Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Eczema Everybody!

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I don't think this chap has eczema...

Anybody making a joke about wanting *this* Santa to "come down his chimney" will be treated with the contempt he deserves...

Heading back to the 'laide for XMa so postings will probably be a little thin over the next week.

Loves youse all - even those of you I don't like.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Silly Season?

So I'm noticing - and apparently, so are others - that shows popping up in the non-ratings season aren't so bad. In fact, is this season better than ratings period?

Look what we've been given: Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Veronica Mars, Will & Grace (which is partially back to its glorious original form)...Even the not-so-good stuff - Charmed (two seasons past its use-by date), Smallville (loving the man candy but otherwise not much else), Medium (I refuse to classify Patricia Arquette as an "actor" and would rather see Rosanna or, gawd, David any day instead), Two and a Half Men etc is still better at its worst than some of the reality TV crap we had to put up with during ratings season (Australian Princess, anyone? X-Factor? Anybody? No? Dust?) was at its best.

Of course, you don't need to search the clock too thoroughly to find the clue as to what's the secret to better television: NO F*CKING REALITY TV!!

Yes, TV shows that actually still use actors and writers. That actually have these crazy gadgets called "production values". Where overly-shiny nothings aren't given 15 minutes of delusion that they're talented or interesting.


Meanwhile - grr - I managed to forget to watch the final Queer as Folk.


Caught the last 5 minutes and loved Brian and Justin not actually ending up together. Not because I'm a bitter, cynical old bitch (shut up. Seriously), but because it made a nice change to other long-running US shows resolving with gratuitous and contrived coupling (Sex and the City, anyone? Friends? Dust?) when reality - ie, people can be successful and functional as singles (!!!!!) and focus on other things in their lives than getting partnered - is much more satisfying.

So here's my SX tribute to QAF. Monday evenings are going to feel a lot lonelier now.


I don’t think I’ll be the only person who misses the US Queer as Folk now that the final episode has been shown on SBS, never again to be introduced with the pornographic voice of Robbie McGregor as he warns us in his uniquely seductive tones of its “…adult themes”.

Sure, it’s easy to find fault with the more stylised and less realistic version of the original, gritty British product. Maybe it was a little too politically correct, especially in the final season. Maybe it was not wholly representative, particularly of queer women. Maybe Gale Harold, while undeniably handsome as Brian, didn’t quite have that raw, “I know you want me to fuck you” sexual magnitude to be entirely convincing as a guy who was meant to have rooted the entire gay male population of Pittsburgh.

But let’s not bash QAF too much – after all, if the show taught us nothing else, it’s that there’s a huge queue of homophobes and “family” groups only too willing to do that. Instead, let’s remember what the show did that was so ground-breaking and revolutionary.

Firstly, it took queer characters in television from the periphery and dumped them squarely in the middle. No longer were we just “nice” Matt in Melrose Place or camp comedy relief Jack in Will and Grace; we were queer folks in our entirety – political, promiscuous, crystal junkies, parents, artists, positive, sex workers, conservative and successful. It is unrealistic to assume only one show could encapsulate queer sexuality – but when you look back on all the characters and storylines covered, it came pretty bloody close!

Secondly, QAF developed a strong following beyond the queer community. For all its commentary on social and political issues, it was also good, solid soap that generated water-cooler gossip across the country’s greatest and straightest.

Thirdly, QAF educated the world on queers living beyond the pink ghettos. As the original was set in Manchester and not Soho, London, so too, was the US version set in industrialised Pittsburgh and not Castro Street or a New York village. OK, so it was filmed in Toronto, but let’s take a little bit of creative licence long enough to appreciate its message that queers are everywhere and sometimes even working class.

Finally, QAF brought buffed, leather-clad, cage-dancing young things into our living rooms at 10pm every Monday evening. When all politics is said and done, what’s a little gratuituous objectification between homo friends?

I’m now strongly hoping something new will spring up in QAF’s vacant place. I’m not keen on reverting to seeing my imaginary queer friends merely popping in and out as the wacky sidekick or snogging a bi-curious Neighbour moments before fleeing to the other side of the world.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A World of Rong

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I guess some masochistic part of me has always wondered what John might look like stepping out for a big night out on the Golden Mile (Oxford Street). Nice of his mum to come along with him.

As if I wasn't nauseous enough this morning nursing a headache from last night's work XMas festivities...And as a wise young man has already pointed out to me: what sort of lame company has their Xmas party on a school night? Lame!

So much pain in the world...and specifically, my head.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Yes, I guess I've been avoiding a very large elephant in the blog room - the riots that have happened/are happening here in Sydney. Well, not so much Sydney as the Shoire, which in my offensively elitest way I don't really count as Sydney.

That's my ignorance shining through, though. I've been to Cronulla beach, I think, three times in my life. Seems OK but really not my scene. Bondi isn't either. Personally, I don't think you can go past Bronte for Sydney's best beach, followed by Coogee.

Anyway, I really don't know much about Sutherland/Cronulla other than what ex or current residents have told me and general stereotypical representations, so I don't want to claim to be an expert on the area or provide solutions for what is obviously a very involved situation with a long history.

But I do have a few thoughts:

1/ Calling the events of the weekend "race riots" and pinning it all on "racism" is, with respect, a little simplistic. As I've suggested on Gay Erasmus' site, this seems to me to be not so much racism as tribalism along racial/ethnic lines. That might sound a little pedantic but it strikes me that Shire residents are and always have been very parochial about "their" area and unwelcoming towards not just the "Lebs" but any other non-Anglo race that might dare cross the Captain Cook Bridge.

2/ Racists clearly exist on both sides of the fence here. Yes, the Anglo riot initiators of this weekend are a bunch of racist yobbo bogans, but so too, to my mind, are the Lebanese Muslims (I make the distinction unlike many other people who don't seem able to recognise that a lot of Lebanese migrants to Australia were/are actually Christian) who beat up an Anglo life saver or who jeer at white woman along Cronulla beach for being "immodest".

And sorry, but I don't buy the "years of built-up racism/racist policies/racist government alienating and disenfranchising Muslim people who take out their frustrations violently" argument. The country has certainly become more racist under John Howard's reign, particularly when he was silently agreeing with Pauline Hanson by not unqualifiedly and comprehensively rejecting her racist bullshit, but adults still have free will and a choice, which is why the bulk of Muslims or Lebanese people or Lebanese Mulsims will be as outraged and appalled as the rest of the population by the actions of an aggressive minority of its men.

Any man or woman of whatever racial, ethnic, religious or socio-economic persuasion who initiated violence this weekend should be punished equally for putting lives at risk of innocent bystanders and residents and damage to property.

3/ The whole point of multiculturalism is reciprocity. Anglos have no right to make non-Anglos feel unwelcome to swim at any beach, just as non-Anglos have no right to try and impose their dogma upon people, especially women.

4/ Alan Jones deserves to go to prison. If this is not incitement to commit violence, I'm at a loss as to what is.

There are quite a few bloggers who've done some intelligent, sensible analysis of the situation, without resorting to standard Right maxims of "multiculturalism has failed, Islamists won't assimilate" etc or Left maxims of "we're a bunch of racist rednecks, it's all the skips' fault" etc. Darp, GE and - somehow - Tim Blair are all worth a read on the subject.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Things I'm Learning This Week

UPDATE: 10. Not that I needed it, but another affirmation why I am correct and just in never, ever voting Liberal.

According to this Roy Morgan poll, Liberal voters' favourite shows include:

Today Tonight

A Current Affair

60 Minutes

Business Sunday


Better Homes and Gardens

The Great Outdoors

Dancing with the Stars

The defence rests, your Honour.

1. When you haven't done squats at the gym for a while, and you don't do them 100% correctly, your inner thighs hurt like shit and you look like a doofus when you have to stop moving while walking to the train station the next morning because momentarily you, literally, cannot move your legs for the pain.

2. Sam is just way, way too similar to me. Same name and similar age (shut up), general profession, colouring, interests (although the heathen does not truly appreciate the sanctity of Penguin), and now that we're net buds we have this habit of typing the same thing at the same time - usually a (fill in the blank with a Simpsons or Oz TV show) quote in response to something the other one has said. Plus we learned this week during a disgustingly hot Sydney summer day that we both have excessive sweat issews. Eww, I know, but this is an illustrative point. We're now investigating any possiblity of swapping-at-birth, Big Business-esque shananigans.

PS - I'm so the Bette.

3. Trying to determine which one of two of your closest friends is lying to you is not fun.

4. When I'm shouting at someone down the phone, I'm able to maintain some degree of Smooth Operation and not allow my fury to greatly overshadow my articulation.

5. It looks as though I was right about J-Ho being the silent orchestrator of the Gerard scandal after all - Peter Costello's very ungracious retreat from the leadership has got to be the proof in the proverbial of this.

6. If there's a medical emergency and an ambulance is called, and if while driving quickly and illegally through traffic to get to said emergency ASAP that ambulance hits someone, a second ambulance must be called to attend to the second victim while the original ambulance must continue to the original emergency. I'd always assumed this was the case but didn't know for sure. Thanks to Harley for the clarification. Just think: driving to an emergency after you've just yourself personally created another one can't be pleasant.

7. There's this great sorta Cheap'n'Cheerful seafood place in Redfern (on Bourke st) called Peter's. The decor is deliciously shoddy and tacky and on busy evenings the bouzouki hanging on the wall, delightfully mispronounced by my mum a couple of times as a "bazooka", takes centre stage (I was there on a Monday night though so missed out on this joyous event). The mood is totally unpretentious, the people who work there genuinely pleasant and engaging, and I had the best calamari there I've ever had in my life. Do youseselves a favour.

8. There are cockroaches the size of kittens in and around my apartment building. I thought I'd seen all that Sydney bug culture has to offer but once again I'm unpleasantly surprised.

9. Headland isn't particularly good. But - scarily, it is one of the better Aussie soaps offered in the last 10 years, keeping in mind Paradise Beach, Pacific Drive, Echo Point, Sweat, Fireflies, Young Lions and the final season of Secret Life.

I've probably learned more than 9 things this week, but as even 9 is above the "learn something new every day" average for one week, I'm still a happy camper.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

In Defence of Kym

So I had my folks over for the weekend, which was noice.

My Dad, a very wise man who finally saw the light and stopped voting Liberal after thirty years when the true malevolence of John Howard became unavoidably clear, pointed out to me a few days ago what seems bloody obvious now - that Howard himself leaked news of the Robert Gerard affair because Costello was starting to get too many ants in his I-want-the-fucking-Prime-Ministership-you-miserly-old-bastard! pants.

A random name-dropping aside: I went to school with Robert Gerard Jnr and can safely claim he was a wanker of international proportions who, like his old man, looks uncomfortably like an Angolan lion.

Howard is not going anywhere. The party has no need to dump him for Costello and Howard now has his eyes on the prize of being the longest-serving PM of all time. Now, bearing in mind old Pig Iron had the top job for 17 years in total, that would mean Howard has to win at least 3 more elections. Which means we'd have him until 2016, if not longer.


Meanwhile...It would appear blogger is now in fact *not* on the banned workplace net sites after all. I don't want to jinx myself by saying I can publish posts again but things look quite encouraging today at least.

Here's SX to celebrate (cautiously).

As Opposition Leader Version 2.0, Kym Beazley has often come under fire – including from this column – for playing what seems to be an ongoing game of keeping up with the Jones’, the coveted neighbours in this case being John Howard and his increasingly radical government.

Beazley’s form with regard to anti-terrorism legislation, his effective defence of Howard when condemning Amanda Vanstone for quite sensibly highlighting how “anti-terror” measures are often about the perception rather than reality of increased security, and his recent address to the homophobic Australian Christian Lobby, make him difficult to distinguish from our Prime Minister, and I’ve read more than one wag label him “Howard-lite”.

But much as I’ve been disappointed with Beazley, I acknowledge the difficult position he’s in. Though it pains me to admit, Howard, with the help of the Murdoch media machine, has successfully helped to re-shape the electorate in his own conservative image, and issues of indigenous reconiciliation, severing ties with a redundant monarchy and strengthening relations with our nation’s closest neighbours – key causes of Howard’s predecessor, Paul Keating – now pale into insignificance compared to current fixations with maintaining low interest rates, national security and “protecting” the Family Unit from ever-looming threats, like homosexuality.

Sure, Beazley and the Labor Party could adopt more hardline ideological opposition to the government to maintain some left-wing cred, but unfortunately this just would not win him votes in the marginal seats that inevitably determine our next PM.

Howard’s extreme IR changes are a lifeline to federal Labor – an opportunity for both the party and the trade union movement from which it grew to reassert their relevance and dispel any myth that Howard is a friend to the worker. Beazley now has before him an ideal opportunity to show how and why these changes are less about increasing productivity than about lowering the minimum wage in Australia and smashing union solidarity – Howard’s 30-year political wet dream.

It is likely that the worst repercussions of this legislation will not manifest themselves until after the next election, and Beazley will not be kept on should he lose to Howard a third time. But there is now still at least 2 years for Labor not just to continually expose the many shortcomings of these “reforms”, but also to present an alternative national workplace relations model that is more worker-friendly, while still being careful not to alienate business and employers.

Of course, Labor cannot operate as a “one-issue” party. But Beazley’s recent interview with MCV in which he reasserted Labor’s commitment to comprehensive legislative reform for same-sex couples – and his statement that these reforms are in accordance with his personal beliefs on this issue – was a reminder that “Howard-lite”, for all his vices, is still much healthier for us than the real thing.