Friday, February 29, 2008

This doesn't help...

...Me overcome my wildly inappropriate, sinful, degenerate heterosexual crush.

I'm referring of course to La Williams. Here she is accepting a HRC award for her bit championing The Cause - and also a brief outline of her fairly impressive career so far, including being the first African-American Miss America to speak out as pro-choice:

The speech is long and gets a bit cheesy towards the end - but seriously, if I could ever have an older sister as hot, talented, intelligent and articulate as this woman, I'd be a happy little gay boy brother.

(PS - Becki Newton, adorable much?)

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oh goody

I see that in opposition, the Liberonals are going to be every bit as professional, well-mannered, courteous and respectful of parliamentary procedure as they were in government.

Guys: You lost. Move. The. Fuck. On.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

In defence of Adelaide...again

Poor Rads. Sometimes I think it's its own worst enemy.

I was following the 'backwater' debate with a certain bemusement. I found it interesting coming from a Victorian premier, since it was only as recently as less than 20 years ago that Melbourne could reasonably be labelled the country's backwater. Like South Australia, it was struggling under an incompetent state government and the subject of ridicule nationwide, particularly from its bigger brother, the Emerald City.

How things change. Unpatriotic as it may be for me to say, Melbourne, like Brisbane, is leaving Sydney in its dust right now. Here we have to deal every day with this abomination of a government and at the current growth rates, Melbourne could actually have a greater population within a lifetime. The Brisbane/Gold Coast/Noosa megopolis won't be far off either.

But it's not enough for South Australians to bear the brunt of criticism from other states; now its own treasurer is sticking the boot in. Sadly, what Kevin Foley says has a ring of truth to it - Adelaide does invariably have a greater resistance to development than most other capitals, perhaps because on average it has an older population.

But Foley's words also reveal precisely what's so wrong with the Rann government, and perhaps modern governments generally. As well as essentially ditching the Dunstan legacy - the man who dragged the state kicking and screaming into the 20th century - Foley dismisses opposition leader Martin Hamilton-Smith's recent outlining of - gasp - a long-term vision. In Foley world, 'we have a vision quite simply. We want to manage our economy and finances well'.

Uhh - that's it? A good economy? How awe-inspiring. How captivating.

Whatever might be flawed with Hamilton-Smith's vision, at least he's managed to articulate one - any kind of vision. And what's the point of a government if it has no serious long-term plan for its state and residents? Are they just there, as Foley seems to imply, to ensure next year's budget is in the black?

I understand why Foley is so ruthless about the economy - SA was pretty much shut down for business right throughout the 90s and only recovered through some much-needed penny-pinching. Labor had to regain its economic cred if it ever hoped to get re-elected - which, in the people's minds at least, it must have done given its trouncing of the opposition at the last state election.

But somebody really should tell Foley that hey, relax, it's ok now to look beyond stocking up the piggy bank. The money's there. The resources boom should ensure it'll stay topped up for at least a few more years to come. The government can actually plan for something longer than the length of its nose.

At a minimum, Adelaide should follow Perth's and Brisbane's lead and upgrade its antiquated public transport system. It is the perfect city - flat, small but spread out with wide roads - for a clean and green light rail system. Extending the Glenelg tram line by a few kms is a start but there's much, much more to be done.

Going back to Adelaide for Easter/XMas/birthdays etc I see that change is happening - slowly, as is its wont, but surely. And as somebody who no longer lives there, it's infuriating to see how few South Australians appear to realise how good they have it if they bothered to notice. Low cost of living, including (relatively) rents and property prices. A coastline within a 10-minute driving distance that's not quite as impressive as Sydney's, but shits on Melbourne's. Wineries producing some of the world's best drops north, south and east. A constant array of world-class festivals. Magnificent produce. Cheap and accessible parking. Cab drivers who know where they're going (though apparently that's gradually disappearing). And hey - nearly a whole decade now without any bizarre ritualistic serial killings, yay! All stuff you take for granted, as I did, when you live in it every day, but when you move away and it's no longer there you realise how special it is.

South Australians need not be so masochistic about their state - it's actually not that bad. The potential is great. Melbourne pulled itself out of a hole, so can Adelaide. But the place definitely needs a new vision, and contrary to what Foley might say, a visionary in the Dunstan mould. If that makes me a 'whinger' to say so, whatevs.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why renting is a knut

(With nods, apologies and possibly royalties to Comic should she bring out the lawyers.)

  • $220 for removalists to move all QP's shit into bf's much nicer place: Tick.
  • $215 for cleaners to joan* it up so QP could get all the bond back for himself and ex-flatmate: Tick.
  • 2 full days including one off work to move into said nicer place where moving in is forbidden on weekends: Tick.
  • Sore back and arch of right foot: Tick.
  • Much satisfaction and pride despite aforementioned pain when last object was unpacked from last box and strategically placed in new location on Friday: Tick.
  • Ominous visit on following Saturday morning from owner of subject location and various accompanying family members, including very enthusiastic-looking daughter: Tick.
  • Comments heard on Saturday directed to said daughter including but not limited to 'Wow, you have a bathtub! (Unknown person) is going to be so jealous!' Tick.
  • 60-day notice period issued to QP and bf 2 days later on Monday evening: Tick.
  • Expensive 3.5 week Europe trip planned with return tickets purchased for a departure date of, oh, about 62 days from now? Tick.
  • Horrendous Sydney rental market with almost no properties available, such that those that are are overpriced, in poor condition and a shitfight to see/obtain long-term lease for? Tick.
  • Tears and womanesque sobbing from QP: Tick.

(*'Joaning': v To clean and in particular scrub maniacally until all surfaces are essentially reduced to air particles, in a style reminiscent of Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. 'Sheryll-Ann joaned and joaned incessantly as the face cream dripped from her cheekbones, the axe in grasping range, but knew deep down the surfaces would never truly be clean.')

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Sorry is in the ear of the beholder

I changed my Facebook status update to ' sorry' on Wednesday. It was a tiny gesture - some would say tokenistic - but I felt good doing so. I meant what I said, it's how I've felt for years and I'm glad the Prime Minister of my country has finally said so on behalf of our government and parliament.

I'm still trying to get my head around what it is exactly about Kevin Rudd saying 'We are sorry' on Wednesday that appears to have some people so genuinely furious, saddened or both. I've narrowed the objections down to those I see most frequently occurring:

1. We should not be held personally accountable for the actions of previous generations.

And we're not. Refusing to establish a public compensation fund - not to mention all the State-level government apologies not resulting in dozens of civil lawsuits - reflect that the apology is more about acknowledgement and expression of regret than personal liability. Sure, there are a few indigenous activists, indeed a few white folk too, who believe an apology is moot without financial compensation, and may even accordingly bring actions citing this apology as an admission of guilt - but I strongly believe the overwhelming majority of indigenous Australians, and the (bare) majority of the rest of us are happy with 'Sorry' as a symbolic gesture of friendship and goodwill, a means of moving on from the past to address and attempt to rectify the many third-world level poverty issues facing way too many citizens of a first-world nation.

2. Sometimes forcibly removing indigenous children from their original homes was the best thing that could be done for them.

In some cases, probably true. Devine Ms M plays this card when citing an aboriginal woman who was 'personally glad I was taken because I don't know what would have happened. I was constantly being raped by my brother and he was raping my siblings'.

Here is precisely the significance of this entry's title: Sorry is in the ear of the beholder. If there are indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from health or life-threatening conditions, and are consequently grateful that they had access to hitherto unknown opportunities and a functional family unit, then they don't need to hear the word 'sorry', so they won't.

Think about it: How many times have you had a friend/family member/lover/baker/whatever say 'sorry' to you for something, and you're genuinely caught off-guard as you weren't aware they had done anything for which to apologise? Do you wail, 'No, dammit, retract your apology now!' Or do you pause, say awkwardly, 'Umm, that's ok...' or 'You don't need to apologise, we're cool' and move on? In other words, an apology has two components - the giver and recipient. It's only complete if both parties are on the same page for it.

There are many indigenous Australians who did need to hear the word for their own healing - that's who the apology was for. And at no point did Rudd ever claim to apologise on behalf of every single Australian. It was on behalf of the elected government and parliament, all of whose members - bar a few heartless ratbags - supported the gesture.

3. They had good intentions.

So bleated Brendan Nelson in his lame follow-up to Rudd's inspiring speech. 'Many decent Australians are hurt by accusations of theft in relation to their good intentions.'

Remember the Simmos ep where Ned Flanders goes loopy loo after all the residents of Springfield crappily rebuild his hurricane-flattened house that eventually collapses again under its own shoddy craftspersonship? Marge wails how everybody meant well and worked really hard, to which crazy Ned spits: 'Well my family can't live in good intentions Marge!' That's one of the thoughts I had when hearing Nelson.

Another thought I had involved casting my mind back to the mid-20th century and the days of electro-shock aversion therapy being used to 'cure' homos. I wonder if there are any gay men still alive today who endured this 'therapy' against their will, and how they might respond when told, 'well hey, we meant well. We thought you were a filthy degenerate pervert and needed to cure you. Woop! Our bad. We know better now'.

Indigenous Australians (half-castes in particular) taken against their will from their families as part of a policy designed ultimately to wipe out the race probably don't give a right-royal fuck about hearing that some of the public servants and lawmakers at the time meant well doing so. Like most crimes, motive or intent is ultimately an extraneous factor - the atrocity occurs, and when the apology is delivered it needs to be without equivocation, or else it becomes diluted.

Nelson walked, and ultimately fell from a precarious tightrope trying to balance the sympathetic beliefs he once held with the obligations he now has to the NSW Lib hard-right bovvers who delivered him party leadership over Malcolm Turnbull. He should have just stopped at the bit about the Opposition supporting the apology. Trying to qualify that in some cases it was for the darkies' own good was patronising, paternalistic and offensive. I understand why people turned their back on him.

I'm hearing a lot of people say they feel proud to be Australian again after 13 February 2008. I'm not sure I had stopped being proud to be Australian altogether during the Howard years - pride was tested and stretched, certainly - but I certainly feel prouder this week. Rudd's off to a flying start.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Invasion of the Hillarys

Heh. I think I came across a Facebook social group based on this, and I didn't really get it at first, but now I do. It's quite ... terrifying.

As y'all know, I'm a Hillary man. I'm not at Hillary Is Our Lord And Saviour levels like a lot of folk appear to be, but I hope she wins. Right now the world needs a Hillary, not an Obama (hopefully it will though by '12 or '16, and extra hopefully he'll make an outstanding VP in the meantime).

But mercy me, the woman points a lot. You notice that? Watch her approach any podium and/or do any meet-and-greet with the great unwashed, and you'll see she loves her knowing points.

Case in point: (*rolls eyes*)


The Facebook group I mentioned above draws eerie parallels between Hillary and, well, evil pod replicants from another world:


I don't know about you, but I find the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers one of the genuinely creepiest, most unsettling films I've ever seen. It came at the tail end of all those great 70s horror flicks about replacement people, starting with Westworld and carrying through into The Stepford Wives - tapping into fear of the emergent robot technology of the time, I guess. Opening scenes to suggest something is horribly, horribly wrong are as subtle as a priest swinging care-free in a children's playground, through to random extras in the background of a busy city backdrop fleeing in terror - but ignored by the fore characters.

And maybe that's why the Hillary Point is so freaky - if she has been replaced by a pod replicant as part of their fiendish plot to take over the world by substituting its most powerful figure, they've done it so gradually and effortlessly that no-one's even noticed.


I hope I'm not supporting a pod person for President of the United States. That'd be soooo awkward.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Common sense cuts

Does anybody else find it really difficult to take Kevin Rudd seriously as he bangs on incessantly about battling the inflation boogieman through public service razor gangs and capping MP salaries? Yeah - that'll make a huge difference, I'm sure.

Room: Overspending in the economy. Elephant: $31b in tax cuts that feeds overspending like, well, an elephant at Taronga.

It was one of Rudd's more foolish pre-election me-toos, in which he allowed himself to be painted into a corner to (almost) match Howard's irresponsible spending orgy and not lose votes accordingly. As the always-on-the-ball Ross Gittins argues, it's a pre-election promise Labor should scrap if they're serious about curbing inflation - but of course, they won't.

Maybe it's time for some tough love, to tell the Effluents of Kellyville what Howard never would - that no, it is not in fact your inalienable right to live far beyond your means inside an energy/environmental/good taste-guzzling McMansion with your Ford Territory Child Killer Ghia in the driveway and cinema-size plasma in the living room. And before I'm accused of being cubist (discriminatory against Cashed-Up Bogans), it is not anybody's inalienable right to live beyond their means - or at least, not to complain about it if they choose to do so and suffer accordingly.

But I have absolutely no sympathy for mortgagees who consistently voted for Howard, duped by his bullshit claim that he could singlehandedly keep interest rates low, who now whinge about rate rise after rate rise and/or are having their homes foreclosed on. Reap what you sow.

Still, Rudd has once again demonstrated that an alternative is practically non-existent. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, and PS razor gangs will be about as effective solving the problem as using an artist's liner brush to paint the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

All together now, patriots!


'We're happy little Sodomites, as bright as bright can be;
We all enjoy our Sodomites for breakfast, lunch and tea;
Our mummies say we're growing stronger every single week;
Because we LOVE our Sodomites;
We all ADORE our Sodomites;
They put the (*censored*) in every cheek!'

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