30 August 2009


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

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.


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

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.

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.


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.


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.


''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


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.


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:

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

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