29 December 2009

rain

In the olden days if you wanted to know what the weather was going to do, you'd listen to the radio and after about 5 months they would report whatever Lennox Walker said it was going to do.

Now you sit glued to the pooter monitor watching the Bureau of Meteorology website. Some times this is exciting, like when you are watching a big storm come over. Once we were watching a big storm come over and then there was a big bang quite close outside, and then the screen went black along with, it must be said, the rest of the insides of the computer, the cordless phone and a number of other eeee-lectrical appliances.

That was in the days when our part of Brisbane used to get storms. After a while we noticed we weren't getting as many and it became quite safe to watch the BOM website, secure in the knowledge that, inevitably, any big yellowy-red-rendered storm would bifurcate perfectly about a kilometre away and miss us entirely.

This is also true of our little corner of sunny Capricornia. It rains in Mackay, it rains over Shoalwater Bay, it rains over Gladstone, it pisses down over the Sunshine Coast but any random blobs of blue coming our way do the bifurcation boogie just the other side of Keppel and we get none.

What a bummer.

When I was at school we had to study Shakespeare and stuff. I don't recall us ever studying any contemporary literature, but that said I don't recall lots of things from school. Now of course the kiddy-winks get their heads stuffed with whatever flavour-of-the-month politically correct garbage the relevant State Teacher's Union deems fit to include.

Anyway it doesn't matter because you can go on the internet and find things like
this. Sheer brilliance, not to mention hilarious, it gives you the shits that other peoples can write so good.

Found via Phillip CHallinor, who will bear watching as the UK elections draw near. He has a low tolerance of chicanery, he also seems to have more than one man's fair share of chicanery of which to be intolerant.

24 December 2009

(not) leaving on a jet plane

There 's been a lot of snow and ice and generally cold stuff in the Northern hemisphere recently. Not entirely surprising as it is the winter season. But the stupendousness of the degree of cold and amounts of snow and icy stuff has played merry hell with transport systems including trains, planes and automobiles.

On the news the other night they were telling us all about this - it is news after all - and there were interviews with seriously inconvenienced travellers on both sides of the Atlantic, people who were travelling to be with family and friends at Christmas and weren't going to make it in time or at all, at all.

The interviews were enlightening for those who, like yer estimable correspondent here, just lurrve to jump to stereotypical conclusions.

The Yanks interviewed were philosophical and some could even laugh a bit about it. On the other hand (or side of the Atlantic I suppose, for consistency), the Poms without exception whinged, and whined, and moaned, and bleated, and "the gummint should do summat about it" and "where's me compensation?" and on and on and on and on.

Do we still let them in here or is it only bomb-toting reffos who get a guernsey?

20 December 2009

reeling in the years

So I'm thinking that we need to do a post, get back in the swing, you know.


The lack of posts has been the consequence of a couple of factors, including lots of work travel and also - probably of more import - a lack of inspiration.


I wonder whether anyone's done a carbon/pixel/heart attack count of the blogging over the non-event that was - eventually - COP15 at Copenhagen. You can just imagine them, can't you, banging away at their keyboards late at night, early in the morning, during the day when they were meant to be working, about how it was such a limp-dicked excuse for meaningful effort to combat climate change, or alternatively it is all just a resumption of teh left's desire for a collective State to reign over us in place of the poor excuse for representative democracy we have now, depending of course on where you happen to be.


VVB used to be driven by a loathing of John Howard so visceral, so elemental that if I'd been able to write better, do more research, actually concoct a rational argument, this might have been a successful blog. But...


Not sure where that last bit came from, it never appeared likely in the slightest.


Anyway with the workload not declining and spending a lot of time on the road away from even reading blogs and similar sources of bile and opinion, yet again the urge to blog has ebbed.


You get things that might induce a short post. Such as what is it about soccer that provokes levels of violence not associated with other codes of football. Even when it appears - and here I don't know as I don't follow the game - that the teams involved are not immediately associated with ethnic groups who used to provide the


(3 days later)


the what? damn good question. That and a

(2 days later again)

It's Christmas Eve and all around us are doing what people do on Christmas Eve which is, of course, blog.

I thought of something really good to blog about while Mrs VVB and I were wending (what is that wending stuff - I've never done it knowingly but it just jumped off the keyboard) our way home, but by the time I'd got home and had a little lie down it had utterly disparu.

Anyway Merry Christmas to all deluded souls who pass by here and I promise that 2010 will be another year.

Although in what way, I cannot foretell.

13 December 2009

30 odd foot of grunts

Here comes another one...

Here it comes again...

Here comes another one....

When will it ever end?

11 December 2009

holiday

Look, you've probably noticed already but there's nothing going on here and, on current indications, this will remain the dominant paradigm until I retire in 6 or 7 years' time.

Or have a holiday.

In the meantime America will default on its debts, the Chinese will buy us, Christmas Island will sink under the weight of too many (evidently overfed) Sri Lankans and the West Indies may just, just purloin the Sir Frank Worrall Trophy.

There's nothing much in all of this except that I honestly don't think I've ever used the word "purloin" before.

It did make me feel all warm.

Oh no, that's the temperature doing that.

01 December 2009

history never repeats

But one thing that you can bet will be repeated until your eardrums turn to something probably resembling licorice:

"Labor's gigantic big new tax."

You didn't hear that here first, either.

In the past I've kind of banged on about why government by targets supported by bureaucratic sausage machines doesn't work. I've noted that Blair introduced it with a vengeance in the UK, it
didn't work, and of course that nice Mr Rudd is doing the same thing here, where the result will - unsurprisingly - be similar.

Today someone asked me did I "do the math" or "do the maths." I said that when I went to school, I studied mathematics, not mathematic.

Well, actually "studied" is not the completely accurate term. John McGee, you did well as a maths teacher. You taught both of them.

Vis-a-vis the introduction of more Americanisms into our lingua franca, something else has got up my throat recently but it's been dislodged. I think because I came to the conclusion that I, too, had allowed the cultural hegemon to slide a few of its popularly accepted neologisms into my cranial cavity.

Cavity being the operative word.

I'm now quite tired and am going to (a) pack for yet another trip and then (b) have a good lie down.

Good night, Mr Abbott. You just stay away from that naughty 'Cardinal' Pell.

30 November 2009

i am a rock

"I am an iiiiiiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiii-aaaaaa-land."

I'm sorry, I have to cave in, I cannot be a rock, or an island, while all this....stuff....is going on.

I've read more rubbish over the past few days than I ever thought I could stomach.

Mind you, once I'd started wading through
this lot of comments, I wish I could have turned back time.

So, setting aside - conveniently - that the CPRS, as designed, is indeed a dog's breakfast, we have, variously:

"It's a big new TAX."

Well, no, actually it creates a market. In this case a tax would, in fact, probably be a preferable instrument at least in the short term. But market-based instruments is how we've been doing structural economic reform for some time now.

"It's a big new MARKET that doesn't need to exist."

Like I just said, this is the mechanism that governments of all stripes now prefer. Mind you, it will get rorted by the financial services industry sooner or later. That's why we have markets and a financial services industry.

"These millions of dollars will go to the UN."

Umm, well actually, no.

"It's a gigantic communist plot."

I think the only genuine Commos left are in Cuba, so probably not, actually.

"It'll force us to accept more government interference in our lives."

Well, no. Or alternatively, indirectly, yes because that's what structural reform does until the economy reaches a new equilibrium.


And as for something I read somewhere t'other day from a Liberal Party parliamentarian that a majority of Party the branches recently voted against the ETS so the Bill needs to be dropped...since when did Liberal Party branches vote in general elections?

Y'know...just askin'?

Too much fun.

24 November 2009

gold

No, platinum.

I have raised over $1000 for Movember. I get a free pressie and a mention in dispatches (although re: the aforementioned issue of dispatches. the MoFolks do not reveal from whence to whom).

Anyway I am quite chuffed and I have learnt a valuable lesson, namely: when fundraising, if you wish to be successful, it helps to have mega chutzpah and no shame.

I will carry this lesson into real life.

Oh, I'm already there.

Well, can that idea then.

22 November 2009

goodbye blackberry way

Well here are back from 'holidays.' Let me coin a new old truism: "When you have a BlackBerry (R)(tm)(etc), you're never alone."

Also, it's when you go away that everything happens.

By about day 8 I felt like I'd started to relax, but by then we were safely ensconced back at VVBSea.

Also, why you'd pay to go and overlook the sea when you do so for free at (well, except for rates) at home is probably a very, very good question. It was a darker, deeper sea with bigger waves so I suppose that's why.

Here at VVB, to the best of my recollection, we let the US election, including the whole Sarah Palin phenomenon, pass by without comment as any comment from here would have made superfluous look like a tautology.

Anyway I hadn't been for a look at The Economist website for a while, so off I went and, seeing a Palin article, I wondered what the comment threads at The Economic were like. A lot of it was very similar to what we read everywhere else except, in the main, better expressed.

Including this ripper:

That she makes helium look dense is largely irrelevant to modern American politics.

I'd also really, really like to say goodbye to the Blackberry (R)(tm)(etc). But that just isn't going to happen.

12 November 2009

electric dreams

We're going on a short holiday, amongst the Mexicans.

Just me, Mrs VVB, the Blackberry and the laptop.

You may officially feel sorry for Mrs VVB.

Hooroo, or ta-ra, or something.

08 November 2009

blue turns to grey

The blog?

The work.

The lack of interest in anything else but.

Except...

I'm growing a mo for Movember. I'd link to my mo page but bang goes the semi-anonymity if I do.

While I was working out west last weekend, I missed our 40 year high school reunion, but the news travelled back.

"The number of deaths, suicides in particular, since the last reunion left me quite affected. It’s a sad reflection that a strapping younger teenager can end up like that… You can only wonder what had gone so wrong…"

Over the last couple of years, three former classmates - all blokes - have committed suicide.

Part of the fundraising for Movember goes to beyondblue. If you know someone who's growing a mo for Movember, donate to them.

Seems like us blokes need it.

28 October 2009

people get ready

Things about America that you're unlikely to read in a Murdoch owned newspaper.

And a
bit more, but this one includes a sliver of hope about what happens when people take charge.

Must be a very strange country.

Via
bookyforum as always.

25 October 2009

eat the meek

Just remind me, who's going to inherit the earth? The meek, right?

Looks like a few forgot the training manual.

24 October 2009

art of noise

It's not absolutely necessary, but every once in a while it's fun to get a reminder that organised religion really is a blight on humankind.

I was like.....like....what's the answer, Jesus dude?....
Britain is a nation of heretics and nothing can change the fact until your nation reverts back to Roman Catholicism.
(That comments thread is by turns quite, quite hilarious and deeply disturbing).

I looked for some other interesting stuff to link but there's nothing interesting anywhere. Everywhere I look, it's not interesting.

We bought Mrs VVB an iPhOnE today in what must have been one of the most deeply unsatisfying exercises in consumerism (ie buying something you want) in which I have ever been involved. Even being ripped off by second-hand car salesmen when I was younger was better than this.

For reasons that needn't be gone into here, we were happy to stay with the existing carrier (service? plan provider? some other blinkingly inane metaphor for supplier?). Also Mrs VVB had decided she wanted an IpHoNE and nothing else would do. So, a straight-up walk-in sale, "I'll have one of those over there please and don't spare the horses."

Given this you would think that the young salesperson, of the type the old man usually typified as a "popsy," could have negotiated her arduous assignment without pissing us off, but we were pissed off within the first 30 seconds with a series of demands for personal information that any passing Stasi recruiter would have applauded and stuck straight into the training manual. By about minute 3 I was asking her would she mind appending her snapped directions to us with the occasional "please." It didn't seem too much to ask, but she snapped that she had said please already. Must have been in Braille because I certainly missed it.

Well it took us about 15 minutes so it could have been worse. We eventually decided that popsy must have been either suffering from commission payment deficit or was so wired on something that it was a wonder her eyes didn't shoot across the shop and into the crowd.

Ah yes, the crowd. We left the shop clutching our IpHOOOne and what was left of our dignity and patience and slammed into....the NOISE! The PEOPLE, the NOISE, it was just horrific. No wonder salespersons are so stressed with (a) nowhere to sit and (b) all that NOISE just outside.

And people go to shopping malls voluntarily? As a form of recreation?

It's a wonder there aren't more murders.

23 October 2009

i alone

What's happened to the Oz Politics site? Haven't been able to get there for ages.

Oh, and some people debate songs with great solos.

18 October 2009

we are the champions (2)

Here's an article that also concludes something that I've observed: accolades go to people who don't seem to deserve them. I liked the reference to the Presidential Medal of Freedom: didn't a former PM of ours get that one? Love the company he's in. I also liked the rocket scientist comment.

Anyway, I always get bemused by architectural awards, which seem to go to buildings that are plain ugly to the general passer-by, and often hopeless for those labouring inside.

Also business awards, which seem to go to entrepreneurs or companies that go down in flames a few years after.

Apart from that, not much.

14 October 2009

every day is exactly the same

Excerpt from discussion on ABC news forums today:

"you're forgetting that we were all born with exactly the same opportunities as each other."

Discuss, particularly if you believe you can support the proposition.

13 October 2009

kind of a drag (2)

For no reason that I can remember, I've never thought Liza Minelli was much chop. Daughter of, that's not a CV that works for me. As I'd never seen her live or on film, this judgement can only be described as judgemental, certainly not informed by any rational or supportable process, if you catch my drift.

Anyway it seems she's here and I saw her interviewed on TV.

To my mind, it was awful. She's 'on', she's acting, every waking moment, it would seem.

Must get tiresome.

Anyway, I feel kind of vindicated for being so judgemental.

Kind of.

Any other views?

10 October 2009

Roaring Jack

I'm advertising widely.

I have only one song of Alister Hulett's, Destitution Road with his band Roaring Jack, and I am now reminded to go and put it on, very loud.


What a shame I can't be in Sydney that weekend.

07 October 2009

i'd like to teach the world to sing

I'm feeling violently antisocial, so I inflict this on all my reader. Make of it what you will. I'd like to teach the world to be confused.

I've been progressively going off rugby league ever since the end of the halcyon days of Raiders superiority when even Mrs VVB used to get a tad enthusiastic about our then local team and the incessant reports about the state of Ricky Stuart's groin, but if
this ever comes off the game will be rooted for all eternity and I'll be around at the end to say "I told you so in 1996 and you didn't bloody well listen then, now look what you've done."

Unfortunately, I suspect it's an unlikely prospect, surely he saw the damage Rupert et al inflicted in the Superleague wars and will have realised that not everything dear about communities and their tribes can be reduced to a simplistic, reductionist, knuckle-dragging profit-driven view of the world.

Oh, ummm, yeah...

02 October 2009

nothing

Friday = nothing.

This probably = something. Tozer was supported through publicly funded programs to take his work, and Australia, to the world.

This = nothing we didn't expect, but is wrong beyond 99% of Australians' understanding.

This = I don't know what, but it probably relates to a clause in the US Free Trade Agreement under which any US multinational can monster anyone else if its dodgy IP is infringed, which is certainly not free trade.

Back to nothing.

28 September 2009

wolfman jack

Worth it for the reviews of the three wolf t-shirt alone (actually, I only read about .75% of them, I do have to get to sleep some time). Courtesy of Bookforum.

The picture is neither Amazon nor wolf related, and doesn't have anything to do with t-shirts either, but is intended to represent how "rightards" must feel because of recent "leftist" schadenfreude over lots of things such as winning elections, collapse of capitalism, failure of the globalisation experiment, and so on.

There's so much snarking, evil intent and postmodern bullshit about (read all the usual blogs, they're thick with it), it seeps out from under the monitor, which is where we usually only get mouse poo.

That's another thing: poo is spelt poo, not Pooh. Only the
G-G gets it right because he's had a classical education. All the others have been indelibly infected by a combination of (almost certainly) American cartoons and on-line commentary, from the sort of people who write "it's a doggy-dog world."

27 September 2009

26 September 2009

remote control


If I was a betting man my money would have been on the Cats, my heart was definitely with the Saints. I have kind of associations with both sides, if you draw a really long bow. But long bows are de rigeur when identifying associations that compel - or authorise, perhaps more accurately - one to support a particular sporing team. Bummer for the Saints, but.

Now for something completely different: the application of neo-classical economic theory to how you get to be king (too lazy to insert mandatory link for Python fans, just run the script in your head, I can hear you now, matter of fact):

Why is there only one Royal Family? In this age when the market solves all our problems, what we obviously need is choice and opportunity. The market for Royal Families should be open to anyone who wants to enter, and the public should choose who it wants to be Head of State at regular intervals, having considered what the various candidates offer. This would not quite be the current hereditary system, so we might call it something else; "republic" sounds about right.
And....whatever the other thing was that I was going to write about...and do you know, just by starting the sentence it came to me.

This.

Pretty weird, eh?

Anyway I hope that they find some countervailing evidence or a methodological mistake or something, because I lose a lot of sleep. Thanks, work.
No, actually I lose a lot of sleep thinking about how I wish we lived in an age when you only had buttons for 'on' and 'off'.
Actually no, it's the work.

25 September 2009

sorry (*)

I wrote a post yesterday that had "roflmao" in it.

I am so, so, so, sorry.

Going forward, I'll be ruling that kind of language right out.

However, if I go in any other direction than forward, all bets are off.

This is a type 2 blog.

*Here it is.

23 September 2009

after the fall

There are a couple of forms of blogging. In one case, the blog owner or author has demonstrable knowledge and competence in a given subject and will hold forth. There may be footnotes, references, there will be informed and (often) civilised discussion by commenters who, in many cases, will demonstrate equal facility and knowledge.

In another case, someone without a clue will trawl the interwebzzz and go omg, lookatthis, with some added feeble and invariably superfluous comment. For example:

Pot! Kettle! ROFLMAO!

This is just wrong wrong wrong and it makes my blood boil. But then, it's in a newspaper so can you actually believe it? Probably not. Even though it is The Times. And can I go on letting things that don't really concern me - unless I am genuinely alarmed at the decline in standards and schoolyard bullies and cyberbullying and sexual assaults by minors and why didn't we wake up in the 1960s at the damage we were doing to society and how did a generation of people grow up without any parenting skills whatsoever, well my kids don't have kids but they did they would be good kids because we brought our kids up with some sense of right and wrong, geez maybe I actually agree with what that former leader of the National Party, which one was he, there's been so many, ha ha, who said that the 1960s did all the damage, where was I, oh yes and another thing, these vigilantes that have got the NSW to change the law in respect of one person, well I don't know about that, even if he is very likely to reoffend, we can't let our children out of our sight, and where will it end, taking down public playgrounds because of the insurance liability, you can't have a cake stall any more, that Obama hey? space aliens, I mean Republicans and their tea parties, did you see that video clip, scary, I'm going to be armed next time, isn't that a direct threat of violence? and blah blah blah

Look at my last post, you get the point. Not sustainable.

21 September 2009

kind of a drag

I'm kind of gone. Just a coincidence of factors and as my longer-suffering reader/s will recall, every time I say this something happens and I'm back.

Lettuce sea.

12 September 2009

television

Your evening reading, courtesy of the Times.

The stipulation for a contestant on The X Factor is an uncontrollable vibrato and a great deal of cancer in the family.

That one's about television shows.

This one's about televison too.

It’s dizzyingly exciting, like finding Jesus’s diary, and discovering that he had Crunchy Nut Cornflakes the day he got crucified.
But it's mainly about the Beatles.

PS: If you don't read this tonight, then strictly speaking it won't be your evening reading. Unless you read it on some future night.

Good luck, it's a battle zone out there.

06 September 2009

doctor doctor

Now he knows how I felt for 11 years.

Anyway, enough of that or I'll start with the hyperventilating again.

Have you ever noticed the preponderance of references to doctors in popular music? And telephones? I'm thinking of writing a PhD dissertation, I think I'm onto something.

Oh, and now it's stuck to my shoe.

05 September 2009

modern times

So Mrs VVB and I are in the supermarket doing the weekly supermarketingthing, and the bloke on the PA says, "Would the customer with the red GT please return to your car, the windows are being smashed."

Of course that customer could have been in the butcher, the travel agent or the $2 shop.

I'm ashamed to admit that Mrss VVB and I both thought of driving around the car park on our way out to view the damage. But no obvious police presence to guide us....

What sort of lunch box did you have as a child?
Did you ever regret it?

And what was in it?

Perhaps this:

These treats were apparently made for people who love eating cheeseburgers and fries but who don't want to go through the hassle of mashing them together into a fine paste.
The above two via Look at this.

Last night I thought I had a brilliant opening to a post on the Ikea font-change war, a google for which brings up about thirty nine trillion hits.

But I use Trebuchet for this here blog.

Bugger.

01 September 2009

around and around

They say what goes around comes around, or the other way.

I'm still waiting.

In the meantime, they're
reinventing instant black and white photography. You can hold it, or drop it on your foot, so it's a product not a service.

Sort of.

I'm still waiting.


While I was waiting, I heard a McDonalds advertisement on TV for their "gen-you-whine" Angus steakburger. So much for years of trying to pretend they're adapting to the Australian environment and that actually they're rooly trooly Australian.

I never believed it for a second, along with all their "good works', and they can fuck right off, imho.

Still waiting.

Mood: distracted.

30 August 2009

freebird

In recent years, he argues, “the whole efficient market theory, Washington consensus, free market deregulation system” was so dominant that it was somewhat like a “religion”. This gave rise to “regulatory capture through the intellectual zeitgeist”, enabling the banking lobby to swell in size and power.
Or confusing ends with means? I used to work adjacent to a bunch of pointy-heads in an area of economic policy where this was exactly the issue: policy purity for its own sake, not for what it could deliver. And with the benefit of hindsight, what it failed to deliver. Naysayers didn't exist as they would never have been allowed through the door, critical or inquiring comments branded you an economic illiterate and therefore beneath contempt.

So I get just a very little feeling of schadenfreude when I read articles like the one above. In fact, I may get even a little bit sort of orgasmic. Yes!

And even moreso with
this one.

Hat tip
Peter Martin, noting that I would have used a social networking tool as required by the FT, but I don't got none.

29 August 2009

the village green preservation society (*)

There is an inescapable conclusion that we must reach if we are to have a
better society.

The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is
profit.


This of course is only a very selective snippet from a somewhat more wide-ranging musing on the nature of contemporary media and why the British Broadcasting Corporation is the embodiment of evil.

Plots, losing thereof, but it gives you an insight into how differently some people see life on earth.

(*here*)

one hit to the body

Mainly for fellow blogger Martial Stax, a kind of eyebrow raised look at me I'm being ironic article on one of my favourite subjects, the one hit wonder, via Bookforum. There's other music articles there, too.

And just when you think it's a lightweight look at me I'm being hilarious throwaway, you run across a statement that rings true for you.

Phil Collins should have clearly stopped with “Sussudio.” (Or maybe “Invisible
Touch,” if we’re being charitable.)
Maybe. Against All Odds - wasn't that one of his?

Arrggh fuggit.

money (that's what I want)

Well as any of you who have shown the fortitude to hang around here for any length of time will know, one of my longstanding, seemingly irrational obsessions has been the growth of the financial services sector. We needn't go into the braoder "service sector jobs aren't real jobs" debate (if you believe that, then let me inquire whether you cut your own hair or take your own appendix out?) but the financial services sector has grown immensely in recent years.

The fear I usually expressed was that the system of international finance had grown so large and complex that no-one knew where the money went (so to speak), let alone how the whole thing functioned. Many people knew a lot about their particular piece of the sausage machine, but neither knew nor cared about the rest provided the profits kept rolling in.

The justification was that ever more complex instruments, derivatives and the like, were needed to keep the cash flowing for major infrastructure and industry projects that were becoming too expensive for "traditional" finance sources. Such as governments borrowing the money and then tendering out the work.


This then led to the need for highly numerate but morally bankrupt individuals to keep the whole machine turning. Well, they actually didn't need to be morally bnakrupt but the culture that seemed to pervade the whole system was that it was all about money, and mainly for the participants, not the recipients (ie the client), if you follow me. Thusly, night followed day, if you cacth my drift.

Anyway I am gratified beyond reasonableness to see that in the UK, the dialogue has gone all sensible. Of course The City of London had continued its dominance of much of the world's financial system but in doing so had grown beyond any sense of proportion. That's why bankers' bonus jokes constitute about 95% of the story lines in the cartoon
Alex.

Anyway, cop this lot:

Smith’s invisible hand has fumbled the ball.

Some City activity has been not just useless but positively harmful — for customers, shareholders and taxpayers. To pretend otherwise and act all hurt is plain daft.

“Perversely,” he said, “the largest individual returns seem to flow to those whose job is to ensure that microscopically small deviations from observable regularities in asset price relationships persist for only one millisecond instead of three. These talented and energetic young citizens could surely be doing something more useful.”
Here it is
in its entirety. So enjoy

Oh, and a commenter used the nom-de-plume Henry Thornton, but the sentiments expressed don't totally match the rhetoric that usually emanates from our
home grown Henry. (Disclosure: I don't read there any more, but I'm sure they wouldn't be so dismissive of Adam Smith. But they are probably similar unimpressed with levels of corporate regulatory oversight. But then who isn't, as Mandy Rice Davies could possibly have eventually been led to say?

Finally, you do get a better level of journalism on these subjects in the UK than here, even when the stakes were so much higher and their loss of pride so much more profound, what?

25 August 2009

i get around

If I hear one more person say they are looking at issues "around" something, I'm going to strangle them.

Because it's the wankword du jour, I expect this to happen by about 8.30 tomorrow morning. We're more around than we are going forward, so I guess we're going nowhere.

So if I were you, I'd be reading the court reports on Thursday.

23 August 2009

apple scruffs

Oh look, there's going to be a new Apple product! And people are getting all thing.

I get all thing, too. I got a e-mail from a friend today. I know e-mails are old fashioned, we do have Skype but don't you have to message someone to see if they're there before you talk? In any case, we never seem to use it, and I'm not inclined to sit in the room where the computer ius all day waiting for a Skype call. And I don't have any instant messaging software. So in this e-mail my friend mentioned a band whose new album is on iTtunes so I think, don't you need a Mac product to use iTunes? I'm not sure what an iPod does anyway, isn't it just some sort of MP3 player? Anyway, we have no Mac products.

More to the point, I just luuuurved some of the comments, as always:


And in the meantime, the rest of the world's tech users who haven't been suckered in by the RDF will just keep on their own merry way and give any new Apple product launch nothing more than a passing nod.
Um, what's an RDF? That's a TLA I've not run across previously. (NB: I googled it, it could be a
Resource Description Framework or perhaps a Refuse Disposal Facility. I am none the wiser).

The touchscreen keyboard sucks balls though, really, the idea that a touch screen "will very tactile" (I assume 'be' is missing there) is crap. It's keys that are tactile and anybody who's tried a Blackberry over an iPhone knows that it's the sensation of the keys that enables you to type fast.
Type fast on a Blackberry? Only if you're an alien. I find it takes me about 5 minutes to do a simple 2 or 3 line e-mail.


@trevster:
it'll probably be like all other apple stuff. very 'user friendly' ie easy to use for fucking idiots but infuriating and annoying for anyone who knows how to operate electronics. If you have difficulty using any Apple product, I wouldn't call you someone who knows how to operate electronics. I'd rate you somewhat below the fucking idiots you mention.
Good luck. And cheer up.

Like I said, people getting all thing.

A touch sensitive tablet would allow one to use both hands to move pictures and
movies around, scroll and generally use our fingers in the way God intended.

Move pictures and movies around? In words which now form part of our national consciousness, "please explain?" If I had a movie, where would I want to move it to? The drive-in, perhaps? I'm sorry, no idea.

liberty

The astute, the alert, or the terminally distracted amongst you will have noticed a dearth of postee this last week or so.

This has been brought about by a confluence of factors including an excess of workee, but it's mainly attributable to a surfeit of ennui - I nearly wrote ennuee then just to make a funny, but realised at the last moment it wasn't - and the old decrepiblogitude thing.

However while doing a little browsing just then amongst some of my regular reads, I ran across a description of this very condition so accurate, so powerful, that I thought I should share it with you.

If I believed what I read just on British blogs, I'd genuinely believe that the country was simultaneously powerless before a ravening horde of scimitar-wielding foreign invaders and seconds away from marching all minorities into death camps. I'd believe that democracy itself - an electorate voting in favour of public services and the necessary taxation to cover them - is a psychotic tyranny akin to Nazi Germany. I'd never set foot over my door for fear that I'd be instantly raped in the face by a gang of feral crackheads.

Some readers might point to intelligent, well-written blogs run by reasonable individuals, but frankly, pish and tush. British blogs run at roughly 5% sober budget analysis to 95% face-raping crackheads.

Never mind blogs as a primary news source, I'm struggling to think of a handful of bloggers who would merit even the fabled fifteen minutes of fame. That's particularly ironic, since the vast majority of them certainly deserve chemical castration, and that's being charitable.


Then go and read a few of his pieces.
You will like the imagery, you may well agree with his opinions.

I'm big on opinions right now because, while returning from Brizvegas last week, I bought my self some classic airport reading for the 50 minute flight: On Liberty. Having wanted to read it for some time, so as to get to one of the foundation documents that inform so much of the pseudo-academic wankery that passes for internet conversation/argument/culture war. And then say, "I've read it."

It is, of course, pretty much unreadable. Consisting mainly of words that one would use in day to day speech, and the base subject matter - the extent to which the state should restrict individual liberty - being a fairly simple concept, you'd expect to whizz through it. Not so. Recalling Monty Pythons' take on how to act in King Lear - namely that you not only have to have the right number of words but also speak them in the right order - J. S. Mill manages to confuse the order of nearly every one of his many, many words.

I'm about to pretty much give up because, like the children in George Bush's America, I are not learning.

19 August 2009

security (*)

Nor would they say: “We intend to privatise formerly public spaces and hand over state functions of public order to armies of unaccountable security guards.” Instead, changes are introduced stealthily, rarely debated by Parliament and are nodded through with the acquiescence of the Opposition, in the name of that useful catch-all “security”.
This is one of my particular, regular beefs about 'modern life'. Have just spent a little time in Brisbane, sans transport and with no particular place to go.

It's amazing how few spaces there are to rest the weary bones. And as for the rise of the private security 'contractor'...

(*) Just by the way, for those reader/s interested in such things, yet another of my all time fave one hit wonders: Security by Thane Russall and Three. Took me years to find it on a compilation CD.

18 August 2009

book of love

This galactic disturbance allowed neoliberalism to firmly take hold, such that now
the only relevant distinctions between people are levels of disposable income and whether they wear Bluetooth earpieces.
If you find that tantalising, then read the whole thing. It's a review, via
Bookforum, of ten overrated (by the reviewer) books.

My review of the review is to say that I think the sentence I've pulled out above is the best.

Have I ever mentioned that I like jazz?

16 August 2009

we don't talk any more

I had only one question about this article (10 people most responsible for the GFC):

What is "pwoputty?"


Then I realised, it's what Elmer Fudd has.

Anyway the comments are less than illuminating: isn't it amazing how the same old factoids keep popping up in supposedly rational discourse?

Actually oh silly me, it's the internet, no-one ever accused it of harbouring rational discourse.

As youse were.

15 August 2009

led zeppelin


At the airport. Man and woman sitting together, discussing the impending flight.

Woman: No the departure time is when the plane goes and the boarding time is when the plane comes so we can get on it.

Man: It gets confusing sometimes.

At no time during this exchange did I notice anyone doing the man's breathing for him. It's wonderful how some things we can do by ourselves without having to think about it. Because if we had to think about it, we might forget how to do it.

Then they had the same discussion 20 minutes later.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, we were racking up a $50 bill for parking a car for four hours: it's only $30 for 3 hours and 59 minutes. Monopolies, you gotta admire them.

12 August 2009

stun punch knock three times

Wednesday blog.

There it was.

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

No, really, via the iridescently whacko!
sPeak you'Re Branes, we come across the Kadir-Buxton method for treating mental illness.

At this point I would like to explain the difference between a stun and a punch. With the Kadir-Buxton Method, a patient standing on one leg whilst holding a rose would still be standing on one leg and holding a rose when they were cured. With a punch, the patient would be lying prone on the floor, and could well have dropped the rose. And just to add insult to injury, they would still be mentally ill. Try it for yourselves if you do not believe me.

I could go on quoting, but many commenters on SYB have done it for me and then, you may wish to acquaint yourself personally with Mr Kadir-Buxton's many remedies for everything that ails Gaia and those who sail on (in?) her.

Oh do enjoy.

11 August 2009

my little town

So I'm reading Thomas Friedman cutting up rough about the UK supermarket chain Tesco applying to open a supermarket in his little village that will close down all the corner shops, suck the atmosphere and life from the village and generally ruin everything.

Now my memory she isn't so good so I'm desperately trying to remember which side Friedman came down on in the book which I believe was his breakthrough to "mass" readership, the
Lexus and the Olive Tree.

And I could have sworn that in that book, published in 2000 when globalisation was still being described as not only bloody marvellous but mainly as inevitable, Friedman preferred Toyotas built to specs, (much like Crownies and VB), (NB*) to knotty old bushes. Even if he belaboured the point about the invidious choice. It's different when you just visit Jerusalem, I guess, rather than live there.

Seems like a case of some nimbyism, if not numptyism.

"Numpty."

That's a great word.


I think most of the commenters on Friedman's article would apply that description to him.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that I would post a blog every night, does it?

Now you can see why I stopped.


NB* - the boss says not so, so it must be :-)

09 August 2009

touch me

If I was going to write something on a Sunday night - well, this Sunday night certainly - it would probably be about how I loathe the early episodes of each series of Australian Idol, which are are about the ritual humiliation of the talentless and cloth-eared. Not to mention those who have grown up in an age when it seems that the only meaningful expression of self is to be a 'celebrity', and who get all hurt and uppity when told they are talentless, cloth-eared, and so on.

I know - with a sinking feeling not unlike when you know you're caught a bug and are about to get very ill - that at some stage I'll get sucked in by the way a couple of the contestants will rise to the challenge and will, measurably and in front of our very eyes (and ears), get much, much better.

Well I wasn't going to write that, but it's a little late now, innit?

What I should be doing is amalgamating all the assorted little scribbled notes from the last week into a new to-do list for this week, a task that will simultaneously allow me to prioritise all that has to be prioritised.

Ah fuckit, I can do that tomorrow morning.

Or later, such as immediately before one of the more prioritised activities actually has to be performed.

Instead, I will
link you to a memorably nostalgic piece by AA Gill in which he proves that he can do other things apart from skewering incompetent restaurateurs.

I think you will enjoy.

But if you didn't...oh OK then, here you go:

3. "Can I touch it?" See above. It will always
be springier than you thought and slightly clammy.

Update:

''We've conflated the idea of importance and value with being famous,'' he says.

Shame I only ran across this after posting.

08 August 2009

parallel lines

You'd reckon if you were a well resourced company using a well established ad agency, that the visual (whatever the technical term is) bods would be able to get things right?

Case in point: an ad in today's paper for some way upmarket condominia in the Gold Coast. Picture of said building - looked mostly real - with a Porsche at the portico, well dressed lady and uniformed doorman.

Except if you followed the perspective, the car was sitting about 2 feet clear of the ground.

Similar mistake is made in an ad for some insurance company: again, a lady walking away from a car but the car is floating.

I guess it's all about saving dollars, but surely the sorts of people who flog Gold Coast condominia mix in the social circles where someone has a Porsche that can be borrowed for an hour or two so that some pictures can be taken.

Alternatively, if you are going to hire uni students to do the Photoshopping (or, more likely, ask them to pay you for the privilege - work experience don't you know) at least extend the proofreading to having a good squizz at the photos to ensure they're within the realm of the physically possible.

Ya dig?

In other universes
the Scots - who, as we all know, are raving socialists - get a tad upset about capitalism the way she is now practised.

And finally, they should replace all the Kyle Sandilandses of this world with Ross Gittins. They say the truth will out, it'd be nice if it happened sooner and in a more widespread fashion than is occurring because of the infatuation with Malcolm.

Oh, no infatuation? Don't give him the airtime, then.


07 August 2009

paranoid

I decided to stave off the tiredness by staying awake. This approach is what used to be known in boy's comic books as a wizard wheeze. Or something.

Anyway, they're onto L Ron Hubbard, not least because he didn't use his full first given name of Lafayette. However, what most grabbed my attention was the
dazzlingly accurate use of the adjective "astronomically" to describe "paranoid".

Tinfoil hats indeed.

And apart from three reasons to lambaste Mel Gibson, here's a good reason to learn some Francaise:

The delay was almost certainly medical and in 2002 the historian Simone Bertière ascertained from royal correspondence that it was probably Louis’ “bracquemart assez considérable” mismatched with Marie’s “l'étroitesse du chemin” that blighted their love life. Perhaps too indelicate for Kirsten Dunst to explain between mouthfuls of macaroon.

sheep

So I've had a kind of VIP in town these last few days.

He may not read this himself but someone close-ish to him will, and let him know I described him as a kind of VIP. Which may have ramifications (*).

Which, however, is only a very convoluted way of saying that I didn't sleep much last night because I woke at 1.30 am and started processing the day's doings and only stopped at about 4 am.

Which leads us to...too tired to blog.

(*) Ramifications = castle walls made from ramekins (#)

(#) Ramekins =
Sheep by Royal Doulton

Boom boom and good night

03 August 2009

enter sandilands man

The only comment I will make on the Kyle and Jackie O fiasco is one of the old man's sayings, that holds as a universal truth:

No one ever went broke underestimating public opinion.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:
Austereo.

Seems like there's a little missing from the corporate values statement.

31 July 2009

801

We couldn't let post number 801 go by without a tribute....could we? Unfortunately there's bugger all live 801 on youtube (or anywhere as far as I can tell).



See post 800. Wtf is this? What does it do?

I don't have a Mac: just as well, wtf is this?

Why are all these sites designed to be only intelligible to aliens?

Gaaaargh!

short memory

Bloody short term memory. What I originally wanted to write about in the last post was bloody Optus. Having forced us onto paying on-line (bloody technology again, although we have been using BPay for yonks) by charging for paper bills, after three months I discover that we still get the paper bills and the bloody charge.

You'd think if you registered for on-line payment, that would automatically discontinue your paper bills? Wouldn't you? Well? They're a technology company, surely their bloody on line systems would have done that?

Tomorrow, we change suppliers. And also because Optus sponsors Twatbasket Sandilands and his plastic sheila offsider. And and and also because Mrs VVB deserves a new phone.

This kind of sums up a lot. I think. With respect and mad props to xkcd.com


Also, this is post 800. Wheee!

marshall's portable music machine

Aaah, Friday. I've said to a couple of long time friends or acquaintances recently that I never expected to be working this hard or long at this stage of life. On reflection, of course, I never really thought about it when I was younger. I assumed I would be working until I was 65 and I grew up in a household where the breadwinner worked moderately hard but work was a four letter word. So I assumed I'd just be doing work. The likelihood of assuming the level of managerial responsibility I now "enjoy" just never occurred to me.

Some years ago I was having a conversation with a work colleague - younger, better qualified, and now far senior to me. He said he started doing what he does because he wanted to change the world. That got me thinking: as a young person I never even remotely considered that a particular job or line of work could change the world, let alone how that might come about. Certainly, not having gone to uni at the usual time meant I never mixed with people who always knew they wanted to change the world - if uni at that age is a factor.

Talk about just accepting what life throws at you. Regrets, on this basis I should have them by the pallet load.


Anyway I am indeed pretty damn busy and if it weren't for the office laptop's NextG connection having been inoperative for the last 3 weeks, I'd be working on that right now, trying to recapture all things I need to do arising from today's various doings in particular. But it is, and I'm not. Although I could pick up a pen and paper I suppose, instead of going "aaah Friday." Have to switch off at some time, I guess.

Speaking of NextG connections not working, and also trying to learn how to use a Blackberry, I've just read
this article and comments on changes in consuming the music experience. Apart from a brief (about 18 month) infatuation with Napster back when it was the thing, my music experiences are still enjoyed through CDs. I've heard of Spotify but I even seem to have difficulty streaming ABC radio, let alone all this other black magic.

It's really extremely frustrating, finding yourself increasingly in the dark about technology. I'm a person of little patience at the best of times, but what I really need to do is take a week off and just work away at digital things. Other people learn to use these damn things, it must be possible. The longer you spend away from innovation, the further behind you fall.


I read the digital gadget page of the AFR on Fridays, they review cameras and MP3 players and all these other digital things whose purpose is never quite clear and most of it just goes whizzing straight by. So I inevitably turn to the car test, at least I can understand that - although looking at pictures of Maserati Gran Turismos doesn't aid my mood much, because I can't have one.

Back to the Crikey article, I certainly agree with the commenters about the car being the best place to listen to music. I shouted myself some nice new Monitor Audio speakers and a Denon receiver (for the AV capability) for Christmas last year, but I only get to use it on odd Saturday or Sunday mornings when Mrs VVB might decide to go for a stroll (because I like to listen to loud music). So it's mainly in the car when I'm listening - given my high level of highway miles covered - and the work car is an absolute bottom of the range Camry with an amplifier apparently powered by a centipede on a bicycle dynamo and speakers made of creme brulee.


Some time just before I started writing this, I had an idea for the subject matter but that's long gone. Probably just having a whinge, I've certainly done that.

Over and out.

30 July 2009

i'm so glad i'm livin' in the usa

And as we slowly creep up on 800 posts (my, that's a long fence, said the stream of consiousness) we're back at Bookforum and it's about ageing.

Picked an
article at random - well not really, it was because it looked suitably doom-and-gloomy - but in amongst all the words one can divine a standard VVB argument: what happens when absolutely everything is seen in purely economic terms.

Crap happens, that's what happens.

Oh noes,
this is what happens. Do click on the "screech" link in the article and think about rampant nationalism (can you imagine a hall full of Aussies breaking into a pledge of allegiance? Well, only those participating in citizenship ceremonies have to memorise one, (and Don Bradman's batting average) (and why Karmichael Hunt shouldn't abandon Rugby League). So you can now go on to think about the thin veneer of civilisation that the never-ending comments thread exposes in all its...terrifying thinness.

Arrgh.

29 July 2009

the tragic treasury (*)

Someone sent me this earlier today. I'm sure it's doing the rounds of the whole intertubes and people's e-mail inboxes, but in lieu of anything remotely as sensible from VVBSea, I pass it on in all humility.

Actually you can delete the humility bit, the keyboard wrote that by itself.

I'd also be a somewhat sceptical about the 10 million ageing workers bit, but the theory speaks for itself. In a menacing low monotone, if I'm not mistaken.

Which I often am.

Subject: Letter to the Treasurer.

Dear Mr Swan

Please find below my suggestion for fixing Australia's economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan.

There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Ten million job openings - Unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new Australian car. Ten million cars ordered - Car Industry fixed
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed
4) They MUST send their kids to school/TAFE/university - Crime rate fixed
5) They MUST buy $100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week .....and there's your Money back in duty/tax etc

It can't get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of Parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances.
Yours sincerely

The Whole Country

(*) - no, I had no idea either

27 July 2009

gidget

Just to reassure my 3 readers that I'm still here...oh, you weren't looking for any such reassurance? OK, superfluous, delete, move on.

Today's whimsy - I really need another word, that'll be the weekend task - is within
this article. Which comes to you from a link within today's Crikey.com.au newsletter.

It's not really surprising that someone who is a "leading useability expert" has a name like Jared Spool.

I had to look at it twice (at least) before I remembered that Jared is a real name.

But then, I find I'm having more difficulty with instant comprehension these days.


But if I have a thing - well, it'd be a widget wouldn't it - I'll know where to go to find out how useable it is.

25 July 2009

brain failure

OK. I's back, I also seem to have another "follower." You'll regret it, you know...

So:

Are you disappointed the Apocalypse hasn’t arrived? I am devastated. I was really hoping to live in paradise and own a pet panda. However, I do live in a Japanese garden with a Bengal tiger, a friendly child, and wicker basket with grapes the size of my head. I hope it lasts forever.
First of all, it's a nice little article on a familiar subject but it does contain some spiffy turns of phrase which I found, for want of a better description, whimsical.

Second: isn't it just the greatest achievement of the international internettery that someone can run a site called Failure. And people can visit it and, like, link to it and go "way-hey." I quite liked the section headings, particularly "beyond help".

Actually, I think that's the first time I've ever gone "way hey" and, reflecting for the fleetingest moment on it, I think I'll make it the last.

Unless it somehow gets stuck inside my head, like so much other rubbish.

23 July 2009

it takes two

I will assume - althoguhg (hmmm, spellcheck offered me allergic, lethargic, elegaic and earthquake for that particular typo, what drugs are the bloody coders on for crying out loud?) although (there, was that so bloody difficult?) every time I assume something, I am reminded how dangerous it is to make assumptions but I go ahead and do it anyway and then get reminded just one more time that it is dangerous to make assumptions and it's also the very definition of stupidity to keep doing the same thing yet to expect a different outcome, also that result is probably a better word than outcome - that I was just being too obscure when I wrote a post about it being the last post and how pointless it all was and carrying on and sighing and stuff, then embedding a youtube link to a song called It Makes No Difference.

Right then, that's all cleared up.

You now also have a quite clear insight into what happens to a customarily befuddled mind after driving 2000km to participate in a series of meetings that were relatively hard work in that they demanded knowledge, concentration and the ability to read a room and divine suitable interventions, but were nonetheless a little short on tangible outcomes.

Maybe I should just redefine what my understanding of tangible is, because everyone else seemed well pleased..

Anyway I picked up the geeetarr tonight and attempted It Makes No Difference twice. In fact the second attempt made no difference (ha! I made a leeetle funny!) but I can certainly assure you that I won't be posting any future atempts to youtube.

18 July 2009

things don't seem

We seem to have reached some sort of impasse. I was kind of happy posting a great (well, to my tastes) piece of music each Friday , and it was sort of fun trawling through BookForum to bring you stuff that appealed (to my tastes).

It used to be fun getting utterly and self-righteously the other side of indignant about the former (former! former! wheeeee!!!) Prime Minister, but eventually the good voters of Bennelong woke up to their collective selves and dispatched him to former-PM-land.

I'm way the other side of bored with reading - or not, as is usually the case - posts that begin "stupid leftists", but I've been singularly unsuccessful in finding anything halfway readable that begins "lobotomised reactionaries."

This has only ever been a personal, very small corner of the blogosphere. It's not replicated on twitter or digg or whatever those other places are meant to be. Like (probably) a very large percentage of the population, I'm not as clever as I'd like to think I am. So this blog has - more or less inevitably, to my way of thinking - veered towards the whimsical. Trouble is, I don't do a particularly compelling line in whimsical either, I suspect.

I've found in the past that if I say I'm closing down or going on sabbatical, something happens and all of a sudden I get rejuvenated.

Meanwhile...




See you round.

10 July 2009

on the road again

You know, the further you get from 'civilisation' - as it may be defined from time to time - the less blogariferous you feel.

Been away, didn't miss a thing.

Done 2000 km though, could have done with some good driving music...

05 July 2009

money can't buy me love

I'm on the road for a few days as of tomorrow so there will be no blogee during the week. Just doing the rounds of some reading tonight - to provide a suitable excuse to eat chocolate - and I find this.

I was initially somewhat surprised to find that there is a such a profession as "prison consultant" but really no one should be surprised by anything in a commercialised and commodified world.

Some commenters wonder where Madoff got the money to pay the consultant. I'm sure the State hasn't taken all $45750B or however much he stole. Yet.

Some commenters can't leave their pet peeves alone:

Forget about this man. It was impossible for him to do all this alone. Get the other people involved and find some of the money. Next the Justice Department should investigate and arrest those involved in the largest ponzi game in the world. Social Security and those in Congress. $50 trillion.
Bob, Sarver, USA

Can someone explain the difference between a ponzi scheme and our state pension?
G Brown, London, UK

The sheer number of comments points to how distasteful - hmm, I'm sure there's a better description - people found this case. On a quick glance, though, I couldn't see too many boosters for the so-called "light handed" regulation or indeed so-called "industry self-regulation". Investing is not gambling but any "mum and dad" type investor does rely on some semblance of transparency in the market.

Anyway, the chocolate beckons, as do other stories.

I did like the comment about Jasper the cat. And they probably didn't even know about First Dog.

If you have a couple of years to spare and are deeply interested in the global warming are you a denier or are you an environmental religous nut argument, then dive in
here. Be aware though, if you show all nearly 900 comments on one page, it freezes frequently.

Therefore, global warming is a hoax, I've just proved it.

Do have a lovely week.

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