Thursday, 29 July 2010

...the wizdom of the elders

I just heard that Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem are in Ubud, Bali, making a screen adaptation of the best-selling, quasi self-help book Eat, Pray, Love. It reminded me a trip I made to Ubud a few years ago as a side to a friend's wedding on the south coast at Uluwatu. One of the party (who will be known as Silly) at the time had Eat, Pray, Love a the top of her list of such books, which she consumes with disconcerting zeal.

So of course she had to track down the real-life medicine man, 95 year old Ketut Liyer, the oracle of wisdom that features in the book. After paying a small Indonesian fortune for 30 minutes of wisdom, Silly (and some friendly witnesses) began her session. After a while of speaking in riddles, Ketut's eyes widened as he said "P!". "P?" Silly responded and Ketut replied "P!". "P, P, P" Silly pondered out loud. "P. Could it mean my boyfriend, Paul? P, P, P? Maybe it's a reference to my job at Pearsons? P! Wow. It sounds so profound and important, what could it mean?" "Pee!" Ketut replied. "Excuse me, I must go and pee".

After more mind-blowing inanity (from all witness accounts) the group departed, and were handed a business card by Ketut. It read...

Ketut Liyer
Spirtual Healer. Fortune Teller. Taxi Service

So after ripping off gullible western women, for an extra US$20 he will drive you back to your hotel too. What service!

It makes me think about the myth of elderly wisdom in general. Just because someone has been around a long time doesn't mean they are oozing with profound, almost magical knowledge and infinite wisdom. My bro-in-law and I once were about to embark on a 3-day trek in the highlands of Papua. On the second morning of the trip we asked the elderly 'chief' of the village what things we may need to bring on the rest of our trip, considering the mountainous terrain we would encounter and the people we would meet. After a long pause and plenty of chin scratching, he slowly turned and said, "I think..... it would be best for you....... if you should bring...... an umbrella." We didn't have the heart to tell him hat trekkers holding umbrellas look like complete douchebags, even if you do have porters to carry your load. The following morning at another village we asked the chief the same question. "I think..... it would be best for you.... if you should bring....... lots of cigarettes. You can trade them for anything you know". We did know that, and it's true. Forget carrying food and water. A carton of Lucky Strikes can see you through anything in some parts of the world.

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Monday, 19 July 2010


It would seem that government is moving closer to introducing legislation to prevent dickheads from engaging in their dickhead ways in public, or at least from annoying non-dickhead folk with their dickhead behaviour.

This may be a step in the right direction. The rules for the two annual music festivals held at Meredith for childless rock types (no glass, no fires, no dickheads) work surprisingly well. The dickheads are the ones who bring glass and light fires. But in the wider community, the problem lies in identifying who is indeed a dickhead and therefore worthy of prosecution. One hurdle is that the majority of participants in all levels of government (particularly local council) may be affected by these laws, so it is unlikely they will be implemented anytime soon.

But we already have laws for 4-wheel dickheads, aka hoons. People caught for DDD (Dangerous Dickhead Driving) can have their cars or motorbikes impounded for 24 or 48 hours, and can even have their vehicles permanently confiscated on their third offence. But after a few years and thousands of cars confiscated, judging by the regular near death experience that is driving up the Mahoondah Hwy on a Saturday night, I am left with the feeling that the laws just aren't coping. So I'm advocating a return to an old-fashioned approach of policing.

A recently heard a story that many years ago, a young driver was caught doing a big burnout on a public road. Rather than put him in a conga line of dickheads bound for the Magistrates Court, he took him back to the cop shop, gave him a bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush and ordered him not to leave the scene of the crime until he had cleaned every last bit of burned rubber of the road.

There were less dickheads around then, which I suspect is largely due to the important fact that a young man would rather have his car confiscated and/or be jailed than clean up after himself.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

...when you have a really, really, really long post heading, so long that's it's even longer than the post itself

I look good as a thumbnail.

Oh wait...

that's not actually me.

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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

...boris johnson

I couldn't resist this story I found on the ABC website...

Teachers and parents have criticised a British couple who allow their children to go to school unsupervised.

Oliver and Gillian Schonrock allow their eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son to cycle the one mile (1.5 kilometre) journey to school on their own. The couple taught their children a route on pavements through the backstreets of the London suburb of Dulwich to teach them independence and self-confidence.

But parents and teachers at the children's junior school say it is irresponsible and dangerous, and the school has told the couple it can refer the matter to social services.

London mayor Boris Johnson has slammed the health and safely rule as "barmy", writing in a newspaper column that he commends the Schonrocks for "taking the sword of common sense to the great, bloated encephalopathic sacred cow of elf [sic] and safety".

I think I like Boris Johnson, the Lord Mayor of London. Even though he's a tory (and I'd hate him if he was my local politician) he's a bit of an outspoken nut (the hair is a giveaway), which I think is a good thing for a Lord Mayor to be. A good Mayor should be a bit eccentric, more clown than politician, to spruik a city, to turn heads. Robert Doyle is starting to warm to the job here in Melbourne. He would have made a lousy Premier, but with his anti-bogan rantings and his April Fools jokes (announcing on morning radio that he'll be building a waterfall and trout fishing pond on the Yarra outside the casino), he's got enough fruit loop in him to serve well. Perhaps the job of village idiot is still alive and well.

Here's some more of Johnson's work...

  • In 2003 Johnson was investigated for the theft of a cigar case belonging to Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussien's cronies. He eventually returned the case at the owner's request.
  • In April 2007 Johnson was called upon to resign by the MPs for the city of Portsmouth after claiming in a column for GQ that the city was "one of the most depressed towns in Southern England, a place that is arguably too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs"
  • At the conclusion of the 2008 Olympics, Boris gave this famous speech at London House in Beijing. It's an absolute pearler (you can skip the first half of the vid if you are short for time)...

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Thursday, 1 July 2010

...when aunty disappoints

I love the ABC. Partly becasue I'm a big nerd and partly because loud advertisements for new cars, dunny cleaner and pimple cream hurt my brain. And then there's commercial programming...

But there are currently two Australian ABC TV programs that really annoy me (well, they don't truly annoy me because I don't watch them).

The Gruen Transfer
Aside from being a shallow platform for Wil Anderson's dated one-liners, I find this show to be just a bunch of ego-mad advertising executives jerking off about how brilliant, important and influential they think they are. Giving them their own TV show just heightens their delusion.

Q and A
Overrated and overhyped, this 'live' show 'where anything can happen' is anything but. The political guests just spew out the predictable party line like they do at any press conference. The questions from the audience at home and in the studio are prescreened and predictable. This may be necessary to some extent, but for me, it did not live up to it's claims. They get an interesting guest from time to time, but they rarely say anything interesting on the night. The token comedian always looks like a fish out of water.

But I'll forgive Aunty for that.