Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In case you missed it yesterday, spectacular water spout 'tornadoes' off Sydney :

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bon Scott On AC/DC : "The Beatles, The Rolling Stones....We're Better. Who Needs Them? They're Last Year's Model"

By Darryl Mason

The 'Long Live Bon Scott' concert hitting Sydney this week - Panthers on June 3, Enmore Theatre on June 4, reminded me of a bunch of Bon videos and recordings from YouTube I've had bookmarked.

So here's a quick history of Bon Scott through two decades. and a few different looks.

1965 : Bon Scott singing Gloria with the Spektors

1968, with The Valentines :

1971, with Fraternity :

1975, TV debut of Bon Scott with ADC/DC

Late 1975 :

July, 1976 : Great clip of Bon Scott and Angus Young being interviewed in a London street, where Bon declares AC/DC better than The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

1977 :

1978 :

These interviews with Bon Scott, from the soon to be re-released AC/DC Let There Be Rock live concert film, were recorded a few months before his February, 1980 death from acute alcohol poisoning. "I'm a special drunkard. I drink too much."

Ten days before Bon Scott's death, AC/DC mimed Highway To Hell for a German TV show. Bon Scott stands nearly motionless, in deep shadow, away from the rest of the band, who appear in many shots to have aready lost their lead singer.

A few days before his death Bon Scott jammed a version of Ride On in London with the band Trust. This was the voice Bon Scott was taking into the recording studio for the new AC/DC album sessions, scheduled to begin in the last week of February, 1980.

Angus Young on the death of Bon Scott.
Australia Has Been Hit By More Than 50 Tsunamis

August 15, 1868 :
High tide had been at 5am that day, and by 8am sea levels in Sydney Harbour were dropping. Suddenly, "the waters, as if impelled by some extraordinary influence, returned up the harbour with great force", The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Further down the coast, at Jervis Bay, the ocean was surging into Currambene Creek. "It raced back in a similar manner, sweeping away a large portion of sand that impeded navigation," the paper noted.

The tsunami that struck the New South Wales coast that day was caused by a massive earthquake strike in Chile.

In total, some 37 tsunamis have been reported along the NSW coastline over the past 150 years.

From the Sydney Morning Herald :
A Macquarie University researcher, Dale Dominey-Howes, said Australia had a reputation as a region where few tsunami hit, but there have been at least 57 reported. "Relatively speaking, this is a much higher rate of occurrence than many other regions of the globe," he said.

He was surprised to find the Australian tsunami record went back 3.5 billion years, to when an asteroid hit waters in what is now central Australian desert. Rocks and debris it ripped up from the shallow sea have been identified by Australian geologists.

The Full Story Is Here
For those who missed it, this was what happened the day Greens leader Bob Brown dared to criticise a handful of Canberra press gallery journalists for their endless negativity on anything and everything the Greens have to say.

Note the only hysterical voice in this clip is that of a journalist :

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bill Hunter, 1940 - 2011

Bill Hunter acted in more than 70 movies, and hundreds of hours of definitive Australian TV cop shows like Division Four and Homicide.


If you're compelled to watch a Bill Hunter movie today, you can't go past CrackerJack, one of his happiest and most beautiful roles.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The Media Can't Be Trusted To Tell The Truth"

(I'm re-posting this August 2009 post because it seems even more accurate today than when originally posted)

By Darryl Mason

Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes, in a debate, lists a series of recent debacles from the mainstream news media :

On July 21, four days after the Jakarta hotel bombings, Seven News reported: ‘‘Another bomb has exploded in Jakarta. The device went off just moments ago at a building near the Australian embassy.’’ No, it didn’t. No bomb, no unexploded bomb, no suspicious package. Nothing but a couple of hoax phone calls.

On June 20, the first edition of The Daily Telegraph and other News Ltd papers read: ‘‘Revealed: Email that could topple a Government.’’ That email may yet topple an opposition leader. But it won’t do any harm to the journalist who ‘‘revealed’’ its content, or the editors who decided to publish it, even though it turned out to be a fake.

Then there’s page one of The Sunday Telegraph on March 15: ‘‘PAULINE BETRAYED. Provocative: A young Pauline Hanson pouts for the camera in racy lingerie … ’’

The Sunday Telegraph editor promised to quit if the nipple revealing 'Hanson' photos turned out to be fake. They were fake, the editor didn't quit.

Holmes is just scratching the surface. He argues one of the biggest problems gouging away at the credibility of mainstream media today is not solely a lack of journalists, or highly skilled journalists, but the Deadline Now! atmosphere of 24 hour breaking news on TV, on radio, and online.

Fewer and fewer people are under pressure to produce more and more. That means less time to research, less time to write, less time to check, fewer subeditors to knock copy into shape.

Which is why the media, arguably, can be trusted less than ever to tell the truth.

Holmes posits a greater problem, however, about what modern journalism in mainstream media actually means :

"The media are not in the business of telling us the truth. The media are in the business of telling us stories.

"That simple little word dominates any professional conversation between journalists. I’m working on a story. It’s a good story, a great story, a balltearer of a yarn. Or, it’s a dud story, it’s a non-story, there’s no story.

"The idea of the story, of course, dates back to the time when people made little distinction between fact and fiction. Was Homer telling us the truth about the Trojan Wars? Did the Cyclops really have one eye, or Perseus winged feet? Does it matter? They’re great stories.

"They’re about love, and fear, and rage, and jealousy, and courage in adversity – the same emotions that 2500 years later sell copies of the Tele, or attract viewers to A Current Affair.

"But the media, of course, are supposed to tell us true stories."

How 20th century of you, Mr Holmes. This is the age of manufactured news realities. The story is everything. Does it matter if it doesn't turn out to be true? It's fun for a few days, and if the truth is, eventually, published it usually turns out to be nowhere near as exciting.

The reality a series of stories builds up, even if they are only brushed lightly with the truth, in the media over days, or weeks, or years, becomes for some all the truth they need to know. Or want to know.

Why shatter the manufactured reality with too many distracting facts?

Today, if you want to live in a reality where the future of the planet faces "dire consequences" resulting from our addiction to old energy sources and only the wisdom of carbon tax profiteers like Al Gore and Rupert Murdoch can save us all, you can follow certain columnists, haunt certain news sites and blog sites, all of which will mostly continue to enforce that reality. And add to it.

Or you can believe the climate crisis is one big fat conspiracy created by those who stand to most benefit from the implementation of a global carbon tax.

You can, depending on the radio shows you listen to and the newspapers and bloggers you read, live in Sydney and truly believe that you are under constant direct threat from Al Qaeda (via Somalia/Lebanon/Pakistan/Iran) linked Islamist terrorists.

You can easily find enough material on a handful of mainstream news sites to reinforce that dangerous reality most days, and ignore anything that tells you otherwise, that threatens to bite away at the manufactured reality of a looming threat which you find curiously comforting.

Whatever your choice of fear, it's easy to find a selection of news media and online screeds to feed it and sustain it. You can get Google to send you news alerts every time a story or blog post involving your favourite fear is published online.

Personally, I live in perpetual fear of both UFO invasions and surviving into the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a massive meteor impact. Fortunately, my double fear is countered by supreme confidence that the world-crushing meteor will arrive just as the UFO invasion begins and destroy them all, resulting in the meteor being obliterated into harmless but beautiful fiery dust in our night skies.

You'd be amazed at how many stories find their way online from across the world every month about looming UFO invasions and planet-killing meteor strikes.

Then again, you may already know. You probably read the mainstream media as well.

The rest of the Jonathan Holmes piece is here.

(slightly edited before reposting)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A beautiful King Parrot killed by the beak-destroying Psittacine disease.

The parrot was seen flying only 3 days before its death. Its beak had rotted, and broken, meaning it could no longer crack the seeds that made up most of its protein intake. Two days before its death it was walking around the base of a favoured tree, looking up at the branches. Other birds, not parrots, were with it that day, and appeared to be trying to feed it by cracking seeds and attempting to put them in its mouth.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The legendary Rob Younger, frontman for Radio Birdman and The New Christs at the Great Bands Of 1970s New York City tribute, Sandringham Hotel, Newtown, May 13 :

Photos By Darryl Mason
Maybe it's just me, but the endangered Montana Merkle bears an uncanny resemblance to the Australian kookaburra, even down to its distinctive mating call

Bird Hunted To Near Extinction Due To Infuriating 'Fuck You' Call :
Now Here's A Shock, Cannabis Users Not Motivated To 'Get Clean'

NSW Auditor-General Wants Cannabis User Registered, Monitored As Criminals

By Darryl Mason

Can the Murdoch media's coverage of cannabis get any more cliched?

For tabloid media so obsessed with celebrities, it seems curious indeed they wouldn't use this opportunity to run a photo of a celebrity cannabis user, rather than a random 'cannabis enthusiast' that reinforces decades old cliches.

Here's just a small sample of celebrities they could have included a photo of as a 'cannabis enthusiast' :

Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Pink, Carl Sagan, US President Barack Obama, US President Abraham Lincoln, US President George Washington, Queen Victoria, Stephen King, Sting, Nobel Prize Winner Francis Crick, Bill Gates, Bill Murray, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Aniston....

So why no celebrity 'cannabis enthusiasts' to detail a story such as this? Particularly in this all important clickbait age of tabloid media?

Because as a tabloid newspaper editor you must never, never, never associate successful, famous, accomplished people with cannabis use. That's just the way it is.

From the Daily Telegraph :
Dope smokers are making a mockery of lenient cannabis laws in NSW by refusing to undertake drug counselling when caught using marijuana.

The system - where police officers can formally caution people found with 15 grams or less of cannabis - has become so useless, according to the NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat, that police should be harder on users.

Despite issuing 39,000 cautions in 10 years, Mr Achterstraat said "more needs to be done to increase the number of cannabis offenders getting help for their drug use".

Not only should police crack down on dope smokers, but the Auditor-General says the Health department should set up a register of users to help identify addicts and help them get cleaned up.

"The results are better for people cautioned a second time, with almost 38 per cent calling the helpline for the mandatory education session."
I wonder if the "mandatory education session" includes lessons on how cannabis can reduce the growth of lung cancer tumors by 50%?

Probably not.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Great Minds Think Alike, On Wanking

When Daily Telegraph journalist Tim Blair isn't too busy thrillingly pointing out basic typos in independent media (with a fraction of the editorial staff of his own newspaper), he apparently borrows headlines from the New York Post, without credit.

Tim Blair, May 14. 4pm :
Osama’s bin wankin’. The Taliban tugman probably feasted upon delicious forbidden infidel food, too.
The New York Post, at least 10 hours earlier* :

Probably just a coincidence.


UPDATE : A few hours after the above was posted, Blair acknowledges this remarkable coincidence : "Not for the first time, me and (NY Post editor) Col Allan are on the same wavelength."

So Blair, according to his own post, checked the reaction of New York Times to the alleged discovery of a Bin Laden hideout 'porn stash' but didn't bother to see what his mate, and fellow Murdoch employee, Col Allan, had come up with on such a dream Osama tabloid story? That sounds realistic.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Australian author Mathew Reilly's stunning collection of science fiction & fantasy film memorabilia :

Some quality Osama Bin Laden-related journalism from the Channel 7 News website. Or Headline ClickBait as it's more commonly known :

Paragraph three of the 'story' :
"The notebook was not a diary and did not include personal or emotional details, the official said."
The Sydney Morning Herald couldn't resist either. Now it's 'diaries' :

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Autumn leaves, Lower Hunter Valley, New South Wales, late April :

"...the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended"

By Darryl Mason

I had the extraordinary pleasure of seeing & hearing actor Jack Thompson read the poetry of Australia's legendary bush and city balladeers Banjo Paterson & Henry Lawson at the Gearin Hotel, Katoomba, last Sunday. Sorry, photos & vid were banned, unfortunately.

But the gig was filmed for a DVD release, and I have a feeling the performance will also show up on ABC1 or ABC2 on a Sunday afternoon not too far away.

I was lucky enough to have had a teacher in primary school who made sure he read to us a Lawson or Paterson piece at least once a week. But while I got the excitement of The Man From Snowy River and The Loaded Dog, the words and images of Paterson's Clancy Of The Overflow didn't really sink in, having not, back then, seen much of the real Australian bush, or the Big City, I couldn't compare two in my mind.

But hearing Jack Thompson do Clancy last Sunday was a revelation. I finally got it. Paterson dreamed of dumping the gritty city life to become a sun-drenched cattleman, but he knew in his heart it was just a romantic idea, a daydream. Droving cattle would have been broken Paterson as easily as an office life would have shattered his legendary Clancy. But it's the imagery projected by those words that really leaps out at me now. Here's the full poem, published in The Bulletin in 1889 :

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow."

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

In my wild erratic fancy, visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving "down the Cooper" where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plain extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city,
Through the open window floating, spreads it foulness over all.

And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street;
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.

And the hurrying people daunt me,and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.

And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal
But I doubt he's suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow.

You can pick up CDs of Jack Thomspon's beautiful readings of the words of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson from Fine Poets here.

Here's Jack Thompson recording Clancy :

UPDATE : Didn't know this, but 'Clancy Of The Overflow', in retirement, penned a sardonic reply to Paterson's romantic view of his droving lifestyle, eight years after The Bulletin published the poem.

Thomas Gerald Clancy made sure readers understood the harsh reality of his world, back then :

Neath the star-spangled dome

Of my Austral home,

When watching by the camp fire's ruddy glow,

Oft in the flickering blaze

Is presented to my gaze

The sun-drenched kindly faces

Of the men of Overflow.

Now, though years have passed forever

Since I used, with best endeavour

Clip the fleeces of the jumbucks

Down the Lachlan years ago,

Still in memory linger traces

Of many cheerful faces,

And the well-remembered visage

Of the Bulletin's "Banjo".

Tired of life upon the stations,

With their wretched, scanty rations,

I took a sudden notion

That a droving I would go;

Then a roving fancy took me,

Which has never since forsook me,

And decided me to travel,

And leave the Overflow.

So with maiden ewes from Tubbo,

I passed en route to Dubbo,

And across the Lig'num country

'where the Barwon waters flow;

Thence onward o'er the Narran,

By scrubby belts of Yarran,

To where the landscape changes

And the cotton bushes grow.

And my path I've often wended

Over drought-scourged plains extended,

where phantom lakes and forests

Forever come and go;

And the stock in hundreds dying,

Along the road are lying,

To count among the 'pleasures"

That townsfolk never know.

Over arid plains extended

My route has often tended,

Droving cattle to the Darling,

Or along the Warrego;

Oft with nightly rest impeded,

when the cattle had stampeded,

Save I sworn that droving pleasures

For the future I'd forego.

So of drinking liquid mire

I eventually did tire,

And gave droving up forever

As a life that was too slow.

Now, gold digging, in a measure,

Affords much greater pleasure

To your obedient servant,

"Clancy of the Overflow".

Australian climate scientists fight back. A rap was probably a better choice than interpretative dance :

Monday, May 09, 2011

That's A Big Storm

More than $60 million will be spent in the next few months building 10 new storm shelters to protect 5000 Queenslanders from Category 5 cyclones. But just how strong does the Queensland government, and generous United Arab Emirates donors, think future cyclones are going to be?

From Cairns.com.au :
The United Arab Emirates's gift of $30 million is being matched by the Queensland Government.

“Far North Queensland is right in the firing line during cyclone season and this generous gift from Abu Dhabi is a catalyst for new shelters in the region,’’ Ms Bligh said.

The shelters will be designed and constructed to Category 5 standard and to provide protection to more than 500 people each from winds up to 3000km/h, windborne debris and storm tide inundation.

“We will build these shelters as quickly as we can and I want as many as possible to open progressively during 2012,’’ Ms Bligh said.

The fastest wind speed ever recorded on Planet Earth was on Australia's Barrow Island, during Cyclone Olivia in 1996. The anemometer recorded 408kmh.

Either the quoted wind speed in the Cairns Post story is a mistake (obviously) or Queensland is expected to encounter Neptune-strength cyclones.

There is a strong belief in Far North Queensland, in government, local councils and disaster management, that the area truly dodged a bullet, and escaped an horrific death toll, when the eye of the 500km wide Cyclone Yasi unexpectedly collapsed shortly after coming ashore. The event exposed a shocking lack of available shelters built to withstand Category 5 cyclones. Townsville, for instance, had no cyclone shelters at all.

Feb 2, 2011 - The Night Of The SuperStorm
What do you get when you combine Australian Julian Assange and the soft porn titan who sold his Australian citizenship to get rich in the United States?

You get this - RupertJulian :

Via BoingBoing

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mushrooms & funghi at the Old Brush Studio, Brunkerville, NSW, late April 2011 :

Photos by Darryl Mason

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Something terrible is about to happen to this group of happy people. Can you guess what it is?


Australian Citizenship Test Website Includes 'No Lebs' As "Australian Values"

Screengrab from Australian Citizenship Test website

By Darryl Mason

As noted by Tammois on Twitter, the Australian Citizenship Test website uses a photo from the very unAustralian Cronulla Riots of 2005 to illustrate a story about the importance of Australian values. How the photo appears on the website :

Some of the text that runs with the photo clearly showing a man with 'No Lebs' scrawled across the back of his t-shirt, next to people wearing the Australian flag as capes :
Australia is a land that represents different things to different people; to some, the land down under is a distant and mysterious place punctuated with visions of kangaroos and coral reefs, while to others, the expansive outback and sharply contrasting city skylines stand out. For those who are truly close to Australia, however, there are scores of ways to think about the country, and the nation’s collective values often make up one of the most important. When newcomers venture to Australia for the first time, they may find national values strange and very different, or fairly familiar, depending on their place of origin. With a strong love of democratic government, a dedication to preserving the country’s unique customs, and a pioneering spirit that has helped to make Australia stand out among even the most populous and powerful countries in the world, Aussies aren’t especially quiet about their values, and immigrants may find the social and moral landscapes daunting at first.

UPDATE : 'Dan' Lewis from the RWDB blog read the above post and dreamed up distortions and lies :
"There should have been a few subtle hints that this wasn't an 'official' website."
Where above do I claim that photo was posted on an 'official' site? Nowhere. I called it the Australian Citizenship Test website, which is what it calls itself. Next :
The URL - Australiantest.com and the Wordpress website which follows, don't exactly scream "Australian Government".
Where did I say those websites screamed Australian government? Nowhere. Dan Lewis is hallucinating, hopelessly. If I intended the post to be a criticism of the Australian government, or official immigration policy, I would have tagged the post as such. I tagged it 'online racism' because that's what the post is about. Next :
How could any sensible person reach the conclusion that Mason did?
How could any person with half a brain read the above post and conclude I was blaming the Australian government for that appalling website?

Keep lying, keep trying, Dan.

And better luck next time.

Darryl Mason is the author of the free, online novel ED Day : Dead Sydney. You can read it here
This is what a coal seam, in NSW's Upper Hunter, looks like before the bulldozers and miners move in. So fragile, you can snap off pieces and throw them straight into your fire.

Photos By Darryl Mason

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wallaby, Brunkerville, New South Wales, April 2011

Wallaby joey, about 14 months old :

Monday, May 02, 2011

As Australian As Ostrahyun

Photo By Darryl Mason

Some of these 'You Know You're An Australian When....' lines from this Reddit thread are as old as faxed office joke sheets, some are more current, but many seem echoes of an Australian era already fading in our cultural rear view mirror :
  • You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

  • You've made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden.

  • You're liable to burst out laughing whenever you hear of Americans "rooting" for something.

  • You pronounce Melbourne as 'Mel-bn'.

  • You pronounce Penrith as 'Pen-riff'.

  • You can translate: 'Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas.'

  • You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.

  • You call your best friend 'a total bastard' but someone you really, truly despise is just 'a bit of a bastard'.

  • You're secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

  • You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis.

  • Hamburger with Beetroot? Of course!

  • You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of The Angels song 'Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again'.

  • You believe that the confectionery known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year.

  • You believe that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

  • You believe that the more you shorten someones name the more you like them.

  • You understand that 'excuse me' can sound rude, while 'scuse me' is always polite.

  • You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle and a seat belt buckle becomes a pretty good branding iron.

  • Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket.

  • You believe the phrase 'smart casual' refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered.

  • You know how to abbreviate every word, all of which usually end in O: arvo, combo, garbo, kero, lezzo, metho, milko, muso, rego, servo, smoko, speedo, righto etc.

  • You know that the barbeque is a political arena; the person holding the tongs is always the boss and usually a man. And the women make the salad.

  • You say 'no worries' quite often, whether you realise it or not.

  • You know that roo meat tastes pretty good, but not as good as barra. Or a meat pie.

  • You 'rock up' for meetings.

  • You know what the word "girt" means.

  • Where you live is technically still in a drought but your house is underwater from a flood.
More Here