August 6, 2016

March 24, 2016

Turnbull runs with funny script

Turnbull adopts most meaningless slogan from US political comedy series, Veep. Can't he afford his how script writers?
It's been a turbulent week for Mr Turnbull: his popularity again plunged and on social media he has been lambasted for using a "hollow and oxymoronic" slogan made up for satirical political US TV show Veep.

The show's lead actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus said she was "dumbstruck" by Mr Turnbull's use of the phrase "continuity and change" during an interview on ABC's 7.30 this week — the slogan a carbon copy of one used on Louis-Dreyfus' spoof HBO series.

Mr Turnbull used it in an attempt to distance his government from that of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Writer of the US TV series Simon Blackwell accused the prime minister of copying the slogan used in season four of the show.

"In S4 of Veep we came up with the most meaningless election slogan we could think of. Now adopted by Australian PM," Blackwell tweeted.

February 6, 2016

In 2016 it's easy being a smug Democrat candidate

they agreed at least on one thing: “On our worst days I think we can say we are 100 times better than any Republican candidate.”
 Clinton Goes on Offense as Democratic Debate Turns Ugly

January 31, 2016

The model, the media moguls and Mariah: a match made in media heaven

Annabel Crabb captures the community spirit of the Packer/Carey and Murdock/Hall engagements.

Moguls who have made their dough in tabloid media are rarely uncontroversial. But you really have to rise and salute when they decide to put a little back into the entertainment ecosystem.

Which is why I dedicate this column in grateful thanks to Mr Rupert Murdoch and Mr James Packer who – selflessly and without a thought for themselves – deliver so much pleasure to so many simply by choosing to marry amusing people.

Take Mr Murdoch, first. It takes a certain kind of mogul to preside over an empire in which the phone-stalking of Peter Andre is in any way central to the business model.
Turning to James Packer for a moment, one is of course forced to acknowledge that he is no longer a media mogul in the technical sense. But his deep commitment to popular content generation is beyond compare. I don't know if I can think of any series of paparazzi biffo snaps that has provided more shouts of joy than the action shots of Mr Packer, in 2014, deep in a Dad-scrabble with his mate David Gyngell while clad in an expensive but tragically gravity-susceptible pair of silk and cashmere trackie dacks.

But those trifling capers were as nothing compared to the hillbilly-heroin rush of pleasure to be derived from any Google image search incorporating the terms "James Packer" and "Mariah Carey". Now add the term "Halloween", and tell me I'm wrong.

The model, the media moguls and Mariah: a match made in media heaven

January 30, 2016

The rise of stupidity

"What scares me the most? Stupidity," he said, adding that a simple overview of comments on the Internet will uncover "this massive, naked onslaught of stupidity."
Sure, but do we really need a film director to point this out?  Twitter launched the daily death of trillions of brain cells, even for those who don't use it, yet have to endure news that's based on nothing more than what one prat tweeted to another prat.  
Maybe this is what the end of civilisation looks like. 
He's wrong about science fiction writers not predicting the internet, plenty did, and most particularly  William Gibson, Neuromancer. 

Read more at:

Over-thinking Twitter

A new column dissects Cher's tweets.

January 24, 2016

Too dumb to fail

All things US Republicans, two new books reviewed - “Why the Right Went Wrong” and “Too Dumb to Fail”.

A good summary of the state of the Republican Party:
He argues that the conservative movement has been captured by “empty-headed talking point reciters, rookie politicians who’ve never managed anything in their lives, media clowns such as Donald Trump, dim bulbs in tight pants or short skirts, professionally outraged shout-fest talking heads and total political neophytes.” He notes that the movement is full of overdogs pretending to be underdogs. Ted Cruz, the Tea Party’s leading champion, was educated at Princeton and Harvard Law School and is married to a Goldman Sachs executive. He accuses these assorted freaks of caring more about stoking outrage than in governing the Republic. The more outrage they provoke the more money they can raise — and the more money they can raise the more outrage they can stoke.

‘Why the Right Went Wrong’ and ‘Too Dumb to Fail’

January 21, 2016

Spark Joy - the Japanese art of tidying


When storing komono – my term for miscellaneous items – the only way to know the best place for any item is to think yourself into the character of that item. Before I put a komono item away, I joyously climb into the storage space and imagine what it would be like to be stored there. Only then can you know if the Toilet Duck cleaner would be really at home under the bathroom sink.

Once you’re living joyously with all your possessions joyously stored away joyously, you are free to move on to the most advanced joyous level of joyous tidying. See that lump sitting in the armchair watching the football when you want to watch Making a Murderer? Ask yourself this: which gives me more joy? The lump or the empty chair? So ditch him.

Word of the Year 2015 announced!

The Committee's Choice for Word of the Year 2015 goes to... captain's call.

Now I have a bone to pick with the word of the year committee: isn't it captain's pick, not captain's call?

Oh, and the word of the year is TWO words! This is not the first time that word of the year has not been a word, singular.
captain's call

noun a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues.

Captain’s call perfectly encapsulates what happened in Australia over the past year. There has been an interesting change in usage; an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket makes the leap into politics and is now being used generally with an ironic tinge to it that is very Australian.

Honourable Mentions
The Committee would like to give honourable mention to...


noun an urban male who wishes to associate himself by his appearance with a rugged outdoors way of life,
as by wearing outdoor clothes such as check shirts, jeans and large boots combined with a beard as typical of a lumberjack.

It used to be all about women’s fashions, but the words are now being dominated more and more by those related to men’s fashion. Lumbersexual is an organic phenomenon that someone has identified and named. It is a neat coinage and perfectly describes this style that peaked in Australia over the past year.


noun Colloquial a designated driver. Also, deso driver.

The idea of deso is very topical. It combines a drinking culture with that of a law-abiding society. The word structure itself is typically Australian – a shortened form with an -o ending. It is astonishing how quickly and smoothly the deso became part of our lives.

January 14, 2016

Shoe-shaped church with 'female-orientated' features hopes to attract worshippers in Taiwan

100 "female-oriented" features - so there will naturally be extra large rear-view mirrors for applying makeup, and special handbag nooks with every chair, a hot pink racing stripe, and a team of full time manicurists?

Most commonly searched words in 2015

According to the Macquarie Dictionary, the following were the most commonly searched words in 2015, which merely begs an awful lot of questions about the populace at large.


January 12, 2016

January 4, 2016

Sailing Stones

Death Valley, California, in the United States is known as one of the hottest, driest places on Earth. In this desolation without much life, the problem of the “sailing stones of Death Valley” has stumped scientists for over half a century. At a dry lake bed known as Racetrack Playa, stones that weigh up to 700 pounds have been moving, seemingly without human or animal assistance, leaving tracks across the desert sands. Since their discovery in the 1940s, several theorists have attempted to solve the mystery of the rocks’ movement, but it may have only been in the last year that science has provided an answer.

The sailing rocks can be seen spread around the desert floor and make intricate and interesting patterns with their tracks. While the tracks may be parallel, they also are not uniform, and the rocks can move in any direction, including backwards over their own tracks. Until 2014, researchers weren’t sure if the movements were caused by dervishes, hurricane force winds, or some other natural phenomena, but the cause of the movement was determined to likely be from thin layers of ice that form when the conditions are just right. The thin ice across the top of the sand pushes the rocks, which then slide based on the direction of moderate winds of about 5-10 miles per hour.

Researchers observed rocks moving as far as 180 feet over the course of 2 years while running their experiments. While some rocks moved much less than that, the stones moved an average of a few inches per second, or slower than your average turtle. The discovery lends another meaning to the whimsical name behind Racetrack Playa.

January 2, 2016

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
 Mary Oliver

December 9, 2015

Don't let statistics get in the way of a happy Xmas

But don't let that stop a happy American family Xmas:

1.1 million Americans shot dead in 35 years

Today Show presenter Peter Stefanovic stunned his co-host Lisa Wilkinson by revealing a staggering fact on America's gun deaths.

On Wednesday's morning show a tribute to Beatles legend John Lennon was shown from New York on what was the 35th anniversary since his death. 

After the footage Stefanovic said 'there's been 1.1 million U.S. citizens to have died from guns since John Lennon was murdered' in 1980.

The fact shocked Wilkinson, who appeared lost for words, and uttered 'oh really' and 'gee'.


December 8, 2015

Yet another saint - the pope will be pleased

There were only so many options:  Pope, Jesus, God, Odin, Yodda, President.  But the K.Ks like to surprise, in their predictable way, so went for the more common saint - so many saints, now there's one more.

North is called Nori.  What will Saint be called?  I'm going with Aint.

November 29, 2015

Go fund other people's petty indulgences

Taking its cues from micro-financing for third world countries, Go Fund Me probably started with no particular intentions - other than making money in the usual manner for the owners - and quickly became a repository for first world petty wants and indulgences, wrapped up as need.  It's like begging, only from the safety of your couch. 
A quick survey of sites shows that many people seem as interested in being the next guest on Ellen DeGeneres as in getting funds. (Meeting Ellen DeGeneres is a surprisingly common request on GoFundMe.)

Here’s the question I can’t stop asking myself: Has social media made our craving for attention and validation overwhelm all other considerations? There is nothing new about asking your friends for help (remember rent parties?), but that help was confined to a small group of people you actually knew.

Now, no such boundaries exist. Your 4,000 Facebook friends should know if you can’t pay for your rent — or your plastic surgery. And who knows? They may just pay up.

There was a time when there were needs, and there were wants, and we knew the difference. Now? Now I’m not so sure.
Go Fund Me Gone Wild

November 2, 2015

Surprising health benefits of coke

Coca-Cola has been shown to increase absorption of cancer treatment drugs by up to 40 per cent.

Coke is also the medically recommended drink after you have your tonsils out.

The way things are going, health warnings on coke (if that ever happens to soft drinks) might turn out to need some confusing qualifiers.

October 17, 2015

The white man in that photo

 3 October 2015

Today marks the 9th anniversary of Peter Norman’s passing. We want to commemorate him by publishing this text written by Italian writer Riccardo Gazzaniga, who allowed us to share the story of the Australian sprinter on Griot.

And two black American men, John Carlos & Tommie Smith, in that photo carrying Peter Norman's coffin.  Very moving.

October 11, 2015

Say it isn't so

Corduroy making a comeback for adults? 

"A range of corduroy appeared in the fall-winter 2015 fashion shows, including a trench coat in “jumbo cord” on the runway for the English brand Burberry Prorsum. But corduroy pants, such as the drawstring joggers shown by the Japanese brand Sacai, are probably the easiest item to incorporate into a new fall wardrobe.

Other men’s designers, including Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Boglioli, have come up with modern takes on the corduroy pant.

Adding texture to a given outfit, like a mohair knit shirt or a stonewashed denim jacket, lends the waled pants that tinge of youthful spirit evident on the runway."

The durability of the fabric has another bonus. “The more you wear corduroys, the more beautiful they get,” he said."

Is “Huh?” a Universal Word? Conversational Infrastructure and the Convergent Evolution of Linguistic Items

"Huh" is a universal word.  Of course it is, what would we do without it?