Category Archives: Culture

Big W

Art Rock, not to be confused with rock art, was born out of boredom, a lack of musical talent, and a desire to attract attention for all the wrong reasons.

The underlying philosophy in the creation of the movement was a belief that post modern art could be defined by anything in a frame. A frame did not have to be a physical border – it needed to be some form of recognition that here, within these set confines, lies art. This realisation, and the absence of accountability based on objective judgement in the postmodern movement led to a further theory that this art did not in fact need to be good or pleasing to the senses. This idea is nothing new. However, the nature of postmodernity also allows (sometimes) for blatant plagiarism of ideas and content in the quest for artistic self expression.

Art rock was born in the computer room of one Benjamin Troy Ives. Ben had purchased a brand new electric guitar and somewhat fortuitously also a new edition of the popular Monkey Island computer game series. Suitably distracted by the game Ben’s guitar fell into the hands of the slightly more nefarious writer of this blog (I thought about refering to myself directly in the third person then but refrained on the basis of good taste – I haven’t completely sold out to post modernism). Unfortunately during that day said “musician” had been listening to Triple J’s morning program with a segment featuring culture watcher Craig Schuftan. On this particular day “the Schuf” featured an artist straight from the streets of Chicago, a Mr Wesley Willis.

Standing at 6’6 and weighing way too much to be healthy, Wesley Willis recorded thousands of songs using only his Casio keyboard and, one can only assume, some sort of recording device. The diagnosed schizophrenic traditionally greeted fans with a headbutt to the forehead. (This habit gave him a permanent egg sized bruise on the centre of his head). His songs are amazing. And by amazing I mean in the apparently obsolete “able to bewilder; perplex” sense of the word. Using any objective standard based on a reasonable person’s intestinal fortitude they were terrible – a stream of nonsensical lyrics, followed by an even more irrelevant chorus, followed by the sign off line “Rock over London, rock on Chicago” and then a line straight from the latest advertising campaign – eg “Wheaties – the breakfast of champions”. I wouldn’t personally recommend listening to any Wesley Willis songs – unless I post a link to an inoffensive one here (which I plan to). I also wouldn’t read too much of his wikipedia article because being slightly crazy he often said very offensive things which are now quoted there. Wesley Willis died in 2003. His memory lives on in the hearts and minds of art rockers everywhere. His 3000 songs can also probably be found floating around the internet.

The “stream of consciousness” style lyrics in Wesley Willis songs were an inspiration to many (Justin Timberlake’s stupid lyrics are probably a representation of his stream of consciousness) but the more obtuse element had more appeal to me… and so, sitting on a spare bed in Ben’s computer room I began a downward spiral that would lead to moments like the one captured in my profile photo – where I, guitar in hand, would scream stupid lyrics at the top of my voice. My first steps into the realms of “art rock” involved simply counting in different musical styles over the top of an electric guitar played at obscenely high volumes – often the chord would be identified as a modified d7maj5. As both audience and musician grew increasingly frustrated with the stale formulaic rock these lyrics were changed to more complex, politically motivated, “angst ridden” power ballads (only without the power… or the structure of a ballad)… and 5’s was born. The lyrics are included below for your aesthetic pleasure. (feel free to cover this song at your next birthday party/social event)

Five
Ten
Fifteen
Twenty
Twenty Five
Thirty
Forty
Forty Five
Fifty

I SKIPPED THIRTY FIVE ON PURPOSE
I SKIPPED THIRTY FIVE ON PURPOSE
I SKIPPED THIRTY FIVE ON PURPOSE
I SKIPPED THIRTY FIVE ON PURPOSE
(repeated ad nauseum – which doesn’t take very long)

For a more abstract, and less true, history of Art Rock please read here (I promise that blog will be updated at some point in the future).

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Everybody loves …mond

There are certain moments in time that everyone remembers. Big incidents create certain residual memories. Points frozen in time. Everyone remembers what they were doing and where they were when they heard that Princess Diana died (I was in the car driving back from a youth group outing to Pizza Hut). Everyone remembers what they were doing on September 11 2001 (I was watching the West Wing). I have a feeling today will be one of those moments.

Here are some of my observations on today’s experience:

1. Denial is really the first (illogical) step in coming to terms with bad news. I had the same experience with several people today – “are you joking,” “surely this is a hoax”… let me suggest that that’s an unreasonable response – a mainstream media outlet can not afford to falsely proclaim the death of someone famous (ever since Mark Twain’s demise was famously “greatly exaggerated” media outlets have been careful – except for a few notable slip ups). It also wouldn’t be a funny joke.

2. The phrase “unexpected death” should be limited to deaths which are genuinely surprising. While I respected and admired Steve Irwin and his genuinely laid-back larrikin style – the fact is if you make a living playing with very dangerous animals there should be a level of expectation that you’ll meet your demise (untimely as it may be) in this manner. I guess what was unexpected was that he was killed by a comparatively innocuous animal.

3. Genuine people are hard to find – and appreciated by the masses. Steve Irwin is one of those people that no one has a bad word to say about. His conservation based agenda may not strike a chord with you – but his passion for the cause was incredible. He genuinely practiced what he preached. There’s a lesson there for anyone who is trying to engage with people in a real way.

4. Going doing something that you love is still going… How is it better to die at the hands of something you love than at the hands of something you don’t? Would it be more satisfying to be shot by your spouse or by a stranger – I’m going to suggest the second would be at the very least less disatisfying (how many negatives are there in that sentence – what I mean was – being killed by a stranger would be less emotionally distressful than being killed by your spouse… maybe… or maybe it’s all the same. You’re dead anyway right?)

5. Jokes about these situations never take too long to emerge – I’ll leave you to investigate the suncream joke for yourselves – “it would have offered protection from harmful rays” is the punchline. I’m not looking forward to seeing the Chaser do anything on him this Friday.

I was going to blog about the Catholic church and their exorcist’s verdict on Harry Potter – but I’ll put that on the backburner while I deal with the burning issues… Is using the same word twice in the sentence funny the second time? Rarely… but, like a Harry Potter omnibus, I’m on fire tonight…

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Long time no blog…

I apologise for my lack of blogging lately. I would suggest attributing it to a complete lack of blogworthy content. Any other suspicions would no doubt be completely unfounded.

I was a Hair’s breadth away from posting some form of comment on the Pakistan cricket fiasco… but then decided not to. If Darrell Hair really does believe ball tampering was going on then good on him for taking a stand. Lucky Dean Jones wasn’t commentating at the time the Pakistani decision not to return to the field was clearly an act of sporting terrorism.

There’s a state election happening in Queensland soon. It must be the least exciting election ever. When you have to choose between an incumbent idiot and two challenging idiots who do you choose? Actually, Springborg strikes me as a really genuine kind of guy, it’s a shame he genuinely has no policy solutions for the health and water crises… neither of which are of his making. It seems unfair that he should have to clean up Beattie’s mess, and be punished for not knowing where to begin. That would be like me having to tidy my housemate’s room – or vice versa.

There were also some interesting word things that I thought I might blog about – but you can look up anally retentive on wikipedia for yourselves.

I went to Magnetic Island again yesterday with a journo from the SMH. It’s the first time I’ve hosted a journalist there in sunshine. We conducted site (and sight (i’ll never tire of that pun)) inspections of some very nice new developments over there that I’d buy if I had the money.

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Irony, Irons and other stuff

A little while ago someone suggested I write about the misuse of the word irony in the lexicon. Well I would, but ironically I don’t know anything about the topic (See that was funny on a couple of levels). I will point out my favourite example of this societal abuse of the word – Angst ridden Canadian Balladeerette (is that a female singer of ballads?) Alanis Morissette’s song ironic. The only irony in that song is that it doesn’t actually contain irony…

“A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?”

No Alanis I don’t think… and clearly neither did you. I’d suggest that’s more like poetic justice… as found in the correctly titled song Poetic Justice – written by Tom Kimmel and covered by Jane Saunders.

I feel like the king when the queen loses faith
And the crowd rushes in to tear down the gate
While the whole palace slept, and I never rang the bell.
Maybe that’s poetic justice, but it’s pretty hard to tell.”

Actually – perhaps ironically that doesn’t sound like poetic justice to me – but perhaps that’s due to a lack of context. Ironically, again, Jane Saunders released an album called Poetic Justice – with the Tom Kimmel song as the title track. The song contains these lines:

“I feel like the king
When the queen loses faith
And the crowd rushes in to tear down the gate
And declare what was mine
I stole from someone else
Maybe that’s poetic justice
But it’s pretty hard to tell”

So if her album is named after the song, and she sings the song, could she not be declaring something as hers that she stole from someone else… Guilty as charged I say.

So as you can see it’s almost impossible to learn anything ironic from a female song writer… or in fact from anyone at all. Except perhaps H.W Fowler who is quoted on Wikipedia (note: I understand the irony of claiming it’s hard to learn about irony from anyone and then turning to the source of all “reputable”* information**) as saying

Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear and shall not understand, and another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware, both of that “more” and of the outsider’s incomprehension.”

So there you have it. An ironic insight*** into irony.

My iron beeps when it’s been left on for too long. Isn’t that a useful function. I discovered this while preparing to attend the races (of the equine variety) yesterday. Perhaps ironically*** (after my post last week) I did place a bet on a horse and it was quite literally pipped at the post. I bet $5 and lost – I figure the $5 goes a small way towards repaying Jupiters Casino for kindly inviting me into their corporate marquee for the day and feeding me seafood and cake. They would have provided me with free beer too (or heavier stuff) if I wasn’t feeling fluey and congested still. I had a day last week where I wasn’t feeling fluey and congested but then I got up at 4.55am to host the Today show breakfast people up here and the lack of sleep didn’t help my cause. (Look how I tied four pieces of information into the one paragraph – watch and learn people… For those at home wondering what the four pieces of information are: 1. My iron beeps, 2. I went to the races, ate at the corporate tent and placed a bet (all one topic (but three pieces of information I guess)), 3. I am sick, 4. I had the Today show up here last week). Wow. Are you awestruck yet? Probably not. I should point out that I’m actually not as arrogant as I sometimes sound…

* “” Denotes sarcasm
** referring to Wikipedia
*** used ironically

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I’ll bet…

The mighty Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are on a roll. I was so confident they’d beat the Panthers that I placed a bet with a friend of mine who happens to support them. Is this wrong? If I was sure the Sea Eagles were going to win isn’t that tantamount to stealing? If I was uncertain – is that poor stewardship of my money? Is gambling in and of itself wrong – or is it the associated greed? I don’t want the $5 that Pat is going to have to cough up because his team are unable to function effectively as a unit – I wasn’t motivated by greed. I just like to win. A game is infinitely more enjoyable if there’s actually something weighing on the outcome – by enjoyable I mean exciting – there’s more adrenalin involved if you actually might win or lose something depending on the outcome. But am I going to hell because of this bet? (well no, I’m not going to hell… at this point that was a little bit of rabbitical hyperbole… not that I’m claiming to be a Rabbi, or a rabbit…) Is gambling sinful? Should we be condoning or facilitating any form of greed. The Catholics have been running Bingo competitions as fundraisers for years so they obviously don’t have a problem with it. Neither does the Australian Chief Executive of Woolworths who is a professing Christian.

In that story above (by above I mean contained in the link above…) he made some pretty carefully considered statements about the decision his company has made to invest in a series of gaming establishments.

“I don’t think that’s a moral judgment, I think what is a moral judgment is that one needs to be careful and concerned about the environment in which they sell in the market facilities of that nature.”

While personally I don’t have a problem with gambling if you can remove the element of greed from the equation – if it’s budgeted entertainment with no addiction involved then go for it… who am I to say that using a pokie machine is any less fun than playing an arcade game. My problem is making a distinction like Mr Woolworths (not his real name) has made here. It reminds me of a scene from the Godfather where the Mafia Dons (head honchos) are gathered round a table discussing a move into the narcotics industry – one of them says ”

“I don’t want it near schools — I don’t want it sold to children! That’s an infamia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people — the colored. They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls… “

Somehow the logic in both those quotes seems strikingly similar to me – as long as we’re careful where we put the bad stuff people can go and do the bad stuff if they choose to. Gambling addiction is, without question, a destructive thing. Like the Whitlams I wish I could blow up the pokies… but then I’d lose out on cheap pub steaks designed to attract gamblers. So in conclusion I haven’t exactly figured out my position on gambling yet… but I thought that article was interesting… particularly the quote below, and the fact that Mr Woolworths said he’d be happy to sell bullets at supermarkets if it was legal and there was demand for them. Again, not a moral decision apparently. But where do we draw the line for Christians involved in business? Is it wrong to work at Maccas if they cause obesity? Is it wrong to be a lawyer? I think Mr Woolworths actually has it right in this case…

“I believe that I’ll be accountable one day for my life and so to that extent I’ll be accountable for my integrity,” he said.

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Now coming to you in Wide Screen… at least from my end

Well, well, well… that of course is the answer to the question “what did the oil baron say when three new oil deposits were discovered in Iraq. The US of course simply said “Fire the torpedoes”, which was pretty useless because Iraq only has a very small coastline and there are much more effective ways to blow things up in Iraq. Strapping explosives to your chest seems to be one way… that’s not really funny is it. Not at all PC.

There’s not really much interesting stuff to write about today, owing to the fact that I spent yesterday in Charters Towers. It’s a hole. Or a series of them. Mostly because it contains a lot of tunnels left over from the gold mines. It is however, one of North Queensland’s premiere tourist destinations – attracting history buffs from all over the country. So if you like history it’s worth a visit. Or if you like meat pies. I’m sure it has plenty of redeeming features.

Today I took mum, dad, and Susie along to an Indy car roadshow thing in Townsville that I had to go to for work. There was lots of burning rubber, lots of noise, lots of girls in Indy outfits, and lots of the types of guys who enjoy those sorts of things. Then I went to WOW and bought a new screen for my computer… and more importantly, the new Muse CD. I’m impressed. I was worried at first. But it’s very good. It’s nothing like any of their old stuff. But Matt Bellamy is still the coolest front man strutting his stuff on stages around the globe.

That’s about it for this episode – be sure to check out the thoroughly politically incorrect ramblings at that other blog… http://philnsmiz.blogspot.com

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Rubbed out

Like millions (well hundreds and thousands (the number, not the little colourful balls of sugar)) of others I’ve been hotly anticipating the hotly anticipated new Thom Yorke solo album, The Eraser. So today… upon its release… I bought it. And I listened to it. And now, here are my thoughts.

This album is slightly more avant garde than any of Radiohead’s work (for the uninitiated and uninterested, Thom Yorke is the singer from Radiohead). The music is a series of syncopated and sometimes rhythmic noises. With very little musical quality whatsoever. Except, and this is a big exception, for Thom Yorke’s voice. I’ve decided I could happily listen to Thom Yorke sing over any noise in the world. It wouldn’t make me happy, because Thom Yorke is a very melancholy kind of guy. But it would be a pleasurable experience nonetheless. He also writes lyrics with cool words and concepts. And his cover art is good. There’s my in depth analysis and review of the CD. I was also looking forward to the release of Muse’s new album. But it wasn’t available at Wow. I wish Townsville had a JB Hifi. Actually, that would be bad for my bank balance.

Another variation on the rubbed out theme – Steve asked me what I thought the Italian guy said to Zidane in the build up to his send off this morning, and I must confess I did not get up for the World Cup. I set my alarm, but promptly metaphorically threw it at the wall. I actually dropped my phone rather half heartedly on the floor. If Zidane is the typical French creative genius then I imagine it was something along the lines of “Oi, you French poof” which was enough to send my favourite all time player, Eric Cantona into a violent fan directed frenzy (see below) – he’s not my favourite player because he karate kicked a fan in the head. He karate kicked a fan in the head because he’s my favourite player. I’m not sure the logic there worked any better than it did in that trashy teen movie which I won’t admit to viewing. My sisters have a lot to answer for.

My parents, and sister, arrive in Townsville tomorrow – it’s the first time they’ve ever come to stay at “my” house. So I’m inventing all sorts of new house rules… actually I’m tidying my room. Maybe.

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Queuing up…

It occurred to me just now that Queue is a very odd word. It strikes me that the second “ue” could, be redundant. Interesting food for thought really. Apparently it comes from the Latin word Coda… I’m not sure how that came about.

That’s all I really have to say tonight. Potentially that post could have been expanded to be quite entertaining – but if I’d made it longwinded and “intellectual” people would have complained. You can’t please everyone all of the time.

I will now shamelessly plug the second most popular blog on the internet (no one likes people arrogant enough to claim “most popular” status) – check it out here.

This blog entry is now terminated… like so many journalistic careers at Channel Nine… it’s like a skeleton (boned – which when you think about it may be appropriate terminology for describing the waif like/wafer thin host of the Today show, I’m sure Eddie was just taken out of context)… in that it probably could have done with a little more fleshing out (also like Jessica Rowe). I think I’m out of Nine jokes now… Although I didn’t have nine to begin with, it’s more like 4…

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Musical Calculus

I’d like to use today’s entry to pose a question inspired by Mark’s comment on my last post.

“The “derivative is bad” argument is silly. Pretty much everything in art, music, science, social/political thought, etc has prior art “influences” and thus can be seen as derivative or reactionary.”

Yes Mark, that is a fair comment – and one well backed up by the Ecclesiastes passage you referred us to. Nothing is new under the sun. However, that does not give musicians open slather to run around stealing other people’s style. Intellectual property laws ensure that you can’t get away with simply stealing another person’s idea, and doing so in the realms of art, music, science and social thought is generally frowned upon. It’s called plagiarism. You don’t see wannabe painters out there recreating the Mona Lisa. If music is art then some originality is required. When seven bands release seven songs with the same chord progression and the all wear the same clothes, and claim the same influences – bands 2 through to 7 of that group are redundancies – unless 2 is a tribute band with a clever pun as a name.

There’s an old song lyric – and you can google it if you like – that says “if everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other,” which is pretty much the point of the “derivative is bad argument” – if all music sounded the same we would get tired of listening to it. Therefore derivative music is bad.

I would also make a distinction between “derived” and “influenced” – derived work is something that could only be reached by copying something – there is no art to that. So that step in Mark’s syllogism is a non sequitur.

In the words of someone who played an important role in the artistic movement – or in the words of some sort of manifesto – Vive Le Difference…

And now… on the subject of the French and Revolutions – check out the newest, most coolest thing on the internet – askaninja – actually it’s not new, only recently discovered…

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flights of fancy… and some other garbage

In the immortal (or somewhat unknown in this case) words of Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. The aeroplane flies high. I can’t wrap (or rap) my head around the physics involved in getting a machine as big as…well for want of a better corroborative noun, as big as a jumbo, into the air and keeping it there. I sat just behind the wind on the way home today – there are a lot of little adjustments made to the wings during flight that I’m sure are absolutely necessary to keep it in the air. I’ve had some aeronautical engineering type people (who I guess technically are rocket scientists) explain all the updraft and stuff to me but it all boggles the mind. I wonder if boggles became a verb before, or after, the board game…

I flew home with Jetstar. Jetstar owe me $3.80. I don’t know who’s responsible for the coffee shop next to the terminal – but they should warn passengers that you can’t take your coffee on board. What did the hostess think I was going to do with a cup of coffee? You can’t exactly highjack a plane with a lukewarm cappuccino. If I was going to highjack a plane – hypothetically of course – I’d be more likely to use this (don’t miss the customer review at the bottom of the page).

The other question which has been weighing on my mind is a question regarding an industry with its share of critics (and a history of mafia involvement in the US ala the Sopranos) – the garbage disposal industry. Garbage disposal and waste control is something we all take for granted and probably don’t give enough thought to. It’s one of those industries where if you do happen to take notice something’s probably gone wrong. My question is this – how many wheelie bin loads fit in the standard garbage truck? I’m going to try to do some research and have an answer by the end of the week. It hadn’t occured to me that there must be a fleet of garbage trucks operating on any given bin day untilI saw two driving around at around the same time. nathanintownsville.blogspot.com – asking, and answering the questions that matter…

and finally – a fantail wrapper question just to get the comments rolling…

WHO AM I
Born Nigeria, 4/4/1960, he arrived with his family in Australia in 1976. He graduated from NIDA in 1981 and made his debut in Maybe This Time (80). He won an AFI Award for Best actor as the blind photographer in Proof (91); and was nominated for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; won a second AFI for The Interview (98); and was named the Australian Star of the year. He then starred in two blockbusters which would give his identity away.

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How do you think?

Have you ever thought about how you think about things? Is your stream of conscious thought in the style of a documentary? Do you narrate events in your life like a detective in a film noir piece? Or does your thinking mirror a monologue to the camera like those annoying spots in Malcolm in the Middle?

Trolling through the links on Dan’s blog I found myself at the home of Michael Jensen’s blog. He’s one of the famous Sydney Anglican Jensen tribe. He’s doing some sort of study in England – you can find it if you like, but I can’t be bothered searching for the link. He posted an entry on viewing life as a stream of narrative. He’s a pretty smart guy. I didn’t really read all that much but it got me thinking about thinking and how I frame my thoughts. I think my stream of thoughts often flows like a stream of narrative – I do things in time and space, interacting with other characters and these interactions lead to outcomes – problems are resolved, conflicts arise… and my thinking reflects that. I think about how to solve things – and the voice in my head (which I guess is consciousness not some weird psychological condition) follows the narrative, or even pre-empts and influences the narrative, when the interactive bits of life are happening.

News stories are taking bits of a stream of narrative and analysing the elements. The journalistic definition of “news” is information that is of some interest to the public. The approach journalists take when they report news is to answer the big 6 questions – known in the industry as the 5 Ws and 1 H – who, what, when, where, why, and how. If narrative is a stream of connected events occuring in space and time then all these elements will be addressed.

Being of a journalistic, inquisitive bent I find that my approach to the narrative of my life has been somewhat influenced by this paradigm (paradigm is one of my favourite words). Not only do I approach any “conflict” or events that arise in my narrative (life) through the framework provided by these questions – but I’ve started viewing every event that occurs in terms of its newsworthyness.

There are a number of jokes out there featuring different professions and how they see the world – or the simple things in life. A true story I heard recently featured a group of people watching the football – a dentistry student, a med student, and an excercise/sports science student. During the game there was an incident where a player collided with another player’s head. Play was stopped while the player received some medical attention. The dentist commented on the effect the impact would have on the player’s teeth, the med student named the bones that may have been fractured, and the sports science student pointed at a guy in the background and said “he’s doing that static stretch wrong.”

And here, after that complicated five paragraph intro is the story that prompted this post… last night I was driving home from Mission Beach (where I’d been for a work function featuring Beechworth bakery owner Tom O’Toole (an interesting character)) with one other member of the Townsville Enterprise team. It’s a 2.5 hour drive to Mission Beach from Townsville – some say 3. Just outside of town we were stopped by a collection of emergency service vehicles attending the scene of a major accident… and do you want to know what my first thought was? Where are the TV cameras… this is a news story. I had my phone in my hand calling WIN television’s news director with the hot tip before I’d even considered the possibility that people may have been seriously hurt by the crash. When did I become so callous? Have I been that desensitised by years of watching and reading the news? Tom O’Toole made a comment about watching the news that was funny enough to repeat:

“If a dog came into your house and pooed on the ground while you were eating dinner you wouldn’t just sit there and watch him – you’d kick it out of the house, or worse… but every night we let the news do the same thing – it feeds half an hour of crap into our living rooms and we just watch it without thinking. I stopped watching news 20 years ago, and now when I turn on the television it’s the same news anyway – same wars, same crimes, same politics… you may not be what you eat, but you are what you fill your head with.”

Has anyone else been so obviously scarred by their profession? Do the teachers out there see every event in life as an opportunity to fill a lesson plan? Do opera singers see every tragedy as a potential aria (the style of song not the Australian Recording Industry Award)? Do IT people ever see any events that happen in the wider world? and do proctologists just think the world is a bunch of (feel free to insert an appropriate colloquialism here – I’m not going to do your dirty work for you).

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Who would you ban?

“A British radio station has banned all songs by balladeer James Blunt from its playlist after receiving complaints from listeners. ” – From the SMH.

If I could ban anyone from the radio it would be James Blunt too.

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What’s hip about hippies?

Today’s post comes courtesy of me. I’m allowed to that once in a while, it is my blog afterall. Today I’d like to write about hippies. There’s very little right about hippies (that’s a little bit of political humour for those out there not clever enough to pick it up). Some hippies are ok. I’m all for peace (most of the time), harmony (but I’d actually prefer social melody. Harmony suggests different people managing to be different while appearing to sing to the same tune. So by extension social melody must be everyone doing the same thing which I think is a much higher goal. Provided everyone does what I think is the right thing. Let me rephrase that so it sounds less arrogant… Provided everyone does what God thinks is the right thing… I’m not sure that seems less arrogant actually, I’m not claiming that my will is perfectly equal to God’s. Could this be the longest bracketed statement ever to grace the pages of my blog? Who knows.), tranquility, and protecting the environment. But I have some questions about the whole green movement.
1. Who decides which green causes should be fought for and protected – why save the whales and eat lentils – surely lentils should be protected.
2. How can hippies justify protecting trees while smoking (burning) grass (marijuana)?
3. Why do they fight big battles (ozone protection) while ignoring, or contributing to, smaller problems (bad body odour)?

I guess my stance on hippies makes me anti-green, and in an amazing coincidence it turns out my car is anti-green in colour. I created a colour completely devoid of green, and full of blue and red in paintshop, and I came up with a colour alarming similar to my mauve excel.

What really gets me is the skewed priorities hippies have towards their particular cause. Sure whales are nice, big, friendly animals – but what about the thousands of starving Japanese children who’d benefit from eating the whales brought in by all the whale-harpooning daddies out there. Think of the children. It does seem to me that the green movement has a fairly warped sense of important issues. Some may argue that there are thousands of issues out there and it’s great to have people concerned for all of them, everyone needs representation. Which would be fine if the green voice wasn’t so loud. Once upon a time, when I was a poor uni student (read that how you will – I did mean that I lacked financial stability but I make no claims to greatness as a student) I was walking on my merry way to uni when I was accosted by a well meaning hippy type who wanted me to consider supporting an obscure wild life protection group. I understand that this girl was doing her job, which is a pretty crappy job, and was probably being paid by commission. But her suggestion that I change from sponsoring a compassion child to sponsoring a panda because it was “national change charities day” proves once and for all that hippies are stupid.

This diatribe was encouraged by an article in the opinion pages of today’s Sydney Morning Herald. The article looks at the quality of life in Australia – analysing whether things are actually any better with the strong growth in the Australian economy. Apparently some things are good. Some things are bad, including an increasing tendency for families to break down (or up – funny that two opposite words mean the same thing – I guess the keyword is break. You could probably even say break sideways and people would still understand). But this isn’t the biggest issue our culture has to deal with. I guess I’d agree with that (I’d probably say the underlying issues of human selfishness and greed were bigger problems – and the issue underlying those issues is sin). There are plenty of other issues out there that could be at least as difficult as a family break up. Child abuse, murders, an alarming suicide rate… there’s plenty of problems in our society that an increase in cashflow doesn’t seem to be solving. But no. Apparently our biggest problems are land clearing, extinct bird species, salinity and greenhouse gas emissions… and that my friends is why I hate hippies.

In other non-hippy news… Tim started a blog today – its title is a delightful pun on his name. I must say I’m flattered by all the people who are starting blogs just because I have.

Finding Emo

What is the deal with Emo? This is a blog by request for Joel. He doesn’t understand emo people. Neither do I. Emo used to be a classification of a branch of punk music. Apparently now it’s so much more. Some people (Jon Ray) debate emo’s right to hold its own place in the spectrum of musical genres. Some people love email. Some spell checks don’t like the word emo. These people wear black make up, have crap hair and wear clothes at least 4 sizes too small. Apparently they like self harm and stuff now too. Back when I was a young lad, well back in the 90s anyway, people who cut themselves and wore funny black clothing were called goths. As far as I can tell the only difference between emo people and goths is taste in music. For a complete guide to being emo check out this site here. It’ll create an emo identity just for you.

Emo used to be a label for any emotional rock. Weezer are an oft mentioned example of this first wave of emo acts. Weezer are cool. Just because Weezer are emo, and Weezer are cool doesn’t make all emo bands cool. That is a fallacious syllogism. Syllogism is a cool word. I just wanted to use it in my blog.

The new wave of emo is darker… edgier… according to wikipedia common elements include dark colored hair (often dyed either black or an unnatural dark hue), males wearing pants tailored for females, lots of piercings, and dark make-up on males and females. In short, emo people are weird. Wikipedia also notes they may have a tendency towards self harm. They also like fringes. What’s with that?

Now that you all know how to identify an emo there are certain rules for approaching them in social situations. The first principle of approaching an “emo” is that you should never expect any form of response or interaction from said emo. Unless you’re talking about how wonderful AFI is. Emo’s love AFI, or My Chemical Romance, or any of those punk bands who write emotional songs. Emo is just a category for people who aren’t hardcore enough to be goth and are too stupid to be normal. There’s something sad about a group of non-conformists who all dress the same.

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Why does it always rain on me… literally not figuratively

So when I told Donna I was moving to Townsville she said “ha… get used to never seeing rain ever again.” Well Donna, you were wrong, so na na na nana na. Our stock editorial (the writing we have on file to use for ads and send to journalists and stuff) boasts that Townsville has 320 days of sunshine per year. I’m starting to wonder if the North Queensland year is slightly longer than the standard 365.25 days. I’ve now been in Townsville 67 days. By my calculations (read estimates) it’s rained on all but five of those days. That means that at this point the standard Townsville year runs for 382 days assuming there is no more rain. What a phenomena. We should call the weather bureau, or the department of astronomy (if they don’t exist they should), or the people who make all the calendars in the world (if there’s not a centralised company there should be, not that I’m pro-monopolies but sometimes they just make things easier).

Which brings me to today’s political discussion. On Sunday after church I was talking to a couple of people about the introduction of VSU and the government’s increasing desire to introduce a user pays culture. The underlying theory can be summarised (today I’ll try to actually summarise – ie be succinct) as the belief that people shouldn’t be forced to pay for services they don’t use – and should be able to control who they get those services from. It’s the rationale behind the sale of Telstra, the proposed privatisation of Ergon and the introduction of privately funded roads with toll systems introduced to pay them. All very interesting stuff if you like economics. For the rest of us there’s apparently a worrying spin-off if VSU sucks all the life out of on campus culture. One of the people I was talking to is quite involved with theatre stuff at JCU, she was talking about a petition signed by members of Australia’s cultural alumni – former graduates of leading institutions who have gone on to taste success as Australia’s artsy ambassadors – successful actors and musicians who claim that their success can be directly attributed to the funding they received from student unions on campus. Well I have a message for Heath Ledger, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett and co… I want my money back. Nicole Kidman can keep hers as compensation for having to share her adopted children with a freak. But the rest of you living in your multi million dollar penthouses in America – please send me a cheque for $1210 – that’s how much I outlayed in guild fees while I was “studying” at QUT. It’s a small price to pay. I’d hate to think I spent all that money funding the future multi million dollar Australian exports. It hardly seems fair to me.

I posted a comment on Andrew the Opera Singer’s blog (as opposed to Andrew the guy who works for the weather channel) promising a link. I’m a man of my word. Here is your link. Andrew is married to Peta. Peta is Dan‘s sister. Dan is Joel‘s brother. Joel’s music can also be found here. Joel is cool. I am also cool. There are several links both literally and physically (maybe).