Saturday, October 25, 2008

Do You Remember When You Actually Had To Remember?

By Darryl Mason

For whatever reason, the stories in the list of links (a couple of paragraphs) below captured my attention for a minute or a few hours, and I managed to push away the niggling ache to immediately write something about them at the time, taking comfort in the fact I could always come back to them later. But then of course, the mind and blog moved on to something else and they were left in the 2nd memory, floating around in digital drafts. Forgotten, but easily accessible, a far simpler retrieval than wading through paper files, or stumbling the long halls of physical human memory opening door after door and not finding the details you were absolutely sure you had left there, somewhere.

As the onslaught of news, and the fast rise and quick death of a breaking news story, only continues to ramp up in intensity, with the most minor of scandals elevated to 'My God, This Can't Be Happening!!!' status to feed the constant hunger of online front pages for stories that will win clicks and eyeballs, even two month old news, let alone last year's, quickly gets forgotten.

Even the biggest of stories don't seem to linger long anymore. It's very strange to see how abruptly something that seems mind-boggling, shocking, utterly scandalous, monumentally reality-changing disappears, never to be heard from again. Or not for a while.

The current merging of financial democracy and capitalist communism hogs the headlines because it is still unfolding, and because the story near daily reaches into the pockets of almost everybody to shake out another $20, or $100, as basic food prices rise to 'What The Fuck?' levels and stock markets faceplant in the loose gravel of the free market.

Perhaps it's just me, but this list of old headlines, from blog posts never written, or never completed, from a couple of years ago up to last month, tell a faster, quicker story of a country undergoing sweeping change, and the rising toll of emotionally-impacting events, than....nope, lost that thought. When I can remember online everything I'm thinking, that won't happen. I can just go into the online 2nd memory and think it back again. It was something about how events that seem to suddenly just happen in the media have actually been in the news for a while, while other events, perhaps more minor, but eventually far more important, are quickly forgotten. So here are those headlines :

June 30, 2006 : 'Police State Australia' Becomes Reality - Downloaded Documents Can Score You 15 Years In Jail

November 16, 2006 : John Howard Admits His Beloved "Low Interest Rates" Led To Australians Amassing Record, Crippling Levels Of Debt

October 8, 2007 : It's Only Terrorism When Muslims Want To Blow Stuff Up : Leader Of Christian Group That Advocates Destruction Of Mosques & Casinos Meets Peter Costello To "Prepare" Him To Become Prime Minister

February, 2007 : David Hicks Shown Images Of Saddam's Hussein's Execution For Mental "Stimulation"

October 11, 2007 : First Australian Soldier Dies In Iraq - Brendan Nelson Doesn't Wait For Proof, Says Bomb "May" Have Come From Iran

October 12, 2007 : Howard's Version Of Australian History Deletes Cyclone Tracy, Death Of Ned Kelly, Anti-Aboriginal Laws That Led To Stolen Generations, British Live Testing Of Atomic Bombs On Australians, Decriminalisation Of Homosexuality

October, 2007 : Police Seek Power To Spy Without Warrants For Months, Want To Spray Radioactive Material On People So They Can Be Tracked Remotely

November 13, 2007 : Police Were Told To "Test" New Anti-Terror Laws By Arresting As Many People As Possible And Charging Them With Terrorism

January 7, 2008 : Conservative Hero Admits Publishing LSD Formula & 'Try It Now' Propaganda Written By Suspected CIA Agent In University Newspaper, Now Thinks It's "Funny" LSD Helped Fracture Powerful Anti-War Movement

February, 2008 : UN Troops Left Assassin-Shot East Timor President Lying In Road "For More Than Half An Hour"

February 3, 2008 : The Howard Legacy - 300,000 Australians Expected To Lose Their Homes As Toxic Debts Mount

March, 2008 : APEC 'Police State' Laws Will Become Permanent Powers For Police In Future "Special Events"

March, 2008 : Treasury Secretary Ken Henry Demands "Water Market" Be Established, Warns Of "Water Rage", "Human Casualties"

May 27, 2008 : This Pisshead Nation Costs $15 Billion A Year

September 21, 2008 : The ADHD Generation - Thousands Of Australian Children Daily Fed Mind-Altering Drugs For No Reason

Blogging seems to have become a 2nd memory, and in a growing number of very helpful ways, perhaps even a far superior memory, where information, ideas, chunks of news, can be stored, for later review, or just as drafts of things perhaps worth remembering, but not utterly essential for daily life.

The human memory keeps the essential phone numbers, the details of the daily rituals of working, eating, occasionally sleeping, the names that must be always remembered (partner, parents, close friends) in order to counter social exclusion.

But the 2nd memory, the online memory, can accurately store everything else you think you may need to remember later. Or simply wish to revisit. Ten thousand news articles, reams of notes, video, audio, 100 of libraries worth of information and history, all can be stored for free, in your online 2nd memory. Two years ago, the online 2nd memory was easy enough to access by laptop, with all files totally searchable through a keyboard. Today, access is even easier through a phone, almost anywhere, and keyboards are being replaced by voice recognition or simple scrolling and point-clicks.

Soon enough something as small as an ear-ring, if you have a palpable fear of small circuit boards being embedded into your skull or scalp, will let you access your online 2nd memory, as easily as you now pull up details from your flesh bag brain. When the human mind is permanently connected to the digital reality, you will find what you need by thought. You will be able to brain google the net, obviously, but searching your own (2nd) memory will become an invaluable addition to the processes of the human mind.

In many ways, the online 2nd memory is already far superior to the real one. You can already store every photo or video you image of your life, with sound. Every letter of anything you type on a keyboard can already be stored for you, for instant access later, or for searching (the digital version of "I remember when...") when needed. You will be able to watch all that imagery back, images far more crisp and vivid than the old mind movies the memory can conjure up, far more accurate recollections of past events, more real, through the same .

Human memory will not be able to compete, though it's sometimes lurid and distorted recall, basic creativity, will always be needed, if only for entertainment reasons.

I have no idea how I got onto all this, and so it ends. Hell, it's the weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sorry I'm Late, I Was Stuck In Love

By Darryl Mason

For some, the effects of university cannabis experimentation lingers on, many years later, layering thinking with gooey slices of interesting weirdness. Observe unelected NSW premier Nathan Rees, with that itchy eye problem :

"Congestion is a concern for all Sydneysiders," he said.

"If you think you are in traffic, you are in traffic...It's like being in love. If you think you are in love, you are in love. If you think you are in traffic, you are in traffic."

What if you don't just think but know, really know, you're in traffic because you're surrounded by cars and trucks and buses and nobody is moving forward and it was exactly the same yesterday and will be the same tomorrow and you've just calculated you've blown about 1000 solid hours, 40 full days and nights, you will never get back sitting in the same heavy traffic every work day for the past three fucking years and you start thinking 'Fuck this shit, if all these cars don't fuck off and let me go faster than 2.6kmh I'm going to lose it, I mean I'm gonna completely lose my shit'.?

What then?

Don't think traffic. Think love.

Put it on a t-shirt, Mr Rees, and walk along the shoulder of a jam-packed motorway. Field test this Spinoza-esque concept of yours. Dare you. But please wear a helmet.

Some NSW premiers didn't have to deal with city traffic at all, not in the way mere workers do. A speeding, sirening ambulance was a much faster way to get from one side of the city to the other, if you were a premier in a hurry.

That's not a state secret or something. Is it?

Yeah, probably just one of those rumours...

Epic Dag

By Darryl Mason

The line at the 7/11 reaches halfway up the shop. Everybody seems to be using their credit cards these days, even for the most minor food purchases (a loaf of bread, juice, milk). People in line have time to talk. Which is weird in itself, conversation breaking out between strangers in a place that was designed for no-nonsense, "Hi! Bye!" lightning quick transactions.

Anyway, a rough approximation of an overheard conversation between a man in his late 50s/early 60s and a kid of about 13 or 14 does now follow.

The man coos in delight over sports results in the back pages of the paper while he waits. The kid watches assorted, muted, street violence vids on his phone.

Old Bloke : "Look at this! They blew it! What a pack of losers. Epic Fail!"

The kid visibly flinches.

Kid : "Grandad, you know how..."

Old Bloke " fine, you don't have to call me that."

Kid : "Whatever. You know how when you were a kid in the 1960s? Do you remember how majorly grim it was when your grandad used words like 'That's cool'...."

Old Bloke : "....yeah. He sounded like a dag."

Kid : "That's how me and my friends feel when people your age say 'Epic Fail'."

Old Bloke : "But...that' don't...."

Kid : "We don't even say it anymore 'cause you all keep saying it."

Old Bloke (actually, and suddenly, outraged): "Hey, you use 'cool' all the time! That's our word."

Kid : "No, it's not. Aristotle wrote stuff about being cool....whenever ago. And black jazz musicians used 'cool' in the 1940s, it's their word. You all stole your best words from obies."

Old Bloke : "What's....obies?"

Kid : "Obies. Obama, Obies. Black people. You stole 'cool' from them."

Old Bloke : "How do you know about Aristotle and the jazz thing?"

Kid : "I'm reading it off Wikipedia. I knew you'd say 'Epic Fail' today a few times and I wanted to say something to you about, you know, how you say it all the time. It's tragic."

Old Bloke : "I don't say it all the time. Do I?"

Kid : "Yes, lots."

Old Bloke : "....right."

Kid : "You stole 'cool' from black people, and now you lift 'Epic Fail' from us. Why can't you guys come up with your own stuff?"

Old Bloke : "That's bullsh...rubbish. You don't own 'Epic Fail', you know. Other people have said those two words together before."

Kid : "Yeah, but you old grocks (?) only say it now 'cause we do...we used to."

Old Bloke : "What do you say instead, now?"

Kid : "That's So 9/11."

Old Bloke : " don't. Really? Do you?"

Kid : "Yup."

Old Bloke : "You say '9/11' or 'That was so 9/11'?"

Kid : "That's so 9/11."

Old Bloke : "That' wrong."

Kid : "If something turns out to be majorly grim, you say 'That's so 9/11'."

Old Bloke : "That'll never catch on....Is it just you saying 'majorly grim' or is that....anyway, I like Epic Fail."

Kid : "You can keep it."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anti-Frown Ideology

Bored by repetitive acts of distant terrorism? Do you sigh and roll your eyes when wafflers rant about the threats of socialism, communism, fascism, Obamaism? Do you want to, need to, worry and fret about dark elements infiltrating the places where our children gather, shaping their pliable little minds with perverse indoctrination, but can't get all that worked up about hairy people saying trees are pretty cool and war is oh so 20th century?

Then you need to get up to speed on Clownist Extremists.

A Golden Orb Weaver spider, in North Queensland, devours a Chestnut-breasted Mannikin finch. Happens all the time, apparently.

This site claims an average Chestnut-breasted Mannikin weighs about 14 grams. That's some web.

More Here

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Are Poor, Blame Cate Blanchett

By Darryl Mason

The Professional Idiot plays another game of "Don't Look Up, Look Over There". As expected, in a time of crisis. As appears to be his duty.

So who do you blame for the world financial crisis? Ultra-rich bankers you say? No, don't blame modern day robber barons using the stock market ("Come on in, everyone's a winner!") to suck away even minor wealth and replace it with debt slavery, The Professional Idiot wants you to blame....err, Hollywood stars! Like Cate Blanchett! And Cate Blanchett!

Don't look at how much cream was being scooped away by the people who are supposed to guard your investments, deposits and minimal wealth, leaving you with watery-milky soup, look at what Hollywood stars earn for entertaining people, or at least attempting to.

In such a crisis as we have now, someone must be blamed, particularly for making the poor even poorer. This is when you need what Mark Latham called "the dancing bears" - a conga-line of opinionists, throughout the dominant Murdoch media, all pumping the same turgid dogma, all trying to sell the exact same creed. So far, it's mostly been : Blame The Poor, The Stupid Poor, Why Won't You Just Blame The Poor?

But that can't last, and won't. Not even the stupid poor believe that rank bullshit.

The Professional Idiot is testing the waters with "Blame Hollywood Stars! Look How Much They Earn!", but only the most porridge-minded of his readers are soaking up that bait. The Professional Idiot's own newspaper is crowded daily with stories about wealthy Hollywood stars and seven-figure sports celebrities. Rich celebrity fodder pays The Professional Idiot's wages for fuck's sake. His boss built a media empire on the piddle and crap of rich celebrity lives.

Blame the poor, blame Hollywood stars, but whatever you do, don't blame those who were paid handsomely with the most minor expectation that they would not lose everything.

Don't Look Up, Look Over There.

Most Australians can't, won't blame the poor, here or in the US, for what is now happening, because they too are finding out just how poor they actually are, or soon will be.

People know, or at least have an idea, of who fucked them over. And it wasn't The Poor, or Cate Blanchett.

Kevin Rudd's talk of "extreme capitalism" and "extremists" terrified the shit out of Australia's smallest financial minority. Terrorists who shout their God's name as they sprint into schoolyards are "extremists", not money-drenched CEOs, or coke-addled traders.

There must have been many outraged cries of "What The Fuck? The little shit is talking about US all over the fucking NEWS!"

John Howard would never have betrayed his patrons in such a reckless, feckless way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a clear and growing anger in Australian society about where in fuck all their money has gone.

And it's obvious, even from reading the financial crisis-related comments threads that now only occasionally appear on Rupert Murdoch's online media, that this anger has to be focused somewhere. Else. Or else.

But the soon to be majority poor are not blaming Hollywood stars for the strip-mining of their investments and the value of their homes.

They know who is to blame. They know it's not Hollywood stars, or the American Poor, who believed President Bush's repetitive, hypnotic seven year long sales pitch of why they all had to become home owners. John Howard pitched the same mantras to potential debt slaves as well, but with an Australian flavour satchel sprinkled over the top.

"BuyAHomeBuyItNowAndFillItWithStuff" created entire industries, dozens of TV shows, racks of magazines, a slew of mind-melting media, including glossy liftouts in The Professional Idiot's own newspaper, generating billions over the Relaxed & Comfortable Years in advertising revenue, which flowed into "We're All So Fucking Rich! Let's Buy Heaps Of Shit On Credit!" advertorial content, everywhere, marketed as news and current affairs.

Of course it worked.

Of course hundreds of thousands of people rushed out to buy a home and fill it with stuff, even when they knew they couldn't afford it. Everywhere they looked was the same omnipresent advertising, the message simple, always the same : "Credit Is Easy, Buy Now, You Can Only Get More Richerer!"

Once in every generation the scam works, or works well enough to create a new population of debt slaves, who will keep working, until death, and pass on debts to their children.

Poor people can find anger easy, usually after the despair has passed. They must now be encouraged, by people like The Professional Idiot, to focus that anger on their neighbours, the people who ride the same buses and trains as they do, but who may not hold the same political or religious beliefs. Or even better, find a way to blame those who live somewhere else, another suburb, another town, city or country. But still mostly poor people. And blame Cate Blanchett, of course.

Don't look up, look over there.

So if the poor and/or Cate Blanchett are not to blame, who then to blame?

Can Muslims be blamed? That whole anti-usury thing at the core of their belief system probably rules most of them out. A shame that.

But what about Al Qaeda? Are they short-selling enthusiasts? Do they shift around a trillion or two a day trading derivatives? Were they purposely mass-hyping property values in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth from their laptops in the high mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan?

What about the all-purpose Immigrants? They've always been good, hell for two hundred years, as an emotional scratching post for Australian community discontent.

But the problem now is, of course, that there's so many of them here, at backyard barbecues, in offices, in cinema foyers, in the pub, that that kind of loose talk just won't stand. Because the Immigrants will tell you, hey bro, we got fucking ripped off as well.

So it's time to for Rupert's dancing bears to circle the wagons, protect The Ultra-Rich, and find someone, anyone else to blame.

Anyone but those who are most responsible.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just A Minute

Australian dads don't get much time alone with their kids, not during the week anyway.

"Right, son, the ads are on. You've got sixty seconds...."
"Oh, well, um, I was riding my bike and Jamie tried to..."
"Who's Jamie?"
"Jamie's my best friend. I told you about him on Monday, during our minute..."
"Yep, yep, Jamie. Keep going, you've got 50 seconds."
"I was on my bike and I was riding really fast past the new 7/11 and Jamie was on his bike and he..."
"What new 7/11?"
"It's near the train dad, I think you need to turn off the..."
"Tell me the rest, you've got 35 seconds."
"...........It's okay, it's not important."
"No, keep going, son. This is our time together. I want to hear what's been going on. You've got 27 seconds."
"...It doesn't matter...."
"Of course it matters. I'm sure it's very you. So you're on your bike, riding past the 7/11, the new one, and Jamie is on his bike and then what?"
"Nothing. I was just going to tell you..."
"Ten seconds left."
"Forget it."
"Nothing you want to tell me in seven seconds?"
"I know our time together is short, son, but I have to work really, really hard to pay for this new house, which is only going to increase in value, everybody on TV says so, so it's not time wasted. And I've been doing all those extra hours so I could buy up shares, like the prime minister said I should. The stock market will only keep booming, so it's not like the $50,000 I borrowed against the rising value of this house is going to suddenly disappear. In two years or so, in 2008, all this hard work is really going to pay off and we can spend lots more time together."
"Okay, dad."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear & Loathing Down Under

In 1976, the great American writer Hunter S. Thompson, came to Australia for a lecture tour. This story promoting the new Thompson documentary, Gonzo, tells a few tales about the good doctor's Australian experiences :

...Peter Olszewski, who back in 1976 was "manager" of Thompson's often disaster-prone Australian lecture tour, says he was surprised by how "writerly" the Kentucky-born Thompson was.

"He worked on every word," Olszewski remembers.

"He told me how he wrote Las Vegas — what was true about the book and what was fiction — and that he set out to write an American classic, and even that admission gives the measure of the man.

"He deduced that most US classics were short books and he told me that if I did a word count on Las Vegas and The Great Gatsby, I would discover that the two were identical in word count, down to the last word."

...Thompson's...notorious smoking-drinking-swearing appearance on The Don Lane Show, but after a thorough search "in the bowels of Channel Nine's archives" (the documentary makers) discovered that all footage had been lost or destroyed.

Olszewski remembers it well. "This just confirmed the stupidity, crassness and ineptness of commercial TV producers at that time," he says.

"Rather than let Hunter the talent present himself as himself, the producer pushed him into appearing like a poseur, with coat casually draped over one shoulder. It looked so fake that when Thompson saw himself in the monitor he swore and brushed the coat aside, and of course the expletive was not deleted and it became a quite large story the next day in the morning papers."

I can still vividly remember Thompson's appearance on The Don Lane Show. He didn't brush that jacket off his shoulder, he violently jerked in his seat when he saw that he looked like a dick, and shouted something like "Get this fucking thing off me!" Don Lane's mouth fell open, a perfect O.

It's amazing to me now to think how incredibly controversial it was back then for someone to swear on live TV, particularly a loud, drunk American, and how impressive his performance was to a seven year old, already writing short stories, who didn't know that writers could be so outrageous, free, and wild.

Olszewski, who as J.J. McRoach stood for the Senate as an Australian Marijuana Party candidate, wrote about his often nightmarish job minding Thompson in Mandraxed Wombats and The Monster in Room 450, which was published in his 1979 book A Dozen Dopey Yarns.

His worst moment came when he "disobeyed the doctor's instructions" and swallowed a small piece of powerful blotter-paper LSD.

"Several hours later, after I had crashed a Fairlane into a concrete pillar in the car park under the Southern Cross Hotel, Thompson admonished me with, 'I clearly told you to chew it slowly'," he recalls.

Olszewski remembers (Hunter) on stage at the Melbourne Town Hall. "People weren't all that interested in meaningful discourse — they wanted gonzo madness. At one stage he turned to me and said, 'Help me in this thing. I feel trapped. I feel like a goddamned animal in a cage with people poking sticks at me.' "

Hunter S. Thompson never seemed to lose that feeling that he was a sideshow, that his notoriety, the Dr Gonzo character he created, consumed him and trapped him, as a person and as a writer. His widow recently said that his celebrity, the unreality of the rampaging Hunter myth versus the old, near crippled man that he actually was, added to the reasons why he shot himself in the head in February, 2005.
You Are Being Offended. Yes, I'm Being Offended

For its inflight internet access, Qantas knows what its customers find offensive, without even asking them :
"Restrictions may include sites that contain violence, profanity, nudity and other content we consider may be offensive to our customers."
No profanity? Well you fucking well won't be reading this blog on a fucking Qantas flight then, will you? I'm working on the violence and nudity.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Still Terrorism, But Without The Shocking Video

By Darryl Mason

Australia is under attack, PM Kevin Rudd, tells us, by the forces "of extremist capitalism." After Thursday's stock market blood-drainer, these forces seem to be winning. Or at least, what they set into motion is still wreaking incredible damage to the Australian economy.

How much has the stock market lost in the past year? A few hundred billion? Al Qaeda nuking Adelaide would have cost the economy less. So who is the greater threat? Al Qaeda kills people in the vicinity of the bombs they explode. Financial terrorists shred shrapnel into everybody.

We supposedly know who Al Qaeda are, or at least some of them, the few who can bother to front up in front of a webcam every few months, and the various leaders who we keep killing, over and over again.

But what about these "extremist capitalists"? Who are these financial terrorists?

Can we have some names, please? Are there ten of them? Or a few hundred? What do we know about their sleeper cells? What is their ideology of hatred? Why do they hate our values of a fair go and rewards for hard work so very, very much? Will they be held to account for what they've set into motion? Why aren't any of these financial terrorists being arrested? Why aren't we seeing them being hauled in and out of police stations in shackles? Will they be waterboarded to get at the truth? And why will so many of them get to keep their jobs, even if on greatly reduced pay?

The financial terrorists who are gutting the savings, investments and retirements of millions of Australians seem, today at least, to be even more illusory than Al Qaeda. One enemy lives in caves and poverty-smashed villages in the middle of fuck-all nowhere. The other extremist enemies live amongst us, they fly over our traffic choked streets in helicopters for their daily commute, and they live in most of their same pre-The Great Fucktober Crash Of 08 splendour. Well, that's not completely true. Some of these nation-shattering extremists have already headed off for calmer waters in the 80 foot floating palaces they built from the fleecing of thousands of work-haggered 65 year olds, who are now contemplating another decade of unexpected labour, or battling with a rising tide of unemployed youth for fewer and fewer jobs.

It's all but too late now, but where was that Financial Terrorism Hotline, so those that knew could have anonymously dobbed all those fuckers in?

In a stunning week of actual non-boring financial news, it was also remarkable to see just how much money an Australian government can make available in a time of "national emergency". More than $10 billion to the people, before Christmas. With a commitment to prop up banks and institutions that could soar into the hundreds of billions.

Ten billion dollars, thwomp, slammed down on the table, to save the Christmas spending season from expected disaster.

But do you know any pensioners or families planning to rush out and blow their government mini-bailout on Christmas presents?

There is definitely a mood of "thanks, but that'll go to pay off some debts" instead. Shopping malls around Australia are emptying of customers, and soon, staff, as people quickly begin to realise just what they can actually live without.

Paying off debts before guilt-induced holiday consuming is never a bad decision, but if the point of throwing around ten billion in cash is to get the people back into line at the checkouts, it doesn't seem likely it will pay off. Even if most people take their fresh cash to their local megacentre, it will only delay the inevitable mass layoffs of Generation Y staff for a month or two more.

Most elderly pensioners won't be splurging but will probably be remembering the once easily dismissed warnings from Depression-era grandparents and will be stockpiling long life food, or ripping out the ornamentals and laying in vegetables for next year. Just in case.

You might want to take up veggie and herb growing as a hobby, very soon. You know, just in case. My local supermarket in Sydney put up a big stand of vegetable and herb seeds a couple of weeks ago, after months of requests from locals. They couldn't re-stock that display fast enough. They've now sold out of just about everything, with a few days delay in getting more seeds, or maybe a week.

I found the seeds I wanted in the next suburb. But still, it was a strange experience to go to a local shop to buy more seeds, and find they've run out. Another sign of these unnerving times.

And here's an excellent, edible, street beautifying project we should see all over our towns and cities. It sure beats lining up in a petrol station carpark for four hours, waiting for the government food trucks to maybe arrive :

The English have their allotments; in Sydney we use the streets. In a variation on guerilla gardening, Sydneysiders are moving veggie plots from the backyard to the street verge, and converting formerly fallow public land into mini-market gardens.

"Environmentally, ethically and, from a community perspective, it's a great thing to do," says Eva Johnstone, a landscape architect, who with her husband, Bill, has been growing vegetables on their Marrickville street verge for the past two years.

"We always wanted to grow our own food, but our backyard is quite small, so the logical step was to grow it on the street, which was not being used for anything," Ms Johnstone said.

The Johnstones now have an established vegetable garden, with spinach, artichoke, rhubarb, peas, potatoes, beans, broccoli and beetroot. A nearby tree bears a passionfruit vine and a sign telling passersby to help themselves.

Street verges are council property but Mrs Johnstone says the council has been "happy to turn a blind eye.

Global warming, the drought and rising food prices have other Sydneysiders looking at local solutions to food production, says Michael Mobbs, a sustainability expert. A year ago, he and fellow residents of Myrtle Street, Chippendale, planted their nature strips and footpaths with a range of edible plants, including tomatoes, herbs, strawberries and fruit trees. Raspberries, rocket, native mint and passionfruit vines climb the telephone poles.

"We want to show people that they can grow food where they live and return to simpler, lower-impact lifestyle," says Mr Mobbs,....

Other councils are following suit.

The mayor of North Sydney : "We would certainly be very supportive if communities wanted to grow veggies in their street, as long as it's a community initiative."
Blame The Microwave Oven

Very weird. One of the stranger possible explanations for why a Qantas jet almost plunged out of control into the sea last week :

Air safety investigators say they will look into claims signals from a naval communications base near Exmouth in Western Australia's north may have caused last week's Qantas mid-air emergency.

Early last week a Qantas Airbus travelling from Singapore to Perth was forced to land near the town after nosediving hundreds of feet in seconds, injuring about 70 people.

A preliminary investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found a computer fault caused the aircraft to nosedive twice.

The ATSB says it will examine whether signals from the communications base could have sparked the glitch.

The communications base was originally used by the US Navy.
'Signals' from a coms base can cause a jet airliner to dramatically lose altitude, twice?

This might be the last you hear of that extremely curious explanation.

"What's this thing do?"
"Dunno. It's something the Yanks left behind."
"It's sure got a lot of buttons..."
"Don't touch any of them."
"I'm going for a piss. You're in charge."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eat The Poor

The Professional Idiot explains why financial hell is raining down all around us, and thank Rupert he's there to do this, to spell it all for us, otherwise we might go around thinking that it was somebody else but The Poor! who are responsible.
The “greed” that initially created this crisis was of poor people in the US who took out home mortgages they had little hope of repaying. Banks were encouraged to lend them the money by federal laws demanding more lending to minorities, or else, and by the expectation that the US Government would underwrite such lending. It was magnified by many other (greedy) investors, many of the middle classes, who borrowed money to play the stock exchange or to bank on rising property values.
Hallucinatorally stupid, and simple. This is the Fox News explanation that even its most die-hard viewers no longer believe, no matter how much they want to.

Is it more disturbing that The Professional Idiot actually believes this is what has happened, that The Poor helped destroy world economies by simply desiring more than poverty and for believing the soaring rhetoric of their own president who spent a good chunk of his eight years in the White House stumping at lower income communities across the US telling them they had to all become homeowners to be worthwhile Americans?

Or is it more disturbing that The Professional Idiot feels absolutely no shame in distributing this incredible propaganda, these fish-brained simple myths, so as to delay his readers from actually starting to think too hard about how monumentally they all just got fucked, and really start to wonder who did this?

So blame The Poor. Why not? Fuckit. What are they gonna do about it? Nothing. They just had the phone cut off.

So soak it up Povos, the hatred and blame directed at you by the gatekeepers for the privileged and rich is just beginning.

The mostly always excellent Eric Bana as Nero in JJ Abram's new movie version of Star Trek.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rudd Takes A Bet Worth Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars

The odds are good that PM Rudd's monumental bet, in stumping up future taxpayer revenue to guarantee bank and credit union deposits for all Australians, for at least three years, will pay off. Some predict profits. But it's still an extraordinary gamble, a stake in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The biggest bet ever laid in the history of Australia.

Though none of the major banks appear to be shot full of holes from the shrapnel of America's extended 'Economic 9/11', unless they're hiding something monumental (fatal derivatives exposure, perhaps?), its still a remarkable event in the history of the country. Perhaps it would have more resonance if there were visuals to go with it other than numbers on boards, and a fantasmagoria of graphs. It's been porn for actuaries.

The October 12 emergency meeting also showed that behind the theatre and media-filling antics of our politicians, they usually all fall into line when they sense a true and total threat to the nation, and their own futures.

And so for today, a new week for millions of Australians obsessively checking stock market figures begins. There will be misery, hope, ruin, horror, terror, joy, despair, probably all within the first twenty minutes of trading.

It seems very likely that if markets in Australia, the US, Britain and Europe drop more than 20% further by Tuesday, we will follow the example of Russia and Indonesia, amongst the many, and suspend all trading. Shut down the markets for a week or two, sort out the mess. Perhaps such a closure would be a good thing, for reasons other than financial.

Being able to have constant market updates coming through your phone, your TV, your radio, every news site you visit, is one step away from having a permanent ticker flowing through your mind's eye.

People are going to need a solid time out from this full-core media flow soon. It can't be good for the mind, or the soul. We already know its not good for the nerves.
Free Speech, Just Not The Angry Or Illegal Kind

The Professional Idiot sounds the warning today on why corporate media blogs are now useless for finding out what people are really angry about, and are instead training readers to subdue their emotions and opinions.
...if your comment doesn’t appear, consider resending without any abuse.
Not even a little abuse?

No. The Professional Idiot has to keep it G-rated.

The big wuss.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here Comes The Water Train

Considering much of NSW and Queensland in still in drought, it's surprising that more isolated outback towns haven't been forced to truck or train in their water supplies :

An outback Queensland town is preparing to transport in drinking water by rail as a drought sucks the last of its dams dry.

The first water tanker could arrive in the northwest town of Cloncurry, population 2400, as early as next week.

There are plans to rail up to 12 million litres of potable water to the town, between Mount Isa and Townsville, which has watched helplessly as its supplies have dried up.

160,000 litres of water a day will arrive by rail, from Mount Isa.

What happens if Mt Isa dries up too?

Southern Australia Drought Now Worst On Record

It's Not Just The Longest Drought, It's Also The Hottest

Melbourne Suffers As South Australia Dries Up
Change You Can Indulge In

By Darryl Mason

An exciting ABC News headline declaring Victory for Australians who know what is bad for them, but who give not a fuck, regardless:

Wait a sec....Okay, I'm still a plodder when it comes to screen captures. That wasn't the full headline.


That doesn't sound like any kind of fun.

The New Poverty could be expected to take care of too many people smoking and drinking, unless they brew their own beer and wine and grow their own smokeables, and let's face it, the dedicated drinkers and smokers will do exactly that. Obesity? Toxic intakes of cheese and peanut butter are expensive, and you kind of get the feeling, watching even mild fortunes vanish, that most people will be doing a lot more walking. Very soon.

So lay off all the expensive mood-blackening ads flash-blasting our evenings with death-plagued declarations that even the few occasional relieving luxuries left for the many are actually suicidal acts for which appalling guilt is mandatory.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Hi George, It's Kevin, And I'm Here To Help"

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has spoken on the phone with US president George W. Bush about the Economic 9/11 that is wreaking more destruction upon America than anything suicidal terrorists could ever be capable of cooking up.

Do you think Kev told George it was time to "get with the new program"?

You don't get a transcript of that no doubt interesting conversation, unless you are signed up with the iKev ultranet, which, fortunately, we are :

Kev : "Hello, George, it's Kevin from Australia, and I'm here to help. Now, I want you to know that we are very concerned about the global financial meltdown..."

George : "........................I'm a puppet on a string..............."

Kev : "I...okay, George. Now, I know you're feeling enormous pressure as this..."

George : ".....they said they'd do it, and they did it. They did it, John. They actually did it...."

Kev : "It's Kevin here, George. The Australian prime minister. You remember, Rupert's friend? We've met at....anyway, I want you to know that Australia will stand side by side the United States all the way through this crisis. We have faith, that's faith, George, that you can...hold it together. Your country needs you, Mr President. The world needs you to..."

George : "Rummy warned me what they could do. They fucked us all. Like the goddamned Skull & Bones extra special initiation. They ripped down our pants, bent us over the altar and rammed their..."

Kev : "I can't talk too long, George. I'd imagine your very busy. But I want you to know that Australia will not abandon your country, even if everybody else except for Mexico and Georgia does. We will be ready with emergency food aid, and energy aid, and none of your forces in Australia will have to worry about going hungry if funding is...cut off."

George : "My presidency began with 9/11, and now there's another one to finish it off. But I know for sure this one was a controlled demolition, John. A once in a lifetime crash. That's how historians will write me up now, as the president that sent his country into the Greater Depression. I'm going down in history as the absolute dumbest fuck ever to walk into the White House. They'll mock me worse than Carter. They'll..."

Kev : (off - "Are you fucking crazy? Don't put him on hold! I'll get rid of this call...") "Yeah, that's great, George. Listen, it's always great to talk to you, even when times are tough. We're all in this together, remember that George...some more than others. But I'm sure you'll pull through with...anyway, I've got China on the other line, so I've got to go."

George : "Okay, John, okay. But before you go, I'd like to invite you and Janette to come over when I open my presidential library in..."

Kev : "That's great, George. Bye."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

"America, Can You Hold? We Have China On The Other Line"

"So what's the good news?"
"You keep digging it up, we'll keep buying it."
"Are you sure? Can I announce that?"
"Of course. Just don't try to put up your prices any time soon. That would not please us."
"That's great news. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you..."
"Please do not grovel. We find it very unattractive."

The United States stumbles out of the casino, pockets empty, pants around the ankles, cleaned out, gutted, dropping near worthless IOUs nobody inside wants to cash anymore. China still sits at the high stakes tables, hanging onto most of its mountain of chips. A few big bets go down, there are substantial losses, but the chip mountain remains formidable, and the game is not over for them yet. Waiting, waiting, waiting...

You can almost hear Kevin Rudd humming that old Hunters & Collectors song, 'don't rock the boat, keep your head down...'

Kevin Rudd has sought and received a personal assurance from the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, that China's demand for exports would remain strong enough to prop up the Australian economy in the face of the global slowdown.

With the rapidly slowing global economy now a reality, Mr Rudd said he rang Mr Wen at 9pm on Monday to quiz him about his growth projections for China. Mr Rudd said he was told growth would slip from "something like 11 and 12 per cent down to 9 and 10 per cent", still strong enough to sustain a healthy demand for Australian commodity exports.

Mr Rudd believes China is the greatest militating factor against the global crisis and said the Communist nation was "now critical for Australia's continued economic performance".

"Part of the long-term strategy of this Government, and the strategy for the period immediately ahead, is how to more deeply and broadly engage with the Chinese economy," he said.

Asia will set the rules for the New Economic World Order, now that the UK, the EU and the US are busted out, choking on debt, shocked and staggered by the collapse (or demolition) of their banks and once AAA-rated financial institutions.

So the Communists didn't really lose, in the end, did they?

Just another confirmed lie, to heap onto the festering pile of lies we've been fed for decades, about free markets, globalisation, investing vs saving, and the bitter freedom of bountiful credit.
Sun Wookie

Some people like to search photos of nature and the stars questing for collisions of light and shade and colour that somewhat resemble the visage of Jesus, say, or a stomach churning demon. Or if they're really boring, the plain old face of The Devil.

I only search for faces that remind me of wookies.

And I found one in an extraordinary image of a sunspot.

Really, look for yourself. Sun Wookie!

More Images Here

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Crunchy, Chickeny, Trippy

Can we eat our way out of the environmental destruction wrought by the repulsive Cane Toad?

Maybe. If the cane toad had a value high enough to make it worthwhile spending a night catching the invaders; if as a food product it proved profitable to round them up, gas them, and prepare them for cooking, then we could shut down their spread, wind back their numbers and unleash a new Australian delicacy into restuarants. That is, if you can hold your vomit.

Local food activists are having a hard enough time convincing Australians to get stuck into roo burgers, let alone grinding down on deep fried toad legs.

From the NT News :

Zimmern's chef prepared the toad legs in a garlic and white wine sauce, and deep-fried them with sweet chilli sauce.

Chefs skinned the legs and avoided toxins when preparing them.

They got rid of the most fun part.

Ms Britton said only the bigger toads had legs with enough meat on them to eat, and they were tough and sinewy in the joints.

And what do they taste like? Chicken, of course.

Full Story Here

Monday, October 06, 2008

When Truth Is 'Trolling'

I wrote a comment to this post by Tim Blair at a Daily Telegraph blog, about claims Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin linked the Iraq War to 9/11 in a speech to US troops, but it was censored for supposed 'trolling'.

I cited this story from the reputable Jane's, published on September 19, 2001, which shows that Israel's military intelligence service, Aman, were probably the first to publicly draw deep linkages between Saddam's Iraq and the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC :
Israel’s military intelligence service, Aman, suspects that Iraq is the state that sponsored the suicide attacks on the New York Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington.
When I sent a second comment, asking these questions...
How exactly is trying to clear up where the Iraq Did 9/11 myth came from 'trolling'? Or is Jane's not a reputable enough source for Tim Blair's blog?
...the comment was again censored for 'trolling' :

So what exactly did Blair and his moderator object to in my comments? Was it that Israel is responsible for trying to link Iraq to the 9/11 attacks, a myth eventually rejected by President Bush? or was it the fact that I mentioned the Jane's story also details how the CIA and Mossad have used car bombs, killing dozens of civilians, as part of their joint 'counter-terrorism' operations?
A year later, in a combined CIA/Mossad operation, a powerful car bomb went off at the entrance to the house of Hizbullah’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. Seventy-five people were killed.
Terrorism, ironically, is a fairly effective weapon used by the West to supposedly fight terrorism, in the 'War on Terror'. Is this really such a big secret? Only if you read nothing but the Murdoch media.

Obviously Tim Blair's readers need to cushioned from such uncomfortable truths. Wouldn't want facts to get in the way of the 'Our Terror Bombs Are Freedom Bombs' modern warfare narratives.

A massive police operation swept through the grinning crowds at the Sydney ParkLife festival yesterday, and came up with a measly handful of drug-related arrests :
The operation included general duties officers, traffic units, drug detection dogs, plain clothes officers, mounted police, licensing supervisors and operational support group personnel.
It's not that people are doing less drugs at these gigs, they simply know to imbibe their gear before they reach the police checkpoints. Police mostly cautioned those busted with personal-use amounts of cannabis, instead of hauling them away.

Police are in an interesting quandary. They know the more people on cannabis or Es, at festivals like Parklife, the less likely it is they will have to deal with toxic, violent drunks. But police have to spend their 'Fighting Drugs' budgets at the same time.

Still, there are no cocaine dogs patrolling the financial district, or Macquarie Street, of course. And while you will find police leading drug dogs through Kings Cross and along the platforms of Blacktown and Penrith train stations, you still won't see them along New South Road, Double Bay, Military Road, Cremorne, or Queen Street, Paddington.

Cops have to bust people for carrying small amounts of illegal drugs, just not so much the ones that can afford a battery of expensive lawyers or who have hassling political connections.
No Idea

The Daily Telegraph's Tim Blair claims Bruce Springsteen "isn't the draw he once was".

Yeah, now Springsteen only draws tens of thousands of people together to hear his songs.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Back Climate Change Fear Mongering, Except When He Does

I asked Daily Telegraph opinionist Piers Akerman why he shreds Labor and professors and Al Gore and the ABC over climate change fear mongering, while continuing to give a free pass to his own boss, Rupert Murdoch, now the most prolific and influential promoter of climate change reality in the world :
Your boss backs the fear mongering as well, Piers. Why don’t you get in his ear?
Akerman denies that his boss uses his media to spread fear and unease about the effects of climate change :
"I don’t think he backs fear mongering, I believe he makes decisions on the best available evidence and is not afraid of admitting his mistakes when he’s been wrong..."
I stand corrected. Rupert Murdoch and his media, like the Daily Telegraph, do not back the fear mongering promotion of climate change reality, apparently. Which is why stories and headlines like this never appear in The Daily Telegraph, except when they do, which is often :

Akerman also claims that "Murdoch’s editors are responsible for their own decisions," meaning that Murdoch has no influence over editorial decisions made by his newspapers. Except, of course, when Murdoch openly admits that he does indeed tell his newspaper editors what to publish :

Rupert Murdoch has admitted to a parliamentary inquiry (in the UK) that he has "editorial control" over which party The Sun and News of the World back in a general election and what line the papers take on Europe.

The minute stated: "For The Sun and News of the World he explained that he is a 'traditional proprietor'. He exercises editorial control on major issues..."
He also helped "shape" the pro-Iraq War message across his worldwide media empire, and admits it here.

Embracing Corporate Greenism has proven very profitable for Rupert Murdoch, and his media, as energy giants flood his newspapers and websites with advertising promoting their new Green Consciousness.

The blogs of former Murdoch 'global warming deniers' now 'climate change realists', like Akerman, Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt are where you will now most often see such Corporate Greenism advertising.

If there's money in it, Rupert's always a true believer.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I, Too, Agree With Everything That Strange Little Australian Said

So Canada's prime minister was getting the same BushCo. propaganda sheets on the Iraq War as John Howard :

Flanked by two large televisions, Rae played a split-screen video showing Howard and Harper, then leader of the Canadian Alliance party, giving their speeches to their respective parliaments.

Howard delivered his speech on March 18, 2003, before the bombs fell on Baghdad. Harper gave his on March 20, the first full day of the Iraq war, which has killed more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers.

Both urged support for the U.S. effort. "Alliances are a two-way process," Howard and Harper said. "We should not leave it to the United States to do all the heavy lifting just because it is the world's ("only" added Harper) superpower."

At several points in the video, the voices of the two leaders are heard to overlap perfectly, prompting laughter and cries of "Shame! Shame!" from the crowd.

Lethally Non-Lethal

They will probably prove to be very handy in encouraging former home owners to leave their homes, as banks somehow are able to deploy police to do their dirtiest work, but who will be the first mother and child to be tasered in New South Wales?
In a move aimed at alleviating community concerns, the taser X26 models are fitted with a small video camera on their stock to film their use.

In May, the former police minister David Campbell said the government would spend more than $1 million on 229 units to give police the option of using "less than lethal" force.

A report by the NSW Ombudsman into the safety of tasers is not expected to be tabled before the NSW parliament until later this month.
It surely can only make sense to hand out hundreds of tasers nearly a month BEFORE the safety report is made public.

'Two Lives Taken By A Single Taser Blast'