Thursday, October 30, 2008

Urban Ninja

This time last year I was in Japan. This time 25 years ago I was approaching 4 weeks old. I've been reading Bruce Campbell's memoirs on and off and it got me wondering about me own.

One thing I do know, is that I'm glad I have this blog. I hope it can survive as well as the tedious journals and diaries of yore did. I mean maybe my kid will one day want to know what a cocktard his/her old man was in 2007.

Come to think of it, I actually find going back and reading my own blog posts highly entertaining. This scares me a lot.

I also found individuist thinker Ayn Rand quote the other day that I kind of agree with and makes me wonder about whether I should be blogging.

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

It's more than I can comprehend in this sitting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Twain 09

A question has been raised in America as to priorities that I fear will prove devisive for a long time until a passive form of social darwinism takes hold. It occured to me as I caught a snippet of interview on the radio before turning the dial (metaphorically, I actually just pushed a button) to triple j as at the time a whim had overtaken me to make pancakes and another whim reminded me that triple j didn't lay much music during the day.

Anyway, it was a series of interviews in Texas that proved curious because the constituents were firmly laying the blame at the feet of George Bush for more or less every catastrophy that has beset the world...


Many said they would vote republican, because they believe abortion is a sin.

Frankly I am of the mind that neither candidate really presents arguements that convince me they have the stones, the chutzpah, the cajones, the kathy bates and the aretha franklins to make the necessary reforms.

But it just strikes me that there is a heirarchy of voting preferences such that -

people can lose their jobs.
people can lose their homes.
people can lose their civil liberties (patriot act).
people can lose all their retirement savings.
people can be deployed to war on false pretenses.
people can be killed in universally unpopular wars.
a country can lose all respect in the global community.
a global financial system can be brought to virtual catastrophic collapse.
tax payers can fork out trillions of dollars in buying up bad debt.
But I will not abide one form of murder that is abortion not even if the pregnancy is the result of rape because GOD hates that.

I mean I sort of understand the logic, it's the same as if I found a cake tin with $10,000 cash stashed in it (or better yet 1 euro) and whilst clearly I would be better off just keeping the money, I know the right thing to do is to report the item as 'found' to the police.

I would probably do this simply because it has been engrained into my brain as 'the right thing to do' from my formative years.

But woah, I mean Bush's legacy will hopefully be a lesson learned that a bad president can do way more damage than any extremist terrorists could do. On 9-11-01 many Americans watching the news were gripped with the terror that planes were just going to start falling out of the sky and America would be obliterated.

As resource intensive and widespread a hijacking would need to be to achieve this, the government still grounded all planes partially to assuage this fear.

Yet it turns out much more likely to destroy your home and leave you fending for yourself on the streets was the irresponsable fiscal and economic policy of the Bush administration.

That's why it breaks my heart that Mark Twain had America stitched up and nailed down in the 1890's and it has deteriorated from there.

Religion plays more of a role in politics than it did then thanks to mass media.
Nationalism and patriotism are far more fanatical now.
America (and indeed the world, but the world didn't produce someone as brilliant as Mark Twain) still vests huge amounts of money into alienating itself and promoting unrealistic ideals.

I'd vote for Mark Twain as president because there would be no way 'Intelligent design' would even be allowed to get off the ground.
America's foreign relations and immigration policies would be a whole lot more constructive and relaxed.
And most of all instead of hearing, lofty empty rhetoric all the time we might hear something witty and insightful.
Abe Lincoln never went to church. He'd never get in today, too devisive.

Democracy must be inherantly flawed if the system has evolved in order to keep leaders like Mark Twain and Abe Lincoln out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Matrix Bonanza! Working & Dating

Somebody asked me for a recommendation of a good career counsellour. I immediately launched into a know-all rant which I doubt is helpful, but I also realised that this blog is the place for me to self indulgently rant. Also an opportunity to throw in another matrix.

When considering your career options I advocate an a-priori self centered approach. I arrived at this approach from my approach to dating.

WARNING! My approach to dating both IS and ISN'T for everyone. What I mean is based on my advice results may vary.

Let's kick off! Basically the methodology for dating which is much hotter to talk about than careers is underpinned by the founding assumption that - there is no universal answer.

It isn't like say Tennis Rankings, where if Pete Sampras loses this or that tournament he is then overtaken by Andre Agassi. It isn't an objective rigorous heirarchy. I never want to devote any effort to analysing 'hottest' lists but I would guestimate that it has more to do with the recency of the last quality exposure.

I've labored this point too much, what I'm saying is that beautiful people are a dime a dozen, there are at least more than 100 you can vote for who have fame, money and celebrity.


Many people subscribe to a belief that this then forms some kind of dating heirarchy. A model that works by: Angelina Jolie is number 1, so every guy in the world tries to get with her, Brad Pitt is the number 1 guy, so he gets her. Then the number 2 is the next person most like Angelina Jolie so let's say John Voit is the number 2 girl you can get with. So then the no 2 is the guy who looks most like Brad Pitt. In Ocean's 11 Matt Damon could be described as 'the poor man's Brad Pitt' so logically under a strict dating hierarchy we would expect to see John Voit and Matt Damon cuddling up.

Doesn't happen, but yet these celebrities sponsor an entire industry of products and expectations built around a 'universal preference' such as everybody wants to get with a girl like Angelina Jolie, so everybody should emulate Brad Pitt. And vice versa.

Now I didn't idly choose Angelina Jolie, it just so happens that do to repititious viewings of both Heat and more significantly Deliverance, I cannot actually stand to look at Angelina Jolie. All I see is John Voit, her facial structure is too identical it's just too disturbing. And then all I can think of is some toothless hillbilly raping a fat man up the arse while fantasizing about a pig.
Here it is:

Maybe you can sympathise with me now.

So I wouldn't want to emulate Brad Pitt, because I would be living a constant reminder of one of the few scenes in a movie I've ever come across that just plain makes me sick.

And here at last I arrive at my dating strategy: just be yourself. And don't just be yourself: Insist on being yourself. Whilst up front this may seem like a stupid idea, I do believe that ultimately the dating game is about rejection not acception. This should be the default mindset!

Reject, reject, reject.

If the default answer wasn't no. We would have two dozen mismatched relationships in every bar outing. We always reject the general public and usually hone in on one person.

Make it simple for some one to hone in on you, the real you. For example, me...

I love Basketball, I like Batman enough to hate 99% of his incarnations (my favorite is Adam West's). I think a man's choice in facial hair is no business of their sexual partners. My face, my choice. I could go on, but this suffices.

In my vague impressionistic sense wearing an impeccable suit to cup day with a neat faux-hawk and being clean shaven is probably a good way to pick up the ladies. Many retail outlets would encourage this belief.

It would probably work, which is a problem. The lady I attract has gotten with me under the false pretense that I actually like to wear suits, can be bothered shaving, and enjoy attending glamorous events like the Melbourne Cup.

I have two options, devote tremendous effort to preserving the lie in order to get laid or just give up and go back to the other things that make my life enjoyable.

Alternatively, I could just go to no effort at all, be me, go to the occasional party my friends put on and occasionally and unpredictably I come across someone who just finds me interesting.

This is the beautiful thing about the dating scene, there are lot's and lots of people in the world, alive and different. There is almost no reason for us to compete over mates, unlike say a Sea cow needs to because they bread with the entire harem.

Over the years I have had a number of sexual partners, my average relationship probably lasts around at least a year (some longer, some shorter) and I'm fairly certain I've had more sex (albeit far less partners) than some of my more attractive and promiscuous friends who have to do things like wait for the weekend to pick up.

Sure you have to wait for an opportunity of two people that find eachother interesting and attractive enough to hook up and want to get to know better. But these rare incidents have proved to me far more rewarding than those occasions where I've cashed in on my athletic physique and golden curly locks in highschool in order to hook up with someone hot but of little common interest and for that matter little different interest.

And lastly a job is just like this. Be yourself, as much yourself as you can be. This is the secret to avoiding both painful careers you hate and painful relationships with partners you secretly hate.

It's the horstman's matrix: You have two good outcomes and two bad outcomes.

Accept Reject
Be Yourself (^-^) (^-^)

Be Someone Else (;_;) (;_;)

So if you are yourself when you go for a job and they accept you, it means the company and manager probably share your outlook in life and career ambitions. If they reject you it means the companies values differ from you fundamentally and THIS IS ALSO A GOOD OUTCOME.
If you pretend to be someone else and get the job, it may seem good in the short term but in the end you have landed a job that requires you to keep lying every day. It's going to drain you, drive you insane and eventually drag everyone down. You may even get fired.
Worst of all (apparantly) if you be someone else 'play the game' and get rejected, you'll never know if it was that person right for you.

Same same for dating, surely the worst outcome would be for you to forego wearing your slayer shirt in order to wear a salmon coloured polo ralph lauren number with jeans and those white shoes italian kids and fuckheads wear. You go out and meet one of those uber hot goth girls in a moth eaten slayer shirt who has the pig tails and horn rimmed glasses combo going AND doesn't wear make up and she turns you down because you look like a complete tool.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it one you can maintain.

Okay so maybe this wasn't a matrix bonanza, it is I'm fairly certain the second time I've used a matrix to illustrate a point. This other post was fairly well recieved too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Positive Developments in the Land of Comedy

Which reminds me that Morley's Web 2.0 rise to comic stardom seems to have abandoned its net dependancy which I always found questionable as a dependancy anyway.

Just check out how many obscure facebook friends (and even legitimate facebook friends) band gigs I've ever attended.

Anyway back to today's feature presentation...

Bogan Pride, poorly sold by SBS I checked it out because in a way I know Rebel Wilson by 2 degrees of seperation, and it followed on from Southpark or Top Gear.
Basically this show suffers from only one thing and perhaps its a good commentary on what Australian comedy suffers from across the board - "The musical" where you take anything at all and just tack "the musical" on the end and suddenly it's a comic masterpiece.

In the past decade this has actually only been true of "Paul Keating...........the musical" and nothing else.

And it's certainly not true of bogan pride. But I have to say overall it does remind me of Father Ted in the use of obvious set ups and surprising punch lines. The two episodes I've seen were truly excellent in terms of casting, extras and ridiculousness.

Example from memory:

RW: Why would you use an abreviation when you have to spend more time explaining it to people?

Skank: Why would you go on living when your the fugliest girl in school?

RW: I'm not the fugliest girl in school, hello Joe Bloggs? [can't remember actual name]

Skank: ha! Joe Bloggs killed herself over summer.

That taunting exchange won me over. The show is high quality in terms of dialogue driven humour. It picks on christians which everybody is doing but well, they deserve it they believe stupid stuff.

Furthermore what I surprisingly like a lot is that the ensemble cast plays as strong a part as the lead and contribute equally, and the only male characters are one line extras.

But it's subtle, it's not one of those nauseating affirmitive action female comedy fests that is packaged and sold on its femininity. Partially like Kath & Kim you simply don't notice that gender plays a role in the construction of the show. It just is. That's what comedy needs to be. The traditional male comic profession isn't conscious of the fact that they are male adn they play to a broad audience.

The next one is ABC2 program Review with Miles Barlow. It's a beautifully clever show. I didn't know about its first season but it's the most original and clever fucking program the ABC has produced in memory.

Sure spicks and specks and the glass house and Good News Week by any other name have their large audiences, but I think the ABC would do better to adopt a contrarian strategy and just say 'let's try and lose this BBC satire loving, world war II romantacizing, new inventors watching audience we are embedded'

Review is just bizarre, psychotic and just fucking clever. It has wreckage, it's really clever and quite adult without again one being conscious of the fact. Yes, I've only seen one episode but in it he reviewed Murder and Divorce.

It was just fucking hilarious. That's all that needs to be said. Hopefully between Review and Bogan pride we can actually see some evolution in Australian comedy that has been badly stalling since Working Dog and GNW last emerged.

Clever interesting comedians aren't a once in 40 year production, they must exist in almost every year level graduating. It's a fucking bell curve people.

"This is awkward" and other things I should have said

I bike store is a kind of sanctuary, I understand them, they make sense. I trust bike stores, I trust the staff.
My personal favorite is Ray's Bicycles Brunswick which is a bit far away now. So I usually go to BSB or whatever they are in the CBD. It's overpriced but I imagine so is their rent. I needed to buy new brakes because I had stopped trusting mine and thus started travelling slow in that great paradox of speed: brakes allow you to go faster.
So I went in, and the three clerks I guess you'd call them were standing around having a chat. I was acknowledged, then I interupted the guy to ask him where brakes are. He recommended the cheapest, I stared perplexed for a couple of seconds, then figured I'd figure out how to install them. I told the dude I'd 'take these ones' and then he asked me if I just needed the pair or whether I grab both.
So I just decided to change both over, guy doubled his revenues and I realised much sooner that a pack of two would cover front or back brakes but not both, because frankly I had brain freeze from a particularly frozen slurpy I had wolfed down in order to enter the store and not look like a moron.

Of course I ended up entering the store and behaving like a moron, but appearances count.

Anyway I've finally decided to replace my crappy suspension based nikes that I'm pretty sure I only bought so I could install that running ipod feature that I found out was only compatible with the nano and was so outraged that I would be required to be a 'nanofag' who listened to less than 120 songs on rotation whilst doing exercise more for show than to seriously hurt myself...

I lost control of that sentance so I'll just move on.

Anyway I went into Hype DC or whatever which had a 'help wanted' which turned out to be more like 'help needed' which is something clever I could have said if anybody was there to listen to me.

I did the 360 of the store to check out what was on offer shoewise and found that the world of sneakers is a strange and confounding world where I have no idea how to avoid buying sneakers that will make me look like a wanker.

It's been a long time since I last bought a pair of shoes I couldn't wait to scuff the fuck up so they looked shitty and old. Alas the class of '08 is just that uninspirational. The past couple of shoes I have enjoyed immensely until they turned fucking shit brown and started smelling liek sweat. I remember before that having cons and other great shoes that I loved more for their ability to go brown and smell like sweat.

Anyway I identified a number of shoes that were suitably black with enough colour to satisfy my wear bright colours policy and looked to the guy behind the counter to enquire about sizes and trying shit on and so forth.

Guy was having what struck me as a personal conversation. If not a personal conversation a very gossipy and protracted work related call. Recaling he had been on the call (or perhaps a different call) since I walked in, I waited what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes then turned my attention to a more distant staffer.

We made eye contact and I waved. Her response seemed...well positive acknowledgement. I figured she'd figure that I had some kind of enquiry. Anyway the wave/acknowledgement manouvre went so well, I decided to cross the floor to talk to her, because why the fuck should she come to me.
I walked up and was I think saying something like 'hi...' when she went back to what I presume must be some kind of stocktake or some shit. So I thought 'ah, she's just checking this one to save her place.' Just like I might finish a paragraph and fold the corner of a page in a book I'm reading.

But she just continued. 'exc...' I attempted to say. Now I was nervous though, had I missed something in the wave/aclnowledgement exchange. In my haste to cross over with my enquiry had she said 'I can't help you.' or something like that?

So I stood there for what must have been 30 seconds. Waiting for some acknowledgement. She though seemed to become more and more absorbed in looking at the list and turning and inspecting shoes.

I looked over at the dude behind the desk and he was quite involved in his conversation.

I presume I furrowed my brows and thought 'fuck this, fuck them and their families' and decided to walk out and find shoes elsewhere.

I later realised that rather than the 'you should have been more assertive, demanded at least an answer' which someone could say, but fuck? is that what retail has come to? A need for assertive customers?

Anyway I realised I should have just said 'this is awkward' to name the emotion in the room, the predicament the two lazy ass sunday staffers had created between them.

I just mention this because I have long been a vocal opponent of the American concept of good service, which is where retail staff won't quit offering to help me. It's why I hate using the catalogue at Borders, because some fucking staffer will ask me if I need help.

If I needed help would I try the catalogue first? Am I searching for your location on the computer? Fuck off, I'm trying to help myself.

In America it is worse. Borders staff wander the store and interrupt me when I'm trying to read to ask if I need help. There I should have said 'yes can you read this aloud to me?'

Anyway, Hype is like the opposite of that extreme, where they go to such extensive effort to avoid bothering a customer that they simply pretend customers don't exist.

Obvoiusly I had always thought there was a finite limit on how far this ideology could go because at some point the customer has to pay for the goods.

Evidently I'm missing something. Maybe I'm supposed to just pick up two different sizes of two different pairs of right shoes throw my money over the counter and run out without trying to bother the staff.

I used to be with it....(;_;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Andrew Denton/Oprah Winfrey/Parkinson/Kosche asks: Why didn't you consider public office?

I reply: Well, in a word Astringency which I just discovered today after reading an excellent opinion piece in Time magazine is like the opposite of empathy, before that I'd been relying on the german word - Schadenfreude as a prominent tendency of mine that I thought would eventually evolve into a PR liability. You know the fact that I seem to delight in the misfortune of others I don't empathise with.

And essentially as I see it the democratic process has evolved into a demerit system where the public is the unaccountable tyrant. Scapegoating is the modus operandi of all governments but it is crucially necessitated by the fact that the general population can not be found accountable.

Fat cat's on wall street, that shall remain nameless, because they are nameless, because they don't exist. I mean are there people who work in the finance sector that do stupid irresponsible stuff? yes. Are there people who work in the Automotive industry, the medical industry, the forestry industry, the retail grocery industry and the NGO development and aid agency industry that do stupid irresponsible stuff? without ANY exception YES! joy!

Why? Because they have stupid customers. But it's considered business suicide to blame your customers.

In principle I agree, but I cannot accept that 'the customer is always right' or that tyranny of the majority doesn't exist.

Imagine you have a friend in your circle that lives with their conservative parents but enjoys experimenting with some party drugs. Now the parents no doubt will probably err on the far too astringent side, but suppose that friend then seeks out an enclave of people more empathic to his hobby.

So he moves out of home, stops associating with the parents and over a long process of selection surrounds himself with as many people as possible that share his habit and are keen to reinforce and escalate it?

I mean take any kind of addictive behavior and you'll find there's always demand for enablers. People who help you continue with the behavior. The bad news is that life is full of enablers because its easy to do.

I have far more friends, notably Harvard, that would rather eat with me in a restaurant than go running or cycling with me. Because it's much harder to muster up the will power to run or cycle, but its pretty easy to just order some food, eat and pay.

Eating is about the only vice I engage in these days, apart from plain old sloth I guess.

But I hope people can see that our mentality is punishing people for having a stance that has left our government incapable of actually dealing with anything.

In our desire to have leaders who are not negative, and only negative about being negative, we end up totally unaccountable.

So in conclusion, the time article I linked to up top, covers the issue much more succinctly and eloquently than I do. I just got a fancy new word to use.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sell Australian

One hand washes the other. I thought since the world seems pretty doom & gloom right now I'd go tabloid and stoke the flames of nationalistic outrage, I'm talking famine.

For years a massive media campaign has been urging the public of Australia to 'buy Australian' with fears that jobs may go overseas, or that we were being dooped into buying inferior products or some shit.
In reality the ask was to buy the produce of Australian business despite it not being competitive in delivering value over international businesses. I was assured in my marketing course that almost no economist would 'provide any argument in favor of buying Australian'.

If your friend starts making home made icecream, try it. If they start selling you their homemade icecream, by all means buy it. If it's shit you want to discourage them as quickly as possible and the best way to do that is to stop buying it.

Australian businesses unlike our friends have recourse though, they can go to the government and ask for subsidies. Which is your money anyway. So they can stay in business after they stopped being competitive. In some cases long after.

It's not a strategy for success, and that's probably why Ford is laying off so many employees despite Bracks finding in his report that the company had a future and needed more subsidies and it's also why I don't buy Australian.

But as a thought exercise turn the tables to see if we can uncover some hypocrisy. As the RBA cuts rates to stimulate the economy it may seem that Australian home owners are better off, getting $50 a month or so extra padding in their hip pocket. But the dollar plunges against other currencies, so the Australian home owner loses value on their house against other currencies, and purchasing power against foreigners.

What that means is that for Australian's houses got a little cheaper this year in Aussie dollars, for a US citizen however Australian houses already dropped 40% in value. Similarly, so did our beef, wheat, wood chips, minerals, ore, oil and whatever other exports are out there.

So now that an Australian consumer is about half as attractive to our farmers as a US consumer now, will they 'Sell Australian' even though we are so much less competitive?

Carried to an extreme it's the behaviour of producers during a famine. There's some quote from some guy I snatched off Wiki-pedia

Cecil Woodham-Smith, an authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger; Ireland 1845-1849 that,
“ issue has provoked so much anger or so embittered relations between the two countries (England and Ireland) as the indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation. ”

Ireland remained a net exporter of food throughout most of the five-year famine.

That's disputed, but it's that extreme example of suppliers overlooking the struggle of hard working but uncompetitive customers. The same improbably could happen here.

I say it's improbable because Australia produces so much food beyond their domestic need anyway, but it's not impossible.

Say a decrease in the Australian dollar against world currencies means a decrease in buying power and an increase in selling power. Our exporters laugh, our importers cry.

So will there be a campaign that says "Sell Australian" will Aussie farmers turn their nose up at economic advantage and personal wealth in order to sell well below market prices to Australian consumers out of a sense of patriotic pride?

Somehow I doubt it. It just isn't human nature.

So don't buy fucking Australian, it's not how the world works.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I have a grooming kit again, and so can groom away.

It's addictive. I expect I will shave my toes by the end of the month.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lubed up, rode hard, got fucked

I don't know how to spell lubed, as in a past tense of lube, as in lubrication.
Anyway, on Saturday I completed my intensive training program in preparation for Melbourne's infamous 'Bay in the Day' event.
It was also the commencement of my preparation, my only preparation and it involved lubing my bike chain, I also checked my tire pressure.

Then the next morning I got up and dad and I rode off (in a car) towards the bay.

Now I bookended a week with a half marathon on one side and 150km bike ride. I have to say mentally the footrace is worse, but physically the bike was much harder in semi-unexpected places.

I have never been in an event that was quite literally pure endurance, well not for a long long time. There were a bunch of cyclists that cruised past doing about 40km/hour that must be trying to make a good time, but for me it quickly became simply going to Sorrento and back on a bicycle.

And man, my back seized up, my knees swelled my cardio felt fine but my arse my fucking arse was killing me.

I had been dreaming since Europe of getting out my bike explodinator for some explosive cycling action. No 14kg bags on my pack. No 20kg bike to pedal. I just had a flat bar road bike.

And yes it was way way faster than it had been trekking through Europe, I was unfettered to the point I felt constantly I had forgotten to bring something.

But you know, what's always baffled me about travel and the attraction to fast cars is that 60km per hour feels much the same as 120km per hour. I thought once you got out the cabin of a car you could appreciate it better thanks to your own torso and head creating drag.

But I couldn't, riding 26km per hour felt exactly like riding 16km per hour. The only difference is I had to constantly pedal in my big gears to maintain 26km per hour.

People rode the thing on all kinds of stupid bikes, except the bike that declares publicly you are an idiot - the fixed gear. Fixed gears were a total no-show in the 6 hours I was riding yesterday. But people were on old clapped out mountain bikes doing it and I have to give them respect.

I saw a few other flat bars - and I had a clear advantage climbing hills, staying in top gear of course, maybe due to the leverage in the longer handle bars or maybe that's all I've ever really been confident at as I tend to ride brakes on down hill.

Anyway, fuck is all I can say, 150km is a long, long way. But I still think 100% cycling society is viable. Just maybe its more viable in the Netherlands.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Second Dreaming

It occurs to me that the world is in the early stages of the grieving process, and our public servants are merely pandering to our collective state of mind currently set quite stubbornly to denial.
The jobs of whom I fear for the most are the world’s economists, the neoclassical whom if there is any justice will lose all pretence of having qualifications.
But for most of us we just don't want to face up to the unpleasant realisation as years of savings in super funds are wiped out in a matter of weeks, of travel plans, dream holidays and sports cars slip thru our fingers. Of dream homes, our road to lifelong wealth stand poised on a precipice about to slip into oblivion.
It's all a tremendous loss of the meaning we chose to give our own lives.
Except I think, I've never had any investment in this lifestyle so for me the whole grief and denial phase has been tiresome.

That housing has blown up in our faces is convenient to my own prejudices, but I admit it is rationalization. It would not have made a difference to me if it had been a sound investment strategy.
I think my problem was that the 'Australian dream' was so bland, so unimaginative as a small block of land with some bricks, mortar, an air conditioner and a tv stacked on top of it.

I now put to you, that this dream is beneath us. It is the dream of small comfort and little ambition. It is a dream of retiring from the challenges of time, to do nothing with our lives but rest our heads tired by the anxiety of existence in general.

There is no point to us being alive merely to survive. It was not the intention of the biological and cosmic game we were born into. We rest merely that we can rise up each day and clash with the elements. A roof is but shelter to those afraid of the stars.

We do not look at them any more, and it is a shame. This is no tragedy at all. It is the most enormous opportunity for all of us to ask 'were the good times really that good?' an honest eye cast briefly backwards would see two decades where the growth of our fatcells outpaced our life expectancy, where depression was rife, anxiety and insecurity ruled.

Where our eldest and wisest clawed desperately at creams and unguents in a bid to restore their youth so that this time they do not waste it on an unadventurous life.

And yet here it is, a world in which there is so much work to be done, its big its scary and its chaotic. It is an imposing mess of clay that tells us nought of what’s to come, who will rise as stars in the new dreaming and who will be forgotten to perish in our collective memory.

And so in denial we cling to what we know, wishing it to stay because the new dreaming is uncertain.

It is time I say to forget that history of Europeans arriving in boats, stretching their legs and appropriating the land. To clear fell the trees and plant fencepost. To raise sheep and shear them, take them to market and build little cottages.

A dream that has been dreamed so long that all that now remains is some of the most uninspired housing creeping ever outwards into the outback.

The context we gave our lives is gone, the small victories. The little trophies of consumer goods.

It is time for a new dreaming, the likes of which made this country before the serpents swam downwards into the depths of the rivers and billabongs to end the dreaming.

The dreams where the sky was carried upwards by birds that we all stand under now, the arrogant hunter was speared to become the kangaroo, and like elsewhere on this earth fire was stolen from the gods.

Its time to move on, to engage in a new dreaming, of a new future and a new Australia. In the midst of all this tumbling paper that is a financial crisis we cover our shocked expressions with our hands as car companies lay off workers and we almost forget amongst our worries how much work there is to be done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Web 2.0 is a piece of shite

The first "blog" I ever read was Bob C Cock's weekly rant. So early on was it that logging onto the net involved listening to facsimile noises and people were talking about the 'information superhighway' instead of that 50 lane highway from mexico to canadia.
Anyway I distinctly remember this post of which I snippeted the following social commentary:

Chat rooms on AOL rule as well. Complete gender mind probe. What other popular medium allows a person to switch genders and role play. You can bet that if you are engaged in a hot n nasty conversation with a "19 year old nymphet who is curious about anal sex" that this person is in fact a 48 year old, overweight guy named Steve who has just ejaculated on his floor for the 30th time that day, thus creating an embarrassing stain on the carpet that he tells his wife is actually a bowl of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food that he spilled last night while getting the score of the Giants/Bears game on Sportsnet. The wife, of course feigns belief in his pathetic story because she is being extremely cautious not to pressure him too hard about his late night Internet activities due to the fact that her inquires might inspire a backlash from her chubby hubby, which would then result in an investigation of his own concerning her "daytime while he is working Internet fun time", that would then clearly reveal that she has been indeed spending far more time on AOL than him and has in fact developed a relationship with "DOMin8her" from New Jersey that has lasted for three years now and even progressed to the no tell motel stage where she has been "forced" to perform what her "daddy" calls bathroom training, which is nothing more than her shitting into a cat litter box while he masturbates. She tells her friends that she is excited by the Internet because of all these neat recipes she's finding on and now her fat husband Steve can get his sports scores instantly, but the sad truth really is they both think of the net constantly in a weird, creepy sexual way and have come to rely on it heavily to create some semblance of excitement in their routine filled lives and they both have forgotten why they got married in the first place and she, in fits of guilt and depression, is debating whether to call Dr. Laura for advice.

What a blast from the past. Sometimes I forget that the internet occurred on my watch much like my parents witnessed the dawn of colour television.

In fact I think my folks still had a black and white tv well into the 80's.

Anyway, wanting to be magnanimously clever I decided to have an esoteric birthday party this year as arranged through facebook.

Simply put instead of throwing a party, I sent out invites to inform people I wasn't throwing a party, and implored them to go out and enjoy themselves with close friends.

Interestingly nobody has invited me out friday night. More interestingly is that 13 people listed themselves as 'maybe attending' and 26 people are not attending.

It makes me worry that the 25 people who are attending are going to call me late on Friday night to ask for directions and I have to explain to them that there is no actual party.

But to me the real payload is that it confirms what I have known for years to be true but never been able to prove. Facebook, online advertising, online marketing and all of that is an overhyped piece of shit.

Even bryce, probably the most effective online promoter I know, I can't say from my observation has not had runaway success with it.

The fact that people RSVP as maybe attending a party that you can't not attend by definition indicates that people don't really read any of these invites at all. That they RSVP maybe which is really a polite way of saying 'no' and 'no' is the equivalent of ignoring something in any other facebook application.

Most email's in my facebook inbox are for comedy performances, theater shows, rally's and band gigs that in most cases I will never attend.

Facebook and myspace and the internet in general is yet to deliver any indication that such a highly competitive medium can deliver anybody real fame and wealth.

It has merely made junk mailers of us all. Everybody has an agenda that we all wildly fantasize will take off and produce big results.

Just like Jamie's "Ministry of Food" fantasy, his "pass it on" theory, that people will week after week teach recipes to people who will then teach others recipes, and so on and so fourth until the whole city can cook is ambitious to say the least.

I imagine he has the media clout and resources to shift attitudes, but its hard to get people to turn up to something they love week after week after week let alone get enthused about teaching neighbors to cook.

An idea lives and dies on its merits, not its advertising. It's not to say promotion isn't important, its just that at best really great effective promotion can turn a dud idea into a fad. Only a good idea will generally last.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dog Coughs Up Something

Last week my dog was sick and it may have changed our relationship, the sacred 'man's best friend' relationship.
In day three of the vomiting bouts (a dog vomit is something to behold) my dog simply figured out how to avoid the vomiting by simply avoiding eating.

Now, it could have been the dehydration and starvation factor, or it could have been a big reveal. My dog no longer greated me with that unconditional love dogs are known for.

I was attempting to get the dog to eat and being very nice and patting and all that shit, and my dog was not very interested, or very friendly.

It was almost as if, once she could no longer eat food she felt no longer obliged to pretend to like me. Me or anybody else.

It reminded me of the poignant Jane's Addiction Song Summertime Rolls: "If you want a friend feed any animal"

Anyway moral, well not moral. Conclusion to the story is that while I was out Saturday afternoon my dog hacked up the carcass of what could have been a bird, lizard or rat she scrounged up on a walk it would seem.

After that her condition greatly improved.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Slurpee in my Hand

Summer, previously known as Spring and of course Summer. Those slurpee machines are always here yet in summer they actually become really attractive. Some day early in September somebody must squeeze out a slushy/slurpee/snowcone thing that has been flopping around in those mixers for approximately 6 months.

In summer they are delicious, nutritiously full of sugar and one of the cheapest drinks you can buy in the city.

Yet once you have it, where can you go, I imagine that amongst all the drinks that aren't welcome in a store the slurpee/slushy is the least welcome.

It's sticky, it takes a fucking hour to drink and the spoon actually makes it incredibly hard to finish off the last bit. It probably isn't even welcome in many peoples's bins. It is afterall it's just a syrup and ice mash up.

So when I buy one I find myself having to wander aimlessly in the CBD till I finish it, unable to distract myself from concentrating on the slurpee.

Still $2.70

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Let's Do Some Good Gentlemen

Decided to work in the RMIT librqary yesterday as I had writing to do.

Got there and the place was in chaos. The computer lab was full and people were wandering around desperately looking for that person that was just leaving.

In KFC earlier (I am building up my fat deposits for the weekend half-marathon) I saw society at both it's best and worst.

Firstly queing, there were three counters open, one queue.

I think this is something truly moving about the human spirit.

Many a time have I looked over in frustration at a fast food joint because I managed to pick a queue that essentially was as long as any other except that someone up front had ordered a million dollars worth of food and I would end up watching the other queues drift by as my eyesight and lungs failed in my old age.

Yet with the beauty of the 'one queue' people get to order in the most orderly way possible. You simply stand in the one queue and the person in front of the queue goes to the first open counter.

SImple. Beautiful.

If the slovenly protoforms that make up KFC's clientelle can cooperate why can't the best and brightest RMIT students do so?

It seemed to me as I briefly surveyed the situation that an RMIT student will dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to fucking over their fellow students in an orgy of self interest.

I was surprised crips and bloods hadn't simply locked down whole sections of the lab for the exclusive use of their members.

People meandered around looking bewildered, giving eachother sidelong glasses. Staring daggers at eachother.

So I just went and leaned on the wall where the old queue used to be. And after a minute a bunch of people wound up standing behind me.

Then some guy got up off his computer and I went and logged on there.

There were bags of garbage sitting around the computer though, which I don't know why they'd do this in a computer lab. It's not like its KFC and for that matter.

When I was sitting at the restaurant known as KFC I must have been on the arse end of the lunch break because I found myself suddenly eating alone.

And I looked around and saw almost every table had empty trays and boxes of the remnants of meals sitting on them.

I mean sure, it's fucking KFC. But the effort required to just throw out your garbage in the flaps of the bin that say THANK YOU is quite minimal.

Do people smirk at those THANK YOU bins as the walk away leaving their greasy garbage in their wake.

How can people so capable of respecting eachother in their queuing behaviour just turn around and disrespect the staff ("clean up my greasy disgusting shit slave") or the diners of the future ("behold my greasy disgusting shit sitting on the table where you want to eat")

I don't get it colonel. I really don't want to blame foreigners but the most ready excuse I can think of is a cultural paradigm shift, of no personal responsibility. Consumers consume they don't clean up after themselves.

At any rate when I clocked off at 4.30 and got up the queue sustained by it's own momentum was still in effect and a relieved person thanked me for waving them over for the queue where they too could watch the student logged on to the computer next to me that abandoned it for 40 minutes at a time. What a fuckhead.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Prescription Lachrymology

Lachrymology? lachrymology?? lachrymology???

What is it?

What is it?

See technically I should have seen an existential crisis coming, the solution commonly bandied about is simply to define the meaning of our own existence.

Sure, I could lamely set a bunch of goals. Then just forget, forget this thing that doesn't just happen to me, but happens to everybody.

That one can simply stumble into forgetting all possible sense of purpose in life.

To me defining one's own context seems to just say 'invent your own religion' I figure I may as well take on the psuedoscience of lachrymology - the study of tears.

I just appropriated this because of the part inside of me that actually feels quite good to see the desperation, fear and shock when people these days are confronted not with hard truths, but meager unpleasantness.

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

Was John Maynard Keynes on the last depression, Climate Change was one such changing of the facts.

It basically said 'the context of your lives, the meaning you have assigned to it cannot continue. Therefore that meaning was wrong.' or more bluntly 'the efforts of your entire lives don't matter, because no body will be alive soon to appreciate it'

If that doesn't make you cry I don't know what would.

I feel what I need is for people to cry, cry it all out as a means by which they confront their own significance.

the real joke is just that before climate change and the world financial collapse people were convinced of their own insignificance.

I'm just one person what possible impact could I have on the biosphere?

I'm just one person what possible impact could my decisions have on wall st?

Now we are being told that our self absorbed self interest have obliterated all the wealth created and brought us perilously close to the end of human existence.

We are significant.

We need to cry salty tears and say 'it's all true I've fucked up! I fucked it all up!'

Then I'm sure we will notice that eventually we stop crying, we realise it isn't helping anything.

We stand up and apply ourselves industriously to helping anything.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Self Diagnosis: Existential Induced Misanthropy

Okay, after pondering everything here are the two overriding themes that come out of all of my symptoms:

1. Distinct lack of motivation to participate in society.
2. Slight disdain for society.

Which leads me to conclude that I am undergoing an existential crisis with a light seasoning of misanthropy.

Perhaps doctor phil played no small part when I flipped over his latest book that tells you how to prepare before hand for the 7 hardest days of your life. Contrary to the expectation it would consist of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday it was actually about things like berievement, losing a job etc. It also had existential crisis.

Knowing Dr. Phil's advice to usually be along the lines of advising alcoholics to 'stop drinking so much' in a southern accent I didn't investigate further.

I find it amusing to think that one can prepare for an existential crises as surely preparing would involve actually evaluating the meaning of one's existence and thus plunge you headlong into an existential crisis.

My misanthropy on the other hand may be spawned by such comments as:

Whole world's economy is crashing. Happy now? Frankly I don't feel too bad.

By such sporadic readers of the blog that I do.

And I guess yes, this is my misanthropy in action, I am happy that the world economy is crashing. But not because I hate people. More that I see it as a healthy confronting event that will cause people to look within themselves and reassess their priorities in life.

I mean it is kind of the same to me in principle as the justice system. If you break the law, you should reap the fruits of your actions. Similarly watching people that tried to get rich without contributing anything of benefit to anyone now desperately scramble to avoid their fate is kind of amusing.

So I think in a way, my existential crisis is driven by my deep seated frustration that more people aren't undergoing existential crises, a frustration I project onto them in the form of dislike.

Tomorrow the self prescription.

The Tent in My Garage

Okay, so I've gotten comfortable and my blog has returned to long meandering rants about the state of the economy. Perhaps though this as Dr. House M.D. would say is just another data point.

I have had a few non-wet dream incidents living in my tent over the past week.

The first was I thought I lost my mind. I woke up and heard a voice in my head that wasn't my own. Thing is I still can't figure out what the fuck it was saying. But it seemed to mindlessly be repeating something in my head. I was alarmed to say the least that I was hearing a voice in my head.

My breathing sped up, I simply thought how much earlier schizophrenia was manifesting in my head than it did for my aunt whom I understand was around 30 before she had her first hallucinations.

So I told myself 'okay tohm you have schizophrenia, calm down and figure out what is real' it was then that I became conscious of how hard I was breathing and how high my heart rate was. Within a few minutes everything had calmed down and although I was jacked up on adrenalin everything was normal oh so normal.

It occurred to me the next day that I was sleeping on my back which was unusual for me and furthermore this incident took place exactly on the onset of my hay fever. The whole thing could have been my body panicking and waking up because I just plain old couldn't breathe.

The fact that I have had no such incident since backs up this theory. It also could have been though a 'panic attack'

The next incident was Sunday morning, where I was having a particularly vivid dreams. The thing about vivid dreams is that anything you feel in life can feel real in a dream with one particular exception which I'll get too later.

Anyway in this dream... or perhaps I should phrase it:

Dear Dream Journal,

This morning I had the most amazing dream. I was on some camp, I guess like RYLA or something, I don't really know no explanation was forthcoming. Anyway there were lots of young people there and lots of young ladies.
Anyway also for reasons I don't know I was the center of attention. Anyway I said some maybe witty things and got some laughs or something and then I was jogging back through the scrub to my cabin where I presumably had forgot something and I hear this voice with maybe a slight Latino accent "Say you'll be mine" and it repeats this a couple of times and then I say "Okay I'm yours" and then I'm tackled to the ground by this pretty attractive girl that in a cutie pie act is trying to extract all these promises from me "and say you'll take me out on dates, and you'll cook me meals, and I can live at your house..." and so forth and I was being charmingly cute by saying back to her "okay 'you'll take me out on dates' and 'you'll cook me meals' and 'I can live at your house'" you know taking her implicit instructions and turning them literal.
Anyway we were then interrupted by someone who ran off jealous and then we sort of skipped forward and I was cooking something and she was aksing me some questions and again being cute I was saying 'look all I really can offer you is criticism. It's just what I'm good at.' and then she asks me what I do.

And dream journal, I found myself flustered and trying to justify what I was doing with my life to this "dream girl" who wasn't nicki webster and I actually don't know how I felt about my description. I didn't really feel ashamed but I also didn't want to leave this girl so I just talked about the findings of the report I was working on and she seemed to buy it.
And then I woke up and I had forgotten about daylight savings and I groaned a bit and then had to get up and go for a run with friends as preparations for the half marathon this weekend.
I love you dream journal,


So then you know that was a pretty nice dream because I wasn't conscious of the fact that my new 'girlfriend' didn't exist so I sort of got the emotional payload until I became conscious of my waking life were it was hastily taken away from me.

I don't begrudge dreams this quality because half the time I wake up from dreams where I'm paraplegic and am immensely relieved at the outcome.

Anyway nor do I expect to just live in dream fantasy world. You can't really force dreams to happen.

but the dream I had this morning was alltogether briefer and one thing I've found dreams never truly replicate is the sensation of running.

These come across as frustrating lurching dreams where my legs simply won't work. This I presume is because a person is paralyzed during REM.

Anyway, I was having a dream that I was out doing a warm-up jog for my impending half marathon and I came across a female runner on my course.

Now intellectually I know the world has plenty of female runners faster than me, but this girl just didn't look it. So I began trying to catch and bury her in my wake on the circuit we were running.

I was doing everything shaving corners, jumping over shrubs and bushes and anything else to catch her and she just stayed in front of me. I then tried the desperate tactic of talking to her and informally becoming a sort of 'running partner' at least until I had the opportunity to overtake her and run off into the sunset.

Anyway it never comes but eventually we come to a set of traffic lights and she looks tired.

Seeing my chance I bolt as soon as we get the green man. The path is open before me but my legs frustratingly don't work and that is where I think I became conscious that it was a dream.

But I went on like this self congratulatory spiel 'your legs are working, your lungs are working, everythings working. You are back! You are back tohm!' then I woke up feeling exhausted.

So weather it's spring fever, hay fever or just plain old performance anxiety, my waking life is half as interesting as my REM life. But one things for sure, my dreams are pretty vivid right now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I am an investment Guru God

As a somewhat healthy bi-product of my existential crisis I've gained a deeper understanding of several asset classes and investment choices I would otherwise not have made if I hadn't been mired in that ever present question:

"What's the point of it all?"

And as a nice warm up exercise to today's Zine writing adventure I might just do a little market wrap up to try and briefly explain in my terms the very real danger we are all in.

First up cash generally considered the lowest risk (and therefore least profitable) asset class. Cash is in any given market a game of two variables:

1. fixed interest.
2. inflation.

See money isn't just money, put simply if you have $100,000 dollars cash and stick it in the bank and at the end of the year you have $100,000 dollars cash you have usually lost money. Because of inflation.

You see at the start of the year that $100,000 could have bought you a lot of different stuff, like petrol, bread, paddle pops etc. Once the retailers of these items lifts the price though your $100,000 isn't worth as much because it can't buy you all that stuff anymore.

So when you deposit your cash you want it to be at an interest rate that beats inflation.

Healthy inflation is 2% and we haven't had that for years. It's probably safer to say inflation is on average going to be about 4%. So if you get 6% on your deposit and inflation is 4% you are making money.

Now unfortunately a lot of us have ambitions for travel and that's the clincher. As interest rates go up relative to other countries our currency also goes up relative to other currencies. So if the US's interest rate is set by the reserve at 2% and ours is set at 8% a bunch of people will borrow US dollars and stick them in Australian bank accounts to come out 6% ahead.

As they move down our currency collapses. So even though your house may be worth $300,000 still because interest rates went down, it is no longer worth US$300,000 it just lost a lot of value overnight because of the rate relief.

As the interest rate comes down "foreign investors" have less reason to leave there money in your currency as it is worth less to them so they pull out and everything we import gets more expensive as our dollar gets devalued.

Conversely if interest rates do go down, then people can borrow more money to make investments and buy things which puts upwards pressure on inflation.

So having interest rates go down is bad news on every front really. But the ability to borrow money stimulates the economy, because businesses can borrow money and lend money to keep everything going.

So all in all cash isn't a safe investment right now because interest rates are going down and inflation will go up (almost inevitably) cash is only a good investment when interest beats inflation by a clear margin.

So take your money out of cash and put it into an asset class.

Property is the next big one considered lower risk than stocks and at least theoretically lower profit.

Much like all commodities what makes property valuable is buyers. This is an interesting dilemma in Australia, because what makes our economic fundamentals so strong is the China driven resources boom, and what makes China's booming economy so strong is the China financed american customers that no longer really exist.

Anyway back to property, you sell any given house in any given street and a bunch of people turn up to the auction to gawk. Most of those people will be the neighbors wanting to see how much the property sells for to figure out how much their property is worth.

Three or so of the people will be actual serious bidders. Eventually one bidder will bid an amount that the others are not willing to pay for the house.

Then the real estate agent charges 4% of that price, the government charges 10% in stamp duty and X amount in capital gains (with exceptions). The government then searches for ways to spend the money that won't involve upsetting anybody.

The real estate agent then writes everybody in the street to say they are looking for more houses and they write down some amount based on the last sale that would indicate how much the property was worth.

This is the basis of Property profits, letters that tell you hypothetically how much your property is worth.

But it isn't so simple as 'if everybody sold while the market was booming we'd all be rich' this is patently untrue.

If in the initial street instead of one house being sold their were three, or indeed the whole street being sold those three buyers would not have had to bid against eachother. Instead the home owners would have to compete for the customers.

Property may look profitable but most of the time and for most people these are profits that are called 'unrealised' meaning you don't get the profits until you sell.

If everybody realised their profits they would in fact make a loss, because the profit figure the estate agent uses is based on some assumptions about supply and demand.

In a booming market simply, you would be a fool to realise your profits because property is booming, in a busting property market you are a fool to realise your profits because property is busting.

Generally also, the boom represents a departure from value, and here is where an existential crisis comes in handy. If you own an empty house in a booming economy that is a sure sign that the economy doesn't really need your empty house in order to function.

This is like owning a restaurant that nobody eats at. Its a bad business, however thanks to terms like 'capital apreciation' and 'unrealised profits' people can think it is a good business, and failing empty buildings can be in steep demand.

This is generally what has tipped off recessions in the world.

Which brings us to stocks, stocks are my second favorite investment. That said stocks are not like cash or property or art whose value reflect the market generally - stocks are a whole bunch of businesses.

Each business you can own a part of. The part you own represents a share of the entitlement to the profits. The more profits a company makes the more you get but also the higher the price of the share.

To over simplify you simply look for P/E ratio's below one dollar. This means that for every dollar spent owning the company the company earns more money.

Taking it a step further you take the whole business apart to try and see whether it will be a better company in the future, then the price offered now may be even more of a bargain.

But it's really too complicated to talk about it all out.

Basically business is all about adding value, so you take something that needs to be done and you try and do it to the highest standard at the lowest cost possible.

And this brings me to my final legal loophole that I think makes my investment advice the best ever.

In Australia it is illegal to kill anyone already alive. Now whilst many old people will soon die anyway, it also means very young people statistically speaking have a long future ahead of them.

Since they are going to be alive anyway we may as well increase the value of the individual being alive. Whilst it is hard to make someone taller or stronger or able to shoot laser beams out of their eyes you can get a sizeable return on education.

Furthermore education whilst offering returns (around 7:1 on every dollar invested apparantly) is very expensive it's hard for other countries to compete with an educated one.

One of the most straightforward and most monopolistic investments one could ever make is in education.

Now to look at the plight of the world today, we have to look at the plight of baby boomers and the concept of superannuation.

See a ways back someone with foresight said 'What a tax burden this huge generation of people will be to sustain on a pension, if only there were a way they could self fund their retirement' and so was born the concept of self funded retirement.

So most of these people who wouldn't have saved money themselves had the government force their employers to put away money for them.

Then years past and as soon as they got their hands on their own money most of them bought property. Property above and beyond what was actually needed.

Especially in california. And then because there was so much demand for property, property prices skyrocketed. Everyone was theoretically making lots of money, so long as people were willing to buy at ever increasing prices.

To facilitate this banks started lending money to 'help' people get a foothold in the property market abolishing such requirements as the need for people to be able to prove their stated income.

Eventually a bunch of people got laid off and couldn't repay their loans anymore which in the meantime had been sold to banks all around the world.

This created a credit crunch which in turn meant banks not fully knowing how exposed they were to bad property investments couldn't lend money to businesses anymore. Businesses in turn found their customers desperately trying to make payments on houses with 'negative equity' were no longer finding a need for 'Calvin Klein' baby glasses and other material excesses the economy had increasingly based itself on.

Thus more people got laid off and the problem compounded.

To keep liquidity going interest rates in America had to be left at 1%, causing the US dollar to tumble. This pissed off Russians, Chinese and Japanese governments who held huge reserves in US dollars.

The US was trapped. In turn China stopped lending money to the US which meant that US consumers could no longer buy Chinese goods with the money leant to them by China.

In effect China was just as guilty as US mortgage brokers at trying to amplify their profits by leveraging thier investment in the US economy.

Once China's bubble bursts (on account of losing their richest customers) and their currency appreciates at the speed of light it is game over for Australia's resources boom.

Property in mining towns will collapse, along with a whole bunch of contracts currently propping up the economy.

The layoffs will have a knock on effect on the banks lending money to a bunch of these people.

In turn the over exposed self funded retirees will try to relize the profits locked up in real estate, flooding the market with a glut of houses nobody ever needed apart from the need to make imaginary profits. They will be ruined and back on the pension.

Except heaps of people will also be out of work because the resources boom is over before it began.

Manufacturing jobs will have moved offshore, and the services sector will collapse because services are a luxury that serve industries like resources and manufacturing.

Whereas if we had just instead of going for self funded retirement, built a phenomenal education system (which would not resemble our education system at all) we would probably have all the best jobs and companies and industries in the world, and it wouldn't matter if there was a huge tax burden on the current working population because they would be paying dividends on the investment in their education.

Aren't I a genius.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Competency Now

It appears to me that Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan are collectively of the opinion that they somehow make the news and thus are excused from reading it.

I think this year has been the most illustrative of the destructive potential of democracy. One could be forgiven watching the 'talking head' news for grossly misunderstanding the financial crisis. One could be forgiven for getting angry at the huge question nobody seems to be asking yet smacks of so much fundamental common sense it is infuriating.

Will the bail-out work?

Well if on the other hand Wayne Swan or Kevin Rudd read the papers they might stumble across articles like this or logging on out of curiosity to online journals to find articles like this.

Opinions from most actual economists are fairly unanimous - the bail-out won't work.

Whilst this then indicates that the government is getting its information from people who are not economists and/or not who we get our information from the list gets shorter and shorter till one is left with - industry lobbyists and political analysts.

And this is what we deserve, complete ineptitude because we have created a "pass/fail" system of government.

This concerns me because it is in effect a demerit system of government. That is pass/fail or in lay terms 'don't do anything wrong'.

Now sensibly I must concede we don't like our government to make mistakes so on the surface 'don't do anything wrong' sounds fine. It sounds great! It sounds like one of those ideals you strive for. Until you point out that the easiest way to do nothing wrong is to do nothing at all.

Hence this year has been a rich treasure trove of doing nothing.

The Carbon Trading Scheme has gone from being a hot topic to progressively take on the shape of policy that does nothing.

This happened because there was massive public sentiment that something had to be done about climate change.

Then the government got a call from some people that no doubt lent it money earlier in order to get elected and pointed out that if they had to pay for their damage this would cost them some money and they might even have to shut down.

Hence a backpedal.

SImilarly the housing affordability crisis was a problem, there wasn't even talk of what the government was actually going to do about it before it started going backwards.

Houses were suddenly becoming more affordable and this was a disaster. Voters were pissed off that their demands for affordable housing were resulting quite 'naturally' in houses becoming more affordable.

This was a problem because housing being affordable inevitably means a decrease in price, yet this is what was making people feel really wealthy.

So now the government puts out $4bn of taxpayer money to try and stop this from happening.

And this is the tyranny of democracy, something that has the ability to wipe our civilization off the face of the earth.

Because unlike having a big fat tyrant sitting in his palace that doesn't want to admit to his starving peons that he made some mistakes and is going to have to pay for them, we have big fat people sitting at home in the millions that don't want to admite that they made some mistakes and are going to have to pay for it.