Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Elite (Or An absurd obsession with the Average)

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams 2nd President of the United States of America, Founding Father

There's some truly great TV on at the moment, namely the documentary Decadence: The Meaninglessness of Modern Life. (Screening 9pm wednesdays on SBS) for one explored democracy last week. Did you know Australia was regarded as apathetic? also interesting was the fact they had people like the Governer General talking about our democracy starting to 'fray at the edges' and the Senate Clerk saying 'the only way to fix it is if the people rebel' which sounds like the socialist alternative to me, but these are informed people.
Next week looks at education, for a shitcanner like me I can enjoy such programming. I've long been not a fan of democracy.
For me if australians enjoy a punt why do we have one of the most stable, plodding, boring socio-economic-political landscapes in the world? Why are our elections virtually no risk?

I'll answer this in a very roundabout way. Of course. And it's just my answer. A story with a preamble: this year I graduated from fresh out of uni, from a marketing degree. Marketing like any course has some basics, I know them, it also has classic mistakes, I know them. So my gift is not exceptional. The only thing that may make me exceptional is that once I went to a lecture and saw two guys on a video and I went and bought their book and read it. Nothing 'Genius' about it so I'm not trying to say I'm a genius, but I am a pretty big fan of myself. (which hopefully will tie in also)
So my work hires an Add company called W*lson Ev#ra#d (the missing letter's being 'i'
'e' & 'r').
Now every time i've seen the rep come down to me he sits and listens to the feedback for 10-20 minutes from the territory managers talking about what does, doesn't work about the ad campaign. From what I understand of the basics the reps can be hit and miss and the Sales manager and director seem to fall in line with the basics. W-E seem to contradict the basics. So we listen to this guy tell us all about how he is right and spin some bullshit to try and make everyone feel dumb, even in reference to materials that have been 'hated' by customers at every level.
Last time was bittersweet for me, at the start of 'H's Advanced 4 Technology' campaign for Power Equipment I pointed out '4-stroke' is meaningless it's a feature not a benifit and features don't sell. I tried to argue the point more but was shouted down. (I don't know why marketing strategy is done democratically by people with no marketing qualifications)
anyway exactly one year later the group meets again with the guy feedback was - 'Our Managing director asked us "What the Fuck are we selling?"' and it was a debacle. It turns out simple 'benifit' statements had the most impact on the consumers. We'd fallen for the belief that 10 benifits are better than 1 when they appear as bullet points under one Advanced 4 Technology umbrella.
The guy's arguement 'the creative guys use the product, they know the product their not driving porches and dining out at 5 star restaurants every night, they are regular guys'

and hold it:

'the creative guys use the product, they know the product their not driving porches and dining out at 5 star restaurants every night, they are regular guys'

Why is this a good thing?

To me it demonstrates the value of paying for quality when it comes to marketing, I want my ad campaign to be done by exceptional Ad execs that drive porches and eat out because they generate sufficient value for their customer to pocket a tidy sum.
And on this note do you know what label is being given to political discenters in Australia - The Elite this will placate the masses and divide the population against those protesting Iraq wars and Climate Change and Logging and Aboriginal Justice. More or less any thing unjust or inhumane is conveniantly dismissed as the folly cause of the bored 'elite'.
Now what kind of appeal to the masses is that? I want to be on the Elite's side! presuming anything not Elite is mediocre...
Elite means am I mistaken a cut above?
Where did the term 'tall poppy' get coined? is it such an Australian thing that the Bush Administration recently adopted it, or was it introduced by Rapping Rupert Murdoch? (as if Google won't own his arse soon enough) I imagine it was on flanders field where it became noble to be laying down and looking up at the poppies whilst bleeding to death from turkic bullet wounds the fruits of Australian managerial excellence (now that's funny - HAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA)
Some words that are insulting to humanity in General think about these:

1. Eccentric
2. Leader
3. Normal
4. Individual
5. Intelligent

These are relative reflections on the rest of the population. And it all comes down to leadership. The masses is chicken feed you want to dable in the 95 percentile and beyond not below because that's where the action is.
Leadership existing suggests that the majority of the population needs to follow, because they simply aren't naturally equipped to determine purpose in their own lives.
Eccentric makes a phenomenon out of deviating from the norm. It means by mediocre means you can present a challenge to most of society. The majority at large don't have the capacity to cope with difference and thereby assess their own worth by their own values.
Normal means there is an accepted band and it in some way carries some inherent virtue that may be so but it is only of advantage to parties 1,2,4 & 5.
Individual means much the same as eccentric however with the added comparative judgement on yourself that you some people are not individuals (eg. disposable) so human life isn't really sacred after all?
Intelligent, to describe someone, I can't imagine describing anyone as intelligent, most stuff I find clever is really simple, dumb things complex. But some people think they are dumb I can't believe it, and worse some dumb people think they are intelligent? This one's a land mind field to get into I say - long term smart, short term - dumb.

So this middle band is the basis of power in a democracy, hence if the majority (the worst kind of tyrant) is determining a representative leader we are guaranteeing a leader who is not remarkable at all. America has the potential to produce great leaders at increased risk of bad leaders, but average leaders are worst of all, because chances are their average mistakes snowball whilst having unbrilliant uninspired people succeeding them who don't have the capacity to fix it.
And the big innovaters in history have been tyrants, THe roman emperors for example, had some good values too and combined it with absolute rule. The persians, the greeks everyone had tyrants that innovated. The Japanese renaissance was under Tokugawa rule, the renaissance was funded by tyrants left right and centre.
But more than that there's something more - it's interesting. Democracy isn't. someone like little Johnny can incarcerate children in concentration camps in weather like this summers and never be touched for it. He can have someone like David Hicks (I don't care if he killed children I wouldn't treat anyone that way) and never bat an eyelash. Tyrants got stabbed to death for their oversights, it was exciting, it was taken on by passionate people.
Who did more for NBA? Michael Jordan or the other 99.75% of the league? Sport at least gives a chance for the Elite to come to life. The people that should be running this country let's face it are too young, too smart, too humane and in the wrong country and industry to rule.
Bring on an elite leader.

Our elections are so boring because we are risk averse, the Labour party stuffed up puting beazley in because it was risk averse, leaving us with the same choice as voters had ten years ago, and we are yet to suffer for it (apart from Climate change, HECS raises, we are now at war, Industrial Relation reforms, stem cell research almost banned and Chaplins in schools).
So we vote for nice safe economic growth, or is it?
There was also the 7.30 report with Kerry O'Brian without Kerry O'Brian on Monday looking at the resources boom which gives possibly the most poigniant example of how important Henry George's theories are yet, or at least how correct.
Since my recent windfall of site hits has been dominated by I expect Georgists reading Bob Browns work rather than anything I created myself I thought I'd appeal to the readership and describe it here so they can masturbate or possibly even publish me in Progress (doubtful) It went like this cats:

The Australian Government signed a deal with China to supply quantity X Natural gas and Iron Ore to China for Monies Y. Both quantities X and Y are very large quantities. The respective mining areas signed this deal without actually having the workforce to extract the goods for delivery. This meant demand for Labour skyrocketed - when demand outmatches supply prices go up. So a carpenter earning $30k on the Goldcoast can relocate within Australia and earn $90k in some country town in WA. Now the work is unskilled so this resource boom is like the goldrush - as in any fool can get a high paying job. So a bunch of fools head over to a place that previously had a populations of two fifths of fuck all. But when they pay you $90k you can't exactly live on the goldcoast QLD and work in remote WA and still commute every day - you have to relocate. If you don't believe me download Google earth. So we have sold resources to China for monies Y and need to skim from that money Y to pay for labour to come over. Now as the work is unskilled the labor needs to be Australian you could say that Chinese money Y is now available for any adventurous Australian. Some of money Y gets paid in royalties to the government so it can spend it on services and infrastructure for the good of all, so Australia sells it's resource to China for Money which improves the economic situation of Australians doing the hard work to dig it up and the Australian people by way of the government spending and investing its royalties.
Sounds pretty good. Except when you can't commute to this work and have to relocate and have a massive influx of the population growth, why shouldn't a private citizen who owns the land with direct access to the jobs created put his rent up? I would, demand for accomodation has directly increased along with the supply of labour (driven by equilibrium pricing in accordance with current accepted economic theory) but what rent will the worker pay? there has to be a limit right? well the worker will pay up to the point he deems he is still beniffiting financially from the new location so that he is still better off than home. I'm not eloquent but it's going to be anywhere below $60k taking an oversimplified view.
Now the landowner, doesn't have to do anything, no work no nothing to take all that money from the sale of the natural resource (property of the commonwealth) rent was in some cases up to $2000 a week. Furthermore infrastructure is collapsing, policeforce in a shitty backwater lost 24 employees to mining representing a 'collective 200 years experience' non essential business where shutting down and moving on because of the excessive rents so in a gold rush town they'll probably start paying $20 a litre for milk and $5 an egg. So even though the wages aren't that great they're still attractive but the rent and is going to go up (has gone up $2000 x 52 = $104,000 rent a year) that's a lot for a town that rivals Orbost in size. furthermore although you have to move from the goldcoast to dig up Iron Ore or work on Natural Gas plants you don't have to to own land.
Now that is what we call an unsustainable land advantage, the resource will get raped dry, the monopoly will get broken but something that was the common good of all could end up going to a handful of private land owners.
People were paying $60,000 to live in converted shipping containers for fucks sake. $90k doesn't look that attractive any more.
So if you taxed the land based on it's value (something that brings in that much rent has to be valuable, you wouldn't find a seller just yet) they would be paying tax through the nose, there'd be no point to jacking up the rent because they just increase their tax liability, and if they don't productively earn the income to cover that rent they are going to jail. Again oversimplified you have to read some Progress shite to appreciate fully.
But basically in such a simple market it highlights the fact that under current taxation structure whatever you earn can be taken away by your landlord, and cripple the community at the same time. (Anything too good to be true: is)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bob on this

I got sent the bob brown adress below today at work and posted it up because I think it raises a lot of issues I can identify with in regards to Australia. It also highlights the power of marketing in the Roy Morgan results, Bobbity Brown should get excited about the polling results.
It's straight marketing positioning and highlights the 21st Ries & Trout immutable law of marketing: The law of accelleration. Which basically says for long term success you have to get behind a trend, not a fad. The war on terror like it's unachievable precursers is a fad, it went up, and now it is just as rapidly coming down, it will be talked about like the reagan's war on drugs through who's effort we can now enjoy a drug free world. Climate change is a trend, the research was solid, the fears real the results predictable.
Not to be little 'the Greens' but what it really was was a sound business decision, they got first movers advantage on the 'Green' position, coupled with a fairly unassailable branding, whether I like them or not you would readily agree an alternative environmental focused party would not stand a chance against the Greens (unless they were backed by Nike or something).
Believe it or not people older than me, politics in Australia was not always Labor v Liberal. These parties got founded and eventually embedded. But there is a wall approaching.
Question: What's a dinosaur?

Answer: A large stupid animal incredibly well adapted to it's current environment.


Answer: Extinct.

Either way Labor and Liberal are probably going to be the losers on two ends of the stick, climate change and generation change.
The Greens are scratching the surface of what young people care about, I for one was more concerned bout the allusions to funding being embedded in unsustainable shitty agricultural and resource industry applications and not on innovation, a prime incentive to leave this sinking ship.
Go read 'Just Fuck off it's our turn now' today to really get angry.
Bob Brown is alloquent and considered. The Greens probably have a brighter future than my 'fuckshit' party.


Thank you for inviting me to the National Press Club again. Since I last
spoke here in 2004, the world as we know it has profoundly changed. The all
pervasive impacts of global warming, intensifying over the past thirty years
and now accelerating at an alarming rate, are affecting everyone. The
American National Academy of Sciences said last month that the world is now
the hottest it has been in 5000 years.
From the melting of the Greenland ice shelf and the West Antarctic ice
sheet, to the thawing of the tundra, to rising sea levels in the Pacific and
worsening storms, drought and bushfires in Australia, there is no escape for
any species, human or otherwise from the impacts of global warming.
We have only 10 years left to prevent catastrophic climate change. It is
very sobering. It is a huge human rights issue - in fact, it is a challenge
to human existence on the planet.
I have spent thirty years of my life working with communities and thousands
of activists around the world to save natural and cultural heritage; from
the Franklin River and Daintree rainforests to where the chainsaws still
wreak havoc in Tasmania and Borneo - and the Japanese harpoons kill whales
in Antarctica; and to places of cultural genius like Western Australia's
Burrup Peninsula, with its World Heritage value Aboriginal rock art, now
threatened by Woodside's selfish wish to bulldoze an industrial gas
liquification plant which should be built further up the coast.
Much of my life has gone into making Australia a fairer, safer place and
also towards advocating freedom for Tibet, East Timor and West Papua, and to
helping people working, some time dangerously, for democracy in China and
Colombia and Burma. But now what is shockingly clear is that all of our
combined efforts will have been in vain, if we do not tackle climate change,
and tackle it effectively.
What we do, or do not do about climate change in the next 10 years will
determine the course of human history; it will determine how many species
and ecosystems survive or are destroyed forever, and it will determine the
quality of life our children and grandchildren inherit from us.
The Pentagon, in a suppressed report in 2004 warned that, "Abrupt climate
change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy. Disruption and
conflict will be endemic features of life. Once again warfare could define
human life."
Former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern said this week that,
"Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the
world - access to water, food production, health and the environment.
Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and
coastal flooding as the world warms up."
Stern added that, "Our actions now and over the coming decades could create
risks of major disruption to economic and social activity on a scale similar
to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the
first half of the 20th Century."
That is, if we do not deal with global warming, we may be dealing with an
economic ice age.
And the Vatican envoy to the United Nations, Archbishop Migliore, echoing
Greens philosophy, said yesterday that, "It is becoming rapidly ever clearer
that if these, the world's life support systems, are spoiled or destroyed
irreparably, there will be no viable economy for any of us.[t]he world needs
an ecological conversion."
Such extraordinary times require extraordinary leadership. They require new
vision, intelligence and leaders who are prepared to act urgently and
resolutely, and to determine indeed whether the world is to proceed at war
or in peace.
Prime Minister Howard may have been the man for the complacent, comfortable
and self serving times, last century. But he is not the person to steer the
nation on a new course, this century. He does not see the problem. And he
does not see the solutions. He still castigates those seeking action on
climate change as wanting to destroy the economy. He does not see, as Sir
Nicholas Stern, the Vatican and the Greens see, that the economy's health
depends directly on the environment; that the economy must be our servant,
not our master.
The Stern report throws the Howard government's failures into stark relief.
Peter Costello did not even identify climate change as a risk to the economy
in his May budget. Amanda Vanstone refuses to accept that people displaced
by climate change are refugees, and she will not consider the consequences
of millions of people displaced by climate change.
Mr Howard, asleep so long on climate change, has now commissioned an inquiry
into nuclear. But nuclear power will not save the world. We cannot even save
it with solar, wind and wave power. The projected demand for energy as
global population and economic growth soars this century, with a potential
tripling in just the next four decades will overrun every reasonable plan
unless energy demand is constrained.
That said, nuclear power might supply 5 percent of the world's demand in
some decades. Energy efficiency can supply 30 percent now. Yet most
commentators write about the 5 percent later, not the 30 percent now.
Well, we will know our prime minister is waking up when he commissions an
inquiry into energy efficiency, when he stops being mesmerised by uranium.
However, the Australian people are awake to climate change and know that the
Greens are best placed to handle it. I have with me today a Morgan poll of
more than 11,000 voters. It shows that, when it comes to terrorism,
48.1 percent of people think the Coalition is the best manager.
Congratulations, John Howard.
But, listen to this. The Morgan poll also shows that the exact same
proportion, 48.1 percent of Australians, thinks the Greens are best-placed
to handle climate change. Let me repeat that. 48.1 percent of Australian
voters think that the Greens are the best managers to meet the threat of
climate change.
That management will feature energy efficiency. Australia cannot achieve
real emissions reductions without establishing a national energy efficiency
What is energy efficiency? Turning off the light. Putting sensors into
spasmodically used places to turn lights, heaters, and hot water supplies
off when people are not there. Delivering lower temperature water for
showers. Heating water where it is used, not seven stories or 13 hotel units
away. It is commonsense. The Greens have been advocating it since the
seventies - since the Franklin Dam furore, at least.
On the supply side, we must price carbon through a national emissions
trading scheme, a carbon tax, a feed-in law and a mandatory renewable energy
target. The amount of money the government has spent on renewables is tiny
compared with what the private sector would spend with the right market
signal. Germany has introduced a feed-in law that has triggered a solar
revolution. The European Union has an emissions trading system, nine
American states have done the same. There is a carbon exchange in Chicago
and in California Governor Schwarzenegger is putting solar power on a
million roofs. He has also asked to join the Pan European Trading scheme.
The inconsistency in Australian government policy is mirrored in Labor's
response. On the one hand it will ratify the Kyoto Protocol but on the
other, it will not stop deforestation. Globally the destruction of forests
produces more emissions than urban transport. But Labor backs the Howard
government's plans for decades more destruction of Tasmania's ancient
forests, which are also our largest carbon sinks, including Gunns
destructive proposed pulp mill. The Greens would end the destruction of
Australia's old growth forest, and native woodland clearance.
Labor is going to have to address other policy incongruities on climate
change. Just look at Peter Beattie. He, as premier of the biggest coal
exporting state in this, the biggest coal exporting country in the world,
has rejected an emissions trading system. Mr Beattie is pouring a fortune
into enhancing coal sales while simultaneously he has announced a string of
bunkers from Cooktown to Bundaberg to shelter people from the rapidly
growing risk of category 5 cyclones due to climate change. He says he's
considering climate change, category 5 storm bunkers for Brisbane! If the
Sunshine state's Peter Beattie cannot see the sun for the coal, will Kim
The Greens will go to the 2007 elections with a costed action plan. The
Greens want Australia to have, and the world must have, an 80% or 90%
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This nation should be the
world leader in environmental technology, environmental business,
environmental exports and wealth and job creation.
Back in 1997 I brought a bill into the Senate for a Sun Fund. This Fund was
to come from one billion dollars of the government's $3 billion diesel fuel
rebate scheme. The bill proposed equipping rural Australia with renewable
energy. Our Sun Fund would have injected hundreds of millions of dollars
into rural and regional economies, and created 50,000 jobs in the bush. It
was optional for farmers and cost neutral for taxpayers. Mr Howard, along
with Labor, rejected it. He should adopt it now.
We will remove the GST from public transport. That would cut ticket prices
by 10 percent across the board. Nick Minchin hates this idea, but let's
raise the 5 percent tax on imported petrol-guzzling 4 wheel drives to 10
percent, to parity with other imported vehicles, and take the tax off
petrol-sparing cars like hybrids. How stupid is it to give General Motors
subsidies to import the Hummer and at the same time insist that the only
electric car in Australia, the Reva, be crushed or deported?
The Greens advocate that Australia take up the Dutch budget model and inject
one percent of spending on transport into bikeways and walkways.
The $1.1 billion fringe benefit tax given to companies for car fleets each
year would cover that good option and leave plenty for more.
The Greens would also end the decades of starving funds from trains, trams,
buses and ferries. Our ideal is free public transport. We would retrofit our
cities to bring fast, clean, on-time trains, buses and trams to every
populous precinct. If Tokyo and Toronto can do it, so can Sydney, Melbourne
and Brisbane.
Sir Nicholas Stern said this week that, "Climate change is the greatest
market failure the world has ever seen." Our Prime Minister shows why.
Before John Howard came to power, Australia produced as many solar panels as
Japan. Now Japan produces nearly half the world's solar panels and Australia
produces less than one percent. That is because the Japanese government has
both financed research and development, and priced carbon to drive
investment in commercialisation.
The constant government refrain that we need to develop new technology is
disingenuous. We already have the technology to achieve deep cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions. What is desperately needed is a market to provide
the incentive to commercialise existing technology.
The Greens would end the drought of government funds to Australia's
cutting-edge scientists in the field of renewable energy.
A specific example of the Howard government's retarding influence is in
sliver cell technology. Drs Andrew Blakers and Klaus Weber at the Australian
National University's Centre of Sustainable Energy Systems have stunned the
industry with a simple but brilliant breakthrough. They slice the silicon
wafers which convert sunshine into electricity and turn the slices side-on
to the sun. This reduces the amount of expensive silicon needed by 90
percent. The sliver cell technology is more efficient and it cuts costs by
75 percent.
Yet this global breakthrough has been defunded by John Howard and strangled
by the lack of a feed in law and decent Mandatory Renewable Energy target.
Dr Blakers told the Canberra Times' Rosslyn Beeby last month that,
"Australia used to be the world leader - not a world leader but the world
leader - in solar technology," "Now we've lost that position of advantage
because of the Federal Government's lack of interest in supporting a solar
energy industry," he said. "Germany is where the photovoltaic industry is
centring itself, and despite having the skills and the technology, Australia
is going to be relegated to the sidelines in the future."
"We will become clients of our own technology, importing back expertise we
Origin Energy which acquired the base patent for sliver cell technology from
the ANU and spent $30 million on a pilot manufacturing plant in South
Australia needs $100 million to upscale to commercial manufacture.
While the Howard Government is well capable of spending that amount on coal
or on self-promoting public relations campaigns, Origin may go overseas. So
it looks like we'll be buying our own world's best solar sliver cells from
Beijing or Berlin. The Greens would ensure funding of this great product,
here in Australia.
At least four other world-class solar technologies have been lost off-shore
to clued-in overseas investors. Unlike Howard, they were keenly aware of the
commercial, if not their planet-saving potential.
Sydney University's evacuated collector for solar water heaters, an energy
collector consisting of rows of parallel transparent glass tubes, has gone
to China.
A photovoltaic technology to reduce heat loss and overheating of office
building with large glass areas, also invented at Sydney University, is now
being developed in Japan.
Crystalline silicon on glass, a process invented by the University of New
South Wales, uses laser technology and a thin layer of silicon deposited on
the textured surface of a glass sheet to trap light and extract solar
It's gone to Germany.
Buried contact solar cells, which are cheaper and more efficient than
screen-printed solar cells, went to Spain for commercial development and
have since been licensed to most of the world's largest commercial solarcell
After 28 years in the industry, Dr Blakers from ANU has a stunningly cheap
idea for politicians to take up.
"In Europe," he says "most large renewable energy research institutes have
budgets of around $40 million."
If Australia invested in creating three or four such institutes, each with a
budget of around $40 million, we would become a renewable-energy superpower.
And that is where the Greens come in. We will catapult Australia to a
world-renewable energy superpower, by putting in place the financial and
regulatory mechanisms that will drive investment into such ready-to-go
proposals from people who know this industry best, rather than government
subsidies continuing to pour into tollways, coal companies, pulp mills and
tax cuts for executives.
Beyond climate change and besides rising interest rates, there are other
issues stalking the Howard government's future.
In 2003 I challenged President Bush here in our Parliament, to end the
incarceration, after torture but without trial, of Australian David Hicks at
Guantanamo Bay. Four unforgivable years later, the Prime Minister should
ring the President and have Hicks returned to Australia's justice system
Australia's involvement in the Iraq war is entirely John Howard's mistake.
He ignored hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens who turned out
across the nation in early 2003 calling for Australia, like Canada and New
Zealand, to stay out of this reckless and bloody Bush administration
venture. He also ignored the parliament of the land. Instead, he consulted
George W. Bush who dubbed Mr Howard his "sheriff", and sent our defence
personal to Iraq. Now reliable estimates put the Iraqi death toll above
600,000. It is heading for one million. More than 3,000 coalition soldiers
are dead. The mood in this country has swung strongly against this horrible
war. Most Australians want us out. Most Americans want us out.
Most Iraqis want us out. But George W. Bush and John Howard, intolerant of
commonsense, are not listening.
The Greens have led in the political arena, consistently, and sometimes
alone, calling for the return home from Iraq of our Australian defence force
personnel. I repeat that call today.
We have also taken a very strong stand in defence of the Australian workers.
We join Kim Beazley in committing to overturning the unfair industrial
relations act and returning a fair go in the workplace for the men and women
who work in and for Australia.
But voters need to know it will take more than a Labor government to achieve
fair wages and conditions. The Industrial Relations Act will remain if Labor
wins government but the Coalition retains its Senate majority. It is
essential the Greens win back the balance of power in the Senate.
Australians have more material wealth now than ever before but we are no
happier because we live on the treadmill of the market economy. We have no
time. We work harder, longer hours over seven days a week and it has been
made worse by the Howard government's industrial relations legislation.
There is less and less family time. Weekends have gone.
Australians spend hours in traffic, breathing fumes. 50 percent of us are
overweight or obese. We work harder to earn more to buy more things to keep
up with the latest trends but we don't have enough time to spend with our
children and our spouses or our friends. Our old people are too often lonely
and our children are too often at risk. There is not enough time for
recreation, school sport, visiting friends, socialising, thinking, reading
for pleasure, staying healthy, being actively involved in the civic life of
our communities. Or just enjoying the day.
How can you describe a government that has put its people on a treadmill and
devised ways to keep families from spending time with each other as having
family values?
Reversing the impact of the government's IR laws means more than the better
workplaces. It will be an important step towards restoring the time together
which is essential for happy families.
Even without balance of power, we Greens have won significant gains for
Australia through our Senate power base. These gains include:
a) the roll-out of non-sniffable petrol to end the scourge of petrol
sniffing which has been killing or maiming hundreds of young Aboriginal
citizens in central Australia.
b) Christine Milne initiated the Senate inquiry into Australia's future oil
supply which is due to hand down its report soon.
c) Christine Milne and Rachel Siewert initiated the Senate inquiry into our
national water policy.
d) a core role in insisting that East Timor, the poorest nation in Southeast
Asia, got a fairer deal for its Timor Sea oil and gas revenues.
e) Rachel Siewert's questioning of the Wheat Export Authority which helped
trigger the Cole Inquiry into alleged Wheat Board kickbacks for Saddam
f) amending legislation, so far blocked by the government, to ban junk food
advertising aimed at kids, as obesity rates soar in Australia.
g) Kerry Nettle's work showing how the private health insurance rebate
overwhelmingly benefits wealthy people in Liberal electorates.
h) the legal advice from Melbourne Senior Counsel Brain Walters which forced
the government to retreat from privatising the Snowy Hydro Scheme.
The Greens were the only party to have the courage to oppose the tax cuts
for the rich this year. In the Senate, Christine Milne argued that we need
to use the profits from the good times to adapt to climate change and oil
depletion. But the Liberal and Labor parties gave that $37 billion away.
The Greens would also do much more to help farmers adapt to a new future
rather than staring at cracked earth with no hope but a bandaid drought
relief and a Prime Minister in an Akubra praying for rain. Climate change
presents opportunities for new endeavours in rural Australia.
Western Australia is showing one way by developing alternative fuels for
income and jobs by planting of deep rooted perennials which addresses
climate change, salinity, and biodiversity loss.
We want to help grow more of our own food as a nation and as a community,
and become more self reliant. We especially back organic food - healthy,
drought-resistant, family-farm organic food. Who does not want to support
our own farmers and rural communities? Yet, Free Trade Agreements, like the
US Australia Free Trade Agreement, end up exemplifying market failure.
And isn't it time global air and sea transport paid properly for its massive
cost in terms of climate change?
It makes no sense to effectively subsidize imported orange juice from Brazil
while farmers in the Riverina feed their oranges to cattle.
Speaking of biodiversity loss, ANZ wants to become carbon neutral as a
company, whilst preparing to finance logging of Tasmania's old growth
forests, by financially backing Gunns pulp mill. ANZ does not see the
interconnectedness of its own practice and what it finances. Besides
destroying the forest carbon banks, studies at Melbourne University show
that such logging will increase the chance of extinction of Tasmania's giant
wedge-tailed eagle to 99 percent in the pulp mill logging zone. What about
that, ANZ?
The same with the Managed Investment schemes for plantations touted to be a
solution to climate change when conversion of native forest to monocultures
has dire consequences for carbon emissions, water availability and
biodiversity loss. The Greens would stop this ecologically destructive
market intervention immediately.
Water is another example of market failure. Commonsense says that cotton and
rice irrigation are not a good idea on the world's driest continent. In
August I visited the Macquarie Marshes north of Dubbo. Here is one of the
world's great bird breeding wetlands. Let me cite the case of one
particularly beautiful bird. For centuries the Marshes have hosted tens of
thousands of nesting white egrets each year. Not any more. Due to the
Macquarie River being sopped up by largely foreign-owned cotton farms
upstream, not one white egret chick has survived since the turn of the
century. In 2002, a trickle of water did get down to a bit of the marshes.
The excited egrets laid eggs. But by the time the chicks fledged, that is,
got feathers, the trickle had dried up. When the fledgling egrets launched
out of their nests on to the hard, barren earth, they died. You know, these
birds live eleven years. So, another five years and the last of the breeding
thousands of white egrets will be dead in the Macquarie Marshes.
Imagine that! Imagine too, the plight of the farmers in the Macquarie
Marshes. For them, no water means no income. Due to the foreign cotton
combines upstream, these good Australian family farms have also landed on
parched earth, their next generation drained of hope.
Governments have made monumental miscalculations across the whole of the
Murray-Darling basin and tough decisions are needed to unmake those
mistakes. The current Howard-enhanced drought across much of Australian is
now the colour of our future. Limiting the damage to our productive
farmlands requires, in a world fast approaching a global food deficit, the
degree of attention and commitment John Howard has given terrorism. We are
calling on him to set up a national climate change centre.
The Greens would also put three and a half thousand gigalitres of water into
the Murray Darling ($3 billion) and a good start would be to ensure Cubby
Station gave back its water.
Before this summer's predicted holocaust, a start should be made on
upgrading the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre in Melbourne to an
International Bushfire Institute.
This major bushfire study and control centre would co-ordinate bushfire
emergencies, drawing on all the state, territory, local and international
information and aid available. It would look at better fire-proofing
Australian and New Zealand farmlands and cities, minimizing the impact of
fires on biodiversity and - this is so important - devising an action plan
to minimize the deadly work of arsonists. We have to detect and more readily
apprehend arsonists before they set neighbourhoods alight. That prevention
will involve a more vigilant public and a review of laws, treatment and
Earlier this year I canoed down Queensland's Mary River with local
residents. Farmlands and rare species are threatened by the Labor
government's Traveston dam proposal. The dam is simply bad policy when real
water efficiency, diverting Brisbane's downpipes into tanks, and recycling
current supplies in South East Queensland is a river-saving option.
One of the Mary River's species is the Queensland lungfish, facing
extinction after millions of years on the planet. It has survived all
challenges - that is, until the present Labor Party arrived.
Professor Jean Joss, the world expert in lungfish at Macquarie University
says that this creature explains how vertebrates came from the sea and
colonised the continents. The lungfish is our distant ancestor. It gave us
our backbone. Maybe that is why so many politicians don't care - they
haven't inherited the feature.
Back in the Murray-Darling basin, the Greens want Parliament House to show a
national lead in energy and water efficiency. Yet Capitol Hill's presiding
officers refuse to even install water-saving dual-flush toilets.
Unless the Prime Minister has secretly had one fitted in his own suite, not
even he has a dual-flush, water saving loo.
Here's a few other things I would advise John Howard might think about:
a) Bring spending on Aboriginal health up to the same level as the rest of
us - after all, First Australians are dying 20 years to soon.
b) Give that great Nobel Peace Laureate and world-loved man of compassion,
the Dalai Lama of Tibet, a parliamentary reception when he comes back to
Australia next June.
c) Give every Australian a free tertiary education. Abolish HECS. And, go
on, tell the Elect Vessel of the Exclusive Brethren sect, who lives in your
electorate of Bennelong, to let Brethren kids go to university too. You know
him. Tell him that you won't tolerate repression of any Aussie family to the
point where their kids are banned from uni.
d) Visit the Burrup. See the rock art for yourself, and save it.
e) Call up Greenpeace. Get them to come back and re-erect those free solar
panels on your roof at Kirribilli - tell them that this time you won't rip
them down. They won't mind. We all make mistakes.
Speaking of which, I was elected to this Parliament in 1996, the same year
as John Howard was elected Prime Minister. I gave my maiden speech in the
Senate at the exact same hour as Pauline Hanson gave hers in the House of
Ten years later, may I say, humbly, that it is a pity for Australia that
John Howard took her direction, not mine.
We four Greens Senators are a robust team working so well together. We
have just endorsed party room rules which will help ensure good internal
governance as our team increases in Parliament in the coming years. These
rules are set for the day we have 40 members in our party room in Canberra,
not just four.
Let me read from the epilogue of our rules, because you won't find this in
the other parties' standing orders. Here it is:
"Our electoral obligation is to the voters of our age, but let us keep
future generations equally in mind, for we are also the custodians of their
Our aim is to put a smile on the faces of our grandchildren. And when, in
our mind's eye, we see those grandchildren smiling back, we all start
smiling too. That's the Australia, we Greens are working for.
Comparative Polling - by issue and party
Polling to accompany the National Press Club address of Senator Bob Brown,
leader of the Australian Greens November 1, 2006 Thinking about the next
federal election. Which party, or parties, do you think would be better for
each of the following issues?
Australian Labor Party 17.00% 29.20%
Liberal Party 15.40% 48.10%
The Nationals 2.80% 4.20%
The Greens 48.10% 1.90%
Family First 1.10% 0.70%
Australian Democrats 3.60% 2.10%
One Nation 0.80% 1.90%
ROY MORGAN SINGLE SOURCE AUSTRALIA : JUL 2005 - JUN 2006 Sample Size: 11,146

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ultimate Showdown

Have I ever said I wanted to die violently? that is to qualify that I don't want to die particularly but I want it to be spectacular. Not shitty sort of quiet in bed at home with family stuff. I'd support euthanasia if it allowed me to utilise qualified pyrotechnitians to give me a space age viking funeral.
Couple this thought with my love of challenge and what do you get - showdown, that's right as exciting a prospect as meeting a soulmate for me is meeting my nemisis.
I thought this is best experienced with some fucking great showdowns that are my ideal ending to a film, story, advertisement etc:

one piece part 1
one piece part 2
one piece part 3


clint being clint

lord gemma vs jubei kipagami
i searched for hours on you tube to find this one I would have thought it a shoe in but instead the best I could do was find a clip with some weird punk track over the top. I recommend seeing Ninja Scroll though if you enjoy gratuitous violence in your animated features.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Uno Muchachos

Zaman is worried about the australian values citizenship test which takes something from being annoying to personal. As in it is incoveniencing my friends. There where some demo questions about general info for the citizenship test.

What is the significance of gallipoli to Australians?

I don't fucking know. I don't fucking know why it's significant, I thought it was a military fuckup.

So how about this question existing Australians?

Who is Bungil?

What is the name of the traditional owners of your area's tribe?

The point is we didn't give a fuckeroo. We just came in took everything we liked. Disposessed the Australians of there land and possessions and then decided to impose a citizenship test to try and prevent our 'culture' from being threatened.
Here's some myths you may find often perpetuated in Australia:

Australia is significant - No it isn't, Opinions of prominent Australians recieve relatively little attention in foreign press and political circles, close relationships such as Mr Howards go largely unreported by foreign news services and have little impact on the outside world as they have had little impact with US foreign policy towards Australia.

Aussie Battlers - Just don't plain exist, Australians are in reality fabulously wealthy and lucky and socially secure by world standards. Very few people are genuinely struggling the myth is perpetuated to keep low income brackets feeling dissatisfied and dispossesed.

The Anzacs are heroes - Watch 'Flags of Our Fathers' the label hero is a political tool, an idiot getting themselves killed is described as a war hero in modern conflict, often 'war heroes' are not sporting heroes (eg. people with phenominal talent for war) war is the human cost of political and diplomatic bumblings that actually determine the outcomes of war, the label of war hero makes the vane sacrifice of human life seem worthwhile whereas it is most likely (particularly in modern times) a complete waste. Celebrating war heroes detracts attention away from the failings of the war mongers.

Americans are stupid - No they aren't, people often site the fact that many americans can't point to Australia on a map. Point to New York New York on an unmarked map, an economy larger than Australia and significant cultural center. I can't though I do have a rough impression of where it is. The US has produced Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Naom Chomsky, Carl Sagen... australia has produced Steve Irwin. Need I say more.

Mateship - firstly an indefinable term, secondly Australians are nasty pieces of work, with a failed state in their back yard and persecution of homosexuals in it's parliament. You know South Africa legalised Gay Marriage? you know Apartheid South Africa, now their more progressive than us! but that's right the only reason we don't have fucking apartheid here is because we never needed it. The aboriginal population has always been so small and poor to pose no threat whatsoever to maintaining a white democracy, that's why we never had apartheid, that's the only reason why.

I won't stand for the National Anthem anymore, I don't believe in it and integrity dictates I don't sing it. It's an old outmoded Australia that has that anthem. The anti Aussie Lebonese groups I don't identify with, I think they are reacting to a greater problem which is the insecurity of an unsustainable dying culture trying to assert itself when cornerered. White Australia is dying a slow agonizing death that I welcome as my family is larger now. It's getting intermarried and extended.

I will say this for Australia though, it provided me with the education to instill the values that directly contradict those it now tries so desperately to uphold.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dress Ups


So neither of us it turns out have much foresight. Last night was my works christmass function and amidst the worst fucking conditions out there we suited up and got the formal gear on. As such one of us ended up crashing at someone's place without a change of clothes.
Miki drew the short straw.
In my constant desire to dress pimpalicious I hit the op shops looking for a ruffled dress shirt the likes of which Kirk often appeared before me in.
No such fucking luck. Even in the usually rich pickings Brunswick tends to offer.
But I came across my first op shop find in a long time. Not even one of those finds hanging tightly wedged between two bulky canvassy articles your flicking through and stumble across.
No this one was sitting with fields of space around it. A fucking Orlando Magic 32 Jersey. One of the biggest selling Jerseys when I was eleven years old. Shaq's original. It doesn't fit me to good, but I still can't believe. $4 for something retro cool like that.
On checking ebay it turns out it's roughly half price anyway.
But alas Micky was chasing clothes to wear around today, and hence I got to play dress ups, so figuring I didn't have anything petite enough for her I'd go homeboy baggy and deck her out in my bball gear it offers more protection from the sun.
It was so gorgeous I hate to admit it but it was one of the few times I've had to grab a snap of someone.

Friday, December 08, 2006

God hates Australia

Something's cooking. Went for a walk not a half hour ago and noticed the abundance of acrid fucking eucalyptussy smoke to be inhaled. I'm guessing water restrictions, drought and bushfires make good bedfellows.
almost like moses' plagues eh. And just when it looked like Australia was getting progressive, at least SA capitalised by Adelaide the city of churches fucking passed a bill giving some legal recognition to same sex partners dealing with inheritance, next of kin status etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we're being punished for that but if I was God I'd be having some fun with pissant little Johnny about now for his 1950's politics.
Good luck to the Hicks vs Constitution of Australia case.


Australia hides a 'failed state'

INDIGENOUS Australia is a "failed state" within the nation, two former federal public servants conclude in a scathing critique of how the country deals with Aboriginal affairs.

They say that just as Australia tells Pacific countries they should reform their governance practices, so Australia "must itself get serious about this within its own borders if indigenous disadvantage is not to continue to worsen and adversely affect our national reputation and self-confidence".

They also call for an indigenous policy reform commission to drive sustained, national change.

Neil Westbury and Michael Dillon were both senior officials in the Prime Minister's department and they have most recently worked in the Northern Territory administration.

In a chapter for a forthcoming book, they call for changes in the way programs are delivered, and point to the difficulties imposed by the operation of the federal system. They also highlight the problem of the "progressive disengagement" of governments from direct involvement in remote Australia, and the need to acknowledge indigenous cultural perspectives in designing and delivering programs.

The existence of parallel delivery of services for indigenous and other citizens, while once warranted, may now be a major reason for indigenous people getting lesser services, they argue.

Federal financial relations operate to disadvantage remote regions because they do not adequately assess the needs for capital in these areas. In remote Australia, basic services normally provided by government are either not delivered or only partially provided.

"It is clear that to the extent that Australian institutions do not engage with indigenous citizens and fail to recognise the differing cultural perspectives that apply when implementing their policies and programs, they are thus doubly ineffective in addressing disadvantage."

They say a comprehensive reform agenda is beyond the capacity of federal, state and territory ministers for indigenous affairs. A fundamental long-term strategy requires the commitment of the Prime Minister, premiers and chief ministers, and should be done through the Council of Australian Governments.

Meanwhile, allegations that hundreds of Victorian Aborigines had wages and entitlements stolen from them over decades must be urgently investigated by the State Government, a federal parliamentary committee says.

Indigenous Victorians suffered government controls over their employment and pay in a similar way to Aborigines in other states where it has been proved that wages were stolen, evidence to the committee suggests. These controls included rules that "half-caste" boys be made apprentices or sent to work on farms, while girls be sent to work as servants.

Aboriginal workers could have their terms of employment dictated by the Victorian Government, while their wages could be paid to a guardian who was meant to use the money for the benefit of the person or their family.


from todays 'the age'

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

He's getting ink done

Now he's getting a tattoo
He's gettin' ink done
He asked for a '13', but they drew a '31' - Pretty Fly for a White Guy - The Offspring

My first multicolour post, the overstimulation is killing me. I thought I'd dedicate today's post to tattoos. I've heard of some good tattoos in my time, Steve-O get's a nod for getting himself tattoed on his back.
I thought I'd lazily post up some pictures of some of my favorites. (tip: often tattoo magazine's have as much if not more breasts and vagina's on display as many unwrapped porno. You can pick these up and read them and feel cool at the same time. So long as your into people with tattooed genitals.)

Okay so from left to right we got samurai irezumi, if I got a tattoo it would have to be via hardcore traditional irezumi, using a 'brush' of sharpened bamboo needles jabbed into the back to lift the skin up then painted skillfully with ink. Aparantly it's intensely painful, James told me getting his balls waxed hurt more than his tattoo, and I don't show my balls to many men, just a few. So not only do you look hardcore the tattoo is a show of your manly strength.

Moving on to exhibit B, womanly Irezumi, that's right women are just as tough as girls, so it's not just about testosterone and wife beating and attending tattoo and bike shows, it is a legitimate form of art. Much like clothing tattoos tell a story. Her's tells an epic about flowers and a dragon. The moral, I don't have a clue. But it looks good and thats the most important thing.

Now there's stories and there's blogs. Leading me to the small tattoo on AI's neck. One of the pioneer 'gangsta' basketballers. His rap LP more infamous than Shaq's. If ever there was a collection of cool looking haphazard and expressive tattoos then it's on AI, and many bballers that have come along to copy him since. (So many they released a book on ballers tattoos).

What's stopping me? My fickle nature and desire to wear short sleeved shirts to work. James advised me to never draw your own tattoos because you'll keep finding fault in them. Good advice.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oprah's Favorite Things

Is there any more consumerist episode of any show a year than the one where Oprah gives away shit like an $80 white t-shirt? fucking bullshit.
There are small tokens I've recieved in the past year that have turned my life round dramatically, now if only you could grab a bunch of yokels and stick them in a TV studio and give them things like this and have them turn into decent human beings.
Anyway here's the things:

#1. Bundy and Cola from Alumbra - I've had a few of these handed to me over the course of my life but none significantly changed my life like the last one from my former manager George, that I then gave away to Miki, the prop I needed to get an intro and lead me out of the desert I had been 'finding myself' in for the past year.

#2. Bob Dylan - Time out of Mind LP - burnt. One of those truly selfless gestures. Mum had some work colleague who had been abused as a child get excited when he heard how I'd been struggling with my breakup. He'd gone home and burnt me a disc of this album his favorite to cry to, and told Janice to give it to me and to tell me not to be a man and just cry. Morley's breakup advice was don't listen to music, but this was a turning point for me from being out of control to back in control. I was still grieving badly enough to actually need music to sleep. So I figured what the fuck and chucked this on. And I freely admit I cried, and cried. It was none of this Emo bullshit though about how life isn't fair. Just unapologetic plain old 'I feel sorry for myself' it allowed me so quickly to get so much out of the way. It also made me want to go chill in New Orleans. Then Katrina buried that.

#3. Mia's Earthsharing Challange Business Card - First off I'm always impressed when someone actually trusts me enough to show me something they care about, so I was always going to check it out. But being so simply and innocently drawn into the Economics of Henry George turned a lot of my thinking upside down and pulled the wool from my eyes so I felt as if I could see having been blind, by pure reason. It also opened a big door into new social circles and opportunites through my further involvement with progress Australia.
I also for some reason have clear glass sliding doors on my bedroom I have to cover with posters for privacy as my room front's onto the living room. the card now fills up a nice gap betwixt posters.

#4. De La Soul - I can't really say how I was given this whether it was Amrish burning cd's for me physically or Chris playing it in his car in the rat where I heard it for the first time. But like that I switched from alternative rock to Hip Hop. I rarely listen to FNM these days, a band that takes 75 spots of the 100 frequently played list on my ipod. That's a big change for me.

#5. A Guide to Grief - This was given to me by my councillour last year, which got me to start volunteering which in turn introduced me to Yusuke, who in turn inspired me to cut my hair, which in turn inspired me to change more or less everything else in my stagnant predictable image.

#7. It'll be Morning - my first ever zine purchase, made me realise what was lacking in my life. Creative outlet. Now I'm an artiste again. Sorta.

You know obviously this list aint complete but fucking never look a gift horse in the mouth, you never know when some small token will completely change your outlook on something. Infact you should hope for it, becuase life certainly doesn't belong to the predictable.

Fish out of Water

I along with almost all others don't really like Ian Thorpe, beyond all others I didn't even like him in the pool at the olympics. But I got to hand it to the guy, his retirement is possibly the most prominent example of the medicine for the times I've scene to date.
The incomprehension inherant or however the fuck it's spelt in the media of his decision was evident with memorial posters, articles on his greatness but amid all the hype the man's actual words shone through to me.
To the effect of 'You swim up and down looking at a black line all day one day you get to the end look up and around you and realise there's more to the world than swimming.' I've scene Jordan interviews where with complete modesty he explained that when he was at his level you really have to push yourself to become better, there's no opponent for you out there to spur you on.
I think they're two very different cases.
I must admit when I first heard Ian Thorpe was thinking of resigning I followed pack mentality - he's never going to be as big doing anything else but swimming. It'll be true, whether he becomes fashion designer or celebrity chef or brings out his own signature birkenstock he is famous for one reason, his ability to swim various lengths of water faster than anyone has previously. An activity so valuable to society he has become a millionaire from it.
But such mentallity runs contrary to what I believe we are alive for, if the purpose is enjoying life then Thorpe has made the exact right decision.
See economic theory holds this up to be true: If you can earn more money you take that course of action. Based on the assumption that material goods can satisfy wants and needs. Put simply the gap between yourself presently and your ideal state is a matter of purchasing things and as such you will pursue more money endlessly.
But it's patently untrue, otherwise every woman I know would be working in porno for the easy dosh. Patently some job's suck. Thorpe is not a robot designed to mindlessly swim laps of a pool and he's decided to forgo a few more million dollars to spend his time just enjoying life.
The way things are we have a vested interest in describing such downshifting as crazy, incomprehensible we simply shut out the message Thorpe is sending us, ignoring it completely. We assume 'The pressures too much' or 'he doesn't have the energy' or 'he's losing his form' and not 'he doesn't fucking enjoy it'
I made a friend of the new training manager at work, bubbly guy which is annoying but smart, suspiciously smart I wonder what he's doing working for us. He told me an economic nobel prize winning model based on a story of a couple that had reunited after some years apart and found they had grown apart and struggled with conversation and stuff. They where at the husband's mothers place and someone suggested they could go to Mulharvey or some place for dinner. They all take a non commital stance and defer to each others judgement until they inevitably go to Mulharvey for dinner. Afterwards driving home the mother says to the son 'well are you happy now you've had your dinner in Mulharvey?' the accusatory tone puts him on the backfoot and they eventually start laughing (for reasons unknown to me) when they realise that at no point had anyone actually said they wanted to go to Mulharvey for dinner.
Another example of this all so common mentallity was the aparent Heads of the CIA, FBI and whoever that were advising Nixon on the watergate bugging and burglary. Aparantly each individually had thought that what Nixon proposed was illegal and just plane stupid, however each advisor in turn was afraid to speak up for fear of what action/stance the other would take, they only found out come trial stage that they all thought it was the wrong move, just none had been willing to show their hand before the others did.
With that in mind look at Thorpe's job, he has to swim up and down a pool faster than anyone else. The skill is non transferable, it's not really to be blunt even inspirational. Conditions for competition swimming are so controlled you can't even really see how it would apply in a natural predicament. Thorpe get's paid in sponsorship more than a surgeon or diplomat to swim up and down through a body of water because once every two years or so it packs out some stadiums and gets television coverage. Hundreds of people cheer for him because beating other contries in this event creates national pride even though the performance is individual and there's little commutable achievement. Infact we may even find most other countries care as little about swimming as we care about table tennis.
So Thorpe's literally a tool to help us feel better about ourselves as a paltry insignificant nation of very little character to boast of. And he's said enough, I'm not doing it anymore, I want to paint. Sure we won't pay him as much to do whatever it is he's going to do other than swimming, but if he enjoys that and doesn't enjoy swimming we should respect the decision and think about how we exert most of our energies, following an unspoken script too afraid to break convention and do what we want or fucking just doing what we want with our one chance in existence to do it.

tohm 4 days without junk food.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Favorite Album

A program like ABC's my favorite album tells a lot about the australian music market and culture of Australia.
I don't have a copy of the list but it was something like:

10. U2 - some piece of shit
9. Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell
8. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magic
7. Led Zeppelin - 4
6. Nirvana - Nevermind
5. Beatles - Sgt Peppers
4. Beatles - Abbey Road
3. Radiohead - OK Computer
2. Jeff Buckley - Grace
1. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

I gotta say the panelist I found myself agreeing with most often was dicko, fuck, as Judith Lucy said 'aren't you the guy who brought Shannon Noel to us all?'
I'd qualify these polls as all having one thing in common, Democratic process often removes all chance of producing any quality list. One thing I do agree with is the dominance by 60's and 90's albums, one thing I don't and reflects poorly on unprogressive Australia is the complete absence of Black artists from the list.
Mif Taylor the complete wrong person to host what in the end was a fairly balanced panel was the wrong person to host it but hit that demographic the managed to get the most unworthy album in my opinion #2 in the list. #2 & especially #3 are those quintessential overated albums out on the market.
Dying was the best thing Jeff Buckley did, the statement was made and validated by all bar Miff that Jeff would not be in the list if he had mixed alcohol with night swimming as opposed to Nevermind that would be there even if Kurt was still alive today. Jeff Buckley's a bandwagon and I enjoy his songs but they were covers at the end of the day they were covers and I like a fucker who can fucking play but you gotta write your own music.
Radiohead is just plain fucking overrated, I can't stress it enough. the early 90's were something special, in fact if anything the early 90's were the American equivalent in music to Britain's late 60's. The likes of Beatles, Cream, Led Zep, Jimi Hendrix, The Who were being matched in the 90's by the US's Nirvana, Faith No More, Mettallica, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Primus, Jane's Addiction. These are what when I'm 80 I'll be thankful I was alive for this often overlooked musical period.
For me OK Computer for the 6 weeks I enjoyed the pop over the pretentiousness, the Beatles like inability of so many fans to move on where white music changed again, as riske as the album was supposed to be it did the opposite of the Nirvana blowing away manufactured music of the 80's and having to take risks on bands with genuine creativity to Radio Head's new status as a band that can release any old contrived shit and be a hit, Radio Head didn't carry with it a genre of musicians who deserved a tilt at the charts, it was depressing and unempowered a lot like Buckley, and just fundamentally over rated, it is hard to see OK Computers influence on anything other than the bouyancy in the charts afforded to albums like Kid A and Amnesiac that let's face it wouldn't even be listened to in the first place if it wasn't for Radiohead having there name on it.
Nirvana changed the music industry briefly for the better with Nevermind and gave a bunch of artists particullarly in the Seattle Grunge scene but also at the time when Alternative truly was the appropriate label and covered such a breadth of musical offerings that hasn't been seen since 97 and the emergance of Nu Metal.
That being said I think it unarguable that Dark Side of The Moon shouldn't be number one, It's not my favorite album but in terms of what it offers it shits on the rest of the list. Plus it's good to see a demograph vote match up with the voting of the feet, no other album will ever stay in the charts for 14 years, that's as close to timeless as you'll ever get.
My list would probably be just as devisive, and obviously wouldn't represent the demographics of Baby Boomers with sheer numbers and internet savy Gen Y's who are still giving the crawling ABC a chance. Mine would look like:

10. Pearl Jam - Ten
9. Soundgarden - Down on the Upside
8. Beatles - Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
7. Pink Floyd - Animals
6. De La Soul - De La Soul is Dead
5. Beatles - White Album
4. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Maruaders
3. Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced
2. Faith No More - King For A Day
1. Cream - Wheels of Fire

I find it as hard to explain what I look for in Rock music as I do explaining how I tell good Hip Hop from Bad. I've tried to Avoid duplications but it is worth noting, I owe a massive apology to Hip Hop in general. I explain myself by way of saying it is hard for a teenager in Australia to understand. Hip Hop is clouded by the charts, an abundant supply of pop artists whether they call themselves poets or gangsta's or whatever they are shitty pop acts. It is hard in a market like Autralia to feel hip hop. I understand if one was to look at white music like punk and rock through the prism of the charts they'd be hard pressed to jump on board, fortunately I had access to the non machine driven albums of the 60's and Nirvana's miraculous break out of music artists of the early 90's where the chart machine just fell apart and was an entrepreneur's game. It took Nine Inch Nails of all bands to introduce me to fucking A Tribe Called Quest and I was hooked from the get go, the Anthology changed my life and then it took 6 more years and Faith No More's Mike Patton doing a side project with Dave Nakamura to introduce De La Soul to me, aside from that there was PE, RATM and Cypress Hill that managed to make a break for rap and two of those are Latino.
My point is it's hard to make the break when you've been raised on white bread but I'm glad the slow agonising process is happening for me if not mainstream Australia, because Hip Hop may be just the single most Unique* thing to have emerged in my lifetime.

*Aside from Mike Patton I mean my chart if I really had my way would look like this:

10. De La Soul - 3 feet High and Rising
9. A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory
8. De La Soul - De La Soul is Dead
7. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Maruaders
6. FNM - We Care A Lot
5. Cream - Farewell Cream
4. FNM - Album of the Year
3. Cream - Disreali Gears
3. FNM - Angel Dust
2. FNM - King For A Day
1. Cream - Wheels of Fire

You know Just cos I like some variety. Check it out fuck it up all right.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Chance of Success

Aparntly if you tell people about your goal it makes you more likely to succeed at it. Well this month I have said goodbye, fast food. Mia always sneers when I tell her I can go 6 month stretches either eating out or getting myself invited to dinner. And it's crazy I enjoy cooking, but even if I'm lazy I'm still willing to circumnavigate melbourne on my bike to get a free feed.
So there we go 2 days down 29 to go and let's face it where all likely to down something greasy on 1st January 2007.
So I'll be signing off like this:

peace out,

tohm 2 days without fast food.