28 March 2008

the drugs don't work

Mention of drugs suggests the topic of addiction, and there have been a few recent media stories about current addictions to technology - texting, games and so on. I have, until today, treated any claims about on-line or technology addiction as a bit wild. Disclosure: rampant blogging aside, of course.

Except for the last day and a half I've been ensconced in a workshop wherein we have been working up the various processes and artifacts we need for the office to function as it is desired we function, including business planning and the elements of a number of projects we need to undertake. It's kind of exciting and enervating all at the same time and, given my role in the office, I need to pay lots of attention to process and culture to ensure that everybody gets to hear and be heard.

All the while, of course, the everyday work goes on and currently we have a number of issues that need constant attention.

Which is how I found myself wanting to keep ducking out to check my e-mails. And after a while, I felt it as a physical need.

"This isn't good," I said to myself, squirming, eating too many mints and drinking too much water. "But I'd better go and check that nothing's happened, just in case."

Overlooking that I had the mobile with me, anyone who might have needed immediate contact had that number and should something have arisen, they would have called me.

I'm glad that's over and I can get back to blogging, 'cos that's not an addiction.

Here's a
link to a fabulous TED (Technology Entertainment Design) talk, hat tip to Harry Clarke. Ah, right and left, the differences between and the many manifestations thereof. This one'll get you thinking, though, I bet.

Bugger, the font choice button has disappeared again - happens all the time on this laptop for some reason.

26 March 2008

don't look back in anger

Actually, please do look back - and front, but never sideways - in anger.

I walk very quickly. I like to get from A to B because that means I'm ready to get back to A again before everybody else. So whenever Mrs VVB and I are walking somewhere, she always gets a wry look when I almost walk over the back of someone or, more accurately, when she notices me forcibly refrain from bunging my elbow into the ear of someone who will inevitably come to a sudden stop on the footpath while they:

- chat on the mobile;
- decide to conduct a stationary conversation with their companion/s;
- suddenly remember something they should be doing and stop to have a think about it;
- just get confused by life and have to stop.

One of these days, one of these people is going to get my elbow in their ear.

And similar for people at traffic lights - it's about when the light goes green and they appear to be waiting for another shade, maybe a bit more pastel.

And then they seem to just get confused by life and sit there.

So I get angry, more often than is good for me and for anyone else around.

Society seems to be getting angrier. Binge drinkinItalicg by young people - yes, and include 'glassing' as a consequence. So the rest of us now have to drink from plastic mugs - does that make us angry? You bet. I get angry when the legislative response to someone else's lack of sefl control or bad upbringing infringes my personal liberty.

King hitting people and putting the boot in while they're down. When did that little trend start?

Anyway, this is Chateau VVB, not some bloody social research site so just read the comments attached to the article - there are some classics, both literal and ironic.

I do love Poms.

25 March 2008

breaking up is hard to do

As Mrs VVB and I continue our seemingly inexorable transition to denizens of Rural and Regional Australia - confirmation of which is now barely days away before we have to commit to The Move - the practical implications loom ever larger.

Foremost amongst these, barring having to find somewhere to park Offspring No2, is all the crap we have accumulated, particularly over the past few years.

Mrs VVB and I have lived a fairly peripatetic life which, for a while, caused us to be fairly careful about our possessions, in the sense of not having too many. Mind you, not having the cash to acquire them was also a factor.

Anyway, suffice to say that the slightly over a decade that we have lived in Chateau VVB has been the longest either of us has lived in one house, both before and after we became A Couple. So, we have all this crap. We also have multiple sets of items, chairs and so on, that we have been hanging on to in the hope that one day either of the offspring might want them. But to date, no luck. So it all has to go.

Fortunately, I have found the the answer. And it looks like fun.

Meanwhile, over the Easter weekend as Mrs VVB and I searched for the new Chateau VVB - winning Lotto a prerequisite, unfortunately - we got the Easter Messages.

Cardinal Pell assured us that our economy was quite strong but that people were hurt by high interest rates.

Funny, I always thought that this kind of meaningless claptrap was the sole preserve of the Federal Treasurer, no matter which Lib or Lab tribe that person belonged to.

Philip Aspinall said some fairly innocuous things in a low voice - I gather this is his preferred means of communication, except it doesn't actually communicate.

Brian Thing of the Salvos (yes?), on the other hand, actually remembered the alleged circumstances on which his particular tribe base their beliefs, and almost got to the 'fire and brimstone if you don't' bit. Much as I disagree with everything he said, at least you felt he was closer to the point.

Perhaps he doesn't believe in a Strong Economy. Now, in the current political-economic environment, that is closer to heresy than anything about loaves and fishes he might come up with.

20 March 2008


You know, I feel very disappointed that several months after the ascension of St Kevin of the Good and Goodier, here at Chateau VVB we're still snarking about Alexander Downer. Really need to get over it, even if he does deserve all he gets.

But I don't believe in deleting posts just because I feel bad or ambivalent about them.

About a millennium ago I started to talk about a personal, an internal, journey that I was embarking on.

That was a blogwanky way of saying I wanted a new job, preferably one that rewarded heretofore unrecongnised wonderfulness with great galumphing gobs of folding stuff.

So we went to the outplacement service area of a firm of national headhunters, got scrutinised (quite well, actually) and worked up a brilliant new CV where my previous wonderfulness was rendered into recruiting noughties-speak.

Nothing happened after that, of course, because whatever was needed internally hadn't suddenly made itself apparent.

And, in what may well be analysed as an emerging list of ready-made excuses, we started to wonder whether gleaming new wonderfulness was all that enticing.

Anyway, fast-forward a few months along with the inevitable number of organisational changes and all of a sudden the opportunity emerges to go and do a job quite removed from my most recent experiences, the daily necessiities of management which differ only in complexity aside, of course.

It's all quite good fun and, with any luck, the opportunity will soon appear to keep doing it for a while.

The only downside is the inevitable periods of 'what's it all about' although, to be fair, there's probably lesss of that than if I had remained where I was.

'Making a difference' is such an overdone corporate slogan - my organisation had it for a while - that it has lost all meaning, yet surely it's what people really need to feel they doing in the increasing (hmmm? or not) amounts of time they spend at work.

Less about getting the new plasma (Chateau VVB still doesn't have a TV over 51 cm, isn't that the 1980s benchmark?), but seeing something happen as a result of your actions. For example, it'd be really nice to good with your hands so you can make something and see it work.

This half-hearted attempt to bore you all rigid while I write my way through a brief period of introspection brought to you by the AFL on TV and about 25 tonnes of dead sandflies, including several kg of them in my hair.

I'm getting a message...

Thinking of a musical reference for the post title brings a few tunes into my head, it's time to play a little guitar, let's have some Richard Clapton - Girls on the Avenue.

Cool, but unsuitable for a post title so we go to the classically trained and outrageously different super band Yes for how my brain works. Although it can't be any worse than Steve Howe and Jon Anderson's efforts:

Go closer hold the land feel partly no more than grains of sand
We stand to lose all time a thousand answers by in our hand
Next to your deeper fears we stand surrounded by million years.

Fortunately, they got better:

Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da
Da da da da daaa da da

All class.

system of a down(er)

Yet more revisionism, this time from that fat fool, the previous Foreign Minister for crying out loud. Yes, how on earth did he get to that exalted position? He was once a Third Secretary, which would have equipped him to meet third-rate Australian cultural acts at the airport and conduct them around.

Now he's suddenly got views on the niceties of Australia's policy vis-a-vis the Iraq debacle. Although it 's not a debacle because, when confronted with such an accusation on TV tonight the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, said "so"? Evidently, it's not, and what a hide to ask such a question.

And what, as many are asking, was he doing at the time? Providing his views to the PM, or lobbing his characteristically patrician, nasty jibes at the thousands of Australians who saw, all too clearly, what a debacle was about to ensue?

We'll end the tedious regurgitation of cheap shots here, except to note that anyone who thinks that analysis and consideration has guided Australian foreign policy in recent decades is fooling themselves.

Whether Ross Garnaut is fooling himself or us will be a subject of intense debate for the next few decades. How any compensation scheme for regions and individuals (and working families) affected by the transmission of a carbon tax to consumers through goods and services might work will be a doozy. Would a government pass on all the carbon tax receipts? Not while we're addicted to budget surpluses, they won't.

Anyway, no doubt much to Diogenesian Gerry's derision, Prof Garnaut thinks we need to give carbon sequestration a red hot (ha ha, I'm sorry) go. And in a general sense he's right: you always need to give any emerging technology a go, although the technical issues in this case are immense and there's a fair deal of opposition, cunningly disguised as scepticism. Or in Gerry's case, whatever it is he calls what he does.

Meanwhile, in the real world Mrs VVB is visiting pied a terre du nord VVB this weekend, which will be nice. I'll need to vacuum up the 25 tonnes of dead sandflies which currently adorn the unit, and probably wipe down all the horizontal services, most of which also host dead sandflies which have been squashed thereunto.

I've bought some food to cook just in case we don't eat out all weekend.

And on that note...I've run out of things to pass on.

Enjoy Easter.

19 March 2008

in like a shot from my gun (***)

Well a few very little things caught my very small attention during the day, a day very full with lots of activities so the old short-term memory problem has manifested itself at a great rate.

But...let us try, shall we?

Crikey reports itself less than convinced with Leader of the Opposition Brendan Nelson's heartfelt plea to the assorted good and godly at the National Press Club that the Liberal Party is in fact a sub-branch of the Australian Council of Social Services, in these terms:

Which brings us, really, to the irony of it all. Brendan Nelson was a Minister in the Howard Government for two full terms and a member of it for its full duration. If he’s so damn angry about things, what on earth was he doing about it for the last eleven years?

Well, yes, pretty bloody spot on, one would have thought. The power of self-preservation, I guess.

The US Federal Reserve has continued to bail out the big end of town while little people are working three jobs just to live in a trailer park and watch their kids grow up to be obese, angry speed addicts. And then commit suicide, because the right to bear arms shall not be fettered and so there's lots of guns about, along with an alarming decline in the ability to persist through adversity and keep control of one's anger.

That sound you can hear in the background is Mrs VVB going "WTF?"

Because the Arabs are coming. Sorry, that's why you need to guns in the first place.

Actually there is a case in the US Supreme Court, again reported by Crikey, that is tentatively poking into the legal niceties of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. That's the one that says if you need to wield a semi-automatic machine gun to get decent services from a 13 year old kid serving you at Krispy Kreme, then by God (that's our very good Jesus-related God, not one of those evil foreign ones) you should do so. And if the rounds you loose not only take the kid's head off but also does some damage to the franchisee's property, you should be adequately protected.

Look, this post is getting right out of hand, I blame the red, I went to the car wash and mistook a machine that makes you car smell like an Algerian brothel for the bloody vacuum cleaner, for crying out loud.

So I'm angry. I need a gun.

Aaaaah, I'll have another red. Spicks and Specks has started.

Bonsoir, mes petits.

*** You do remember Slade, don't you? Noddy Holder?

Them were the days.

16 March 2008

snooooop doggggg

I'm going to be away from pooters for a couple days (the word 'of' having recently become superfluous, it seems) so I'll leave you with a very small thought sent to me by a mate, which is guaranteed to stir up the female readership:

The Test

A dog is truly a man's best friend, if you don't believe it, just try this simple experiment. Put your dog and your wife in the boot of the car for an hour. When you open the boot, who is really happy to see you ?

Ciao for niao.

15 March 2008

oh lord, won't you buy me...

"...a Mercedes Benz,

My friends all drive Porsches,

I must make amends."

Well not all of them, but one now does. Here it is. Beautiful is it not?
**Noises in back of throat indicate mixed emotions.**

jive talking

Is there some kind of secret competition between co-pilots on domestic flights to see who can make the most indecipherable in-flight message?

You always get one before take-off, "this Captain so and so, we are travelling to Oodnagalarby, the weather is expected to be fine/wet/terrifying. We'll get back to you once we're on our way."

Then, inevitably, you get an announcement midway through the flight which goes like this:

"Aaah, this is Adrian Horrorshow and I'm your co-pilot today. Captain Bollocks and I uuurgh uuurgh uuurgh uurgh, and we uuurgh uuuurgh with uuurgh, clouds and lots of *crackle crackle* urrrgh and *crackle* uurgh.

Today's flight is *crackle* uuurgh and uuurgh, but with a little luck we'll *crackle crackle* urrrgh uuurgh and we shouldn't need to *crackle* *spit* uuurgh or uuugh.

Your cabin crew, Diane, Damien, Elfrida and Daisy, are uuurgh uuuurgh and have occasionally been known to "crackle* uuurgh uuurgh....aaah, uurgh uuurgh, ha ha, but Captain Oates and I....pause.....they'll uuuurgh uuurgh if you press the call button.

In the event that major uuuurgh or uuuurgh eventuates, we'll *crackle* what the uurgh was that? *crackle crackle*."


A slightly longer pause, interspersed with *crackle crackle*.

"Anyway, Captain Hitler and I hope that you uuuurgh uuurgh and also uuuurgh, we'll talk to you again just before we *crackle* uuurgh.


I swear that on each flight, and I've been flying a lot lately, it's been less decipherable each time.

On another topic entirely, can anyone enlighten me as to what a "get-go" is? "Yes, they were doomed from the get-go." What was it that was going to be got, and where was it to go?

Answers on the back of a McDonalds container to Captain Moriarty, c/- around the back of the bike sheds, Mascot.

12 March 2008

friend, lover, sister, mother, wife

While Mrs VVB and I are separated, albeit temporarily, by my sojourn up-country I have discovered that she keeps up with what I am thinking by reading here.

Poor deluded, etc etc.

However, it also opens up the opportunity for a little fun and, indeed,
here it is.

The article itself isn't so interesting - run-of-the-mill mild snark, even quality broadsheets do it - but the comments, as is often the case, are hilarious.

I do love the determinedly literal.

In this vein I was enthralled by Nick who, by his moniker, ownership of two houses and apparent lifestyle, just has to be a banker (yes, with a 'b') in the City. He's undoubtedly buying the sex he speaks of, maybe not directly but...

Anyway, darling, why don't you post a comment?

And fellers, if the little woman isn't treating you right (the only time I have a G&T now is when I'm flying somewhere) then today the Courier-Mail reports that Deborah Hutton has split with her partner and is maybe looking to swing back to blokes.

It must be nice to have such choice - kind of like not being locked in to always buying a Ford or a Holden.

Meanwhile, business (as in "Business") is ramping up the pressure to ensure that we get WorkChoices in some form. Someone should show them the 'M' section of the dictionary, that'll be the bit with 'mandate' in it.

Anyone seen Peter Hendy lately? Anyone looking behind the hedges?

And one of the 6.30pm shock and horror shows tells that "booty is back".

Sir Mix-a-lot said that exactly, but in this case I believe the program used 'is back' to mean 'has returned' rather than 'is an enormous arse'.

And, following from yesterday's new sins, I'd very much like to add the words 'butt' and 'booty' to gthe list for which the penance is excommunication - from Australia.

It's a bum or, if you're crude, arse.

But crudity is on the retreat. Why, only the other night I was disembarking (no, not 'deplaning') from the plane here, a young bloke said "shit" while in conversation with his young female companion, only to be rebuked ("Hey!") by an older bloke (ie someone about my age) behind him in the queue. "Sorry, sir", the young bloke replied.

Oh, that's another new sin - people who can't walk at a normal speed. They're everywhere, usually in front of me.

11 March 2008

i heard it through the grapevine

...that the Vatican has identified some new deadly sins. But they didn't show much imagination I reckon. If you're going to have a clean slate for starters, then how about:
- sticking in the right hand lane;
- coming to a dead halt as soon as you enter the shopping mall or supermarket;
- describing any situation using the term "I was like..." (I'm gonna kill someone over this very very soon);
- using "back to back" for "consecutive" (mandatory Latin for everyone, I say);
- expecting everyone to understand obscure US film and TV show references;
- not appreciating those of us who understand obscure UK film and TV references;
- voting Liberal.

Additional suggestions on the head of a pin addressed to Monsignor Thing, c/- Sin City.

What a job though - "OIC Bad Stuff". I could handle that for a few millennia.

And what about this Melbourne Grand Prix snafu? I just loved Ron Walker on TV last night, saying he was sure that "Mr Ecclestone" would consider favourably the weak-kneed compromise to put the race back another 90 minutes. "Ooh yes Mr Ecclestone, no Mr Ecclestone, three bags full Mr Ecclestone."

What is it with this kow-towing and genuflecting by Walker - I mean, he's not down to his last razoo, surely? - just so Bernie can accumulate a few million more?

It's all gone too far, I tell you (lurches unsteadily off to bed, no Horlicks in the cupboard).

That's an obscure British reference, by the way.

09 March 2008

real life

The ongoing saga of the ascension and pre-eminence of the economy.

This is why politicians - and I grant you that George W Bush a very particular example amongst all politicians, but
this is just a clear example - just don't get it . People are not concerned about 'the economy'.

They are concerned about their jobs, their mortgages, their families, their lives - but they don't sit around the dinner table or in front of the TV or at bloody barbeques, for crying out loud - and worry about 'the economy'.

Well, maybe at some barbeques.

But the general point still holds.

This never-ending whinge about the insidious effects of the marketisation of everyday life brought to you by Chateau VVB, where throwing out a bucket of nuts, bolts and sundry bits of hardware and motor car, that have stayed with me since the late 1960s, was like cutting off my own leg.

I'm seriously thinking of going through the garbage bin and reclaiming them all.

feelin' alright

It's a scheduled weekend back in the bosom of the family at Chateau VVB, so an opportunity to get the Maton out and consider putting it on e-bay.


Because it's a monster, it's so hard to play, the neck is about 3 km wide, although the action is very low. And the strings are sticky, but you can get stuff to fix that.

I should never have bought it, 'twas a moment of sheer hubris and longing triumphing over common sense - the old Yamaha 12 string was all I ever needed.

It's like if I owned a Lamborghini or a Lotus Super 7 - I could never get anywhere near realising the potential of the car.

However, that's all ancient histriy now, I have this guitar that I can't do a thing with and I may as well get a bit for it. If I ever decide I'd like another 12 string I can get a second hand Yamaha or Takemine quite cheaply.

Except I pick the Maton and try a few things and even my half-arsed attempts show up the sheer beauty of it. It sounds like a fucking orchestra, that guitar. Even one chord out of a dozen, it's like playing golf (well at least the way I play): it's the one brilliant shot a round that overshadows the other 115 and brings you back.

So we won't sell it just yet.

08 March 2008

goin' up the country

I had a couple of things to muse about, but none come close to this letter, as sent to me by a mate - dunno where he got it from, probably those internetty things. Anyway, enjoy:

Dear Mr. Minister,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this.How is it that K-Mart has my address and telephone number, and knows that I bought a Television Set and Golf Clubs from them back in 1997, and yet, the Federal Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date. For Christ sakes, do you guys do this by hand?

My birth date you have in my Medicare information, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 40 years. It is on my driver's licence, on the last eight
passports I've ever had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that I've filled out every 5 years since 1966.

Also….would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Audrey, my Father's name is Jack, and I'd be absolutely f***ng astounded if that ever changed between now and when I drop dead!!!...

SHIT!I apologize, Mr. Minister. But I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of all this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my F***ng address!!What the hell is going on with your mob?
Have you got a gang of mindless Neanderthal arseholes workin' there!And another
thing….. look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I can't even grow a beard for God's sakes. I just want to go to New Zealand and see my new granddaughter. (Yes, my son interbred with a Kiwi girl).

And would someone please tell me, why would you give a shit whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a sheep or a horse, believe you me, I'd sure as hell not want to tell anyone!Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the city, and get another F***n copy of my birth certificate, and to part with another $80 for the privilege of accessing MY OWN INFORMATION! Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot, to assist in the issuance of a new passport on the same day??

Nooooo……. that'd be too f***ng easy and makes far too much sense. You would much prefer to have us running all over the place like chickens with f***ng our heads cut off, and then having to find some high society wanker to confirm that it's really me in the goddamn photo!

You know the photo….the one where we're not allowed to smile?! ……you f***ng morons

Signed - An Irate Australian Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture, and getting someone in high-society to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since before 1850! In 1856, one of my forefathers took up arms with Peter Lalor. (You do remember the Eureka Stockade!!)

I have also served in both the CMF and regular Army something over 30 years (I went to Vietnam in 1967), and still have high security clearances.I'm also a personal
friend of the president of the RSL…. and Lt General Peter Cosgrove sends me a
Christmas card each year. However, your rules require that I have to get someone
'important' to verify who I am;You know…… someone like my doctor; WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN F***ing PAKISTAN!!!........a country where they either assassinate or hang their ex-Prime Ministers, and are suspended from the Commonwealth for not having the "right sort of government."

You are all F***ng idiots I'm done with this country it’s easier to get into, than it is to get out of! I'm staying home and hopefully my son and granddaughter won't have as much trouble trying to getting here to see me.

07 March 2008

when you say nothing at all

"You say it best...when you say it really really well."


We wish we could write like Guy Rundle: "Conservatism – American and Australian – stuffs up when it starts to believe its own line that it actually and perfectly represents the silent majority."


"Howard will surely go down in history not as a Thatcher-style conservative agenda setter, but simply as a delayer, a ten-year obstruction."

Not so much the unflushable turd (thank you Mungo McCallum) but the inoperable constriction in the colon.

Except we eventually found the doctor.

Guy Rundle's comments courtesy of Crikey.com.au.

Hmmm... blogger fails to deliver choice of font, happens frequently on the laptop.

06 March 2008

doctor my eyes

It will be superfluous for Ch√Ęteau VVB to add its voice to the blogomania surrounding the American Enterprise Institute’s feting of the recently deposed gratuitously lying little shit, but since when did being superfluous stop us?

Well, the American Enterprise Institute, what can I say? Like all extreme organisations – and it’s extreme, similar to how the Socialist Alliance is I guess – the Institute is mostly irrelevant to most people’s lives. Its primary purpose is to prop up its members’ and adherents’ delusions that there is on single correct answer to any policy question, and they have proprietary rights over it.

So it’s a perfect audience for the mendacious, lying little shit to spout his strongly held beliefs, they accord very closely with the Institute’s along with a God-given belief that his prescription is the only correct one. And because of that, most sensible centrists dismiss them out of hand and rightly so. The beliefs, like all single simple answers to complex questions, are based on beliefs little removed from, oh, let’s say animism, in terms of theoretical underpinnings. Low tax. Women in the kitchen. Saluting the flag. Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson.

Howard – ooh, I said the name – was deposed through a fairly administered democratic process. The American Enterprise Institute is a strong believer in fairly administered democratic processes, these rank right up there in its list of desirable criteria, in fact just after enforcing property rights and the right to own guns. So, really important. Number 3.

Anyway, the lying little shit is now irrelevant, so he can go and hang about with other irrelevants. In fact, in a fairly administered democratic process, the Australian people told him to fuck right off because they saw through his strongly held animist beliefs. They correctly saw that his belief in economic growth, f’rinstance, rested in part on their labour being screwed by capital. And they didn’t want any part of that, and more power to them. Fairly administered democratic processes, don’t you love them?

So, you lying little shit: just fuck right off.

As for those few camp followers still making out that Howard was the best Prime Minister ever? Dream on, the Australian people whom you claim to have affinity with and we latte-sippers supposedly look down on, actually have the qualities you profess to see – and they called bullshit.

This splenetic invective laden rant brought to you by Chateau VVB, standing up for Howard-hating wherever it might emerge.


Crikey, it’s us and them, isn’t it? Ins and outs. You work so hard to get over it in other contexts, but when it comes to politics and, in particular, the lying little shit, it’s a just a bridge too far. Forget? That’s hard enough, but forgive? Never. Too much damage – in my eyes – done.

a little better connected.
My eyes – that’s the problem, isn’t it? With all of us.

In other news, do you think a TV advertisement in which a bystander mishears the phrase “200 kilowatts” as “200 killer wasps” is likely to get you interested in the car in question? Nope, didn’t think so.

Also, isn’t Family Guy just fabulous?

Right, obviously the concentration dropped off somewhere between when I stopped typing and then made dinner, washed up, talked to the fambly and finally did some ironing. If only the two halves of my brain were
It’d be nice to take things a little more seriously and maybe write something sensible, but really, where would you start? Wherever it is, if you were going there, I wouldn’t start here.

...a little later...

Actually, can that for a minute. I was reading yesterday abbout the Wollongong Council saga and how a couple of administrators have been put in. One is the former head of Premiers department in NSW, the other a woman who has held a range of senior public offices including a stint as administrator of Liverpool Council when it was sacked. Turns out she's the daughter of Sir John Kerr of all people.

Which got me thinking about the influence of home life on success or otherwise. Needn't necessarily be how clever your parents were, but what they did and who they had access to. So who you got to meet and mix with in your formative years. How public was your life or was it just limited to family and friends. Does it make a difference? Is there a propensity to learn and profit from such a life.

05 March 2008

the end

Today’s AFR carried a story about how the Reserve Bank’s single objective – keeping inflation within a low band – combined with its independence from government, and also combined with the current government’s desire to keep the public’s attention on inflation as the greatest economic challenge facing the country, all contribute to an unbalanced economic policy. And this policy has, arguably, a more deleterious effect on Australia and Australians than – perhaps – a more balanced approach which – for example – might sacrifice a per cent or two of inflation for a lower rate of unemployment and reduced pressures on those Australians less able to withstand repeated interest rate rises.

An interesting proposition. You might remember that you read it here, albeit in a rather off-hand, badly expressed fashion, last night.

That’s Chateau VVB for you, in fact our Unique Selling Proposition: get it first, but get it utterly half-arsed. Fortunately as Chateau VVB and its bastard offspring, pied a terre VVB, are free offerings, we don’t need a USP.

What else? Well, the Federal Police descend in numbers on an elderly couple, one of whom has mesothelioma and wishes to die with dignity. But the couple have taken the next step and got the makins’ to bring about this end. Mind you, the wallopers didn’t find it. Half a dozen police and an elderly couple?

The representative of the wildly misnamed Right to Life organisation (try Opposition to Free Will, just for a somewhat more accurate alternative), says that the makins’ are dangerous (er yes, that’s the point) and the couple are “foolish”. If there’s one thing that they are not, it’s foolish. They are, to the contrary, extremely sensible. They won’t have arrived at their decision lightly; we can assure you of that having had a decade of such discussions with the late parent, who spent a substantial amount of energy trying to get us to sign on to end it for him should he lose his ability to make an informed decision. We continually refused and he eventually gave up – and fortunately, passed away quite peacefully – but no-one, that’s no-one, makes such a decision foolishly.

And Mark Vaile’s off in the Middle East trying to flog stuff. Here’s a tip: stay there.

Mind you, I simply can’t imagine Alexander Downer playing golf.

04 March 2008

hocus pocus

Such a single-minded focus on inflation surely must lead to destabilisation of 'teh economy', yes? Oh yeah, focus is good, focus is bloody everything, single-mindedness is the sine qua non, but the more you focus, the greater the unintended (? hmm?) consequences.

I'm so sorry, this post is heresy.

Common sense is another thing entirely.

Even if I understood more about this I'd still stop here because I've just got back from Gladstone, fried a couple of sausages for dinner, had a beer, am about to have another, and don't...

02 March 2008

banana splits

Here's my favourite Tory, curmudgeon, in fact Jeremy is edging closer to demi-god status, waxing about the stupidity of the highly-regulated nanny state. This is one of his best rants for a long time (although note that a commenter reckons he really needs to follow through).

Despite my self-professed wishy-washy left appellation, I'm with Jeremy on this. When the first priority for a service worker (like the road workers he discusses) is their own safety, not the job at hand, the whole point of the job is lost. And I reckon there's plenty of similar examples around.
So while I'm a world away from the reflexive anti-statists at Catallaxy for example, the lure of more 'common sense' in how our lives are regulated is very persuasive. What makes perfect sense as a principle - eg securing safe use of roads after an accident - quickly turns into something else again by the time the concept is translated into written regulation, interpreted by the relevant agency and then serially misinterpreted several times by the time it gets to the worker in the field. But that's not an excuse to reduce all human interaction to contract and tort.

In other news that has annoyed me, a few days ago on TV they were interviewing some smallish kids about something and one boy, in the midst of an otherwise unremarkable series of words delivered in an Australian accent, clearly pronounced 'banana' the American way.

So I had an immediate burst of reflexive anti-Americanism but, I ask you , why the f**k should our kids adopt American accents? The same as with "from the get-go". Now, every time I heard someone on radio or TV say "from the word go" - the phrase my old man used to say - I cheer. I have no idea what a "get-go" is and I wouldn't mind betting that 90% of those who've picked it up from wherever they picked it up don't know either. But it sounds new and exotic to their ears, no doubt.

I call bullshit. Enough.

01 March 2008

take me out

On the radio at lunchtime, "the NSW will be out in force for tonight's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras..."

To which I thought, "hmm, should have read 'will be out and proud at...".

Anyway I'm glad the NSW Police Force - or Service, whichever it is (which of course depends on what you believe...) - is out. Kind of like all the emerging links between councils and developers are coming out, and between NSW State Labor and developers, not that anybody would ever have guessed that one.

And Wayne Swan admits to smoking dope.

Ahh, yup. Now let's hear from the others. Nota bene: this is not a revelation.

More importantly, more companies are withdrawing from the Sydney (International) Motor Show. That is to say, the cars you actually want to look at. Although that said, my two old mates and I have had more fun on the Mazda stand (poking our heads out of the 3/4 window on the then new RX8 and making elk noises, having just looked at the then also new A series Mercs) and the Ssangyong stand (because of everything they make!) than looking at high end Beemers. Although I did get awfully sick watching the rotating Jaguar turntable a few years ago while in the grip of an industrial-grade hangover.

So, my two similarly superannuated friends, what will we do this year?

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