30 June 2009

meat loaf

Working as I do in the region that is home to the beef capital of Australia, and exhibiting a growing affinity for chocolate, chips and other various Saturday afternoon munchies such as dips, and with a cheddar cheese habit that defies imagination, and in the midst of current debate about advertising fast food to children, I found this article intriguing.

Seems like those clever processed food people have more than subliminal advertising up their sleeve. Well, let's be frank, they also have patently blatant advertising, but they are 'engineering' more food to make us want to eat...more.

Am I getting my vegetable-replicated Rolf Harris endorsed five pieces of fruit and vegetable each day? Well, I get more than a lot of people. I have a fetish for oranges that of course erupts into full bloom at this time of year, and simultaneously does my teeth no end of damage.

I adore raw carrots and cauliflower, I just don't get them out of the fridge for a munch as often as I do, er, chocolate, for example.

Why is that?

28 June 2009

boogie fever

You know, you trawl though all this internetty wonderland except mostly it's a swamp, or a dark (*remind me later) forest or a swimming pool full of treacle or something, so it feels like you've read everything a million times and...(goes on for a bit)...like, you know.

A couple of posts ago I responded to brownie's comment that things were quiet - too quiet - and today I see that Sam the Dog has been taken to the pound. Wtf is going on?

Dunno.

But back to the treacle theme, in amongst all the treacle you occasionally get, oh I dunno, a little sparkly thing. One of those sparkly things you used to get on birthday cakes when you were four. I'm sure they have a name, but..but..but...they're only a metaphor for fuck's sake, they're not what I was going to write about.

They're a metaphor for the occasional diamond -which, if you think about, is just another metaphor and...

You call that a sparkly thing? This is a sparkly thing:

Initial autopsy results are out and the blame is being pointed at the boogie. It seems no blame is attached to the sunshine, moonlight or the good times.
I just love it.

27 June 2009

from a jack to a king

I was asked for a post about the King, so here it is.

Of considerably more interest, even inveterate feminist (I think - I know they come in different shades) Naomi Wolf is willing to admit there
may be good, substantive reasons why blokes are blokes.

23 June 2009

pennies from heaven

The sound of the penny dropping.

No apologies from Polly, though. This zealous supporter of the Labour 'project' has been let down big time.

If you want read "incandescent with rage" from someone who disguises it extremely well, keep an eye on Philip.

This week's pet hates?

Conscious.overuse.of.full.stops.

"Epic fail."

Utegate. I'm waiting for identification of the snake in the woodpile.

20 June 2009

saturday night and I ain't got nobody

I'm about to make another batch of beer, reading this strengthened my resolve (actually it didn't, but it reminded me that there are lots of things in America apart from our stereotypical understanding of the place).


Apple has shown that a mobile phone can be a pedometer, a restaurant guide (one which can make the reservation, direct you there and let you know which kinds of sustainable seafood you can order with a clear conscience), an ensemble of musical instruments that can be blown down, tapped and strummed, a library, a periodic table, a performer of magic tricks, a translator, a Skype phone, a Twitter client, a radio, a games platform and a device that can set your home satellite TV to record any programme you like wherever you are in the world.
I'm left breathless. I get less technologically able - or indeed ept - by the minute. I have no idea how people do this stuff and, in many cases, I'm even more bemused why they do. It can't be healthy.

Not a widget in sight -
this can't be healthy either, but a few people have pocketed a motza.

No widgets here either, but a
bloke who kicks a ball is valued at LStg70 million. Please don't try to tell me the world is sane.

So, you can tell I wanted to spread the good word, but I couldn't find one. A very quiet Saddy night.

19 June 2009

twilight time

It's another pleasant valley Friday. Or something similar, not least because we live on a hill, but the key fact is the Friday bit.

A night or so ago that well-known (insert description here, especially if you happen to be the person in question),
F.G. Marshall-Stacks, commented that things were slow chez Stacksville and associated bloggy abodes. A timely comment, as I had got the feeling that things were quiet nearly everywhere.

My online routine each night is to read Crikey (I'm on a cheap bulk subscription organised by Nicholas Gruen at Club Troppo, so I end up paying about the right amount for the proportion of Crikey I actually read - no, I don't care about aeroplanes, the media, bloody football or how many times Kevin Rudd was mentioned in the media cf. number of times for Malcolm Turnbull).

Then I go to Oz Politics to get the headlines on who has been outraged by whom in the previous 24 hours. The names never change and the blog titles are invariably stupidly offensive.

Then I do the rounds of what is in fact a declining number of regular bloggers. And it is quiet. Eerily so. I can say with obvious certainty that since I haven't had to endure John Howard on the teev every day, I've got less - about 100% less - to get outraged about. Kevin mainly disappoints me, his henchpersons mainly amuse me but not enough to write about and Malcolm is a cardboard cutout with risible henchpersons.

So that's mainly why VVB has gone personal, but without the "up close and" bit which invariably precedes any use of the word "personal" that you'll read about in any mainstream media. And I don't pretend that my life is so interesting that...oh forget it.

So it's Friday. Tomorrow I have to take my brand new one of
these back to shop where I bought it last weekend, because when I brought it home it developed a buzz in one channel that may or may not be some electrical induction noise or might have been something working loose.

It ain't the greatest brand but with modern electronics, the things this baby can do are amazing. It's been some 25 years since I last owned some electronic keyboards and boy, has the product changed in that time. I bought it to practise actually playing piano - it has what I think is a reasonable weighted key action - but you can make so many noises with it, plus automated bass, drum fills, multiple voices and so on - that you actually don't do the practice you had promised you would. Immense fun though.

So, Friday night music. I couldn't find what I thought I wanted so I went on a little peregrination and came across
this - I have the album and it's been one of my favourites since new. I really wish I could have found a stage version.

But I didn't, so here's tonight's concert selection. I hope I haven't used this one before 'cos the song and the lady are absolute favourites of mine. Enjoy, 'cos I know you will!

16 June 2009

15 June 2009

tapirs flown away (#*!)

ROFLMAO double ++ plus a bit.....+ (just there).

I'm struggling for the best comment:

So -if I read the mental discharge of this prize Tapir’s clunge correctly

Bring on the hot Pongo borneo action!

Please can I have just half an hour in a darkened room with Alain tied to a chair; just me, him, a cueball in a sock and a powerpoint presentation*


Disclosure: no, I don't know what a clunge either is but I can make an informed guess.


(#*!) Who'd have guessed it? Also, that was not the only song about tapirs. Fucking weird, man.

14 June 2009

parliament

The state of the conservatives in the UK gives you this:


I have to say i saw a Tory MP on tv last night saying selection should be about 'merit and ability' nothing else, then can the Tories explain why they are discriminating against white, straight men please?
I loved this comment: don't you love the tension between the nickname and views expressed and the given address?

An English parliament is what we need. So if voting Tory encourages the Scots to
complete independence then that is fine. I would prefer the English to make a
decision on this but who really cares how it happens. Brown/Cameron/Campbell are all useless so wake up England vote for England.

bobbyboy, Prague, Czech Republic



And it all leads almost inexorably to
this (bloody hell, what a tangled web this story is).

Anyway, let me leave you on a lighter, if not louder, note. I remember when Monica Seles emerged on the tennis scene and how off putting her grunts were. Then recently we've had the shrieking of Mario Sharapova. Apparently it's going to get worse,
but this time 'they' might do something about it.

I put a lot of faith in 'them', so I hope 'they' do.

Now, I want to know what Schopenhauer has to say about the great Jaffa Cake / biscuit debate."

As do we all, no doubt. Read it and weep, or exhibit some other more appropriate response.

12 June 2009

coldplay

Friday.

Came - somewhat (no, actually a lot) colder than we ever expected to encounter here in sunny Capricornia - and went. It was, however, as busy or full on as I expected and this on top of not sleeping too well last night.

Mrs VVB and I discussed the cold, particularly in light of the reverse cycle aircon in the lounge area being on the blink. I said,
a little further north each year and got the response, "no, this is quite far enough."

All this is an obvious precursor to an excuse for a very short blog post because I are going to bed.


First, though, via Crikey.com.au, a
piece in Reason magazine on examples of scare mongering by Time magazine. OK then.

I think you'll also like this, via
Neatorama.


Driving to work earlier in the week and listening to ABC local radio, this song came on and for some reason I just thought, "yeah, that's really sweet. I've forgotten all about this one."

Enjoyez, tout le monde.


11 June 2009

macarena

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll do both at once:

"It's hard trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan."

"We're the dead-meat party," she said. "We need to be the happy meal."

"Twitter is the Internet's macarena."
You couldn't make it up. For rooly.

Via
Bookforum, as always.

What else? Dunno. Tomorrow's Friday, promises to be a big day workywise, quite looking forward to it. Get to see the bull elephants in action, learn how it's done. I've been in the workforce for coming up to 40 years, you'd think I'd have figured it out by now, eh? I'm a firm believer in the 'you never stop learning' school.

Well, some people probably stopped learning shortly before they ever started.
Example 1. Example 2 (read the comments especially).

You understand why they didn't open Example 1 to comments.

No wonder there's wars.

09 June 2009

what's new pussycat

The old saying goes that a company that advertises assumes that the ads are 50% successful, they just don't know which 50%. Or something like that.

So, you somehow then get a company that acts as a middleman in advertising. We have several on TV: Brand Power; What's New; and the incomprehensibly monikered Zoot Review.

Are you actually more likely to buy a product because you saw it on Zoot Review rather than advertised directly by the manufacturer?

Out of the many many many (n+1) things I don't understand, I surely don't understand this one.

Very full day today; even fuller day tomorrow = no time for what passes as "serious" blogging.

If you believe that, you'll be buying stuff from Zoot Review next.

Over and, with some relief, out.

08 June 2009

fly like an eagle

"The last time a right winged party got it, none of us had any milk."

"David Downes I think the people's enemy is your spelling."


The British electorate is up in arms, in fact probably up to their necks. In fact they've come over all Pauline. Read all about it.

noise-works

I'm thinking of getting a couple of these as office cars. Sometimes we have to post a letter in double-quick time, or maybe the milk in the fridge goes off and we need fresh milk to make coffee for clients and meetings. One of these would enable us to get to the shop before it shut.

After we'd torn up every street in about, oh, say a hundred kilometres.

Link if video won't play.



every picture tells a story (2)

Via the Spectacularly Obtuse blog, the Wikimedia Commons picture of the year.

I didn't even know what Wikimedia Commons was, or indeed that it existed. I wonder what else exists that I don't know about?

Back under rock, enjoy the long weekend. I have done most of the worky work I need to do, both to (a) reinforce my republican ideals and (b) get it done because tomorrow will be too busy for mere writing.

As youse were.

06 June 2009

i can see the grass grow root

Well as it's a long weekend and all...

We were driving home t'other night listening to the news, which contained a piece about the train wreck that is government in the UK - I think the actual news was the resignation of yet another Minister - and Mrs VVB asked me what had gone on.

I tried to sum up the 12 years since Blair won a convincing election in what was then (I think he proclaimed) "Cool Britannia." When everything looked so rosy... But what happened?

Outrageous expansion of the public sector: not only is the cost unsustainable but it sought to inject a genuine 'nanny' or 'big brother' State into everybody's lives.

Public private partnerships (called the Private Finance Initiative or PFI in the UK): desperate measures to keep debt off government books by giving the private sector a risk premium, and then retaining the risk anyway.

Outrageous intrusion into personal liberty through massive public surveillance, both overt (CCTV cameras) and covert (legislation to bundle troublemakers out of the public eye).

And then the systematised rorting of allowances that enabled the less ethical - which seems to have been most of them - to buy and sell a house tax free on an annual basis.

Management by numbers: stupidly conceived targets for hospitals, schools, police and all public services that merely acted to turn attention to gaming the system, that is, to meeting the targets at the expense of actually doing the job and getting the services to those who needed them.

All topped with a choking miasma of "spin": lack of progress on all fronts covered up by a systematic media blanket of unmitigated obfuscation and crap.

It all looked so rosy...

By the time I'd got through this list of horrors we were were almost home, so I didn't start on about the so-called "Third Way," which even then was a spin-infected euphemism for what was at heart a continuation of the then-triumphant neo-classical economic model. Probably just as well, Mrs VVB has a remarkably small tolerance for that sort of stuff: certainly when it's me doing the recounting.

I read somewhere that Kevin Rudd hopes he doesn't end up like Tony Blair, to which I can only say "me too" (because "amen" doesn't quite cut it here at VVB).

If you would like to wallow in the
misery that is contemporary Britain, please do so.

In fact reading Marina Hyde's article just now reminded me of a recurring thoguht I've been musing on for a while: are our political leaders nowadays simply less able than their predecessors? And if so, why? Do they really think we reached the end of history and all they really needed to do in the future ("going forward") was warm the chair, say a few words occasionally and cut ribbons/kiss babies? Do they get less useable or useful support, in terms of policy development, presentation of options and implications, from their bureacuracies? Do they actually want useable support?

Or have we as a society simply grown tired of seeking alterantives in policy approaches? I'm far from convinced that the doings of the last year, since the Global Financial Crisis made itself apparent, signal any subsntial shift from the dominant paradigm.

Sam the dog popped up today with an observation on strange doings in local politics: the previous leader of the opposition siding with unions about the sell-off of government assets (because we do have a few left here still to sell in sunny Queensland).

No wonder the general voting public gets thoroughly disenchanted with its elected choices. They seem to have minimal adherence to any standards of consistency and only the barest appreciation of the level of trust with which their offices are endowed.

As for Third Ways: don't be fooled by government bailouts of backrupt car makers, there still seems to be only one way, as enunciated by Mrs Thatcher all those years ago: There is no alternative.

Before we get to the music that I was going to post last night before Offspring No 2 popped up with that bemusing pisstake of Bonnie Tyler, here's a
useful site for those of you who believe that you can't believe everything you read. More's the pity we don't have an Australian version.

Now, some classic sixties R 'n B from the days when that genre contained both rhythm and blues, rather than attenuated gargling in the back of the throat. Oh, one moment...
look what I found on the way..one of my absolute fave songs from that fabulous period in the mid sixties when everything had rhythm and melody. Jangle jangle, in this case.

Now, ladies and gennelmen, I give you the sound of grass rooting...


05 June 2009

total eclipse of the heart reality

Having spent pretty much the whole week running from meeting to meeting, and trying to get real work done in between, I find myself at the end of the week somewhat out of breath and with a to-do list as long as your arm. Well it probably would be except it's written on umpteen different bits of paper that I need to gather together and extract from which a single list. Preferably tonight while the scribblings are fresh. But I kind of think it's unlikely, I try not to do work work on a Friday night.

Which pretty much leads us to tonight's "song." This came courtesy of Offspring No 2 who kind of knows where things like this hide and how to find them.

You'll find the vocals get a bit trying from about halfway through but it's a fair attempt at recreation of the melody although, as you'll find, the melody runs a distant second in this, er, concoction.

So, without too much further ado, enjoy:


Maybe tomorrow I'll post the song I originally had in mind - a bit more sensible and a lot more historic.

02 June 2009

deja vu

At six, he was allowed to socialise only with other reincarnated souls – though for a time he said he lived next to the actor Richard Gere's cabin.
So how did he know they were actually reincarnated souls?

"Well, in a past life I was a gerbil and you wouldn't believe what they made me do in that cabin next door."

Hat tip
Philip. No idea what type of hat.

If that's not weird enough for you, try this:

Now SuBo has proved ugly people can all sing, the Queen should think big and use her powers to round them all up and force them to sing for us. It is what Diana would have wanted.

I love Poms, especially before they emigrate.

I also got a whole whacking wodge of swine flu jokes, here are the better ones:

If you receive an email from the Department of Health telling you not to eat tinned pork because of swine flu - ignore it. It's just spam.

I hear there's now a sine flu as well. Someone on the news was going off on a tangent about it.

Swine flu has now mixed with bird flu. Scientists say they will find a cure when pigs fly.

It's a pubic holiday here tomorrow. That's right.

01 June 2009

don't look back in anger (2)

Well I said there wouldn't be anything this week and, true to my word, here it is. Probbaly less than nothing, truth be told.

Mrs VVB and I were sitting through yet another news bulletin whose first item commenced with "The Opposition has..."

Doesn't really matter what verb follows: "claimed"; "accused"; or "combusted in a freak industrial accident." Every single damn flamin' piece of alleged reporting is framed by something the Opposition (or actually Oppositions plural, as Turnbull and Barrrrnabbby are not so much on different song sheets but rather one's singing and the other's planting melons, or something) has claimed.

This Government led by Kevin Rudd is proving less ept by the minute, but they're still the bloody elected government and it would be nice, it'd be a bloody change, if people including alleged reporters could get over the fact that the Coalition actually lost the last election. Despite what it may appear to them, it's not the end of the bloody world, it's not Armageddon.

Although this cartoon may lead you to think otherwise.



/rant

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