Monday, July 31, 2006

Smuh Fame Whoredom

So for the second time since I relocated to Sydney, The SMH (or "Smuh") has deigned to publish my insane, nonsensical ravings:

Fascinating. In defending the latest predicted interest rate rise, John Howard claims that no leader has ever been able to foresee natural disasters or rising petrol prices ("Rate rise won't be our fault, PM tells fearful MPs", July 27). Yet, in 2004, Mr Howard was able to foresee that interest rates would remain lower under his Government than they would under a Labor government.

It sounds like the Prime Minister should take his crystal ball back to the shop. Clearly, it's not functioning at 100 per cent efficiency.

Sam Butler Woollahra

Admittedly, it's two from five, so I only have a 20% batting average. Still, interesting that I only seem to get a look-in for publishing when I stopped being Sam Butler, Stanmore and started being Sam Butler, Woollahra. Methinks the Smuh has a soft spot for the "charsoes" (chardy socialists) of the inner east of Sydney who don't actually reckon John Howard's sun shines out the proxy arse of Malcolm Turnbull.

(On this, however, note The Poll Bludger's fascinating analysis of Wentworth, floating the delicious possibility of this seat having a greater chance than ever before of having its Blue Ribbon strangehold severed. As I said to him, however, I just can't see the Double Bay/Bellevue Hill matrons accepting a Trot as their federal MP, no matter how much they dislike Howard and how extremely far right he's taken their beloved, theoretically moderate party. Still, you gotta love the thought of the Libs' Golden Boy losing a gift seat after just one term!)

Or, more likely, they were just having a Slow Letter Day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Growing Interest + Summer Time All Year Round

So Uncle Pete's telling those naughty children at the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates - again - otherwise they won't get a banana.

And I'm sure that's because of sound economics and absolutely nothing to do with the Howard government desperately preventing the lie that it can single-handedly keep interest rates low being exposed.

Any half-decent electoral strategy team in the ALP should now temporarily put IR reforms on the back-burner and jump all over this. Make clear there was absolutely no way Howard could have predicted, unless he had a crystal ball, that interest rates would be higher under a Labor government.

What's that - interest rates rose significantly under the Whitlam, Hawke and Keating governments, that's how the Howard government was able to make this forecast?

But, but - what about that non-Labor government that ruled for a bit between Whitlam and Hawke- you know the one, the one with that old guy who bangs on a lot about human rights? Wasn't the average mortgage rate 1.87 percentage points higher than the rate applied under Whitlam?

And who was Treasurer then?

REALLY?! No shit.

I predicted back in September last year that Labor can only win the next election (or, I should really say, the Coalition can only lose the next election) on the proviso that a/ interest rates rise substantially, b/ the full sale of Telstra leads to a total collapse in rural communications; c/ all the dire predictions of Labor and the unions about the government's IR "reforms" obliterating blue-collar worker rights come true; d/ petrol hits $2 a litre, or a combination of all four.

If federal Labor cannot gain and sustain an election-winning margin now, they may as well just officially announce their intention to remain in Opposition for the rest of the 21st century.


You know you might be Too Gay To Function when your IPod, while in random Shuffle mode, plays "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.

Immediately followed by "Macarthur Park" by...Donna Summer.

Immediately followed by "Bad Girls" by...umm...Donna Summer.

Immediately followed by "No More Tears" by - oh! Barbra Streisand, yay. And - oh, Donna Summer.

No foolin, this actually happened to me at work yesterday. So either the Shuffle function on my iPod is screwed or there's just too much Donna in my life.

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She works hard for the money...

Now, Donna - saint or sinner? She still denies ever saying the unfortunate homophobic comments that one typically expects to hear from a Born-again Christian. Unfortunate, in the sense that actually saying such comments in front of a mostly-gay male audience isn't such a great long-term financial strategy when said males constitute most of her audience. In fact, the cynical response to Summer's denial of these statements is that she had to make such a denial in order to sustain a career.

I dunno, though. I mean, what else is "diva" other than an obscure Sicilian word* meaning "demanding, aggressive bitch who sings like an angel but otherwise doesn't have much else good going for her in life or useful to communicate to the world"? Callas, Aguilera, Bassey, etc.

Sometimes you just gotta separate the artist from the persona to fully appreciate their art. Michael Jackson springs to mind here. Donna's record speaks for itself really - perhaps the only female disco singer ever to be also legitimately accepted by modern rock critics.

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Plus, the girl's got a good plastic surgeon.

(*Just made that up.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tasteless Doesn't Necessarily Mean Lazy

Last week, former Big Brother runner-up and shaggy political activist Tim Brunero launched “Lazy Pollie Watch”, a website he described as the first of its kind to expose lazy politicians.

His first target – unsurprisingly for a left-of-centre activist – is the very handsome federal Liberal member Jackie Kelly, who is currently taking what he describes as a “taxpayer funded break” trying not to shatter critical parts of her anatomy in the hilarious (in a laugh at, not with sort of way) Channel 9 B-grade celebrity extravaganza, Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice. Kelly was quick to respond to the website’s launch with a press release highlighting that all sponsorship money raised during her time on the show will go to Mamre House Sudanese Refugee Program, located squarely in the heart of her electorate in Penrith.

Now, far be it for me to defend a staunch Howard loyalist like Kelly, but there is a difference between electoral laziness and a tacky publicity stunt designed to increase a member’s profile and therefore, presumably, her chance of re-election.

Kelly’s fairly impressive electoral record, in fact, speaks for itself. Since winning the seat of Lindsay in 1996, in a victory few saw coming, she has either maintained or increased her margin at successive elections in an area that, until her win, was always solidly Labor voting. Although she has been assisted by a changing demographic – a voter base crammed with the so-called “Howard aspirationals” who have steadily abandoned Labor – presumably Kelly also has some kind of appeal in her electorate. Perhaps Dancing on Ice is a big hit with the residents of Kingswood; in which case, choosing to appear on the show is quite a shrewd move on her part.

I would never assume Kelly is a lazy politician in the way other members in guaranteed seats can afford to be. I’m not suggesting Malcolm Turnbull or Tanya Plibersek are lazy, for example, but the reality is their electoral security in safe Liberal and Labor seats respectively is a luxury Kelly can ill-afford – particularly when interest rates start to raise, as they have already begun to, and the aspiring voters Kelly represents wake up to the Howard lie that he and his government can miraculously keep interest rates low (or at least, lower than a Latham government, as they claimed at the last election) all by themselves.

So while I don’t disagree with the motivation behind Brunero’s website, I’m not sure Kelly is the most appropriate first target. Instead, how about Alan Cadman, 68-year-old member for the ridiculously safe Liberal, Bible-belt seat of Mitchell, who has held his seat since 1974 without ever rising to the ranks of government minister?

Jackie Kelly is making an arse of herself on national television. Isn’t that punishment enough?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Splashing Lovers?

Five simple words:

Darren Hayes was once married.

"Mingling with actors Portia di Rossi and Ellen deGeneres" - oh yeah, coz THAT'S really heterosexual.

Also: eww. How disgusting does he look? That hair is internationally wrong.

Also also: Just because he's got rid of the pearl necklace, doesn't mean he still doesn't like to receive them from "special admirers".

We see you Thorpie, shakin' that ass.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Oz's Evil Green Fantasy Planet + Darren Gayes

I don't know why I bother reading the Oz editorials, I really don't. I guess because they actually seriously criticised the Howard government earlier this year over the AWB scandal, I started to entertain the crazy thought that it was something other than a daily Liberal Party Press Release posing as a broadsheet.

But no - you read about "Howard power(ing) ahead with bold plan" (with a sub-heading poking fun at Steve Bracks) and such hopes are dashed. Still just a press release after all.

But that's not the silliest or most blinkered part of the editorial - scroll past the Howard arse-kissing (and the evils of Hezbollah) and then you get to some old-school Green bashing. The Oz editorial writers are slightly better at articulating the Destroy Greens At All Costs agenda of the Murdoch media than, say, the Herald-Sun editorialists, but as always, a Murdoch newspaper by any other name would be as biased.

Their approach here, with regard to the Greens' harm minimisation approach to hard drugs, is to try and nab their so-called NIMBY supporters - inner-city chardy socialists who apparently never put their money where their mouths are because all the lefty causes they support must only happen at the periphery of their existence - i.e. Not In My Back Yard.

To wit:

"Come November, it will be interesting to see how inner-city voters sympathetic to the Greens feel about the party now that its policies threaten to land, quite literally, on their doorsteps."

Well let's see - how does the Green vote stack up in the polling booths of Tanya Plibersek's seat of Sydney that are centred around the existing Kings Cross injecting room? Bearing in mind Greens' policy supports the existence of this room, and it was opened in 2001:

Kings Cross: Greens primary vote = nearly %26, higher even than the primary Liberal vote. Up over 9% since the 2001 election.

Woolloomooloo: Nearly 19% of the primary vote, up 8%.

Potts Point: Over 20% of the primary vote, up 6%.

So my guess: the inner-city Green sympathisers are pretty cool with it. No hypocrisy about backyard action going on here as far as I can see. Nice try, Ozster.

Oh, and this:

"the party, smelling success at the next election, has become cocky enough to reveal its real agenda to voters."

Well spotted Oz, your sense of smell is so finely-attuned. Shame this "real agenda" has been part of the Greens' policy for years and is clearly and explicitly outlined on their website. But you go anyway Oz. You go.


Just quickly, and completely unrelatedly: Oh.My.God - Darren Hayes is gay??!! Never would've picked that. NEVER. Who're you going to tell me is gay next - Elton John? Ian McKellan?! Anthony Callea??!! My head is swimming.

The reason for my sarcasm: Only a fag could be this, well - faggy:

"Most recently, I've been moving toward a career that is more closely aligned with 'art' than it is 'commerce'. And in keeping on this trajectory - I have become increasingly more emotionally authentic in my music, writing and my relationship to my audience. "

"I'm proud of who I am, and after what felt like an eternity, I'm finally in a place where my heart is secure and content. And I can finally make sense of all of the searching."

Oh Darren. What can I say really, other than:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If It Can Happen There...

More ammo for the "gay marriage leads to the death of society" doomsayers. In fact, you can hear it being loaded. *click*

For those of you following at home, here are the stages of the Gay Marriage ---> Paedophilia conveyor belt:

1/ Gay marriage is legalised in the Netherlands;

2/ A Dutch court has overturned a ban on a political party that campaigns for an age of consent reduction from 16 to 12 (essentially, paedophilia);

3/ So if we allow gay marriage here, following the Dutch precedent we would naturally have to permit a paeophile party the right to legal existence;

4/ That party could win a Senate spot and paedophilia might then be legalised;

5/ That is, same-sex marriage eventually ----> paedophilia;


For the record, I don't think an age of consent for any sexual activity should be lower than 16, so I would never support a party arguing for a change to 12 as one of its core policies. (I'm also not big on beastiality either. "Moo", like "no", can never mean "yes.")

But then, there are core policies of a lot of fringe parties with which I don't agree. I don't agree with One Nation's policy of "abolishing the divisive policy of multiculturalism", for example. I don't agree with Family First's opposition to the medical procedure of abortion, or its refusal to acknolwedge non-traditional families. I don't agree with the Christian Democrats' opposition to adoption by same-sex couples.

That's why I don't vote for them.

But who am I to argue they shouldn't exist? Their right to present themselves and their unfortunate policies in the electoral spectrum is what democracy is all about. If people like a party, they vote for them. If they don't, they don't. The party with the most votes wins; the ones with the least votes get nothing (unless they're Family First and can whore themselves a sweet preference deal with Labor).

And that's my point: just because a party exists in the Netherlands with some fairly extreme policies, such as the PNVD, does not automatically mean there is a large percentage of the Dutch population that supports such policies and will therefore vote them in. I don't imagine that party would get many more votes than HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) gets here (787 first preference votes, or 0.01%, at the last federal election). A survey showing that 82% of the population wants the Dutch government to do something to stop the party (and, I would wager, a further 17% not wishing to vote for it even if the government allows its right to exist) is a pretty strong argument.

But hey - I'm sure this won't stop Bolt or Albrechtsen or Akerman or Devine or (fill-in-the-blank) bringing out a slippery slope argument. "It's Mabo, it's the vibe", they'll suggest. A political climate in which same-sex marriage is the norm is the natural breeding ground for paedophilia, they'll imply.

In fact, you can even smell a whiff of the vibe in the Reuters' reporting on this story, reminding us that the Netherlands "already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage". Never mind the fact it DOESN'T have a liberal policy on age of consent - 16 is not liberal, merely common sense - the hint of worse to come must still be evident.

I'm not trivialising the sexual abuse of children - it's sick, full stop. But I am saying I agree with the ruling of the court. And I reckon, sometime soon, one of the abovementioned or other quality News Ltd/Fairfax columnists will prove my psychic phenomenon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Feeling a Thunder in His Pants

Leo Sayer, circa 1977:

Leo today.

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Hands up anybody who reckons his hair has actually moved in 29 years?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why I Believe Peter

Can't stop to chat. SX column instead. *zip*

For me, trying to figure out who is telling the truth regarding the latest revelation of an alleged leadership agreement between John Howard and Peter Costello, and thus determine who is the more “honest” man of the two, is a little akin to picking somebody to root for in Freddy vs Jason.

It’s risible to hear Costello attempting to take the moral high ground on telling the truth. He insists: “My parents always told me: ‘If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear by telling the truth.’ And I told the truth.” Noble sentiments indeed, but this does not really explain why Costello has, until now, consistently denied the existence of a leadership agreement for so many years. Has he been lying in the past, or is he lying now?

We must also take with a grain of salt his assertion that he is not actively seeking to undermine Howard’s credibility and honesty – rather, he has merely reacted “truthfully” to a statement from a former minister who claims to have taken minutes at the disputed meeting. Sadly, this wouldn’t be the first time a politician has worked behind the scenes to orchestrate a scenario in which it appears on the surface they have no direct involvement, but which ultimately benefits them or discredits their opponent.

Indeed, such maneuvering is essential in federal politics, and it’s a skill Howard has mastered to remain in politics for over thirty years and Prime Minister for over ten. Costello claims the reason Howard asked him not to nominate for the Liberal leadership prior to the Coalition winning government was that “he did not want a vote in the party room”. Bear in mind that, back then, Howard was already a failed Liberal leader with very little electoral appeal. Perhaps he was not as certain then as he is now that he had the guaranteed numbers to win a party room vote. His first term as Prime Minister certainly validated any doubts about Howard’s appeal – after a resounding thumping of the incredibly unpopular Keating government in 1996, the successive Howard government in turn was almost voted out by 1998. Technically, more Australians actually voted for Kym Beazley to be Prime Minister, less than only three years after Labor were so comprehensively annihilated!

Perhaps Howard was more prepared to cede leadership before the 2001 election, as the alleged deal stipulated, but being the brilliant opportunist he is saw in Tampa and September 11 – two monumental, unforeseen events occurring within about a month of each other and just before that year’s election – a prime opportunity to exploit people’s insecurities about national security and general xenophobia. At that point, any leadership agreement wasn’t worth any more than a politician’s claim to tell the truth.

That’s why we still have the displeasure of Howard’s company. And why I pick Peter.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Exfoliate! Exfoliate!!!

See, this is inevitably what happens when you let the creator of Queer as Folk resurrect Doctor Who:

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These homos just can't help themselves. Here, there, everywhere, it's all about The Agenda: Convert, Convert, Convert!!

We see you Davies, shaking that ass. What's next - the TARDIS materialising in the middle of a FOAM PARTY?!


Seriously though, Season Two's pretty damn good - fixes up a lot of the teething problems of Season One quite admirably. David Tennant is far and away the spunkiest Doctor of all time. Some fantastic special guest appearances (Pauline Collins, Zoe Wanamaker, Anthony Stewart Head, Penelope Wilton, Maureen Lipman, Shirley Henderson etc), the touching return of arguably the best DW companion of all time, the less touching return of the Doctor's second-greatest foes and production values on par with a Hollywood action movie.

Not quite as gay as Season One but still has its "moments". Avoid the episode "Love and Monsters" (which will show on the ABC in about 11 weeks' time) like the plague, it's Russell's spectacularly awful attempt not just to mix his QAF and Casanova sensibilities into DW but actually overpower with them. I guess the guy's allowed to fuck-up once or twice but how the BBC managed to green-light this story I'll never understand.

And no - there aren't really any gay Daleks. Quite a tantalising concept though, innit?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ABC Biased - to the Right

So this must be part of the conversatives' bold plan to restore editorial balance and impartiality to the ABC - Howard's mates on its stacked Board ensuring a tell-all biography of his Number 1 radio mouthpiece is not published? Go conservatives.

Mike Carlton - whose children I've often entertained the thought of having - hits the nail on the head: Jonsey doesn't want to be outed as the self-loathing fag he is.* But, frankly, DUH. Everybody already knows. In fact, notice how 2GB's response to Carlton doesn't actually counter his claims, merely runs around him in the playground shrieking "nah nah, ne nah nah, we've got better ratings. Your mum's on the welfare and you smell like a poo-head."

Chris Masters should find another publisher - and any publisher that actually enjoys making money will snap this up in a second. Phillip Adams' money is on Penguin, Allen & Unwin or Melbourne University Press. Then when, for example, Penguin makes an absolute shitload of profit which is not cancelled out by consequent legal fees fighting Jones, we can thank Windschuttle, Brunton and Tell-Us-About-It Janet for so prudently protecting Aunty's financial standing.

Because that's what this is all about, isn't it? Nothing to do with a right-wing bias within the ABC Board, surely.

(*Don't get me wrong, I love a right-leaning fag as much as the next queen. They're quite novel, and compelling in a paradoxical kind of way, not unlike watching Eminem pretending to be a well-endowed black rapper. But I draw the line at Jones, Chris Pearson or Professor Flinty. They're just....scary.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

God Help Them, They Were Only 9, 10

Haven't had net access at home (long story) and week from hell at work. Also, nothing really going on to boil my potato.

Although, a few thoughts about the Nanna (Nine) and Infant (Ten) stations respectively: Why the hell do people seem to be so offended by Jessica Rowe? Her emaciated frame and dykesque coiff do nothing for me personally but at the same time I don't feel particularly distressed about her existence. For all her shortcomings she has more personality than Karl Stefawhatever, the sports guy, Richard Wilkins and Stevie Jacobs combined.

Also, isn't it a bit of a double-standard for Fast Eddie to get his sensible Holeproof (I imagine) knickers in a knot about Jessica but not also to be wishing to shaft Karl? Why is it blokes on TV can be as dull and lifeless as they want but as soon as a woman is underperforming, she's canned? I get that Nine invested substantially in poaching Jessica from Ten but really, what were they expecting from a news reporter? Their job is predicated on reading out somebody else's work. It's not as though they can imbue a news cast with wacky mother-in-law jokes or their own unique interpretive dance moves. THEY READ AN AUTOCUE!! Perhaps if Nine wanted someone a bit quicker at thinking on her feet or coming up with improvised banter that didn't feel as scripted and useless as a Richard Wilkins film review, they should have not gone to a news room? Or is Australia so bereft of talent that being a news reader also automatically qualifies as a TV "personality"? Perhaps we can start nominating them for Gold Logies now? This might undermine the Logies' credibility, however...




And broadly, why is morning TV now considered such a key ratings battlefield? Sure, Sunrise keeps beating Today, but my understanding is that a good morning for Sunrise is to get 400,000 people. Hell, the ABC would get that many people watching the New Inventors! It's not like it's breakfast radio that people actually listen to in the background while they pile the Veg onto their toast. Ten, like most of us, must be wondering what the fuss is all about.

Did someone say Ten (segue segue segue)?

I'm a cynical sort of person, I suppose. When I first heard about the sexual assault controversy my first reaction was not "poor Camilla" or "what degenerate filth! Get the filthy lesbians off the screen and BURN THEM ON THE STAKE!!" (Family First's Steve Fielding's response, even after he was informed this season has no lesbians), it was: "Man, some exec at Ten is ejaculating into his soy decaf. This is gold. This is the Big Thing on Oz Big Brother that happens every year in some form on the UK version but one we've never managed to replicate in Australia, until now. Yay!! (thought the exec, dancing about with a wet patch over his crotch)"

The ratings will soar now. Ten couldn't have hoped for anything more opportune if they didn't secretly whisper into Ashley and John's headpieces to do it themselves (hrm, there's a conspiratorial thought...)

Perhaps feeling unloved at all the media focus on their mean older brother Nine last week, Ten has dropped precisely the right attention-seeking poo on the kitchen rug.

In response, Gretel has formed a reasoned and articulate reply...out of her arse:

"Today, and presumably for the remainder of the week, you may be inundated with exaggerated ill-informed stories in the media which do nothing but perpetuate ignorance and hurt those involved...Ashley and John were fantastic housemates, bringing joy not only to their fellow housemates but to Australia as a whole, and we're very sorry that one foolish incident on their behalf has led to them leaving."

Erm, assuming the accusation is true - that one guy held Camilla down while she was asleep as the other guy dangled his cock in her face - I'm not sure where "exaggeration" or "ill information" comes into it. Sure, they're probably no more or less depraved than most of the BB contestants, but what they've done is pretty sick. It would have been nice of Gretel, as the intelligent woman she is underneath all the Botox, perhaps to make a statement of solidarity. You know, something along the lines of how taking advantage of a woman while she's asleep is not on, how as a woman herself she was appalled by what she saw, that what some men might think is "funny" can actually constitute a form of abuse, etc - not a defence of the men involved and a dismissal of their actions as merely "one foolish incident" from "fantastic housemates".

Guess that's too much to expect. Meh.