CommenTree

Uneducated, but can google at least.

Archive for September 2008

Stuck in Neutral

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I’m a Top Gear fan. For a few years I’ve been a fan of the three boofheads from the UK, watching their show religiously whenever SBS decided to pull it from across the globe, and resisting the urge to download it. My fandom even extended to me visiting the carpark where Richard Hammond got a Pagani Zonda stuck, during a recent excursion to Paris.

It was when a locally produced spawn of my favourite show was announced that I got remarkably annoyed. Why take something that has been remarkably successful and taint it with something which was always going to fail from the offset. It seemed stupid to me.

Monday marked its debut. I sorta have to admit that in the lead up to the screening I started to doubt myself. Why the hell was I being so harsh on something without even having seen it? Shouldn’t I at least give it a chance? I thought I would tune in and let the quality decide.

But I went out instead and missed it.

Feedback from the first episode has been less than favourable.

TG1

I’ve gotta call cultural cringe on this one.

Seeing as I take all my life’s lessons from the movies I watch, and the TV series I enjoy, I’ve gotta reference Anton Ego from the quaint Pixar movie, Ratatouille.

Critics enjoy a fairly privileged place. They risk very little, yet hold a certain amount of power. They can make or break a fledgling show, movie, child with the simplest of negative reinforcement, be it through a canning in word form, or a smack around the ears for drawing on the walls with Derwents.

But, I can be pretty sure that everything I’ve read regarding feedback for Top Gear Australia is not actually composed by critics with an eye for such quality. In fact, I’d gander a guess that most of the people whinging and moaning about Top Gear Australia being such a great pile of arse are just insipid little jerks with nothing better to do than pick holes in something, regardless of an item’s merits.

Heaven forbid they actually like something. But I guess hating something is far better than having an actual valid opinion.

ego

“Yes Gerard, the new series of Top Gear Australia is tres tedious…”

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Written by Andy

September 30, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Semper Buy

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Australians are a closely knit mob. It’s true. Really. We’re not unlike the US Marines, with “always faithful” our catchcry, but we don’t use that wanky latin “semper fi” shite. One of us drops out on the field, you can count on Shazza, Bazza or “Sebastyen” to run back and drag us to the pub by the scruff of our tank tops.

We’re always there to help our mates (who are everywhere) and give everyone a fair go. It’s Australian mate. Everyone has a right to enjoy this great country and our egalitarianism ensures that no one steps out of line.

Yeah.

LL1
LL2

These comments seem to come about whenever there’s a story about the housing market. Usually involves people denigrating each other for either:

a) not being “smart” enough to buy property

b) not being “smart” enough to not buy property

Such a wondrous time to be an Australian, where you can see our true virtues and values come to the fore. Self proclaimed landlords are far and wide, each proclaiming their path to riches lied in buying patches of dirt that had a few walls and a roof on them. Naturally, the Gubmint encourages this behaviour through negative gearing and other concessions.

I mean, you’d have to be stupid to not buy property. At least, according to the news.com.au landlords. Only renters are stupid. I mean, the expression “safe as houses” had to come from somewhere, right? Well, probably not the US. Or the UK. Or Spain. Or Ireland. Or New Zealand.

Housing seems to be extra special. I mean, Landlords are a business. They are in the business of selling shelter. But in what other industry are you allowed to insult your customers, aside from public service? I guess when you’re providing a service that everyone needs, you’re allowed to get a little smug. Everyone needs housing, right? What are they going to do?

To me, it’s like Bill Gates deriding the public for being stupid enough to not make their own operating system. Everyone needs a PC to work, right? What are they going to do?

Hmmm.

They could go hire out a hotel room, which is probably like people going to Mac OSX – all the niceties of home, but you sure as hell pay a premium for it.

Or they could go live with the olds, which is probably like using Linux – basically everything is free, but people think you’re some kind of leech for using it.

I’m pretty sure that if any business owner were to treat it’s customers like crap, they’d go out of business pretty quickly. If Bill Gates truly hated us, he’d give us an underbaked product full of bugs and is prone to crashing.

But, I guess he’s American, and therefore doesn’t look after his mates. Or if he did, you can be pretty sure he uses some lame arse latin speak.

FU

MS: “Suck it up, bitches!”

Moving forward, I am truly glad I live in Australia. Because I know that should I ever fall on tough times, I can always rely on the pack to remind me just how “smart” I really am. Nothing gives you a kick up the backside like a boot in the teeth.

Written by Andy

September 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Australiana

The Gym-masons

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Walking the street each day, watching the in and egress of individuals from businesses would give you the belief that we’re living in a tolerant society. Everyone is equally respected, and people are free to do whatever they like.

However, beneath this veneer of pearly white smiles and heavy handshakes exists a seedy little establishment. Its very nature promotes inequality, segregation and discrimination. Each person at this club is given a special card, and it embows them with privileges restricted to a gender and only their gender. All kinds of rituals involving crazy machinery and contraptions are de rigeur for this silt of the society’s test beaker.

I am, of course, referring to Fernwood.

Yes, that’s right. All women’s gyms. A pox on them and their seemingly discriminatory ways. It seems that this ordinary looking enterprise is not unlike the Freemasons. God knows what kind of evil schemes are borne within their mirrored walls.

At least, I’m assuming they’re mirrored.

gym

Please hang your Shroud of Turin on the hooks to the right

Outrage abounds as it has been revealed that a men’s club in Melbourne has seen fit to not include women among their ranks, such has been the norm for 142 years. This club is frequented by some of Melbourne’s foremost business leaders and visionaries, and they’ve had the audacity to think that maybe the prevalence of women in senior executive roles across society might make their stance on sausage-fest a little antiquated.

OMG

OMG2

The answer here, I think, is not discrimination, but market influences. Quite simply, women are far more willing to pay to go to a gym where they feel comfortable, which includes not have a man watching their “eyes” when they work out. The market saw an opportunity and went with it and they have flourished as a result.

If there is a market for men only gyms, then by all means, create one. Watch how the market reacts. Don’t act surprised if no one turns up to your “sausage-fest”, though. Such fests need things like beer and a pretense of power and influence. A sense of community, and leadership where everyone supports each other yet secretly knows that they really aren’t that important. Like the Freemasons, Collingwood Football Club, or Parliament.

Oh, and if there is a belief that it’s okay to have women’s only gyms, then you can trust Canada to scupper that fallacy. Think that a men’s only gym wouldn’t ever see the light of day, lest it be lynched by a mob of raving feminists waving placards and pitchforks? Look no further than Ballarat.

How gyms somehow became relevant to an organisation of business leaders who might actually entertain the notion that they’ll be progressive, I don’t know. Maybe their hazing methods are similar?

Written by Andy

September 23, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Just sayin’ is all…

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Us Strayans love a bit of tellin’ it like it is. You know, be upfront and honest. You’d hate to be considered “fake”, wouldn’t you? I mean, bein’ fake is terrible. It’s like, you know, bein’ not right. You’re less of a person if you aren’t tellin’ it like it is, you know?

As fair dinkum aussies, we’re all up for laying it down. I mean, it’s a pre-requisite for getting onto any Australian reality TV show. You gotta “tell it like it is, y’know?”

However, our trait seems to have hopped on board former US official Derek Shearer during his visit to our lovely shores, not unlike how diphtheria hops on board an unsuspecting Alaskan. He’s decided to tell it like it is and has let fly with an unassailable truth: really, truly, Australia doesn’t matter much. Really.

Since we decided (ie our elected leaders decided) to follow a battered US and Blair’s finest into Afghanistan and Iraq, over the years I saw many comments which seemed to be of the impression that there were only the three of us going in for the scrap. I guess the fact that a few other countries have more than us there is only a small thing. In fact, I think the US Democratic nominee Barack Obama rubbished John Howard over his stance that removing our toys from the region would cause happy dances in the caves, stating that Australia would have to throw a few more people over there in order to have a valid opinion.

Ouch.

The response to Shearer comments have been balanced, though. There has been a few sagely nodding of the heads and stroking of the beards, but others seem to have taken some offence.

SOB

Perhaps Katrina shouldn’t mouth off about someone else being arrogant, when she goes on to be arrogant herself…?

Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

The fall of the US is an interesting point, though, what with their current financial woes. But, at this point in time I cannot find a single prediction that the US will suffer a Roman-esque fall. Not even in rhyming quatrains.

sob2

US resource poor? Not sure which US that blue is referring to, or which Australia, but the US’s 25.5% of the gross world product seems like a pretty big number to me. I also realise how problematic it can be to cite Wikipedia, but they does indicate that our GDP is slightly higher than the UK… but not the US. I mean, the S and K keys are pretty far apart on the keyboard, so it’s unlikely they’ve done a typo.

Anyway, I’m guessing it could be worse. At least many on there do recognise Australia’s place in the world, and I sincerely hope we start to pull our heads in a little. Heaven forbid this country gets the Small Man Syndrome. I mean, with all our big things things (Banana, Prawn etc), you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re compensating for something…

Written by Andy

September 21, 2008 at 1:25 am

Posted in Australiana

Domestic Wildlife Accessories

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Oh wooky at the cute and wuvvable Australian faunae! Those bright eyes (burning like fire) seem to have caught the attention of the fad seekers on the other side of the world, and they are now making nifty pets for those seeking that extra piece of exotica.

Consider for yourself the suggested rules of domestication. Do sugar gliders fit into all of these categories?

An excerpt of the article does make my blood boil in the way not dissimilar to when I see the name of a certain hotel heiress in the news:

The possums were reportedly being sold for $330, with some owners wearing them in pouches around their neck to bond with them.

Does this not smack of accessorising, rather than having an animal as companionship? Question slightly rhetorical, and I encourage people to make up their own minds. However, I cannot shake the image from my mind of someone strutting down the street, designer sunglasses mating with their face, mobile phone attached to their ear, having a far too loud one-way conversation to someone else who probably has equally ridiculous enormous sunglasses.

I weep.

Many comments don’t echo my sentiments, unfortunately.

wild2

wild3

Matt, there is an interesting page on the risks of such pet ownership. The research you crave people did has also revealed the considerations required with such pet ownership.

Is enough known about the husbandry of these animals? Are standards of their welfare satisfactory? Is welfare adequately safeguarded?

Yep. Hanging them from around your neck like a pendant sounds like good safeguarding of welfare. That link further reveals that there are risks to indigenous wildlife due to spread of infectious diseases and the like. As I grew up being raised by The Simpsons, I am also more than aware of the scene where Bart’s bullfrog escapes and the fallout wrecks Australian crops. Deny the wisdom of The Simpsons at your peril.

However, I think the argument against the keeping of wild, non-domesticated animals is summed up by Roy of Siegfred and Roy. Is a sugar glider that far removed from a white tiger? Those little critters wrap around things quite well, you know.

They could go from this:
sugar

To this:
hugger

It’s only a matter of time, you know.

Written by Andy

September 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Australiana

Tagged with ,

Reason to not be locked up

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There’s a little beautiful irony in Australians whinging at how our prisoners are treated. Of course, that isn’t to say that simply because a swag of us are of convict heritage that we should all automatically be looked upon with a degree of suspicion. However, when you consider that our most celebrated hero, Ned Kelly, was a highwayman – some would argue as a Robin Hood type noble who stood up to an oppressive law force – and that our favourite national song is about a scab who topped himself, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re inclined to challenge the law from time to time.

So when a new detention centre opens, which offers no bars and allows inmates to freely enter and leave their room, there’s a bit of a stink.

It would seem that this centre is to be used as a means of rehabilitation, and allowing people who have fallen on the wrong side of the law get their act back together.

I do find it a little odd that ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell says on the prison’s website that:

“A healthy prison is one in which: everyone is and feels safe (prisoners, staff and visitors alike); everyone is treated with respect and as a fellow human being (again, all people within the AMC); everyone is encouraged to improve him/herself and is given every opportunity to do so through the provision of purposeful activity; and everyone is enabled to maintain contact with their families and is prepared for release…”

My counter point is that society in general is healthy when everyone is and feels safe; everyone is treated with respect and as a fellow human being; everyone is encouraged to improve him/herself and is given every opportunity to do so through the provision of purposeful activity.

Maybe if people who threatened the safety of others were somehow removed from society…

Anyway, reactions have been less than supportive. There’s a lot of “punish the bastards and not send them to a resort” type of stuff in there.

Although, I do have a four-word answer for this guy:

holiday

Fear of butt rape.

But it is an interesting part of Australiana that we’ll side with targeted troublemakers when perceived rights are being eroded, but when granting rights to other troublemakers, it’s an outrage.

Written by Andy

September 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Posted in reguland

Tagged with , ,

Don’t let reality interrupt your Democracy

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The opinion blogs on news.com.au can be quite irritating. Usually it involves the questioning over climate change, then banality of reality TV, the harmlessness of reality TV, or the bashing of someone who is Gen Y, Gen X, or Baby Boomer. Because we all know that at a magical cut-off point in time, everything changed.

And I thought Astrology was a crock.

My tack with these columns is usually to ignore them, and search for other, more invigorating things to read. Why I still peruse news.com.au is anyone’s guess, but I’d suggest masochism.

Today, Andrew Bolt has taken fire at the Australian democratic process, and details the sinister nature of politicians usurping the leadership once the party is in power. Ooh, it’s all very cloak and daggers up until you realise that it’s the Australian Democracy. It’s a small detail, I know.

Most of the comments are from what some would describe as “pedants”, but quite rightly it has been pointed out that Bolt’s argument is flawed. There’s still room for the nutjobs, though.

People should understand that if a leader is ousted, then we really have bugger all say in who takes over the reins. If we understood that we elect a party instead of an individual, we might be able to judge the party as a whole on its merits instead of the poster boy/girl.

no2

Whatever “Bolt” is? Address the person by their name? I think he might’ve missed a certain detail…

no3

I guess I can forgive him. His name was hidden under the headline and everything.

no4

He might have a point about people not knowing their local candidate. God only knows I’ve skipped over the copious amounts of junk mail from some mug when the election rolled around last year, and you know, it’s not my fault I didn’t read up and get informed on which bag of sawdust I should vote for. But let’s not let my lack of knowledge influence anything as simple as the direction of an entire nation. Nah, she’ll be right.

However, I applaud his attempt to deflect others’ factual arguments through ridicule and supposition. That’s right, informed opinions are only there to rain on the parade of others. We’re sorry to spoil your party. We’ll leave facts out of our comments from now on.

I’m reminded of footage from The Chaser’s 2007 election coverage, showing relative ignorami spouting their opinions on politics.

Yeah… and these people vote…

Written by Andy

September 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized