December 29, 2006

Horse 696 - ABCDE & bits from Melbourne

Area-7 at the Espy is still a hard act to follow. This creaky old hotel in St Kilda does however manage to hold itself together whilst the people inside bounce up and down to the infectious ska that comes out of the place.

Maybe it's because they've disappeared off the radar for the last few months but Area-7 played nothing from any of their albums or EPs. The show I saw last night was for all intents and purposes, Area-7 as a covers band. People would yell stuff from the pit and almost without warning, they'd launch into whatever the first person said. Literally music on demand and it's a skill which few bands will even attempt.

The Melbourne Test has ended in 3 days with Australia rolling onto what could very well be the first whitewash in Ashes history. England elected to bat on the first day and could only muster 159 as the rain came, went and came again. In reply Australia played on a drying wicket and Hayden and Symonds who scored his maiden test century, made the English bowlers look like a Sunday club.
England's second innings was as dismal as the first and with grey skies above, the action on the pitch wasn't much better. The only real glimmer of class came from Monty Panesar who batting at No.11 had the sheer cheek to belt a Shane Warne delivery back over his head.
The Sydney Test on Jan 2 is the last hope for England to walk away from this with a shred of confidence: certainly it lies in tatters at the moment.

Eng 159 & 160 def by Aus 411

I have been exploiting Melbourne's tram network to the point of laziness. At one point I needed to go to a cashpoint machine and rather than walk the block to get there I saw that a tram was coming down the street and got on and off, thus saving me maybe a couple of hundred yards walk.
It's interesting that once you have a weekly Metcard, the idea of validating the trip once on just never dawns. If a connie were to inspect tickets, then it would still read the expiry date at the end of the week. In fact Connex has such a hard time counting the number of trips made that they're even running a mass campaign at the moment for people to validate their tickets.

The number of English people in Melbourne at the moment is scary. Assuming that the crowd was bi-partisan, than that by inference means that there's 40,000 running around the centre of town. For the moment the city sounds slightly skitzoid, with the voices of the Mother Country and the crosses of St George all around.

A thought just occured to me. One of Deano's favourite comments in church is that God replaces peoples colours with his own. Now if you look at the world's flags you'll find in principle a few basic designs.
a) the tricolour as invented by france, or horizontal like Germany and Austria
b) the cantoned flag - ala the USA, Australia, Malaysia
c) the religious flag - either with a cross or a crescent on
Seeing the crosses of St George around the place is interesting. When England took up the flag during the crusades, it was most definately saying to the world that they believed in and were fighting for God. The Union Flag whilst being British and not English is a combination of three crosses.
The United States on the other hand has a distinctive flag but it doesn't openly say anything about where it's heart lies. The coins and the banknotes declare "In God We Trust" but unlike England or say Pakistan, the flag ironically doesn't.
Meanwhile what does the Union Flag in the corner of the Australian Flag say?


December 24, 2006

Horse 695 - Postcards From History

Dear Abram,

The people here are very free and easy. We've been enjoying the nightlife and no mistake, but sadly they start demolition tommorrow so we'll be forced to leave. Still, as the wife says it will be something to look back on.


Dear Mum,

I'm having a wonderful time I think, therefore I am.

Rene Descartes

Dear Victoria,

I have arrived at a very large waterfall which I have decided to name after you. Your messsenger Stanley arrived last week, he is rather a presumputuous chap.

Dr David Livingstone

Dear Doris,

I know you must be terribly worried about me but please disregard what you read in the tabloids as it was Granny Smith who hit me. I trust that you'll understand the gravity of the situation.

Sir Issac Newtown

And finally I found one from Sir Samuel Morse:

Dear Dot,
Must dash.

December 22, 2006

iYear - 2006

In 2006 the total number of songs mainly due to increases in Podcast entries now sits at 5028. I still however detect a hint of bias in the statistics, though that's expected.

1. (NE) I'm Confused - Alan Partridge - 40 plays
2. (NE) Congratulations - Silvia Night - 35 plays
3. (20+) Love Like a Bomb - Oasis - 31 plays
4. (NE) Ramen 3bun Cooking - Ai Otsuka - 29 plays
5. (NE) LDN - Lily Allen - 28 plays
6. (1) Part of the Queue - Oasis - 28 plays
7. (20+) Please Leave the Train - London Underground Anouncement - 27 plays
8. (3) Lyla - Oasis - 27 plays
9. (5) Mind the Gap - London Underground Anouncement - 26 plays
10. (15) Wonderwall - Oasis - 25 plays
11. (20+) Exterminate - Dr Who - 24 plays
12. (6) The Hindu Times - Oasis - 24 plays
13. (20+) Fall to Pieces - Avril Lavigne - 23 plays
14. (20+) A Bell Will Ring - Oasis - 22 plays
15. (20+) Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis - 22 plays
16. (20+) Lillibulero - BBC Radio 4 - 22 plays
17. (20+) Am I Paying For This Abuse - Blackadder - 21 plays
18. (20+) Due To Derail - CityRail Announcements - 21 plays
19. (20+) Katamari On The Rock - Katamari Damacy - 21 plays
20. (20+) Let There Be Love - Oasis - 21 plays

In similar fashion 15 of the top 20 were from the UK, and 4 of the 20 are under 30 seconds long. There are 5 re-entries into the top 20 and all of them are by Oasis. Of the top 100, 78 are from the UK. In the grand scheme of things, precious little has changed eh?

December 21, 2006

Horse 694 - The Content of Their Character

Shane Warne has announced his retirement from cricket today as the highest Test wicket taker of all time. Whilst he will be remembered for "The Ball of the Century", he'll also be remembered for:

Weather forecasts and bribery in India

Joe the Camerman

Lewd text messages

Being caught smoking whilst being the spokesman for Nicorette

Smashing a kid's camera in NZ

and those photos in a London hotel room

The paper today called him a colourful identity. The term "colourful" is usually reserved for mobsters and lords of the underworld of organised crime.

Nevertheless, Warney leaves as the hero of many a Test Tour, ripping through batting orders like a chainsaw through a box of kumquats. Full of bite and the once "Sheik of Tweak"

December 20, 2006

Horse 693 - Tom Cruise is Officially Bonkers

Either I've really gone mad and therefore need to be locked up or there really could be a shread of truth in the rumour that Victoria Beckham has been lines up to star in Tom Cruise's new Scientology film.

The former Spice Girl has apparently been picked to play an alien bride in The Thetan which based on the bizarre sci-fi cult, who believes in alien life forms.

Tom Cruise has had to bankroll the project himself after it was rejected by all the major film studios and is said to have picked Victoria for the role after being impressed by her "comic genius".

Certainly I'm starting to think that Tom Cruise at least could very well be an alien. If he's not an alien and Scientology is a fraud then he's certainly a wacko nutjob.

Thinking that Posh Spice is a comic genius... I think we should put Mr Cruise in one of those special jackets where he can hug himself all day long, la la la...

December 19, 2006

Horse 692 - Arrogant Prat!

Who are you to me?

I found this picture contained within a PDF of a prospectus for a merchant bank who is fast gaining a reputation for buying up everything. The accompanying caption is "Stand tall on your opposition". Now I don't necessarily think that I'd enjoy being friends with this person, for the simple reason that I suspect that I might be stood on, beaten down and left behind. There is a word for this: Arrogance.

Such a brilliant word. The word itself conjures up images of flying higher than everyone, that sensation that the world is somehow beneath us. It is a sneaky thing, sometimes it flies in through a half-checked window and like The Raven quoths Nevermore.

You come down the stairs in the morning and notice shoes lying on the kitchen floor. Then you look closer and notice that they are your shoes. Will you pick them up? No. That's the job of someone else. Then you see garbage lying by the back door, garbage that's been there for a day, or two. Will you take it out? No. That's the job of someone else.

We're in traffic and going to make a left turn. Common courtesy says to put on our blinker, to let the person in the car behind us know that we're going to be turning. Do we? No. Who are they to me? We're entering the front door of some store somewhere, and you notice some strangers behind you. Do you hold the door open for them? "Why should I?" you wonder to yourself. "Who are they to me?" We're tired and we start to yawn. Do we cover our mouth? No. So what if others are staring right at us, seeing our tonsils? Who are they to me?

Arrogance says, "Yes, I always have to be right." And so we stand our ground even on small matters, matters of little consequence. Even if no one asks for it, we always point out when others are wrong.

Arrogance also sneaks in when we have different agendae than the people around us. For instance, where are we going to eat today? What are we going to watch on TV? Where are we going to go on holiday this summer? What color should our house be? What kind of car should we buy? More importantly, who is going to get the old car? Arrogance says "It's my way or the highway. We will eat where I want to eat. We will watch what I want to watch. We will go on holiday where I want to go on holiday. And you can be darn sure that I'll be driving the new car."

Arrogance can sneak in when other people have success. Because arrogant people really don't like when others have success. In fact, we put down other people's accomplishments. We see flaws in other people's achievements. And we belittle other things that people are proud of. We certainly don't lavish praise on them.

Arrogance can sneak in also whenever we encounter people who are different than us. The laborers who mow the lawns and tend the gardens and care for the council parks. If we are not careful, it doesn't take long for this arrogance to slip into our psyche. It is an arrogance that comes from status. The checkout operator at the supermarket, the guy who comes to fix the phones, the lady who runs the bank, the person at the coffee shop - are any of them really less valuable?

Finally arrogance can sneak into our minds when we are being penalized or punished. Arrogant people don't believe the rules apply to them and when they get busted for breaking the rules, they don't believe they should be punished. So, they fight the speeding ticket even though they know they were speeding. They bad mouth the boss even though they knew they broke a rule.

I hate pride and arrogance. - Proverbs 8:13

This should be the last word on the matter. Arrogance isn't not only unpretty but is hated by God. I stand on shaky and hated ground. Am I an arrogant prat?

December 18, 2006

Horse 691 - I am a Terrorist Apparantly

What with the avian flu that came and went without trace and SARS that also shot through, we've been sitting waiting for out latest bit of terror to be manufactured for us to be scared of.

On my way home this afternoon I stopped just outside of Top Ryde and decided to pour myself a cup of tea (from the remains of the flask that I'd made this morning). Whilst sitting there a panda car came up behind with a full set of lights flashing and two constabulary enforcers of the law stepped out . I had a breath test taken and they searched the Ka and ended up swiping two sets of chopsticks. I wondered what one earth all of this was in aid of and wondered that if I asked I might be done in for sedition.

As it turns out they were suspicious of my red car because it happened to be stopped with occupant directly under the flight path of the North-South runway. Now Mascot is in fact some 19 kilometers away at this point but I guess that in this age of terrorism everyone truly is a suspect.

Then again, my car does happen to have a ticking clock it the dashboard...

December 15, 2006

Horse 690 - This is the Meaning of Life

It makes perfect sense that we can't really very well give God anything that he already doesn't own. Let's face it, the Chap is so big, powerful (add superlatives etc) that he actually owns everything at all time in the whole of the space-time-mass-energy thingo.

If this is the case, then what the heck are we here for? Aren't we totally redundant in the grand scheme of things? What is the point to our existance? What is the meaning of life?

I think that this has been answered sufficently before.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
- Ecclesiates 12:13

I've often heard it said that they want to know what the meaning of life is. I don't honestly think that you could possibly get any more explicit than this. Or perhaps you'd like that directly from God himself:

Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
- Deuteronomy 11:1

I did a search for things I'd flagged in my electronic copy of the NIV and came up with the following...
Search result:842 Results

842 results. That's 842 times that we've been told what the meaning of life is. Now if God already owns everything and he's told us what he wants from us, doesn't the rest fall into line pretty easily? Do you think that He'd give us tools for the job in advance to do just that?

When we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, "Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present." Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.
- CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

C. S. Lewis was comparing that to his belief that God gave him and us the gifts that we possess to serve him. We should do it humbly, with humble hearts, realizing how we got the gifts in the first place.
- Leigh Nash

Or if you wish, perhaps you'd like a piece of mail that someone once wrote to someone else. Don't worry, they won't mind if you go through their mail.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- Ephesians 2:10

Created by God, for God, to do His work. Is that good enough for the meaning of life for you? I'd write more but don't have the time-space-energy to go through another 842 things for you.

December 14, 2006

Horse 689 - Diamonds Aren't My Best Friend

I've been hearing an advert on the radio a lot this month, and the tag line is this:

... because a diamond truly is forever. So this Christmas, say it with diamonds. From De Beers.

I hate diamonds. There I've said it, I hate diamonds. As a piece of ornamental jewellery they're prized for their ability to throw back fantastic amounts of colour. Part of this is to do with their internal structure. They have a relatively high refractive index because the arrangement of the carbon atoms is a whole heap of triangular pyramids. This also gives diamond another property - they are in fact terribly brittle. It you were to hit a diamond with hammer (and yes I have done this) they not only shatter as you expect but also turn to dust.

I'll say it again, I hate diamonds. Everything about them disgusts me. I hate shallow girls comparing carat size with each other, I hate admiring people’s rings, and I hate walking past ostentatious jewelry stores. I hate the fact that people fight and kill each other over control of diamond mines so that some poor chap can spend four months working in order to purchase something for a girl in order for her to show off and conversely to show her off. I hate the materialism and vanity that goes with diamonds. I hate fake salespeople and their slick ways of talking you into buying the latest bracelet, Seiko watch, or oversized rock. I hate how infants are starving to death or people are dying of easily curable diseases while people spend thousands on a tiny ridiculous rock. I hate how I can’t bring myself to wholly hate diamonds. Sparkly, shimmery, beautiful diamonds.

I have to continually remind myself of why I abhor diamonds. As soon as I do I can walk away from the polished glass diamond counter, breathing a sigh of relief that I’m not the type of chap who likes things like that, however much colour they can throw back.

The biggest reason that I don’t get into the diamond market is that buying diamonds hurts people. Somewhere between 4 and 15 percent of diamonds traded are part of something called "conflict diamonds" (or "war" or "blood diamonds") This means that people with guns and weapons take advantage of people without guns and weapons and make them mine diamonds in horrible conditions to help pay for those guns and weapons. These guns also keep those without guns from causing a fuss about anything illegal or atrocious that the mine operators do. In the last ten years some 3 million people have been killed. Countless more have lost their hands or feet so that they could serve as examples to others. These people with guns also use the profits from diamonds to buy more guns to support other unwholsome activities but let's not say anything about the Congo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe or South Africa just yet.

But let’s say that a person really wants diamonds. Let’s say they are willing to go the extra mile and pay the extra ¥£$ to purchase a certified, non-conflict diamond. They can’t. There’s no way to be sure you’re not buying a conflict diamond. (Well... there is, there is a type of laser scanning technology, but it is not used, due to little demand for it.) There are also organizations and sanctions trying to keep the diamonds straight, but nothing works really well. In the process of mining, cutting, polishing, and setting, a diamond passes through many hands. And it takes just one person with their eye out for number one to scramble up the pot and ruin it for the rest of them.

Let's say that somehow, you have gotten a hold of a non-conflict diamond. You went to the mine yourself and saw well-paid, of-age, happy workers mining diamonds. They worked in safe conditions and could go home to their family with all four limbs intact. Can you dish out your hard-earned dough, feeling good about what you’ve done? Maybe you can, but the toddler who lost both hands to serve as a lesson to his parents working in the mines can’t.

Diamonds are not as valuable as most people believe. The price is kept unnaturally high by very powerful diamond lobbies; mainly by the South African company De Beers who since the late 40s have cartellised and controlled the market. By paying that lofty price for your non-conflict diamond, you are keeping conflict diamond prices high, and making it very much worth their while in Congo to keep those mines open and keep on mutilating and killing for profit.

Stepping off that soapbox for a while I’ll jump onto another one. Another reason I don’t like diamonds is all the materialism, greed, and vanity that goes with them. It’s hard to even know where to start. From all these ads on television and billboards, I am almost starting to believe that diamonds are no longer just a symbol of love, they actually mean some sort of concrete materialisation of love for some people. If I were to take this seriously then I would believe that any problems people's relationships or lives have, a new piece of jewellery will fix it.

A husband should feel as though he is a lesser man because he didn’t buy his significant other a large enough stone? That his love doesn’t mean anything unless it comes paired with a full carat stone affixed atop a platinum band? His wife doesn’t need quality time or support or even some help matching the socks, just a new pair of diamond earrings come Valentines day?

I hope that isn’t how real people think. Oh man, I really hope that is not how people think, but I’m pretty sure some people do. Isn’t love how you treat each other, not the size of a ring? That those fingers might be clammy, that you spend pointless time worrying about their wellbeing and safety, that you might throw your back out for them? And why else do people buy bling, if not to express their love for another person? To impress people? To feel better about themselves for being such a generous person? I hope both of those reasons are empty enough that I can leave it at that.

December 13, 2006

Horse 688 - Triple MMMadness

If all of the rumours are correct, then next year for Sydney radio on MMM, the landscape will look very different indeed.

The Cage which is currently on an extended season will most likely not appear on Sydney radio. The five pronged attack of JB, Fitzy, Parko, Brig and Pete Berner who will strangely continue to work out of Sydney, will continue on MMM in Melbourne.

The morning slot in Sydney will in all likelyhood be taken over by The Shebang with Marty Sheargold and Fifi Box, who currently operate out of two separate studios. Of course their foray into morning radio will place them up against Merrick & Rosso on Nova and Kyle and Jackie O on sister station 2Day FM.

This leaves the afternoon slot free for none other than Wil Anderson former co-host of the JJJ breakfast show to take over. 2Day FM will take the full two hours of Hamish & Andy from Melbourne's FOX FM.

2GB still leads the ratings war with Alan Jones' morning program still the most popular in Sydney which says more about fuddy-duddies than it does about the drivel which this man continues to spew.

If you're confused by all of that then don't worry. Vega 95.3 is still out there somewhere and for 2007 will continue to broadcast its own brand of irrelevance which only 3 people and their hamster listen to.

December 11, 2006

Horse 687 - THe Kelly Gang Wins

Toll HSV Dealer Team's Rick Kelly has been confirmed as the 2006 V8 Supercar champion after a marathon appeal hearing today. The appeal hearing, which lasted over four hours, saw three stewards once more review the incident in race three at Phillip Island where Rick Kelly made contact with the back of Craig Lowndes' car.

This caused Lowndes' car to make contact with Todd Kelly, with Lowndes and Todd Kelly spinning before Lowndes' car was struck by Will Davison.
The incident badly damaged Lowndes' car while Kelly's was virtually unscathed, the subsequent drive-through penalty given to Kelly costing him far less time during the race than the bent steering cost Lowndes.

The two drivers had entered the race equal on points after 33 of 34 races. With Kelly finishing eleven places ahead of Lowndes in the final race, Kelly won the title.

As with the Investigating and Prosecuting Officer's review yesterday, the stewards today decided that the original decision of a drive-through penalty was the correct punishment for Kelly's actions, and that no further punishment was necessary. With the results remaining unchanged, Rick Kelly was confirmed (again) as this year's V8 Supercar champion.

Unfortunately what this does suggest is that if you happen to take out your oppponents in this sport, then the governing bodies will take only token actions. It's a step further down the slope; the thin end of the wedge.

RIP: Sportsmanship, gone to join Nobility and Fairness.

December 10, 2006

Horse 686 - Cochicken

If you want to look at something surprising, head on over to Will It Blend, a website for a company that sells blenders. One of the things that they blended was a roast chicken and a can of Coke.

On the website it says "Don't Try This At Home". Now usually if I hear that, the first thing that I want to do is to go out and try it. Removing the bones from chicken fillets, and then adding Coke to a blender, produces an opaque mixture that appears for the most part like milkshake. Let me tell you it is:

Just Like a Chocolate Milkshake - Only Chickeny

December 09, 2006

Horse 685 - The Weakest Link

Disciples Edition
Presented by Cornelia Frances

Cornelia: Well disciples, I'm afraid you've done quite poorly. You've only accumulated 5 bits of fish and a couple of bread rolls. It's not what I'd want for my last supper. Now who is just not contributing? Who is a liability to the cause?
It's time to vote off The Weakest Disciple.

Cornelia: Simon, who is also called Peter, you voted for Judas. Why?

Simon Peter: I just have this feeling that he might be the one to betray us.

Cornelia: Right, I see. He's also the only one who's banked any money. 30 pieces of silver to be precise.

Simon Peter: I just think he's the one who's going to let us down.

Cornelia: Well we'll see just how smug you are after the cock has crowed then?
And Thomas, you voted for Judas too. Do you think he's happy about that?

Thomas: I doubt it.

Cornelia: Yes, you would doubt it Thomas.
It's votes that count and it looks like you Judas have been voted as The Weakest Disciple. Goodbye.

Judas: Well yes it is true, I've betrayed innocent blood. I'm going to find a tree and then hang myself.

Cornelia: Well you've certainly taken it better than most of the contestants on this show.

December 08, 2006

Horse 684 - 1337 Po3try

+3h Ro4d no+ +4k3n
Rob3r+ Fro$+

+wo ro4d$ div3rg3d in 4 y3llow wood
4nd $orry I could no+ +r4v3l bo+h
4nd b3 on3 +r4v3ll3r, long I $+ood
4nd look3d down on3 4$ f4r 4$ I could
+o wh3r3 i+ b3n+ in +3h und3rgrow+h;

+h3n +ook +3h o+h3r, 4$ ju$+ 4$ f4ir,
4nd h4ving p3rh4p$ +3h b3++3r cl4im
b3c4u$3 i+ w4$ gr4$$y 4nd w4n+3d w34r;
+hough 4$ for +h4+, +3h p4$$ing +3hr3
h4d worn +h3m r34lly 4bou+ +3h $4m3,

4nd bo+h +h4+ morning 3qu4lly l4y
in l34v3$ no f33+ h4d +rodd3n bl4ck.
Oh, I k3p+ +3h fir$+ for 4no+3hr d4y!
Y3+ knowing how w4y l34d$ on +o w4y,
I doub+3d if I $hould 3v3r com3 b4ck.

I $h4ll b3 +3lling +hi$ wi+h 4 $igh
$om3wh3r3 4g3$ 4nd 4g3$ h3nc3:
+wo ro4d$ div3rg3d in 4 wood, 4nd I --
I +ook +3h on3 l3$$ +r4v3ll3d by,
4nd +h4+ h4$ m4d3 4ll +3h diff3r3nc3

December 06, 2006

Horse 683 - I Agree With An Islamic Dictator

The title says it all. Most people if they heard that in isolation probably would think that I'm a basket case, but this particular Islamic Dictator has said possibly the most intelligent thing by any politician on earth in 60 years.

General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan has suggested that talks begin between India and Pakistan to decide the future of the territory of Kashmir.

Pakistan is prepared to give up its claim on Kashmir, the demand for plebiscite in the region and on implementation of UN Resolutions if both countries agree on the four-point solution proposed. Gen Musharraf said that Pakistan was prepared to give up its claim to Kashmir if India and Pakistan agree on the four-point solution (a solution in which boundaries are not changed and India does not have to give up any territory).

President Musharraf also made it clear that if the four-point solution, which includes no change in boundaries of Kashmir, making borders and the LoC irrelevant, staggered demilitarisation and autonomy or self-governance with a joint supervision mechanism, is agreed upon, Pakistan would also give up on the UN resolutions and its long-standing demand for a plebiscite. He said when both sides are negotiating, it meant compromise and compromise could never take place without stepping back. So inherently, both sides would have to give up their positions and step back.

If you bear in mind that Kashmir was once an independant kingdom, and an independant kingdom that joined the Union of India in 1935 of its own volition, then the idea that Kashmir should again return to the state of an autonomous country is really the only course of action that should have happened in 1947 when Pakistan and India split.

Quite frankly the actions of both India and Pakistan for 60 years have been nothing short of criminally stupid and have wasted far too many lives pointlessly. To stand back, walk away and give the people back their own country is the most excellent solution.

Horse 682 - John Howard Will Win in 2007

Australian Politics despite what people say is really very simple. Voters in this country are on the whole only concerned with their hip pocket and will vote accordingly. If you look back at election results going back 60 years to when "Ming" took power in 1949, we find that an encumbant government has only been voted out of office 4 times - 1972, 1975, 1983 and 1996.

The election cycle at a federal level since 1949 has been dictated by one factor: Australia's economic performance, comprising a combination of the inflation rate and unemployment rate. Australians are only prepared to vote out a government federally when the economy is experiencing stagflation - a relatively high unemployment rate and high inflation. Because stagflation is rare in Australia, since the election of the Menzies Government in 1949, change of government at a federal level is also rare.

From 1972-73 to 1980-81, unemployment kept rising: the average rate jumped to about 7 per cent. By 1972, the inflation rate had also leapt to above 7 per cent. With this combination, the long reign of conservative government ended in December 1972.

But the election of a Labor government federally was short-lived. Unemployment continued to worsen between 1972 and 1975 and inflation went through the roof, reaching 17.6 per cent in March 1975. Gough Whitlam was voted out of office at the end of 1975.

Unemployment continued to rise during the Fraser Government, but it stayed in power until March 1983 thanks to a trend downwards in inflation from 1975 to 1982. But inflationary pressures set in again, with the inflation rate hitting 12.5 per cent in September 1982. With unemployment reaching 9.7 per cent in February 1983, the Fraser Government lost the federal election.

The Hawke-Keating Labor Government was in power for 13 years. Between 1983 and 1990, the unemployment rate fell from 10 per cent to below 6 per cent (5.8 per cent in January 1990), holding back any change in government from inflationary pressures and rising interest rates (which were about 17 per cent at the time of the 1990 election).

After the 1990 election, Australia went into recession. By February 1993, unemployment had reached 10.8 per cent and everyone, including the Labor Party, thought the Hawke-Keating Government was over. The 1993 election was unwinnable for the then prime minister, Paul Keating.
But Keating won. Why? Although unemployment was at record high levels, inflation had dropped significantly. In March 1993, the inflation rate was about 1 per cent. Between 1993 and 1996, unemployment fell to 8.1 per cent, still historically high. But by December 1995, the inflation rate had risen to 5.1 per cent. Keating lost in March 1996 in a landslide to John Howard.

The annual inflation rate in Australia was only 3.9% in the three months to Sept. 30, the second consecutive quarter it has breached the Reserve Bank's target band of between 2-3%. Although prices have been rising, it's not yet enough to make people hurt. And despite the fact that the Federal Government is telling us what a good job it's doing (after selling the rest of Telstra and making people buy something which they used to own), really Mr Howard's Government isn't really doing anything at all and nor does it need to.

So long as the Australian Voter is as thick as cement, then Howard had nothing to fear. 60 years of evidence proves this.

December 05, 2006

Horse 681 - Making Peace With Santa

For many years I've made fun of the stupidity of Santa Claus. It just seemed a bit silly to me that we'd deliberately lie to children with such an implausible lie. Flying Reindeer? A man who went round the whole world in one night when planes take 22 hours to get to London and satellites orbit every 90 minutes. When there's actually nothing at the North Pole (I knew of Amundsen's expedition at an early age).

Francis P. Church's editorial letter in the The Sun (New York) to Virginia O'Hanlon of 115 W95th St, is perhaps one of the most famous editiorials of all time. Church's father, Pharcellus, was a Baptist minister and journalist who founded The New York Chronicle, so perhaps his answer was not aimed necessarily at perpetuating a lie but saying something else to the rest of readers of The Sun.

First of all, what is Santa Claus actually for? The modern incarnation of the chap is roughly based on poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" ("The Night Before Christmas" - published 1823).
The other person who is responsible is the artist Haddon Sundblom who was commissioned by Coca-Cola in the 1930s. So popular were Sundblom's images of Claus (Sundblom's images are used by Coca-Cola to this day) that the urban legend soon arose that Sundblom had actually created the modern image of Santa Claus.
Sundblom also painted the iconic image of the scary Quaker Oats man in 1957; the image is still used in Quaker branding to this day AUGH!!.

The Christian Church is also responsible for its repeated hijacking of festivals. St Nicholas' day which is on Dec 6 is credited with presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.
Despite Santa Claus's mixed Christian roots, he has become a secular representation of Christmas. As such, a number of Christian churches dislike the secular focus on Santa Claus and the materialist focus that present-receiving gives to the holiday.

Esentially Santa Claus is a marketing piece, albeit one who's as insidious as the Easter Bunny (the only thing I've seen come out of a real rabbit is something that you really do not wat to eat). In that respect he's a bit like Uncle Sam, John Bull or Captain Birdseye. I still think that lying to kiddies is a bit dumb though.

Edit at 1422: Australia need 168 off of 36 overs. England appear to be in trouble... NO!!

December 04, 2006

Horse 680 - Toast?

... and I will always love you?
- Whitney Houston

England going into the final day of the Fifth Test are 97 runs ahead and only one wicket down in their final dig, but the door is wide open for Australia to steal a victory at the final trumpet... toaster?

The Barmy Army is not just Barmy but decidedly insane.

December 03, 2006

Horse 679 - It's a "Silly" Place

The genteel game of cricket has a patchwork quilt of phrase and fable that both borrows from and adds back to the colours of the English language. Frequently we can hear people in regular conversation say that they're "stumped" or have been "hit for six". The game itself has stolen phrases from elsewhere, no-one particularly likes fielding "in Cow Corner" for instance.

What may confuse non-followers of the game are those close in positions around the batsman called Silly. During the Second Test this afternoon Jim Maxwell told us that there were: 2 Slips and a Gully, a Point and a Cover Point, an Extra Cover, Backward Square Leg, Mid-On, Long-On and no players in Silly Positions - to which my sister asked "aren't they all silly? I think the whole game is stupid."

Perhaps fielding in a Silly Position is an apt description of the level of the intelligence of someone standing there but if you look at the original definition of the word, perhaps this starts to make some sort of sense.

Silly was originally a description of a thing in a helpless or defenceless state. From this we extend this to either an indefensible state of explanation or a one lacking good sense. A silly state can either refer to being stunned ot dazed or lacking intelligence. So therefore a fielder in a Silly Position is both defenceless (especially when the ball is moving at them at +120mph), lacking intelligence or otherwise they would not stand there and if whacked with the ball would then be dazed. All of which satisfy the very definition of the word.

Silly by 3 counts.

December 02, 2006

Horse 678 - NEVER Give Up On People

If there's one thing I've learnt over the years it's that we do not have the right to give up on people for any reason - ever. No matter what state people happen to be in or what they actually do to you, then you simply can not and should not give up.

This is going to sound so strange to so many people but there are actually people in the world who intend to hurt you. They derive their enjoyment from either making you look stupid or physically doing damage to you. Yet through this, you must not hinder the gospel.

I had this made somewhat real to me a few years ago when someone I never even thought would listen to what God had to say, is now working as a Youth Pastor. I'm guilty in some respects that if I get attacked my usual response is to pay back in kind - this is wrong.

Look to the cross for the answer. Here was a man who was beaten and battered because He refused to give up on people. When people hurled insults, rocks and abuse at Him he didn't retaliate at all. Even when "hanging" on the cross and being nailed up there which is possibly the most digusting method of execution yet devised He still refused to give up on the people that had done this to Him - "Father forgive them. They know not what they do"

For this weekend although I was hurt (which went away) I took deliberate steps not to hinder the gospel. I'm a sad reflection of my Master, who refused to give up on people but I think I've learnt the principle a little better.

Horse 677 - Mad Dogs & Englishmen

At tea on the second day of the Second Test at the Adelaide Oval, England are 468-4

This afternoon we've seen a controlled batting display by Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood who is finally out for 206. On his way to only the second double hundred by an Englishman in Australia in history, Collingwood was at the crease for 515 minutes - 8 hours, 35 minutes.
Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen shared a record fourth-wicket stand for England against Australia, worth 310 when Collingwood fell on the stroke of tea.

I have heard excuses that the pitch is too hard, or the the ball isn't helping the bowlers. What perhaps needs to be acknowledged is that the two batsmen out there have showed temerity, skill and pluck, whereas the Australian bowling attack of Warne and McGrath which would usually strike fear and terror into the hearts of batsmen is just looking old and unimaginative.

What is midly confusing is that on the radio we're hearing the names of Clarke and Clark and somehow just expected to know the difference.

Horse 676 - The Castle

In summing up, it's the Constitution, it's Mabo, it's justice, it's law, it's the vibe and...
No, that's it.
It's the vibe!

I don't know if the writers of The Castle intended to produce an iconically Australian film, but even if they didn't then this is pretty well much it.

The story follows the exploits of Daryl Kerrigan, a tow truck driver living in Melbourne, and his family. Unfortunately, the local airport wants to expand and plans to evict Daryl's family and their neighbours by way of compulsory acquisition. Daryl attempts to foil the expansion in order to keep his home. He later ends up challenging the legality of the acquisition under Section 51(xxxi - he even learnt Roman Numerals) of the Australian Constitution at the High Court of Australia.

The Castle is a courageous story about one man's obsession with his "castle" and his loathing of officialdom. The humour in The Castle plays on the self image of Australians, most notably the concept of "the little Aussie battler". The movie title is named for the English saying, repeatedly used in the film, "A man's home is his castle." The film also refers to the land rights movement of the Australian Aborigines, with Kerrigan drawing an explicit parallel between his struggle and theirs.

The film was shot in a total of ten days, with a rough-cut ready five days after that. In all, the entire project from conception to completion took just five weeks, and was made with a remarkably low budget. Distributor, Village Roadshow then came in with funding to distribute the film. At the box office The Castle became one of Australia’s most successful films in grossing more than $10 million which then led to large American independent, Miramax Films, buying the US distribution rights for US$6 million.

The film unfortunately suffers from a lack of intelligent dialogue, namely the use of the F word. As far as I know it is the only film in American history to be given an R rating on no other grounds - in Australia the film only carried an M rating, which says something about American predjudice more than anything else. There are no adult themes, no violence (apart from when Kerrigan steals a gate).

It goes on to consistently list itself as one of the classic Australian films of all time; the biggest reason is that the rest of the world has no way to "get"it. Then them they're dreaming...

so much serenity

November 30, 2006

Horse 675 - I Aint Paying For Telstra

Welcome to the 21st Century proper. This is a land in which the services for which your forebears paid for have been flogged off and now are in private hands. One such example is Telstra.

Despite Australia's telcos announcing advances in technology with great fanfare in recent months, more consumers are now unhappy with the telecommunications industry than last year. The telecommunications industry ombudsman has just released his annual report, which shows complaints are up 10 per cent. The internet was the main cause of concern, with a doubling in complaints about internet contracts, and guess what, Telstra was the worst offender.

Specifically there's been a 44% increase in the number of complaints over the last 12 months, and I will now suggest that this will only get worse. If you read through the reports of the company going back to 1996, you'll find that the level of government investment has proportionally dropped off directly with its shareholding in the telco. With T3, although the government still holds about 17% ex-board, the regulatory effect of this is that its now no longer required at law to trump up any money at all for investment.

Around about $4bn would be required for a full roll-out of broadband services to areas outside of the major cities and whilst in 1995 this would have been paid for out of taxation receipts, the amount that the goverment is now required to find is... $0 The plan for a fibre optic broadband network has also been shelved because supposedly negotiations over regulatory issues with the ACCC broke down.

Perhaps in one of the only occasions I've ever agreed with Rupert Murdoch on anything, is in reference to a comment he made about access to broadband in this country. In the speech he gave to a Press Club Luncheon he called it a "disgrace"; interestingly Sol Trujillo was forced to agree with him, but again there's really little that can be done unless the money is found elsewhere.

The only real solution I can see in the giant investment hole here is for News Corporation to buy out a substantial stake in the telco. News Corp already goes halves with Telstra in the FOXTEL cable TV business, and certainly they have the money.

The bottom line is that as a taxpayer, my share in Telstra is now nil. Telstra has been pushed out of the nest and now should not be allowed to sponge even a red cent off the government. Whether they survive, prosper, fail or die is now longer my concern. If they happen to have a better deal then so be it, but like the Commonwealth Bank or Qantas, I'm not showing any brand loyalty to them.

November 28, 2006

Horse 674 - What's That Got To Do With The Price Of Fish In China?

Well firstly you need to know what a price actually is. In economics and business, the price is the assigned numerical monetary value of a good, service or asset. Now you can apply rules such as supply versus demand and laws of equilibrium to determine what that monetary value actually is, but generally in most people's lives, it will be the amount written on the sticker and the amount that you're required to pay in order to get said good and or service.

Now if you apply this theory to the actual shopkeepers in China who mark uo the price of their fish, you will find that very little of what you happen to do in life will have anything to do at all with the price of fish in China. In fact, unless you happen to be either a major fishing company, a grocery chain or perhaps a maratime regulatory authority then literally everything you do in life will have nothing at all to do with the price of fish in China.

This therefore renders the question along the realms of rhetoric, in which case the best defence against a rhetorical question is usually a surreal answer; these are usually best ascribed in legal terams as these are practially untraceable.

What's That Got To Do With The Price Of Fish In China?
Well it never used to have an effect before 1997 but then the communists took over Hong Kong because the lease has expired and so the price is now dertermined by the Communist Party and part of its price policies.
Unless you happen to understand the law in relation to Chinese Price Structures then you won't understand what the answer means, so although I could tell you, there is no point really.

Horse 673 - I Didn't Do It

Coming home tonight I looked up at the expanse of lights in the sky and realised just how much junk was being thrown into the sky. The number of stars just seems to be so much less when I was a kid. The only cure was to jump in the car and drive up into the mountains.

A winding mountain road, speed limit of 100. No way of being caught for speeding out here. No chance of finding a speed camera or a policeman.

So I pitted machine against road...

Well I'd like to say I did, but that would be to tell a lie. For although I had driven the road several times before and at speeds approaching ten-hundred-tasty-doo, I was given the impression that I was not allowed. Forbidden. Prohibited.

I was made rather aware that at some point I can't afford to be at brazen or patently reckless. My safety although not my concern might be someone else's. It would not be fitting for me or my little car to be wrapped around a telegraph pole. Further to this I'm more than likely going to be responsible for more than myself...

This scares me.

November 24, 2006

Horse 672 - In Focus

I must admit I have been in a bit of an automobiley mood this week. I saw in the space of 20 minutes yesterday a silver-grey 1992 Honda Accord and not long afterwards, a metallic burgundy 2005 Holden Vectra (as if someone was trying to tell me something). Every other day I pass another copy of Rosalini and the other driver and I occasionally wave at each other as if to compliment the other on their impeccable taste.

However, I am looking at the very real possibility of leaving this wide brown land and heading to the land of the star spangled banner. Now admittedly the "big" issues of who I'd work for, or where I'd live wouldn't necessarily be solved until I get there, but I can pretty well much guess one of the answers to a smaller question. What do I replace Rosalini with?

I could for instance lop across the border to Mexico and pick one up from down there which is actually quite cheap, or I could look in America itself for a car. Thinking seriously about this, I could in theory already buy what I'm thinking of here in Australia - a blue Ford Focus.

You have to admire the US here. They've been making big clunky cars for so long that they realised that with soaring "gas" prices, Europe had it right all along, so the blue oval brought in the Ford Focus. The Focus Mk1 was a fantastic motor car, the chassis was stiff, it was styled according to the "Edge" design school and if it wasn't for Evo VII would have won the WRC.

The Mk2 Focus although from a styling point of view was nowhere near as radical; in fact Jeremy Clarkson left one in a London high street and found that it attracted zero attention despite the fact that it was at the time an unreleased car. But if you don't buy a car based on looks, the mechanicals had better be good - and in the Focus, they're ace.

In 2005 the car was the highest selling passenger car on the planet with good reason. From an interior space point of view the car is as ergonomically sound as the Astra (which is still as close to perfect as you can get). The feedback from the stiff suspension gives you a real sense of feedback right through your bum, as opposed to a big Falcon which one does not drive but steer. I felt somewhat uneasy in the Malibu in America not because it was a big car, but rather it just felt entirely vague, which I guess is a function of US suspension tastes.

Whilst the Focus is a family car in the UK and Europe and a medium car in Australia, in the USA it looks decidedly small against the backdrop of clunkers. I can see great advantage in this. I'm able to weave my Ka through traffic like a figure skater; given that everything is bigger then this proportion would be maintained with the Focus.

There are also other requirements to think of. Because the car wouldn't be driven my me exclusively it would need to be an auto (despite my loathing of slush boxes). I may also need four doors for carrying things.

On reflection, the Focus is an entirely sensible motor car. The question remains whether that certain someone else (he said with an eyebrow raised) would tolerate a Henry and whether I am prepared to grow into sensibleness yet.

November 23, 2006

Horse 671 - All New 2007 Mazda9

Innocently parked in a carpark is what many consider to be one of the quietest secrets of 2007. Mazda has finally produced a replacement for its 929/Sentia. The vehicle which sits atop the all new Ford CD4 platform is larger than the Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo.

The all-new Mazda9 has some features carry over from the Mazda6 but takes them to new levels of refinement. It is expected that the car will feature power windows, 4 airbags, a 6 stacker CD player with MP3 capabilities as well as many other features as standard.

The Duratec 36 (code-name Cyclone) is a new 3.6L V6 that will appear in fall 2007. It is an all-aluminum engine based on the Duratec 30, and adds variable cam timing on the intake side, a feature already found on the Jaguar AJ30 and Mazda AJ versions of the 3.0.

The new heads relocate all accessory drives to the front of the engine with a flush chain drive, saving space. The new combustion chambers are reshaped as well. A dual-stage variable length intake manifold, centrally-located sparkplugs, and a 10.3:1 compression ratio are other features. The Duratec 36 is ULEV-II compliant and is said to be capable of meeting the PZEV requirement as well. The dual-stage intake manifold was part of the Duratec 30.

Engine output will eventually exceed 224 kW, but will be 195 kW and 305Nm at launch, a substantial upgrade in power from the Duratec 30.

The engine is the same exterior size as the Duratec 30, and should be usable in all vehicles currently using that engine and its derivatives. The company expects the engine to be used in one fifth of all Ford products by the end of the decade.

Everything above this notice is a bald faced lie. The point was to show just how anonymous the current model VE Commodore actually is. The fact that you can make it look like a model for another car company proves that the Commodore simply does not look like a GM car at all.

November 22, 2006

Horse 670 - Out Of Control Children

Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge. Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 23:12-14

A Current Affair tonight is running a story about "Out of Control" children and their tearful parents. I've just heard a sample from the story on the radio in the car and found myself utterly shocked.

Have you tried smacking your son?
Oh I can't do that, he might not respect me.

Might not respect you? Hello tearful father, you don't have to worry that your son "might not" respect you when the case is that he "does not respect you, NOW". This is what I find almost amazing about modern humanism, this is the thought that whatever I feel like I'll do and you can't do anything about it. This philosophy when applied to one's own children produces a state where if they want to do something, then they're allowed to; this is blatantly stupid.

I'm going to make a statement here which isn't popular. ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) does not exist. I'll say this again in case you missed it: ADHD does not exist.

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) states that ADHD is a developmental disorder that presents during childhood, with at least some symptoms causing impairment before the age of seven. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention and/or hyperactive-impulsive behavior, with significant impairment occurring in at least two settings. Adults with ADHD are diagnosed under the same criteria, including the stipulation that their symptoms must have been present prior to the age of seven.

If this was indeed a neurological problem or some form of chemical hormonal thing, the there should be some form of cure. DSM suggests that ADHD is currently considered to be a chronic syndrome for which no medical cure is available.

Ok then, if it's something which can't be cured by medicine, and is purely a developmental disorder then whose fault is it? Dear old Mum & Dad? I put it to you that the vast majority of ADHD children either come from single parent families, or ones in which a divorce has occured. Or to put this another way, poor parenting produces poor children.

Children up to a certain age, lack the developmental abilities to be reasoned with as adults. They live in a very simple world and from a psycological standpoint, they are the most important thing in it. The question then is how does discipline fit into this?

By definition discipline is any training intended to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour, especially training that produces moral, physical, or mental development in a particular direction. Discipline, while often thought to be a coercive mechanism, can be a collaborative process of building consensus regarding accepted behavior within institutions and society.

Hang on? Mental development? Isn't ADHD a developmental disorder? Was Solomon actually right?

People opposed to smacking and the cane often cite child abuse as the defence. I ask these people if they drive a motor car - if you have a car that can do 100, would you willfully do this in a 50 zone? Discipline and correction are for precisely that. Basing a defence around an extreme isn't proper.

I remember in 2nd Grade in primary school, 3 mates and I climbed up a tree and accidentally broke it. We were marched to the Principal's Office and all four of us were given the cane. Did we ever climb trees at school again? No. Did we die? No.

Dear Parents with children out of control... Take responsibility for your own children! No-one else will!

November 21, 2006

Horse 669 - Notes on Australia Before The Ashes

The First Ashes test for 2006/7 starts in two days and I thought I'd give out some vital information regarding this country.

1. Captain Cook found the place by accident.
Captain James Cook was not exactly the greatest explorer in the world. He managed to find Australia by purely just running into the place. In 1606 Captain Jansz of Holland found a bit of coast in WA where desert meets ocean and thought Deze plaats is onzin or This place is crap. Two weeks before Cook showed up Captain La Perouse of France landed in Botany Bay and thought Cet endroit est la merde or This place is crap. But when Cook turned up he pretty well much landed in the same place as La Perouse and in a rare turn of British optimism thought This place is crap but if we head around the corner a bit...
People have this misconception that Cook was a statesman, when in actual fact he came from Yorkshire. This means to say that his first words on the new continent would not have been Oh I say, what a darling little island but This place is ****in ****e

2. Australia Became A Gaol
Because the British didn't find the marks of civilisation (ie/ The Post Office, Fleet Street newspapers, The Lamb & Flag, and a Tescos) they declared the place empty. I think that half the reason that Britain was so successful in dominating the world was their accent.
See the shiny beads? Well you can have those, we'll let you keep them... we'll just take your country if you don't mind. Can you imagine the Irish? Aye, I cannae go cos I've got me knitting like and me mates have gone down the local...
With this Australia became a penal colony (and yes I can gear you sniggering in the back), and for 113 years the British sent out mainly Irish criminals and other ne'er do wells. This means that Australia has a dodgy past mate.

3. Australia Became a Country
We didn't have a war but a vote... real exciting... um... we became resentful to Britain so keep on having to find sports to beat then in? Actually and this is true, during 2005 when England last won the Ashes their 67p stamp was issued with commemerative Ashes photos. 67p is co-incidentally the price of a stamp to send a letter to Australia.

4. The Nation Today
That's pretty well much it. Australia never starts wars but gets sent to everywhere where our big brothers in the UK and the US tell us. We have our own little brother in the country of New Zealand whom we like to pick on but generally ignore.
We live on the edge of the island because the middle actually is crap but we daren't go into the water because of the sharks and sting-rays.

Yay Australia

Horse 668 - Red

Red is the colour of fire:
- stop signs
- traffic lights
- railway signals
- cards in football, telling you to get off the field
- brake lights
- starboard side lights
- stopping a motor race
- maximum engine speed
- marking errors in exams

Red is the colour of blood:
- medical crews (Red Cross, Red Cresent etc.)
- passion & love
- Valentine's Day
- Italian Racing Cars
- Communism?

Red is the colour of some typefaces:
- falling stock prices
- debts
- important calendar dates

Red is the colour of things I don't like:
- Manchester Utd
- embarassment
- Vodaphone
- Santa Claus

Red is also the colour of things I like:
- my car
- Liverpool FC
- apples
- $20
- Cabernet Savignon
- tomato soup
- London Buses

Red is quite handy aint it?

November 19, 2006

Horse 667 - I Love Miscellaneous Senseless Violence

I have been watching Project A - Part II featuring that master of bashing people up, Jackie Chan. There's no doubt about it that at his height, Jackie Chan was one of the best stuntmen in the world, often staging stunts in storylines that have just enough of a shread on sanity to keep the story believable.

What I find interesting is that the final credits show us that the chillis which Dragon Ma rubbed into the eyes of Awesome Wolf and Cobra were real. The prop department were supposed to make up fake chillis, but weren't able to complete them in time for the shoot.

This film had all the things you'd expect, people getting over the head with chairs, kung fu and karate in confined spaces, mass destruction of domestic appliances, windows broken, pencils being used as chopsticks, and the very famous telephone gag.

It's films like this which made SBS famous. The original Project A is over 20 years old now, and it's sequel is getting close, and despite the fact that Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese a long time ago, this film hasn't suffered the effects of time at all. Watching people fighting with martial arts and breaking stuff is still fun to watch. It's more fun that watching a gun fight in Western films. Do you think that they could get away with someone using a cup of coffee as a weapon in say, Spiderman 3?

I rest my case.

November 17, 2006

Horse 666 - The Ashes are NOT a Trophy

The Ashes is a Test cricket series, played between England and Australia - it is international cricket's oldest and most celebrated rivalry dating back to 1882. It is currently played approximately biennially, alternately in England and Australia. The Ashes are "held" by the country which last won a series and to "regain" them the other country must win more Test matches in a series than the country that "holds" them. If a series is "drawn" then the country holding the Ashes retains them.

The series is named after a satirical obituary published in The Sporting Times in 1882 following the match at The Oval, in which Australia beat England in England for the first time. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The English media dubbed the next English tour, to Australia (1882-83) as the quest to regain The Ashes.

A small terracotta urn was presented to the England captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women during the 1882-83 tour. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of an item of cricket equipment, possibly a bail, ball or stump. The urn is not used as a trophy for the Ashes series, and whichever side "holds" the Ashes, the urn normally remains in the MCC Museum at Lord's because of its age and fragility. Since the 1998-99 Ashes series, a Waterford crystal trophy has been presented to the winners.

In February 1883, just before the disputed fourth test, a velvet bag, which was made by Mrs Ann Fletcher, the daughter of Joseph Hines Clarke and Marion Wright, both of Dublin, was given to Bligh to contain the urn.

There used to be little public knowledge of the urn, and no record of a published photograph exists before 1924. However, when Bligh died in 1927, his widow presented the urn to the Marylebone Cricket Club and that was the key event in establishing the urn as the physical embodiment of the legendary ashes. The MCC first displayed the urn in the Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground and since 1953 in the MCC Cricket Museum at the ground. It is ironic that MCC’s wish for it to be seen by as wide a range of cricket enthusiasts as possible has led to its being mistaken for an official trophy.

It is in fact a private memento, and for this reason the Ashes urn itself is never physically awarded to either England or Australia, but is kept permanently in the Museum where it can be seen together with the specially-made red and gold velvet and the scorecard of the 1882 match.

November 16, 2006

Horse 665 - A Papier Mache Music Box In the Shape of a Monkey Holding a Barrel Organ

Does the title mean anything to you?

The world is currently being taken in by Sasha Baron Cohen's Film - Borat: etc with a hideously long name. Without seeing the film, I can guarantee based on reviews and what I saw on The Ali G Show that the Borat film will derive it's humour from a few main sources, none of which I will divulge here.

The question then is what do I find inherantly funny. The answer surprisingly is mainly in the realms of innuendo.

See what I did with that one statement? Immediately one half of the audience reading this will have turned their minds immediately to smut; that's the beauty of innuendo. Innuendo relys on an allusion being made to something without saying what that something is. You people should get your mind out of the gutter.

The reason I make mention of this is partly due to the fact that I happen to prefer radio to television as a medium. Radio requires by the very nature of the beast that the people delivering the comedy have to create the word pictures and let the dear listener produce all sorts of things in their imagination.

In The Goon Show, some of the sound effects we are told of include Eccles driving a wall down the street or the entrance of Bloodnok with the sound of a chicken and some remark like "I must get that looked at", the innuendo produced is virtually impossible to actually imagine what the scene might look like.

In the antidote to panel games I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, this concept is taken to several extremes at once. Chairman Humphrey Littleton will at the end of his opening monologue usually make some reference about the lovely and sexy Samantha getting ready to score on the desk with him during the show. This is a piece of radio innuendo at its finest.
1. The double entendre of Samantha getting ready to "score on the desk"
2. That Humphrey Littleton is now 85 years old and adopts a persona on the show of deadpan, apathetic, disgruntled and occasionally bewildered style of chairmanship.
3. The actual fact Samantha who is frequently described in bawdy near-the-knuckle terms, does not actually exist.
Another few features of Clue is references to the Laser-Display Board or some other high-tech device when clearly the BBC would never fund such a thing.

One of the greatest examples of innuendo is in the film Duel. People find this film irritating because they never ever see the truck driver or find out his intentions are; yet this is the point of the film: to play on people's emotions to make them annoyed.

Frequently in court and parliament where the rules of etiquette demand dignity, you'll hear people speak of "my learned friends" which implies that such a person they actually think is stupid, and that in reality they're actually veiled enemies.

Innuendo is the art of making people imagine something without actually telling them what to imagine. It's a step above sarcasm, and possibly one below surrealism. A lady walked up to a bar and asked the barman for a Double Entendre, so he gave her one. You people should get your mind back in the gutter now.

November 15, 2006

Horse 664 - When Media Turns Nasty

Plastered across the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald are the reports that England Test Cricket opener Markus Trescothick has decided to leave the Test tour of Australia and go home citing depression as the reason.

Now mental health issues are nothing to be scoffed at; I for one don't know what it's like to suffer from depression but the high-profile world of Test Cricket is probably not the best arena to battle this in. Given that for the next 4 months it will be prime viewing in two countries, with wall-to-wall media coverage, not to mention the sledging onfield, Trescothick's decision is probably a wise one. The tour to Australia probably would have landed him about £30,000, so to forgo this is no small thing.

With the First Test in Brisbane in merely 8 days, personally I would have just gone walkabout; taken some time off in the Whitsundays. Usually in these circumstances it is advisable to get away from everything. When your nerves are shot this badly, stress isn't something you should deal with.

So I hope that Fleet Street isn't that hard on the chap. To turn down the opportunity to represent your country in possibly cricket's biggest prize fight isn't something you take lightly.


Fluffy Stroganoff...
is that too hard to conceive?

November 14, 2006

Horse 663 - STOP!!!

Half of Australia is exhausted - Dog-tired. Wearied by longer and longer hours, by all the paper in the paperless office, by all the time spent answering those time-saving e-mails, by the fear of redundancy, by long commutes, by the drive to try and get a mortgage before you're forty, by the debilitating lack of purposelessness... We are weary, weary, weary to the point of national depression. The number of prescriptions on the PBS for anti-depressants rose from 7 million in 1995 to 28 million in 2005. Meanwhile, books on stress proliferate whilst vitamin supplements, energy supplements and high-caffeine drinks come storming onto to our supermarket shelves to jolt our weary frames into one more day's productivity.

Does it really have to be this way?

Well, apparently not. The French have taken the standard working week down to 35 hours and seen unemployment fall and productivity rise. Still, by the time an Australian government whether avowedly worker-friendly like the Labor Party or supposedly family-friendly like Family First ergo the Liberal Party actually gets round to addressing the worker-hostile and family-hostile way we work in this country, most of us will either be redundant, pensioned off on an inadequate pension, or lying on a trolley in a hospital corridor waiting for a knackered, red-eyed, caffeine-resuscitated doctor to address the minor question of the heart attack we just had.

It's surely time to live differently.

But in what way is the community of Christ a sign to this culture of a different and better way? Are our leaders less stressed? Less workaholic? Are we? Or have we actually become conformed to our culture, accepted its view of time with a stoical shrug? Is this just the way that it has to be if you want to stay employed, stay housed, stay fed? Is it really?

God created the world as a context for human flourishing. He didn't put us on the earth without air to breathe, it was already there. He didn't put us on earth without food to eat, or the capacity to grow and harvest it. It was already there. God didn't create humankind on the first day or on the second day. He created us on the sixth day, when he had created a context in which we could flourish. "Go produce and reproduce," he then said, "Work and multiply." Go release the potential in earth and release the potential in humans. Does the way we are leading our lives in Australia really contribute substantively to human flourishing?

It's time for a change, or it would be, if we had time to think about how to do it. This system is killing us, killing relationships, cracking marriages, alienating children, and sucking the joy out of even very good jobs. And in whose interest? It is a fine and good thing to engage with culture but sometimes it's a far, far better thing to disengage from it.

In a work-crazed, acquisitive, anxiety-bound, stressed-out culture what more potent testimony could there be than a community marked by the capacity to stop work, by a community that knows how to rest and be refreshed, by a community with time for relationships, by a community with a purpose beyond the acquisition of goods? Are we anywhere near creating such communities?

And is there anything in the Bible to help us? And not just high-capacity middle-class people with the talent, opportunity and pay structure to downshift to a four day week, move to the Gold Coast or change trades.

In the beginning, the Bible tells us, God rested on the seventh day - not, of course, because he was tired. Later God told Moses and the whole people of Israel to do exactly the same thing, to stop work on the seventh day. To stop work. That is stop. Not, do just a couple of hours; not, catch up on one or two e-mails; not, just finish the ironing; not, get the kids' bags ready for tomorrow; not, do all those things we don't call work because we don't get paid to do them but are work. No, the commandment says stop.

Very interesting word that. It ends with a stop. For street signs the word is unique because no other word comes with that shape of sign. It means don't move, don't hurry, don't run, do go insane because there's a mountain of stuff that needs to be done yesterday if not sooner. Stop.

November 13, 2006

Horse 662 - My Lunch is Awesome

I work in the 10th richest suburb in the country and to be honest it shows. Things in the supermarket are about 20% more expensive and the greengrocers stock weird items in place of regular food. You can not for instance buy a head of lettuce, but rocket is abundant - who ever thought up rocket anyway? It tastes like dirt.

In Mosman there aren't normal things like bakeries or corner shops but rather, establishments like bread emporii and delicatessens that don't sell pies or sandwiches but bruschettes and big meats that are 9 ft long.

Imagine my utter triumph over the system today when I sucessfully made 2 sandwiches for the equivalent of 64c. At just 32c a sandwich, that's even better than a pack of gum. They're not dodgy bodgy sandwiches either, but have actual proper lettuce, tomato, cheese, chicken loaf and cucumber in.

I beat you Mosman... Eat That!

November 10, 2006

Horse 661 - Thanks

Usually when my birthday comes around I'm usually busy with either work or making plans for Christmas. It's only 45 days to Christmas* from my birthday and I suppose in some respects I'm glad I'm not my grandad who's birthday was Dec 27 which must have been really horrid.

This year being my 28th birthday is actually numerically significant. In the Gregorian calendar assuming that the 100th year doesn't blip the system, then it takes 28 years to recycle the calendar. Thus 1978 is the same as 2006 and likewise if you have any 1979 calendars they are also reusable. This aside the last year has been quite significant.

I've received 4 text messages today wishing me wishes for the day but more importantly a mysterious package arrived from the USA. I haven't yet opened it, but I'm sure that what's inside from Katja and possibly clan Salini will have been well thought out. Seriously, the fact that you even sent me anything is one of the best presents I ever got.
Ich sorge mich nicht. Sie sind meine Prinzessin und Königtum fließt durch Sie. Von himmlischen Federn trinken Sie. Sicher gibt es keinen schöner.

The Commonwealth Bank also phoned me up today and usually one doesn't want to hear from a bank manager in case it's bad news. In this case it was because they couldn't transfer my car payments.
I froze.
The reason? The car loan had been discharged. My little Rosalini, the Red Dwarf is mine.

It seems almost unfair that practically everything I ever wanted I seem to have been given without any effort at all. Most importantly the one thing I needed the most in this world, was given for free but the cost was terrible.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - in Romans 5 (I forget where at the moment)
Why should I be given such a gift? This defies description.

I also happened to be given a gift by the Australian Taxation Office... a $1600 HECS debt request... I suppose you don't get everything.

*by bizarre co-incidence it's also 45 days from New Years Day to Valentines Day

November 09, 2006

Horse 660 - What Is It? It's Epica, What Is It?

You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it
What is it?
It's it
What is it?...
... it's Epica. So?

Back in Horse 358 and in Horse 364, I warned you about Holden ditching the Astra in favour of Daewoo's Lacetti. Already the Corsa has been hacked out with the Barina nameplate now affixed on the Daewoo Kalos - the car with a 1 star NCAP rating. Guess what? True to form, Holden is shoving out the Vectra in favour of the Daewoo Magnus to be called the Holden Epica.

Even Chevrolet in the USA won't touch this car, they chose the restyle the Vectra Vectra to become the Malibu. See below.

Basically the story is as follows. Holden own 51% of Daewoo and are probably looking to turn the company around by exploiting its cheap prices. On the other hand, sales of the Barina (Kalos) have lost major ground to Toyota's Yaris and even against sales of the more expensive outgoing Barina (Corsa).
The general buying public aren't hoodwinked by a badge. A Daewoo is still a Daewoo and the reason that they sell at all is purely on price. Pitching the Epica against the Camry is a bad move, since pre-sales of the Camry 4 already rival that of Commodore which itself is struggling.

The days of the big Aussie six ruling the roost have now passed thanks to rising petrol prices, but a drop in quality doesn't really justify the drop in price. The Focus and Corolla are perhaps the prime contenders in the future and I don't think Holden quite see this yet. Their billion-dollar-baby should have been replaced with a 3.6L version of the car that they're now axing in the Vectra. I fear Detroit is calling the shots here; let's face it, in their homeland, they lost the plot there too.

Admittedly the Vectra didn't sell a whole heap because people saw it as being too close to the Commodore. The Epica as it's replacement still doesn't address this problem merely because of price. I think for Holden it will appear as an anonymous car and be as unloved as the Piazza was.

November 07, 2006

Horse 659 - I Lost Big Time On The Melbourne Cup

I got:
NO Free Lunch
Couldn't pick up commentary on the radio because of the tin roof.
Worked all afternoon, while the boss nicked off early.
And still don't who won the damn race...

Of course I didn't lay any money on the race, that'd be stupid. I can think of far better things to throw money away on like petrol or chocolate.

The Race That Stops the Nation meant precisely three-quarters of jack-squat to me; I'd say it's a 50000-1 on chance that my life will change by not an iota because of it.

Horse 658 - Immigration & My Ignorance

There are lots of things I need to investigate or search out over the next few months/weeks. The regulations with regards immigration are just not very useful nor helpful, and I suspect that I'll need more than the odd visit to Level 59 MLC Centre will be in order. I've been reading through legislation and sub-clauses that makes the ITAA 1936 look like a children's flip picture book.
Can you say Indeterminate Zone Worker Class G4? I know you can.

It appears as though immigration into the US is handled by the US State Department. Bear in mine that these are also the same people who make you surrended little bottles of soda at the airport and take your fingerprints just in case they happen to show up on charred bits of metal when you supposedly blow something up. Somehow I just don't trust the gatekeepers at all.

On the other hand DIMIA which handles immigration for Australia seems relatively straightforward on several fronts. From the inside it looks like they'll accept anyone through the doors into Australia provided that they can't speak English and have the coping skills of a newt.

There is a way through all of this I just know it. Maybe it's like when Tip and Dorothy visited that castle in Oz. They had to enter the left door. There was only one door that led into the castle, so how could it be the left one? Put simply the castle used to have many many doors, but they had them all taken away, and now this was the only one left.

Logic like that is doing my head in biscuits and given that it's now half past stupid in the morning, I suspect that this post will make about as much sense.

November 05, 2006

Horse 657 - God Save The Queen

The origins of this song are shrouded in mystery. Having evolved something in the late 16th Century, there are versions which are almost never played including verses "To Crush the Scots". As the national anthem for Great Britain, it's place is virtually unique having never been adopted and over a country that is actually made up for 4 others.

When Australia played Great Britain in the Rugby League last night, this song was sung, and I happened to make the comment that within four year that this will probably be replaced with "God Save The King".

In the USA this is perhaps better known as "America" with the first line of "My country, 'tis of thee", and when I saw England play Lichtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifier, they played England's national anthem "Land of Hope and Glory" followed by "God Save The King" which serves as Lichtenstein's national anthem. Perhaps people in the crowd may have know this, but it was interesting to hear an English crowd singing the national anthem of another country.

In the German film "Titanic" of 1943, the song was used as a propaganda instrument, but in all honesty if you saw this film through the eyes of the English at the time, they would have thought that it was in fact a British film.

November 03, 2006

Horse 656 - In A Biskit

Can someone please tell me what's going on with the In-A-Biskit range? I was wandering around the aisles of my local Woolworths this morning hoping to score myself a box of Vegemite-In-A-Biskit and much to my horror it has been discontinued.


I'm quite a fan of your In-A-Biskit range, There's Savory, Chicken Crimpy, Barbeque, Burger (though I for won have never ever tasted a burger even remotely close to that flavour), Salt & Vinegar, even uppity Chives & Lemon In-A-Biskit but as for the perrenial Australian definative - it's nowhere to be found?

Why oh why cruel world have you decided to do this to the world of snacks? We now live in a situation where the choices we have are simply too many. If I move onto the range of Shapes I find Pizza, Barbeque, Dixie Drumstick, these flavours are never to be repeated and you have to out of the store by midnight tonight... (sorry about the crazy warehouse guy interlude), but with all these choices it's enough to drive someone totally bonkers.

In Soviet Russia there were only two flavours for anything, Grey and Communist Red. Quite frankly I think in a world of virtualy know choice at least you knew that what you were getting was crap, and you didn't go insane trying to choose what kind or crap it actually was.

Horse 655 - It's What Dreams Are Made Of

"Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory."
— Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller has been on school examination papers for quite some time now as educators think it pert to install culture into kids by means of forcing the to study themes and issues in English classes. Like the study of Shakespeare and poetry, it instills a natural hatred within students and drives many of them to never read another novel or text ever again.
I was watching Fox last night and this came on the telly. Thankfully I didn't study this in high school, so my mind wasn't polluted with themes, issues and critiques.

At work I live in a very rigid world of boring numbers, rules, laws and forms that have to filled in. It is my job to take people's figures and tell them what they have to do to comply with the law (within the realm of tax) or let them know what they can or can't do with the money that they either do or don't have.
At its heart, my position in life is one of extreme curmudgeony. I am the cranky man, the boring man with glasses who sits in the exam room telling you to keep your heads down, not looking at someone else's paper or the hall monitor who tells you not to run in the corridors. On the famed fun-ometer I am 0.1, nerd incarnate.

Man's natural desire must embody an urge to create, to build, to make something that's never been seen before, to imagine, to dream. We call these people artists, designers, architects, poets, playwrights, sculptors and more importantly dreamers.
These are the people who create new stuff that the rest of us use, admire and look at. While something as mundane as a toaster is used for cooking bread, we still want to see more than just a little grey box with holes in.

So this is a Hurrah to all of the people who is got to dream. If you didn't then the army of nerdy rule tellers like me would have standardised the world by now; it would all be grey, taste like and be made from McDonalds Brand Imitation Megaplastic*

*The whole of everything in McDonald's is made from McDonalds Brand Imitation Megaplastic. Their burgers, chips, their drinks, apple pies, the benchtops, the tables and chairs, you name it it's all made from the same stuff and I'd like someone to prove otherwise.

November 02, 2006

Horse 654 - Tares

Bearded Darnel or Ryegrass is a common Lolium plant that very much resemble wheat. It does have its uses primarily as a stock fedd and also as the principle type of grass for use on the courts in The Championships at Wimbledon.
Because it so closely resembles wheat, if often represents industrial sabotage, because it is totally indistinguishable from wheat until the head or "fruit" is produced. As this point and because of the poisonous toxins contained therein, the only logical thing to do with it is to burn it, or totally destroy it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
'An enemy did this,' he replied. The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Structurally this story is rather simple but the things contained in it are hideously complex. Several things can be ascertained here. Firstly that there are people within the church who look the same as everyone else but aren't fruitful and do an excelleent job of hiding. Second, that they should be allowed to stay there until the harvest eventually comes.

The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

What does this then say if we can't actually tell who is a tare and who is a wheat? Admittedly it's not our place to judge but the thought that the enemy is already within the ranks with potential agents is a) scary and b) should be entirely expected.

To steer the fault light back on you. Are you a tare? Have you genuinely surrendered? Do you have any fruit to prove this? If not, why not? The warning is there, it's very very easy, safe and even easy to hide within a crop of wheat if you happen to be a tare, but eventually, it will come of nought.
Seriously consider this.

October 31, 2006

Horse 653 - Nohackember

Mr B has come up with an interesting idea. Following on from the familiar Rocktober in which music is to be played at 11 or louder the month that follows is to be called Nohackember. The idea is that there is to be no hacking during the month of November. This however leaves me with a quandry based on the definition of hack.

Hack -
1.(verb) to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows (often fol. by up or down).
2.(verb) to damage or injure by crude, harsh, or insensitive treatment; mutilate; mangle

This is pretty straightforward. The broad definition of the verb implies that during Nohackember, we aren't supposed to cut each other down. This sounds like a good idea but I'd like to see certain statutes of limitations on it.

What happens for instance if someone actually needs pulling down from their pedastal? If someone is doing something stupid then do they need hacking? Gentleness and kindness should be the key drivers here. I see a major exception that could be argued - does Nohackember include everyone in the world? Would I lose my right to cynicism in the name of humour?

How about on immutable issues such as what is right and wrong, perceived injusticies, having a whinge or on the subject of Man Utd? These things need hacking, no?

Hack -
1.(noun) a person, as an artist or writer, who exploits, for money, his or her creative ability or training in the production of dull, unimaginative, and trite work; one who produces banal and mediocre work in the hope of gaining commercial success in the arts.
2.(noun) a writer who works on the staff of a publisher at a dull or routine task; someone who works as a literary drudge.

The other definition directly affects this column. I could be described as a hack very easily, though I've not seen any reward for my "quality" journalistic talent. If you want it, you can buy it. Golden Arches on the banners, Samsung on my tie, cash for comments, I'll do it to a degree. If someone wants to pay me $1,000,000 to write a puff piece on SUVs then I'll do it.

One thing you can't buy however is my integrity, I will remain the voice of reason. Statistics tell me that over 50 people a day pass through the doors to this little off-ramp on the information super-highway, and you know why? I might spout crap, but it's a different kind of crap En quatre couleurs.

So then, I fail under both conditions for Nohackember unless of course in typically Rolloesque fashion, I change the rules. Nohackember becomes... No hack; ember! In other words, give up merely cutting people down but raze them to the ground. It's a brand new age of illumination I tell you - well you cant actually be any more illuminated then being on fire can you? Or is that incinerated?

October 30, 2006

Horse 652 - A Thought

Here's a thought.
...........................................................................100% - done.

Today's thought is:

I rather like ginger snaps.

Yes, that'll do. I might think of something else later.

Horse 651 - Halloween Annoys Me

Apart from the fact that I think that premise about sending kids out into the night dressed as little devils, ghoulies and ghosts annoys me. I also don't like the fact that they come to your house and then demand lollies for the priviledge of annoying you in the first place. Imagine my contempt at a flyer which happened to come in the mail which said that "some children will be coming around on Tuesday night so could you please be prepared".


I will not be prepared. I don't see why I should be forced to take part in a stupid "holiday" which has been appropriated from Celtic pagan religions. More importantly I don't understand why I should give candy to children in a country in which we don't actually have Halloween. Thankfully Halloween wasn't celebrated in Britain before the 20th Century (or Ireland for that matter) and didn't travel to the colonies.

The commercial practice is only really from what I can gather a product of mass-marketing after the 50's. In the UK in particular, the day has warranted extra police to be deployed as youngsters have seen this as an opportunity for petty vandalism and damage. Reaction in Scotland, I've found has resulted in many houses placing signs out the front which read "Beggars, Go Home!" which I found somewhat amusing.

I bet that these were the same children who last year threw eggs over my Ka. Because of the proteins in egg, it means that they're highly unkind to the duco of motor cars. Quite frankly I should found the little gromits and made them clean up their mess. If we actually voted for a National Annoy The **** Out Of Your Neighbours Day then we'd all have something to answer for.

Thankfully Halloween is a Tuesday so I will be out playing football, so this means that I won't have to deal with the potential snotnoses.

October 28, 2006

Horse 650 - Halloween

I think it's just around the corner, and to be honest it's isn't celebrated in Australia at all but I thought it would be interesting to look into the reasons why it exists.

Halloween is in principle similar to Vampire Day but unlike Vampire Day, Halloween is more about Zombies. I make reference to the following from Horse 566.
Vampires, Ninjas and Pirates are unionised labour. They have their own health care fund and superannuation plans. This is yet another reason why they need sorted mail.
Zombies are similar to Vampires in that they're both undead. Zombies however do not have unionised labour laws and as such have to negotiate their own individual workplace contracts. In the latter part of the 20th century this led to minor rioting in the southern states of the USA.

Zombies are not in fact arguing for equal pay for equal work. What they are essentially campaigning for is increases to overtime rates. Most Zombies although they work more slowly and frequently use up sick leave, can work as many as 23 hours in a day.

The other major issue facing Zombies is that of workplace safety. Vampires for instance can not work with exposure to sunlight; so there are many of them working in photographic dark rooms. Zombies have the unique problem of limbs falling off and so most of them would prefer office type positions but sadly most of these seem to be already filled by Pirates (who make excellent customer service staff on account of their loud voices) and Ninjas who by stealth have already taken many office jobs.
Zombies argue that since Pirates and Ninjas hate each other that workplace moral in such an organisation is compromised and therefore they themselves should be considered for such positions.

The main drawback is that because most Zombies move only very slowly, most of them miss their job interviews and because of this Zombies remain part of hidden unemployed because undead people are unable to government benefits.

So there you go, Halloween is really about the undead class labour struggle - which is rather like Labour Day. No hang on, it's exactly like Labour Day, because the Labor Party has about 90% of its members who are undead... except Kim Beasley who's obviously some sort of Were-Person.