Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bum crack

I may gripe about the government or criticise the shortcomings of the average punter but I love this country and I wouldn't be in any hurry to migrate. It is not interchangeable with other democracies because it doesn't have the cold of Canada, the class system of Great Britain, or the puritan overtones of the US.
Basically, we revel in our uncouth origins and the showing of bum crack is perhaps one of the surest signs of this.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


If you're feeling nostalgic for those old games then this might help. If you feel like a game of chess then don't call me (what did I tell you last entry about being stupid). And on the same subject, the reigning and undefeated champion, Gary Kasparov, has announced his retirement.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Does not compute

Got into an online wrangle with a voter of different persuasion - one who works for an oil company, no less - and he met my comments about a reluctance to move to alternative energy sources with accusations of stupidity. It was like being back in school!

I suspect, like a lot of people, I AM 'stupid' when it comes to certain things. I have a rhetorical blindness honed by years of experience and the mind is so powerful that I have incorporated the daftest notions and made them my own, so that they make perfect sense.
But then there are things I 'don't get'; my brain is just not hardwired that way. Where a scientific temperament may have trouble working out what's what with the bon mot, I have the opposite experience. I can understand abstract philosophical points but have trouble dealing with fractals and loops. I barely understand what they mean. And this isn't because my interest lies elsewhere; it largely does but even when I take the trouble to come to grips with mathematical equations and hard science I can't seem to get my head around it.

Sometimes it's fun to speedread a book on chemical properties and emerge from the library with my head spinning. But should I try to apply what I have just "learnt", it would literally blow up in my face. And then there's computers. Programming languages specifically. When things start going into themselves, and things equal but simultaneously do not equal other things; when they thread and loop and repeat and dissemble and disappear up their own fundament I'm lost.
I rub my hands with glee at the thought of Trivial Pursuit, I'm an avid follower of game shows, and happy to join a table at music trivia, but there are some things that just don't add up.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I like to watch

I'd say I'm not a big television watcher and part of the reason for that is the free-to-air networks who seem to be making a concerted effort to get viewers to switch to pay TV by showing mostly bilge and supplementing that by showing good programs out of order, missing episodes, missing crucial scenes (e.g. what did happen to that villain Superboy was tussling with on the bridge?), moving the timeslots around, running shows likely to have the same audience on at the same time etc. There again they were committing all these sins years before the advent of the video player and the Fox Network.

The other reason is because I am a net nerd and prefer the interactivity that goes with this screen. It's a habit that I cultivated when I shared a house with a guy who hogged the television (fair enough it was his but if you're going to have it in the loungeroom..)

And it's not strictly true. My viewing hours have crept up with the running of so many interesting docs on SBS and I've even succumbed to catching the odd episode of Idol or X Factor. Plus any game show that asks general knowledge questions instead of the price of an alligator suitcase (unless that is general knowledge). Anyway I don't watch all those multi-murder shows and I only tune in intermittently to the plethora of office comedies and family sitcoms; generic in the extreme. But there is one series that I do follow: The Secret Life Of Us. This is such a sweet show, nuanced, character-driven, and basically true-to-life. Okay, as one former colleague remarked "No one gets as much as Evan" but a little fantasy into the mix doesn't hurt. I'm thinking that this is the first 'soap' that shows an Aboriginal girl having various relationships with all manner of guys, that shows gays within a wider, unstereotyped context, that shows that young people living in sharehouses in Melbourne do take drugs. And it has these fabulous gentle resolutions that ring true for me.
It's just a pity that it lost its original popular momentum and is now relegated to the 10:30 timeslot. Luckily I'm a night owl (even if I do have to get up at five in the morning)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Knocking the poor

Once more into the breach... Yeah, look, I'm a bleeding heart leftie but that doesn't extend to families who don't - won't - teach their children a sense of responsibility. If you go round snatching handbags from little old ladies then it isn't the fault of society or the cops or the government. It's YOU what done it, sonny. And you should be locked up.

The recently captured Jesse Kelly is an example of the maxim 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. No strategic criminal mastermind, all Kelly had to do was note the Redfern residents' claim about cops pushing T.J. off his bike to make up a similar bullshit story; that the cops were ramming their (or, rather, the owner's) vehicle. I've seen and heard a lot of police corruption stories, and I don't doubt them, but that one is just dumb. Yet Kelly knew that his chums would believe him. Hence the riots.



Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Between the posts

re my Aussie Rules post. Of course there are those who would say "Tha's not football. But then they'd say that about gaelic football (no, I don't know how you'd find the reference amidst all that crap either), rugby union, rugby league (looks suspiciously like a blog from an Antarctic explorer, I know, but he does mention the game), and gridiron as well.


Of all the self-perpetuating Governor Macquarie's attempts to immortalise himself across the state (half our placenames it seems are either named for himself or his wife), the one he must be least proud of right now (looking down from whitie heaven) is Macquarie Fields. It's a state housing area that have taken their cue from the motley lot in Redfern. A couple of the dipshits were killed in a highspeed car chase. The crims fault, right? Not according to their uncouth kith. Apparently the cops shouldn't have chased them in their stolen car. I guess they should have stood and waved as the brats drove past and none of this would have happened. Too bad about the car's owner - known in more refined circles as the victim.

And, until we get a good Bushism to knock it off its pedestal, I have an early nomination for Stupid Comment of the Year, from one of the local women [spoken in a slow not-altogether-there voice]"Yeah, they're criminals... but they're not bad people"

And all this time I thought criminals were bad people. Silly me.
It's not impoverishment of funds that is the cause of the locals' woes; it's impoverishment of intelligence (or am I turning into Howard Sattler in my old age).

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A good word for Halle

Some people criticise Halle Berry, saying she wasn't that good in Swordfish and what's she doing playing a Bond girl AFTER she's won an Oscar. I think she was fine and makes an acceptable Bond girl; there's no saying that because you can play weightier roles, you should be expected to do so (presumably leaving the pure entertainment roles to those less competent). My only gripe with her is that she signed on to play a character in a franchise that was bound to run to several installments but didn't undertake to see it through. The fans think that there'll be X-Men movies for as long as they have Hugh Jackman in the Wolverine role, and that's not an unreasonable assessment, but it will be disappointing to continuity to have someone else playing Ororo.

But here's why I really like her:

In the antithesis of the Oscars, George Bush on Saturday won the "Razzie" worst actor of the year award for his performance as President in Fahrenheit 9/11.
His moment in Hollywood's dubious spotlight however was eclipsed by Halle Berry, who actually turned up to receive her embarrassing accolade.
Berry was named worst actress of 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in Catwoman and she showed up to accept her "Razzie" carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for Monster's Ball.
The crowd cheered as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears. She thanked everyone involved in Catwoman, a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.
"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit", she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first".

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Holding the man without the ball

Essay on Australian Rules football by the guy who wrote Rock in Hard Places (which my sister gave me last birthday).

Which reminds me of a significant omission from my 'famous people I know' posting: my own brother-in-law (he's the one with the extremely common name - OK that doesn't help either. It's Joe Smith and he was vice captain of the Claremont football team)