Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tales from the tranches

I didn't have the money to invest in Telstra shares when the telco was first carved up and bastardised but I wouldn't have bought any anyway. My thinking was that, as a taxpayer, I already owned it and it wasn't anyone's to sell. I still think that.

And, while my idealogical stance on things very rarely pays off, this time it did! The 'mum and dad investors' are the losers as they watch the value of their stock continue to wither. The genie's out of the bottle now and the big T is just another player in a crowded field so my initial outrage has been replaced by a resigned shrug.
I've never been a fan of privatisation for above reason. How are we compensated for the money that goes into a government instrumentality when the govt. of the day decides to flog it off? We're not. If they do feel there is some legitimate reason to sell then we should be offered 'free' shares by way of compensation.

II Down in the tranches

The one thing I will say, though, is that Telstra have among the best ads of anyone in the business. I assume that it is a private ad company that runs them. They have become all but iconic, with the phrase "Not happy, Jan!" reworked and reappearing in different contexts, and the one about the Scottish chap trying to get parts for his Goggomobil so memorable that another company ran ads substantially using the same idea.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Watts inner name

It was a frequent theme of the Fairfax Press papers' Column 8 to list people with oddly appropriate names to their line of work.

I had a couple of thoughts along this line myself: it strikes me as funny/ironic that one of our biggest country musical exports should be named Keith Urban and (not exactly pc) I heard of a half caste boy called Luke White, which isn't as insensitive as naming your child Ophelia Dick, but isn't bright either.

But the one that takes the cake for me is one that's right under our noses: what would you name someone who was not only wealthy but got there by outbidding and outdealing everyone else, who played further on this avariciousness by styling a television show on competitors following suit? Can't think of a better name than Donald Trump.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Poll dancing

Surprising but on my home page is an opinion poll showing that 55% of people would not consider converting their car to LPG as opposed to only 41% that would. This despite the fact that the Federal Government has promised to pay for the operation.

I can't think of anyone not addicted to full strength super, worrying about using a 'less manly' fuel. And the cheaper cost (the push behind the government's latest offer) would be welcome when petrol prices are so out of control.

I'm wondering how many of the 55 per cent were thinking that liquid petroleum gas stinks, it alters something about the vehicle (and we're not talking utility so much as sin bin)and will go up anyway.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Saving faith

I can hear a dim distant rumbling of discontent: is this another one of those sites that tries to relegate religion to oblivion - and raise oblivion to be the realised religion? No, there are some religions I like.

I think Buddhism has a great deal to recommend it. In fact, most of the Oriental faiths are sturdy, practical, unobtrusive, gentle, and wise. I'm not sure why we chose to embrace the cranky desert religions instead. Perhaps it was an occident of history.

As for myself, while I think the world of the rationalist and free thinker is best when apprehending philosophical concepts that can be generally applied, I am nominally a pagan. I believe in Magick.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I was idly looking up 'worst quotes' just for a bit of amusement and I came across this pearler. It is a shame that these won't be seen for the monstrosities they are.

Look through the quotes from scripture and religious representatives, remove the bylines, attribute them instead to other commentators, and see how you feel about what they instruct; contemplate how wise they are, how far superior they are to the edicts of sectarian philosophers and leading lights.
If you can truly do this then you either have a greater spiritual depth than me or you are a dangerous sociopath!

As it happens, this dovetails with a headline I read on the cricket commentator,
Dean Jones, who made an (overheard)off-air comment It was an ad-break on Ten Sports, but to Jones's misfortune the moment Kumar Sangakkara was dismissed was shown on SuperSport, who were beaming the match in South Africa. And Jones said: "The terrorist has got another wicket".

This was written up in one newspaper's headline as 'Deano's racist sledge' but is that true? He wasn't attacking/jesting about the player's ethnicity or nationality, but his religion. Quite a different thing. And, while I don't agree with characterising a follower of any faith by its worst tenets or practices (or adherents), there is a politically correct oversensitivity to how Islam should be portrayed.
Jones was right to be contrite. He'd been caught out belittling someone's religious beliefs. His comment was as scandalous as calling someone a 'Christ killer' on the basis of race or religion. But looking at what Jones had to say in attempting to redress the inadvertenly broadcast insult, we see other problematic aspects creeping in. To wit:

"...The irony is that I am great friends with most of the Pakistan team and they are all Muslims."

I am friends with Christians and was brought up in the Church but this does not, in any way, influence my negative perception of St Paul, of the Crusades, of the persecution of witches, of the missionaries decimation of native cultures in the pursuit of civilising them to a Christian way of life. Neither, I would imagine, does Jones' friendship with the Pakistani cricketers inform his outlook on the tenets of Islam.

"I have no end of respect for the Muslim faith - that's why I'm so sorry at making such a stupid comment"

I take it from that, that Jones (or his PR) does not believe that it is the belief set of Muslims that drives them to commit terrorist acts. Or that, for those Muslims who do take it upon themselves to interpret the words of the Prophet this way, have an incorrect reading of the Koran and the teachings of Imams. Where, then, are the voices of moderation adequately debunking such interpretations? If the terrorist cells are seriously misinterpreting - or knowingly distorting - the will of God as expressed in the Holy Book then are they not sinners of greater magnitude than those who have not been exposed or inculcated in the ways of Islam?! I would be perfectly happy to see the extremists ostracised as heretics.

Islam has been responsible for many great cultural advances, just as Christianity has, but to consider its tenets to be above criticism is a grave mistake. The fact remains that, if the majority of Muslims were to isolate those taking up the prophet's bloodthirstiness and making it their own, we would very quickly see a turn in events. It was the pressure of both rationalism and a gentler Christianity that saw an end to terror from within Christendom. It is time for Islam to follow suit.