endearing) and I know that could be seen as condescending, but I like to help Lucy from time to time. Perhaps you should too?

There's lots of other blogs that could rate a mention for me, but some may be too close to the fractured blog 'community' that I generally revolve in so I'd better not (yes, like AL, I self-censor). Surely I'm not alone in this? Do you, dear readers have any 'bad' blogs you would like to share with me, ones you have checked out more than once because you are stunned by it's complete and utter awfulness? Or any good ones for that matter? I need a new good blog or two, ones that aren't too self-obsessive or arrogant or high-brow (unless they are so much so they are fascinating), but are written well enough to get away with almost anything. Please induldge me.