March 27, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

You've got a bunch of people who, quite frankly, are very articulate, but very articulate morons. 

Bob Katter  
(speaking of his parliamentary colleagues)

March 23, 2013

Even the Kardashians can't keep up

Ever watched the Kardashians?  I have.  A few very old episodes were repeated on a free to air channel late at night a year or two ago.  I saw several episodes, each blatantly story-boarded, and each blatantly scripted.  Their franchise of shows (what next - The Kardashians do Kuwait?) is thread bare of anything resembling a fly-on-the-wall camera following a family's everyday life.  This stuff is episodic, neatly packaged, even topical or educational, at least within the confines of an hypnotically self-obsessed, asinine family in pursuit of wealth, built largely on the sex tape of one of the Kardashian off-spring. 

Self-evidently, the shows aren't comprised of edited footage from anyone's real day to day life.  If you're going to make cheap shows, it must be a great deal cheaper to write scenes, hand out scripts, and shoot for a few hours a week, rather than to cross-fingers that something comprehensible or compelling will accidentally fall out from a film crew following this narcissistic and uninteresting bunch for 24 hours a day. 

No surprise that a producer of one of the shows has admitted, in writing, for a court, that there is nothing real about the Kardashian franchise.  Good thing.  Can't believe it took this long.  Unlikely this admission will finally put an end to this rubbish though, or save the empty souls of those who watch the shows.

For too many people, hyper-reality is still more interesting than real life.  Not edifying, but there it is.
The producer on Keeping Up With the Kardashians says scenes were "scripted, reshot or edited" to make Kris Humphries look bad.

Russel Jay submitted a legal deposition for the divorce trial, which has been obtained by Life & Style magazine.

In the 165-page official document, the TV show's producer says that Kim Kardashian was well aware of Humphries' "surprise" proposal.

Apparently she demanded the proposal scene be shot more than once because, as the publication reports, "she didn't like how her face looked in the first take".

The crewmember also claims that at least a couple of scenes "were scripted, reshot or edited" to vilify Humphries following Kardashian's decision to divorce the athlete.

According to the publication, Jay states that Kardashian actually filmed the scene where she reveals to her mother Kris Jenner she was having trouble in her marriage months after filing for divorce.
 Kim Kardashian faked divorce scene: producer ... and the proposal scene, and every other scene 

The good, racist people

But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such. 

I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people. 

The other day I walked past this particular deli. I believe its owners to be good people. I felt ashamed at withholding business for something far beyond the merchant’s reach. I mentioned this to my wife. My wife is not like me. When she was 6, a little white boy called her cousin a nigger, and it has been war ever since. “What if they did that to your son?” she asked. 

And right then I knew that I was tired of good people, that I had had all the good people I could take. 

Places you can't visit, some of which don't exist

There's a book, top 100 places that we'll never visit.  Here are ten of those places.

Snake Island

Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Sao Paulo State, BrazilSecrecy overview Access restricted: a snake-infested island off-limits to visitors.

Brazil - Snake Island - Ilha de Queimada Grande 

RAF Menwith Hill

North Yorkshire, EnglandSecrecy overview Operations classified: a US-run base purported to be part of the ECHELON surveillance system.

The Queen's bedroom, Buckingham Palace

Westminster, London, England.  Secrecy overview High-security location: the private chamber of the Queen.

Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant

Northern EthiopiaSecrecy overview Access restricted: the purported home of the Ark of the Covenant.

Dulce Base

Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, USA.  Secrecy overview Existence unacknowledged: believed by some to be home of an underground extraterrestrial base.

Wildenstein Art Collection

Stored around the world. Headquartered in Paris.  Secrecy overview Location uncertain: said to be the most valuable private art collection in the world.

The Amber Room

Purportedly in an underground cavern on the German-Czech border. Secrecy overview:  Site of historic mystery: an ornate room seized by the Nazis and later lost.

North Sentinel Island

Andaman Islands, Bay of BengalSecrecy overview:  Access restricted: a remote island whose people reject contact with the outside world.

Photos of North Sentinel Island - and the happy people who have staved off civilization

The rescue of Primrose (1981) and more about the Island

Don't go to the Island

The Tomb of Genghis Khan

Assumed to be in the Khentii Province of eastern MongoliaSecrecy overview: Location uncertain: last resting place of the legendary Mongol leader.

Woomera Prohibited Area

Woomera, Australia.  Secrecy overview Operations classified: the world's largest land-based weapons testing area.

Extract from Daniel Smith's 100 Places You Will Never Visit.

Secret spots: 10 places you will never visit.

Photos of the ten places you will never visit ... but since some might not exist, it's false to claim there are photos of each of the ten places you will never visit

March 22, 2013

Cocaine not providing value for money: ACCC fails to act

''The consistent thing between the UK and Australia is both rated coke as being the worst value for money drug … and yet the difference in price is four-fold.

''It's a luxury item here [Australia]. People who've got lots of money use coke and if you're on benefits and doing crime you do crystal [methamphetamine].''

Asked about the negative consequences of their drug taking, respondents ranked cocaine second after tobacco for causing them ''money worries or problems''. 
And you thought the price of electricity and iApple-anything was a problem.  Huh!

Paying through the nose for cocaine

Prime Minister with no authority, leading caucus of fools

Her mettle has been vindicated, wrote one journalist.  Pfffttt!

We woke up to a new day, and yet Julia Gillard was still Prime Minister.  In name only.

The legitimacy of the Gillard Government has never been accepted by the public.  No matter which way you slice it or dice it, this singular failure rests with Gillard and commenced with the decision to knife Kev Rudd.  From that point, there was no recovery for Gillard or for the ALP.  I wrote as much at the time.  (Go back, have a look!)

To be seen as a legitimate government, headed by a respected and legitimate Prime Minister, with all the authority that goes with the role, is beyond the reach of the ALP and beyond the reach of Julia Gillard.

Their grasp of political reality for these five long years has been flimsy, delusional, spiteful, utterly self-absorbed.  Their stunningly industrious and frighteningly voluminous passing of legislation has been destructive and aimless. Their governance of themselves and the country has been chaotic and insular on a daily basis. Any voter in search of a federal vision continues to wonder the streets empty handed.

In every possible way, the Federal ALP has managed, over five years, to sink to every occasion.

Exodus of ALP ministers and sundry others

Rudd will never ever be leader again
They look like keystone cops and the real test is still to come

Back from the brink 

Crean lights fuse and gets blown away

Duck Friday

March 21, 2013

She flinched

Julie Gillard flinched, despite, only a couple of days ago, asserting that she would never do such a thing.

The men - it's almost all men - of the federal ALP caucus were too gutless to get a back bone between  them.  They did not even attempt to contest their abysmal leadership.  Bugger the numbers.  There was no count.

Notably, and confirming my persistent thought, not one of them was prepared to lead the ALP to certain defeat, even if it might save a few seats, albeit, very few.   The more seats the ALP loses at this year's federal election, all the harder for whoever is left, including those with primeministerial aspirations, to achieve success in their lifetime, or to even form a plausible opposition.

Today, Julia Gillard and her party handed the Liberal and National Parties staggering power.  Likely unprecedented.

I hope the Libs and the Nats are celebrating.  Soberly.  Very soberly.  With great power comes great responsibility.  They will need to keep their heads when they take over the country in September.

If the ALP had not run a chaotic, punch-drunk government for the last five years, we wouldn't all be in this incomprehensible situation.

Yes, the federal politicians - most especially Gillard and her team - insist that it's all about them. 

Julia Gillard seriously believes that her fortitude, her stubborn - indeed resolute - inability to do anything remotely sensible to run her party, let alone the country, is of value in and of itself; is a personal quality self-evidently warranting her place in The Lodge.  It's one of the worst reasons for any individual to believe they should be, or should continue to be, Prime Minister.

The joke is over. 

This is deadly serious.

March 20, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

All men think all men mortal, but themselves.

Edward Young

March 19, 2013

Make bed and get permanent residency in Australia

No, you don't have to make your bed and sleep in it.  (Doesn't the latter mess up the former?)

At least not if you're a cowardly adulterous man with enough money to travel through a few countries, buy a place on a boat, and claim that the husband of your attractive, younger lover will most certainly kill you - in an "honor killing" if you're sent home. That's what one Iraqi taxi driver claimed, having arrived on our shores barely more than a year ago.  The Refugee Review Tribunal was so taken with his story of illicit sex and being found out that they decided to let him stay in Australia.

His mistress was beaten by her husband until she confessed the affair, and he then divorced her.

Refugee Review Tribunal member Rosemary Mathlin found in December that although he did not fear harm for a convention reason - such as race or political opinion - she awarded "complementary protection" because it was "highly probable that if the applicant returns to Iraq he will be killed by the husband of his former lover".
Adultery now a reason for refuge ... if you're a man

Won't flinch, won't govern

"If I haven't flinched yet, why would I flinch now? she told Fairfax.

"I'll just keep getting on with it and dealing with the issues that actually matter and all of this kind of side commentary can do whatever it does. It's not going to deter me or distract me."
It's true, too.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard is so concentrated on not flinching that the country can go to a hot place in an across the body leather trimmed laptop bag and she won't notice.  She's that focused on flinching - or not.  It's her sole claim to fame - she's going for a place in the Guinness Book of Records -  that and being the first female Prime Minister of Australia.

The commentary continues to do what it does.

The government members continue to govern for each other and some union guys.

Gillard fails to flinch.

The Sun rises and sets.

The Federal ALP Government in action. 

PM says she won't flinch on leadership 

March 16, 2013

Stuff you should know about sinkholes before you're 30

Are sinkholes common?  Hmm, yes.  They're everywhere.

"Unlike hurricanes or earthquakes, sinkholes aren’t tracked. But CNN reports that from 2006 to 2010 in Florida alone, there were 24,671 insurance claims for sinkhole damage, totaling a whopping $1.4 billion."

Tin Can Bay, Australia - Beach being swallowed 

Five Facts about sinkholes

Lots and lots of sinkholes, and they look like this

The USGS Water Science School - all about sinkholes

The science of sinkholes

Florida brochure - guide to spotting sinkholes

Sinkhole science: a primer

A grounding in sinkhole science

Can we do anything to prevent sinkholes?

"It’s one of those things where they happen, and then you deal with it."

"A lot of the fatal ones I've seen have happened on highways, where people were driving down the road and drove right into them. A lot of people who have died in sinkholes were just standing right there when [the collapse occurred]."

March 13, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

We tell ourselves stories in order to live.

Joan Didion 

March 6, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom

To suffer is one thing; another thing is living with the photographed images of suffering, which does not necessarily strengthen conscience and the ability to be compassionate. It can also corrupt them. Once one has seen such images, one has started down the road of seeing more - and more. Images transfix. Images anesthetize.

 Susan Sontag, On Photography

March 3, 2013


c/o The Sunday Age, this day, headlines you won't see:

- Post-modern Julia proposes 'choose your own adventure, interactive election campaign.

- Hand-basket sales sour as people of Earth accept fate.

- As sport, politics and religion shower themselves in shame, the humble art of gurning survives uncorrupted.

March 1, 2013

Every day

Hope is the one thing standing between me and peace.

Duck Friday