Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Damn damn... double damn!

I thought that the Mars Volta concert was tonight. After work I met up with a guy from the Socialist Alternative (don’t worry, I’m not a Socialist! I just wanted to see what he had to say), and then I grabbed a tram, heading down from the city towards St Kilda beach. Upon my arrival at the Palace I jumped in the queue for ticket collection, and this was when my first doubts began. Where I would normally expect a Mars Volta crowd to largely be adorned in black I was seeing quite a bit of color. Jazzy mod haircuts assailed me. My friend was 45 minutes late.

I called him.

I’d stuffed up.

I was in the line for Franz Ferdinand.

Mars Volta will be playing on Thursday night.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Terribly terribly tired of the abortion debate (part 2)

When Alito is confirmed over in the US, resulting in the overturning of Roe Vs Wade (the case precedent integral to allowing women access to safe and private choice), abortion won’t end. Rather you’ll see more incidence of this:

“Most commonly, they ingest a whole bottle of quinine pills, with castor oil…we try to get them to the ER before their cardiac rhythm is interrupted…Sometimes they douche with very caustic products like bleach. We had a patient, a teen, who burned herself so badly with bleach that we couldn’t even examine her, her vaginal tissue was so painful….”

“Our local hospital tells me they see 12-20 patients per year, who have already self-induced or had illegal abortions. Some make it, some don’t. They are underage or poor women mostly, and a few daughters of pro-life families…”

And, we all need to realize that at the heart of this debate is not a bunch of halo-sporting moral purists, but rather a radical group that fears sexual freedom in women. Just look at Ann Coulter’s vomit worthy take on the topic:

“According to Dianne Feinstein, Roe vs. Wade is critically important because "women all over America have come to depend on it." At its most majestic, this precious right that women "have come to depend on" is the right to have sex with men they don't want to have children with.”

Believe me, the US today – Australia, Canada and the UK tomorrow; we’re all in this fight together.

[Quotes from the article Reproductive Regression, by Carole Joffe, obtained via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon]

Liberal joke

Question: How do you prevent some children overboard from drowning?

Answer: A few bags full of Australian Wheat Board money should help them float quite nicely.

Jackass of the day

Tim Blair.

It is okay to viciously attack your political opponents; it is okay (in my opinion) to cast all manner of vitriol in their direction; but when you engage in a deliberate attempt to damage their career via the internets then you’re nothing but a coward and a loser.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bu - Bu - Bu - Buffy!

I had one of those nights the other night. You know? The kind of night where you wake up tossing and turning, sweating, trying not to think about pressing concerns, thinking about pressing concerns; thoughts racing, pulsing, moving in circular motion and always, always returning to the same spot. I’m sure you’ve been there. Anyway, I was having one of those nights – I think my circadian rhythms were all mucked up by my debauched activities on the weekend – and, in my hour of need, I turned to a long forgotten friend – late night television.

I used to love late night television; I could find within its comforting confines all my old television favorites: 21 Jump Street, Booker, The Wonder Years; old, obscure black & white movies; and other visions of randomness that you can only really find at the zombie hours. If you are prone to insomnia on weeknights you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Over the last couple of years late night television’s star has faded. It has become populated by soul-numbing infomercials and soul-stealing Christian television madness. I mourn the death of late night television.

In fact, given the Paris Hilton inspired, reality TV brewed and MTV percolated anti-cultural gruel being dolled out these days, I don’t watch much television – day or night – at all; just the regular news and occasional documentary for me.

So I wasn’t expecting much when I lit up the boob tube at 3am the other night.

Enter Buffy!

Buffy was probably the last great series that I followed with some diligence. Maybe that is why I feel a sense of nostalgia when thinking about it; maybe it’s the fact that I watched a great many episodes of it with someone that I care about a great deal; maybe it was the sexy gothic-ness of it all; maybe, even, it was the fact that I found a rare character that I identify with (James Masterson)… Who knows? But, what I do know is - I love me some Buffy.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Girls are utterly beyond my ability to comprehend.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Political dynasticism

An interesting discussion to be had at the moment is the potential ramifications of a Clinton campaign for the 2008 presidency. I’m by no means a US political expert, but I do pay a fair bit of attention to what goes on over there, and for a whole host of reasons I think it’d be a bad idea if she ran.

However one thing that isn’t discussed much – or at all – is how a successful campaign on her behalf would lead towards a theme of political dynasticism in American politics. Just look at it, you had Bush Senior, then Bill Clinton; you had Bush Junior; then (possibly) Hillary Clinton; after that you could possibly see Jeb Bush having a crack at the title.

I don’t know about you but if that kind of thing was going on in my country, Australia, I think it’d be quite a disturbing development. We’re talking ruling houses. We’re talking Medici, Visconti; Shakespearean Montagues and Capulets.

Josh Marshall, of Talking Points Memo fame, discusses the point further:

“I think I've seen some relatively systematic data showing a growth in the number of members of congress who are political legacies. Again, not unprecedented by any means, but a tendency that is growing and one I don't think is healthy in the aggregate.

George H. W. Bush left office to be followed by two terms of Bill Clinton. He in turn was followed by two terms of Bush's son. If those two terms of the son are followed by the election of Clinton's wife, I don't see where that's a good thing for this country. It ceases to be a fluke and grows into a pattern. It's dynasticism.”


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blogger for word

I just downloaded the blogger for word application, which allows a blogger to post straight to their blog from a word document. I think this may allow me to overcome the shitty blogger problems that I encounter when posting from work. It’s a pity I didn’t do this about a year ago!

This is a test.


Will Stephen Harper's conservatives prove to be the Trojan Horse that allows the US to finally annex Canada?

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dearest blogspot

Why, oh why do you hurt me so?

Why won't you let me get rid of that gap between the photos?

Why, why, why???

Pictures from holiday morning

Every year after Santa has come down the chimney and done his evil work, I have an open house for breakfast. Friends and family abound; and copious amounts of fruit, croissants and alcohol are consumed. It is a great way to start a day otherwise dominated by boring family commitments.

Here are some photos from the holiday just past:

Some friends, ma and pa Quixote and a disheveled Don

Some random child assaulting my beloved pooch

Monday, January 23, 2006

This hellish day

I woke up early Saturday morning. It’s now 11.32 PM Monday and I’ve been awake ever since. I feel washed up, depleted, defeated. Hopefully posting, and life, will resume as normal tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Senator Hill resignation

Howard begins to shuffle his dodgy deck of cards:

“DEFENCE Minister Robert Hill is expected to announce his resignation from politics within days, possibly tomorrow.

His resignation, just six months short of his 25th anniversary in the Senate, will end months of speculation about his future.

It also will clear the way for Prime Minister John Howard's Cabinet reshuffle. "

Perhaps Hill will eventually land himself a nice defence contract. Maybe he’ll get himself a position working with the Australian arm of Halliburton. Who knows what devilish deeds of nepotism lay in store?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Some MLK links

If you haven’t read King’s 'I have a dream' speech here’s one of my favourite parts:

"In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges."

Now if that doesn't send chills down your spine then I'd suggest you converse with a certain tin man from the Wizard of oz.

The full speech is here.

The perils of doing the right thing (part 1)

Someone is definitely going to get run over hopping off a tram at the stop where domain road meets StKilda road. I'm not talking about Domain interchancge, but the the stop before it. Every day when the tram stops there about 3 cars whiz by at speed, without realizing that the tram's passengers have had to stop themselves from stepping out in front of them.

A couple of times cars have skidded to a halt to avoid hitting a commuter.

Lately I've been tempted to throw my backpack out in front of a car to really hit home the point that someone's going to get mowed down. But to do so would probably cause an accident.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No smile but departs with style

Yesterday the WA premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, resigned from his position as state leader in the west. I'll plead right now a rather comprehensive ignorance of the politics of Western Australia, so I can't write a decent obituary for Dr Gallop's career, but one thing I do know is that he departed with a grace and honesty very rare in politicians these days.

Dr Gallop, in explaining the reasons for his departure from politics, announced that he was suffering from severe depression which would hinder his ability to lead the state.

Speaking of his depression Dr Gallop stated, "It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so that I sought expert help last week. My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I can't be certain how long that will take. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career."

Now, as someone who has suffered from depression I can tell you that that was a pretty ballsy confession to make in front of the media wolves and the public at large. Without knowing much about Dr Gallop's political history I'd have to say that WA is losing a pretty good man. With a string of attempted suicides by politicians suffering depression over the last couple of years, let's hope that Dr Gallop's courage will remove at least some of the stigma attached to depressive illness, and the resultant reluctance to tackle the problem in an open and honest format.

[Update: West Australian environment minister Judy Edwards resigns as well. Hmm, I wonder if there is more than meets the eye going on over in the west.]

Los Angeles

I remember being in my hotel room, stomach buzzing, tremulant with excitement. I remember putting a quarter into a machine to buy a cherry cola. I couldn't wait to see what my surroundings were like. I remember stepping out of the hotel and onto the sidewalk. I remember desolation, complete and utter desolation.

I couldn't see a tree, a patch of fertile soil or even a solitary member of the avian species. All I could see was the dull continuum of car parks, roads and buildings; united they all were, united by one thing - lifelessness.

I felt very much like returning home again.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I wonder what it is, where it's found and how it's done.

I seem to have forgotten.


Well, the deluge abated, the seas parted and I was able to watch Garden State in relative comfort. It got a little cold towards the end of the film, but these are the trials of outdoor cinema.

I haven’t been able to post much this week because my Internet connection is on the fritz, and for some strange reason blogger only accepts small posts from my work connection.

I received my enrolment package in the mail last night, which caused a sudden wave of realization to wash over me. This shit is really happening. In 38 days I’ll no longer be a corporate whore, my time in the future being occupied with a study of the law and history.

I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation about the whole thing; on the one hand I’m going to be opening my mind up to a world of new ideas and possibilities; on the other hand I’m leaving a place where I’ve worked for the last six years. This is all I’ve really known in my adult life. In a sense, just like an ex-convict, I’m institutionalized.

I’m also beset by the gnawing doubt that I don’t possess the intellectual acumen to succeed at university. What if I fail? What if I’m exposed? What if…? I guess sooner or later you have to step in amongst all those what-ifs and find out if you have the minerals.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

When Garden State becomes Water World

So, we’ve had some very hot weather over the last couple of weeks. The heat was almost apocalyptic on New Year’s Eve. The risk of bushfires looms imminent. But wouldn’t you know it? I’d organized a catch-up with one of my best friends, Pip, to watch Garden State tonight, which was to take place at the Moonlight cinemas, and, in a sour turn of fortune so common that I’m soon going to dub it ‘Quixotic Luck’ it’s raining.

I swear I saw a boat float past my window this morning, borne upon the heady tide of this day’s deluge. Perched upon its wooden chassis was a great, grey-bearded man who was summoning unto himself two of every animal.

But it may simply have been sleep’s dust messing with my visual acuity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bored at work?

Your Birth Month is November

Tolerant and inspirational, you are wise beyond your years.
You are universally sympathetic and a great humanitarian.

Your soul reflects: Compassion, friendship, and secret love

Your gemstone: Citrine

Your flower: Chrysanthemum

Your colors: Dark blue, red, and yellow

A little bit of midday mindless gap filler. Inspirational? Wise?

Secret love? Yep, for me love is so secret that not even I can find it!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Despite all the ammunition that Labor's had over the last 2 years it seems - at least according to the betting markets - that the Libs are currently on track to win the 2007 election:

  • For a Coalition win Centrebet would pay $1.65 and for a Labor win it would pay $2.10 (unchanged from the previous report). The implied probability of a Coalition win at the next election is 56 per cent.
  • For a Coalition win IASBet would pay $1.75 and for a Labor win it would pay $2.05 (unchanged). The implied probability of a Coalition win at the next election is 53.9 per cent.
  • SportingBet is paying $1.72 for a Coalition win and $2.05 for a Labor win (was $1.72 and $2.00). The implied probability of a Coalition win at the next election is 54.4 per cent.
  • SportsBet is paying $1.70 for a Coalition win and $2.05 for a Labor win (was $1.85 each way). The implied probability of a Coalition win at the next election is 54.7 per cent.

Now a year in politics is a long time, and with the Libs possessing all the human decency of 13th century Mongolian raiders I'm sure that the tide can turn, however I think we are encumbered by Beazley's lackluster opposition. There's that word - OPPOSITION. To oppose does not mean to slightly modify the policies of your rivals and present those as your platform, no, to oppose means to fucking show some balls and speak out when things start to stink. It means speaking out on Iraq. It means speaking out against attacks on our personal freedom. It means standing up for the right of personal choice. Failing to provide a strong, clear alternative to your opponents will often result in a swift rebuke at the ballot box; remind me again how many houses of parliament we currently control?

Don't get me wrong - Beazley isn't as bad as the feckless piece of political flotsam that is Victoria's worst politician ever, Robert Doyle, it is just that he doesn't grab me as being the best thing the left can offer up in terms of leadership. Compare a protest speech of ACTU secretary Greg Combet with anything Beazley can produce and you'll see what I mean.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Friday night grog-blog

Last night I attended my first gathering of like minded grog drinking bloggers. It was a very interesting and entertaining evening. It was a little weird putting faces to the names - anonymous lefty looked substantially different from what I’d pictured - but it was nice to know there really are other people out there that share this strange little passion.

For photos of the night with disconcerting black squares where our heads once dwelled click here.

In other news -

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Terribly terribly tired of the abortion debate

Imagine for a second that, sick and tired of pumping out babies for the last 15 years, you decide to do some delicate testicular alterations and you get a vasectomy (girls will have to exercise their imagination and picture themselves with balls for the sake of this argument). Now, imagine upon taking your prized possessions to the doctor, with all the sensitivity that such an act would present, being hassled at the clinic’s door by strangers - being called a slut, a murderer and a demon. It wouldn’t be very pleasant would it? You’d probably be inclined to think, ‘they’re my balls, and I’ll make decisions about them as I see fit.’ Imagine, further, that female politicians, religious leaders and other seedy talking-head characters came forth to make proclamations on what is best for men and their balls. They’d say “male vasectomies aren’t good for men. God hates men that get vasectomies. The high rate of vasectomies is the reason for the corrosion of the family.’ And, finally, they’d probably lobby government to make vasectomies illegal. If such a world were to exist what would my reaction, and I imagine the reaction of most men, be? Anger, I imagine. Burning anger mixed with flaming indignation. ‘How can a woman make a decision about my reproductive organs without possessing those same organs?’ would be the cry.

That is why I’m tired of this debate that isn’t really a debate. It isn’t a debate because a great deal of those involved aren’t in any position to be arguing it. Men, for example men like Tony Abbott, should not be making, shaping or commenting on policy surrounding abortion. They simply don’t have the qualifications, namely the possession of a uterus. That would eliminate 50% of the people that could participate in this debate that isn’t a debate. And, on the same point you may like to contradict me, you may like to say, ‘but, DQ, you’re a man, why are you weighing in on this debate that isn’t a debate?’ Which raises some serious soul-searching in this blogger and leads him to posit the following caveat - an argument in favor of choice is not an argument in favor of abortion. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion lobbyist. There is no group of evil, hairy-necked sub-humans simply getting pregnant in order to kill unborn babies. Abortion is a tough choice that must be made by an individual. It is an act that can be right or wrong for different people at different times and for different reasons. Simply supporting an individuals right to self determination is not a position on an individual’s actions (therefore not really weighing into the debate that isn‘t a debate), however telling women they are unfit to make that decision is a terrible judgement.

And, look, if you really still think you’re in the midst of a real debate, let’s examine the actions of the anti-choice crowd on the supposed side of good in all this . For years now the freaky Christian fundamentalists have been bombing abortion clinics and stalking the doctors and nurses that work in them. In 1994 alone there were 12 attempted murders (some, I’m not sure how many, were successful) of abortion industry workers. It seems a bizarre turn of logic to me that someone would kill in the name of ‘the right to life’. It would seem almost so hypocritical as to render the ‘debate’ a farce. But the stupidity doesn’t end there. Oftentimes - in fact, let’s face it, nearly invariably - the same people that support the right to life agenda are also the same people that support wars like the one in Iraq. It must take an act of mental chicanery and self deception so monumental to satisfy one’s self that those two things go hand in hand that I can only suspect mental imbalance plays a strong role in it all.

So, knowing as you know now how much this non-debate debate wearies me, it was with much eye rolling and lengthy sighing that, upon tuning into the 7.30 Report last night, I heard about the results of a New Zealand study that has revealed women who go through the abortive procedure are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression such as anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse or even attempted suicide. My first thoughts on this research? If women who are seeking abortion are devil humping sluts why do anti-choicers care so much about their mental health? I know the study was carried out by a pro-choice scientist, but anti-choicers will now tout this as another reason for abortion to be banned. But they are being disingenuous - anybody with half a brain knows that abortion is not an easy thing and that it may cause mental trauma as a result. But just because something presents a tough choice doesn’t mean that one should have such a choice removed from their grasp. Also, statistics from the world of the post-childbirth mother aren’t exactly likely to send the manufacturers of Zoloft into panic over reduced sales:

"The incidence of depression in women postpartum is similar to depression in women generally. However, the incidence of depression in the first month after childbirth is three times the average monthly incidence in non-childbearing women. Studies across different cultures have shown consistent incidence of postnatal depression (10 to 15 percent), with higher rates in teenage mothers. A meta-analysis of studies, mainly based in developed countries, found the incidence of postnatal depression to be 12 to 13 percent.”

I’m also kind of thinking that if the results of this test are leapt on by anti-choicers (what am I talking about, they’ve already been leapt on), that they'll be forwarding a contradictory argument. If indeed those that seek abortions are mindless, conscienceless harlots why are they suffering sadness and pain as a result of their actions? It is possible in life to make a correct decision whilst feeling strong pain and regret - divorce, the end of a relationship, the decision to turn off a loved one’s life support machine - but it seems impossible to me to believe that a baby killing banshee would feel a sense of loss.

Now it’s 12.27 am and time as well as the abortion non-debate are making my eyes grow heavy. But as I drift off to sleep tonight, and just before I have nightmares of John Howard being appointed dictator for life, I’ll wish a silent wish to myself: If the 50% of people - those being men - that have no place in this debate opted out, and the other 50% - those being women - realized that a support of choice in general does not mean that they can’t opt to carry a pregnancy to term - ergo the term 'choice' - then we’d be reduced to a figure of 1%. 1% represents a unique figure; 1% represents an individual and, ultimately, when an individual is involved there really is no debate; there is simply soul-searching and choice.

[Hat tip to Suki for the postnatal statistics]

Monday, January 02, 2006

Seven wonders

So I've been tagged for a meme by the esteemed Mr Bartlett over at The daily aneurysm, and although some of the questions are the same as asked in a previous meme there are some slightly different ones as well. I've just copy and pasted the old answers into this one:

Seven Wonders

Seven things to do before I die:

1) Stand atop the misty peak of Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu)
2) Write a book 3) Find peace
4) 'Walk like an Egyptian' amidst the pyramids (walking like an Egyptian is very important)
5) Become fluent in a language other than English
6) Unlock the mystery of the universe
7) Visit Russia - lecture Lenin's corpse on the failings of his doctrine

Seven things I cannot do:

1) I can't say goodbye to girls that I love
2) I've never been able to stick to instructions when constructing something
3) Talking with other guys about cars is something I'll never be able to do
4) I have a bad back and, consequently, I can't touch my toes
5) I can't speak another language (yet!)
6) I can't play the banjo with my teeth (nor with my hands for that matter).
7) I can't accept phony, trumped up wars on terror.

Seven things that attract me to blogging:

1) Capturing my personal history
2) Typing instead of handwriting (if you saw mine you'd understand).
3) Wow, this is a hard one
4) That last one wasn't really a point
5) I'm nearly at 7
6) Almost...
7) Done?

Seven things I say most often:

1) I have a theory...
2) That is CRAZY!!!
3) Are you serious?
4) Does maniacal laughter count as something a person 'says'? Possibly not, but I laugh maniacally quite a bit...
5) Here comes an avalanche of bullshit...
6) Wowzers! (I haven't been able to stop saying that since I first watched Inspector gadget when I was 12 years old)
7) Hell's bells!

Seven books that I love:

1) The 1st Circle -A Solzhenitsyn
2) August 1914 & November 1916 - A Solzhenitsyn
3) The Trial - F Kafka
4) Don Quixote! - Cervantes
5) How To Be Alone - Jonathan Franzen
6) The collected works of Oscar Wilde - Guess who?
7) Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Seven movies that I watch over and over again:

1) Lost in translation
2) Three colors: red, white and blue
3) Citizen Kane
4) 1984
5) Mulholland drive
6) A clockwork orange
7) Paris Texas

Seven songs I play over and over:

1) Multiple spouse wounds - The Mars Volta
2) Packed like sardines in a crushed tin box - Radiohead
3) Can't make a sound - Elliott Smith
4) The crystal ship - The Doors
5) The werewolf - Cat power
6) The cedar room - the doves
7) The man who sold the world - David Bowie or Nirvana

Seven people I want to join in on this meme, whatever parts are applicable, either in the comments here or on their own blogs:

I'm not entirely sure that seven people read this blog, but if you'd like to do it then I'd definitely be interested in your answers.