August 5, 2011

Duck Friday


  1. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Ha ha ha , Caz. Very clever..

    The Swan Goose. Fond of talking up the economy.( even though it appears to be going to hell in a handbasket)Reason probably being, to safeguard it's own habitat.

    It has recently been making a few honking noises about another native bird. The red arsed budgie smuggler, (also known as the liar bird) The Swan Goose insists that the reason for lack of spending in the bird community is caused by the Budgie Smuggler talking the economy down.

    The Budgie Smuggler bird however is quite inane and his provocative squawks are mostly ignored by the other birds, who realize this bird is just an economic illiterate.

    Oh woe is we.

    Methinks it to be a safer bet to pick one's nose in the next election..

    We are surrounded by silly gooses and liars..


  2. Close, but no cigar.

    They're ducks.

  3. Then who's the poor little white trash?

  4. As for the economy; things ain't terminal here. The OS crises revolve around enormous (in Greece's case egregious) government debt. Who bails out governments??

    In comparison Australian government debt is a piss hole in a snowfield.

    Ross Gittins wrote much earlier this year that the only real economic crisis facing Australia will be the one we talk ourselves into - led by that economically illiterate bird Kath refers to.

    He largely <a href=">repeats that today.</a>. We need more cooler heads.

    Funnily enough, can't post on the "Political witch hunt". Possibly my trendy observations.

  5. There's all sorts of strange things happening today...
    That link is here

  6. Holy crap - where did the little white one come from?!

  7. Yeah, those trendy observations will get you locked out every time Mike, it's an auto-detect setting!

    (Blogger plays funny buggers, Kath often can't log in, mystery to me.)

    Great understatement from our almighty Treasurer, that Oz is "not immune" to global markets. No shit Sherlock.

    A mere $60B wiped off our markets in a day. We're safe as a WA mine. Yeah, my arse.

    And this cock-up of a government - against Treasury advice - insists on upping mandatory super to 12%, so that the punters will have 12% of their money burned away, instead of 9%.

    Beggars belief.

    And none of that "it's for the long term" crap. The losses during the GFC wiped off ALL gains from the previous TWENTY YEARS. That won't ever be re-gained, not in our lifetimes. For those closed to retirement, whether ten or five years ... no chance that their super will ever recover whatever retirement funds they thought they had. For everyone else, same deal really, as they'll never recoup the losses.

    Recovery? Humbug. Every dollar into my super has continued to be lost in the last two years, that is, during the recovery.

    12% compulsory super, purely so that the finance industry can grow and prosper, and the rest of us lose.

    I would have been better off with an on call savings account, with 5% interest on the cash.

    Spain and Italy might bring us all down; they already are.

    Greece has been propped up already, so the EU doesn't have enough left to save Spain and Italy. (Is anyone looking out for Ireland?)

    The EU has continued to try to rescue countries that are too big to fail ...

    Some of those countries have been living in some kind of time warp for many decades. In Greece, those with "onerous jobs" get to retire at 50, with "onerous" including such jobs as hairdressers. Generous welfare for the rest of their lives. Lawyers can only practice in the equivalent of an allocated suburb or town, which is bizarre (they're lawyers for gawd's sake, why haven't they had the balls to challenge that restriction of trade?). Other lines of work are similarly restricted.

    Riots in the street? Sure. But these are the voters who won't allow their gov't to reform the economy either. They want jobs, but also want massive welfare for the last 30 or 40 years of life.

    It's truly astonishing that their economies have lasted this long. And why did the EU wait for a decade, why didn't they enforce economic reforms over the last ten years?

    (Might be Italy, not Greece ... one of them, although both have astonishing economies.)

  8. I really don't want to get into superannuation, it makes me cry. What is criminal is that it has to be locked into stock investment via what is now a massive industry that, like a hyena, takes from the rotting carcass as well as from the living.

    It was a hyperlink causing the issue. A trendy hyperlink to be sure...

  9. Yes. And our gov't boast of the trillions locked-up in super ... as if that's a good thing.

    Where are the protests over the 12%?

    Where are the protests decrying giving hundreds of millions of dollars more to a fatted-up incompetent industry, of which we have no real control (here are your 12 convoluted investment options, of which we refuse to explain the dangers or benefits, or to give advice on what you should do when you bleed money ... unless you want to pay us a couple of thousand to tell you which box to tick - fuck that).

    The Henry review specifically recommended against any increase.

    Of course, the Henry review also said to ditch the Medicare tax, increase the tax free threshold, and so on and so forth. Not to mention a gentle nudge to getting rid of the wasteful and inequitable negative gearing.

    The ALP ignored the lot it. The Labor pollies think they know more than a few hundred economists sitting in Treasury. For this alone, I'll never forgive them.

    Nothing worse than a bunch of ignorant morons (in that regard, the ALP more and more resemble the Greens).

  10. Yes. And our gov't boast of the trillions locked-up in super ... as if that's a good thing.

    Where are the protests over the 12%?

    As far as the Coalition is concerned, it lost that battle back in the early nineties. Back then the 3% was going to destroy the economy as we knew it; six and nine percent were going to send it back to the stone age.

    As it transpires, fundamentalist capitalism (to borrow religious tones from the other thread) has achieved that without any help from national savings schemes. "Market forces" and "self regulation" of financial markets have Googled us destitute with unnerving accuracy.

    The idea of a national savings scheme - superannuation - was and is a good one. As always it is the form and delivery that sucks. The initial idea of a 15% contribution (no matter how much "co-payment" came into it) towards funding one's retirement is good. That it all needs to be locked up in the financial market's Melbourne Cup is not.

    If you worked a warehouse or factory floor back in the eighties superannuation was something for executives - they were offered such as part of their package. The best a "floor worker" could hope for was the pension and retirement. That clearly could not go on as the country was soon to be in a position where it could not afford to pension future retiring generations of workers.

    Pity of it is, that's the best we can all hope for... again.

  11. I have no objection whatsoever to superannuation, and believe it to be essential. (It was a long overdue initiative.)

    It's not the super that bothers me, it's the increasing of it, when so clearly we are all losing, badly, and all this, to support the voracious finance industry.

  12. I believe we are in agreement.

    On that I shall take myself and the fiteen year old to see the new Planet of the Apes film. I can wallow in memories of days when I'd hair like Robert Plant and wore size 28 jeans....

  13. Another ape film - urrgh!

    At least the CGI is supposed to be very good and a teenager would not be painfully familiar with the preceding films (and remakes), so may find greater enjoyment in the notion of apes taking over than I would.

    Do give your review and rating, when time permits.

  14. In (very) short.

    This is a tight film with a spanking script. This is no prequel (and just as obviously, no sequel) rather something along the lines of the recent Star Trek film. Whereas that was a "re-boot" - Hollywood for re-juice the lemon (though it was no lemon) - this is a beginning. That is, this film is the story of how the entire ape-thing occured; the drug research that led to what became the planet of the apes.

    The CGI is more than very good. It is so good as to forget it is actually CGI. Andy Serkis (Gollum of LOTR) animates Caesar so well that combined with the CGI it all becomes quite real. None of Lucas's Jar Jar Binks here.

    John Lithgow steals most every scene he's in and one cannot help but grin inwardly at the nods to the originals in the early seventies. Well paced, very well written and tightly directed.

    One really wonders what Serkis might have done for a living sans CGI critters to lend his malleable face to.

  15. Anonymous6:21 PM

    Caz and Father Park, I agree that super on the whole is a good thing, however, the implementation (and compliance issues) has been crap. I good give many examples.

    Unfortunately, for the punter, retirement risk (financially speaking) is being transferred from the government to the individual, who has no alternative but to invest (risk) their super with an "all knowing" provider, or one can set up a self managed fund (a minimum of 200K is about what you'd need to invest, so that returns cover audit costs and appreciation etc).

    I actually had some super that I parked in a savings account; most providers should have this facility. The interest rate is crap, but at least your super does not go negative in volatile times, such as now (at least nominally anyway). Factor in tax and inflation then it may be otherwise.

    Anyway I contacted my super provider, told them I had retired, and repatriated the cash. Some if it went to my daughter's (Brodi) wedding and the rest into gold and silver - I'll let you figure out which investment has done better - by miles.

    Sadly, as far as the greedy bastards are concerned, the retirement savings of the punters are no more than chits - money for nothing and your chits for free.


  16. Wish I could tick a box for "some gold and a bit of platinum please". Don't get that friggin' option though, do we.

    Of course, moving to cash or any negligible risk option means locking in the hideous losses, and then it gets worse, and then you beat yourself for not locking in the lesser fooking losses when ... maybe (but one can never be sure) ... you should have.

    This is the system that we've been brainwashed into believing will allow us all to be self-funded / comfortable retirees. And putting even more in (the 12%) will make us even more comfortable and self-funded for even longer.

    Yeah. My arse.

  17. Anonymous7:29 AM

    Apt letter in the SMH this morning:

    Compulsory superannuation contributions (''A year of painful super growth down the gurgler'', August 6-7)? Good idea at the time, Paul. Not your fault, though. How could you possibly factor in the utter greed of those US ''whiz-kids'' and the sheer ineptitude of the financial planning industry that was to follow.

    Peter Terrey Castle Cove


  18. I still think mandatory super was and is the way to go Justin - Keating had it right, and our super (read: fat as lard financial sector / investment sector) is the envy of other countries.

    Despite some minor proposed advisory reforms (needed, but don't go far enough), people have negligible control or say in the investment and protection of their nest eggs, thus making the whole exercise a bit suss - engenders the question of who is benefiting most; and we know it's not us!

    Not only are we all losing money, we continue to be at the mercy of ever changing policy. How many times and in how many ways has super been changed since implemented? Heaps! The limits change, the tax treatments change. They will again, we can be sure of that. So much for security of our nest eggs - even without market meltdowns, the politicians can't keep their own hands out of the super bucket, they can't resist shaving off a bit more here, and bit more there. Their legitimacy in telling us how great super is becomes more and more wobbly.

    I'm also damned sick of being told "hold on, it will all be fine". Bullshit. As I said in a previous comment, the losses from the last three years and current losses will not be recouped at some distant point - it's gone, gone, gone.

  19. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Yep, it's gone.

    I remember back in the early nineties having a conversation with a superannuation sales guy. I said to him that super will end up being a huge pool of cash that the powers that be will find a way to attack. The sales guy thought I was an idiot, but he was still a kid, in a suit.

    So, are we getting wealthier, and if so who is getting the wealth:

    The following shows a telling trend, a global trend that should be embarrassing to the powers that be, but isn't:

    In the US the amount of wealth that is now captured by the top few % is not only embarrassing, it is criminal.


  20. Mike - that was an excellent film review, thanks. They should have given you free tickets.

    John Lithgow - a wonderful actor, not seen nearly often enough; didn't realise he was in it (well, all the focus is on the whole ape thing).

    One could also wonder if Serkis will, some day, be offered roles wherein he gets to act as a person? His current niche doesn't speak of a long term career! Actually, I must look him up - he has surely done other stuff in life; not young, I'd be curious to know his background.

  21. Lithgow is likely more known to people nowadays for his 3rd Rock stint. I agree: a wonderful actor who can morph into many a role from nice guy to psychotic and in-between.

    Always remember his turn in Terms of Endearment (a favourite of mine). Saw it on honeymoon in NYC all those years ago. The lines in that film just keep comng ("I'd rather stick needles in my eyes...").

    Heading to the UK for a second honeymoon and an Ancient History conference at Glasgow Uni. Wanted to see Kevin Spacey in Richard III at the Old Vic. Surprise: the season is sold out.

  22. Yes, Lithgow was a dramatic actor long before moving to comedy on telly, but the later no doubt afforded him the luxury of only working when he felt like it. Although he was wonderful in 3rd Rock, which would not have been the same without him in the lead.

    Wonderful that you will be heading off, how exciting! Hope you have a fabulous trip, and keep safe.

  23. They're rioting already in anticipation of my imminent arrival. I shall have to not disappoint...

  24. LOL.

    They're just practicing (like rehearsals for the Olympic Games opening ceremony). Should totally go off once you land!

  25. John Lithgow, to checkout girl as Debra Winger fumbles for money Hap has not provided her (Terms of Endearment):

    Lithgow: You're a very rude young woman. I know Douglas from the Rotary and I can't believe he'd want you treating customers so badly.

    Checkout Girl: I don't think I was treating her badly.

    Lithgow: Then you must be from New York.

    Like I say, the movie's full of them. With a cast including Nicholson, MacLaine and DeVito how could it not??

    Yes, hadn't thought of that: practicing for the Opening Ceremony! Will have to borrow that one.

  26. Damn - I'm going to have to hire it some time, and watch it again.

    Could never stand Debra Winger, in anything.

    I'll need to block her out and enjoy the viewing for the other characters.

  27. Just don't think of that turkey Officer and a Gentleman. Best thing about it was Joe Cocker.

  28. I'm sure it was the bastard prequel to Top Gun....

  29. Damn - I'm going to have to hire it some time, and watch it again.

    As Am I.

    I have the soundtrack - on vinyl - in the Bert Library of Congress but my 31yr old Marantz amp has not worked for two years and the kids have taken over the lounge room anyway. Reduced to computer libraries.

    Here: have a listen. One of the better soundtracks of the eighties (John Barry providing the others).

    And it was "Flap" not Hap. My bad.

    Do you want to come see my Renoir??

  30. Oh dear. Too many things at once (a deadline for AW, movie themes, red wine... From Rochdale to Ocho Rios, from Ochio Rios to Dorkin...).

    Listen here.

    Winger is actually quite ok in this. The others more than compensate Caz.

  31. You really think she can be forgiven for Officer and a Gentleman? (Or anyone else in that film, err, except Richard Gere, who can be forgiven for anything.)

  32. Well, as I wrote, best thing about the film was Joe Cocker.

    Gere is a slut. Appear in anything - or nothing more likely - no matter the quality. Cain is like that but with more than a modicum more class.

    She does alright in Terms. Then again, I like the film and so am biased. Listening to Barry's soundtracks - Dances With Wolves and Out of Africa - as I do the AW thing.

    Cut the top of my ring finger off on Monday. night so typing ain't what it used to be.

  33. Indeed, she has turned out to be an entirely admirable woman. My bias has been wiped-out by her personal qualities and obvious intelligence.

    How nice.