Tag Archives: Mattias

Blog By Email version 1

This is the coolest invention ever. Cooler than sliced bread. Cooler than any of those other time saving devices dreamed up (somewhat ironically) by people with too much time on their hands. I can write an email from anywhere to my blog and it gets posted. Mattias asked why I thought that was cool. Well Mattias, let me tell you why it’s so cool. It makes writing a blog entry heaps easier. I can do it in about half the time. You’ll notice my reason here has changed since this was originally posted.

It’s 5.30 now, and I’m still at work. This is actually a test email because I’m not sure my emails are working. I guess there are other things I could be doing at 5.30 in the afternoon, because there are always new bits and pieces to write about Townsville. It’s a happening place.

In fact you should all move to Townsville. Every one of my readers (that’s right, all two of you). (I think that kind of feels a bit like I’ve done some work now).

I don’t really have a lot to blog about today… except the fact that I’m happily declaring myself a hypocrite. I knew all those years of bagging out couples for being couples would come back to haunt me.

A few weeks ago I mentioned a defamation case involving a NSW politician Michael Costa. He’s suing a radio station for airing a claim that he paid a visit to a lady of the night. That case got a mention in the papers yesterday – but a new and different case piqued my interest. TV host Ian Turpie, the luminary host of such classics as The Price is Right. Apparently Machiavelli was right, every man has his price*… for Turpie it took a few dollars to claim that he was suffering impotency – he was taken to court for faking it. My question is – does he now launch a defamation action to defend his impotency? Sounds like he’s between a rock and a hard place… or not. Sorry. That was bad. In fact this whole post was fairly gratuitous. I’m just enjoying my new toy (actually it’s not really a toy – more a convenient shift in technology).

*as quoted in A Man For All Seasons

Nicknames – nominal determinism in reverse

There’s a theory that’s been doing the rounds for many years that your name will determine the path your life takes. Thinking about it, this theory has possibly been around since Christ, or even earlier in Genesis, where names are given based on particular characteristics of the person they’re given to – eg Esau, which means Red… funny that these days in Australia’s ironic culture Esau would probably have been called Bluey. There are examples of nominal determinism out there in the real world – in the microcosim of Maclean there were several examples of this determinism in practice, or even in practise. The funeral directors were named Baker, and Dugmore. The electrician was named Watts. It’s not just confined to small country towns where people don’t necessarily think all that hard about their career paths. The head of Steggles Chickens was someone Poulter. A casino chief’s last name was Gamble. It’s been documented in lots of places I couldn’t find in preliminary efforts on the net.

I just saw an ad on TV for “Everybody loves Raymond.” I don’t love Raymond. I never have. He has a whiny, nasally voice that makes me want to do aggressive things and generally be a not very nice person. This goes to show that nominal determinism does not work in naming television shows.

Anyway, someone suggested I should do a “blog by request” on nicknames. I should note at this point that someone has suggested Mattias should start a similar column/regular entry on his blog doing pretty much the same thing. I’m all for competition. Everyone needs more choices for things to do on the internet. There’s really not that much out there once you’ve checked out all the good news sites (or the good, news sites [or the good new’s sites] – what do you reckon grammar nazi? have I got this right?) . Other than a quick dalliance at Homestarrunner or any of the other recommended internet comedy sites there’s just a truckload of unverified tripe, pages of useless wikis and copious amounts of unwholesome “fun” (I use the word fun very loosely).

But on to the topic at hand. Nicknames. According to answers.com nicknames have nothing to do with anyone named Nick.
“Etymology: In Middle English the word was ekename (from the verb to eke, “enlarge”; compare Swedish öknamn). Later, an ekename developed into a nickname when the “n” shifted through junctural metanalysis.”

So there you go. I would argue that nicknames are the procrastinators form of nominal determinism. I do wonder if they also play some part in some form of character development. I would contend that if you’re nickname was “Encyclopedia” you’d be a pretty boring person. The reasoning behind that suspicion is that if your friends are stupid enough to call you “Encyclopedia,” without any irony attached, your friends are likely to be quite boring – and if you were any more interesting you wouldn’t be hanging around with them. With any nickname there’s the danger it’s a chicken v egg question. Were you given the nickname because you’re boring, or are you boring because of your nickname.

And now, let me turn to my own “nickname” and examine whether it has played some role in determining my character or personality. I think nicknames are an important part of life in Queensland – probably more so in southern Queensland. But there are people like Scooter, Beebs, et al up here who would suggest that it’s a cancer that’s spread far, and wide. The week I moved to Brisbane I landed myself a new nickname… and consequentally a new personality. Once upon a time I was a shy, reserved lad who wouldn’t go out of my way to get noticed and most certainly wouldn’t ever think to, let alone dare to, refer to myself in the third person (ok so that was only once, and it was ironic). I arrived at a new school and a new church, and suddenly “Nathan” wasn’t good enough. No. I had to be given a new name, like some missionary moving to a tribe in a remote village. Queenslanders lack the irony, or subtlty of their southern counterparts. There’s no blueys around these parts. It surprises me that there aren’t more bignoses, or fatheads… because in a masterstroke of brilliance I was named after a facial expression… and so Smiley was born. I’ve always been slightly ambivalent to the name Smiley. There are worse nicknames. I’m thankful I wasn’t called “ugly” (although obviously that would have been ironic) or something like that (I originally used a much ruder word but Caitie vetoed it). My family (and particularly my father) have never really liked, or understood, the name. Apparently I’m not always happy afterall. Dad’s main concern is that people won’t take someone named Smiley seriously… and he’s probably got a point. But again – it’s a chicken v egg thing – would I be taken more seriously if I acted more serious? Probably. Would I have been called Smiley if I’d acted more seriously? Probably not. Was I a much more serious person before I got the name? I don’t remember but it’s unlikely. So now when people find it hard to take me seriously – I know who to blame.

Mark also wanted me to talk about people who give themselves nicknames. I think doing that is about on par with talking about yourself in the third person. Pretty sad. Unless absolutely necessary. There’s a funny story about a particularly hard working lawyer I worked with once… in a firm that will remain nameless to protect the guilty… who was not necessarily the most socially able lawyer in the world. He worked long hours and often had conversations with the cleaner… who it turned out took great pleasure passing on information to other members of staff. This lawyer had decided he needed a nickname and decided that henceforth he’d be known as “The Train.” So my rule for giving yourself a nickname is: make sure it’s not lame. That’s the only rule. I’m pretty sure it should be either appropriate, or ironic, and not named after a prominent body part.

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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.

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.