June 30, 2006

Sydney is gone

Geoff's faithful friend and devoted companion Sydney died yesterday. Much love Geoff.

June 28, 2006

Afro Ken!


I want an Afro Ken. He comes with snap-on hair, so that you can change his hairdos. Apart from being a playful little character, Afro Ken is known to be a
lways in a good mood, and likes to get close to soft and fluffy things. Afro Ken is cute.

That guy who dances on the Internet

If you haven't already seen this (bought to our attention by the lovely Kathy, via comments), then you really must, because it is delightful. (Ah, vicarious participation in really useless and stupid stuff is a wonderful thing.)

See Matt dance around the world (more a well co-ordinated flail than a dance, but it's way cooler to flail well than to dance badly).

Read Matt's profile
, including these exciting excerpts:
At the start of 2006, Matt left on a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal.

When Matt was younger, he could hang seven spoons on his face at once. Sadly, puberty made Matt's face less conducive to spoon-hanging.

Matt is very good with figures and wishes people asked him to multiply things more often.

Matt has never lost a staring contest.
Read the answers to both frequently and infrequently asked questions, such as:
Will you come dance in my country?
I hope to, eventually.

My town?
Less likely, but maybe.

My house?
Probably not (It's shocking how often I'm asked this).

Why are you always wearing the same clothes?
Ever travel for an extended period?...I didn't think so.

Or read his blog entries - seriously, this is no dancing dill:

I am not the guy in the video…

... I mean yes, that’s me up there. There’s no internet imposter scandal. But people do not smile when I walk by. I don’t create happiness wherever I go…

… So I made this thing – this video. And a lot of people are watching it. And they take away a message. It’s unspoken, and maybe because it’s never articulated it becomes more potent. By saying nothing, people hear exactly what they want to. And that guy on the screen becomes a symbol for what’s important, what’s possible…

There are folks debating online about whether or not I actually exist. Seems irrefutable to me, but it’s a contended issue.

Point being: they expect a lot out of that guy on the screen.

And then they come here and poke around. Things go downhill quickly.

So I just want to clarify. I want to manage your expectations.

The video isn’t a lie. It’s a sincere expression of how I feel about…stuff. I’m thrilled that it inspires people. I’m thrilled that they find meaning in it. But understand that as soon as I stop dancing, it’s bound to get more complicated. The brotherhood I feel toward my fellow man does not extend to the man next to me on the plane who just farted while clearing his sinuses.

People tell me how jealous they are. They want to be that dancing guy.

I want to be that dancing guy. It’s a worthwhile aspiration. But I’ve got a long way to go. There are gaps in between those clips.

And Canada, please, take it easy. I won’t make excuses. I’m really sorry I neglected to put you in there. It was not intended as a slight. I will work to remedy. In the meantime, cool it with the comments, emails, voice messages, headless teddy bears on my doorstep, and blood-inked poetry on my windshield. I’m not ignoring you. I don’t hate you. We can work this out.

We can all work this out.

I like Matt, that guy who dances on the Internet. No, not that dancing guy, this one.

June 27, 2006

Clever, useless, alive: dead sexy

If you can combine being exceptionally good at doing something difficult, yet utterly useless, and keep safe and protected from predators while you’re at it – keep yourself alive, in other words – that’s pretty much what it takes to be mega-alluring to the opposite sex, or so our primitive brains might dictate.

Evolutionary biologists seem to have taken a feather out of the caps of the academic glitterati of inconsequential studies (that would be the social sciences to the rest of you) with this notion that poetry, singing, the visual arts, and so on, can be culturally explained by looking at the benefits such creative and useless activities may bestow on the initiator of such creative and useless activities.

Yes, some scientists are in the process of testing the elasticity of Darwin’s ideas, not for any particular reason, or to gain predictive knowledge, but just for the hell of it, in much the same way that feminists, to this very day, insist on making use of Marxism, even though Marx had nothing to say about women, other than: “yes thank you, a cup of tea would be most welcome”; or “oh, another baby, oops”.

Obviously, some people are much better at being clever and useless than others, and given that being clever but useless is remarkably attractive, this, naturally, led our evolutionary biologists to conclude:

“If someone can do difficult things, not only carrying peacock tail feathers or a long dark lion mane, but also things that require much practice without contributing to physical fitness and survival, and yet stay alive, that individual must have especially good genes. They are therefore sexually attractive.” [Read the whole thing ...]

So, get to it: practice, practice, practice those useless artistic ventures, flaunt your long dark mane, being sure to stay alive, and the opposite sex might flock to you – they might not too, but at least you’ll be doing something utterly clever and useless while you’re trying to attract love.

[Yes, yes: now we understand why Drunka has been blessed by the devotion and adoration of Mrs Drunka.]

June 26, 2006

The Primatives

This week Jai shares an educational story about the generational gap - read here ...


June 24, 2006

Harriet

Harriet on her 173 rd birthday

Harriet the tortoise, one of the world's oldest living creatures, has died in Australia during her 176th year.

Harriet spent her first one hundred years being mistaken for Harry, before her gender was sorted out (and you think your parents messed with your mind: huh!)

Top Ten Nouns

Yes, first we had the top ten breasts, and now the top ten nouns.

The most commonly used nouns in the world are:

1. Time

2. Person

3. Year

4. Way

5. Day

6. Thing

7. Man

8. World

9. Life

10. Hand

The nouns could be used in a sentence thusly:

By the time you read this some person will be a year older, and way drunk at the end of the day; by then they’ll be trying to untangle a thing from around their ankles, and a man with the world on his shoulders will jump to life with a helping hand.

------------

Did you know: proportion of women worldwide with naturally blonde hair: two percent.

June 23, 2006

June 22, 2006

World Trade Center Memorial


The building and memorial plans for the World Trade Centre site in New York have been subject to an enormous amount of professional and public debate, over everything from design to emotion to spiritual ownership.

The memorial continues to be refined, perhaps for the last time before construction commences.


A lot of images showing how the proposed memorial will look
can be found here.

If these artistic impressions are anything to go by, it will be quite beautiful when completed.

June 20, 2006

Blow back - of a postive kind

The American Navy provides free corrective laser eye surgery to anyone in the Navy who wants it. Not a bad perk.

Now all those lads and lassies who, because of poor eyesight, may have otherwise been shunted in the general direction of a submarine, or administrative work, can now become fighter pilots, and older serving members can stay in the cockpit much longer.

Mostly good for the Navy, particularly as the competition heats up for places in the preferred fields, as top notch candidates now all have perfect eyesight.

Partly bad, as submarines are having a hard time filing their quota – well, they haven’t met their quota this last couple of years.

If it sounds a bit trivial, consider: as many as one third of each 1000 member Naval Academy class now takes up the offer of eye surgery. That’s around 300 personal who would previously have had more limited job options, but now they can pursue whatever passion takes their fancy, if they make the grades.

Also interesting to read that the eye surgery procedure used by the Navy is different from the one used on most civilians. Read the whole story …

Not everyone wants to be a paperback writer; lots want to be a Navy Seal or a fighter pilot.

June 19, 2006

Twenty best breasts

I haven’t seen the list of top ten Hollywood penises (peni), or testicles yet, but In Touch magazine has announced the much awaited list of top ten (or twenty, depending on how one is meant to count these things) breasts.

It’s an important and balanced win for cosmetic surgeons, with five (or ten) of the winning breasts having been grown and cared for naturally, while the other five (or ten) equally (or unequally) impressive winning breasts have been nurtured with outside assistance, all too often with results that are far less flattering than the gushy MSM would like us to believe.

In designated order of awe and wonder, the best breast winners were:

Scarlett Johanson

Jessica Simpson - with breasts all, um, askew.

Salma Hayek - perfect proportions expanded.

Halle Berry - a new perky nose to go with all natural breasts.

Jessica Alba

Tyra Banks - breasts up to the collarbone never looked so authentic.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Rebecca Romijn

Lindsay Lohan - the young 'un taking style tips from Tyra & opting for breasts up to the neck.

Brittany Murphy - glittery, stretched to bursting, and just plain scary.

This year: 50% to the naturals, 50% to the surgeons. Will nurture take the lead from nature next year? With baited and panting breath, we can't wait to find out which breast will cross the line first.

List via Starpulse.

June 18, 2006

Do my elbows look fat in this?


From the New York Times (Do my Knees Look Fat to You? 15 June 2006) comes the startling news that a youngish woman (34 yrs) has undergone $10,000 worth of liposuction.

As anyone with a passing familiarity with cosmetic surgery will know, $10 K doesn’t buy very much in the way of fat suckage.

But our youngish woman (Ms Conte) had two frightening problems: yes, she had a little roll of fat hanging over the back of her jeans (which her mother unkindly reminded her about by continually coming up from behind and pulling her shirt over it). Worse still Ms Conte suffered from “bra fat”, those scary bulges “that can occur when your bra pushes lumps of fat down your back and up over the bra fastening and to the sides right near your arms".

Ms Conte applied a great deal of effort to address her back fat and bra fat problems, including “lunatic” workouts at the gym and Weight Watchers. Neither of these mundane approaches delivered results.

As a last resort, fat suckage and $10 K saved the day with Ms Conte declaring “it was well worth it”.

Anyone else might have purchased a longer shirt.

Anyone else might have purchased a correctly fitted bra.

[Educational note: it is well know that 168% of all women, around the world, at any point in time, are wearing the wrong size bra, and thus have bumps and bulges where none should be, or would be, if only they had procured a bra in the correct size. The same is true of shirts, t-shirts, jeans, trouser, skirts, bikinis, shoes, and so forth.]

Another patient, standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing 126 pounds, concedes that she is relatively skinny, "But my arms were getting a little flappy. I could feel it wiggle every time I shook hands." Emergency fat suckage to the upper arms was performed.

Anyone else might have lifted the occasional dumb bell, or simply gone for the air kiss, in lieu of the handshake, so as to avoid that flappy feeling.

Another surgeon had a request from a patient to have liposuction of her pubic area.

"In Brazil, bikinis are very small, and she complained that a little bit of fat stuck out over her bikini," he said. In this instance he declined to do the surgery.

Anyone else might have considered investing in a bikini with an extra two millimeters of fabric, before seriously considering surgery.

Imagine how much surgery could be avoided if only women wore correctly fitted clothing.

June 16, 2006

June 15, 2006

Reprints for the whole family

Imagine all your special photographic memories, only with everyone naked.

Yes, Demi Moore is responsible for a generation’s worth of prostate wrenching deplorable films, but she is also responsible for starting the trend of naked snap shots for those personal milestones in life. (And yes, she did look a treat.)

The bindings of conservatism and social rules may be tight in China, but that hasn’t stopped brides having their important day commemorated in naked portraiture.

“Such exhibitionism is a surprisingly common feature of modern Chinese life, seen by many as a result of an abrupt and confusing exposure to American culture after two millennia of Confucian conformity and three decades of Maoist puritanism.”

So, we can add naked wedding photos to the delightful Asian penchant for naked blogging.

June 14, 2006

Vote to Save or Evict

I’ve always wanted an option on my voting ballot with a tick-a-box for “none of the above”, but Russia has an even better option, a far more assertive statement: “against all”.

Yes, in Russia you can vote to evict or vote to save, and if the former outnumbers the latter, tee hee, no-one gets elected.

Such a fine system and one I want introduced for our democratic process, and yet, State Duma has approved a bill to remove this excellent option from their voters.

It would seem that their logic runs something like this: only in a corrupt system does one require an “against all” option, while in a pristine democracy one can abstain from voting, if one wishes to, and one’s reasons for doing so need never sully the ballot paper. Your non-vote remains private, a small matter between you and you, not you and the State.

Nay, says I: democracies everywhere should have “none of the above” and the more active “against all” voting options.

Merely abstaining from voting is both passive and invisible. Let the voters indicate whether they don’t happen to fancy any of the candidates - “none of the above” - or whether they actively and vehemently oppose and want rid of each and every one of the potential parliamentary scumbags - “against all”.

June 13, 2006

Jai’s having an attack of the funnies …

The War on Terror is getting uglier by the day....

A guy goes in an adult store and asks for an inflatable doll.


The Environmental Wars Conference

For the serious minded, and for minds with some serious time, a wealth of information and some presentations stemming from the recent Environmental Wars Conference can be found at The Commons.

The conference was organised by the Skeptics Society.

The DeSmogBlog provides a range of snappy posts that provide insight to the different angles and reactions, well worth a look, and a little easier going if you don't have time for the resource heavy coverage on The Commons.

As reference sites, they're both well worth marking, especially for when you feel like testing your thoughts against the scientists, the skeptics, the politics and the economics of all things environmental. In other words, toss the MSM as an information source on the environment and arm yourself with real information. What conclusion you reach will be up to you, but at least you'll be able to stride forth with confidence, knowing that your thoughts are based on substance, not fluff.

Timely reminder

A timely reminder from Florida: when engaging in sex at work, do be very careful out there folks.

"Two Florida teachers have resigned after middle school students observed them having sex in a locked classroom. Officials learned of the trysting last month when students at Coleman Middle School, a Tampa public school, reported spotting teachers Frances Sepulveda, 30, and Bryant Wilburn, 29, getting busy." …The Smoking Gun

June 11, 2006

Facts prove uncomfortable

Over in Britain technology to help address car crime has run into a small credibility problem.

The technology is impartial, it has no brain, no social conscious, no inbuilt bigotry of any flavor, no color sensors, indeed, it doesn’t look at people at all – it scans number plates and does some data matching: badda bing, stolen cars are identified as they are driven past one of the dinky automatic number plate recognition cameras.

Now the British police are, it appears, being asked to *explain* why 46% of those being arrested with the help of the new cameras are black.

Could it be, could it possibly be that 46% of stolen cars scanned by the camera were actually being driven by "blacks"?

Solution – technology upgrade: program software to seek out white drivers only, prior to scanning number plates. That should rectify the racially biased arrest rate and lend an unprecedented degree of objectivity to addressing problems of a criminal nature. Damn those pesky demographics!

China is another country

Fancy having your Mum turn up at school to serve your favorite tucker?

Think the government should block off roads and close down construction sites so that you get a good night’s sleep?

Like to stay in a hotel room and only ride in taxis with auspicious number plates?

All this and more could be yours, if you lived in China.

Yes, exam season is on, and the government and parents of China are banding together to do all they can to support the performance of millions of sibling-free kiddies hoping to achieve a university place.

Police road blocks have been set up around high schools so that students are not disturbed by the usual daily cacophony of noise; construction sites, which normally operate around the clock, have been banned between the hours of 10 pm to 6 am; parents take time off work to provide maximum support and comfort; Mum’s wait at the school gates with favorite home cooked meals for their off-spring to eat between exams; and the wealthy go a step further by booking a comfy hotel room for their precious young ‘un to rest-up and eat their favorite meal between exams in as much comfort as possible.

Every little bit helps the odds when you’re one of nearly 9.5 million students chasing only 2.6 million college and university places.

June 9, 2006

World’s Funniest Joke

Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire held an Internet experiment to find the world’s funniest joke.

The experiment was conducted in a highly controlled and *scientific* manner: they asked people to send in their favorite jokes.

And without further ado, the envelope please:

“Two hunters from New Jersey go into the woods. One collapses and the other rings for help telling the operator he thinks his friend is dead. When she asks if he is sure, there is a gunshot, before he comes back on the line to say, “Ok, now what?”

The joke has been attributed to Spike Milligan, and possibly written in the early 1950’s, as the Goons were attempting the move from radio to television.

June 6, 2006

Superman Returns

Superman is back, as prancing savior, phallic symbol, effeminate second coming, sensitive new age man of steel, depending on your personal interpretation of the promotional poster.

It’s more arty than action man, born out by its resemblance to the Christ of St John of the Cross painting by Salavador Dali.

Is he jettisoning into space, or is he gently umbrella-ing down to earth? The virility of the cape appears to be having an ambiguous moment.

June 4, 2006

Breaking the spell – Poppycock


The arts have a long and entrenched relationship with any and all notions of addiction, whether of licit or illicit substances. Addictions are narrated with an obsessive romanticism, intertwined with exalted insights and the paradox of emotional strength and weakness. Even in squalor and / or death, addictions are portrayed, regardless of all waste or brutality, as a fractured, but deep and abiding love story being played-out behind fluttering muslin curtains.


It’s one of the biggest frauds ever committed on the paying public, via the books and films they purchase. Less obvious, perhaps, are the mega-dollars that societies pay day after day, year after year, decade after decade, for the perversion of addiction love stories, in which addiction means never having to say you’re sorry, because, oh gosh, the opiates made me do it, and really, being an addict is so cooooool; a life lived with inherent authenticity.


Think of the police, welfare workers, child protection agencies, unemployment bodies, doctors, hospitals, psychiatrists, counselors, victims of crime, court judges, drug campaigns, drug programs: an entire army of professionals and members of the public buying into the broken hearted sobs of the heroin addict.


Candy, a recently released Australian film, is a “contemporary love story of startling beauty” directed by acclaimed theatre direction Neil Armfield. Some critics have said: a film of lyrical beauty”; “a very gritty, poetic love story”; “funny, frightening and beautiful all a the same time”; “pounds out its own raw and compelling vision”, or simply “stunning”.

It is, as you would have guessed from the gushing of the comments and description of the film, yet another junkie drama. Heroin may be out of fashion, replaced by far more damaging and genuinely addictive substances, but it would seem that the arts just can’t let a good drug go, especially when it’s so darned, beautiful and so darned, well, romantic. Everyone loves a love story.

(Although heroin use doesn't give off even the slightest whiff of creative insight or romance when witnessed on a tram careening down Swanston Street in the middle of the day; but perhaps that’s only because of the harsh lighting and lack of muslin curtains.)

The film’s title role is described as “a young artist whose lust for life takes her to the edge of sanity”. It would seem that the book / film industries are not too proud to stretch oxymoron’s ever far, and ever wide.

Sometime back whenever, I’ll admit that I was passively, but comfortably supportive of proposed “shooting rooms” being established in Canberra (where I lived). It was well into the age of HIV and AIDS and heroin was plentiful, as were heroin deaths. I was more supportive of safe little shooting rooms than I was of the long abused and misused methadone programs, which I did then, and still now, consider a monstrous waste of money, a total “treatment” failure, and a state-sponsored program for genuine addiction and drug abuse, but without any of the earthly and existential nirvana of heroin: a mere holding pattern between heroin scores.

Finally the gig is up. Or at least it would be if a single book could change anything in the world, or abolish an entire industry built around heroin indulgence. It won’t happen, of course, any more than “self help” books actually help anyone (another industry that requires abolition, but that’s another story, for another day).


Theodore Dalrymple is the author of the bluntly titled: "Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy”.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mr
Dalrymple provides a taste of the substance of his book:

“…It actually takes some considerable effort to addict oneself to opiates: The average heroin addict has been taking it for a year before he develops an addiction.

… Heroin doesn't hook people; rather, people hook heroin. It is quite untrue that withdrawal from heroin or other opiates is a serious business, so serious that it would justify or at least mitigate the commission of crimes such as mugging. Withdrawal effects from opiates are trivial, medically speaking (unlike those from alcohol, barbiturates or even, on occasion, benzodiazepines such as valium)…


…It is well known that addicts present themselves differently according to whether they are speaking to doctors or fellow addicts. In front of doctors, they will emphasize their suffering; but among themselves, they will talk about where to get the best and cheapest heroin.

…When, unbeknown to them, I have observed addicts before they entered my office, they were cheerful; in my office, they doubled up in pain and claimed never to have experienced suffering like it, threatening suicide unless I gave them what they wanted.

…Insofar as there is a causative relation between criminality and opiate addiction, it is more likely that a criminal tendency causes addiction than that addiction causes criminality.

…I discovered in the prison in which I worked that 67% of heroin addicts had been imprisoned before they ever took heroin. …it is safe to assume that most heroin addicts were confirmed and habitual criminals before they ever took heroin. In other words, whatever caused them to commit crimes in all probability caused them also to take heroin: perhaps an adversarial stance to the world caused by the emotional, spiritual, cultural and intellectual vacuity of their lives.

…It is not true either that addicts cannot give up without the help of an apparatus of medical and paramedical care. Thousands of American servicemen returning from Vietnam, where they had addicted themselves to heroin, gave up on their return home without any assistance whatsoever. And in China, millions of Chinese addicts gave up with only minimal help: Mao Tse-Tung's credible offer to shoot them if they did not. There is thus no question that Mao was the greatest drug-addiction therapist in history.

Why has the orthodox view swept all before it? First, the literary tradition sustains it: Works that deal with the subject continue to disregard pharmacological reality

… Second, addicts and therapists have a vested interest in the orthodox view. Addicts want to place the responsibility for their plight elsewhere, and the orthodox view is the very raison d'ĂȘtre of the therapists.

Finally, as a society, we are always on the lookout for a category of victims upon whom to expend our virtuous, which is to say conspicuous, compassion. Contrary to the orthodoxy, drug addiction is a matter of morals, which is why threats such as Mao's, and experiences such as religious conversion, are so often effective in "curing" addicts.”
Heroin use, like many other habits or fashion accessories, is a choice, a calculated decision, a personal preference, a deliberate action taken of the user's own volition. A recurrent action that can be stopped by the very same simple and self-propelling mechanisms.


June 2, 2006

Rules of Civility


Before the age of 16, George Washington transcribed
the Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation:

Of the 110 courtesies described, I think there are bountiful lessons for us all:

2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.

5. If you cough, sneeze, sigh or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.

7. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half drest.

12. Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

16.
Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.
19.
Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.

20.
The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

43. Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.

47. Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break no Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasent abstain from Laughing there at yourself.

53. Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly nor with Mouth open go not Shaking yr Arms kick not the earth with yr feet, go not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing fashion.

54. Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Deck't, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.

71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.

84. When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.

94. If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

107. If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth.

109. Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull.

Via Harry’s Place