27 February 2009

A conservative dissects the role of lowbrow conservative talk radio in the US:

Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt?
Ah yes, only conservatives are patriotic. You're obviously correct, thanks a bunch.

There's actually a bit to like in the essay, apart from the occasional wooden-eared phrase such as the one I've picked out above where a lapse into laziness results in a net lessening of human understanding. But I've read worse.

This comes, of course, via Bookforum where, after an exceptionally busy day and a quick round of the Aussie blogs reveals insufficient grist for mill, there is enough grist to keep me going until slumber beckons. But it's killing my eyes.

So the dilemma becomes: do we post this now, or wait and look for another morsel with which to regale you?

Regale? I'm up myself, no doubt. But let's just see what other tidbits there might be, shall we?

..........7 minutes later:

The case against Judas Priest was eventually thrown out in 1990 when the judge realized it was completely fucking insane. The panic would have continued, but, luckily, the CD was invented; making backwards messages impossible to hear. Then gangsta rap hit the mainstream and suddenly parents wished they could have the backwards Satanism thing back.

Hey, accuse us of all sorts of things, but at VVB we do specialise in eclectic...

The cataclysm of 1xxx was partly due to a lack of imagination, a catastrophic
failure of what novelist Robert Musil called the sense of possibility.
Finally, we get to:

It’s blogging, captain, but not as we know it.
Well, it probably is, but let's not split hairs here. I'm sure there are lots of linky goodnesses in that last one, but I'll leave you to seek 'em out for yerselves.

This is post number 700 and who would have thought, some three and a bit years ago, that we'd still be at it. Blogging, indeed as we do know it. It occasionally gets a bit tedious and often gets summarily shoved aside by whatever garbage I've brought home from work to stumble through, but there are times when the joy of publishing, the very realisation that various odd, and some extremely odd, people are out there having a riffle through what pass for my thoughts.

And with that: the weekend has begun. Time for another beer. On reflection, make that a vino collapso. With the wine we need some music, n'est pas, so let's get down and get with it.

Keep on rockin'!

26 February 2009


Worky worky work work work.

Ain't nothin' more to say.

22 February 2009

i wanna live the real life

The MSM and the blogosphere are all over the Costello thing and the current trials of the Libs. Not much attention is being paid to their Coalition partners the Nationals, although this article does touch on that particular element of the Coalition's current 'issues'.

We got a issues. Boy do we ever. I imagine I'm not alone in thinking that, in office, Kevin07 has fallen a bit short of our hopes and dreams. Then again, Howard's first term wasn't covered in any glory and he nearly got ousted at his first defence (damn! damn!). But the current Australian Government is by far the preferable choice right now, and for quite a while yet, I would contend.

I didn't think I'd run across anything that could add to the ongoing story. While my day was improved immeasurably by reading John Hewson's WWE
takedown of Costello - and then tempered by the inevitable Glen Milne piece which, in a boringly predictable fashion, focused on Turnbull's failures as a way to promote Milne's hero, Costello, by implication.

Most of it's been on the money - I was very, very taken by Hewson's piece which simply brought out into the open what
seemed to have been common knowledge amongst the policy and political wonk 'elites' - but any article which implies Costello was as good at his job as he'd like everyone to believe ("Costello embodies the lost era of competence and assuredness") essentially shoots itself in the foot in my book.

Wonder what the real people are doing?

21 February 2009

licence to thrill

Via Neatorama, a great little story about Irish cops failing to....well, read it and find out.

Even more hilarious (well, depending on your definition of hilarious I suppose), read the comments thread that gets derailed onto the use of the apostrophe...and then get to the comment posted at 4.32 pm.

I believe the appropriate comment is pwned, but I don't know how to pronounce it.

20 February 2009

we are the champions

I am the champion. Batch no 20 was a Coopers Australian Pale Ale. Although again the calculated alcohol content seems absurdly low, it poured beautifully with a thick head that held for quite a while and tasted fine. I don't know why all my brews have such a low apparent alcohol content. Please note, I don't want a stupidly high one, I want a proper one.

Silliness abounds today. Why John Roskam of the Institute for Public Affairs insists on writing whole pieces on why everything to the left of his particular extreme libertarianism is wrong, I don't know (AFR today, not free on line). He could send in a piece saying "what I said all the previous times" and they could instead, for example, run some more Alex cartoons or Tony Harris pieces. Or pages full of very small numbers.

Also the IPA could usefully be renamed 'The Institute for Affairs that are currently Public but would be much more efficient if they were Private'.

Mrs VVB and I were perusing the junk mail over dinner. A well known national purveyor of vacuums, many of which can hold a bowling ball aloft, is offering free gifts with some of its products.

With one vacuum, f'rinstance, you get a gym membership. Mrs VVB and I agreed that this was superfluous because you could get lots of exercise by actually doing the vacuuming and for upper body strength, you could do bench presses with the vac.

With another model, you get a free professional home clean. *Pause*. I mean, WTF? Is this an admission that the vacuum doesn't actually work? Seems like a poor marketing strategy.

However if you read on, you find that the free home cleaning includes ironing. Mrs VVB cast an eye over the ironing basket and I can feel a new vacuum coming on.

Anyway, it's the weekend and I had Lucinda on the car stereo coming home. It completed my day and week and I'd like to share it with you.

Update: I recalculated the alcohol content, this time after having read the instructions properly about how to format the numbers being input. Satisfactory and more realistic result. All is good again.

Further update: JahTeh wants some of the beer but her request, cunningly concealed as a comment, has disparu. Eaten by Blogger.

19 February 2009

fun fun fun

I'm putting off to the weekend some work I could usefully get partly done tonight. So a bit of recidivism, blogging-wise, is going on. I admit it.

Anyway although it's rather US-centric and, somewhat tellingly, most of the cultural references are recognisable if not intimately familiar, this is a
very funny piece from Esquire about trends/fads/things that have died.

I laughed in appreciation at numbers 3 (although it's a bit off), 7 and 8.

Bookforum where you will find all manner of things, such as:

We don't need compassion: we need order and stability. It will happen. And elections may or may not be necessary to insure that result. Liberals: please, please. don't buy guns or automatic weapons. Thank you.

<> fear

15 February 2009

all you need is love

Well, actually not. What you need is money but once you've got a lot of it, the love bit gets somewhat more difficult.

Or so it would seem if you read
this AA Gill piece.

What's really good, as always, is the comments section.

Likely to be a busy week, continuing both recent and longer-standing trends in the workplace. But the upshot is likely to be no VVB until next weekend.

I've got more ginger beer fermenting: well I hope it's strating to ferment. Will see tomorrow.

14 February 2009

bad english

You read the news coming out of Great Britain and the common thread is that the "Great" has gone missing in action. Or had the life and meaning squeezed out of it. Was it forty years of Labour softness following the enlightenment of the 60s? A relentless death spiral as the nation most known for queueing simply slowly lost its manners?

Or did the relentless individualism promulgated by Thatcher plunge the knife into quintessential British community spirit?

You get the drift. There has to be a simple ism to blame.

Except life isn't quite that simple and we all know it. But, to use a contemporary cliche, you can see a perfect storm brewing in the UK. A rise in violence, particularly amongst the young, witness the recent spate of teenage stabbings in London. Long simmering resentment at the waves of immigrants, first from Jamaica, then the subcontinent and now, courtesy of the expansion of the European Union, Eastern Europe. All willing to work for less than the locals.

Then the
massive bank collapses as part of the GFC, and still getting worse. Read this, then read the analysis of how it's affecting British society.

They're now calling it
Broken Britain and there's oodles of stuff on the internet if you choose to look. This last link points to the myriad interconnected factors, both possible causes and symptoms.

"It's a fair cop, and society is to blame."

Must be a sign of ageing and the apparent conservatism that comes with, in evidence here at VVBSea. Although I haven't yet asked Mrs VVB what she thinks of it.

We've been through it in harmless microcosm: I can still remember my father's disdain, bordering on disgust, for rock music because he was a jazzer. (And it was Cream he picked on, of all the bands! What a heretic!). Well, guess what I think of rap (and the strangled gargling that nowadays passes for rhythm and blues)?

If music is a valid example, we are in a downwards spiral.

Then the other part of the brain kicks in (well, it's VVB so it kind of slithers, but anyway...) and we think, "no, look at the advances in technology, how well we live on the average, other indices of well-being and so on" and come to a conclusion that the media is beating it all up (did you notice that one of the links I gave was to The Sun, hardly a bastion of informed journalism)? Yes, what we're seeing is the inevitable drop in the ocean, nothing to worry about.

Except if the UK middle class just eventually calls "enough" at the theft of their livelihoods, careers and pensions by an unrepentant banking sector which is still lining its pockets, and decides to get physical, then there's apparently a substantial disengaged and potentially violent underclass right there to teach them how to do it.

Perfect storm indeed.

12 February 2009

hairspray suppository (*)

Damn. Just after I said there was nothing to say, immediately after having done the washing up but immediately prior to getting back to work, I alight on this magnificent piece of demolition of a UK Labor minister by George Monbiot.

I guess you're either a Monbiot lover or hater (and you're either with us or against, naturally, on that logic) but it's quite a piece of work.

And you have to love the comments. One example:

Blears is terrifying. If the UK were ever to be laid waste by a massive nuclear
bombardment, she would still be wittering on about the positives (and reminding
people about the ERM debacle & double-digit interest rates etc.)
She must have a giant Prozac suppository stuffed up her arse.
Via Owen Hatherley (and do take time to trawl around his house).

(*) Apparently this is actually a song.

black hole sun

There's nothing to add to the voluminous stuff all over teh interwebzzz on fires, human compassion, Danny Nalliah, stimulus packages, Nick the X, economic meltdown, doomsday, Malcolm 'n Julie, why everybody else is so wrong/stupid/insert appropriate derogatory adjective here.

The forces seem to be massing for an early Qld election, this can only be a Good Thing as everything seems to be in stasis at the moment.

If I had time I'd add a pretty picture but I'm flat chat which is the other main reason for the silence around these parts.

However, I promise never ever to use "teh" again.

07 February 2009

bad news

Today's Courier Mail carries a number of stories that piqued my interest. Sam the Dog picked up on the lady giving away a car to try to help sell her house. Other morsels?

Of course the dust-up between Michael Clarke, destined for Australia second-highest office (captain of the cricket team)) since he was selected, and Michael Katich is big news. As is the possible influence of the WAGs (wives and girlfriends). 'twas never the case back when Richie Benaud was captain, eh? Anyway, former team member Jason Gillespie said:

"I am very disappointed that this got out (ie into the news), Gillespie said. It is not the done thing. I am not worried about scuffles - that can happen in any team or workplace."
There you are then. It's perfectly normal to resort to physical violence in any workplace. So I'll try to stay away from any doctor's surgery or operating theatre, then, in case a couple of them decide to sort it out like men.

No, Jason, wrong.

Students are being told not to give up on their 'dream jobs' as the economy tightens. This affects VVB Sea directly, as one of the offspring lost their job just after having obtained the requisite tertiary qualification and a good position. Fortunately that offspring has a second string to the bow which brings in some money, but our fear is that when growth returns, it'll be the new grads taking the places and all the study will have been in vain. Let's hope not. Not least because the HECS debt is still there in all its glory.

The Courier-Mail also carries a story from the UK's Daily Mail - another Murdoch channel and hardly the pin-up for informed journalism - about Tony Blair's call for "religious faith to its rightful place, as the guide to our world and its future, as itself of the essence."

To give him him some latitude, he does not confine his invocation to a Christian god, but you can imagine how his words will be interpreted once that distinction is inevitably lost and it's Christians first, all others to the rear.

So, from the man who knowingly and willingly participated in the lies that led to an invasion that killed who knows how many innocent people, we should just submit to the "...guardianship of faith in God."

I tell you, words escape me. In 1997, he represented hope. But his relentless government-by-targets and dissembling just put him beyond the pale. The danger that these types of people represent, they should undergo psych profiling before we let them put their electoral deposit down.

Finally, the Bernie Madoff scam scandal (background here if you're interested) produces this classic piece of "information":

"The list (of Madoff's financial scam victims) includes John Malkovich and Barbara Bach, although there was no confirmation that they were the Oscar-nominated actor and former Bond girl wife of Ringo Starr."
No, just some bizarre coincidence, from all the John Malkoviches who would be likely to invest with another US A-lister.

And this is meant to be news?

I'll give you news. Here's a picture of it - the engine from the Pagani Zonda R. Have you ever seen anything like that before? If not: that's news.

Anyway, our concerns are with lost jobs and particularly those within the family. I honestly don't know if Kevin's rescue package is going to rescue us, but I don't think that doing nothing - thanks, stupid - is a viable position. If you're interested, and you should be, Possum dissects the numbers.

04 February 2009

out of touch

Two short thoughts - thought shorts, perhaps.


1) Can we please replace "they're out of touch" as the current insult du jour for your political opponents. It's been done to death for a year or more. Exercise a little creativity.

2) The recent prevalence of references to Gough Whitlam by conservative politicians trying to scare us leads me to propose that we need a term, similar in intent to Godwin's Law, to apply to Whitlam. So, as anybody who brings Hitler into an argument can be automatically deemed to have lost the argument, so should reference to Gough. What should we call this (apart from desperate scaremongering, of course).

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