Friday, December 30, 2005

The title passes too......

Now that Kerry Packer has died, there is just one question on everyones lips.

Who is now Australia's ugliest man? I'm scratching my head but I can't come up with any names.
Surely there must have been contenders. Where could they be? I know, I'll try radio. You know the old saying.

How about Dan Lonergan?
I'm stuck.... Are there any ideas????

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Paranoia, amped and wired

Wandering through Barkly Square the other day, I witnessed the following incident. As it is Christmas, there were some girls dressed as elves handing out advertising flyers. As with most flyers, people who were given the piece of advertising material with the carefully thought out wording and picture placement took great care of it by carefully folding it and dropping the pamphlet in the nearest bin.
Sitting on a bench was a man in his late fifties probably of mediteranian background observing all these people thanking the elves for the pamphlet, walking a few metres and then disposing of it. One particular guy who was handed the flyer was of anglo-saxon background, aged in his mid to late 20's and dressed smartly in a white wife-beater and tan stubby shorts. His arms had that layer of puppy fat that should have disappeared when he was 20 and his legs had obviously decided to join in on the puppy fat action. His facial expression matched that of a Collingwood supporter who couldn't understand why Eddie McGuire hadn't been awarded the "Nobble Prize for Football". Let's call him Kevin Oz.
As Kevin repeated the actions of everyone else who had passed by this particular bin, the old man had a chuckle, obviously thinking about the ridiculous nature of the pamphlet situation. Kevin turns around and starts accusing the man of "having a go of me". The old man says no, yet Kevin still persists "Are you having a go of me?" and does this in a threatening nature. I decided to intervene and went up to Kevin to explain that the man was laughing at the situation, not at him. All that Kevin could say was, "I fought he was havin' a go at me." and he repeated this quite a few times. He had no comprehension that the incident could be viewed in any other way then in the way he saw it.
Is this another sign of the level of paranoia amoungst "little Johnny's battlers"? Kevin just could not comprehend the situation and he must be under the impression that everyone is looking at him and only him. Is he so insecure and frightened about the people around (especially in Barkly Square which is visited by a diverse range of people) that he must be "alert and alarmed"? What can be done to change this attitude? It saddens me to think that there are many who behave this way.
One final thought: Kevin made no attempt to apologise to the old man for accusing him without foundation. Another indication of what sort of culture is being developed in this country.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yes Minister

On the 7.30 report last night Kerry interviewed Senator Robert Hill. Now Sen. Hill is a South Australian, as is the now resigned board member of the Reserve Bank Robert Gerard. Kerry asked him if he intimately knew Gerard. Sen. Hill said he knew Gerard and his family very well. Kerry then asked if he knew of Gerard's tax problems since there were court proceedings, newspaper reports about it and, more importantly, since Sen. Hill knew him intimately. Sen. Hill replied he didn't know about it. This reminded me of an episode of 'Yes Prime Minister' in which a certain group of bankers lent money to some crooks who couldn't repay the loans. The bankers didn't make inquires because "The crooks seemed like decent chaps, so the Decent Chap Rule applies: decent chaps don't check up on decent chaps to see if they are behaving decently. Nor do they really mind people being crooks. What they do mind is people finding out that people are crooks. Worse still, people finding out that people knew that people were crooks." I think that Sen. Hill must have watched this show and taken copious notes.

The same episode also describes the logical process known as the Politicians' Syllogism.
Step one: Something must be done.
Step two: This is something.
Step three: Therfore we must do this.

Sound familiar???? I think this logic forms the basis of the policies put forward by the Howard government over the last few years.

Step one: The country needs to be more productive/safer/alert.
Step two: We can pass legislation.
Step three: So we must pass legislation.

This is logically akin to:
Step one: All dogs have four legs.
Step two: My cat has four legs.
Step three: Therefore my cat is a dog.

This is what happen when you study economics. Logic gets thrown out the window. Rational thought. What's that? Didn't the Dark Ages and religious dogma put an end to that?

Monday, December 05, 2005

My turn to be Margaret or David

I watched My Favourite Film last night. Lord of the Rings (the whole trilogy) was voted the favourite film. To me that film was booooring. I saw the first one and didn't bother to see any of the others. Anyway, I got to thinking about my favourite film and I can say that I don't really have one. But there are some films which I can watch over and over again. They may not be the greatest films ever, but they have something about them which demands a re-viewing. So here are some of my favourites in no particular order and it could change tomorrow:

Animal House
Some great quotes in this film.
Dean Wormer: "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son. "

Hoover: "They confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn't steal!"

Otter: "Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up -- you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it!"

Bluto: "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

The Great Escape
Not historically accurate, but a great adventure flick. Who hasn't thought about tunneling out of their place of imprisonment.

This is Spinal Tap
The greatest logical argument ever is in this film. There are so many who use this form of logic without realising it.
Nigel Tufnel: "The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and -"
Marty DiBergi: "Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?"
Nigel Tufnel: "Exactly."
Marty DiBergi: "Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?"
Nigel Tufnel: "Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?"
Marty DiBergi: "I don't know."
Nigel Tufnel: "Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?"
Marty DiBergi: "Put it up to eleven."
Nigel Tufnel: "Eleven. Exactly. One louder."
Marty DiBergi: "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"
Nigel Tufnel: [Pause] "These go to eleven."

Flying High
Again, gags at 100 miles per hour.
Lady: "Nervous?"
Striker: "Yes."
Lady: "First time?"
Striker: "No, I've been nervous lots of times."

Mrs Geline: "I haven't felt this awful since I saw that Ronald Reagan film."

I cannot forget Howard Beale (Peter Finch) screaming "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!". A film about television that can't possibly be true. Could Australian networks take this attitude? Do you think they look at programming the same way?

Diana: "I watched your 6 o'clock news today; it's straight tabloid. You had a minute and a half of that lady riding a bike naked in Central Park; on the other hand, you had less than a minute of hard national and international news. It was all sex, scandal, brutal crime, sports, children with incurable diseases, and lost puppies. So, I don't think I'll listen to any protestations of high standards of journalism when you're right down on the streets soliciting audiences like the rest of us. Look, all I'm saying is if you're going to hustle, at least do it right."

How could you go past a bath scene in which Antonius (Tony Curtis) and Marcus Licinius Crassus (Laurence Olivier) discuss whether eating snails or oysters is moral. Crassus, of course, has a taste for both. Cut to the next scene where Antonius has run away and joined Spartacus. Antonius only likes oysters.....

Some Like it Hot
A very funny film. Great direction. Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marylin Monroe. Comedy gold.

Lawrence of Arabia
Over three hours but it glued me to the screen. The film captures the essence of the desert.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sorry about that chief.

My brain is filled with heaps of useless information, some of which is related to one of the greatest, if not the greatest, comedy shows of all time, Get Smart. It was so far ahead of its time. Here are a few snippets which I find very amusing.

CHIEF: All we know is that they threaten to wipe out the city containing our finest intellectual minds and greatest leaders.
MAX: Well, at least Washington is safe.

CHIEF: Max, I don't know what I'm going to do with you. You bungle assignment after assignment.
MAX: I resent that, Chief.
CHIEF: Do you deny it?
MAX: No, but I resent it.

SENATOR: Mr. Smart, how many arrests did Control make last year?
MAX: I don't know.
SENATOR: Who's the #1 man in your organization?
MAX: I don't know.
SENATOR: How many cases were assigned to Control last year?
MAX: I don't know.
SENATOR: What would you do if you were fired, Mr. Smart.
MAX: They can't fire me.
SENATOR: And why is that?
MAX: I know too much.

99: Sometimes, I wish you were just an ordinary buisnessman.
MAX: Well, 99, we are what we are. I'm a secret agent, trained to be cold, vicious, and savage. Not enough to be a buisnessman.

99: Oh, Max, how terrible.
MAX: He deserved it, 99. He was a Kaos killer.
99: Sometimes I wonder if we're any better, Max.
MAX: What are you talking about, 99? We have to shoot and kill and destroy. We represent everything that's wholesome and good in the world.

More lines can be found here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


adjourn, be dilatory, cool, dally, dawdle, defer, drag, gain time, goldbrick, hang fire, hesitate;

I should be writing my thesis.

hold off, lag, let slide, linger, loiter, pause, poke, postpone, prolong, protract, put off, retard;

I'll be starting my new job in late January and then I won't be able to focus on it as much.

shilly-shally, stall, stay, stooge around, suspend, tarry, temporize, wait;

I've done everything but.

boondoggle, diddle, dilly-dally, fool around, fool with, fritter away, hang about, horse around, idle;

But sometimes its healthy to procrastinate. It is a time for thinking. I have a habit of keeping items or tokens of things that I've done in my life. Stubs from movies I've seen, invites to parties that I've attended, train and plane tickets, letters written and cards received. I file these away into folders. Unfortunately not every event has its momento. Sorting out these odds and ends brings back memories. The last time I did this was probably back in '97. I kept things that at the time I thought I should throw away. They caused pain. But I kept them. When I look through these bits of history during these times of reflection and they still cause pain, then I throw them away. I did that the last time I sorted through my life when I came across some letters I received. I've only done that on a few occassions because sometimes those once hurtful items bring back memories of the good times shared. Then I keep them. Time does soften some regrets, but not all. I came across some very recent objects that depressed me but I resisted the urge to throw them away. It's too close in time. Maybe in a few years I'll look back and smile and be thankful for those memories.

Seniors Gig

Last night I went to the Corner to see the Kings of Moomba (a.k.a the Hoodoo Gurus). It was one for the old timers. As Miss Jade put it, "I feel so young." There I bumped into some of my friends who I haven't seen in ages. Just before I walked in, I heard my name being called out and it was Jorgen and Lisa. Then inside I saw a bunch of the McManus boys; Turtle, Snake, Scoop and Juc. Also there was Andy. I guy I went to uni with the first time around who also got me my first job after leaving uni. There is nothing like a band from the eighties to bring out those nearing their middle age.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why I hate on-line self-help quizzes

I hate on-line quizzes just like this one. Here are some of the questions asked and my opinion on them.

1. Why are the age brackets ten years? I can't remember waking up different the day I turned 20, or even 30. Scrap this question.
2. Gender and sexual preference?????? Why does it matter? Irrelavent.
3. Grandparent still alive. What if you are adopted? How may you know? Impossible to answer this question.
4. Number of good friends. Define 'good'. Can't?? Next.
5. Religion. If you are not an athiest then (and I'm brutal about this) obviously you need a belief in a supernatural entity to make sure you stay a good person. Can't you be good without this imaginary being? You'll never be happy.
6. Are you employed? I recon we all would be happier if we were unemployed and lying on a beach in Tahiti.
7. Is there pollution in the air, water, or soil where you live? If you answer no to this question you must be living on Mars.
8. Do others regard you as a person of good character? Who will answer no to this question? Your friends will regard you as a person of good character otherwise they wouldn't hang out with you. Crim's regard other Crim's as good blokes.
9. Check off any pets that you have: Dog, cat, bird, fish, small mammal, reptile/amphibian, other.
What, a pet tiger and a pet octopus rate the same as a pet butterfly?
10. Are you gifted in any of these areas? One of the boxes is 'Computers'. Tick this box and you automatically fail.
11.Check any that would apply to you:
I could run a marathon - So if you are a sprinter and you are physiologically not built for distance running you are a worthless human being?
I read great literature - For the americans who do this quiz, Dan Brown is not, I repeat not, classified as great literature.
I am able to quote from a holy text - You are one sad crazy bible bashing freak who has never questioned their dogma once and if you knock on my door one more time I'll ..............
I give to charity - You just tick this box to make yourself feel better when in fact you complain if you are overcharged 5 cents.
I have an amazing best friend - Are they amazing because they can thread string up their nose and out of their mouth?
I take time to unclutter my mind - That is because you are stupid and can't think straight.
I commune with nature - Is this a polite way of saying 'I only wash once a month'?

ANGER RISING...........

Be grateful if you do poorly on this test.....

Monday, October 31, 2005


Why is it that the most stupid things are said on TV? I was watching the cricket on saturday at the gym. Victoria versus WA. The usual commentators were on talking their usual crap about this player and that player. Most of this I can handle. But I almost caused myself serious injury when Ian Healy said the following phrase, "The legend that is Langer..". Just let me check the Oxford, Chambers or Maquarie...... Yep there it is under legend: Langer. What drugs is Healy on? Sure Langer is a good cricketer, but legend? If this is the case, Healy must be changing his underwear every time McGrath or Warne bowls. Me thinks he's been drinking too much of his own bathwater.

But ads are the worst. During the cricket, an ad came on for a Current Affair or one of those programs. The story wast about the most dangerous job in the world,....... wait for it, ..........have a think about what this could be,.............., yep, your right, being a jockey. Sure, it can be dangerous, but the MOST dangerous? Sure being a short arse might get you crushed in a stampede during the Boxing Day sales, but I think there are jobs far more dangerous that having a funny high pitched voice. Let's look at the data. (Fatality rate per worker is a very good measure).

America's top 10 most dangerous jobs in 2000. No 1: Timber cutter. I don't see a jockey in the top ten. Being a fisherman is a more dangerous job. Maybe the data is a bit old. There may have been a hugh increase in jockey deaths in America recently. Here are the figures for 2004. No jockeys here either. Being a taxi driver is more dangerous. Could you image that story on A Current Affair? But these figure are for America. Maybe the world as a whole has an epidemic of jockeys dying in work related incidents.

According to this the most dangerous job in the world is fishing. 24000 fishermen lose their life every year. Maybe Australia is different. Guess what, this site shows that we are not. The three most dangerous jobs are mining, fishing and transportation. Sure, being a jockey is one form of transportation but that job isn't included in that section.

So being a jockey is not the most dangerous job. But here is a plan for jockeys if they want their job to be the most dangerous. Walk around the streets talking in your high pitched voices wearing your silks and you may annoy enough people that your death rate may well sky-rocket.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

23 days!

It has been ages since I've written anything here.
I've been on my third and final teaching round but now that is over. Only two more assignments to hand in and then it's all over. Whoo hoo!

Have you seen those private health insurance ads where the line is "Plus, you can get real benefits even when you’re not sick." (That is the one from Medibank.) And then they list 'therapies' such as:
  • Myotherapy
  • Homoeopathy
  • Reflexology
  • Shiatsu
  • Chinese herbalism
  • Western herbalism
  • Alexander Technique
  • Bowen Technique.
So the insurance company says that you can use these when your not sick. Does this imply that when you are sick that you shouldn't use these treatments? Do this imply that they know that the evidence shows that these 'therapies' don't cure anything they claim to cure?
They claim that you get real benefits. Interesting use of the word real. The only real benefit is the $300 or $100 rebate a year (depending on the therapy) you get if you happen to use the services and I think that is exactly what they mean by real benefit. Ie, it is cheaper for you. But hang on, is it really cheaper? You pay about $1000 a year (Medibank, MyOptions plan) and can get $300 back on these services. Do the math. So even if you do believe in quack remedies don't fall for the ads. If you don't trust the science, trust the maths.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

History never repeats

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Guess who said this?

I'm reading a book at the moment written by Prof. Gustave Gilbert who was the prison psychologist during the Nuremberg Trials called "The psychology of Dictatorship". It is his report on the psychology and motivations of the those who were on trial. It is truely an amazing read and I'm only in chapter one!

For example, Gilbert discusses the effect of introducing a democracy after a revolution against a monarchy, dictatorship or any other authoritarian regime that has been firmly in place for a substantial period of time. Whenever this has happen in history it is inevitable that only after a few years later the people want and indeed bring back an authoritarian government. There is a cultural lag as people struggle to adjust to a new system and they find it very difficult to do so. Hence they return to what they know. It takes a generation or two before the society can catch up with the new idea.
Take Russia for example. Putin is elected by the people yet he shows the signs of an authoritarian ruler. He has rolled back democratic reforms. He has clamped down on civil and press liberties and he has ended the direct popular election of regional governors, choosing to appoint them instead. Can you think of a country which was under a dictator and has just had democracy thrust upon it? You don't have to be a genius to work out what is going to happen there in the next few years.
History is there for us to learn from it. What one learns depends on ones motivation. I am sure that there are many who have learnt from the above quote. I just wonder what their motivation is?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Missed it by that much

On friday I received an e-mail which really made my day. Someone has published a paper which contains the same work that I have been doing for my thesis. That hurts. I feel like this happens to me too often. I think of an idea, tell a few people about these ideas, and then I end up reading about them in the paper or some other publications. I am not saying that my ideas are being stolen, just that others come up with the same idea, but I don't publish first.
Many years ago I used to go to to gym where the conversation focused mainly on footy. I used to discuss what I would do if I was a coach or recruiting manager of an AFL club. My plans included using technology to help with decision making. For example, setting up computer programs to test player reactions and which options they would choose. The programs would also teach in this capacity. I would recruit players who may not be "athletes" but have a football brain. You can make someone fitter but you can't transplant a footy brain. Imaging my surprise when I read an article last weekend about Neil Craig, the Crows coach, and these are the things that he is actually doing at the Crows! No wonder they finished on top. (They didn't quite win the premiership, but they were right up there.)
I've had enough. From now on any stupid thought that comes into my head is going to be written down. This may just be the forum for those ramblings.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hello? Is there anybody out there?

It has been a long time since I have written anything. Well, that's not quite true. I've written heaps of crap (what else do I write?) as part of the teaching course that I am doing. I am so over these assignments which include such topics as "Reflections on portfolio as authentic assessment". Only two more left to do and that's it. I need to write about other things. So what follows are random bits that may interest someone.

Facts about Poo
I visited the Werribee Poo Farm not long ago. Did you know:
1. It takes about 8 hours for poo to get from your toiliet to Werribee.
2. There are high and low poo tides as it exits the pipe and you can see the marks.
3. That the highest tide during the year always happens (delayed by 8 hours) at half-time of the AFL Grand Final.
4. That beef you eat may have come from cows grazing at the poo farm.
5. Poo is brown because of the iron in it from dead blood cells.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A quick thought

Don't you think it's funny that all those right wing christian groups in the USA who said that the Boxing Day tsunami was god's wrath on those that don't believe in Jesus, but they have kept silent about hurricane Katrina which has hit some of the most Christian areas in the USA? (See map.)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gone to the dogs

Something is not right. Yesterday I agreed with an Andrew Bolt article. I checked the date, it wasn't the 1st of April. I think I may have been too dismissive about Armageddon. It must be coming soon. There can be no other explaination.

Anyway, totally unrelated, for the last few years Miss Jade has been wanting to go the the Greyhounds. So two weekends ago I went with her to the Meadows. One word: superb. The night did have have an extra benefit in that it was also the launch of the Stone Age Cameo's tribute to the Hoodoo Guru's 'Stone Age Romeos' album. The music was excellent with the Blackeyed Susans, Even and the Spazzy's belting out Hoodoo Guru covers. We both had a punt on nearly all the races and we both made a profit. Here's the tip. Go out and watch the dog's in the parade area before the race. You can tell which dog wants to win. I went back to the betting ring before one race after deciding on a dog and I checked its odds. It was paying $19 on the tote for a $1 bet. I still placed a few dollars on it and the dog did its job. It ended up paying $23 for the win. But most importantly for Miss Jade was that 440ml cans of Black Douglas and coke were only $4.50. I was reminded of this many times. This deal was so good that in one race she urged on the dogs way after they had finished the race. That was so cute.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Old school

Here is a pre-blog rant that I did from march 2003. I don't think I liked the pub.

Don't spend your Oxford Scholars here

It's after work on a Friday night. You've had a tough week and you are relaxing with a few friends enjoying an cleansing ale. Someone suggest, since the World Cup of Cricket is on, to head off to a pub to watch a game. Splendid idea! So off we go.

We head down to the Oxford Scholar, a large pub opposite RMIT, which is equipped with two huge screens located in different rooms. A huge billboard out the front declared
It's about 10 past so we rush in expecting to see the cricket. What we get on all screens and TV's scattered throughout the pub is that strange sport where you smell your fellow team mates arse and repeatedly try to hump the ground. That's right, rugby. Now I know that bar staff don't have to be geniuses, but even an American can tell the difference. We approached the bar staff to ask if one of the giant screens could be switched to the cricket. The perplexed look of the bar staff seemed to suggest that we had just asked them to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity. I swear I could hear rusty cogs turning in their brains because I'm sure their brains haven't been used since the 17th century. After the smoke emanating from their ears had died down, they responded with, "Ahhh.. no. That table over there is watching the rugby". Anything wrong with this picture? Think about it. Advertising out the front, two screens in different rooms and enough space in the pub so that sound would take hours to get from one side to the other. This was calmly explained to them. The answer, "Ahhh.. no." The bar staff then had this brilliant idea, they would turn it to the cricket after the rugby finished. A rugby match goes for 80 minutes, 45 minutes of the match had expired. Do the math. I told them that this would be over half an hour away. The response. "No it won't". Either this guy has discovered time travel or he decided to leave his brain at home because it needed the rest. At this point, jumping the bar and performing various wrestling maneuvers seemed appropriate.

We would have left but we had to wait for someone who was meeting us there. In the meantime the manager turned up and switched the TV to the cricket. I don't believe in miracles, but this almost convinced me. Maybe, just maybe order had been restored. How foolish of me to think that.

As we sat down at a table to finally watch the cricket, half an hour late, two of our party were asked to move their chairs because they constituted a fire hazard. Looking around this vast establishment, one could not fail to notice the lack of patronage. If a fire happened to break out, the eight of us plus the dozen or so other clients would have had no problems of escaping. Do you know how far they had to move. About 20 cm!!!! 20 %$#@ing centimetres. There was already plenty of space for even Fat Bastard to pass through. That extra 20 cm would not have made a cracker of a difference. There were also three other exits which very wider and already open, closer and more convinient to escape via. Do you think people rushing from a fire would bypass the open doors saying "No... we must exit via the closed door!" What next?

When the staff came round to pick up our glasses, we asked them not to since we were buying jugs and needed them. The bar staff must have had the memory of a goldfish because by the time they had got to the end of the table, they started picking up glasses. How do these people get jobs???

Here's another good one. As we are sitting at the table, 'My brain can't cope with breathing and pumping blood at the same time' comes by and moves the table about 40 cm. The reason for this?? "A pub crawl of about 80 are coming through". As already mentioned, there is two and a dog in the hotel, with plenty of room behind us to comfortably house all twelve tribes of Israel and descendants. Not to mention that the entrances they would most likely use are nowhere near us. Why they had to move a table (ours was the only one moved) which would have had no effect on capacity is a mystery that could should only feature in that really bad 70's show "In search Of..." hosted by Dr Spock. We waited expectingly for this huge group of pub crawlers. We waited. And we waited. 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes and still nothing. One hour later they turned up and not one of them came within cooee of our table. They all stayed in they vast space behind us. Looks like moving the table had the desired effect.

If you want service by bar staff who redefine the medical definition of bloody useless, then this is the pub for you. Else, going home and banging your head against a wall would cause you less pain.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

This weekend at Rod Laver Arena there will be a gathering of Jehovah Witnesses. Now they believe that when Armaggedon comes, only 144000 will go to heaven. Now when is Armaggedon? It is pretty important for them to find out so they can be ready. Here then is the date for Armeggedon as predicted by Charles Taze Russell, thier founder: 1914.
Whoops, he must of been surprised when that year came and went.

He then went on to predicted 1915. When he lived through that year they revised it to 1918. Sadly Charles died in 1916 and was unable to witness whether that prediction came true. OK, so they made a few wrong predictions. But surely they must get it right sometime. Let's see, further predictions were 1920, 1925, 1932, 1941, 1975 and although not endorsed by the church, some followers thought 1994.

What happens when so many of these predictions are wrong? What does a church do when they make claims that fail the test? The answer is, of cause, to deny ever making the claim and throw the blame on someone else. The church tells their followers that there never was such a prediction. The followers quickly fall into line and any memory of the failed predictions are easily forgotten. The church no longer makes predictions but still tells their followers that they should be prepared for the end of the world, because that day may suddenly arrive.

I think I'll take my chances.

(The information was taken from this article.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

No intelligence behind ID

Yesterday I read "Let's have a proper scientific debate" from The Age about the controversy regarding Intelligent Design (ID). Now for something to be scientific, its got to follow the scientific method. That is, to be a scientific theory it must be based on evidence, it should make predictions and it should be falsifiable. Falsifiable means that there must be some experiment which could prove the theory wrong. For example, I state that the earth is flat. The experiment would be to walk east forever. If the earth was flat, I should come to an edge or I would continue forever and never reach my starting point. Similarly, the same goes for the theory that the earth is a sphere. It can be tested in the same way. The result of the experiment tells us whether to accept or reject the particular theory.

Now ID does not make predictions and is not falsifiable. Hence it isn't scientific. Hence you can't have a proper scientific debate. It doesn't even get to start. The first question the author should be asking himself is "Is it scientific?" or more to the point "Do I know what science is?".

To me it is a "god of the gaps". If we don't know something then the answer must be that some supernatural being did it. Throughout human history supernatural beings have been used to fill gaps in our knowledge. But these beings vanish once we actually find the mechanisms behind nature. Image if the date was 1905 and not 2005. If all people thought that it was a supernatural being who was responsible for the things we didn't know, we would have no TV, computers, penicillin, knowledge of DNA, etc, etc. All ID does is to stop further questioning. Sound familiar?

In it the author suggest that Anthony Flew, a world famous atheist, has accepted ID. Read this article which was written by someone who followed this up and interviewed Flew. Read the January 2005 update at the bottom and make up your own mind. For mine, this 82 year old has just given up because it is too hard to investigate the evidence. Great science, hey.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

We don't know the problem. Take these pills and see what happens.

Pain. It' s not a bad thing. Without it you are a leper. It's telling you something. Maybe if I had listened to my pain earlier I wouldn't have spent three hours lying in a hospital bed wearing the gown which shows your bottom to the world.

Physical pain. I enjoy it. The feeling of hurting so much that you want to stop but you just keep pushing yourself through. But afterwards, the sense of achievement and the endorphins rushing through your body give you a fantastic high. The only problem is that by feeling the pain you may actually do harm to your body, in particular when your body has experienced many injuries. It's the risk you take (I'm suffering from that now).

Emotional pain. This I do not enjoy. And there is the difference. I'm willing to take risks with my physical body and push it to the limits but I am reluctant to do so with my emotional body. It's strange how you can use one set of principles in one part of your life yet not apply those same ideas to other parts. It's very hypocritical. Slowly that's changing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A long time between drinks

It's been a while since my last post and it's been 4 weeks since I've had an alcoholic drink. For those of you who know me, you can pick yourselves off the ground now.
It has been a strange four weeks. The first time I went to a pub after making the decision to be healthy for a while, I craved for beer. It didn't help that it was Rock 'n' Wrestle. Rock, wrestling and beer go so well together. But I managed to endure the night and enjoy the wrestling. After that occasion there has only been one other time when I've desired beer. This is so unlike me. If I went out and beer tasted good (when doesn't it?) I would drink heaps and sometimes not even worry about dinner. Now, I don't particularly want to have a drink, even at the footy (This is the second time some of you may have to pick yourselves off the ground.)
It is interesting how different people react to you at a pub when you are not drinking.I was at the wrestling with Elaine and I ordered a beer and a lemonade. The bartender put the beer in front of me and the lemonade in front of Elaine, the assumption being that if one of you isn't drinking it must be the female. On friday, some of us were at a pub celebrating the last week of our teaching round. One of the guys wanted to have a huge night and was buying beer for everyone. He was really trying hard to get me a drink. I got called soft a lot. It didn't faze me.
Can I have fun without having a drink? At the moment I don't really know the answer to this question. The company and the entertainment has been good, but I haven't really been excited nor let myself go. This is no reflection on the people who I've been out with because I really do like being around them. Even at the footy, where I can get fairly worked up, I've been relatively calm. Is this what I'm really like? When I drink do I turn into someone who isn't really me? I don't know. The experiment shall continue.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mr Magoo

On saturday I will be picking up my first pair of glasses. I never thought that I would ever need to wear glasses but as Mel used to tell me, "Your powers are weak, old man." I wonder what it will feel like to be able to see into the distance without the image being blurry? No more waving to people and realising as they come close to you that they don't know you. I'll be able to see the footy at the other end of the ground and read the scoreboard. Street signs in the distance will finally have meaning.

ps. Thank you Elaine for helping me pick out frames which may suit me. It came down to two; one which made me look manly and one which made me look intelligent. Guess which one was chosen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The decline of Western Civilisation

On sunday morning after training, I had breakfast with some of my training partners at the Botanical Hotel. During breakfast, a fleet of the last model of jeep Cherokees appeared on Domain Rd emblazoned with advertising for some car dealership. The cars stopped, and the street was flooded by girls in thier 20's wearing red caps offering free test drives in the vehicles. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked them one of the girls if they were going to the western suburbs with this offer. The girl replied, "Of course, we have cars covering the area between Nunawading and Brighton." and Brighton was said with that 'Brighton accent'. Well there is no need to tell you if you live in Melbourne that the western suburbs are not between Nunawading and Brighton. I didn't have the heart to ask her if she actually knew where the western suburbs were. I don't thing I would have been able to handle her answer of "Anywhere west of Toorak".
I feel sorry for those who live in their enclosed worlds. The sad thing is that they don't know that their world is not the same as others. They have never ventured outside. They are under the illusion that the rest of us live like they do. I wish that they would have really driven out to the western suburbs and offered the same deal. I'm sure there would have been more takers.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Post o'trip: part 2

Team America, Fuck yeah
There was a group of American students lead by a Drew Carey lookalike, aka, Sergeant Slaughter. Now amongst this group there were some really nice students. Down to earth, embarrassed about their country and fun to go drinking with. However, there were also some real dicks. This one girl, Miss Team USA, was a stuck up rich kid, belonged to a sorority straight out of one of those 80's college flicks, and wore a diamond rock on her finger the size of a golf ball. Now she was a bioligist working on anorexia (she may well have been suffering from it herself). Ben asked her what her biological model was. She responded that they deprived mice of food. Even I, a physicist, knows that this is not anorexia, but just starvation. What you need are animals who are no eating out of choice. When Ben pointed this out, she just said that, "No, this is a model for anorexia". Ah, this is what I call the "But this goes to eleven" argument.

Getting to know you
Accommodation in Lindau was an interesting affair. A shared room consisted of two single beds within the frame of a double bed. That is, you basically slept in the same bed as your roommate. That's ok if you know your bedmate. But in a lot of cases strangers were just placed together, with guys sharing with guys and girls sharing with girls. One of the other Aussies, Ben, was shacked up with a pom who he had never met. Ben turned up to his guest house, grabbed the key off the owner and went to unlock his room. The key didn't seem to work. He tried a couple of times and then went back down to get another key from the owner. With this second key he tried again. Same thing, the key wouldn't work. Back to the owner. He explained that the key wouldn't work and that he had knocked on the door on the off chance that his roommate may be in the room. He got no answer. In a dead pan german accent, the owner of the guest house said, "Maybe he is dead.". Not quite the response Ben was hoping for. It turned out that, luckily, the guy wasn't dead and that both keys were just faulty.
How do you handle sharing a bed with a complete stranger? What do you wear consider the temperature is over 30 degrees C? The first night that Ben and his bed-mate lay together, Ben constructed the "Wall of Doona" between them. The reason for this is not what you may think. Ben has been married for ten years and when you are lying next to someone in a bed you can assume it is your partner. It would be a naturally tendency while asleep to cuddle up next to your partner. Hence the "Wall of Doona". Turned out that even in the hot weather, the pom wrapped himself up in his doona. They really are crazy.On the last night, as they get ready for bed, both Ben and the Pom are lying on the bed just in their boxers discussing the day. At this point Ben has that moment of realisation, "What the hell is going on here?". How things change.

No Kidding
What did I learn from this trip? That my philosophies are shared with these guys. Here is a list of principles that a couple of the speakers articulated that I agree with:
1. Family/personal life comes first.
2. Have fun. If you don't enjoy what you are doing then your life won't be enjoyable.
3. Have other interests. Don't just work.
4. Question, always question. If someone in authority tells you something, ask for the evidence, don't just believe it.
5. Science is not done in isolation. Humans are a social beast and you need to talk with others not just in your field, but also outside of it. You won't be able to do it on your own.

That'll do for now, there may be more later.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Post o' trip: Part 1

Be alert, not alarmed
Plane boarded, waiting for take-off. 5 mins go by, then 10, then 20. Captain announces "Sorry for the delay, but someone has got up and walked off the plane. Hopefully we can take-off in a few minutes." An official suit walks by holding a boarding pass, checking seats. He gets to the last row, talks to a man sitting there. Man shrugs shoulders as the suit opens the overhead compartment and removes the only piece of luggage it contains, a brown briefcase. Suit indicates to man to get up and follow him out. Both walk out with the briefcase. I say to the passenger next to me, "We will be getting off the plane." Five minutes later, the captain asks all passengers to gather all their belongings and orderly leave the plane. I think to myself, this is going to be a long trip. Two hours after the plane was supposed to leave, it finally does. Needless to say, the plane successfully landed.

A pot will look so small
Beer. Pint or 500 ml glasses. So tasty no matter what the container. Two weeks of the amber fluid. So many memories. Like the time in a bar in Lindau when beer opened the door to free shots. Like the time in a different bar in Lindau, when after lunch, instead of going to the afternoon session of the conference, we sat around said bar and drank more beer. When it was time to go to a concert organised for us, it began raining and so we remained at the bar for more beer. Nearly 12 hours straight at the beer, sorry, bar. Beer. Cheaper than coke (the drink). Beer. London, a guy taps us on the shoulder. It's Byron. An Aussie who did honours in Physics last year in optics. He's working, you guessed it, in a pub. We visited his pub for beer. If I have one memory for this trip it will be beer.

Silver Foxes
Dirty old men? Not all of them. There are exceptions. Should this be my impression of men (there was only one female out of around 50) who have won the most coverted of scientific honours, the Nobel Prize? Picture this scene. Two women are about to have their photo taken with a Nobel Laureate. One has put her arm around him while the other stands half a metre away. Quick as a flash, his arm extends out, grabs her waist and draws her right next to him. Photo is taken. He holds on for longer. Maybe he is anticipating more photos? Another scene. Dinner is orgainsed where you can sit with the Lauteate of your choice and have dinner with him. As the sycophants gathered round to listen to these men, you could not help notice that some of these men seemed to be more interested in the breasts (or as Kate called them, "Just fat pads") of the women around them. Not that some of these women didn't mind it, some played up to it.
Did these guys say anything of great value? I'll say something about that later. I think Sandra summed up the meeting when she quoted Milhouse from The Simpsons episode 'Lemon of Troy', "Hey everybody, and old man's talking!".

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gone fishing......

I leave tomorrow for 5 days in London and a week in Lindau. I've decided to explore the museums and galleries while in London. I hope to get to the following: Tate Modern Art, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, British Museum, and the Natural History Museum. I hope I have enough time.

To get myself ready, I went to the NGV and saw the Bill Henson exhibition. I really liked his later works, especially his collages. I suffered from visual sensory overload. I needed to close my eyes for a while afterwards. The images burned onto my retina needed time to dissapate. I also went to the open day at Parliament House. For a building that isn't finished is has some impressive rooms. The Victorian Gold Rush was an opulent time. So much gold inlay.

I'm off, see you in two weeks.

ps. I'll miss noodles with Elaine, can I cope?

Friday, June 17, 2005

The stars, baby, the stars

The Sunday Age magazine, Sunday Life, has a column called "For better, for worse" in which couples talk about how they met and their relationship. In last sundays we had Veronica and Rod. Veronica , a long-haul flight attendant, said the following; "I met Rod at a jazz festival and we laughed the whole time. He asked me out the next day but I went to a psychic instead, who told me he would become a special person in my life."

I think she has been spending too long in the air and her brain has been bombarded with too many cosmic rays. Firstly, she goes to some stranger whose advice she will listen to even thought he/she is peddling snake oil. Secondly, I wonder what excuse she gave Rod as to why she didn't go out with him the next day. If she said "I'm off to see a psychic", my advice (and I won't charge for this) is run, boy, run. I'm saying this from experience. If, however, she gave some lame ass excuse, then lying is a great way to start off the relationship.

Let's just get this straight; psychics, tarot cards, astrology, etc. are all a crock of shit. Wake up people, its the 21st century!!! They all use the same device, "cold reading". Here's a test. Get someone to cut out a days horoscope so that you dont know which star sign it is. Get them to mix it up and give it to someone else. Then this person will give it to a group of people and ask them to match the reading which most resembles them with their star sign. (This is called a 'double blind test'.) Result, matching is no better than chance. "But", I hear you cry, "that horoscope isn't a 'proper one'. We need to know the time and date of your birthday". Here's a few questions for you:
Which time zone?
What defines your time of birth? First appearance of the head, the time the last part of your body leaves?
What about caesarian births?
How accurate should the time be; hours, seconds, milliseconds, atomic clock resolution?
What is the mechanism that is at play here? Gravity? Do you know what gravity is? Do you realise that the building you are in exerts more force on you due to gravity than Alpha Centauri, the nearest star. Do the math.
Do you realise horoscope star charts are out of date and the constellations no longer rise and set on those dates?

I'll leave you with this quote by British philosopher A. J. Ayer (the word 'religious' can be interchanged with 'psychic').
"The fact that people have religious experiences is interesting from the psychological point of view, but it does not in any way imply that there is such a thing as religious knowledge ... Unless he can formulate his 'knowledge' in propositions that are empirically verifiable, we may be sure that he is deceiving himself."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hot dogma

Someone asked me whether I could teach in a religious school considering that I am an athiest. Would that change the way I teach? Could I just ignore the superstition? I try to teach questioning and critical analysis. Once you see how usefull this practice is, how could you not apply it to other subjects, including religion.

I've asked the following question to people I know who have faith in religion (the brand doesn't matter), "Would you convert to (insert their religious practice here) if you were born into another faith?". Usually they dismiss the question without any thought. I try to badger them with "Have you looked into all the religions? Why do you dismiss those and not your own? Do you know how your/their holy texts came about? Do you look at the historical context of the begining of your/their religion?, etc. etc.".

However, my grandfather replied that he would follow the religion he was born into. I found this an amazing statement. He had no problem with it. He said that everyone had to believe in some higher being. When I explained to him I didn't, he could not comprehend that. When I asked him if he could question his beliefs, he replied no, he believed what he was told. I asked him if he still believed in the Easter bunny or tooth fairy. Of course not. I asked him why he couldn't apply the same questioning. Silence. I left it there and changed topics.

A week is a long time in cliches

I enter the room.
The music blares. The crowd are enthralled. In the distance, between momentary gaps created by the jostling mass, I spot the unmistakable colour that is skin. As I make my way to the bar, I piece together the scene from the fragments afforded me. It's a girl engaging in a form of entertainment from the distant past. Burlesque. The tassels covering her nipples are rotating in time with the music as she gyrates her breasts. I look at the crowd, mainly children of the mid to late 70's. They are captivated. Kids, it's just skin. It, by itself, is not erotic. What controls the skin is more important. This is not personal. I feel no connection. I turn to the bartender and order a beer. The scene doesn't evoke in me the intended outcome.
The scene dissolves into another. I don't see the crowd anymore, just individuals. There is Heroin chic, Fitzroy royalty, others in awe of the previous. I overhear someone say that it's way too cool for them. I turn and look again. What makes them cool? What is cool? Who decides? Does it matter? All I see are people. What they wear has no bearing on what they think or do. Their words and deeds will reveal their true character.
Someone I know greets me. But their words are betrayed by their body language. They don't really mean it. They talk a lot but say nothing. Conversation is meant to involve listening. I listen, but they don't. The encounter is short. They move on. Is this the same person that I knew? In the past, talk was vibrant and diverse. Now it's all about "me" and shekels. I see it amongst the crowd. They are so engrossed in themselves that they fail to notice what's around them. As I am thinking this, a couple crash into me on their way to the bar, "Sorry", he says, "I didn't see you." I had to laugh.
They are so intent on reaching their goals that they fail to see that the journey, not the end, is life. Don't they see that the end is the same for everyone? Books, movies, are not just one sentence, "Character begins, character ends". If you picked up a book that contained just this, you would feel ripped off. Yet they live their lives like this. The journey is where the excitement happens. That's when you encounter the new. You learn far more from these experiences than from the end itself. If being human is about learning and understanding, then there are some who have lost their humanity. I have a better understanding of some of them then when I arrived. Somehow I don't think the reverse will be true.
I leave the room.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I've finished all my assignments! What shall I do with my time?

It's a small world. Six degrees of separation is five degrees too many. I keep meeting people who know someone I know. Last saturday I was at two friends places and both times I met someone who knew someone I knew. That reminds me, I will never forget hearing my name being yelled out in Xi'an, a city in the middle of China, and it was someone from Melbourne who I knew.

Should animals be experimented on? If so, at what animal would you consider OK to experiment on? I think dogs, liberal politicians and god botherers are OK.

I've finally found my passport. I'm heading overseas in a couple of weeks to go to a conference in Lindau (I still can't believe I've scammed this) and I've been tearing my place apart trying to find it. It wasn't even there. It was sitting in my office.

I'm already bored................................................................................................................................

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I'd buy that for a dollar!

I thought I would never see one, but on saturday night I did. I held it in my hands. It wasn't as big as I thought it would be. But it was special. It should be mounted on the wall. What am I talking about? An oversized check that they hand out to the winners of gameshows and sporting contests.

Friends of mine made it on to 'Deal or no deal', the gameshow on channel seven. They sat throught four shows watching other contestants win gradually increasing amounts from around $5000 to over $40000. Then it came for the last taping of the day. My friend was randomly chosen and, after correctly answering the questions, he was the main contestant. He thought it must be his luckiest day. He chose briefcase 17. The show hasn't been aired yet so I won't reveal how much he one, sorry, won. But it will be on a friday. Look at for his girlfriend calling him a metrosexual on national TV as well as him (he's a big boy) trying to fit into a small car. He almost didn't. But it was all worth it just for that oversized check.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Discs spinning in my head

The music that I listen to depends on what mood I am in at that particular point in time.

Music on my computer: none. I have a very old computer with no space for music.

Song playing right now (it's in my head): . "Rock n' Roll is Where I Hide" by Dave Graney. I've been playing along with it on my guitar at home. I love the chord progression. I am invisible, no one sees me, I should be a spy.

5 songs I listen to a lot (at the minute and they play in my head continuously):
These change all the time. I may spend weeks listening to the following and then have a complete mood change and I won't listen to them for ages. I have so many songs which I listen to a lot, if I did the numbers.
-"Beautiful Day Never Ends" by Even off 'A Different High', 'beautiful day won't you come back again, tomorrow is so far away'. I'm a big fan of Even. A very underrated trio.
-"Sleepy Head (Serene Machine)" by Ed Kuepper
'If you scratch your world to pieces
You'll see the stains and all the creases
That are hidden away
With your sweet life at an all time low
No sweet-talkers with gems for eyes
To show the way.'
I've been listening to the album 'Ed Kuepper Sings His Greatest Hits For You' at the moment. Such fine tracks, so many of these songs going through my head.
-"Heavy Heart" by You Am I. Fellow North Melbourne supporter Tim Rogers laments.
-"Shark Attack" by Split Enz.
'Well she chewed me up and she spat me out
I didn't want to meet a maneater
Shark attack!'
Off a great album, True Colours. I should have brought this and other 80's albums to Elaines' party.
-"40 Years - Then Death" by TISM.
'Perfume! The smell of perfume
Is forgotten, and the shape of the room
And the sheets on her bed
Disappear forever from my head.'
There is always a lyric from a TISM song which expresses the mood of any situation.

I wonder what songs will be playing in my head in a months time?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Arbitrary measurements of time

There are some people who look forward to their birthdays. There are those that like to (some of them secretly) have a fuss made over them. I am not one of them.
You may hav guessed from the above that my birthday is approaching rapidly. Ever since I can remember I've never been a big fan of my own birthday. I always felt uncomfortable with the attention. Family members seemed quite upset when I would genuinely say that I wanted nothing for my birthday. I was being honest yet they didn't believe me. It's always difficult being the odd one out in your family (this is just one example of this).
On only two occassions have I had a party, my 21st and 30th. Everyone has to have a 21st. It was more of a party then a birthday. I almost got away without speeches. I thanked everyone for coming, told them to party on and that was about it. No stories. My 30th was a joint party with my friend Nick. I can't really remember too much from that one.

Why does it require a birthday (or other arbitrary date such as Christmas) for family or friends to get together? If you are close to someone then you make time to go and see them because you want to and not out of obligation. A lot of stress is caused because of this. You must of heard "But it's family and you have to go". Let's take a closer look at this. 100,000 years ago there would have been just a few families (I wonder how do you define 'family'?). If the above was adhered to, the get togethers today should be enormous. But they aren't. Why? Because those that followed the above wiped themselves out because of internal family feuds.
Having said that I should catch up with some friends who I haven't seen in a long time. I do enjoy their company and I'm ashamed to say that I've been lazy recently. So I'm off to contact them, especially Joh and Paul.

Friday, May 20, 2005

When can you cut someones lunch?

At a recent party, someone propositioned a friend knowing that this friend had been out on at least one date with someone else. Is this a 'lunch cut' and what constitutes 'dating' or 'going out' with someone? If you have been on two dates does this mean you are dating?

I remember back in my past when attending the seedy nightclubs of Melbourne that my group of friends had a rule about lunch cutting. On at least one occassion we held council during the following week after a major accusation of lunch cutting the previous weekend. I can't remember if the protest was dismissed but it was a very funny night. The rule was:
- You give your friend 10 mins with a girl and if he looks like he is getting nowhere, you were allowed to step in. There had to be confirmation from at least one other that your friend was getting nowhere.
This was highly subjective and to overcome this you would do everything to try to secretly manoeuver the girl away from any prying eyes. It was hard. The dance floor wasn't even safe. There was also the 'let's see if we can break this up' attitude. You pretend not to know these guys as they perform the most ridiculous dance moves. I can still picture five blokes pretending they are mowing lawns on the dance floor. (Cutting lunch .... cutting grass.)

That was in the past. I'm now of the belief that if someone has been on at least one date they should be able to explore this without interference from another. By date, I mean the two of you have made plans to spend time together with no other friends around. I think it would be poor form to cut someones lunch this early on. However, if the number of dates goes over, say, half a dozen and there is no declaration of boyfriend/girlfriend, then I think that all bets are off and moves may be made.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

You know you're old when....

  • it takes you four days to recover from a big night of drinking.Those cocktails provide by Elaine were excellent except that the Tom Collins might have had just a bit too much sugar syrup added. My memory of that night fades in and out but I can't seem to recall all of the activity that has been reported. That's the problem of getting older, your memory ain't like it used to be.
  • the clothes you wore to an 80's party were the clothes you wore in the 80's. Not only that, but you had a choice of what to wear still hanging in your wardrobe.
  • when you realise that you were 14 when your dad was the age you are now. No wonder I found it tough playing backyard soccer against him. True, he was a professional soccer player, but back then I thought he was way over the hill and that I should have thrashed him.
  • you are made a life member of a sporting club. You also realise that your association with the club covers over one-fifth of the club's history. I gotta get out more.
  • the youngest player currently in the AFL was born after you left high school. Not only that, you are also older than the oldest current AFL player. The scary thing is that you think you could play better than half the guys out there, particularly when you team has lost their last three games after starting so well.
  • guys like Alexander the Great, Bruce Lee and Mozart died at a younger age then you are now. But at least I outlived them.

Friday, May 13, 2005

"Who do you think you are?" and "Pink and mint-green pseudo-males"

I hate written assignments. I should be more specific. I hate arty-farty written assignments. All you are given is some lame criteria sheet which is so general you have no idea what you are to write about.

How about this for a topic, "Who do you think you are?". The last time I checked I think I was the 'Door. Hang on..... yes, that's right. What a wank. Does this require me to "find" myself? Send me to India to join a tantric yoga ashram then. The assignment will be substandard if you don't. This course, from which this assignment comes, has too much thinking and reflecting about things that you haven't even done! Haven't these people listened to the great philosopher and football coach John Kennedy? "Don't think, DO!".

At lunch today one of the guys in the office, let's call him M., ranted about t-shirts. It went something like this; goes to favourite t-shirt shop and all he saw were pink and mint-green t-shirts, goes out to a club and all he sees are guys dressed in pink and mint-green t-shirts. Is there any guy out there not conforming to the pack or are they all, as he says, 'psuedo-males' afraid to be an individual? In a past life, a pink t-shirt = chick. If you saw pink in the distance you assumed female. Science has shown that this colour association is linked to a gene on the Y chromosome. It's genetic to turn and check out anyone in pink. He did this today and realised he was checking out some guy. This is what began his rant. Poor M, if only he was bi then he would have nothing to worry about.

Personally I think male t-shirts should come in any colour, provided it is black. (Thanks to Henry Ford.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Do you know what I mean?

I hate that question. Why are there so many using it to finish off a sentence? Why is it being used so often? Has our language changed so much that you can't assume that the person you are talking to will understand a word you say? "I fell and hurt my arm the other day, you know what I mean?". Unless the words have changed meaning, I think you are telling me that you fell and hurt your arm the other day.

Is it a tool to elicit sympathy? Am I supposed to feel your pain and comfort you in your time of need just because you tacked on those words? You would get a better response if you just left off that offending question.

I felt it was time to act and put a stop to it. I have deliberately begun answering the question in the negative by saying "No, I don't know what you mean." or by saying "Well, unless the meaning of the words have changed.....". Needless to say I have been getting some curt replies. But I don't care. Stupid phrases or questions should be treated with the comtempt that they deserve.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Let the ranting begin

It has been a while, but I've decide that the rants that I have should be forever recorded in history. Not because they are important, hardly; but because there are some people out there who actually want the crap that I say written down. I did write down a few rants many moons ago and I'll leave you with an example.

Have you ever flicked through those sections of the weekend papers which are normally used to line rubbish bins, the ones with titles such as 'Spirit and Health' and 'Travel Ideas'? Ever noticed ads within those liftouts masquerading as articles or special reports? The ones asking if you suffer from "high blood pressure, low blood pressure, insomnia, oversleep, arthritis, back pain, muscle pain, etc, etc" and then offering a pill, lotion, or tonic which will cure all these. Well I'm telling you now, "there is gold in them da hills!".

What would you expect to be labeled "Nature's Anti-inflammatory"? Ice maybe? NO. It's, wait for it, Oil of Emu! How they came to this conclusion is beyond me. I'm sure they did the scientific analysis of all Australian animals and their effect on inflammation. Oil would not have been the only substance tested. Bile, saliva and mucus would have also been tested. I can just imagine the research into Oil of Wombat, Oil of Echidna and Oil of Bilby. One thing that I'm curious about is how do they extract this Oil of Emu. Do they drill for it? You can just imagine a team of geological surveyors analysing an emu, then deciding the best place to drill. Before you know it, oil wells are popping up all over the emus back. The oil then has to be refined. As I've driven down towards Geelong, past those huge oil refineries, next to Shell Oil and Esso Oil, I'm sure I've spotted Emu Oil.

Here is a excerpt from a treatment for tinnitus.
"Ingredients are natural, so the treatment is unlikely to produce side effects."
Hmmm, this implies that everything that is natural is unlikely to cause harm. Tell Socrates that. Hemlock, a natural occurring substance, causes no side effects, well, apart from death. You could argue on a technicality that death ain't exactly the side effect but you get the picture. If everything that is natural is good for you, legalize dope. Snake venom is naturally occurring but I wouldn't be advising you to try that natural remedy. But it will get rid of your muscle and back pain.

Testimonials from unknown initials and celebrities litter these ads. An example:
"If you've forgotten what it feels like to be happy try MoodLift. It worked for me, it could work for you too."
Adriana Xenides.
After finishing spinning letters on Wheel of Fortune, I can understand life not being fulfilling anymore. Here is a similar testimony from a girl leaving a nightclub.
If you've forgotten what it feels like to be happy try Ecstasy. It worked for me, it could work for you too."
Candy, 18. Can you spot the difference?? Yep, Ecstasy works better.

The English language is always a victim of these ads. How about this:
"Women's health issues can cause many problems from mood swings, hot and cold flushes, menopause and it goes. Once you understand how your body works these conditions become relatively easy."
First question, where does what go? Second question, what becomes relatively easy, getting these symptoms? I think this may be harder to decipher then hieroglyphics.

Next time your bored or want a laugh, just have a read of these ads. There are more gems waiting to be found.

(Mel and Elaine are to blame for this.)