Thursday, December 31, 2009
I was going to cram a full year of posts from The Orstrahyun that I thought you might be interested in revisiting, but the list got too long, too fast, and I kept stopping to re-read stories I'd forgotten I'd written, about incidents that have already washed down most peoples' memory drain. And then the sun came up....
So here, in no particular order, are January/February 2009 :
Black Saturday, 3.26am
Holocaust Of Fire, Cyclones Of Flames, Burn Hundreds To Death
Mother Nature : Terrorist Or Mass Murderer?
Sam The Koala : "C'mere Mate, You All Right Buddy?"
One Beer-Battered Sea Kitten And Chips, Please
Even Teenage Girls In Australia Can Punch Out A Shark
Tragedy Porn : Did It Do It For You?
John Howard Happy That Al Qaeda's Prayers Have Been Answered
Raging Against The Firey Accused Of Killer Arson Challenges Online Freedom Of Speech
Thousands Of Working Families Live Without Electricity, Gas
Australian Ally Slaughters Hundreds Of Women And Children
Adelaide Always Delivers
Essay : This Is Australia, We Burn
Peter Costello : Non-Christians Threaten Australia's Future
Moderated Mainstream Media Blog Bleeds 'Assassinate Bob Brown' Comments
"Fuck Off, We're Full"....Of Racist Bogans
True Blue Australian Stuff Australia-Hating Lefties Love To Hate
Tony Abbott : May I Compare John Howard To The Lord, Or Is That Going Too Far?
Just Another 'Possum Goes Wild In A Leagues Club' Video
The Anti-American Hatefest 2009-2017 Begins
The Rise Of The Mid-Life Crisis Hoon
Australia's Bermuda Triangle.....Or Is It Australia's Area 51?
You Can Dump A UteLoad Of Horse Shit At The Gates Of NSW Parliament And
Only Cope An $1100 Fine
Photography : A Native Garden In Springwood, New South Wales.
The rest of the year in highlights to come.
I hope you've enjoyed reading The Orstrahyun this year as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
I think I might have to get into video stories a bit more next year, or at least some audio as opposed to just words and the occasional photo.
I've been editing a movie I shot with Dave Gleeson (as brilliant an actor as he is a lead singer) a few years ago, about an anti-war protestor who takes the prime minister hostage for 48 hours. I decided to wait until Australian troops were out of Iraq before I finished the movie, it gets a bit hardcore, and I never liked the way it ended before, with the Iraq War still unresolved, at least as far as Australia's involvement.
But the editing of that movie, and trying to fix an infuriating number of sound problems, has been the sort of fun but frustrating challenge that I think I need to wrap my brain about a bit more next year, lest it grow (more) dull.
I'll try and get some clips from the untitled-for-now movie up on this blog in a few weeks.
Have a great New Year's Eve.
And to the thousands who visit here regularly, I'm glad you like what you read enough to keep coming back. And thanks, as always, for not making me spend hours a day moderating comments, or reminding me too often of the stories I've promised but haven't yet finished.
"Hey, how you doing? Look, I'm just here for this scrap of apple, okay? I don't want any trouble. I'll just suck the juice out of this and then I'm outta here" :
"Okay, cat, I can totally see you, you know. And my claws are bigger than yours, buddy. You wanna dance? Huh? Do you?" :
"I asked you nicely to leave me alone. But I will kick your arse if you don't get out of here!" :
"Come back and fight like a cat! You coward!" :
"I said I just want to finish this bit of apple and then I'll be on my way, okay?"
Photos by Darryl Mason
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Roland S. Howard died today, aged 50.
There's a fine selection of Howard videos and interviews on YouTube, if you're not familiar with his work, or you want to take a look back.
At the bottom of the front page of news.com.au, as on most other Australian news sites, readers are encouraged to video 'news events' and send the footage in :
News.com.au wants you to be involved in breaking the news. When news happens and you are there, let us know by sending us your pictures, video and news tips.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Grant Page, the legendary Australian stuntman, was sitting at home in early 1997, wondering what crazy thing someone would be willing to pay him to do next. The phone rang. It was Damon Albarn from Blur. The band was on tour in Europe, they had to come with a video for the new single M.O.R. and they'd recently come across the DVD of Grant Page's 1970s stunt doco Danger Freaks. They'd loved it and they now wanted to give Page more than $200,000 to put together a stunt-packed video clip. He had less than a month to conceive it, shoot it, edit it and deliver it to MTV.
From the Grant Page biography, Man On Fire : A Stunt Of A Life (Allen & Unwin, 2009) :
The scenario was simple. We were a group escaping with a whole load of money and kept facing all sorts of dangerous situations as we fled. It was, of course, just an excused for us to perform lots of stunts that were connected by a soundtrack and a loose narrative.Here's the video :
We had one of the biggest cranes on top of a big new building in the city - it was huge, hundreds of feet high - and all four of us, as the four members of the band, had to grab hold of it and swing off the building, right out over the city, then back down until we landed on the truck.
(shooting the Blur video) was very exciting, very daring and, ultimately, very dangerous. It was not without mushaps either, including the one where my son Gulliver abseiled down the Harbour Bridge, landed on me and broke his kneecap.
Because we were basically in charge of the shoot, I was able to do a few stunts that I'd always wanted to, of of which was a ground-to-plane transfer. Actually it turned out to be a water-to-plane transfer.
The Man On Fire biography is a pretty good read. A lot of it reads like transcripts of interviews with Page, and it can be a bit all over the place, but he's got some incredible stories of Australian movie and TV history to tell from over 35 years of crashing cars, throwing himself off cliffs, setting himself on fire and riding motorcycles off waterfalls. All without breaking a bone, on set.
A best-of compilation of Page's work :
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
To make up for the Santa-related violence of The Christmas Incident, here's a classic Twilight Zone from 1960, one of the great Christmas fables, and all the more remarkable a piece of TV because it was performed pretty well live to air.
Part One :
Part Two :
Part Three :
Yeah, it made me cry a little, too.
By Darryl Mason
What are you doing here? Seriously. What the fuck? It's Christmas Day. You should be drunk and in front the TV. Or at least smiling at relatives as you quietly hum a familiar tune you don't even like, but like a lot right now.
Yeah, I forget that some of you have those phones that are the internet, but smaller, and you're probably in front of the TV right now, drunk as hell.
But surely there's got to be something more fulfilling to do with these precious Christmas Day minutes than to read this stuff?
Okay, well all I got is this series of twoots collected from Twitter last night, about a shocking gun-related early Christmas morning incident.
Heard something on the roof. Sounds like hooves or something. I'm loading the shotgun. I'm going to have a look. Shoot first, questions later.
Oh God, I think I just did something terrible. In the dark, the bell the old fat white-bearded bloke was holding looked just like a pistol.
The old bloke fell off the roof when I shot him. He's flopping around on the lawn. He's wearing red, so I can't tell if he's bleeding.
There's a whole load of frigging reindeer on my roof. I'm reloading. One of them looks pissed. His nose is glowing bright red. Taking aim.
Took out two of the reindeer on my roof with one shell. Good eating. After butchering I can fit maybe five carcasses in the deep freeze.
If I'd known they were flying reindeer I wouldn't have shot 'em so fast. They'd be damn handy, better than a jetpack. Killed 4, rest flew away.
The old bloke I blew off my roof just croaked "R...uuudolph!" and that rednose deer crawled over to him. I thought it was dead. Tough deer.
If I am right, I can do em both with one cartridge. Seems to be a lot of crying, shrieking, screaming kids here now. Sirens coming closer.
Yeah, bit of a bad scene. Kids and parents are hysterical. They all seem to know who this white bearded dying bloke is. I can't finish him now. Dammit.
I've had to barricade myself inside my house. Screaming kids are trying to smash the windows. I left the deer carcasses on the lawn. Dammit.
Jeez, they got a cop on a speaker. They're saying this is a siege, and "You Shot Santo Claws, You Fuck!". I was defending my property.
That Santo Claws bloke wasn't as bad off as I thought. He just tried to kick in the front door. Cops told him to stop. He didn't. He got tasered
Police negotiator says he understands my plight, says I was in my right to blow that old fuck off my roof, but he still has to arrest me.
I said yes to a lawyer who offered representation after winching down from a TV news helicopter. Seven figure TV, book & movie deal on the cards. Coming out now.
Lawyer said I might have to do two months, then I'd be out and set. That Santo Claws fucker who landed reindeer on my roof is okay.
Apparently, I am "The Stupid Fuck Who Ruined Christmas!" according to the newspaper front pages around the world today.
I don't remember ever hearing about this Santo Claws bloke, and his very hard to believe story of delivering presents to kids, worldwide.
Lawyer says his name is actually 'Santa Claus' and is beloved by children across the world. Says I have to start saying "Merry Christmas." It's part of the plea deal. So ditto that. I still don't get it.
Mel Gibson's playing me in the movie. It's called I Shot Santa. Jack Thompson is playing the old fat bloke in red I blew off my roof. They got cool robot deer.
This Santa Claus fucker is suing the studio making our movie. He says the title, I Shot Santa, violates his trademark. I don't get paid until 1st day of production.
I may have to shoot him again.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The Daily Telegraph, now publishing stalker-creepy photo galleries of babies without their parents' permission.
You can find the link yourself, if it interests you so.
More of that "quality journalism" Rupert Murdoch insists people will pay to read online.
At least, that's what he's praying will happen.
Monday, December 21, 2009
"How you must have cringed at every call of 'Chris, we love you'; how you must have felt isolated as the audience rose to their feet as one, singing, dancing and shouting out for more; how you must have growled to yourself as you left, surrounded by so many happy people, to make your curmudgeonly way to the safety of the street outside. You really should look up the word 'entertainment' again, you might be surprised to see that it is all about people having a GOOD TIME!!"
Sunday, December 20, 2009
ABC Rural Queensland has a fantastic story and photo collection of QLD's Ugliest Pets for 2009. Worth a read and a run through of all the photos, many good laughs and sympathetic 'awwwws' will result. The photo caption writer also had plenty of fun.
A few of my favourite entrants :
From the ABC News story :
Ugly animals aren't going away, in fact, in an evolutionary sense they are essential.Go Here For The Full Story And Photo Collection
Just like humans, animals can change their opinions rather quickly on what turns them on, meaning traits considered undesirable can quickly come into favour.
Some of these traits seem downright bizarre to humans, even ugly, but Australian National University evolutionary biologist Professor Jenny Graves says that's natural.
"There are lots of animals which have what we call sexually selected traits, that don't look beautiful to us."
"For instance, the red bums of female baboons don't appeal to us very much, but they certainly appeal to a male baboon very much."
"We might not find a hump on the head of a fish beautiful, but that's the way that a female measures this particular kind of fish as a potential mate."
"I don't know that she's assessing beauty, she's just assessing is this animal going to give me more eggs and a better chance of passing my genes on to the offspring," Professor Graves says.
Many evolutionary biologists believe these 'desirable traits' come into popularity through accident.
It's a process known as co-evolution, where a fine specimen of male fish with a lump on his head happens to meet a female who thinks it's a desirable trait
The traits animals don't like often remain lower frequency in the population - but what's unpopular today might not be unpopular down the track.
"The environment is patchy enough that you've always got little niches where it's not good to have a big tail, or it's not good to have a red rump, or it's not good to have a bump on your head."
Regardless of personal faith-based beliefs, it's always good to see a generous, compassionate, anti-authoritarian honoured. Even if it is a century after their death.
According to this story, something like 6 out of 10 Australians will need little convincing that even in post-life, Mary MacKillop could have been responsible for the minimum two miracles required for sainthood.
David Marr :
Polling over the past decade suggests faith in miracles is intensifying. This may be the work of the late Pope John Paul II, who created armies of fresh saints credited with medical miracles.Mary MacKillop undertaking healings from beyond the grave isn't even that hard a sell with those Australians who deny or disbelieve the existence of God. Twenty five percent of atheists and agnostics believe in miracles.
Australia's current enthusiasm stands in contrast to the ISSP finding in the late 1990s: that only 36 per cent of Australians and 59 per cent of Americans believed in miracles. Both figures have shot through the roof.
Unfortunately, the poll didn't reveal how many of those 5.6 million or so Australians only believe in miracles when it comes to their favourite cricket and/or rugby league teams.
Back in July, prime minister Kevin Rudd met with Pope Benedict in Vatican City, and pushed the case for MacKillop sainthood. Rudd also found time to hear Pope Benedict's pitch for some ethical backboning of the apparently now gestating 'world government' :
At a meeting in the pontiff's private library, the two men discussed the Pope's recently released encyclical which calls for a new world structure based on equity and fairness, rather than self-interest and greed.Greed. It's so 20th century.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Such is the price, the sacrifices demanded, of remarkable talent and pending international fame.
Friday, December 18, 2009
By Darryl Mason
Here's the front page text from the anti-RuddNet censorship protest site, www.stephenconroy.com.au, which was pulled offline on Friday afternoon :
stephenconroy.com.au - Minister For FascismLike commenters at Whirlpool, I find it downright incredible that nobody in the office of Stephen Conroy, Minister For RuddNet, was on top of the intertubeywebs enough to have thought, "You know, let's register the local domain name for Conroy, so no-one else gets in first and starts...I don't know...a high profile mock site under his name or something."
"The interesting part of this is that it shows that the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has not even been forward thinking enough to register his own name domain." -- f_bassman@Whirlpool
AUSTRALIAS INTERNET IS ABOUT TO BE CENSORED BY A FASCIST ASS! READ ALL ABOUT SENATOR STEPHEN CONROY HERE!
DON'T THINK THE LABOR PARTY HAS THE RIGHT TO ARBITRATE WHAT YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET? TELL THEM!
EMAIL THE MINISTER HERE AND TELL HIM THAT AS A VOTING AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN YOU FIND THIS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!
Make sure you check out our LINKS page and support our comrades! We'll keep adding relevant stuff as we come across it.
DO WE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION NOW, MR CONROY? WE DON'T WANT THIS. WE'RE GOING TO FIGHT IT. THIS IS THE AUSTRALIAN PUBLIC TELLING YOU NO!!
I don't think Conroy, well anyone in the Rudd government, really, is aware of just how much embarrassing chaos they will unleash upon themselves when RuddNet Censorship becomes a reality. I mean, more of a reality than having an anti-censorship site shut down.
There are thousands of freenet hackers and activists, tens of thousands more likely, all over the world who will see it as a personal mission and a satisfying challenge to do everything they can to destroy any attempt by the RuddNet to censor or vasty restrict the free sharing of information in a democracy like Australia.
They will first be called "extremists". Then "terrorists."
Asher Moses On StephenConroy.Com.Au
The Auckland Anglican archdeacon who erected the above very effective billboard, aimed at getting passersby discussing the true meaning of the Christmas Story is, admirably, refusing to back down or apologise, after a storm of negative media coverage, a paint bomb attack and calls and warnings from the utterly humourless Catholic Church :
Cardy, and other members of his church, have had to even endure threats of violence for daring to get people to have a think and a laugh.
Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the church meant to challenge a fundamentalist interpretation of Christ's birth.
"What we're trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about. Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?"
"They are driven to give threats and abuse - and [yet] they say 'we love Jesus and he loves us'. I'm sorry, but they don't get the irony of their behaviour."The New Zealand Herald received this e-mail :
"May the wrath of Almighty God strike down this abomination and bring those responsible to their knees in fear of Him."Come on. If anyone was going to find this billboard deliciously funny, it would be God.
- title of this blog post stolen from a Sam Kinison routine.
Dec. 19 update from ninemsn :
A win for the crazies. A loss for those who don't believe Christian myths are above parody, or healthy debate.
....Glynn Cardy, said the billboard was "attacked by a knife-wielding Christian fanatic".
Later in the evening another group of fanatics ripped it down.
"When knives are wielded in the name of God, I have two responses. One is to act to ensure the safety of the public and parishioners. We will, therefore, not be replacing the vandalised billboard with an identical one.
"My second response is one of deep sadness at those in the Christian church who don't want to offend any faith position, even the most literalistic view of a male god. By having unity as their priority they inadvertently feed fanaticism."
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Australia's first 3D feature movie has been announced. It's Bait, to be directed by Russell Mulcahy. The plot....
...will centre on a group of people trapped in a flooded underground supermarket with a pack of hungry tiger sharks after a tsunami.Some examples of Russsel Mulcahy's previous ventures into fantasy and horror :
No matter how good Bait turns out to be, there will be at least one smart-arse critic who will snipe : "It needed a pig."
The first time I saw a special effects studio was when I visited Australia's then master special effects make-up artist Bob McCarron in the mid-1980s. The Razorback boar was right there in his garage, it was massive, and he gave me a demo of what it could do. It was a stunning, disturbingly lifelike creation. It could heave its huge head around, snap its jaws and blow snot, steam and drool. It had a wider range of facial expressions than Carlo Rimbaldi's ET puppet, then regarded as the most advanced creature effects in cinema. But you barely see what it can do in the Razorback movie. Damn shame.
In the days before CGI, you had to build these monsters. They cost a bomb, took months, or years to build and were rarely used the way the creature creators, like McCarron, Rick Baker and Rimbaldi, intended them to be seen, and worked.
From the Wonder Of Whiffling (And Other Extraordinary Words In The English Language) by Adam Jacot de Boinod, a few Australian entries in Best New Words Of The Decade :
barbecue stopper : an issue of major public importance, which will excite the interest of voters
flairing : the action of bartenders balancing, catching, flipping, spinning or throwing (bottles, glasses, napkins, straws) with finesse and style
dog-whistle politics : to present your message so that only your supporters hear it properly
flashpackers : intrepid, but comfortably-off travellers
That's it? That's all Australians have contributed to neologia in the first decade of the 21st century?
Commenters here rip the full list to shreds, and come up with many, many better and more widely used 'New Words.'
As far as new words from around the world go, it's downright criminal 'Fucktard' didn't make the list.
'Meh', as used by Lisa Simpson (meaning bored, unimpressed), however, did make the list.
So it's not all bad.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
By Darryl Mason
Dodi "The Royal Family Killed My Son" Al-Fayed is yanking the AGW deniers chain, bigstyle, and cleaning up on copies sold of his newspaper and a massive surge in website hits :
I'd like to read 100 Reasons Why Global Warming Is Natural. I'd like to see a comprehensive, well-argued, well referenced list. But this sure ain't it. It's chockers with pure opinion and outright absurdities.
Some of the Reasons Why Global Warming Is Natural published in the Daily Express :
- Peter Lilley MP said last month that “fewer people in Britain than in any other country believe in the importance of global warming. That is despite the fact that our Government and our political class—predominantly—are more committed to it than their counterparts in any other country in the world”.And something local :
- Politicians and activists push for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines under the rhetoric of climate change, but it is essentially about money – under the system of Renewable Obligations. Much of the money is paid for by consumers in electricity bills. It amounts to £1 billion a year.
- The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had campaigned for the removal of a learned journal’s editor, solely because he did not share their willingness to debase science for political purposes.
Australia has stated it wants to slash greenhouse emissions by up to 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, but the pledges were so unpopular that the country’s Senate has voted against the carbon trading Bill, and the Opposition’s Party leader has now been ousted by a climate change sceptic.So the removal of Malcolm Turnbull from the leadership of the Liberal Party proves Global Warming is natural?
There's a lot of this sort of stuff in the list. They might have been able to get away with 20 Reasons Why Global Warming Is Natural, but that wouldn't be quite so dramatic a front page.
It's tabloid clickbait. Comment bait.
As Andrew Bolt well knows. And which no doubt encouraged him to declare :
The Tide Has Turned
This in reference to the fact that a daily newspaper, in the UK, with a reasonably high circulation has 'dared' to publish such a front cover.
Many of Andrew Bolt's readers now want to know when the newspaper he writes for, The Herald Sun, or any Australian Murdoch newspaper for that matter, will publish a similar front page.
"Why is this article NOT on the front page of the Heraldsun, Shame on the Editor."When will the Herald Sun run a similar front page to the Daily Express claiming Global Warming Is Natural?
"Now we need one of our Australian papers to do the same, perhaps The Australian?""Now someone else has done the homework / broken the ice, will the Herald Sun run the equivalent front page ??"
"come on andrew put the pressure on the editors it’s obvious that the public want to read this "
How about never?
I'd be this blog on it.
We all know where Rupert Murdoch, and his media empire, stands on the reality of global warming-induced climate change and the coming carbon tax and trade :
Annabel Crabb reminds readers of the words of Labor backbencher James Bidgood from late last year :
....he attributed the Global Financial Crisis to a wrathful God, furious about the greed and excess of the global financial markets.
It's actually called Revelation. Not that accuracy matters at all in such talk.
"The ultimate conclusion is like I say - we look at Bible prophecy, we are going towards a one world bank and a one world monetary system. And if you believe the word of God and you read Revelations ... you will see clearly what is being spelled out. We (are) in the end times."
At least these hallucinatory End-Timers don't hold positions of power in the ranks of the government or opposition....err, right?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By Darryl Mason
The Rudd government has released its report into internet filtering and (you may be shocked to read this) has reached the conclusion that it's a fine and practical idea.
Welcome to the RuddNet :
The Federal Government will introduce compulsory internet filtering to block overseas sites which contain criminal content, including child sex abuse and sexual violence.
And political content that will, or already is, categorised as "extremist".
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced the changes today following a controversial trial to filter the internet which was conducted earlier this year.
Senator Conroy says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilised society.
"It is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material," he said.
Legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material which has been refused classification in other countries.
This would include sites containing child sex abuse, bestiality, sexual violence or detailed information about how to use drugs or commit crimes.
My head is churning with hundreds of titles of classic, brilliant, acclaimed movies that include scenes showing viewers how to use drugs and commit crimes.
And the obligatory declaration of non-censorship :
It doesn't matter whether it was "designed" to curtain freedom of speech. The simple fact is it will do exactly that.
The Government maintains the filter is not designed to curtail freedom of speech.
The ABC News website was one of the first news sites to run the story with comments open, with hundreds pouring in within the first hour the story going up. The reaction is 99% negative, and the outrage at such a draconian move towards mandatory internet censorship is spreading fast.
The Liberals and The Greens could seriously rock the popularity of the Rudd government by opposing internet filtering and fighting hard against this kind of censorship. We know The Greens will, but what about The Libs?
Or do the Coalition Catholics and religious donors demand Liberals back RuddNet?
This comment from Grover at ABC News is a good summary of the vast majority of furious opinions piling up in comments :
Limiting freedoms of citizens is outrageous.Stephen Conroy has already deployed the 'Responsible Australians Vs Pedos & Terrorists' argument to sugar coat this digital censorship program. They better come up with something stronger than that to argue their case for internet filtering. They've already got hundreds of thousands of teenage to middle aged gamers offside with their censorship and banning of animated vidgames.
In what world does Conroy think it is appropriate to decide what data we may and may not access?
He is bringing us level with China and it's censorship.
I am genuinely disgusted that they would actually degrade this county's broadband services, instead of improving them, which is what we (including myself) voted the Labor government into power to do. Under no circumstances will I vote for a party responsible for attacks on our freedoms, in the next election.
Any true criminal will go around any black list, it is extremely easy (I have a degree in Computer Science, but no education is required).
Any privacy concious individual will use encryption services, which can _not_ be decrypted by anyone inspecting their data packets.
In short, this will make little or no difference to criminals, but will limit the choices and freedoms of all average citizens of this country, and it open us all up to possible abuse by governments in the future.
Do not for one second attempt to imply that people opposed to this plan are paedophiles or terrorists.
If you follow @KevinRuddPM on Twitter, an easy fast way to register your opposition to RuddNet censorship is to block his messages and remove yourself from his Following list.
@KevinRuddPM has almost 900,000 followers on Twitter, amongst the highest of any politician in the world. Let's cut that following in half by Friday. For starters.
Pollytics : Kevin Rudd Wants To Filter Your Internets
Asher Moses : Internet Censorship Plan Approved In Australia
Media Hunter : Can The Blogstream Topple A Government? Let's Find Out
LP : Net Censorship Zombies Rise Again
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Darryl Mason
Mike Carlton takes his well-sharpened scythe to the new Opposition front bench :
That egregious drongo Kevin Andrews is the Coalition's new shadow minister for families, housing and human services, ha ha.Oh, he's a comedic genius. The grimly determined straight man to Barnaby 'Fuck China' Joyce.
The rebarbative Senator Eric Abetz gets workplace relations, haw haw. Bronwyn Bishop, aka Attila the Hen, will be "working with seniors", tee hee.
Philip Ruddock, the whited sepulchre, returns from the dead; a backwoods Queensland bean counter, Barnaby Joyce, is given the finance portfolio and, most hilarious of all, Senator Nick Minchin will handle energy and resources. Chortle, guffaw.Never let it be said that Tony Abbott is without a sense of humour.
Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull sits back, enjoying the show as much as the rest of us, probably more, and bides his time. Let the reanimated Howard-era remnants take the floor for a while, let them spout their 20th century ideas and ideals to a nation that has mostly well and truly moved on. Let them frighten away the few still willing to dump some cash into the Liberal Party coffers. Let them lose the next federal election and lose their seats in the process. Then the rebuilding of the Liberal Party can begin.
If Turnbull can still be bothered by then, that is.
But the question for now is, how will Tony Abbott deal with what are expected to be the very regular mopping up sessions before the media after Barnaby Joyce relieves himself with a grin? How many times will Abbott jam his hand into a plastic bag to quickly disappear yet another moist, warm Joyce deposit on Econogeddon before he just fucking snaps?
And what does Abbott think about the stories drifting down from North Queensland on how Barnaby has been boasting to some locals that the Liberals need him far more than he needs them? That soon enough the polls will reveal he is a more popular choice for opposition leader than Abbott? And that he could one day, if he really wanted to, even have a fair crack at becoming prime minister?
After getting rid of Tony Abbott, that is.
A fresh slogan for the opposition they can have for free :
The Coalition 2010 : Please Stop Laughing.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Just one example why Hungry Beast is the best new Australian current affairs show in many, many years :
And this interview with an Australian soldier who served in Afghanistan is stunning :
Plenty more Hungry Beast clips on their official site here, and on YouTube here.
There was a bit of nervousness, as you'd expect, amongst Hungry Beast producers and ABC executives as to how a show could leap almost instantly from absurd satire to devastating journalism. But it worked. It worked brilliantly.
Hungry Beast returns in 2010.
By Darryl Mason
(graphic from smh.com.au front page)
What has happened in the NSW government is a fucking insult to democracy. Not only do we not get to vote for the leaders of our major political parties, we don't even get a say in who becomes premier is anymore.
A campaign for early elections by the Sydney Morning Herald is an interesting start to returning a semblance of democracy to the people of New South Wales, but what exactly is a newspaper doing publicly campaigning for the dismissal of a government?
From the Sydney Morning Herald :
It is about a system of government that locks the people of NSW into a four-year fixed electoral cycle, that reduces the voters to bystanders in an endless rotation of ministers and premiers - with no way of bringing on an election.The Sydney Morning Herald is clickbaiting readers to sign a petition, but it's unlikely to achieve much, besides hits to their website. The NSW government needs to hear the call for early elections loud and clear, in person, at the gates of parliament.
The people of NSW, who elected Morris Iemma in 2007, have seen that choice overturned, and overturned again, until they now have a government they scarcely recognise. And that government is overseeing a decline in the quality of services to the public.
Hospitals are understaffed and over budget. They cannot pay their bills. Waiting lists for elective surgery are growing. Public transport is in disarray and its future is in doubt for want of adequate planning. Roads, railways, buses and ferries are dilapidated. So are our schools. Police resources are stretched. Looming over all the problems, explaining them and perpetuating them, is a budget shortfall that results from the Government's inherent inability to manage its affairs or anything else.
Blockading the front and back of state parliament for about a week should give the new unelected 'premier' the message loud and clear that no-one in NSW is prepared to wait until 2011 to have a real, viable say on the future of this disturbingly corrupt, inept, backstabbing, ridiculously chaotic government.
update : The Daily Telegraph is in on the petition clickbait now as well.
Dave Gaukroger at Pure Poison :
All that these two newspapers have achieved with their campaigns is that they have lost any claim to be disinterested reporters and commentators. The NSW print media has shown that it is willing to actively campaign against a sitting government, making a mockery of their role as the fourth estate. This is not a sign of a healthy and informed democracy.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell Explains Why Petitioning For Early Elections Might Ultimately Be More Effective Than Pitchforks And Torches :
....as in September last year, when Nathan Rees was installed by the same factional bosses behind Kristina Keneally's rise, the choice of premier wasn't by the hands of NSW voters but by, in Rees's words, "the malignant, treacherous and disloyal forces" of the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party.
Four premiers, five health ministers and six police ministers since 2005 are signs of both a dysfunctional government and a lack of respect for the public, which is meant to be the basis of our democracy.
The new Australian Opposition finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, does not believe the threat of total global economic collapse has passed, and is demanding the Australian government prepare for the day when, or if, the United States defaults on its debts and an angry China cuts off the credit supply.
From The Age :
(Joyce) proposed that the Federal Government should introduce laws allowing it to break up the assets of the four main banks - and use them to force banks to hold down interest rates.
...Senator Joyce said he did not want to alarm the public, but there needed to be a debate about Australia's ''contingency plan'' for a sovereign debt default by the US or even by an Australian state government.
''A default by the US means complete economic collapse around the world and the question we have got to ask ourselves is where are we in that?'' he said.
''The Federal Government has $115.7 billion in debt, Australian government securities, notes and bonds on issue, and the states have another $170 billion in debt.''
Joyce said if the United States failed to repay its $2 trillion debt to China, the yuan could replace the US dollar.
''If America collapses there will be no more sale of Chinese products to America and therefore very little purchase of Australian resources by China.''
''The whole pulse of trade is compromised because people say, 'Why would I trade with the US when it might not pay its debt back?' ''
Joyce said to prepare for an "economic Armageddon" Australian should ensure we have "the capacity to feed ourselves, the capacity to provide the fundamentals in medicines and basic fundamental requirements for our nation.''
Read The Full Story Here
(Joyce's) warning came as the Rudd Government ramped up its attack on Senator Joyce as an economic extremist by highlighting his strong opposition to Chinese sovereign investment in Australia.
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said it was a cause for concern that Senator Joyce had been elevated ''from the reactionary fringe of our economic debate to the second-most senior economic policymaking job in the alternative government''.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tim Blair notes an Associated Press timeline of key dates in what it calls the History Of Global Warming.....
....and Blair invites readers "to submit their own key dates in warming history". Here's an important date the AP didn't include in that timeline, one Blair would rather not remind his readers of :
May, 2007 - Rupert Murdoch instructs shareholders and his newspaper and TV news editors that "climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats". Climate change tabloid fearmongery explodes across Murdoch's world media empire, as Murdoch pledges to create "carbon neutral" workplaces for all his journalists.Meanwhile, some boring academic guy tries to use facts and science to debunk ClimateGate :
When the Australian Broadcasting Corporation launched its political analysis program Insiders in 2001 the public broadcaster's own staff were forbidden from being panelists.And yet, despite very strong opinions and criticisms from ABC journalists and commentators against prime minister Kevin Rudd all over ABC radio, TV and online, not one journalist has so far revealed any pressure coming from the PM's office to tone it down or shut up.
John Howard's coalition government was closely monitoring the ABC, which it viewed as enemy territory, and network programmers mindful of not agitating outspoken communications minister Richard Alston approved the show on condition only external commentators representing a spectrum of different views were used.
Westpac, currently one of the western world's most profitable banks, tried some direct marketing to its customers, by sending the following patronising, condescending 'We Think Of You As Children' animated video via e-mail :
Westpac fails to grasp what many of its customers already understand. They Are The Fucking Storm in this scenario. The global financial crisis was entirely created by banking giants and masrket manipulators and speculators greedily squeezing every bit of profit they could from the hard work, and home ownership dreams, of the working poor.
The video is riddled with misinformation, and outright lies. You know raising interest rates is lot like pricing fluctuations of banana smoothies? What in all fuck?
This is pure damage control, as Westpac continues to raise rates while their profits volcano.
Mumbrella has more here, and here.
It's often interesting to see how the international media is reporting news from Australia.
Nick Cohen, of the UK Guardian, takes his readers through recent tumultuous events in Australian politics :
Last week, Malcolm Turnbull became the first right-wing leader to be deposed for the ideological crime of taking global warming seriously. Turnbull was a confident politician, from a party that had dominated Australian politics until Labor's victory in 2007.How concise.
He thought he was at the centre of the English-speaking world's conservative consensus. He dutifully committed his Liberal party to go along with Labor's plans to use a cap-and-trade scheme to cut emissions. His party's members went wild.
Tony Abbott, a reactionary Catholic, saw his chance, added opposition to green taxes to the old agenda of opposing gay marriage and abortion, and replaced Turnbull as leader.
Cohen also claims a "right-leaning" Australian journalist told him that :
"climate change is now morphing from a science issue into yet another front line in the culture wars, in which any obsession of the inner-city, mung-bean-flavoured-tofu-eating, latte-slurping political/academic/media class is automatically the target of resentment and scorn".So many cliches. There isn't a Google entry for Piers Akerman using "mung bean flavoured tofu eating" elites. Yet.
Globally, environmentalism is a middle-class cause, and in Britain, disastrously for its supporters, the children of the aristocracy and super-rich dominate the green movement. As before, many onlookers fear that they will pay the price for the soothing of the consciences of the wealthy.Poor people like trees and clean air, too.
Bob Hawke sure loved to dance. Get pissed and dance :
Bob Hawke had a stripper perform at his 80th birthday a few nights back. She burst out of a cake and disrobed, wearing a John Howard mask. This is a video of the same burlesque act from 2007, with added George W. Bush :
This is both extremely disturbing and curiously arousing, on far too many levels to contemplate without introspective fungus-based drugs.
Expect an eruption of indignant fury from the MoralOutrage! activists that the ABC would dare to embed such titillating, amusing filth on its news site.
If we want to see strippers and women rubbing themselves against each other on a news page, we got to news.com.au, or in a pinch, smh.com.au.
I'm going to watch it again a few times to make sure I'm sufficiently outraged before I get busy with my complaints about how the ABC is debasing Australian morality and society.
Does the performer also do this show in a Brendan Nelson mask? It's not me who wants to know...I'm just asking on behalf of a friend...
update : John Howard's response :
“I was certainly not offended.
“It was very gracious of Bob to invite me to his party, and I’m glad to know that after two years I still bug the Labor Party.”
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Powderfinger are releasing a seven album box set on vinyl on December 22, including their mostly unknown debut album, Parable For Wooden Ears (1994), Double Allergic (1996), Internationalist (1998), Odyssey Number Five (2000), Vulture Street (2003), Dream Days At The Hotel Existence (2007) and Golden Rule (2009). Just under $200 for the lot.
It's a shame they couldn't cram in the EPs, though. The Mr Kneebone EP, from 1995, sees Powderfinger dramatically re-inventing their songwriting, and contained two absolutely hard rocking Powderfinger classics, Swollen Tongue and I'm Splitting, Terry.
But the reason for this plug is to bring to your attention the way Powderfinger is promoting the box set on their website. A decent length excerpt from every song from all seven albums can be heard, and if you click on the first song of Parables, and let it play, you will be hurled through the recorded history of Powderfinger, in chronological order, in about an hour.
Great fun, and plenty of proof that the Finger have been (mostly) successfully mixing up styles and sounds from day one. And if you want to hear the band back when they still had some metal in their blood, check out Tail and Citadel from Parables For Wooden Ears. Pounding.
Monday, December 07, 2009
By Darryl Mason
Not just democracy, but free speech as well :
"Those who still like (Malcolm Turnbull) should urge him to keep his silence...."The Professional Idiot wanted democracy in Iraq, even if it cost a trillion dollars, the lives and limbs of hundreds of thousands of people, and made orphans of millions of Iraqi kids. But when a Liberal Party politician holds a differing opinion to his own and that of the new Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, well, The Idiot wants democracy and free speech in Australia to be subverted.
"(Malcolm Turnbull) should be manouvered out of Parliament, if not the party."
And with his usual cowardice, The Idiot refuses to link directly to Malcolm Turnbull's blog, so his readers can see exactly what Turnbull wrote, and make up their own minds.
Bolt droogie and fellow gatekeeper, Tim Blair, also refuses to link to Malcolm Turnbull's blog. Maybe he's just jealous because Turnbull gets so many more comments than he does these days....
Anyway, this is what Malcolm Turnbull wrote on his blog that has so infuriated Andrew Bolt and made rant like an anti-freedom of speech fascist :
While a shadow minister, Tony Abbott was never afraid of speaking bluntly in a manner that was at odds with Coalition policy.
So as I am a humble backbencher I am sure he won't complain if I tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition's policy, or lack of policy, on climate change has descended into.
First, let's get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money.
To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money.
Somebody has to pay.
So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, "bullshit." Moreover he knows it.
....the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion "climate change is crap" or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it's cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.
Which, in a remarkable coincidence, also happens to be a theory long promoted by Andrew Bolt and his commenters, some of whom were Liberal Party politicians, staffers and advisors writing under fake names.
Unlike the cowardly Andrew Bolt, Malcolm Turnbull's blog is open for comments from readers on his stories and opinion, and unlike Andrew Bolt, Turnbull is not afraid to let through some very harsh criticisms indeed :
The Liberal Party is currently led by people whose conviction on climate change is that it is "crap" and you don't need to do anything about it.
Tony himself has, in just four or five months, publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and, if the amendments were satisfactory, passing it, and now the blocking of it.
His only redeeming virtue in this remarkable lack of conviction is that every time he announced a new position to me he would preface it with "Mate, mate, I know I am a bit of a weather vane on this, but....."
Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy but we are now open to the charge that we are also without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted to keep our word or maintain a consistent position on the issue of climate change.
"are you throwing nothing more than an articulate tantrum?"Expect Andrew Bolt to grow only more hysterical and shrill when the Tony Abbott experiment doesn't produce the results the Abbott Army, firmly embedded in the Murdoch and Fairfax media, have been praying for.
"As usual, you're hell bent on getting your own way like a typical spoilt brat, and couldn't care less about anyone else."
"Your a farce now Malcolm"
"(You are) nothing but a egocentric backstabbing bastard"
"Sour grapes from one of Rudd's elves. It doesn't matter what party you say you're on Malcolm, you are Rudd's boy. "
"unclench yours fists, stop stamping your feet and stop behaving like a spoiled brat."
"sour grapes comes to mind. Give me a break. You banter has as much BS in it as anyone who wants to take bat and ball and not play the game. Grow up"
It's going to be one of those elections.
Australian politicians attacking and criticising each other through blogs and on social networking sites like Twitter is a new phenomenon. But it will cause much chaos, debate and delight as we move into the federal election campaign proper.
It's going to be ugly, and funny, but that's free speech. That's democracy.
UPDATE : After visiting The Orstrahyun to read the above story, Andrew Bolt finally provides a link to Malcolm Turnbull's blog, noting the harsh criticism of Turnbull in the comments section that I noted above. Bolt thanks reader 'Steve' for pointing this out to him, even though he based a lengthy post on what Turnbull wrote in that now controversial post.
So it appears Bolt didn't even read the Turnbull blog post himself, before writing about it here.
So much for research.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Piers Akerman, Daily Telegraph :
"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd....has attempted to drive a wedge between voters who favour board-shorts and those who opt for sleeker nut-huggers as worn by the new federal Opposition leader, Tony Abbott."So pro-lifers want abortion to replace the pill? Is he back on the gack?
"....pro-lifers...would see abortion promoted not as a last resort but as the contraceptive process of choice, are debasing what should be a serious debate."
I'll take any conservative's God-infected raging against safe, legal abortion seriously when they also begin discussing the far more devastating, and shattering, events of miscarriages in Australia.
Why do they never discuss, debate or even mention the awful tragedy of miscarriages? What are they so afraid of?
A review, of sorts, of The Radiators 30th Anniversary gig at St Mary's Band Club to follow (well, not follow, but up Sunday sometime, along with all the other stuff I've committed to getting up here, eventually. Good thing I'm not charging for it, eh?)
I think this digital camera has seen its last gig, and its last drop down a flight of concrete stairs, and the beery splashes of drunk fucks who never learned how to headbang without spilling their drinks. The colours and bleeding of the pics are getting a bit too surreal. Even for me.