Nathan Campbell

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

Piece offering

Some anonymous people apparently don’t like my long winded posts – so I’ll kick off today’s entry with an update on life in Townsville and follow that up with the second blog by demand entry. Today’s topic comes courtesy of CB Jr.

But before I go off offending anyone by writing about something that I might want to write about I’ll write about myself. No wonder people think I’m arrogant (I took that survey that Matt advertised on his blog and in the comments page – the one identifying potential personality disorders apparently there’s a chance I’m narcisstic but other than that I’m a pretty low chance of having any personality at all).

I’m currently reassessing my sleep patterns. I’m sick of being tired. I’m thinking I might start going to bed earlier so that I can get up with enough time to do productive stuff in the morning – I’m even planning to take up swimming when a new lagoon complex thing opens up around the corner from my house in a few weeks.

Church is cool. People here are nice. My grade 12 boys are a refreshing change from the previous groups of younger people I may have been involved with in the past. Our young adults group took a week off for the State of Origin. I feel no need to gloat about the State of Origin – I’ll just continue to let the results speak for themselves.

I do miss people from MPC – so don’t feel like I’ve just gone out and replaced you all. I’m coming back to visit in a couple of weeks and if Steve decides to relax his team regulations I’m keen to make a return to the Baptist League for one week only. There you go Steve – now everyone who reads my blog will blame you if I don’t get to play. Did I mention that Steve is cool, mature and devastatingly handsome (and single as far as I know). That ought to do the trick.

Work is also fun. My manager has returned from maternity leave and is currently ensuring that I know exactly what I’m meant to be doing. My stand in manager is back doing her normal thing, which has relieved her of the pressure of doing about 6 different jobs at once. Sitting between two fairly dominant female types in an office where males are in the minority is a challenging prospect. I do keep a steady supply of M&Ms at hand to purchase good will and that seems to be working.

Other than that there’s been no significant progress made anywhere else. I am going fishing (and not the metaphorical type) this Friday morning at 3am with the people from Channel 10’s I Fish. I should get to be on their nationally broadcast show at some point in the future.

Ok… enough about me. Ignorant people can stop now. I mean who complains anonymously and uses an exclamation mark anyway. Some people have no class.

Cam requested I make some comment about the pros and cons of our non-round 50 cent piece. Australia’s 50 cent piece is a dodecahedron. That means it has 12 sides. I suspect 50 Cent the rapper knew this. My theory is that when he tried to decide on an MC name that encapsulated his street heritage he wanted something edgy… and what has more edges than a dodecahedron? Apparently lots of polygons do. Anyway, bad theories about US rappers aside, there are some pros and cons to a non-round coin.

I’ve heard somewhere in the past that our coins have distinctive shapes and weights so blind people don’t get confused and I think that’s a pro that should certainly be added to the discussion at some point. No one likes confusing blind people. Except this guy in a comedy sketch I saw once who crept up behind a blind man at a set of traffic lights and made the DOOT DOOT DOOT DOOT DOOT noise that they make when it’s safe to cross. Having an edge also means that if you pelt muggers/bad singers/Collingwood football players with 50 cent coins it’s more likely to draw blood and that can only be a good thing.

On the con side – flat edges mean that it’s hard to roll a 50 cent piece down the aisle in a shopping centre or boring church service. They don’t spin very well on table tops either. And I imagine there are aerodynamics issues when you flip a dodecahedron rather than a circle. So it probably plays around with the probability involved in the process somehow.

So there you have it. I’ve spoken my piece on 50 cent pieces (not including the rapper… I’ll leave that for another day).

If you saw this blog earlier you’ll have noticed it was cut off rather abruptly when I left to play paintball. I was playing with some people from WIN news. Seems there might be some jobs there soon (like tomorrow). I’ll put a picture of the bruise on my neck up at some stage in the next couple of days. I’ll wait till it looks less like a hickey. I’m not looking forward to explaining it at work tomorrow.


emoticon this…

Much has been written on the subject of the decay of the English language. Tomes of text. Volumes of verbs. Stacks of scrolls. At the end of the day nobody is quite sure who to blame. An increase in instant written communication options has been generally lambasted as the culprit. SMSing, emailing and instant messaging are convenient scapegoats. The underlying issue is public apathy – which can be blamed for all of society’s problems – obesity, the decline in public morality, reality television… Rather than attack the root cause of the problem, I’m going to attack a symptom of this linguistic malaise. Lets face it, I’m not likely to be able to solve a major social issue on the pages of my blog. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to change you.

I h8 txt talk. I still write out my SMS’s in full. I refuse to succumb to the succubus sucking the life from the lexicon. Ok, so maybe I’m working too hard to be alliterative. But at least I’m literate. Unlike those people who require pictures to communicate emotions. That might be a little harsh.

Emoticons, for the uninitiated, are those little smiley faces that have wormed their way into the hearts and messages of the internet (I also can’t figure out what the internet has done to deserve proper noun status. I’m not going to capitalise it just because Microsoft tells me to…) generation. I can almost cope when people use common acronyms from the internet vernacular. Provided people are actually laughing out loud (lol) or rolling on the floor laughing (rofl) I don’t mind abbreviation. It’s efficient. I don’t like being lied to though – and I’ve never actually witnessed anyone rolling on the floor (and certainly not roflmao – you can look that up, this blog will not be denigrated with profanity – suffice to say it requires the removal of one’s nether regions (note – not never regions…)(further note – I’ve always wondered how the Dutch feel about the Netherlands tag given its association with said regions) but I’m prepared to let that slide. But really, is it ever conversationally necessary to represent your opinion with a little smiley face? Or a winking smiley face? Or a smiley face with glasses? Or a smiley face with a frown? Or a crying smiley face? Or one of the 69 emoticons provided with MSN messenger. Admittedly some of those 69 come in handy when you’re telling a story about an aeroplane (ap) getting struck by lightning (li) and crashing into a desserted[sic] (^) island (ip). Or a story about a girl (x) being attacked by a vampire bat ( :[ ). Outside of these circumstances I see no real reason to be using emoticons in general conversation. Unless of course you are actually pulling that face at the computer and want the other person to know. But if that’s the case there are a lot of people out there who poke their tongues out at the computer… and that worries me.

How Microsoft think its possible to encapsulate an emotion in a little picture is beyond me anyway – it flies in the face of every significant literary figure who struggled to adequately describe feelings – the depths of despair and heights of elation can not, and should not be represented by little, round, yellow men.

In other news

Tonight seems as good a time as any to be producing my first blog from the blog on demand series. I should point out that the person who suggested this topic has since renegged. I believe they were worried that if this answer were to fall into the wrong hands it might make my position as a “media officer” difficult. The person, who for the sake of this story I’ll call Mark. Everyone say hi Mark. Asked the following question:

“One thing I’ve been interested in is the comments I’ve heard from various people (journos, and those interested in current affairs, yourself included) that Fairfax media is superior to News Ltd and PBL companies, and that 9 is superior to 7, (but only marginally as they’re both check-book inclined.) Why? Where does the ABC fit into this analysis?”

He asked a further question about the ABC’s ability to stick to its charter following the appointment of a former Fairfax figure to the recently vacated ABC managerial position.

Now at this point in this entry I’ve reached a juncture – I can either choose to answer this question seriously – or I could simply say that Fairfax and 9 are the better media outlets because I prefer them. I realise I’m not actually a reasonable yardstick for the rest of humanity so I’ll choose to attempt to deal with this question in a serious manner.

Let me start with print. In Australia there are basically two newspaper companies of significant stature. There’s News Limited – owned and operated by the Murdoch family and there’s Fairfax (named after the founder Mr Fairfax – I have a feeling his name was John but again, apathy prevents me confirming this). Fairfax publish the Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun Herald, The Age and the Sunday Age (they have a few other smaller publications – including the Illawarra Mercury and the Newcastle Herald). News Ltd publish just about everything else – every regional weekly free paper – every telegraph, mail and bulletin (except the magazine The Bulletin which is a PBL production – but they’re a different kettle of fish – I’ll mention cross media ownership laws in a couple of paragraphs). The difference between Fairfax papers and News Ltd papers can be explained best by looking at the reading age targetted by each publication. News Ltd papers have an average (across all their papers) reading age (the reading competency level required to comprehend the meaning of a story) of about 8 years. Fairfax papers vary – the Sydney Morning Herald is the lowest at 11, from memory the Age is 12 and the Fin Review is about 44 (you have to be a company director or something to understand it). It’s actually 16 (I think). There is a fancy test to calculate the reading age of a page – something about dividing number of syllables by number of words and multiplying by a magical common number – or counting words that are difficult to understand. I really don’t care. Newspapers maintain their reading age by keeping to different style guides which dictate what words can and can’t be used in certain situations. So that is why Fairfax is superior. There’s also a whole murky side to the News Ltd organisation in terms of commercial pressure being placed on journalists to modify editorial. If I was remotely motivated I’d watch Media Watch every week and keep a tally to compare the News Ltd breaches with those from Fairfax. News Ltd papers, and Fox have a degree of noteriety when it comes to not declaring bias in certain situations.

Which segues nicely to television – when it comes to comparing Nine and Seven you’re pretty much comparing apples and apples – they’re exactly the same. Everyone likes to pretend they’re not. But they are in direct competition for the same demographic so can’t vary the theme too much. I prefer Nine because I’ve done some bits and pieces with them and they have the broadcast rights to all my favourite sports. The suffer from having karaoke news readers like Wally Lewis doing the sport. Some people prefer Seven and that’s fine. It’s been interesting watching the balance of power in the news world shift towards Seven – news is vital to a network’s ratings success – it’s a springboard into the evening’s programming and Australians are too lazy to change the channel. Channel 10 are a very different news organisation. I had the opportunity to look at a comprehensive breakdown of ratings across age demographics. The 16-39 is a key advertising demographic – lots of people with high disposable incomes are an attractive target to certain advertisers. Ten had about 15 of the top 20 shows in that demographic in the last week. Their news is skewed to that audience. It’s full of painful cliches, (non)witty banter between hosts. Stuff that makes serious news types cringe. In answer to Mark’s question on the news front – Nine were only superior because their ratings were better. They do have some classy journalists working for them (and 60 Minutes is a big winner on that front) but for every Peter Harvey there’s a Ray Martin. Nine have suffered because they haven’t coped well with Seven’s revival – they’re making too many changes to compete – when they could be using this as an opportunity to create some distinctions (kind of like the Federal Labor Party) and this only breeds failure. Imitation are doomed to come in second best.

PBL and News Ltd are interesting companies because they have outlets in different media types. Under Australia’s cross media ownership laws a media company could not have operational control of more than one outlet in a geographical area. So you couldn’t own the local TV station and a local radio station. In theory this ensures accountability in the media. PBL (Packer Broadcasting Limited… actually it’s Publishing and Broadcasting Limited) owns Channel 9 which is a national metropolitan service (They don’t actually own WIN which shares its programming schedule). They also own a fair chunk of the Australian magazine market. News Ltd owns all their papers and the Fox network (including news). They’re able to get around the regulations due to various loopholes and the interpretation of some key terms.

The ABC again a different matter altogether. Because it relies on tax payer dollars rather than advertising revenue the ABC experiences different pressures. It’s governmentally controlled (rather than regulated) and the pressures it opperates under are political rather than commercial. Fairfax and the ABC are more natural bedfellows than News Ltd and the ABC would be – I have no real concerns about the transition between the two companies. David Marr, the last watchable Media Watch host was a Fairfax employee – he wasn’t editorially constrained when it came to criticising his own paper – but I imagine he took a degree of pleasure from slamming the competition. But don’t we all.

I have a feeling this post won’t have interested anyone but Mark.

Fitting attire for when the rubber hits the road

Well I found out what was making my car shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture… I promise never to intentionally put the words to a Black Eyed Peas song in my blog ever again.

Anyway, getting back on track, let’s get this story started in here… oops I did it again. Oh no. Now I’ve quoted Black Eyed Peas twice and Britney once. I’m not sure I can go any lower. Although I haven’t yet stooped to mentioning nudie runs. Although I guess now I have. Bugger.

And to think I took two minutes coming up with those Black Eyed Peas jokes. That’s time I’ll never ever get back. But again, I digress. Tonight was a significant milestone in my development as a man. Actually there were two milestones today. And a kilometre sign. Let’s drag this blog into the metric era. Firstly, in a moment of post State of Origin apathy I realised that my desire to rub in such a crushing one-point victory just wasn’t there. I realised in that instant that at some point in the last few months or years I’d discovered that there was more to life than sport. Once again I blame girls for this – everything that goes wrong in my (or anyone else’s) life is directly attributable to members of the opposite sex.

The second kilometre sign moment came tonight when I discovered what was wrong with my car. I was travelling down a road (not the road less travelled, or the road to nowhere, or one of the roads that a man must walk down before you can call him a man… actually maybe it was one of those – that’s the whole point) at a reasonable pace (and by reasonable I mean the speed limit) when my car made a funny clunk sound and started bouncing rather than shaking. “Ahh,” I thought to myself, “I’ve just blown a tyre/tire/tier/rubber wheel thing/the round thing on the bottom of my car. So I pulled over and examined the damage. I’m quite impressed. It was pretty blown. I managed to pull over in the vicinity of a streetlight but just to be sure I responsibly put my hazard lights on. Unfortunately the crevice thing that my spare tyre sits in is under a plank of wood. The plank of wood obscures the light in the boot when it is raised so it took me a while to unscrew the spare tyre and find all the pieces of the jack, but once I got there it was fine.

At this point I called Dad – just to make sure that I wasn’t going to break/brake my car by doing anything stupid. It turns out my theories were correct. Changing a tyre is as easy as umm, doing something similar. I was back on the road in no time and suitably covered in a combination of grease, dirt and some other unidentified pollutant.

I should point out that in my moment of distress – when I thought “ohh crap I’m doing 80 and my tyre just blew” (editors note: I probably actually said something slightly different out loud but the meaning is essentially the same, and this is slightly more appropriate) I was actually following directly behind one of the lovely girls from church – who it turns out saw me pull over and just kept driving. What a shame – I missed out on such a great opportunity to literally flex my manliness muscles – it’s probably not a bad thing that she kept going. She tells me she’s an expert tyre changer and has managed to complete the process in under 15 minutes. I think I managed in a respectable 25ish – a good portion of that was spent ferreting around in the boot of my car.

So now I’ve changed a tyre. I’m all manly and stuff. Now when I sing in the car (in my extra deep voice) i don’t do that funny wavering sound that you make when you’re going over a cattle grid in a car and you go “ERR-RR-RRR-RR”…you get the point. If you don’t maybe you should find a cattle grid and try it. It’s kind of like that Red Indian (Native American) warcry you make when you bounce your hand up and down on your mouth while going “OOO-WAA-WAA-WAA”… or maybe that’s just me.

Introducing Blogging by demand…

I received an email from MIP that piqued my interest today. He suggested a particular topic that he would like to see me address within the confines of my blog. I won’t comment on the content at this stage. But it gave me an interesting idea.

I’m now taking requests for topics or issues to turn my attention to. Please feel free to leave suggestions on the comments pages of my blog as I check them regularly. It’ll be like cash for comment only I’m not being paid.


Re: RE

Mmm, minimalism is the new black. I was tossing up using the word antidisestablishmentarianism in today’s heading – and it would have been in context too.

I noticed Dan posted some stuff on the RE debate the other day. Matt spends his time posting on Sweden’s dominance of the Ice Hockey world and his lack of success with getting attractive girls to talk to (or marry) him. What’s wrong with all the attractive girls out there?

There’s been a lot of stuff in the newspapers lately talking about a proposal to open up Religious Education in schools to any group who wish to be involved. The move is being driven by a group of secular humanists with heavily chipped shoulders. First of all, before I rant about why it’s such a stupid argument to be having, I’d like to ask the humanists why they don’t care about the opinions and emotional security of all the Christians they attack with their tolerant and open stance? Then I’d like to ask them what hurt they’ve experienced at the hands of genuine Christians. If you’re smart enough to kick up a stink like they are – you’re smart enough to do some research into the teachings of Christianity – any problems they have are more likely to be with the religious institution than with Christianity itself. They took another step in their battle to strike Christianity with the recent moves to remove Gideons bibles from hospitals because they might carry diseases or something. I think that pretty much sums up their position – they believe Christianity is a disease of the mind.

Now. My rant about why Christian education should be taught in schools begins here. Constitutionally Australia has no official religion (I think it’s article 16, but I’m pulling that out of nowhere so chances are I’m actually wrong – I could look it up but I can’t be bothered). The Westminster political system is built on the philosophy of the separation of powers (the people who make laws shouldn’t be the ones to enforce them because this would invariably lead to corruption). So our government is divided into the legislative, the judicial and the executive arms (the parliament, the court, the Queen (Governer General)). Because the under riding theory is that power ultimately corrupts the more separations we can create the better – so we have the upper and lower houses and federal, state, and local governments. Historically the church played a major, some would say overbearing, role in politics. This caused problems where one church group would try to kill another church group (like the Crusades or inquisitions or the protestant reformation or the current feud between the Bappos and Pressies). Political movers and shakers decided the church should be stripped of its influential position within the decision making process. In a democracy this makes sense – one interest group or belief system can’t philosophically force their will on another (unless they’re the majority). I’m all for the separation of powers and I’m all for the separation of church and state. What I’m not for is the rewriting of Australia’s history on a postmodern whim. If their argument was simply that public schools shouldn’t be using public funding to turn children into Christians that might have some merit. But it’s not. It’s stupid. Christianity, regardless of its veracity, plays a huge role in shaping our culture. It deserves a place in the educational spectrum (or curriculum) on that basis alone. One of the first things you’re taught when you study law – and I know this because I listened in first year – is that our legal system is based on a Judea-Christian model. Both our major political parties have historical ties to the church. Christian men and women played a huge part in bringing our society to the point its at today and these secular humanists want to spit on that legacy. The only reason they can legitimately take the stance they are today is because of the system they operate in – because it was created by Christians. Try going to a system based on Sharia law and see how far your secular humanism gets you. Some people are stupid.

Laying the smack down…

To all the grammar Nazis out there who feel compelled to comment on my posts… it’s time for me to get all Churchillian on you grammatically sensitive supremacists. Read a newspaper… watch the news on TV – journalism isn’t about grammar. The rules don’t apply. I can use whatever phraseology tickles my fancy. It’s my prerogative to do so. Basically this is my blog and I can write what I want to. But I guess some would argue that it’s better to be a grammar Nazi than a grammar Fascist.

In other cases rules clearly should be treated as rules. Today I’m going to talk about sport. I like sport. I like State of Origin. I like watching international matches. I like the world cup. I love the passion involved in sport. I love it when players show loyalty to their country, state, or club. Loyalty in sport is dying. I’m not going to complain about the professionalisation of sport. I believe sports stars should be paid – sport involves large sums of money – through advertising revenue (and television rights to access said revenue), gate receipts, merchandise etc… it’s only fair that players receive a share of the spoils. I understand when players want to leave a club to further their playing career. What I can not tolerate is this growing trend for players to farm their representative allegiences out to wherever tickles their fancy. It’s probably too late for me to comment on the Karmichael Hunt situation – or in fact the fact that New Zealand had 5 Australian born players playing in their team. But the Greg Inglis situation is still newsworthy and current and stuff. Greg Inglis is from New South Wales. He’s played junior football in New South Wales. He grew up in Macksville or somewhere like that in the Kempsey region. You can read the story here. Shifting allegience to increase your selection chances isn’t anything new. Football (soccer for the culturally bankrupt) players have been toying around with duel citizenship for years. League players have been representing the country of their ancestors (read grandparents) at the Rugby League world cup for as long as it’s been running. Ben Johnson played cricket for Canada in the last Cricket World Cup even though he’s as Australian as the next South Australian. Tim Cahill, the man who I believe carries Australia’s world cup hopes on his shoulders, has played for Western Samoa’s national team – admittedly before he was old enough to know better. This craziness has to stop. I offer no solutions other than reverting to common sense and letting it dictate who plays for where… maybe the country or state you’re born in should have something to do with it.

In other sports news… In a somewhat fiery encounter (I got headbutted in the nose… I had to put that in because my nose still hurts and I think it makes me sound tough, although now I’ve said it hurts I guess that’s not so tough), our indoor team delivered a crushing 13-1 defeat to our opponents in the first round of the new season. With all the pushing, shoving, and swearing, it was like I was back playing Baptist League.

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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).

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 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.



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. 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).


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.


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…