January 31, 2007

We're HOT

Australian's rate themselves as the world's greatest lovers, according to a survey of 2847 people.

Well, we would say that, wouldn't we.

We're also unspeakably romantic, with 87% claiming they would move countries for love.

[Wow, we must be good if we can move entire countries - plural. Others can only fantasize about that kind of prowess.]

Not at all hot ...

Author of The Rules, and divorcee, Ellen Fein, is being sued by her former dentist for defamationm, to the tune of $6.5 M. Seems she set up a little web site, subtly called Lying Dentist, in which she outlines her case against Dr Rosenthal, who, she claims, gave her ENORMOUS bottom teeth. This, she claims - or "complications" from such - led to her divorce. Moral of the story? Having HUMONGOUS bottom teeth is not one of the time tested secrets to capturing and keeping the heart of "Mr Right".

Via Melbourne commuter newspaper mX, Janaury 31, 2007

January 30, 2007

No briefs ...


No brieflets, much to my disappointment.

*Big sigh*


Children never follow the fine example set by their Mother.


While we were discussing
Willywarmers, as only the truly urbane can, Timmy offered the thought:

"I reckon The Princess
(™) should start up a blog and call it Avatar Brieflets ..."

Yeah, that'd be right: encourage The Princess (
™) to neglect her family, her home, her studies!

Sure, why not, she should throw it all away and blog instead.

Well I'll Be Blogged

And she will be too, if she doesn't go and write another essay!

Lots of love
Mum
xxxxoooo

UPDATE: And then there were BRIEFLETS!

Avatar Brieflets

PETA Strips & Waxes

Not content with animals being skinned and eaten, PETA's new revenge on the world is a stripper with skanky undies - and a brazillian - followed by the bits they really want you to watch.

Nicely covered by Adrants, with the video link included.

Hick's charges himself

"The Liberal backbencher Judi Moylan says Hicks is but a "fool". Mori says Hicks simply made "some poor life choices". Yet in his book Australian Jihad, the journalist Martin Chulov maintains that Hicks met Osama bin Laden on no fewer than eight occasions. Bin Laden is a serious and successful Islamist revolutionary: he does not willingly mix with idiots who have made unfortunate career decisions."
David Hick's makes a case against himself - The Age, Gerard Henderson

Commuter Blues

Yes, the Melbourne train and tram operators suck, suck, suck, suck!

I take some tee-wee consolation in knowing that the train operator in Sydney also sucks.

I take a modicum more than tee-wee consolation in knowing that the NSW Transport Minister is, in all probability, dumber than ours.

In Sydney, the new train timetable introduced in 2005:

“was designed to improve reliability by slowing travel times, cutting the number of services and changing the definition of "on time" to within five minutes of the scheduled time.”

An analysis of complaints (increasing) since then showed that:

“Most complaints are about inter-city lines which use four or six carriages - rather than the maximum of eight …”

Yesterday, NWS Transport Minister John Watkins said that:

“the Government had reduced crowding by improving "on-time running" and encouraging people to spread out across the carriages.”

Rent a Tune

For the estimated bargain price of between $40 and $60 per month – that’s paid every month, month after month, after month – Internet users will soon be able to access more than a million songs from the Sanity Music catalogue.

Naturally, at that price, you’ll only be renting the music. When you stop paying the monthly fee, you stop playing the tunes.

Sanity has teamed up with Microsoft to bring you rent-a-song.

January 29, 2007

Willywarmers

I'm sorry, please forgive me, but I have to share ...

Willywarmer underwear.

I'm torn between the chenille elephant and the chenille rooster, they're both so cute.

January 28, 2007

Why this book doesn’t work

Last week, Reuters reported on the findings of a US study ...

one of the few done under controlled conditions that can actually demonstrate what happens to a human body while dieting and exercising.”

Guess what?

"Tests on overweight people show that a calorie is just a calorie, whether lost by dieting or by running."

"They found there is no way to selectively lose belly fat, for instance, or trim thighs."
"The distribution of the fat on the body was not altered by either approach -- helping prove that there is no such thing as "spot reducing."
Meanwhile, a book by Amanda Sainsbury-Salis has been released, imaginatively titled, and handily feeding into the great fat-mythology: Why Diets Don’t Work – And What to do About It”.

As is often the case with these books, Salis uses herself as “Exhibit A” for readership inspiration in her scientifically based diet-that-isn’t-a-diet, because, you can eat anything you want, whenever you want, and however much you want. [See, I told you it was seriously scientific.]

Confounded by her own yo-yo weight, Salis spent years studying, gaining a PhD in molecular science.

Salis, described as a “weight loss expert”, is set to revolutionize dieting with these astonishing tips:

  • Eat according to your physical needs.
  • Keep a diary of what you eat, when, how much it satisfied you and the exercise you did that day.
  • Each a wide variety of mainly whole foods, especially vegetables and fruit.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Do some form of regular exercise.
  • Practice “the power of the bit” approach: move a little more and eat jus a little less (perhaps forego that second biscuit with your cup of tea).

In addition to her book, Salis runs course to teach people her “methods”. These include:

  • Gradual weight loss until you reach your ideal weight.
  • You should eat more when you feel hungry and less when you don’t feel so hungry.
  • Except for breakfast, if you’re not hungry, don’t eat, or have a light nutritious meal.

One thrilled dieter trilled: “It’s the most scientifically based program I’ve ever come across.”

A sample daily food menu – so radical and scientific it bowled me over: I’m actually typing this from a prostrate position on the floor:

Breakfast: toasted muesli with fruit.

Lunch: multigrain bread sandwich with avocado, roast turkey and cheddar cheese; watermelon or other fruit.

Afternoon snack: Plain yogurt with maple syrup. [YUCK]

Dinner: cottage pie (beef topped with potato); steamed vegetables.

Oh, did I forget to add that this is a scientific sample “fat-burning” menu?

Isn’t it new, isn’t it radical, , isn't it so scientific, isn’t it like no other diet menu you’ve ever seen before in your life? Aren’t the tips astonishing? Go on, I dare you, I double dare you – be astonished damn you!

[Via The Sunday Herald Sun, January 28, 2007 – no link]

A lack of understanding

The online version of this story oddly leaves out the aims of the film makers in question.

In case you’re wondering why they are turning the repulsive criminal episode of Sydney gang rapes into a tax-payer funded film; in their own words:

“Mr Hammond hopes the film will be “provocative” and highlight “the misunderstandings between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Uuh ha. Ya wanna run that past me again?

”We’re trying to make something that has more global ramifications, particularly between the Muslim and non-Muslim world, and explore the fact there’s a lack of understanding, which creates conflicts.” [pg 12, Sunday Herald Sun, January 28, 2007]

Oh, well, sorry, I still don't understand.

[PS. The online version, unlike the newspaper version, omits that it was Lebanese Muslim gangs raping Australian girls.]

Sloth Wins!

Sloths are such happy little dudes.

In a three year contest of wills between a sloth and a group of humans, the sloth was the indisputable winner, without even trying.

Scientists in Jena, German, have finally given up after three years of failed attempts to entice a sloth into budging – as part of an experiment in animal movement. The sloth, named Mats, was moved to a zoo after consistently refusing to climb up and then back down a pole, as part of an experiment conducted by scientists who could not hide their disappointment.

There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

Via Melbourne commuter paper mX, January 25, 2007

Time

“Fleeting does not mean flaky or unstable, however. To the contrary: the fundamental quivers of the atom “are exceedingly regular,” Dr. Jaffe said, adding, “They mark the heartbeat of the universe.” Atomic events are so reliable, so like clockwork in their behavior, that we have started tuning our macroscopic timepieces to their standards, and our beloved second, once defined as a fraction of a solar day, is now officially linked to oscillations in a cesium atom.

Or look to the expanding firmaments, the unspeakably protracted pace of the space race. Cosmic time is as difficult to grasp as the twitchings of the atom, but it, too, is rule bound and reliable. Galaxies and clusters of galaxies are moving away from one another in defined intervals as the space between them expands like the rubber skin of an inflating balloon. They have been sailing outward from one another for nearly 14 billion years, since the staggering, soundless kaboom of the Big Bang set this and all clocks ticking, and they will continue their dispersal for tens of billions, hundreds of billions of years more.

We are poised between the extremities and homogeneities of nature, between delirium and ad infinitum, and our andante tempo may be the best, possibly the only pace open to us, or even to life generally. If we assume that whatever other intelligent beings that may be out there, in whatever alpha, beta or zepto barrio of the galaxy they may call home, arose through the gradual tragicomic tinkerings of natural selection, then they may well live lives proportioned much like ours, not too long and not too short. They’re dressed in a good pair of walking boots and taking it a day at a time. And if you listen closely you can hear them singing gibberish that sounds like Auld Lang Syne.”

.... New York Times

By massive co-inky-dink, I was thinking this just the other day.

Oh Flag It!

Exhibit A: White supremacist movement in still life.

Just when you think the stupid can’t get any stupider.

Journalist extraordinaire, Tracee Hutchinson, declares:

“Our flag has become a participant in something that could easily be mistaken for a white supremacist movement.”

Only for those who are gravely mistaken Tracee.

“Yet instead of addressing the root cause of increased cross-cultural tensions, politicians and commentators of all persuasions chose to beat up a couple of concert promoters who dared say out loud what is rumbling in the underbelly of Australia.

Concert promoters are globally esteemed for their political wisdom, astuteness and searing intellects.

“Granted, Sydney's Big Day Out passed without incident despite huge numbers of patrons defying the leave-the-flags-at-home urgings of organisers, but imagine the outcry had a bunch of flag-clad idiots done some real damage? Imagine if someone was badly injured in a flag-induced frenzy?

Imagine if you cross the road to go to work tomorrow Tracee, and you get hit by a car, doing you real damage? Imagine the outcry, that some car driving idiot was allowed out on the roads, in a car induced frenzy?

Yes, yes, let’s sit around imaging all the bad things that can happen in the world and PREVENT them, right now!

Let’s especially imagine a flag induced frenzy! Little Aussies all over the land, flags wrapped in frenzied sarong-style around their hips.

“This week's hysterical flag furore is just the latest in a series of distractions from the main game — that notion of an Australian identity that is inclusive not exclusive.”

Who exactly is hysterical then?

“Perhaps the time has finally arrived to come up with a flag that unites, not divides, us. To be reminded of a country that welcomes not rejects. A country that makes peace with its past and looks to its future with self-determined optimism and hope. A country we can all feel proud to be part of.”

Sure, let’s change the flag now, and then we can change it again when we become a republic. An excellent job creation scheme and boost to the economy.

Shall we have happy rainbow flag perhaps, with little yellow smiley faces? Over which flag induced frenzy will be forbidden?

Meanwhile in Canada, pig farmer and people killer extraordinaire, Robert William, was deeply offended during an 11 hour interrogation with Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, declaring at one point that the police were "making me out to be more of a mass murderer than I am."

January 26, 2007

Duck Friday

Ta da!

Yes! It’s the duck cake that The Princess made with her own delicate little hands to celebrate the second birthday of The Golden Child.

(He can say “quack, quack” almost on command too. The Golden Child that is, not the cake.)

January 25, 2007

Thought for the Day

Some people drink deeply at the fountain of knowledge - others only gargle.

January 23, 2007

Let's learn

The need for clear perspective has never been greater. [She says, speaking in cliché.]

Never before have truth and facts been so important. [Oh, okay, now you’re descending into a load of hyperbolic meaningless twaddle, not supported by one scrap of historic evidence.]

Jacob [he who shall never, ever, be forgiven], drew our attention to this ignorant and perverse post over at Road to Surfdom. Displaying unnaturally screwed up emotional, intellectual and moral foundations; all I could do was gasp at the scale and depth of wretchedness that went into engendering such grotesque ideas, so genuinely held amidst the waft of hubris that we imagine swirls around the writer.

In essence, this twat suggests that terrorist suicide bombers carry out their acts in order to “help others”. [You know, like when you put the garbage can out for your elderly neighbor? Or volunteer to help some disabled kiddies with learning life skills? Being a suicide bomber is just like that.].

He also seems to revel in believing that we (ie, the big bad West) are envious of the high ideals that lead to suicidal terrorist acts, because we (ie, the big bad West) have no ideals for which we would lay down our lives.

Think about that last bit. Think about it long and hard.

Think about the millions of non-terrorists who have died throughout history, and will die – some of them today – for “our” ideals.

Not prepared to die for our ideals???!!!

If a war was bought to our shores, that is, quite literally to the shores of Australia, we can be 100% sure that not only the armed forces, but civilians too, would risk and give their lives in a myriad of unimagined ways, for no reasons other than our ideals and for the good of others – pure altruism. We have never had to defend our own country (other than a couple of little Japanese subs) yet, our men and women have fought and died on other lands, and continue to do so. Western military personnel, including our own, are scattered all of the world, in many instances, fighting for or protecting nothing more or less than ideals.

Once you’ve gagged on that little lot, be cleansed by the soothing clarity of Martin Amis’ words:

“People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperialist and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want them dead.”

The Martin Amis reference, via Tim Blair whose attention was drawn to it by Art Vandelay, who got it via The Austalian, and now I’m quoting all of them. [See this “Quote Generator” thing is a doddle! In triplet!]

Only last week Cubicle highlighted an interesting piece – it’s about history, okay, but it’s short, so you won’t fall asleep, I promise.

What Thomas Jefferson learned from the Muslim book of jihad.

See, it’s not about Western wealth, and it’s not even about gullible, well-educated, affluent suicide bombers. This shit has been going on for a very long time. This prodigious hatred and desire to see “us” killed is a continuum. These machinations sure as sugar aren’t about our lifestyle – there were no iPods, Wiis, or bikinis back in Jefferson’s day, no siree.

During last week we had the brouhaha over local lad, Sydney born and raised, Sheik Mohamed, urging Islamic youth to have a love of martyrdom, and criticizing them for not sacrificing a drop of blood. He didn’t say anything, in his heavy Aussie accent, about affluence or lifestyle. All he wanted was the inculcation of children (their soft squishy impressionable little hearts), and their blood to be spilled in the name of his ideals, when they reach an appropriate age.

Perhaps these are the ideals of which Road to Surfdom believes we are, or should be, in envy.

Survey results from a study undertaken by the University of MalayaMalaysia being one of the Muslim world’s most prosperous and democratic nations:

- 55% of Malay Muslims hate or dislike Australia; only 4% felt positive towards Australia;

- 84% dislike or hate the US; only 1% liking the US;

- 77% believed the country’s existing sharia laws were not strict enough;

- 57% want hudud ordinances, ie, stoning for adultery;

- 98% said that Muslims should not be allowed to change their religion.

[Envious yet? Go on, feel the envy.]

“In a fascinating piece in this week's Financial Times, Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, often seen as one of the most Islamist-inclined foreign ministers Turkey has had, called on the peoples of his region to recognise that their most serious problems were home grown. He wanted them to stop blaming outsiders and get on with the business of reforming their own societies.”

The Weekend Australian, January 20-21, 2007Hate beyond reason – Greg Sheridan

Join the dots people, join the dots. Ignorance has always been a dangerous defence and a dangerous excuse.

But let’s not get too carried away: every era, every generation has its problems and challenges; these are ours.

Hypocrites or Stupid?

Darned nearly everyone in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States thinks that the US pretty much sucks on just about everything.

So says the latest “how much does everyone hate America” poll.


Follow the bouncing ball with me for a minute: the results for things that America has done are much the same as for things that America hasn’t done. In the latter camp, we can lump climate change, the war in Lebanon last year, and the Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.

Ergo: damned if they do stuff; damned if they don’t do stuff.

Am I misunderstanding something?

January 22, 2007

Opiates of Choice

"When I ask heroin addicts why they started taking heroin, most of them reply with one of two answers. These are: "I fell in with the wrong crowd" and "heroin's everywhere".

"When I reply that it is odd how I meet many people who fell in with the wrong crowd, but I never under any circumstances meet any member of the wrong crowd itself, who must therefore be lurking permanently out of my sight and hearing, the addict who has attributed his addiction to his fortuitous acquaintance with the wrong crowd smiles, or even laughs, knowingly.”

[We might also add: heroin is not “everywhere”; as with any drug, whether licit of illicit, you have to devote some time and make some effort to “find” it. Even migraine tablets require a trip to the chemist.]

And further on:

"In other words, the whole apparatus of care, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, counsellors, serves not to alleviate suffering but to create and exacerbate it. (I cannot resist quoting a law first enunciated by Colin Brewer about modern society: "Suffering increases to meet the means available for its alleviation.")

From The Australian - Edited extract from Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy, by Theodore Dalrymple. Dalrymple has worked as a prison doctor and as a psychiatrist in a general hospital in a British slum.

(Yes, yes, I know I covered this back in June 06 - see, this is how long it takes for O/S books to finally be released on our shores – Breaking the spell – Poppycock.)

Elsewhere in the same newspaper (can’t link it), some quotes were obtained to vigorously refute Dalrymple’s insights:

From Luke Davies, prize-winning author of Candy:

“I make the point in Candy that the physical stuff is kind of horrendous [though he admits that the physical side does take less time to recover from than the flu] - but it doesn’t even touch the sides of the spiritual despair, which is the driving force that keeps the addiction going – the horror at the pointlessness of existence.”

Oh dear. Where does one go with such self-justifying drivel? If we follow this to its logical conclusion, then we should all be daily and frequent heroin users. Alternatively, we would have to believe that only society’s most sensitive, angst ridden souls become addicts. [Insert vigorous derisive *snort*] Is the pointlessness of existence a greater horror than any number of actual horrors we could list? Nuh, I don’t think so. Besides, real spiritual despair leads to many things, many horrors in and of itself, but a clear beaten path to drug addiction is not, invariably, inevitably, or compulsorarily, one of them.

Drug treatment expert, Richard Mattick, offered his condemnation, saying that heroin addiction:

“kills hundreds of people in Australia each year” and that Dalrymple’s comments were “unhelpful because they send the message to ordinary people that opiate dependence isn’t a serious problem.”

No, that’s not what Dalrymple is arguing at all. He’s arguing that giving up the dependence isn’t a serious, or even medical, problem. He’s arguing that giving up opiates is easier than recovering from the flu, which is a real medical condition. He’s arguing that those deaths are, in fact, 100% avoidable. Although that last point has always been a tad self evident.

Dalrymple, says of the supporting industry for opiate users, and their gratitude for such:

“Any aid to the perpetuation of the state of daydreaming is … greatly appreciated.”

The extract is an interesting read, as I imagine would be the entire book. If nothing else, an alternative view will shake up the tired old mantras, maxims and aphorisms, for at least five minutes, before all will return to routine.

Australia Day Preview

Excitment builds in the lead up to the Australia Day ducky race.

(Matt Welsh doesn't look nearly as cute as Mayor John So, but he does have more ducks.)

January 21, 2007

Dibber Dobber

Gratuitous bra strap slippage shot.

As if we really need another reason and means by which to dob people in, in this instance, women only.

Yes, really, now you can become part of the icky bra strap police.

I’m a firm believer in a pretty bra at all times, and would never wear a grubby bra any more than I would wear … eeeewwweeeee … grubby undies. I’ve never owned a beige bra in my life either, evidence, I believe, that I adhere to relatively high standards when it comes to underwear for the breasts.

Bra faux pas, bra strap faux pas, regardless of the exponential growth in these matters, in the scheme of things, you’d have to be one petty, supercilious, little git to be making the time to send your friends or acquaintances little messages about their bra strap crimes. Or more inane still, "reporting" a "celeb" bra strap crime. (Seriously: you think, in the entire world, you were the first or only person to have noticed?)

If one is truly aiming for good taste though, I’d be strongly inclined to avoid these interchangeble bra straps, which are more dreadful and ridiculous than decorous.

The very first nominee might be the Bra Strap Company that has managed to drum up untold free publicity and serious news coverage for their tacky wares.

Fashion violation from the Strap Police.

January 19, 2007

Duck Friday

[Close cousins of the duckies fed by big Kath & ‘little kath’, while on hols, perhaps? See comment from last week.]

More amazing duck stories ...

A newspaper seller in Guangzhou, China, is attracting customers by using a duck as his assistant.

The bird stands on a chair at the kiosk and uses its beak to collect money and pass papers or magazines.

Every time the owner, named Wang, dozes off, the duck quacks to wake him up.

Wang says he has raised and trained the duck and will never kill or sell the bird.

Via Melbourne commuter newspaper mX, January 18. 2007



January 18, 2007

Blogging is dead!

Yes, blogging is flat-lining, as we type.

The future is “web sites”. [Wow, how innovative!]

Blogs are common and worthless, particularly as most of them, err, no longer, or never did, exist.

So says some guy who believes that “the medium” is the blog, while web sites, apparently, use an entirely other medium. [Either or neither of which he also believes are “emerging” “technologies”. Silly me: I thought it was all software code mated with the handy-dandy neighbourhood ISP.]

He must have arcane knowledge about technology to which the rest of us aren’t privy.

Drunka reports on this fascinating opinion piece, and, given that he has done it to death with a flamboyant verve way beyond my ken, we’ll now cross over to reporter and blogger on the ground –
Drunka – Blogging doomed, or something.

January 17, 2007

Yes Virginia – this is what it looks like

Patrick has found a marvelous piece of investigative journalism, about a particular brand of expensive Texan chocolates, as it happens. Patrick has called his post Food Wankery, but it’s all too easy to imagine, or dream, of several million other products on the market being given the same treatment.

[Women’s cosmetics anyone? Or women’s anything really, from perfume, to face creams, to white puffy blouses. Children’s educational toys perhaps? Designer kitchen accessories? Come to think of it, accessories, period.]

It won’t ever happen of course.

It’s a longish piece, but truly worthy of your time.

You’ll have no end of fantasies about enjoying a world full of such wonderful investigative journalism. A world in which consumers had no choice but to confront truth, and who could, therefore continue, if they so wished, to collude in being exploited dimwits, wasting their hard earned dollars, but at least they would do it in full unadulterated knowledge of their idiocy, and wankery.

Of course, quality investigative journalism in many other spheres of life the universe and everything would be quite nice too.

Not quite over

We haven’t quite done with 2006 yet.

Everyone loves to have their say, and if that entails several easy and quick clicks of a radio button all the better.

To keep you occupied while I have nothing to say, off you go to vote for the Word of the Year - for 2006 - at Macquarie Dictionary. There’s more than one category, so this should keep you busy for several minutes.

I have to say that I question the provenance of a lot of the words, being rather sure, indeed, going so far as to being not at all addled, about believing they’ve been around for quite some years, rather than being coined or having particular ubiquity in 2006. But, it’s their list and they can do as they wish. Besides, I'm ignorant of their short listing criteria or procedures. You’ll notice that some of the words in the word of the year voting are, um, two words, and not even hyphenate ones at that. (I end on a relative pronoun because I feel like it.)

January 16, 2007

Rocky Road

Sixty year old Sylvester Stallone (ooh, lookey, a new tongue twister!) is busy promoting his sixth and latest Rocky movie … "and hopefully his last.”

Yes, we hold onto that hope.

"It was physically hard. I wanted this film to maybe be the last ever."

Hear, hear! But what's with the "maybe"?

"I knew I was going to be laughed at and looked at like the biggest fool in the world.”

Oh good, no surprises then.

"My wife cried.”

As did we all.

“She didn't want me to do it.”

Smart woman.


January 13, 2007

Danielle’s Words

As reported – not at all exclusively – by me earlier this week, Melbourne performance artist Danielle Freakley – aka the “Quote Generator” – has launched an endeavor of moot artistic, social, political, economic, cultural, material, linguistic, semantic, ethnological, or personal value.

Some days ago, Cube and I agreed, performance artists are a tad prone to the “LOOK AT ME” and “LISTEN TO ME” disease – which no medical scientist has taken the time and trouble to invent a specific name for, so in the interim, it has to settle for being some kind of derivative narcissistic disease with no name, thereby lacking a distinctive reference point in the index of the international psychiatric illness dictionary.

As if going out of her way to prove an artistic point, Daniell Freakley turned up right here on this very blog – IN PERSON – to be listened to and looked at.

So, without much further ado, and in her very own words, Daniell offers a more fulsome exposition of her project than I did (… I know, difficult to believe).

[Oh, okay, so some of you read this in the comments already? Just pretend like groundhog day – roll with it, there’s a competition, with no prizes, at the end. Which has already been won by Patrick.]

“G'day Bloggers,
This is Danielle Freakley, the Quote Generator.

There are rules to the project. which were not mentioned in the very short article printed the other day.

The website should be up soon with all of the relevant information so I apologise.

The project runs for an entirety of 3 years. It began in late October 2006. Each part of the project has a different phase and each phase runs for a separate time period. I have chosen three years because, that is the average amount of time to achieve a bachelor degree or to be toilet trained. I think it is an adequate amount of time to learn a language also.

[Note to would-be parents: fear not, it most certainly does not take three long years to toilet train any child - ed.]

The first phase (current) runs for a year and a half. I talk in quotes from popular culture, movies, books, plays, poetry, advertisements etc. Authors cannot be anyone I have known.

The second phase: I will talk in quotes from people I have spoke to in my life face to face e.g. family, friends, lecturers, employers etc.

The third phase: I will talk in quotes from things I have said in the past, taken from diaries, school essays, video and audio recordings of things I have said. Nothing in this phase can be quoted from the present; all quotes must be at least 1 month old.

I do not have to quote at home, in work situations, in writing, on the phone or with people I have spent over 100 hours with or in organisational situations e.g. asking for directions, or asking a specific question about my account at the bank. All other times I operate in quote.

I am treating quote generation project like learning a new language. I am still pretty shaky at it, but as time goes by, it becomes more natural.

The project is completely self-funded thus far. The URL is for the gallery, which held the Melbourne launch.

Hope this has cleared some things up.

As for the 'LOOK AT ME/LISTEN TO ME' syndrome comment. well, performance art does a bit of that, it's come with the craft or with anyone who uses themselves as a guinnie pig for their work. Some artists use paint as their medium, others use people, and people just happen to be my absolute favourite medium. It is not just me who performs in this project but the development and analysing of conversations formed by other participants and in turn quote generator adapting to function within that realm.

So yes there is an element of 'look at me' but at the same time, you should ask yourself the question 'what are you looking at?' Who am I to look at or listen to, I am a product of the books I read, the music I listen to and the people I choose to spend my time with. You must filter through these quotes and references from these areas to see a real personality, as you would filter through anybody's CD/mp3 collection, book collection, movie collection and links on their website to attempt to get a sense of them. The Quote Generator is not rendered as a whole person but a dissected sponge of information, influences and culture just as everyone is.

So I think it's less look at me, but more look at the people, the culture, the industries, who helped sculpt this person or any person. And to ask yourself how much of what you say is repetitive spiel, how often do you feel like you are in a B grade movie and how much original thought do you actually have and how much is regurgitated from your influences. Humans generally regurgitate, it's what we do, this project simply does it overtly, paying tribute to those who have gone before.

"I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye." Silence of the Lambs, 1991

xx
QG

If you have any questions or would like to submit a quote please contact me at: thequotegenerator@gmail.com
www.quotegenerator.com (coming soon)”

The domain name, "Quote Generator" is registered, but presently unoccupied.

Patrick (of BlueBerry Fool fame) offered up some of his own words (which are now, by some metamorphosis, actual quotes by Patrick, January 2007), with which I was in enthusiastic agreement. I quote, in part:

“critical and linguistic theorists have delved even more deeply into this, after all, what is language but quote, a signifier, a shared agreement of meaning? Adding a shiny patina of performance art and a soupcon more postmodernism (only a soupcon) though, I'm not sure if it's more interesting or valuable than a discussion of the theories themselves, some of which are very sophisticated and interesting indeed.”

If I may quote Patrick again:, verbatim: “Indeed” – or I could use my own word instead - “indeedy-do".

Yes there is much to become animated and impassioned about when one has the (rare) opportunity to discuss the theories.

I still recall the cartoon that one comm's lecturer was so tickled with, proudly displayed in his office (year after year); a simple picture of one person berating another, the speech bubble reading: Speak in semantics you fool.”

Patrick chivalrously took the time to offer Danielle three additions to her burgeoning quotations collection, only one of which, in the voting panel’s assessment, was prize winning:

"There's ALWAYS time for lubricant!"

Now that none of us can match that, I provide the following as a solid, multi-purpose, multi-disciplinary, get you through any sticky situation, all rounder, any context type of quote, from Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

“If you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas. This sum may be soon spent, the regret only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors.”

[Taken from an article in The Age, January 7, 2007, which was an edited version of an article from The Economist - no writter was attributed from either source.]

But I digress from serious artistic business.

Kenny jumped in with both feet, setting us all straight with the devastating precision of his intellectual and evidentiary based argument:

“If you don't think that has any artistic merit, you don't know what artistic merit is”.

Yeah - so there!

Furthermore, he remonstrated:

“This project does more than discuss those theories; it puts them into action.”
Except that it can readily be argued that we all put those theories into action, daily, minute by minute, from birth to grave - itself an arbitray allocation of a lifetime - if one wished to be pedantic about it, and right now, I choose to be such.

Kenny offers the empty flourish:

"It's the execution of that idea that counts."

That is, to live overtly in the way that semioticians "preach". [Preach? PREACH?]

"Riding on the seams of everyone elses [sic] underpants. She's living as an upturned sardonic emulation. I like it."

One unadulterated vote of support is all that art requires in order to call itself art. One hand up the back of the room is sufficient to support someone’s momentary lapse in judgment and refinement – or joy ride on the seams of someone’s underpants – turning it swiftly into their lifetime squandered, for want of a more worthy delusion.

Tim.T – who knows more than a thing or two about creativity, originality, and artistic matters, with musician, writer, and literary and cultural critic all legitimately credentialed to his name – was strangely resistant to the allure of Kenny’s compelling academic case.

“ … she's regurgitating the words of others for an arbitrary period of time. That's it. …don't kid yourself that it raises any new questions about how we are shaped by culture, whether it is possible to say 'new' things. There are far, far more intelligent ways of investigating the way in which quotes permeate the English language than just martyring yourself to a cause for a couple of years.

At any rate, our language may be influenced by quotes, but it's more than a little ridiculous to claim that that is all it is. A far more interesting approach than repeating the words and ideas of others would be to speak honestly in your own words about your own ideas. Hey, you might even say something original; at the very least, you might come up with an elegant way of articulating an old idea. After all, if all we were doing is quoting from previous generations, then language would never change, and we'd be saying exactly the same thing as the Elizabetheans. Egads, forsooth, zounds, bloomin' heck, and all that!"

As far back as the Beat generation, and probably before then, taking existing text and arbitrarily rearranging it was almost de rigueur. Contemporary music calls it “sampling”. Sure, Freakley is undertaking her task on a verbal basis – a rap artist of sorts? - but not going to any trouble of rearranging the material; the serious question being: is this a genuine recontexuatlisation of the original material, will it be replaced with new textual meaning? Or is it recitation and mimicry, devoid of even an artful dash? A string of perpetual clangers interrupting the rhythm and meaning of connections and communications, defeating rather than engendering meaning?

Phase two and three, in particular, conceptually, appear, at first blush, null and void. I often quote family and friends to others, and even my own tired old thoughts. This is common, pedestrian, everyone does it. And we even provide attribution and a chronological reference point. (Last week my Mum said ... a few years back at a friends wedding ... yesterday Jacob ... )

Perhaps, in time, when the web site morphs into existence, we’ll be able to divine some answers, or glean some understanding of why this 3 year exercise will, apparently, be turned into a tax payer funded PhD of another 3 to 6 years.

We will watch progress with interest.

Beaming Pollies

Sometimes they do it so much better in America.

Cube has a must see political speech up.

I agree that species clarification is an essential component of politics.

No faux pollies!

No faux Klingons!

Are there any hobbits in the house?

January 12, 2007

Already?!

Flush with pride after receiving the Avatar Briefs Mother of the Year Award for 2006, Angelina Jolie has leapt in as if awards like this are a rare and precious thing, instead of being the equivalent of low hanging fruit that’s so low it’s variously rotting and fermenting on the ground.

Barely into January and Jolie has already snaffled the same award for 2007.

Sorry, but other applicants need not apply. Try again in 2008.

Quoted in Elle mag:

"I think I feel so much more for Mad and Z because they're survivors, they came through so much. Shiloh seemed so privileged from the moment she was born. I have less inclination to feel for her... I met my other kids when they were six months old, they came with personality. A newborn really is this... yes, a blob! But now she's starting to have a personality... I'm conscious that I have to make sure I don't ignore her needs just because I think the others are more vulnerable."

Smart as a fox


In a stunning end of week surge, The Donald has continued to prevail in the Rosie versus Trump war.

Taking guile to dizzying heights, Trump has written Rosie a kind letter in which he shares his own pain over being lied to by Barbara Walters.

Via The Superficial

Dear Rosie,

I hope you had a wonderful vacation with your wife -- you needed the rest.

An article in today's New York Post, indicates that you blew up at Barbara Walters for being a 'liar.' Actually, I don't blame you, but in fact she lied to both of us! After your maniacal and foolish rant against me two weeks ago, Barbara called me from her vacation (I did not call her) in order to apologize for your behavior. She had heard that I was going to retaliate against you and tried to talk me out of it. She very much wanted me to go on the show as soon as she got back so that she could 'patch things up' (I said no). To be exact, she said that 'working with her is like living in hell' and, more pointedly, 'Donald never get into the mud with pigs' and, 'don't worry, she won't be here for long.' Barbara knows exactly what she told me over the phone and she has to live with it. Perhaps that's why her initial statement was so mild!

In another incident, when I saw her eating at Le Cirque about two months ago and asked how 'Rosie was doing,' 'she sarcastically rolled her eyes and said 'Donald, do you have to ruin my meal.'

In any event, you have a good reason to be angry. Please give my warmest regards to Kelly!

Sincerely, Donald J. Trump

P.S. I was surprised that you let your spat with Barbara get into the newspapers, but, as I have always said and as you proved with Rosie, the magazine, you are very self destructive. You must work on this for your own good!

Duck Friday

Melbourne's Mayor, John So, gets in some early training for the Australia Day duck race.
Up to 30,000 yellow rubber ducks will race along the Yarra River on January 26 to honour the 100th anniversary of Surf Lifesaving Australia.

Update: Important Message - No one (including you know who) is allowed to read or click on any duck posts or duck type links over at Opinion Dominion. It's TOP SECRET duck business. Leave it to us experts, 'kay?

January 11, 2007

Loaded Poll

What are the odds of Julia Gillard being voted amongst the top 50 sexiest babes in Australia?

Rather good actually.

Local men’s mag FHM is conducting their annual sexiest babes vote as we speak, and Julia is one of the lucky nominees.

Along with each of the other 86 nominees, Gillard – who struggles to look kempt on good days, and whose idea of a flattering frock is a grey pin stripe pant suit worn with a neat button up blouse - has a whopping 57 per cent chance of ending up on the vaunted top 50 sexiest list.

January 10, 2007

Choose your poison


Preparing to give a speech or a presentation?

Option One

New Scientist mag reports that psychologist Stuart Brody (University of Paisley) has found that having sex keeps the stress at bay, but it has to be the good old fashion penetrative type of sex. The tangential experimental stuff does nothing to assuage stress. Sexual intercourse is best.

Option Two

Dr Peter Bull, a more highly qualified psychologist (University of York), suggests that "there are other ways to prepare for a speech that were more likely to reduce stress.

You are probably better off thinking about what you are going to say and preparing thoroughly, rather than having sex the previous night”, he said.

Via Melbourne commuter newspaper, MX, January 09, 2007

January 9, 2007

Other's words

Melbourne based “performing artist”, Danielle Freakley, plans to spend the next two and a half years speaking only in stolen quotes, no matter the situation.

[Let’s just assume right now that she doesn’t have a job to worry about.]

Furthermore, after uttering her quotes, she will whisper the reference to the quote – to herself, we gather, rather than to the recipient of the quote.

[Listening to her trying to place an order for a de-caff, low fat, soya milk, with hazelnut, might be mildly interesting – once. Likewise, ordering a large, super supreme, thin and crusty pizza, no capsicum, no olives, lots of anchovies, extra mushrooms and some pineapple.]

The URL given is for an arty group, who provide funding, but there is no mention of Ms Freakley. Perhaps they are funding her adventures, but don’t want to own up to it.

Now, my only question is this: why do this for two and a half years?

Won’t that be akin to performing the same party tricky over and over again, ad nausea, until every person you meet wants to commit an act of violence against you, even nuns?

I wonder who she will be when she has finished with this 24 hour a day artisitc performance project and how she will relearn the art of interacting with people, and living a life, with nothing more than herself as a prop.

Via free commuter newspaper - MX - January 09, 2007

Conferences more dangerous than terrorists

Notwithstanding the personal and community multitude of damage wrought by terrorists (emotional, social, economic, etc), it’s the thinking, done in the privacy of one’s own mind, such that sits behind this conference, that lays the path for a very long term struggle, and need for vigilance, not equivocation. This conference puts the issue of hair gets and eye drops on planes into its more rightful perspective.

Update: The Bankstown City Council has now banned this conference.

"Bankstown City Council says one of the group's speakers made hateful comments about women and challenged the authority of the Australian Government at a previous event at Bankstown Town Hall."

January 7, 2007

Deers more dangerous than terrorists

Since the 1960s, the same number of Americans have been killed by peanut allergies, wayward deers and lightening strikes, as those killed by terrorists.

The last time a terrorist bomb was planted on a plane was Lockerbie, in 1988, very nearly 20 years ago.

Next time you get on a plane, rebel, insist on taking your lip gloss in your hand luggage, and if you’re a lactating mother, refuse to taste your expressed milk, preferring, instead, that airport security staff give it a whirl.

Isn't it time we demanded that our politicians stop treating us like idiots, and time that we demanded they put our money to rather less pointless and far more productive use?

Banana Condoms

Will you buy protection for your bananas?

Banana Bunker

Down by the River

A river side view on Titan.

Scientists now have proof that Saturn's super satellite--the moon Titan--is spotted with lakes of liquid methane, some of them more than 65 km (40 miles) across, making Titan the only other world we know where realtors can sell lake front property. It may even make Titan the most dynamic place in the solar system, other than our own incredibly dynamic little home here on Earth.