This is highbrow…

So it seems my mother has lowered the tone of my blog with posts about flammable flatulence. I figured I’d keep the bar at its current level with a link to a story about a guy who let off a stink bomb on a Virgin Blue flight.

I hope they don’t catch him. I can sympathise with his plight – but not with his flight – having let off a stink bomb somewhat acrimoniously at a youth group function when I was a younger, less cultured lad.

I have writers block.

I plan to add icecream reviews to my blog in the very near future. Watch this space.

Svensk Anfaller

Well once again I’d like to point you in the direction of Matt’s blog. Matt has used his HTML l33tness (leetness = eliteness = ability) a column dedicated to me on his sidebar – he’s basically put a personal want ad on the internet advertising my availability. I’m not sure if I’m flattered or concerned. It seems the only people who visit Matt’s blog are his sister and Mel.

For those of you who don’t know about Sweden let me give you a little bit of back ground. Their national colours are yellow and blue. They’re famous for Ikea and ummm… Volvo… and umm… saab… and Henrik Larrson. They play ice hockey because Sweden is cold and frozen. They have a ceremony where they dance around a May Pole that is shaped like an… umm… let’s just say it’s a little phallic. Historically their men were responsible for much raping and pillaging in the Viking era. They like to eat caviar, and dry, biscuit like, bread (you can buy this at Ikea). Apparently they were some sort of world super power in the 17th century. They had superior weaponry and stuff. Now my favourite bit. On the world map Sweden shares a border with Norway. They’re neighbourly affection is expressed in a similar way to the way we treat people from New Zealand. They generally have a friendly rivalry. Except in World War 2. All the Scandinavian people are fair haired, fair skinned Aryan types. So they had no major problem with Hitler’s third Reich movement. Norway however, decided they didn’t like Adolf very much so basically told him where to shove his Mein Kampf. He didn’t like that very much so he decided he’d like to attack Norway a bit and steal all their treasure. Norway are land locked by Sweden – Sweden being the friendly neighbourhood warmongers allowed Germany free access to Norway through their country. “Don’t hit me – hit them,” they said. They did however rise to defend Finland at some point – in a showing of favouritism probably based on an addiction to Absolut Vodka (which is actually Swedish) or something. Most of this is horribly inaccurate slander based on heresay. You could do some research, or you could just believe what you’re told.

In other blog related news – I notice that Ben, of benintownsville.blogspot.com fame hasn’t updated recently. I have a theory on Ben’s blog that I shared with a couple of other people, Ben included. Ben is your typical alpha male (as in leader of the pack – not reader of Alpha, though he probably does). He’s tall, athletic (he’s doing sports science) and he plays the guitar. So he is a prime candidate for alpha male status. I have a feeling that he’s just trying to subtly reclaim all his lost alpha male turf online. I suspect many years ago men beat their chests and waved their clubs around – it seems blogs are the incoherent grunting of the current generation.

the pen is mightier than the sword…

The world’s coolest housemate has started a blog. That’s right. Everyone needs a bit of Swede in their daily diet. Mattiac, the artist formerly known as Matty, and formally known as Karl Mattias Carlehall (funny Swedish characters excluded – not Matt himself but the letters – I’d also exclude the Swedish chef, he’s a funny Swedish character.) has joined the blogosphere. Find him at this place here.

Let me fill you in a little bit on the debonair, blonde haired and blue eyed (I think) young man… he’s single ladies. And very elligible. Did I mention Swedish. He can cook. He’s clean. He’s clearly very witty as you’ll be able to tell from his blog. I imagine it must be hard being funny in a second language – but he pulls it off.

In the last couple of days I’ve done a bit of free lance writing for some people (and I stress the free). It occured to me that the word free lance probably comes from the historical concept of mercenaries who were paid for their lance value. There’s no real point to this post actually – except that I think that etymology is endlessly fascinating. It only dawned on me tonight during bible study that the words response and responsibility are probably tied together in a pretty significant fashion – spooky hey.

Speaking of things dawning on people – I had an interesting conversation at work this morning. While I mentioned in my job interview that I was involved in church and used examples from my time on the QC exec I don’t think it had dawned on one of the girls in my section that I’m “religious.” She started telling me this story about an email she’d just received from her crazy Christian cousin – and half way through she said “gee I hope you’re not religious” and I let her keep going till the end of her story before I told her that I am in fact a Christian. Very funny stuff.

It’s my blog and I’ll post when I want to

Two posts in one afternoon. It feels like I’m breaking some sort of unwritten blog law. Maybe the blog police will come and get me. I wonder what blog prison is like. A myriad of unfinished sentences and…

Ah ha hahaha… I was going to say incomplete ideas. I guess that’s completed the idea now so the joke is dead.

I imagine that’s pretty much what most blogs actually contain anyway. I wrote an essay towards the end of my degree (that’s right – I wrote essays and I have a degree) that touched on the blog’s special place in modern society – where once people took a stand on a soap box and preached to a small crowd – we now sit at desks and type to a crowd of infinite potential. The internet is the new public sphere. The new black. It’s the vibe. It’s Mabo. I don’t actually expect an infinite crowd. Infinite may have been a slight exaggeration. Obviously there’s actually a finite number of people in the world. And and even more finite number of people with internet access. And again a more finite number of people who are likely to visit my page intentionally. The chances of anyone stumbling here by chance are similar to the chances of a million monkeys with typewriters entering the words – willows presbyterian blog – into a search engine. So pretty remote. But I digest(sic)* (I’m drinking milo). I also digress. I was talking about the public sphere and blogs. Back in the day of soap box forums people gathered in a public area to enter discourse on pressing social and political topics. The printing press and mass produced newspapers killed this facet of life. It was easier to get a message across through the pages of the paper than to beat dead your hoarse ((sic) again) voice. That’s almost the lamest pun ever – lamer still would have been to “beat dead your hoarse(sick)(sic) voice dead.” That almost works. By almost I mean it doesn’t work at all but it’s sort of clever. Anyway, the media killed the public sphere – but tried to retain an element of interactivity in the letters page. The internet, and blogging, has resuscitated the public sphere. Discourse is alive once again. It’s interesting to note the trend among major media outlets to include interactive blogs as part of their online product.

*(sic) is a tool writers use to make their reader aware that there’s a mistake in there(sic) text. Usually editors use it on a letters page to highlight the ignorance of certain contributors. It becomes slightly pertinent to this post to point out that at this point the letters page can not be considered the “public sphere” ultimately it’s privately controlled.

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So…

Three posts in one day – if I post four I could make a Crowded House reference. Although posts and seasons aren’t really interchangeable.

Anyway – the purpose of this post is to point out a problem I have with the word so. Dictionary.com lists an obscene number of meanings and contexts in which such a small, simple word can be used. It’s just confusing. So confusing in fact that’s I’ve had enough so I’m going to do something about it.

I imagine our predecessors were faced with a similar problem with the word to. It has a lot of meanings too. One of those is demonstrated in the previous sentence. My theory is someone clever realised you could get around the confusion by just adding an extra o on the end of to to create a whole new word. I aim to be clever too. One day people will look back and say putting that extra o on so made everything soo much clearer. So here goes.

From now on when so is used to indicated an increase (ie so much) I think it should be spelt soo. So to sum up. When so is being used as a conjunctive (I can’t believe I’m talking about grammar – this is the guy who sidestepped his father’s war on commas by an obsessive overuse of the -. I use so many -‘s now that the last time he edited some of my work he put commas back in) it remains the standard so. When it is used in its adjectival form soo much or soo cool it will now be soo.

Hopefully this will prove to be more popular than the word col (a more refined type of cool – which lasted for a couple of months before fading into the word graveyard – only to be resurrected on my blog many long years later).

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You can take the dog out of the fight – but sometimes you need to kick him before he gets the message

Sorry to all the people out there who don’t care about politics – another story in the Sydney Morning Herald has just grabbed my attention. Kim Beazley has guts. There’s no denying it. You can’t – they’re there in plain sight. He’s also got heart. Obviously or he’d be dead. Ok, so he’s courageous. Lion like. He’s willing to go through defeat and bounce back (I imagine literally as well as figuratively). You’d think after losing two elections to a midget with funny eyebrows that big Kim would have got the message. The Australian public are less inclined to have him leading the country than a man who has demonstratably misinformed the public on a major international crisis (Iraq), potentially misinformed the public on the conduct of a national governmental body (AWB) and deliberately misinformed the public on the refugee issue (the children overboard fiasco).

“I want to face John Howard because … when you do things like wreck the industrial relations system, and make people’s lives insecure, you answer for it,” he said of the man who has twice beaten him.

It seems Big Kim hasn’t learned his lesson after all. He’s come out calling for Howard to stay in the top job till the next election (due in a year and a half). There’s no denying that Kim Beazley is an intelligent man. He’s a Rhodes Scholar. He’s articulate, eloquent, erudite and boring. He’s the most boring man ever interviewed on TV. He misses out on golden opportunities to engage with the Howard government on controversial issues. He’s inept. He has the charisma of a piece of cardboard. But he thinks the industrial relations reforms will be enough to sweep John Howard out of office. The fact is, when voters are faced with a choice between an idiot and a moron or a boring man, and a slightly less boring man with a voice, eyebrows and glasses that can be easily lampooned by cartoonists – they’ll choose the incumbent every time.

Unlike selectors for next week’s State of Origin – both Queensland and New South Wales have given their teams from last year a significant overhaul.

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Life imitates art…

Imitation, they say, is the highest form of flattery. I’d like to direct you all to Ben’s blog because it is truly flattering that he’d start a blog just to compete with me.

Once again I have nothing essentially “newsworthy” to report. I got free lunch on Friday – I guess that’s newsworthyish. I also had an altercation with my alarm clock – I really didn’t want to get up when it told me to. But that’s hardly news – news is meant to be new, and interesting to people – and that is neither.

I realise I’ve covered politics, tax and theology (religion) in my blog in recent times – I’m not expecting any dinner party invitations any time soon. I’d be terrible company. All I need to talk about now is death and I’ll be on the social blacklist forever. Conversation at dining tables is an interesting phenomena – conversation in general is an interesting phenomena. At the function I was at yesterday (a business leaders forum with guest speaker Minister for Tourism, Industry and resources, Ian Macfarlane) I sat with some local “business people” and a “business journalist” – part of my job requires “networking” with these local “business people” and I’m realising that there’s very little I actually have to say to a bunch of middle aged, successful people. It would seem that sport is the one great equaliser across social groups and demographics. Luckily I spent all those years memorising useless facts and figures about a variety of sports (and dad thought that was a waste of time).

Why do we (or I – I can’t speak for everyone else) naturally steer away from conversation topics that are likely to cause division. Surely different opinions are essential elements of conversation – if everybody agreed with everyone else we’d get tired of talking to each other (I vaguely paraphrased that from a song). My mother will tell you all that I like a good argument – or a bad argument, and I’m certainly not afraid to share my opinion on any topic (being a journalist means I’m vaguely qualified to talk about everything – at least that’s how I think it should work. It’s a sort of jack of all trades master of none type deal.) regardless of how much I know about it. But still I get trapped in a meaningless cycle of small talk and irrelevancies – to the point that some people doubt my ability to have serious conversation. I blame postmodernism for all this. It’s no longer politically correct to engage in meaningful, robust debate. People are too sensitive about feelings and protecting each other from having to think. Well that’s my rant for today. If anyone feels like disagreeing please do so…

Say hello to my little friend…


I plan to use this little fellow as a “persuader” anyone who won’t be brought round to my point of view can expect a photo of this little guy in their inbox. Putting a horse head in someone’s bed or sending a fish in the mail is so last millenium. All gangster movie references aside, the little guy on the left is one of a colony of about 25 Magnetic Island unadorned rock wallabies. These critters are only found on Magnetic Island and the Palm Island group. Although apparently they make nice sandwhiches so there aren’t many left on Palm. This is just one of the many reasons people should come and visit me. He’s cool.

It seems that PR is the career path to pursue if you want amazing job perks. I thought I had it made in my position – but it turns out if you really want to live the high life as a media adviser you need to be working for a state premier. Premier Iemma from New South Wales took his media adviser with him on a European trip. Check out how much they spent here.

Once again I actually have nothing newsworthy to report. I guess my newsworthy bar is pretty high because I’m doing plenty of stuff with my time. I worked a 12 hour day yesterday thanks to the budget and an afterwork meeting. That was exciting. Actually at the meeting after work I got to pretend to be a real journalist. WIN sent a camera but no journo to cover the meeting so I arranged to do some interviews for them.

We had our first night of bible studies last night with Focus (the young adult group) and due to my work exploits I was in no real position to be leading a study – I listened to about half the things people in my group were saying. I think my eyes were probably glazed for most of the evening. But I’m told it wasn’t too bad for a first week (I think that’s Tim’s diplomatic way of saying there’s plenty to improve). (I’ve noticed that I’m putting plenty of stuff in brackets that could really just be left unbracketed. I’m not sure why it is – I think anything in brackets is probably stuff that can just be ignored because it interrupts the narrative flow of the blog entry otherwise. I wonder how long is too long in terms of bracketed passages. Surely this one is pushing the limits – you’ll probably have to go back and see what went before the brackets now. Sucks to be you – this bracket was at the start of a new sentence. I haven’t interrupted anything.)

Finally, I’m trying to find out how long the world’s longest recorded pregnancy was. No one has been able to help me out yet. But if you can I’ll be impressed and will feature you in my blog. Maybe I should start a “friend of the week” column. I think now that I’m in PR and I’m not a serious journalist I would seriously consider any cash for comment deals on the table. I have no ethical problems with that at this point.

Happy Budget Day

I hope you all had great fun watching the Federal Budget last night. Didn’t Peter Costello look dapper in his Sunday (or Tuesday) best – he was wearing a particularly spiffy stripey tie. He’s way too trendy to be a real Prime Ministerial candidate. I think Tony Abbott with his unfashionable satellite dish ears, and slightly elf like chin, is a much more realistic candidate. If you throw the “here’s my adopted-out non-son” nonsense into the mix he’s got the whole public sympathy thing happening too. Clearly that’s how John Howard got elected. Everyone felt sorry for the little man. I had a budget party by myself last night. How sad is that. I also installed a new hard drive in my computer and almost killed it. So I’m a nerd and a geek.

Today’s theory is that economists are the strangest people in the world – I base this theory on my two economist friends – Ben and Joe. Some of you will know both Ben and Joe, others will know one or the other, some of you will know neither. Suffice to say (that’s a grammatically incorrect figure of speech if ever I’ve seen one – there really should be an it’s before the Suffice, but that’s not how it works*)- they’re both weird. Anyway, I got a post budget email from Ben asking me what my opinion is on the government’s subsidy of childcare places – he’s not sure non-parents should be carrying the can for those who choose to reproduce. Here’s my response – copied directly from the email:

“On childcare – the reality is children are the future of our country, and a valuable resource that should be invested in. I think there are two ways to look at it – the government could provide financial assistance for parents who choose to stay at home and look after their children (meaning that childcare wouldn’t need to be such an issue) – essentially they do this with family allowance – but it could be a greater counter childcare incentive.
On the socio-economic side of things – it stands to reason that genetically some people will have more intelligent children than others – it worries me that “smart” people are increasingly choosing not to breed – and dumb people aren’t caring for and nurturing their children like smart people would – I think this will be a problem. On an interesting side note – there’s an economist who has tied decreasing crime stats in the US with the introduction of abortion – he’s that popular economist guy who writes those books. ”

Ben’s response used an analogy of a soccer coach who only invests in youth being narrow minded and not particularly likely to experience short term success.

Here’s my counter response:

“There’s no point spending lots of money on encouraging today’s generation to make as much money as possible if they’re going to die out – except that they’ll leave no heirs and the government will get the money. That’s an interesting form of investment – but the people the money will benefit in the long term will be children from broken homes, who have been educated through a crappy state system because they can’t afford private education and who have parents who haven’t been able to bring them up properly because they’re working to be able to buy their plasma screen TVs and luxury items.

By the same token – the parents with good jobs who work to put their kids through child care and pay for their plasma televisions will decide that economically it makes more sense not to have kids to begin with so they can buy bigger TVs and both work to make their lives more comfortable.

Inherent human selfishness will be the death of our society – the more self sufficient individuals society creates the smaller society becomes – those individuals become their own society and then die off. It’s a poor economic model – which is why children are our future – and it’s why Costello called for people to take one for the team and breed.

A good coach finds the right mixture of youth and experience (Chelsea – Robben and co, Crespo) a bad coach buys a bunch of guys who are in, or passing their prime (Real Madrid – Zidane, Figo etc) or invests only in youth and loses all their experience (I’d put Ferguson in that category at the moment, releasing experience in Beckham, Keane, et al and bringing in Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney).”

That’s the sort of thing I talk about with my strange friends. It’s pseudo-intellectual I guess, and very self serving (some rude people might say it’s a load of wank – but I’m not rude).

Now that I earn an income I say yay for tax cuts… and I’ll leave you with this asterixed point to check out.

*Sidenote on the English language – Micallef does this sketch as an arts critic filling in for a sports journo in a post match interview with a footballer who says “it all goes well for the finals” when of course the sports star should have said “it augers well” or “all bodes well” – his point was remade by the SMH a couple of weeks ago in an article highlighting the highjacking of language by our culture of stupidity. Read it here.

What sort of Christian are you?

It turns out I’m 93% reformed evangelical… hooray for me. Do the test here. Although apparently this makes me a 5 point Calvinist. So maybe I answered some questions wrong… I’m also 35% pentecostal/emergent church, and 50% fundamentalist.

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Ego tripping at the gates of (goog)hell

Once again, the uncultured should go here to find out what on earth that title is talking about. Actually, that title was pretty much for the benefit of Dan Saunders who knows who the Flaming Lips are.

Ego Surfing is the act of typing one’s own name into an Internet Search Engine such as Google just to see how often you appear online. There are apparently lots of athletic Nathan Campbells out there – including a triathlete in Queensland who I guarantee is not me. However, my Internet recognisability index is on the increase. If you type “Nathan Campbell” into google and hit pages from Australia – I’m now number 2. I’ve lost my shoes. I knew being an illustration in one of dad’s sermons was going to be my downfall. Although I’m glad it’s not the bath tub story. I tried to find a link to the bath tub story but thankfully the keywords “Nathan” and “bath tub” don’t bring up the sermon on the MPC website. I’m happy to be the guy who lost his shoes. Anyway, the point of this story is that I was once number 16 in the results for the above search. Due to a concerted effort on my part I’ve moved up the ladder. If you search for Nathan Townsville blog I’m like number one. I’m so excited. Almost famous. Or not – given that you’d have to be looking for me specifically to actually find me. But I guess that’s the point of Ego surfing.

The Ego Surfing phenomona fascinates me – there are companies you can pay to protect your google image. Here is a site that makes the egosurfing process a whole lot easier.

So for those of you who want to actually read stuff about my life in Townsville rather than all this very interesting other stuff…

We had the first night of Focus the other night – Focus is the young adult ministry here at Willows that I’m now coordinating. I pretty much imported the latechurch bible study model – it’s hard to be enthuisiastic about something that just seems like common sense to me – I’ve never done anything different, but it’s all new for people here which is kind of nice. Somehow I managed to volunteer to write the studies as well so if anyone out there has hints on 1 Peter I’m all ears. Luckilly we’re past the bit about preaching to the spirits of those people killed in Noah’s day.

I’m also leading a grade 12 boys bible study group – I had my first official meeting with the 2 guys in my group tonight. They seem nice enough.

I have to go to Magnetic Island again tomorrow – which would be nice if I wasn’t going on the samne tour I’ve already been on twice and if it wasn’t raining so much outside. But I do have the work digital camera this time so there may be photos on my blog next week.

Tim and I are home alone this week – Dave, our conscience, has gone on a week’s jaunt to the Sunshine Coast. We’ve decided to have the house freakishly clean by the time he gets back just to freak him out. We’re hoping he’ll start to question whether he is in fact the messy one.

In other news – I bought the new Gomez album – this post is therefore brought to you by Gomez – How we operate. I think it’s my favourite Gomez album.

While I’m on the subject of CD’s – DVD’s are kind of CD like – I’m trying to track down my Godfather box set (last seen with either Chris Lindsay or Sam Jagoe), My Shaun of the dead DVD – last seen with Garnet and the first DVD of the Office Box set (I know you’ve got it Jo)

If people continue to comment as anonymous I’m going to have to make this a subscription only site – I want to know who you are or I don’t get that warm feeling inside. Bob on the other hand is trying a little too hard to create that warm feeling.

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Let’s get political… political

I can’t believe I just referenced an Olivia Newton John song in my title. I can’t believe I know that that song is an Olivia Newton John song… can I get any sadder.

Yes I can. I’m about to go where only the second nerdiest blogs in the Internet go (the nerdiest of course deal with technology and Star Trek and stuff). I’m going to write about politics. I’m not normally a divisive person. Obviously I try to steer clear of discussions that ostracise half my audience. I’m all about unity and stuff. But today I’m going to nail my political colours to my political mast and then I’m going to chop the mast down and sink the ship. I like to tell people that when it comes to politics I’m a nicely centred bipartisan citizen. Claiming to lean neither to the left or the right. This is only slightly true. Naturally I lean a fair way to the right – I am after all a university educated, middle class, suburbanite with history in a farming area. I don’t belong to any unions. I once financially supported the Wilderness Society, but that was only because I was trapped by their street vendor and couldn’t say no. I withdrew my support when my $10 donation by direct debit overdrew my account and cost me $35 extra. It’s ironic really that my donation to the socialist collective ended up netting the banking institution more of a profit than they got out of me. See, even in my attempts to lean to the left I can’t escape the right. I think the QUT Young Liberals “rack of lefty scum” and “we put the fun back into funding cuts” stickers are the funniest things ever. While in theory and political philosophy I’d happily support the Democrats (Australia’s nominally central party) they’re just a spent force politically. My loyalty to the current government and my ability to defend Messrs Howard, Costello and co from all comers has been sorely tested in recent times. I’m not sure how many times you should turn a blind eye to political stupidity before changing sides but they’re skating on pretty thin political ice as far as I’m concerned. Unless they learn how to walk on water soon they’ll sink.

Before I talk about my complete dissatisfaction with the government’s performance I’d like to take a step back and applaud a truly decent politician who I have nothing but praise for. Former Deputy PM John Anderson was on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope last night. John Anderson is a committed evangelical Christian who allows his faith to shape his political stance in a way that many people would complain is an anathema in the minds of anti-antidisestablishmentarians (people who are for the separation of church and state). In his interview with Denton John Anderson was able to present the gospel with clarity, handle political grenades with dignity and panache and at the same time appear to be a warm, gentle and genuine husband and father. He’s a clear example of the right gone right. My favourite bit of the interview was when Denton asked him about a scar on his forehead from a recent farm accident – he replied farming was just one of several dangerous occupations along with politics and taxi driving… which I assume was a reference to Mark Latham’s indiscretions.

So, onto the terrible state of the Australian political landscape… The Federal government is in danger of becoming a joke. It’s not a two party system any more – it’s one party and a wake. The Labor party is as good as dead. The Liberal Party has become complacent and irresponsible. The new Industrial Relations laws I could take – despite the Union’s objections there are good things economically that will come from the reforms. Curtailing to the US’s foreign “aid” demands I can understand. Our defence policy pretty much relies on the US stepping in to defend us – it makes sense to support your allies – although in the Iraq intervention it was morally reprehensible to be going to war on the basis of lies. Ousting Saddam and removing his barbaric government’s controlling share of a large oil reserve kind of made sense by itself – the WMD claims were terribly inaccurate. I could forgive them that. The AWB scandal is aptly named – essentially paying for your enemy’s weapons (the AWB kickback money – while it may not have directly gone into a weapon slush fund it boosted Saddam’s coffers) is grossly irresponsible. Lying or forgetting or ignoring the issue is negligent – I can’t help but feel that this is an issue that has failed to engage with Average Joe Public though – no one cares.
The Kovco debacle is probably the straw that broke this camel’s back. We have a defence force that is incredibly well trained, well paid and costs the taxpayer a substantial amount every year. Our soldiers are a costly commodity. As far as I can see from the reports I’ve read in various outlets the government’s handling of this tragedy has been inexcusably bad. Firstly the circumstances surrounding the death of Jake Kovco are shadowy at best – snipers are gun experts – they don’t accidentally shoot themselves while cleaning weapons. It would seem from the autopsy that Private Kovco was not holding his weapon when it discharged which would appear to suggest an accident did indeed take place. The government’s inability to provide a correct account has placed an untold emotional burden on the family – they’ve faced shameful accusations at the hands of some members of the trash media (channel 7 – their time will come in another post I’m sure). Not only have they failed to provide adequate explanation – they then arranged to fly the body home on a commercial flight – granted it’s a sound economic decision and all that but it lacks a certain dignity. This guy died serving his country. Not only that – they couldn’t even pick the right casket in the mortuary. This was another unacceptable bungle. All these stuff ups have made this possibly the biggest bungle in the Howard government’s history – bigger than the Tampa, bigger than AWB. I can’t think of a situation that has reeked more heavily of incompetence. In previous eras politicians would take a dignified exit and fall on their political sword. Every scandal that erupts leads to a call for resignations – calls that inevitably fall on deaf ears. The left is guilty too – probably more so – Peter Beattie promised to resign at the end of the year if the health system wasn’t fixed, made zero changes and two weeks later declared the problem solved. So next election I’m voting for the Fishing party – at least they stand for something I believe in – the killing and eating of animals.

Heroin is so passe…

For those of you who are wondering what on earth that title is talking about you should go here.

It would seem that the world’s most famous drug addict is in trouble again. Pete Doherty is a “musician” who owes much of his fame to his shambolic attempts at life in the media fishbowl – he is/was going out with supermodel Kate Moss. He’s also famously been arrested about 30 (I actually have no idea how many, but it’s a lot) times for drug related crimes. Yesterday the pinnacle of the English print media, The Sun – famous for its topless page 3 girls – printed photos of Doherty injecting some form of presumably illicit substance into the arm of an unconscious girl. Today he was arrested for his efforts. None of this is particularly exciting – but it reminded me of a story I heard on JJJ a while back. There’s a band/group of pseudo political activists/social commentators called the KLF. They famously burnt a $1 million pound art grant (they literally set fire to a pile of money) and did some other crazy stuff. A few month back the KLF released a press release claiming to have actually invented Pete Doherty’s career. Conspiracy websites all over the net picked up the story and ran with it. They claimed it was an experiment based on three key theories:
1. In the so-called “alternative” scene, everybody is too scared of missing The Next Big Thing to worry about anything else.
2. We feel that our culture has become an enormous soap opera. We don’t care what a person thinks, or creates, or contributes. We just care about what they do in their normal lives. Especially when it’s something they shouldn’t be doing.
3. If enough people say that a piece of rubbish is a bar of gold, we’ll
believe it’s a bar of gold

You can read about the Doherty hoax here.

I guess I should put some news about myself up here too…

This weekend I went to two birthday parties and a church camp – pretty action packed stuff really. I thoroughly enjoyed all three events. People up here are nice. Five word sentences are cool. Those of you who read the comments section, or even comment – will have noticed reference to a question about how to make a girl fall in love with you – it turns out the key is pulling faces and playing hide and seek – but the girl is three, and my second cousin so I’m not sure if that’s a method that is going to work anywhere else. You’ll also have noticed my sister Madeleine has decided that rather than starting her own blog she’ll steal my comment space. I’ll forgive her if her submissions continue to be as brilliant as her piece on public transport ettiquette. I also promised my housemate Tim his own entry in the main part of my blog. Tim cooked me some sort of fish dish last week – it was interesting – any dish with beer in the sauce is bound to be interesting. Tim is cool. He sometimes reminds me of me. I don’t think I can pay anyone a higher compliment than that. He’s also single ladies (I’m not going to punctuate that sentence because I think it looks funny – Tim is single ladies, hahahahaha, Tim is single, ladies, either works for me)… maybe you should all move to Townsville chasing someone.

The power of business cards

I’ve finally figured out how to get people to take me seriously. My father is constantly worried that the “Smiley” nom-de-plume (I’ve gone all French and cultured, two French references in three posts oh ho ho [that is an attempt at the traditional French grunting sound{I don’t really like the French anyway, they’re a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who should take their freedom fries and go home}]) is not counting in my favour as far as people taking me seriously goes. The key to opening all sorts of professional doors is the humble business card. Seriously. I go to these functions and meetings and people look at me all funny until I pull out a little cardboard rectangle with my name and impressive position description on it – and POW, instant credibility.

I’ve also realised that confidence is the key to sounding impressive in meetings. Confidence and unexplained acronymns. You throw an acronymn out there and just keep powering on. No one questions anything if they’re too far behind. I’ve been able to thoroughly convince our local tourism operators that I know what I’m doing. Now I need to ensure my competence matches my competence. I was trying to work out the relationship between confidence and arrogance the other day – I think the third factor in the equation is competence – provided you’re actually as good as you think you are you’re confident not arrogant. When confidence outweighs competence that’s arrogance. I should be a motivational speaker – people would listen to me if I had convincing business cards.

In other news… I had two great phone conversations last night – the first one involved a couple of people coming clean, and thanking me for all my hard work getting them to become a couple – they know who they are, most of the people reading this also know who they are. I’d like to say on the record – When I told the guy in question that my matchmaking days were over – I only meant they were over for him. The second conversation was with my very good friend Paul. It’s always nice talking to old friends – they’re like a worn in pair of shoes, or your favourite t-shirt – instant comfort.