Sunday, April 30, 2006

"And history bears the scars of our civil wars"

I've decided that to still be a supporter of the egregious Iraq civil war is not dissimilar to being an alcoholic: admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Sure, the pundits and the politicians that supported it have to continue their support, otherwise they'd be drowned under the weight of their lies and mistakes. This doesn't, however, account for the attitudes of some of the ordinary people I know, people that still cling to their faith.

The first Australian soldier died in Iraq recently. It must be terrible for his young family, as it has been for the families of the numerous American soldiers and Iraqi civilians that have died during this monstrous affair. Let's hope that, amidst government obfuscation about the cause of his death and the sending of the wrong body to his family, this country now wakes up.

There should be no other enemy in this day and age but war itself.

The ape kills the ape
Penis and bomb - the lines blur
It never ceases

Friday, April 28, 2006

The things you learn on the news

In Just a few decades eighty percent of the island chain that is the Maldives will be under water.

This is why I chuckle when I hear other news articles detailing the complaints of "hard working Australians and Americans" paying exorbitant rates at the petrol pump. You think that high petrol prices will be the worst thing to arise out of this world's insane addiction to petroleum?

Try watching your wallet float out the front door of your house - all of a sudden things will fall into perspective.

I've enjoyed driving my boss's car to uni, sure. But when I leave here I'll happily return to my car-less life, content to do my homework during the train ride to school. I'll happily walk to the station each day, listening to tunes and taking in the sights. There are so many benefits to finding alternative ways of getting around - you get exercise, save money and, you know, get a sense of what's going on in the world around you.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

See, this is what scares me..

I noticed a comments thread on a website that I visited. The title: 'Are atheists extremists?' The general argument seemed to be that it is an extreme position not to believe in a god. My perspective is that extremism grows from the behavior modification that you think needs to occur in order to satisfy your beliefs. It seems to me that another defining characteristic of extremism is the need that the range of behaviors that you think need to occur in order to satisfy your beliefs must be enforced upon others. Hence, if you think that the baby Jesus weeps every time a man kisses another man then you're an extremist. If you think that you need to bomb an abortion clinic in order to prevent the baby Jesus from crying then you're an extremist. If you think that adultery should be punished through the lopping off of the offenders head, then, yep, you're an extremist.

However, if you don't subscribe to a set of beliefs I fail to see how you're an extremist. I mean, there are political extremists - hardcore communists, fascists, etc - but I think you can lay responsibility for that extremism at the door of the particular political doctrine, not at an absence of religious belief.

I believe that people should engage in pre-marital sex if they so desire. I believe that people should avoid pre-marital sex is their particular superstition prescribes that it be so. Hell, if you want to sit around with a bunch of other people drinking the poisoned orange juice I say you do it (just make sure that it's all drunk by consenting adults). I'm pretty sure that most of my 'atheist' friends would feel the same way. So, are we extreme?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Assault on the Northern Americas 2007 (back on track)

I've done a little research, whilst jiggling (any excuse to use the word jiggle - it makes me chuckle) my plans a little bit. All things going well this is what is going to happen: During the break between November, which is the end of the school year here, and September, which is the beginning of the school year in Canada, I'm going to work my butt off and save some dollars. The dollars will help me be a little more comfortable during the study year, but given that the university waves the fees (a little something I've found out through my research) and accepts my Australian second year's payment, the burden is certainly lighter. Also, I'm able to claim study assistance from the Aussie government whilst I'm abroad - most excellent news!

My research has also revealed that only one university does the exchange program with my university in the field of arts/humanities. That university is Carleton, "Canada's Capital University", and it's located in Ottawa. A glance at my trusty atlas reveals that Ottawa isn't very far north, so I may not get to see much snow, however it isn't far from the border so a trip to New York would not be out of the question. It's going to take Much planning, Mega dollars, and Massive commitment - which will be referred to from here on in as the Three Ms - but I'm sure I can do it.

Ah, something to look forward to - salting sidewalks... high-fiving bears... towns with funny names… learning to pronounce ‘about’ in Canadaspeak as ‘aboot’... Fun times, fun times.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Politics short assignment

Addendum: Unless you have a strange interest in the tensions inherent within Australia's liberal democracy you probably won't enjoy reading this. Damn! Writing it at the last minute after a busy weekend means that I stuffed it up pretty badly as well. Fingers crossed that I pass...

According to Andrew Parkin (p.13), liberal democratic politics entails managing the tension between liberal and democratic values: ‘Structuring many political disputes and arguments…is the much deeper phenomenon of the balance (shifting, sliding, adjusting, recorrecting, but always present) between liberal and democratic instincts, voices and embedded practices’.

Explain what Parkin means by this statement. Give examples to illustrate his claims

Andrew Parkin, in his comment on the tension inherent within Australia’s liberal democracy, is attempting to explain the balancing act that must be performed in order for Australia’s political system to accommodate two political theories that can at times possess conflicting aims. Though not saying that liberalism and democracy are incompatible, Parkin is suggesting that the two political forces often shape the nature in which politics – from policy to debate – is played out in Australia. In order to understand Parkin’s comments it is necessary to understand the theory underpinning liberalism and democracy; it is also necessary to understand the practical application of these theories as they arise in the Australian political landscape.

Historically, liberal theory developed out of the European desire to wrest power away from the old-regime aristocratic ruling elite. The central desire of liberalism, then, is freedom – emancipation from heavy-handed government participation in the private lives of citizens. The success of liberalism’s central aspiration can be assessed via the emergence of these key indicators: it will be a society with inherent rights, laws and privacy; it will incorporate the development of private business interests, private property and economic prosperity derived from private endeavour; and, finally, the protection of minority interests will be observed.

The methods adopted by liberalism’s adherents to achieve their aim must all be seen through the prism of an attempt to limit the government’s roll in the private lives’ of its citizens. The formation of a written constitution, one that, as Parkin puts it, “specified a list of individual rights which governments may not violate no matter how popular such a violation may be,” plays an important part as a liberalising device. A constitution can be used to set limits on government power; it can also be used to establish a division of government institutions with a view to weakening its ability to accumulate and exercise power. A set of laws, and the government’s observance of these laws (even when applicable to the government itself) is another important medium through which liberalism is observed. These liberal beliefs, initially fermented in Europe, have taken root in Australian politics. Armed with this knowledge we can undertake an examination of another political value that dominates the Australian landscape – democracy.

Although a primitive notion of democracy materialized in ancient Greece the theory did not receive wide popularity until about a hundred years ago. Democracy was originally seen as a threat because it was widely believed that the will of the majority could not be trusted. As we shall see, when democracy is introduced into the context of Australian liberalism, it is this perceived threat that causes one of Parkin’s political tensions.

The main principal of democracy is the communal participation of the citizens in the political process of determining the leadership of the nation. This is brought about by the election through a universally franchised adult vote of a government that has the support of the majority. Elections under democracy must be regular, free and fair. The elected government is (theoretically) expected to represent the will of the majority as well as establish public services – health, defence, education, etc. – in order to meet that expectation. It is through such provisions that the government has an opportunity to establish legitimate authority.

It is important at this juncture to make a small digression into the distinction between liberal-democratic theory and liberal-democratic practical politics. Liberal-democratic theory entails the beliefs and values outlined in the earlier discussion of both liberal and democratic values respectively. However, the various principals found within the two ideologies take a different form when put into practice in working politics. Compromises must be struck, and positions moderated. It would be impossible, as we shall see in the case of government welfare, to satisfy the will of the majority in every instance.

And so we reach the stage of addressing Australian liberal democracy in its applied form. The two aforementioned political belief systems are fused together to form Australia’s present liberal democratic reality. A careful reader will already have observed conflicting aspirations within the two sets of values, and it is these conflicts to which Parkin’s original statement directs itself. On one hand we have democracy’s desire for policy prescriptions representing the will of the majority. In direct conflict with that is liberalism’s desire that the rights of the individual should not be impinged upon.

As Parkin asserts, “it would be a mistake to conclude that successful and durable liberal democracies embody a frictionless reconciliation or amalgamation of the democratic and liberal traditions.” Consider another tension – the liberal desire for limited government. A desire for limited government means that government is prevented from interfering too heavily in the private lives and, importantly, the private economy of individuals. However, as a counterpoint to the desire for limited government, democratic principles necessitate the extraction of taxes from private individuals in order to provide services for the public.

But Parkin actually goes further with his comment. What he is saying is not that the two competing principles necessarily cancel each other out. Instead he is saying that competition between the two colours the way that policy is developed, and moulds the way that politicians interact with each other and the general public. By way of example, Parkin sites an instance of liberal-democracy in Australian practice. The Australian welfare debate entails the democratic notion that taxation from “self-reliant individuals” should provide support for those in need; however standard liberal thinking would encourage a suspicion of the government appropriating money from the individual. This is a debate that is never resolved; it simply remains in a state of tension that is manifest in the way that the different political parties put forward policy.

Another practical example of the playing out of this tension is, or will be, environmental policy – at some stage in the future it is foreseeable that government will have to intercede on behalf of the majority into the private affairs of individuals to achieve positive environmental outcomes. This is already occurring, for example when restrictions are placed on private industry curtailing the amount of carbon emissions that a given business can produce. Once again, under the liberal-democratic framework this is a political discussion that will be in a state of continual conversation; ergo it will continually flavour the nature of policy platform and discourse.

Australia’s liberal-democracy is in a constant state of tension between the desires of the collective and the rights of the individual. We have seen through the various examples, both of the ideological principles of liberalism and democracy and the reality of these principles put into political practice, that politicians must balance these ideas when producing policy and campaigning for election. Parkin’s insightful comment shows us that, although conflicting, the concepts of liberalism and democracy maintain a workable balance in Australia’s political system.

Some lazy point-form notes

  • I'm currently house sitting for my old boss. Having his two cars to look after - with all petrol paid for - is a dream.
  • As part of the house sitting I have in my charge two kitties. They are a constant source of entertainment. Perhaps I should own a cat?
  • I stuffed up my first vegetarian meal. I made vegetarian lasagna; however, when I looked for a baking tray I found that my boss's tray was too large. What this meant was that I only had too layers of pasta and vegetable, and I ran out of cheesy sauce to place upon the top level of pasta. The meal came out of the oven with a crispy top level rendering it inedible.
  • Regardless of my botched cooking attempt I have been eating well. I've just been buying nice vegetarian dinners.
  • Some observations about vegetarianism:
    - I've lost quite a bit of weight. I was never large, but I've dropped all the chub. I'd guess I've dropped about 5 kilograms. I'm even seeing some abdominal muscles poking through, something I've not seen since my days of competitive swimming.
    - I'm feeling extremely healthy. Not being able to eat meat means that you have to eat far more in the way of fruit and vegetables. The whites of my eyes are much whiter; my skin feels much cleaner. These effects are probably heightened by my period of abstinence from alcohol, cigarettes and other indulgences.
  • I've joined a rather esteemed club; a club occupied by such illustrious company as: Pappa Smurf; all the members of ZZ top; Greek gods Zeus and Poseidon; the philosophers Aristotle and Plato; authors Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemmingway; bushranger Ned Kelly and revolutionary Che Guevara; Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses. S Grant and Margaret Thatcher; Obi Wan Kenobi; Merlin; Captain Ahab from Moby Dick; and, finally, old Father Time. I've grown a beard.
  • True fact: Don Quixote was depicted as having a beard.
  • I've been trying to figure out lately whether my first romantic crush was on Belinda Carlisle, Tiffany, or my grade prep girlfriend Elise Harris.
  • Once upon a dark afternoon when being dumped by my soon to be ex-girlfriend, one of the (many) reasons sited was that I was taking the then looming invasion of Iraq too seriously. Ouch!
  • The formatting in Blogger sucks the big one.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dead in its infancy: Assault on the Northern Americas 2007

A great plan had been afoot. A glorious plan. Unfortunately, very little planning had gone into the plan. A plan with out planning is a non sequitur; moreover, it's likely that such a plan will fail - which has happened in this case.

See, Latrobe University, the university that I'm attending, has a sister university in Canada. A student can complete a year of their studies overseas, which would be a great opportunity for someone getting on in years (in scholastic terms), someone just like me. I would have been able to combine travel and study, getting both things accomplished at the same time.

At the end of the study year I was planning on buying a cheap car that I was then to drive south down into the USA. I was going to spend the end of year break driving around America, maybe visiting New York maybe visiting San Francisco. What I hadn't figured into my plans was Canada's scholastic year starting at a different time to Australia's. So although I'd finish the school year here around November, the school year doesn't start over in Canada until September. This would mean that nearly a year would pass until I could start my second year - time I can't really afford.

Thus, and ever so sadly, 'Assault on the Northern Americas 2007' has been killed in its infancy, a casualty of my poor planning. I guess I could do the whole thing in reverse - travel 'round the USA first, working my way north, ending up in Canada to start the school year in September. But that is a whole new plan and it will require some serious contemplation.

Fox Report

"State Rep. wants legal hunting age lowered from 12 to 8."


In other fuckheadedness, Ann Coulter on rape:

"Whenever a gun is used in a crime, there are never-ending news stories about how dangerous guns are. But these girls go out alone, late at night, drunk off their butts, and there’s nary a peep about the dangers of drunk women on their own in public. It’s their “right.”"

Geez, Ann, any chance they don't talk about drunk women out on their own because... drunk women should be able to go out on their own without having to worry about being raped?

Fuckheads I say!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Poetic Prophecy

I've been trying to broaden my blogging horizons by reading a few literary blogs. On Chekhov's Mistress I came across a poem by Bukowski I once read.

Suffice to say it holds a fairly higher degree of resonance for me now:

Dinosauria, we

Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it's cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it's cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante's Inferno will be made to look like a children's playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And suddenly a new contender appears

Think Ann Coulter is bad? Radio shock-jock Michael Savage makes Coulter look like a saint. On his recent radio show Savage advocates the "killing of 100 million" Muslims and calls the alleged Duke rape victim a "drunken slut stripping whore." Later on he goes further and calls the rape allegation "the product of the out-of-control lesbian feminist movement." Media Matters has the audio file if you think you'll be able to hold your bile.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - these people aren't as far removed from the conservative mainstream as you'd like to think.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christian conservatives fire another cannon in the war against sex

"Standing above the crowd,
He had a voice that was strong and loud and I
Swallowed his facade cuz I'm so
Eager to identify with
Someone above the ground,
Someone who seemed to feel the same,
Someone prepared to lead the way, with
Someone who would die for me."

Maybe I've simply consumed one too many beers when I line up the rap-sheets and compare Islamic fundamentalists with their Christian counterparts; maybe all that squiggly text blurs due to my double-vision and I get confused - because I really can't see a significant difference between the two forms of worship.

Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has a post up today about American fundamentalist fathers who take their daughters to a very special ball. At this ball the father "extracts a promise from her that her vagina is his until... she marries someone he presumably approves of." As Amanda points out, this behavior is not far removed from the typical arrangements at weddings where the father gives away the bride or when the bride adopts the husband's surname. All of these patriarchal relics serve as a reminder that the bride is property to be passed around at the whim of men:

"It used to be enough for patriarchs to demonstrate their symbolic ownership of their daughters by the whole giving away thing at weddings. I suppose that so many women like me are out there not being given, taken, purchased or laid claim to in any way that in order to restore the karmic balance, these poor girls have go through a series “Daddy owns this virginal vulva” rituals before they get passed off to their new owner. The testimonials are sufficiently creepy, too."

More and more as I get older I'm developing the inclination that if the human race is to move ahead in a positive way the patriarchal assumption needs to be smashed to pieces. I can't really tackle feminist topics in any depth because, when it boils down to it, being a white, middle-class male, I'm surfing upon a wave of entitlement and privilege. This means that I don't possess a full insight into what it's like on the flipside of that coin. But it seems to me that there are plenty of advantages for men in a restructuring of the social order. I mean, what kind of man really wants a relationship with the women in their lives based on ownership rather than mutual respect and admiration?

So much war-mongering, posturing and egotistical heroics are based around various nations' attempts to bring their particular brand of oppression to other cultures. If you aren't prepared to allow those of a particular gender or sexual preference within your own country to determine their path, of course that will extend to the way that your state relates to other nations on a global scale. It represents so much outward looking and so little introspection. And yet most of these nations have at their heart a fundamentalism that is indistinguishable from that of their rivals. Perhaps if the patriarchy itself were dismantled it would mean more than just the emancipation of women. Perhaps it would end a whole host of zero-sum behaviors. Imagine what lofty heights we could attain if we focused on lifting people up rather than keeping them down. If we looked inwards on ourselves instead of outwards at other people imagine the places we could go. On that note I'll leave the final word to M.J.K who once wrote of Jesus and his followers: "Ranting and pointing his finger/ At everything but his heart."

Meanwhile: Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, on the ACT's proposal to allow homosexual marriage: "This is not an anti-homosexual gesture. This is a gesture to support the special and traditional place of marriage as a heterosexual union for life of a man and a woman in Australian society. Why we're against what the ACT is doing is that, in all but name, they are equating same-sex unions with marriage. I don't support that, not because I'm against homosexuals, but I think there should always be a margin for marriage as we understand it in our society ... you don't equate a gay union with a traditional marriage – that's our position."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I slept through my alarm so I missed triple J playing Tool's new single this morning.

Update: I heard it on the afternoon show - it's damn good. The sound and production that can have only come from one band on earth. The sentiments expressed in the lyrics are... very dear to my heart. I can't believe we have to wait three months after the American release to get our hands on it.

Nation States

I've been playing this little online game. It's called Nation States. I started when I was still at work, and it proved to be an excellent time waster. Your role in the game is that of a nation's leader. What you have to do is respond with a policy prescription to the various issues that your government is presented with daily. You'll normally have an issue and about three possible avenues to take as a response. For example today's issue:

The Issue:
A group several thousands strong hailing from a remote, isolated corner of Icemenistan is staging a massive demonstration on the front steps of your capitol. They demand that their local dialect be recognized as an official language.

The Debate:

1) Roxanne O'Bannon, your Minister of Culture, has nothing but disdain for the demonstrators. "The language of Icemenistan is as important to our national identity as our history is. A truly erudite individual uses perfect grammar and refuses to speak as those ruffians do." Your Finance Minister is quick to chime in as well, "If business is required to print every road sign, instruction manual, and fast-food wrapper in two languages, it would increase everybody's overhead. That means higher prices for the person in the street."

2) "Smarker, but ee's gone blongie 'round the clonger! Trandy in the blang warked a newtie on the Cheebers, quaff me a duggle if it's brine. Sorky, hang our trandy high!" says Hack Hamilton, speaking for the demonstrators, in an apparently rousing response that draws a cascade of cheers. After a few uncomfortable minutes with a professional translator, you find the speaker said, "I respectfully disagree with the Minister. Multilingualism has brought stability to richly-cultured nations such as Brancaland; indeed, I challenge you to provide a single counterexample. I encourage this government to adopt a policy of multilingualism throughout Icemenistan!"

3) Samuel Jong-Il, a radical opposition member who seems to tag along to every demonstration she can find, has her own proposal. "The language barrier is keeping us all apart. What Icemenistan needs is a new identity defined by a new language that we can all agree on. That's unity without favoritism."

So what you have to do as ruler of your nation is pick one of the three listed options. You also have the option to dismiss the issue (the ramifications of which I'm yet to figure out). Every choice that you make as a ruler in response to an issue will shape the course of your nation's fate. This translates to an altered synopsis under your country's description and a variance in your country's three key performance indicators: Civil Rights, Economy and Political Freedoms. Finally, you'll receive a United Nations category for your state. Mine is currently "Left-leaning College State."

Here is the description of my country, Icemenistan, and how it is currently faring:

The Republic of Icemenistan
"Give me liberty or give me death!"

UN Category: Left-Leaning College State
Civil Rights: Superb; Economy: Fair; Political Freedoms: Excellent;

The Republic of Icemenistan is a huge, socially progressive nation, renowned for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, intelligent population of 211 million enjoy extensive civil freedoms, particularly in social issues, while business tends to be more regulated.

It is difficult to tell where the omnipresent government stops and the rest of society begins, but it juggles the competing demands of Social Welfare, Education, and Social Equality. The average income tax rate is 71%, and even higher for the wealthy. The private sector is almost wholly made up of enterprising fourteen-year-old boys selling lemonade on the sidewalk, although the government is looking at stamping this out.

The nation's youth is held blameless for all crimes, female newsreaders distract the nation by breastfeeding during broadcast, the people elect the Supreme Court justices directly, and trespassers often find themselves impaled by crossbow bolts. Crime -- especially youth-related -- is moderate, and the police force struggles against a lack of funding and a high mortality rate. Icemenistan's national animal is the ardvark, which frolics freely in the nation's many lush forests, and its currency is the dollar.

Icemenistan is ranked 60th in the region and 16,863rd in the world for Most Politically Free Nations.

Despite (or maybe because of) its being quite nerdy it's actually quite addictive. It only takes about 2 minutes out of your day and watching your country develop is quite entertaining.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ann Coulter's heart is the new black

Ann Coulter, in her latest column (if by column you understand the word column to mean the depraved utterances of the soulless undead) tackles the American immigration issue with all the subtlety of a palsy victim pruning a rosebush with a chainsaw.

The column's title: "Brown is the new black"

Doesn't she just have a heart of gold?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

V is for vegetarian

I've been thinking about taking the plunge into a vegetarian diet for a while now. In the mid 90's (fuck I feel my age when I write that - oh Nevermind, what glory your memory evokes) I went a year and a half without eating meat. But I didn't eat well and ended up pale, which is cool if you're auditioning for the role of a vampire in Buffy but not so cool if you're trying to pick up your female teenage contemporaries. In the end I had to start eating meat again. Now that I'm a slightly more mature soul I think that in the interests of eating a more diverse, nutritious diet I'm going back to the land of Vegetaria.

My first vegetarian dabbling was due in no small measure to the time I spent in my school holidays working at an abattoir (a story requiring a whole other post). Suffice to say that an accidental mouthful of errant arterial blood was enough to keep me away from meat for a year or so.

Rather than getting into the murky ground of discourse on the ethics of eating meat - a discussion undoubtedly likely to be in play throughout perpetuity - I'm taking the line that I'm interested in a nutritious, alternate diet which, all things considered, is a true statement on my part.

So, what I need now are some vegetarian meal suggestions. I know I love vegetarian lasagna, I just don't know how to make it. If you have any favorite recipes feel free to email them to me, or if you aren't comfortable with email then just leave them in the comments. Also feel free not to leave any suggestions; just know that I'll hate you always and begin plans for personal regime change. I just can't help slipping a little political snark into a simple blog post. Okay, I'm waffling.

The Horror

Here are some photos taken in Iraq. They are pictures that will never be seen in the papers' or on the screens' of western media. If you have the time click the link and have a look.

No further comment is required.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter

May this bad mofo be the bearer of all your chocolate.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fox News

I don't have pay-TV at home so I've never had the opportunity to watch Fox News (or, Faux News as it's known amongst rational people); however I've had the opportunity to tune in over the last couple of days because my (ex) boss has the full pay-TV package.

Two things I've learned by watching Fox News:

1) It is actually worse in the watching than was revealed in the secondhand accounts that I've heard about it so far - what a bunch of slobbering, raving, in-denial coke-heads Fox staffs itself with.

2) Apparently nasty Liberals, having failed in their War Against Christmas (TM), are now beginning a war against Easter. Whether or not hot-cross buns should have the holy cross impressed upon them is an issue of national importance for these people. Wedge politics makes people lose sight of the main prize.

3) Ann Coulter has a new book coming out: "Godless Liberals"

4) If you hurl abuse (and empty water bottles) at a TV screen the TV screen will refuse to fight back. You may, however, begin to question your own sanity when you realize that you were telling that TV off for quite some time before you realized it.

(It's 3.28 AM - I'm tired, so this post may contain several errors)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Flying high on sugar; drowning in a sea of chocolate

I used to have constant dreams of flying. They were amazing - I'd usually be in the school playground (this was years after I'd left school), and I'd practice over and over, getting more and more elevation each time. Eventually, with a feeling of utmost exhilaration, I'd just take off.

Now they were good dreams.

A couple of years later I found myself having recurring dreams of a less pleasant nature. These found me dreaming that I was drowning. I guess you could call them nightmares. I'd be drowning, and I'd know that if I didn't wake myself up (I had the strange knowledge in the dream that I was dreaming) I'd die.

Lately I've been dreaming about lollies. I'll find myself in various situations but the common denominator is that there will be a whole heap of lollies on offer. I might be in a supermarket; I might be at the movies. But wherever it is that I find myself there are always a whole heap of Perspex containers full of different types of candy. There will be yummy chocolate covered aniseed rings. There will be sugarcoated jubes. There will be rum 'n' raisin chocolate bars. The options are usually limitless. The problem is that I spend so much time in my dreams greedily trying to grab as many different lollies as I can that I always, without fail, wake up before I get to eat any of them. I often find myself waking in the middle of the night after such a dream and rushing to the pantry looking for something, anything, sugary. Usually I'll end up grabbing cooking chocolate because I don't normally keep any lollies in stock. This is very strange for me because I'm not a big eater of sweets and I'm ambivalent about chocolate at the best of times.

So, Freud, what the hell is going on?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'd rather die than live that kind of lie

I read this rather disturbing post over at Best of the Blogs:

(Emphasis mine)

"The neighbor had a barbeque this past weekend, and after his and his guests kids had gone inside along with the women, the neighbor and two friends, over cigars and multiple whiskeys, went to their cars and brought out their guns and sat on the porch and, caressing their weapons, discussed their faith: How no Liberals were going to get in the way of their faith, how much they'd like to shoot Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and how this is going to be a Christian Nation one way or the other, and how much they were looking forward to next weekend up in West Virginia when the Capital Soldiers for Jesus are meeting for maneuvers. It was a warm night, our windows were open, they were drunk and loud, so I'm not sure I was meant to overhear, but I'm positive the neighbor was sincere when he said, When the shooting starts, I got dibs on that fucking Liberal next door.

I am not an atheist. I acknowledge a hankering for faith, but I'm agnostic as to whether it's psychological, biological, or some combination of both. And I understand the comfort of rituals, the warmth of community, the need to belong, the desire for authority that everyone feels and that some find within the structure of organized religion. I understand that my moral system is based on thousands of years of Judeo-Christian traditions. I am not anti-religious."

I have a word of advice for fundamentalists, be they Christian, Moslem or Jewish: if the shooting were to start and if it were to spill over into nations like mine, then you'd better make damn sure that the first bullet goes right between my eyes. I'm quite happy for anyone, anywhere to practice their particular brand of faith, but I'll not bow, not for a second, before some would-be theocrats that gibber and moan at some imaginary sock-puppet in the sky.

I’d rather die than live that kind of lie.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


That is a light blogging week.

I've got 4 assignments due in as many days so I'll probably just be posting thoughtless silly stuff for the rest of the week. You're probably wondering at this stage what will distinguish that from the norm. So am I, so am I.

But later on today I might unveil a little travel plan I've been working on for next year. It's called 'Assault on the Northern Americas 2007'.

Dang, that's what a hair shirt is...

You learn something new every day.

Well, with my curly, uncontrollable afro hair I could probably skip shaving the goat and be completely self-reliant.