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Electioneering

I was reading through April’s edition of The Monthly magazine (see how dropping that in an early sentence makes me seem heaps more intelligent and cultured – well only if you are an intelligent and cultured person – whose opinion will now have been tainted by the fact that I tried to generate cheap pops by name dropping such an austere publication – everyone’s a critic these days). As I said, I was reading through the aptly named The Monthly (on closer review there are only 11 editions per year – so it’s a misnomer) magazine where an op ed (opinion editorial) piece suggested this year’s (or early next year’s) Australian election is likely to be fought out on the issues of Climate Change, Industrial Relations, Iraq and the Australian Government’s treatment of David Hicks. Now I’m no disillusioned lefty – I’m not overly worried about any of those issues – sure we should probably not have entered Iraq, but getting out now creates a number of major problems. I’m not a worker who has been disadvantaged by people’s greedy exploitation of the IR reforms – nor am I a small business owner with increased freedom under those laws, I’m an educated professional (haha) worker with a better than average chance of competency based career advances, the Howard Government has a track record of creating jobs and stimulating the economy that can’t be argued with. David Hicks is another issue – the question of the civil rights of Australian citizens and how far the protection of those rights extends when the person in question is essentially fighting against the ideals their citizenship represents is a murky one. Global warming is one of those issues that really should not be a political football – if humanity is too blame for a change in climate – then it’s a corporate and individual responsibility to deal with it. The government has enough issues on its plate without having to save the planet.
K-Rudd is yet to score any points on his economic scorecard – and what really matters to Australian voters is the hip pocket – we can rant and rave about the environment all we like – but when it comes to the crunch people aren’t going to make a conscience vote on an issue that is likely to cost them money or jobs. I can’t even begin to comprehend why these issues have taken precedence over traditional government staples like education, health and roads.
The issue of immigration has taken a back seat in recent times – but the Department of Immigration and Citizenship struck an early blow (that’s a pun which you’ll pick up shortly) preventing US Gansta rapper Snoop Dogg entering the country due to a checkered past dotted with drugs and guns. Snoop Dogg was scheduled to host the MTV music awards but was not granted a VISA – I predict a four point bump in the polls for the government on the back of this decision alone. What do you think the election issues in the next elections should be?

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This time contestants get voted into the house

The American presidential race is still some time off. Several candidates are yet to announce – the Democrats (left wing) have two candidates polling competitively – Barack Obama (who’s probably the closest thing in the race to the West Wing’s Jimmy Santos) and Hillary Clinton (Mrs Bill). The Republicans (right wing) are busy trying to overcome the special characteristics of the current administration led by Dubya and are yet to annoint a successor – NYC 9-11 Mayor Rudi Giuliani is tipped to throw his hat into the ring but with neither POTUS or Vice-POTUS standing for election they’ll be starting with a clean state. An article in this month’s aptly name “The Monthly” magazine uses the dirt free campaign exhibited in the final series of the West Wing as an opportunity to score points on the Howard government and the recent muckslinging between the incumbent (known in some circles as “the rodent”) and the challenger (a politician with a really fragile glass jaw who bears a striking resemblance to Harry Potter). Art imitates life. The political process and behind the scenes machinations are shown for all to see in any reality television game show – the backroom deals, the back stabs, the back slaps – it’s all there. And now, from the creators of The Apprentice and Survivor (this is Donald “Wrestlemania” Trump and Mark Burnett) have joined forces with Myspace to bring you a new high point in reality television – the most political thing shown on prime time since big brother candidate Merlin wore his “free th(sic) refugees” protest shirt to an eviction (one feels his campaign would have had more traction if he’d either a: known how to spell “the” or b: campaigned to free th(sic) sick refugees… which reminds me – in the form of an electronic patent (and because all my good ideas keep being stolen)… I want to start a business called fooly(sic) productions – it’s here now. Documented. All mine.)…they give you this very special announcement (courtesy of Associated Press):

The online social networking site MySpace and reality TV producer Mark Burnett are teaming up to launch a search for an independent US presidential candidate.

Their political reality show “Independent” will come with a $US1 million ($1.2 million) cash prize and a catch: the winner can’t keep the money. The prize can be used to finance a run for the White House or can be given to a political action committee or political cause.
Contestants on the show, set to launch in early 2008, will meet the public and interact with supporters, protesters and others. An interactive “town hall” will give MySpace users and TV viewers a chance to rate their performance.

The full story is available here.

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Generation next

It occured to me tonight that the Wiggles have been gracing Australia’s screens and partronising our children for about 16 years. Wikipedia confirmed this – the Wiggles began their careers in 1991 – which means that the first generation of 2 year olds weened on the Wiggles will now be coming of age.

This brings me to a worrying connection between the playful, colourful “entertainers” (and I use that term loosely) and the youth of today.

As we know, children notoriously rebel against their children in the most extreme methods available. The antithesis to the primary colours wearing musos popular with a generation of Australian children is of course the emo:

That’s right – the emo epidemic sweeping the nation is directly attributable to the Wiggles and their massive popularity with parents who have imposed their happy, fun-filled, rhythmic form of control on unruly children over the last 16 years. It’s time to take stock of the impact modern parenting could have on tomorrow’s children.

And now for something completely different…

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So much to tell you…

Following a two week hiatus you’d expect there’d be a bunch of interesting stories for me to tell you. This would be an incorrect assumption. Sure, I went to a couple of weddings and saw Gomez live (they were amazing). I visited exciting places like Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and Mount Tambourine. I spent hours in a hospital car park waiting to pick up the groom from one of the aforementioned weddings following emergency eye surgery two days before he was due to marry Robyn’s sister Justina. I picked new towels, sheets and bed linen as part of preparation for my own married life (and wasn’t that fun). I learned all about weddings – for instance – I learned that the colour of an invitation should indicate what colour to wear, or not to wear to a wedding (the colour of the invite should match the bridesmaid’s dresses and also indicate the general theming of the wedding). I tried, without success thus far, to find somewhere to hold an “intimate” wedding reception following a larger inclusive ceremony and afternoon tea, and negotiated the nightmare of family politics surrounding weddings (I can now empathise with the captain of the Titanic who was no doubt doing his best to miss a bunch of minor icebergs when he ran into the big one that scuppered the ship). Plus there were a series of traumatic events in the news cycle while I was away that I felt compelled to blog about – however I couldn’t actually be bothered to respond to those compulsions. So will now mention them in passing – Andrew Johns retired as the best half back I’ve ever seen (given that my league watching career spanned exactly the length of his career that’s not too surprising). Anyone who tries to compare the incomparable skills of Mr Johns with Alfie Langer, Ricky Stuart or any other number seven who played in that period has rocks in their heads (even Geoff Toovey wasn’t as good – he sadly had no kicking game). Incidentally, Manly are still undefeated and sit atop the ladder, Manchester United won 7-1 against Roma in the Champions League and made the FA Cup final in the same week while still leading the Premier League by 3 points with only a few rounds to go (including one against Chelsea – which barring a diabolical turn of events and dramatic chance in goal difference it probably won’t matter if they lose they should still take the title) – so all in all it’s good to be me right now

The ANZAC day media fiasco played itself out in the media – but I’d like to point out that Vietnam is in fact no Gallipoli – and April 25 has very little to do with the Vietnam conflict. Why wasn’t the fuss made about that? I’m glad the real issue – Rudd’s Channel 7 favouritism was brought to the fore and promptly dealt with. A school shooting in the US made further mockery of the right to bear/bare arms (why anyone would want paws or hair free arms is beyond me). The idea that the American populace to be able to take part in a citizen’s militia to repel invaders has been a little diluted to the point where students can open fire on their peers. Gun reform is an easy campaign issue for the Democrats now so we’ll see what Joe’s blog has to say on that issue in the near future. Speaking of blogs philnsmiz has finally been updated – and should be again shortly, while Scooter’s blog still languishes back on the first of January where it promised so much but has since delivered so little. Tim’s has been also been updated.

So all in all, I am in need of a holiday. And I’m back at work today.

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The great debate

With Miss Carol Miller refusing to answer my emails and RSVP’s RSVP to my offer still pending – I’ve had to look elsewhere for kicks… and so, I give you “The Great Debate” a longstanding and popular water cooler conversation in the hallowed halls of Townsville Enterprise. Who would win in an inter-species battle of the death between a crocodile and a tiger shark. In search of an authoritative answer I contacted one of the world’s leading croc experts.

Dear Doctor Britton,

As a world leader in estuarine crocodile research
I’m hoping you’ll be able to shed some light on a long standing discussion
occuring within my circle of friends. We are debating the superioriy – or
ascendancy of the Estuarine Crocodile and the Tiger Shark. If these two natural
born killing machines were to engage in mortal combat which animal do you
believe would survive?

Assuming the animals in question were roughly the
same length – equal weight would involve a marked difference in size – and in a
location where both are found with some regularity – Townsville’s Cleveland Bay
for example, which creature do you think would come out on top in this clash of
the titans and why?

I thank you in advance for taking the time to answer
this query and reassure you that in no circumstances will I be seeking to
replicate, or actually create a set of circumstances whereby these animals duke
it out. Although suitable circumstances could possibly be created in an aquarium
facility with food being witheld from each animal to the point of desparate
hunger, I do not believe in playing God when it comes to the fate of such
magnificent animals. Still, it is an interesting question and one that no doubt
someone of your stature within the zoological community should be able to
expertly shed some light on…

Nathan Campbell

He replied…

Nathan,
These questions are always a bit hard to answer because, really, it all
depends on circumstances. A baby krait is quite capable of killing a
tigerif it happens to get a lucky bite in, but clearly a tiger is by far
thestronger and more likely winner of a contest between the two.Crocs and sharks
are two species that hunt in quite different manners, andso pitting one against
the other is difficult in terms of making the contestfair. There’s no
doubt that sharks are a lot more manoeuvrable in water,and if you put a croc and
a shark in the open ocean together my money wouldbe on the shark every time.
But crocs hunt by ambush and stealth, and ifyou put a shark into a muddy
river with a stealthy croc which got the firstbite and roll in then my money is
on the croc. In a limited spaceespecially the croc definitely has the
upper hand.So if you can imagine a balanced scenario where neither species would
be atany great advantage over the other then let me know, because otherwise
Idon’t think there’s a “right” answer to this question really.
I’vecertainly heard reports of tiger sharks killing crocs along the coast,
butI’ve also heard reports of crocs with bits of shark in their stomach, soeven
based on direct evidence it’s hard to pick a winner.I really think you’d be
better off tossing a coin because there are so manyvariables involved, but if I
had to put money on it I’d probably put it onthe shark if the contest was in
open water, and on the croc if the contestwas in a muddy tidal creek.
Best wishes,
Adam
–Dr Adam Britton, Crocodilian Specialist Senior Partner, Big
Geckohttp://crocodilian.com PO Box
925, Sanderson, NT 0813, Australia

It’s a hard knock life…

A journalism lecturer of mine once trotted out the cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words – giving credence to the idea that pictures (and action) speaks louder than words. Here’s a snapshot of my last week at work. I was out shooting footage with WIN’s production crew for a new DVD promoting tourism to North Queensland. On Wednesday I was on Magnetic Island (not pictured). On Thursday I made the trip to Orpheus Island – by seaplane – which is pictured. On Friday I was at Port Hinchinbrook where I went fishing (without success) just off Hinchinbrook Island. This is why I enjoy my job.