December 30, 2004

Horse 265 - My Problems Don't Matter

89,000 people and rising lost their lives when a wall of water hit loats of places all over the Indian Ocean. Whilst I have literally no idea of the extent of the damage in reality nor a real grasp of what is actually being done to help, I can tell you that no matter what is done it will never be called enough.

With $20bn of damage done and the risk of even more people dying through risk os simple diseases due to lack of clean water, I feel rather grateful that I will have a home to go back to on New Years Day. A great deal of people have lost literally everything except their life itself and I hope that my rather pathetic cheque to an aid agency goes a sliver of the way to helping someone.

I won't claim to report any of the politics as I simply have no idea of what is going on than other what I can blag from the morning's papers.

December 28, 2004

Horse 264 -

These words flow from my highly frozen fingers as the rain torments the city and my sense of well-being. Welcome to Melbourne, city of trains and trams that run on time but where you get rain, hail, scorching sun and gale force winds; all in just 20 minutes.

It isn't all good news though. There are parts of this infernal cess-pit of humanity that just make me want to cry. The western suburbs are like a rusty shadow of their former rusty non-glory. Literally vast swathes of the west could fall down at any moment rendering the cardboard box houses and their pitiful inhabitants homeless. In stark contrast, the east houses people who can afford a ninth BMW but still have all the taste and class of a boiled cabbage left on the 112 to St. Kilda on a Wednesday night.

Just who was Kilda, and why have they been granted the status of sainthood?

Spencer St stands out like a wavy mess deliberately designed to look like a melted construction site, Fed Square isn't much better and RMIT (the thing that started all of this) is now a "covered in graffiti" mess of twisted insanity.

At least Melbourne doesn't sleep. You could in theory go to Myer at 02:33am... provided you weren't already re-cardboarding your rusty house.

December 24, 2004

Horse 263 - Close of 2004

2004 was a year that will be consigned to the waste paper basket of history by the time the next Horse is posted. It is there imperative that this one particularly linger for a while until about the 4th of January when normal service will resume. - Celebrity Death Bingo is still open and despite the lack of interest will be given updates throughout 2005. To play simply follow the links and drop a comment. Or email me at or with 10 celebrities who you think will pop the cork in 2005.

On that note 2004 was the year in which Ronald Reagan died. In a case of being late to your own funeral, Mr Reagan forgot that he was actually dead and performed the can can whilst juggling 3 chainsaws and a 1998 Holden Astra - it's amazing what Alzheimers will do to you... it's amazing what Alzheimers will do to you...

2004 was the year of the super-corporation. A representative from the new merger GlaxoSmithKlineTimeWarnerAOLDisneyFoxDeutscheBankDaimler-ChryslerCitibank24hrConvieniences that they expect to be opening a mega-mini-easymart on every street corner by mid 2005. Rival Richard Branson with his Virgin-Everything empire expects to be opening a door at a gala extravaganza (like Starlight Express) in mid May 2005.

2004 was the year that confirmed that the US lied to everyone about the reasons for invading Iraq, yet the people in the US returned George Dubya to power and likewise in lapdog Australia, "Little Johhny" was returned. We are reminded that about 1000 US Troops have died so far and that circa 12000 insurgents have been killed (not counting civillians who do not count and therefore aren't counted). By that logic it's like the US is leading 12-1 before half time.

P-Plate drivers were carefully blamed by the Telegraph. The NSW heard most sides and perhaps have come up with an entirely feasible plan. The most surprising thing about this is that surely this must be the first entirely feasible plan put forward by a NSW State Government since Bradfield in 1923 decided to build a copy of the Tyneside bridge in 4:1 scale.

Syndey's Rail Commuters complained about their trains being late and a service that was not up to par. First it was fare increases, then 97% of trains being late, then it was rail strikes, I mean what else do commuters want? Extra lines in useful areas? CityRail responded to this and hopes to have at least one train a week run all the way to Emu Plains by mid 2008.

Digital TV proved to be an unmittigated success with no commercial stations broadcasting anything but promos for the last 12 months. Likewise Foxtel Digital removed datacasting and the use of the "red button" in line with Digital TV's crapness.

English football once again proved that at national level it can't cut it with David Beckham's penalty joining Gareth Southgate's 1990, Gary Lineaker's 1986 and Nobby Stiles' 1970 penalties in orbit. Plans for a European Space Station have been brought forward as this English method of delivering things into space is cheaper that the ESA's Ariane series.

Late Breaking Bulletins:
The Archers, Ireland's longest running TV drama shown on RTE will now be shown 8 nights a week.
Berlesconi the Italian Prime Minister and European President will also star on TV in a new comedy program to be called Italian Men Behaving Normally.
George W Bush rejects intellegence testing on the basis that he doesn't know what it is, he plans to have it replaced by a new "Ignorance Quotient" to be called QI.

So then in this season of Kamahl Ye Faithful and The Magi Roundabout, I wish you your family, il mafioso, and your hoodz a totally bodacious and prosperous 2005 and barring flood, fire, the sky being rolled back and all things ending, Horse shall return in 2005 - although not bigger or better.

December 23, 2004

Horse 262 - P-Plates and the Solution

It appears as though the government may have come up with a somewhat workable solution to the P-Plate problem. Under the proposed scheme, drivers holding P1 licences will be banned from driving cars with engines that are "8 or more cylinders" and/or "artificially aspirated". Added to this, drivers on P1 and P2 licences who lose their licence will be limited to carrying one passenger for 12 months - a restriction that will apply from when their licence is reissued.

I think that these steps are in the right direction, this should restrict "obvious" sports car driving. However I ask what's going to stop P-platers from buying a little Corolla and making modifications to the engine? The Government is trying to create laws that will protect everyone but I can't see how it will be policed if young drivers are getting around in small modified cars as sometimes it's hard to tell what's been done to them.

The confiscation regulations that are proposed are also interesting and should strike fear into people who "borrow" other people's cars to go hooning in.

Just a word of warning: Double demerit points will be in force for 17 days over the Christmas, New Year and Australia Day holidays to improve road safety over the holiday season. Double demerits will be in force from Friday December 24, 2004 to Monday January 3, 2005 inclusive and from Friday January 21 to Wednesday, January 26, 2005 in all states and territories except Keeling-Cocos which has no roads.

December 22, 2004

Horse 261 - Mozilla, Quirky Goodness

After switching from Microsoft Explorer (the browser from Dante's Tenth Circle) to Mozilla, I started to discover lots and lots of little things that were quirky and yet superior. Like the fact that all of the horrid pop-ups had started not do... do that thing which they designed to do... pop up (that went badly, save it somehow Andrew).

One thing I noticed right away was the little phenom of the logos that appear in the title bar. Try it yourself if you have it. Like a little B at or as in the Radio 1 website where the little 1 logo appears in the search bar. Even now as I type this I see the B for blogger logo above.

Having said that, Jo Whiley may annoy six bells out of me but her voice and now the little 1 logo iin the title bar will mean that I switch from Radio 1 to Radio 2... if and when they stop playing that song. Do they know it's Christmas? I do and I'm not happy about it.

Horse 260 - Dickens' A Christmas Carol

That now famous story of a man who was visited by three spirits and encouraged to change his ways has even had a word pass into the main as an accepted word - scrooge. Yet the book leaves one glaring hole in its moral quest, and that is the question of the man whom the spirits were trying to "save".

We are told that he is a widower and presumably would most likely have been alone for the holiday. Yet no-one including the spirits seems concerned for his welfare. It is understandable that his employee Bob Cratchit would have liked the holiday off, but the fact that he is paid 15 shillings a week is gloriously gleaned over when in actual fact that position of clerk is paid $796.93 a week in 2004 terms - one would consider that to be somewhat generous for a clerk to be paid $41668. Hardly the mark of a scrooge is it?

We are also told of the consequences if her does not change his ways that "Tiny Tim" (no relation to the now deceased ukelele player) will die. Yet Scrooge himself has already lost his wife and his carrying on his business despite losing his business partner some seven years ago. In those terms, the spirits who visit him and try to instill a guilt trip on him are rather callous on reflection.

Scrooge's new-found benevolence continues as he raises Cratchit's salary and vows to assist his family, which includes Bob's crippled son, Tiny Tim. In the end Dickens reports that Scrooge became 'as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew'. Clearly the guilt trip worked, but again no-one is actually concerned for the welfare of the man who still despite all of the events of the novel remains uncared for.

What am I trying to draw from this? It would appear that people are the sum of their experiences, and when society abandons them as in the case of Scrooge, they appear to shut down and withdraw. To tar Scrooge with the brush that Dickens has used is as callous and cruel as the spirits that haunt him.

In the end, who really cared for Scrooge in this story? Sadly, no-one.

December 21, 2004

Horse 259 - Top 5 Albums 2004

Seeing as this is fashionable and I've now seen this on 8 home pages... here are my top 5 for 2004.

5. Girls Aloud - What Will The Neighbours Say
Whenever you mention the word Britpop people think that it died in mid 1998. Whereas the Bedingfields took it hip-hop and Idol took it to telly, Girls Aloud's second big disc took it back to 1997.
While people in Australia won't be able to buy this album (because Sony music are crap), I sit in my room with it going a bit of the time. There are a few covers of cheesy 80's songs in there as well as the uber-phenom The Show. If you have a credit card then a trip to is the only way you're ever going to hear it. I said goodbye to £7.99 and have been blessed for it.

4. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free
I could have ruined it, I'm such a twat. Mike Skinner's second album under the name of The Streets again reminds us what Eminem would have sounded like had he been born in Shrewsbury, driven a Ford Orion and worn a Burberry Cap.
A curious mix between hip-hop and rap, this album refuses to be played as background music. If the phrase keeping it real means anything then I have crap reception in my house holds even more reality. Who thought that the details of a life so boring as this could sell records?

3. Missy Higgins - The Sound Of White
Delta may be able to play the piano but it's Missy Higgins who can truly pull an album together and in a music landscape dominated by pre-packaged game show contestants with plastic tunes and bad hairstyles, what a relief to find a solo artist who a) actually has talent and b) writes her own music.Missy Higgins delivers a stunning debut more than a little remiscent of The Waifs. From the joyous The Scar and Ten Days to the more mellow Nightminds and All for Believing, this is a record of genuine feeling and depth. It's also undeniably Australian. Word of warning, The River sounds hopelessly simple is an utterly dark dark song.

2. Green Day - American Idiot
Rock Opera? Maybe not. The title track is the crappest thing on here and that's saying something, if that's the worst then the rest must be mind-blowing - and it is. For those of us who bought the album before the singles came out Blvd of Broken Dreams was just crying for radio airplay. Jesus of Suburbia is the first of two songs, composed of five mini-songs combined into one big song... weird & amazing. Not only that but Homecoming, the album's second five-mini-big-mish-mash-song, is even better than the first. It doesn't get much better than this.

or maybe it does...

1. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
So maybe Britrock isn't dead; maybe it was just sleeping a while; and had just passed out with a bottle of JD in it's hand and moved to Ibrox. Franz Ferdinand may have pulled other bands like Keane and Snow Patrol into the main but their own album still after 10 months is the standout of 2004.The Glasgow quartet's full-length debut rocks like a bastard and is full of stormy guitars and ominous lyrics on singles like Take Me Out. The rest of the album blends equal spikiness with a cool post-punk sheen. In short, it's the album you wish the Strokes would've made and the best thing to happen for the Scottish Tourist Council since Braveheart... except for the facepaint bit.

What's next?
In 2005 we expect an album from Geri Halliwell, Oasis, possibly Jo O'Meara and a single from the bald bloke from the Halifax adverts.

December 20, 2004

Horse 258 - Feminism Killed Mongolia

Credit has to go to the Kat for this theory. It's a delightfully silly start to the week and one well worth its weight in dried cockatoo poop.

Feminism will kill Mongolia.

Feminism killed damsels:
The idea that females of the human species be a damsel is quite frankly aborrhant to feminists who argue that being "empowered" is a good thing. Consequently there are no ladies anymore and certainly no damsels.

Dragons hoarde damsels:
The Common Welsh Red is the most common dragon to be found in western society, however, because of feminism, one of their major hoardable commodities no longer exists. The Welsh Red will hoarde literally anything but especially prefers gold, jewellery, rusty bicycles, and damsels.

Dragons attract knights:
Ever wondered why we don't see any knights anymore? The reason for that is that there are no dragons and no damsels-in-distress. It follows that if a dragon exists that instantly a knight will show up and inevitably try to slay it in order to steal the hoarde of gold, jewellery, rusty bicycles, and damsels.

Knights have Castles:
This theory is of course obvious. Because there are no knights any more, the prevalence of castles has fallen dramatically. Nowadays, all castles that seem to bein existance are either heritage listed or decrepit relics. Without knights, there is no need for castles to be maintained.

Castles have Walls:
Basic castle design suggests that there will be a central tower, called a "keep" and and outer wall. In extreme cases much larger walls are built like Hadrian's Wall or like the next case which actually proves the theory.

Walls attract Mongolians:
Mongolia was at its height under the leadership of the Khans. The most famous of these was Genghis. Yet historians would have you believe that the Great Wall of China was built to keep them out of China. This is of course and absurdity as the only reason that Mongolia came to power in the first place was because they were a destructive lot and only showed up with the intent of destroying the wall.

To summarise:
Feminism killed damsels. Without damsels there are no dragons. Without dragons there are no knights. Without knights there are no castles. Without castles there are no city walls. Without city walls there are no Mongolians. Without Mongolians there is no Mongolia.

Therefore Feminism is killing Mongolia. This is a menace and must be stopped now.

December 19, 2004

Horse 257 - Spot The Doc

Well it would appear that thank you to the ultra kind people at Cadbury Schweppes that this is no longer possible in Australia. Dr Pepper is no longer being made under licence by them. Whereas in the US and the UK, the company owns it's own bottling company and factories, they don't have any in Oz and therefore yet again Australia has been unequivocably been told to sit on it by the rest of the world.

This is an international incident and that Australia should sever ties with the US until such time as meaningful relations can be held bewteen the two nations. Clearly this is a diplomatic incident of the highest calibre and someone should be impeached for causing civil unrest and distrubance.

In the meantime, you won't find it in stores unless on import.

December 17, 2004

Horse 256 - P-Platers 2

Back in Horse 242 I had written something on this topic. Horse 246 has been forever lost in the world weird web, so this then is the belated follow-up.

There seems to be an epidemic of P-plate drivers killed or injured in car crashes or so the media would have you believe. I still ask what or whom is driving the media (pun intended). A surprising fact is that there are fewer fatal accidents of P-plate drivers per capita than ever before. So, before Bob Carr's Government feels compelled to impose a knee-jerk set of
laws to curb and corral young drivers, a cool assessment of the facts may be in order:

In 1992 the crash rate of novice drivers - those on L and P plates - was 28 crashes per 100,000 licences, RTA figures show. In 2002, the number had dropped to 19, a 30 per cent reduction.
So, while it is true that P-plate drivers are more than twice as likely to be involved in crashes as people over the age of 26, it is not true to say we are experiencing a sudden crisis which requires new regulation. Also of note is that the number of kilometers driven by people under the age of 26 is on average 55% higher. The average distance driven by people 26 and over is 9171km/yr while under 26 years old it's 14216km/yr. This means that the accidents per kilometer driven are actually less for younger drivers. It makes perfect sense that if you're going to be on the road more then the risks exposed go up.

We can't blame irresponsible parents or poor schooling or rap music or Xbox driving games for an increase in recklessness among young drivers, because there appears to have been no increase. Now apparantly you can prove anything with statistics but so far I haven't been challenged on the proof, merely the inference. I always welcome discussion on everything.

Some quotes from ABC Radio irked me a bit this week, and yes I did steal them from the recorded transcripts.

"Fools and young hoons in cars, no matter whether or not there's a curfew or any other ban, they will be silly in their car. But for the overwhelming majority of young people who need their P-plates to get to and from work, to and from places of study, many of whom don't live at home and simply rely on themselves, putting a curfew in place would be unfair." - John Brogden Opposition Leader NSW (Liberal) 17/12/04

This is after and during the conference? There doesn't appear to be a election brewing does there? If not, what prompts this comment?

"I even had one young person say to me, 'well, if I have to get to work and I can't get public transport I'll just pull my P plates off my car and drive myself' and that's...what's been expressed to me," - Carl Scully Minister for Transport NSW 14/12/04

Sure any death is a bad thing, but I still ask for whom all of this needs to be done and who's interests are being heralded. I for one still maintain that all drivers should be retested every 3 years and that the police should be actively enforcing the laws which exist. Carl Scully himself has by inference admitted that there are brazen idiots on the roads who will continue to be brazen idiots.

It is true, you can't legislate against stupidity but normal sensible people shouldn't be punished for that brazeness and especially since when you do bring in new laws like these, only honest people will actually follow them.

December 16, 2004

Horse 255 - Learn to Speak "Rollo" 101

Firstly - people; or more precisely, the people one is likely to meet on a given day.

Anorak - A fur coat garment, with hood, worn by Eskimos or Inuits. From that the people that wear them: train spotters, plane spotters, pylon spotters, bus spotters, mail van spotters, hearse spotters, Formula 1 spotters, red spot special spotters, etc.

Chav - from "Chetenham Average", the sort of lad likely to be clad in Addias, a Burberry hat, with a pregnant 14-year-old girlfriend and a liking for "bling".

Carnie - Austin Powers Sums this one up nicley. "Carnies. Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands."

Derro - Australian slang, derived from the word 'derelict'. Means hobo, bum, no-hoper, poorly-dressed, unkept person.

Parkie - Park people, those people who live in parks be they council or trailer. The US eq. of Trailer Trash.

Pikey - Pikeys are a group of dirty, theiving and inbred... Pikeys. They get tired of the romany way of life, and start pestering the council for housing. Once the do, they park their dented Ford Escort outside the local school bus stop, and threaten to beat up the bus driver when he asks it to be moved.

Townie - similar to a Chav. A townie is normally aged between 11 and 15. Listens to so-called 'garage' music such as Blazin' Squad and So Solid Crew, neither of which is REAL garage music; simply pop music with a stammering kid in fake diamonds fronting the band.

More to come.

Celebrity Death Bingo has only 16 days before the first season picks end. Get in now. Already 3 people entered.

December 15, 2004

Horse 254 - Decemberistmas 2 - St Nicholas

The reputation of St Nicholas is not unjustified. Under the Roman emporer Diocletian he was persecuted for his acts of brazen bravery in helping children. In the town of Myra of which he was the Bishop, he arranged to pay the dowry for young girls who would have otherwise been sold into prostitution. This perhaps is the reason of why he is associated with gift giving and hence Christmas.


He died on Dec 6, 345AD and St Nicholas' Day is December 6. Hmm, something doesn't add up here. A quick look through my book of Saints Days by United Catholic Press (yes I do own such a critter for the express purpose of debunking these things) and published in 1874, well before commerciality took over. Has him associated as the patron saint of prisoners and seafarers.

What gives?

What did he actually do to earn the association with Christmas? Quite frankly and even after a bit of research I have no idea. Certainly the myth extends back beyond Elizabethan times but to be brutally honest... who knows?

One thing that is certain is that Commercialism has turned what perhaps was a good idea of having "saints", which were meant to be heroes in the church; extolling the virtues that we shoudl aspire to, is that those ideas of saints have been corrupted for commercial gain. As pointless as St Valentine is for selling cards and chocolates and St Patrick is for selling copious amounts of fermented vegetable produce, St Nicholas was taked onto for the purposes of selling... everything under the guise of "goodwill toward men".

What the whole thing shows is that when you remove Christ from his own holiday, it like all the other commercialised saints days becomes hollow and empty. Admittedly the Catholic Church stole the festival of Saturnalia in the first place, but the original intentions were noble, it's just that the "pagans" have stolen it back again.

December 14, 2004

Horse 253 - Chav Racing - NFSU2

Don't expect to see much of me over the coming weeks. I have finally found a worthy contender to GTA3. The best thing about GTA3 and possibly San Andreas (because it was bigger) wasn't the shooting things but the mindless driving about the place with the radio on. Grant that the radio isn't nearly as good as GTA3 but NFSU2 has got a very very nice "explore" feel to it.

It's obvious that they've gone for a world market here. The choice of cars even at the beginning of the game will confuse most pundits. Apart from the obvious Nissan GTR R34 which I assume has to be in the game somewhere, the options of cars at startup include 3 legendary "chav" cars. The Pug 106, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Toyota Trueno.

The Trueno? A Toyota Corolla AE86? One would ask why of all things. Made famous by the anime Initial-D, the "Eight-Six" has now achieved cult status in Japan.
The Corsa? Chav-magnet! Why would someone spend 500 quid on a Corsa then spend the next 5 years spending 20k to do it up? Insurance I'm told which makes me think, why not spend 15k on a decent car and 5k on the insurance and the original 500 quid on a bracelet, burberry hat and jacket in the sales.
The Peugeot 106? Again another legend. Some idiot on London managed to pour nearly £35,000 into one of these, took it down the M1 and got stung doing 125mph down the motorway.

I can guess that there'll be other little pokes at international motor culture. I also guess that there'll probably be a Monaro in there (probably in Pontiac GTO guise) but I'm hoping that at some point, one can buy an XR3 Escort or a BTCC Astra.

Whatever the case I'm taking my eight-six for a burn, so far have pulled 139mph out of the sucker.

PS: I wish I had a real "Eight-Six", maybe I can find one in the Trading Post.

December 12, 2004

Horse 252a - Angry & Disappointed (the follow up)

There are always reasons why things happen. We do not have the ability to predict what will happen tommorrow or even in 20 minutes time. We can guess, but there are weird things that will happen without our ability the predict it.
One of the most delightful qualities of anger and why it is so much fun is that sometimes it means more to us to be angry than the original cause itself. It is perhaps moot that there are many causes of anger, but God's mercy isn't one of them.

God is greater than the Church, and is greater than the Bible (he's the owner and author of both), and our own feeble attempts to psyche out God are a gross waste of energy. As someone said (no idea who), "It is as much of a sin to define God as it is to deny Him."
God won't be put in a box! When we allow others to define God and His will for us, or when we presume to define God and script His will for our lives, we play God and, hence, generate much disappointment within ourselves and even anger at God.

He knows better than us. Omni in every department, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnivourous... maybe not the last one.

Horse 252 - Angry & Disappointed

This whole weekend has been a collective waste of time. Our Church carols were cancelled and although I knew that I couldn't make it, it meant that the efforts we'd all put in were for nought.

None became more apparant than when I was at set-up for another carols service (thanks coz's) and standing out in the rain in Chatswood. It seems that God had denied carols all over this city.

It actually made me think about this whole concept of being angry with God and after careful consideration I came to the conclusion that of we are angry that we shouldn't feel guilty about telling God precisely what we think of him.

1. God already knows - God already knows everything about us before we do. Being angry at him will come as no surprise.

2. God already knows the source - We are often angry about things over which we have no control. God intimately knows the inner workings of our minds and spirits, and God knows our limitations. We often are angry because we are powerless, and God knows our powerlessness.

3. God can take it - God has faced a lot of anger bigger than ours. In comparison to him we are really quite miniscule. I don't think we can harm God by being angry - hurt maybe but not harm.

We tell everyone else when we get mad at them, so why not God? He's as much a person as anyone else. How often do we let it fester in us?

Go read Jonah. Jonah got angry at God, and what did God do? God made a vine to grow up over Jonah's head to shelter him from the sun. Who did God care about? God cared about Jonah and about the whole city of Nineveh, even the cattle. The thing that is often overlooked about Jonah is that he went to Nineveh anyway, despite him being angry, God still used him.

Having said that, I'm still mad.

December 11, 2004

Horse 251 - Starlight Express

I must confess, are you real? I hope not.

Starlight Express is a story that carries a bizarre cultural agenda. If you loved the early 80s - the clothes, the hair, the politics then you'll love Starlight Express. Starlight takes spectacle about as far it can go, with sets borrowed from Russian constructivism. There's an overpowering contrast between the show's rhetoric of action with athletic dancers racing round the theatre on roller skates and the absolute stasis of the audience. Carefully positioned screens discourage you from even moving your head. Yet despite all the noise, the plot of competing trains (where? why?) is told with tedious emphasis.

The real story of Starlight is what it does to pop. It murders a whole culture. As I sat there wondering why I'd paid the best part of $50.00 a ticket to watch this sash, I quietly turned to the lady who was sitting next to me and motioned that I wanted to leave. Of course the principle of economy got the better of me and I had to stay. One could describe the show as a spectacle, I can think of at least ten other descriptors and a few of them are four-lettered.

Suffice to say that when I left the matinee performance I've vowed never to return or to see it ever again. They must be desperate though, if they are willing to offer such cut-price rates, and that surely reflects that what's on offer is crap, not that the audience doesn't care. I think Bec agreed and when we got back in my car to go home, she looked me fair in the eye and said "Let's never talk of this again?"

What's a good way to describe this? I had more fun getting dental work done. Do not go and see Starligh Express under any circumstances, I imagine it would be worse than Cirque du Soleil which I equally didn't understand.

Now then...

Country and Western musician Jerry Scoggins has died in Los Angeles at the age of 93, his family has said. Scoggins was best remembered for singing the theme tune to popular US TV show The Beverly Hillbillies. The Texan-born singer approached the producers of the programme with theme tune The Ballad of Jed Clampett for the pilot which was screened in 1962. The show, which told the story of a poor man striking oil and moving to Beverly Hills, ran until 1971.

Although I've never heard him before, had he died just 21 days later he would have died and scored lucky combatants 10 points in Celebrity Death Bingo. Pity really.

December 10, 2004

Celebrity Death Bingo 2005

This is probably the most macabre game ever invented. Ever been "sick to death" of nagging relos who always come out with "you know who died last week?". Well now you to can predict who is going to die and get points for it.

The rules are simple, you get 10 points for every celeb who dies in 2005 plus bonus points based on how old they are. Bonus points are awarded one for every two years that the celebrity** is aged younger than 70*, so if you were to pick John Howard who is 65 and he were to die you'd get 10 plus 2. 70-65=5 /2=2.5 (no half points)

You get to pick 10 celebrities, and it is up to my discretion as to how minor they are.
Entries Close Dec 31 with a chance to swap for half points at Jun 30.

Full tables will be posted at

*70 was picked as Old Farty Pants™ are going to die anyway.
** no you can't pick "your mum"

Horse 250 - Otaku no jinsei ha yabai na!

Otaku is the honorific word of Taku (home) in Japanese. The word otaku is extremely negative in meaning as it is used to refer to someone who stays at home all the time and doesn't have a life (no social life, no love life, etc). Usually an otaku person has nothing better to do with their life so they pass the time by watching anime, playing videogames, surfing the internet (otaku is also used to refer to a nerd/hacker/programmer). The word took on sinister overtones when Miyazaki Tsutomu went on a toddler murdering spree in the 80's, video taping the young girls he had murdered from an obsession with lolicon.

In the Western culture, people confuse otaku to be something positive like "Guru". If you think about it, it's not really good to be called a guru if it means you are a total loser who can't socialize with other people except through the Internet. Other Japanese words which have been confused by Westerners also include but not limited to: Anime, Manga, Ramen, Sushi etc

otaku no jinsei ha yabai na! (it sucks to live the life of an otaku!)

Now then...

I have been reading the series Neon Genesis Evangelion now for about 8 years, and all due to the fact that Sadamoto has taken so long to write it despite the entire anime being complete with two films at 2000.

One thing I have noticed is how divergent the anime is from the manga. Shinji displays a passive helplessness in the anime which shows him as relatively weak, but in the manga he is quite a bit more active but still incredibly negative.

Most noticable is Kaworu. Although he only appears for 13 mins of screen time in the anime, he almost appears as a confused person. In the manga, Shinji actually objects to him invading his personal space. Also, the manga is again quite a bit darker. Kaworu displays no consideration for anything in the manga and this is no more obvious than his first meeting with Shinji when he kills a kitten (though this is justified by it being "kinder" than letting it go to starve.

Book 10 is still quite a long way off. We are now at the same point as Japan, all still waiting for the next installment. Viz Comics actually aren't to blame for once.

PS: The best places in Sydney to look for comics are as follows
Kings Comics - Pitt St behind the cinemas
Phantom Zone - Parramatta Horwood Place and Chatswood opposite Westfields
Kinokuniya - Opposite Town Hall
don't bother with Comic Kingdom on Liverpool St as it's pants

December 09, 2004

Horse 249 - Theft by "Mandate" 2

All the way back in Horse 232 I warned you all of the impending sale of Telstra. The bill went before the house today and was agreed that division would be taken on May 9 2005. This date is important.

On May 9 2005, the Senate changes hands from the existing members to the members voted for in the Federal Election just passed. The Liberal Party will have an absolute majority in both houses without reliance from this date.

Now usually when a bill passes through parliament, it has the opportunity to be amended 3 times in that form before it's either rejected or passed on. On May 9 when the bill goes before the Reps, owing to the Liberal Parties majority, it will pass unopposed. Then the process will be repeated in the Senate and possibly that afternoon. I expect that the Act will finalised by the end of the week which would be ample time for the final sale to occur on the opening day of the financial year 2005/6.

It's not a case of will they or won't they, but from May 9 the Liberal Party will have complete control of both houses and thus any single piece of wacky legislation they propose can pass through on the nose. Sale of Telstra is just one small part.

This is without my permission as a taxpayer and of the 63% of all voters who didn't place the Liberals as number one preference. That's democracy for you. THEFT BY MANDATE.

December 07, 2004

Horse 248 - Predestination Emancipation Proclamation at Wynyard Station

In the legal world one of the defining principles of testing a document to see how important it is is the check for purpose, that is to ascertain why the document was written and for whom. As is the case with most pieces of writing, they usually are written to convery either an idea or a set of ideas in a logical form such that conclusions can be drawn, or in the case of a story, such that a plot can be established and moral points drawn from it.

Why then am I talking about such a principle with relation to the bible? Surely such a work is above scrutiny. Well obviously not since more has been written on this one document than any other work in history. The book itself asks us to test the spirits, to tell whether they come from God or not; why not test God's own work against itself - in fact that is one of the great tests of a public work, to check for inconsistancies.

So then armed with this... it's the Predestination vs Free-Will conflict challenge.

The Bible makes no attempt to reconcile the ideas and the only mention of them side by side is in a small passage part way through Romans 9. Now obviously prima facie suggests that there is a conflict but this actually negates the first test of a document - the check for purpose.

This is a question for philosophers and cleary within the context of the Bible, it is not a discourse on philosophy. The book is however a discourse on how God works through, talks to, is connected to, relates to and is Lord of the people of this meager bit of dirt we call earth. Although the two themes run pretty well much through the book, they're still only with regards how God is working and in relation to us; both are proven and both can be said to fit in all circumstances because the benefit of hindsight adds the necessary conclusions to things to tie them up.

The Bible doesn't for instance give us a detailed picture of geography (though things can be found and proven to have existed), it doesn't tell us a lot about nature and science generally, nor in all honesty a great deal about history (though it can be referenced and supported by other source documents). We don't ask these questions of the text, because we know that it isn't going to tell us.

BJD says this here:

And I refuse to compromise on either statement just so they fit into our feeble logical constructs. Or so we can use God's sovereignty as a cop out for not being doing the things that God has clearly called us too - being Holy and telling others about Jesus.

The logical outflow from this is, why then are we looking for an emperical answer to an abstract question? The Jews demanded miracles and the Greeks wanted hard facts but the Bible offered an answer to both which by all accounts has to be about the most stupid thing ever suggested (of course it is ridiculous that the world can be saved by God himself entering it and then dying for the very people who rejected him in the first place). Even that passage from Romans 9 isn't there to answer the question but to show God's grace and mercy.

I think therein lies the answer as to why these ideas will never be resolved. If either of them actually are, then man's responsibility and God's grace are both negated in one foul swoop. It is an entirely arrogant proposition to suggest that we aren't the cause of our own sin, in fact the proposition proves the arrogance and therefore the cause.

Refusal to compromise is indeed a most excellent cause and one worth fighting for but I come at this from a slightly different angle and suggest that the argument in the first place is largely irrelevant. There are many things in this world that I do not understand or care about (aliens, evolution, seven days) but again those last few words "God has clearly called us too - being Holy and telling others about Jesus" should give us more than enough reason not to worry - especially since time is short.

December 06, 2004

Horse 247 - Red

Of all the colours that the human eye can see, it is the colour of red that is the most vivid on the receptors of the eye. This may be due to the colour of blood and would thus serve as a warning of impending danger.

Ironically it is that blood which passes through the human body (and the eyes which is perhaps the reason) that has given the colour red the symbolic status of passion. Most noticibly in peoples lips but also their cheeks, peoples faces actually redden to a degree during any flights of fury or fancy. But the colour red came to mean much more than that as the symbolic nature of it was codified as time wore on.

This sense of danger took on extra meanings on the railways. When signals were devloped, naturally red was decided to mean stop. This was of course naturally taken to the highways when the motor car became popular (the first traffic lights were in 1922).

The little red sports car (Ferrari di scarletti - despite Forza Italia being di Azzuri), that red dress, the Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill), all conjure up emotions in people. Baron von Ritchoften's red menace hung triumphantly over the skies of war-torn Europe and with 80 kills he was feared by all.

Also ubiquitous in the world of football, the most succesful clubs in England and perhaps in Europe are also red. Liverpool, Manchester Utd and Arsenal all at one stage or another called "the reds" have lifted more trophies collectively than the other 93 professional clubs in England.

One also thinks of the stagnancy of red tape. The colorful term used to refer to the seemingly endless parade of paperwork that accompanies many official matters got its start back in jolly old England. It seems that thick legal documents were bound or tied with (what else?) red cloth tape. So when someone spoke of cutting through the red tape, they meant it in a very literal sense. By the 19th century, however, the term had become much more figurative in meaning and referred to "any official routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity which results in delay or inaction." Governments are notorious for excessive red tape.

The red ball in snooker although the most numerous accounts for only 1 point in free play. 15 of them line the table to begin with and although there may be something to be said for the values of the colours above, it is during the portion of play whilst the reds are on the table that the most points are usually gained.

So why a post about Red?

Because my other post (Horse 246) about the relative power to weight ratios of cars and the reasons why restricting P-Plate drivers from driving certain cars, didn't post itself when I hit send on Sunday morning - and now I'm seeing red.

December 02, 2004

Horse 245 - Student Loans

Do you need cash in hurry? Do you have a Bad Credit rating? or No credit rating? Then look no longer, Robbie Marshall of Year 2 loans can help.

Whether you're looking for lunch money, coins for the arcade machine after school, protection money so that Big Danny in Year 6 doesn't beat you up, Robbie Marshall can give you the money you need at an affordable rate*. Your loan can start at as little as 10c and be as big as a massive $5.00, all you need is weekly pocket money and unlike smelly Johnny Ferris in Year 3, Robbie won't ask to be your friend after.

With over $12 under management and his own bike, Robbie Marshall can even come to your door, it's that simple! Why not try Robbie Marshall of Year 2 loans today, he's still in that same great location of under the big tree behind the canteen.

*APR of $1/week. Failure to pay within 2 weeks will result in the loan being referred to Big Danny in Year 6 or may result in Robbie dobbing on you to the Principal Mr Tomkins. Eucalyptus lollies will no longer be accepted forms of payment.

December 01, 2004

Horse 244 - Decemberistmas

Part 1 - Letter to Santa

Dear Mr Claus,

We understand that you are a factory owner operating within the region of the Arctic Circle. We therefore have the following statements:

1. We understand that in your factory you employ "elves" for the purposes of manufacturing toys. We also note that for such a large workforce, there appears to be no superannuation arrangements. Clearly this is in breach of any award rates and we therefore ask you to make payments to or arrange a superannuation fund for your workforce.

2. We note that you have not submitted BAS returns for the last financial year. Such a large factory would at very least claim vast amounts of input tax credits. We also note certain outgoings which you would call "gifts". Since these so called gifts exceed $100 we note that these must fall in the confines of a fringe benefit and again no fringe benefits tax have been paid on these.

3. Apparantly you keep a very large database on children, particularly who is "naughty & nice". Need we remind you that under the Privacy Act (1986) such a database can only be compiled with the permissions of the people of whom whose details are being kept. Also in keeping a database on children we must strongly warn you of the potential risks to decency you run.

4. IATA have asked that you identify yourself when you fly over populated areas. Air Traffic Control have been aware for many years that your vessel is not radio tracked and therefore is a potential hazard to commercial transport.

We ask humbly for an explanation.
Michael Carmady
Australian Taxation Office

Part 2 - Dreaming of a White Christmas

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas Just like the ones I used to know
Clearly this person lived in South Africa under Apartheid.

Where the treetops glisten, and children listen
Children listening? Are you insane? Children never listen to anything you tell them.

To hear sleigh bells in the snow
There's no snow in South Africa

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Again with the Aparthied. I don't know what's wrong with this fellow.

With every Christmas card I write
Assuming that this person went to school. The basic rights of education and literacy are denied to so many people.

May your days be merry and bright
We hope you have a good pair of UV blocking sunglasses, in South Africa you'll need them

And may all your Christmases be white
Clearly this person is racist. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison fighting against people like you. Get over it, your country has changed.

November 30, 2004

Horse 243 - Stuff sucks because...

...someone did it and it began to suck more. Work sucks because stupid people do it. Some stuff sucks because you suck and other stuff sucks because I do. Stuff such as eating stuff is ok except when monsters are eating you at the same time. Stuff like watching stuff is good only when you wear a yellow hat. Stuff like learning stuff sucks in general. Stuff like writing stuff only sucks when you fall asleep on the keyboarddddddddddddddd... Stuff like waking up sucks when you're being eating by a bear. Short people suck because they are shorter than me and don't even try to take growth enhancing drugs. Smoking sucks because farts are better. You suck because the voices in my head said so. Polar bears suck because they live at the other side of the world from penguins and they are all socialists and commnists. Tall people suck because they are taller than me and take advantage of growth enhancing drugs. Hamsters suck because they die after 2 hours of continous running over with the lawn mower. Monkeys suck but some of them are cool because they can still drive. Trees only suck because you can't flush them down the toilet. Americans suck because they talk too slowly and they are not English. The french suck because their language is stupid, takes three times as long to spell and they they don't deserve a capital letter. You suck because you were sad enough to read this whole thing, just to discover that you suck. Its the truth, I'm watching you right now. Sucker.

November 29, 2004

Horse 242 - P-Plate Drivers... and The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph has a lot to answer for; as it is the highest circulation newsprint media in the country, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to objectivity in its reporting. Lets just look at the last 5 days shall we?

Every day last week, the Telegraph ran photographs of smashed high performance vehicles with the following headlines:

NOT AGAIN, He wasn't allowed to drive it, STOP THIS CARNAGE, P-ATHETIC, BLUE-P-RINT.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Telegraph has actually managed to splash only photos of 4 accidents across 9 days of newspapers, they have conviniently forgotten to mention that in all of these photographs not a single P-Plate is displayed, and not a single Provisional Licence holder was involved. Also interesting is that the speeds in the accidents are as follows:

08:50pm Mon Wyoming - 156km/h
09:00pm Wed Minchinbury - 118km/h
11:30pm Thu Baulkham Hills - 107km/h
04:00pm Fri Bringelly - 124km/h

Three of the vehicles were stolen and all of them were travelling in excess of 60km/h over the speed limit. These photographs are shown in the same articles extolling the virtues of either a curfew or limiting the types of cars that P-Platers can drive. Sure a picture paints a thousand words, but all of these thousand words are the wrong story.

In the same newspaper on Friday (which has also been conviniently forgotten) are the actual road toll stats published by the RTA for year to date to Thursday:
471 deaths occured on NSW roads from 01/01/04 to 24/11/04
129 deaths occured as a result of a stolen vehicle causing accident
99 deaths occured as a result of an unlicenced causing accident
14 deaths occured with a P-Plate driver

14! 14 in 471 equates to less than 3% of all fatalities. Which doesn't quite add up to the opinion they are trumpeting. Now I'm not about to enter a moral argument over whether P-Platers should or should not be given the rights to drive high-powered vehicles or even curfews*, but it seems to me like the Telegraph have taken a sensationalist view with the sole purpose of selling newspapers.

I think it's perhaps fair to say that most people don't read their newspapers that carefully or check them against previous issues.This comes after a wave of nearly 4 weeks of bashing the NSW state government over the issues of railway services and hospital waiting queues. So then, why the sudden change of tune? Two Reasons spring to mind.
1. There is a discussion paper on the subject being tabulated before the house this morning, and Carl Scully has given News Ltd exclusive reportage rights.
2. The NSW Journalism Awards which just happen to be administered by the Premier's Office close at the end of this week. Perhaps a late volley of flattery will sway the judges for the awards?

Whatever the case, I do not trust the Telegraph as far as I can kick it. Not when in reality their only motives are selling advert space and newspapers - and doing that by any means necessary. It's all just a case of "spin" and media manipulation at its finest.

*For the record I think that ALL drivers should be tested ever 3 years.

November 28, 2004

Horse 241 - Cricket is Delightfully Stupid

A lot has been written on the subject of cricket, most of it denoting the genteel aspects of what esentially is quite and absurd game. There are 46 laws which and to change them requires a meeting of the Privy Council of the Lords (the highest court of the land in the UK), so this means that collectively they are even more secure than your average piece of legislation. Even the name Lords conjures up visions of viscounts and esquires who owned vast tracts of land, when in actual fact it's named after Thomas Lord who owned the bit of dirt in the first place. Cricket is a highly principled game which relies on the most polite and wonderful qualities expressed in gentlemen and the code of chivalry (despite there being no ladies in the MCC until 1996)

Let's make mention of the incredibly stupid names of the various fielding positions. On the football field a Left Midfielder is obviously on the left in the middle of the park but in cricket, the mind boggles as to the reasons that a "Silly" (read utterly stupid for standing there) or a "Third Man" should exist. Most of the positional names bear no relation as to their actual location on the park, which of course is another delightfully idiotic aspect of the game.

But the most ironic thing about the game is the concept of the "Test Match". A Test Match is 5 days long and is more a test of the spectators than the players. It is actually a test:
- to park your car for five days
- not to get sunburnt
- to remain interested
- and to stay awake
- to get the time off work
...meanwhile the players themselves get to spend their time in air-conditioned luxury. Another stupid thing about the game of cricket is that you can play for 5 days and still not get a result.

It was also said that if Hitler had sucessfully invaded Britain that he would not have got into the Long Room at Lords... because he wasn't a member.

November 27, 2004

100 Fahrenheit days suck majorly. No proper post as brain has melted.

November 26, 2004

Horse 240 - Tell it like it is Friday - as per normal. Go there and spill your guts - just remember to clean up after yourself.

Episode 1 of the weather happened today. The end of an era. For 4 years Adam and Wil have owned that spot on radio during breakfast. I for one will be rather despondant next Monday when they no longer grace the airwaves.

Bye bye to:
Adam - Whom I met during Episode the cube root of 8 of the weather
Wil - Who during his time as a Professor taught us that snot was actually a food group
DJ ZJ - or Get to knowy Zoe - Who talk all our calls
Reanna Patrick - who will continue to read the news
The Stink - who's single greatest achievement was finishing a bottle of bourbon in 3 quarters of AFL
Mary from Junee - who took us "back in the day"
Tripod - who could make up a song in an hour
Rees Muldoon - Gay School will never be the same again
Anyone who's ridden the Waaaaayne Traaaaaaaain
Liz Ellis - when netball no longer mattered
and to you the listener... the J's have this to say to you...

We Don't Like You Either - JJJ 105.7

November 24, 2004

Horse 239 - The Nation Waits

Adam & Wil (of the Triple J Breakfast Show) have put it to premier Beatty (Qld) that Friday being their last show should be a public holiday. Now all it requires for this to happen is an announcement from the PM's office and thus it shall be. Some 2500 requests for a Public Holday were forwarded to the PM and thus the nation waits to see if we are going to get one.

You shouldn't have to get in trouble from school or work for tuning in all morning next Friday to hear Adam and Wil's last ever show, should you? no. We reckon next Friday should be a national public holiday instead! At least until 10am anyway. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's behind the campaign! Drop him an email via our guestbook and we'll pass it on to him!! Make next Friday Adam and Wil Day! -

Such a day would be perfectly in the Australian culture for having other rubbish holidays that no-one cares about (Labour Day, Queen's Birthday, Melbourne Cup Day).

November 23, 2004

Horse 238 - The Opera House Sucks

I have to look at this pathetic eyesore everyday as I travel to and from work. Not only is it ugly looking but as this post will show, has no right to exist.

1. Not Fit For Purpose
The Opera House when invisaged was supposed to hold an Opera Hall and a Concert Hall. Little did they realise that the main stage is in fact far to small is hold anything other than operettas and the concert hall isn't useful for anything other than chamber music.
The main Opera Hall is acoustically crap, as evidenced by the huge donut like sounding circles and added to that they've had to install no less than 94 speakers throughout the place so that echos don't reverb through the building.
The main stage was supposed to be hung from the great shells that form the structure of the building. This was pretty well much scrapped from day one as being structurally impossible and thus the building is constructed using conventional methods... oops.

2. Overbudget and Late
The Opera house was supposed to have been completed in 1959 at a total cost of £5m. When calculated and adjusted for inflation, the building was finally opened in 1972 at a cost of £55m. This means that it was 11 times over budget and 13 years late.
The people of NSW decided to fund this via the Opera Lottery (later to become Lotto). Thus the Opera House was in fact the beginning of legalised gambling in this state. Here we are some 45 years later with more poker machines per head of population than any other jurisdiction on the planet... I blame the Opera House.

3. Uglyness
Some say that it looks like sails, some say that it's different from the rest of the city in that it's white. I say that it looks crap. If that had been made say 1000 times smaller and then placed in a town square anywhere in the world it would be quite rightly criticised for being an eyesore and not art.
The only reason that it survives (despite costing a fortune to maintain) is that because it is a great public building, it's harder to justify knocking the thing down. I ask how anyone can possibly justify that it looks "nice" when clearly it's a pointy globular mess. Even Utzon himself washed his hands of the project...

And when the designer walks away from his creation there is only one way to describe it... The Opera House Sucks!

November 22, 2004

Horse 237 - She's Coming Home

All the way back in Horse 231 I mentioned that my little girl was feeling sick. Had I mistread her? Was she rebelling for putting up with cruel and unusual treatment? As it turns out, this was caused by stopping at McDonalds.

We had been to Wollongong and spent the weekend there by the sea. She has to spend two days in the elements which I suppose which she didn't like, so as we drove for home I thought she was well and happy. We stopped in the Micky D's carpark and I didn't know it but she'd taken a bag home as a souvenir.

One wouldn't think this was too bad, but as we progressed I could smell something funny. She had decided to set fire to the Micky D's bag. Smoke started to pile out from under the bonnet (yes I am talking about a car here - duh) and when I took her to the people at Ford, they found the charred remains of the bag.

Lesson: McDonald's is not only bad for you, it's bad for your car too.

November 21, 2004

Horse 236 - Crap Statues I

Having a look through my collection of photos I found these two quite crap statues.

1. Merlion - Singapore
The Merlion is the symbol of the city of Singapore. The word "Singapore" itself means "Lion City" and the Merlion represents the Lion City by the sea. The Merlion looks like it was either designed by a drunk guy who described something - "mwhaa, it looks like a lion thinng and and and it had a tail and... er, it had teeth n stuff".
Trust the British to design such crapidity. Let's face it, the symbols of Britain are the Lion and the Unicorn, a creature that isn't from Britain and one that's mythical. It's like having a Hippotamus and an Ewok.

2. Superlambbanana - Liverpool
Liverpool being the 2008 Cultural Capital of Europe has by the docks a thing called Superlambbanana. Quite literally a cross between a lamb and a banana. The Superlambbanana sculpture relates to the mercantile exploration of foreign lands and the city’s long history of the import (bananas) and export (sheep) of exotic objects.
I'm not even going to comment on this one. The mind boggles.

Horse 235 - 32 Questions for fun.

As is fashionable (from

1. What time did you get up this morning?
0752am - v.late for me
2. Diamonds or pearls?
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Princess Mononoke
4. What is your favourite TV show?
To be honest I listen more to the radio. But on TV at the moment it's Little Britain.
5. What did you have for breakfast?
Last night's pizza, and some re-heated chips
6. What is your middle name?
7. What is your favourite cuisine?
Cuisine en Boite - French for "Food in a Box"
8. What foods do you dislike?
Zucchinis and Pumpkin
9. What is your favourite crisp flavour?
Salt & Vinegar
10. What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Nobody's Home - Avril Lavigne (single). Four very very nice tracks.
11. What kind of car do you drive?
Ford Ka
12. Favourite sandwich?
Salmon, Pepper & Mayo
13. What characteristic do you despise?
People & things that are overly difficult and hard to deal with.
14. Favourite item of clothing?
I like my big Doc Martens boots (14 Hole)
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
England again, again chasing the BTCC.
16. What colour is your bathroom?
17. Who put the fun in Spaghetti?
I did.
18. Where would you retire to?
Swiss Cottage? Oval? Stretford? Somewhere English with cricket.
19. Favourite time of the day?
That bit just before sunrise after staying up all night.
20. What was your most memorable birthday?
Probably my 7th? It was the only one of 26 with a party.
21. Where were you born?
Funnily enough in a hospital, though it may very well nearly might not have been.
22. Favourite sport to watch?
Football! For 90 minutes one leaves all thought behind and dives into a sea of emotion.
23. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?
Everyone, since I stole it.
24. Person you expect to send it back first?
No-one, since I stole it.
25. What fabric detergent do you use?
Reliance Napi Care. If it's good enough to remove baby poop from nappies, then regular dirt should be a snap for it.
26. Coke or Pepsi?
Some people drink Pepsi, Some people drink Coke, the wacky morning DJ says democracy's a joke he says now do you believe...
27. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Both. I survive on very little sleep.
28. What is your shoe size?
29. Do you have any pets?
A black cat (I'm evil)
30. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your family & friends?
I'd like to, but nothing much ever happens to me.
31. What did you want to be when you were little?
A radio announcer or a journalist. I've done both but not in a professional capacity.
32. What are you meant to be doing today?
Played cricket - done.

November 20, 2004

Horse 234 - Recurring Nightmare

The whole subject of dreams and whether they actually mean anything is one I find really quite boring. People often talk of the symbolism of dreams and the hidden meanings of things within them - personally I think that it's all a load of crock, but something is irking me at the moment and I really don't know why it occurs.

I won't tell you what happens in my recurring mightmare, but every day now for nearly the entire month of November I've been having precisely the same dream, with precisely the same outcome - that is I wake up, look at the alarm and find that it's half past stupid o'clock in the morning. Looking back I figure that I may have encountered the problem in some form before (see Horse 208 - but of late terror is the pitch that my unconscious wants to throw at me and I must say that I'm not happy with it at the moment.

I feel like something somewhere has invaded the unconscious reaches of my mind and taken up residence where I can't find it. The problem is that it's very difficult to tell your own brain to go away, and thus for the moment it looks like I'm going to have to get used to waking up terrified for no damn good reason - and that sucks.

November 19, 2004

November 18, 2004

Horse 233 - Fart Jokes Ahead

When I was working for the Commonwealth Law Courts, there was a sign posted on the wall that read something like this: "Your bad habit is smoking. The by-product of your bad habit is cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke gets in my clothes, in my hair, and in my food. My bad habit is beer. The by-product of my bad habit is urine. How would you feel if I got up on the table and urinated all over your clothes, head, and food?"

Although I agree with the sentiment of this sign, I think a better parallel to smoking is farting. After all, both smoking and farting are rude to do in the presence of other people, both produce foul odors, both help relax the person doing the farting or smoking, both are gross, and you never want to be trapped in a small space with someone doing either thing. However, it is my thesis, that farting is a far superior thing to do than smoking. I feel that flatulence has unjustly been saddled with the stronger taboo, due only to its intimate and unfortunate association with that matter known to some as poop, doo doo, or excremental refuse. Though I am not advocating for the acceptance of public flatulation, as much as it would ease the suffering of many, I will posit the theory that smoking should have a stronger taboo attached to it, and that people who smoke should either quit, or not do it in the presence of other people. Those who unapologetically smoke in the presence of non-smokers should be dealt with the same way as those who chronically and unabashedly flatulate in the midst of others, or like the people who created the Sultana Bran ad campaigns. Well, perhaps not as violently as the latter should be treated.

So, why is farting superior to smoking? Let me count the reasons:
1. Farting is not carcinogenic. Smoking is.
2. Second-hand farts are not carcinogenic. Second-hand smoke is.
3. Farts do not cling to the clothes of other people and pollute their wardrobes. Cigarette smoke does.
4. Farts generally do not infiltrate every recess of the buildings they are released in. Cigarette smoke can work its way through ventilation systems, closed doors, and even floorboards.
5. No one ever died by falling asleep while farting.
6. Farts, unless the farter is very ill, do not leave any material waste. Cigarette butts are an aesthetic plague on the landscape.
7. Farts, though they may smell fouler at times than cigarette smoke, often may be odorless or not as offensive as cigarette smoke.
8. Farting does not incur tracheotomies and massive medical bills.
9. Smoking is a chosen activity. You can quit. Farting is a biological imperative. Quit, and you’ll rupture your colon.
10. It’s safe to fart while at a petrol pymp.
11. Farting does not require acres of valuable arable land to be taken from food production to grow tobacco.
12. Farts do not make your eyes sting. Cigarette smoke does.
13. Farting is not as expensive as smoking.
14. I have never met anyone allergic to farts. I have met many people allergic to cigarette smoke.
15. Farts are a veritable goldmine of humour, especially for Hollywood screenwriters.
16. Kissing someone who farts does not taste nasty.
17. Farting does not require ash trays.
18. Farting is actually beneficial to one’s health, due to the gastrointestinal stress it relieves. Smoking relieves stress, but causes lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema, smoker’s lung, asthma, yellow teeth, and a host of other unpleasant conditions.
19. To the best of my knowledge, a fart never caused a forest fire.
20. If someone drops a fart in your lap, it may be cause for disgust, but not to stop, drop, and roll.
21. Farting doesn’t make your voice gravelly.
22. You can fart in an oxygen tent.
23. Smoking won’t provide you with a bubble bath.
24. People are rarely able to blow their farts in your face.
25. Everyone farts. Even the Pope.

If you’re a smoker, for your own sake and the sake of those around you, quit smoking. At least don’t smoke around non-smokers. If you are a chronic farter, go to the bathroom or take a walk. If you are both, may God have mercy on your soul... or your bum.

November 17, 2004

Horse 232 - Theft by "Mandate"

Parliament returns today for question time and the tabulation of several bills which are to be put before the houses. Among these is the bill for the sale of the governments remaining share of Telstra.

As a citizen of this country, I find it abhorrant that the Federal Government has called a so called "mandate" on the premise of being elected to power that it can sell off what I as a taxpayer own. If the sale of Telstra generates $30bn then I figure that as a voter who did not acquiesce to the sale of MY telco, then I should be due the proceeds or at least my share of therein which I equate to $1500 - of course I will never ever see a cheque for this and therefore I accuse the government of theft.

Stealing, Grand Larency, taking with intent to profit, pinching, theft. This is the biggest swindle ever pushed on the people of this country. I would like to see just one person (card-carrying members from the Liberal Party included - I'm holding you more responsible for allowing this THEFT to begin) justify why the government has a right to take from the people what belongs to them and put it into the hands of the highest bidder.

If this was in NSW I'd report it to the DPPPOC, but as the Federal Government is immune from criminal prosecution as a collective, no criminal action can be brought against it.

As we now live in a country in which the government has no controls over what laws can be passed for the next four years, then I expect the amount of business driven thefts to continue and they're not only condoned, but "mandated"

November 16, 2004

Horse 231 - Get Well Soon my Little One

First I felt sick, and now my little girl does. I could hear her whinging all the way home yesterday and she didn't sound all that well. I got her home and could tell she was running a temperature so I tried not to stress her out too much. When I did put her to bed she looked so peacefull, still in her red coat.

I bought her some new boots for her birthday, she's 3 now (they grow up so fast) and she's still as cute now as the day I brought her home, I still remember that day with fond memories. It's always exciting to get a new addition to the family.

So I've asked the doctor to see her this weekend. They're the same people I've taken her to since day one, they know more about her insides than anyone else - if anyone knows what the problem is, they should be able to tell me. The thing is, she hardly ever gets sick, there was that time when she took a knock but she bounced back. For now... I'm going to let her rest.

Get well soon my little one - it's not nice to see you like this, my SKA-555.

November 15, 2004

Horse 230 - Radio 1 Newsbeat

The internet is wonderful. I can from the other side of the world listen to domestic radio in the UK live and unabaited. I promised myself back in 1997 when I was first connected that I would not be impressed until I could get either radio or TV over the internet. Well that day came c.2000 and now that DAB has taken off in the UK, the quality over the net is simply brilliant.

I think I would be lost these days without "Waking up with Wogan" (in the mid afternoon) on or being totally annoyed by Jo Whiley on Radio 1.

In fact I'd like to personally thank the British licence payer for my radio listenage. I think that's marvellous.


November 14, 2004

Horse 229 - The Beach Bites

I hate the beach. I really hate the beach. I really really really hate the beach with a passsion. Why then would I subject myself to the arduous torture of being a leader on a beach camp then? Right now I'm asking myself the same question.

I can not swim. Whilst everyone else is merrily frolicking about the water I am pinned to the golden shore like a hawk watching them. Mind you should anything actually happen I'd have to run do the beach to find someone more qualified but that still infers that I have to watch with eyes of an eagle.
The beach by its nature is highly exposed. With no shelter, the sun beats down burning all and sundry. The wind whips the sand into a hundred million leg seeking pointy jabs and further to that, it sweeps salt into the eyes of all. So between being burnt to a crisp and my eyes stinging, this wasn't fun.
Back at the campsite, the wind howled and threw an order into disarray. Tents were being uplifted and rubbish was being festooned about the place. As leader came the constant requests to go back to the beach, the emu parade and the orders from those who'd appointed themselves in power.

To top all of this off, I came back to Sydney without enough sleep and ran the VDP at church. Between being ordered all weekend, being burnt and rashed, and then feeling abnormally sick, the weekend by all accounts should be a total loss for me but there remains only one reason why I should suffer this... if this adds to the process of just one of the kids on camp giving their lives away to Christ, if my sickness can be used for the betterment of the gospel, then yet again I have no right to complain - but gee I just feel like chucking up.

November 12, 2004

Divulge - Caps off this week. - Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony. He stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni, which is wrong as macaroni is a pasta and the feather was still a feather.

Horse 228 - Uh?

Perhaps someone less demented can tell me what today's post means?

November 11, 2004

Horse 227 - Armistice Day

"When one person dies, it's a tragedy. When a million people die it's a statistic" - Josef Stalin

38,000,000 - the best reliable estimate I could come up with. 38 million people who because of people's selfishness either got blown off the face of the earth, had their houses blown up with them still inside, died as a result of starvation, poor sanitation etc, because their "leaders" thought it would be nice to go to war.

11/11/1918 - The day when those same "leaders" came to their senses and in a rail car in the Forest of Compiegne signed a bit of paper which ended the senseless mess.

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santaya

11/11/1918 - it stopped - for at least 24hrs.

November 10, 2004

Horse 226 - Walls and Moons

15 years ago today, several walls were broken. Growing up I noticed that the world map had two rather strange anomalies, the first was the there was a North & South Korea, the second was that there was an East & West Germany. Now the UN may have done a lot of important things like provide peacekeepers to various parts for the world but one thing it did in the 40's 50's and 60's of last century was draw lines and snap countries in half.

"Made in W.Germany" for a while was a reminder that while the industrialsed West was prosperous, the East German economy was languishing. Businesses were held back without incentive and the state-owned companies failed in a lot of cases to provide all the needs of consumers. 1989 was a stark reminder the communism despite all the lofty ideals was as open to corruption at any other system, naturally people blamed the system.

On the 9th, all border controls bewteen the two Germanys were cancelled, and on the 10th opened up and free passage between them became possible for the first time in nearly a generation. More importantly the walls broke down in people's hearts and finally Germany as a nation was able to stand as one again. For at least 3 weeks a GDR passport gave passengers free travel in West Germany and a state of euphoria broke out.

26 years ago today, scientists who'd been noticing wobbles in the orbit of Pluto saw something through a very powerful telescope that they'd never seen before - a moon. on Nov 10 1978, the furthest known satellite at the time was found and called Charon after the mythical ferry people of the underworld who would ferry souls across the river Styx.

Charon is unique in the Solar System in that it is in captured rotation. Like our Moon, the same side always faces Pluto's surface. Unlike our moon it hangs over one spot, and therefore if you were under it, you could build a ladder bewteen the two objects in full knowledge that it would never move.

PS: For what it's worth Happy Birthday to Kymbaline. I share a birthday with you, and that's never happened before as far as I know. I hope your 21st is more joyous than my 26th which looks like by all accounts to be a non-event.

November 09, 2004

Horse 225 - Following the Law

I confess, it's IMPOSSIBLE. In my line of work there are 5 basic (sic) pieces of legislation that have to be adhered to: The Income Tax Assessment Act (1936), (1997), The Corporations Act (2000), The Goods And Services Tax Act (2001), and the Australian Accounting Standards Act (2002). Add to that the Financial Reporting Services Act (1998), The Banking Act (1959) and the State Revenues Act (NSW) (1901).

What we have are 8 acts spanning 19 volumes, occupying 1.4m of shelf space, weighing approximately 12 kilo. To sit down and learn how these work requires 3 years at Uni, and at least 2 years of practical experience, and even then that will only give you a snapshot. Within those 5 years, they would have changed again and you have to learn about the changes.

Accountants by nature are immensly boring. Is it little wonder why when you look at the information that has to be absorbed? Then look at the raw bones of the job and you find that most of it is dealing with numbers and how they work within the laws. It's very much a mechanical occupation. All of this requires a lot of logos, a tinker of ethos and almost no pathos.

From my window I can peer into the town square and see people going about their daily lives, rushing from store to store and then think to myself that I'll never be able to connect with any of them from up here. Most of the time the world is like a painting, except that the subjects move about; I wonder what life in the real world is like. The closest I come is when I have to extract money from them and even that becomes emotionless when it is reduced to being a series of numbers and laws.

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat et nulla regula sine exceptione!

November 08, 2004

Horse 224 - Tarmac

John MacAdam was a wacky Scotsman who single handedly changed the way roads were built... well not exactly. Born in 1756 he moved to America and worked in his uncle's accounting firm. News would filter though every other month from home and among one of the mails was a story about a fellow called John Metcalfe.

Mercalfe was otherwise known as "Blind Jack", he had become blind at the age of six and by his mid 20's was literally appalled with the state of roads in Britain. On one famous journey from London to Birmingham he refused a lift from a stagecoach and told them it would be quicker if he walked - he was right, he was quicker by six days.

Metcalfe wanted better roads in his native Yorkshire, so being an enterprising chap, built some. He managed to chart and built 180 miles of good turnpike road in Yorkshire by building up a raised surface which drained into side ditches. To this day, no-one knows how he managed to chart his way across the Penines let alone where to put his road.

Word spread to MacAdam and on his return to Scotland in 1783 MacAdam purchased an estate at Sauchrie, Ayrshire, and started experimenting with a new method of road construction. When he was appointed surveyor to the Bristol Turnpike Trust in 1816 he remade the roads under his control with crushed stone bound with gravel on a firm base of large stones. A camber, making the road slightly convex, ensured the rainwater rapidly drained off the road and did not penetrate the foundations. This way of building roads later became known as the Macadamized system. As a result of his success, MacAdam was made surveyor-general of metropolitan roads in England. Eventually the roads were sealed with a tar-gravel layer, hence the name Tarmac.

So why post such a thing today? No reason other than I heard a Scot and a Yorkshireman arguing about putting up a speed-hump near where I work.

November 07, 2004

Horse 223 - Bored of This Same Question

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. - Matthew 19:12

For four sermons at church we've been looking at the subject of sexual sin. Now I myself have been challenged by this series of topics, but also discouraged by the inevitable question that always crops up and is bound to asked by someone when any topics like this crops up - "Why are you still single/Why haven't got married yet?" - The following answer is aimed at you people.

Truth in point here is that for whatever reason God hasn't provided me with such a person yet. Now I don't necessarily know if He will or not (that's his perogative since everything that could possibly own or have even claim over can only come from his provision) but this question I find to be almost bordering on insult. From where I stand it doesn't show a failure on my part, rather something that has not yet presented itself. Because married people were all single once, some tend to think that they know all there is to know about singleness.

I have the following to say on the subject:
Marriage is not final, not in this life or the next. Even if one does happen to be married it is negated by death.
Christ himself wasn't ever married, and yet he was the most perfect human to walk the earth.
Several apostles were never married and without them, the church wouldn't be where it is today.
The Bible itself like the idea of singleness because of the ministry opportunity it presents.God is sovereign over who gets married and who doesn't and He can be trusted to do what is good for those who hope in Him.
We aren't any more or less a man or a woman for being married or not.

Now upon all of this, if being single is a life appointed by God, then what right do I or anyone else have to feel either bitter or even go on a frenzied search to get married. Even Paul himself suggested something.

Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. - 1 Corinthians 25-27

To be brutally honest, I can't see the point why I should be bothered to go on the hunt for whoever "she" is. If "she" is out there, then God's plan will open up but isn't this true for all aspects of walking with God? Shouldn't He be the one to decide everything? Can He be depended on to direct one's path? How do I know for instance that God hasn't already pre-planned someone, even somewhere I don't care for much like France, the USA or even (dare I say it) Everton*.
If on the other hand God has decided that I am to remain single, then then search is futile and my energies can be better placed in doing other things like working for the kingdom. Again the same questions arise: Shouldn't He be the one to decide everything? Can He be depended on to direct one's path?
Second of all, I'm actually getting sick and tired of answering this question again and again and again - kindly cool it please. I don't have the answer, God does. If you're that worried ask Him. Shouldn't He be the one to decide everything?

*if she actually does exist and come from one of these place then this would be a great irony, but then again, God's sense of humour often results in making me look silly ^_^

November 05, 2004

Divulge - Book Now - Pages could be written about this one.

Horse 222 - November 5 - Crackpots with Fireworks Day

November 5th marks the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy to blow up the English Parliament and with it King James I in 1605. On that day, the king prepared to open Parliament.
It was intended to be the beginning of a great uprising of English Catholics, who were distressed by the increased severity of penal laws against the practice of their religion (namely the outlawing of monasteries and the public acquisiton of cathedrals). The conspirators, who began plotting early in 1604, expanded their number to a point where secrecy was impossible.
To this day Guy Fawkes in my opinion stands in more high regard than anyone who has entered the parliament since. What better way to show your contempt of government than to blow it up... of course we can't celebrate this anymore as it now counts as 399 year old terrorism.

November 5th marks the anniversary of the great evacuation by Joseph Stalin. In 1946 on this day as the USSR was preparing to meet with the other allied leaders as to the details on how Germany was going to be split, he arranged a meeting of 40 of his high ranking officials.
During this meeting several armed members of the KGB entered the room under the orders of Stalin and all 40 were stabbed to death. Over the next 5 years, Stalin continued one of the most evil legacies that Hitler had installed and another million Jews were either gassed or burned until the next 5 year plan also on November 5.

November 5th marks the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini gaining control of Iran. On this day he declared America to be the "Great Satan" and suspended the criminal justice system in favor of religious courts. A democratic apparatus was put into place, but for appearances only, much like the British monarchy.
Later in November 1979, a group of student radicals overran the U.S. embassy and took everyone inside hostage, with Khomeini's support, in retaliation for the U.S. agreeing to shelter the Shah. The crisis lasted for more than a year, paralyzing Jimmy Carter's presidency and eventually contributing greatly to his loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. After the Shah died, the hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981, the day of Reagan's inauguration.
Reagan wasn't one to take aggression lightly; his brilliant response to the threat he perceived from Iran was to arm Saddam Hussein with conventional, chemical and biological weapons and unleash him on America's enemy - that fixed 'em. For the next 8 years Iran & Iraq fought a futile war and the only thing that stopped them was that ran both eventually ran out of will and resources.

Such a lovely day in history.

November 03, 2004

Horse 221 - Much Ado About Nothing

The world was shocked in 1953 at the first performance of a piano work entitled 4'33" by John Cage. The music (which is in 3 parts) calls for music in length of 30", 2'23", and 1'40" respectively. What makes the piece so utterly revolutionary isn't so much how it's made (which is wholly unremarkable) but the actual printed score.

At first glance the pianist would be absolutely horrfied at the score before them, as the piece has not got even a single note printed on the staves at all. In fact when it was first performed, the audience was shocked and angered that this so called "slient" piece of music should be allowed to fall into the realms of even the definition of music.

What Cage's intent was, was to demonstrate something so utterly simple that it actually requires something as stupid as this to show. He'd spent some time in an anechoic chamber and realised that when one is utterly still, that the so called silence is filled with the most minute of noises - from everything as small as his own heartbeat to even the rush of blood as it passes around the bones within the ear itself. Thus the piece is designed such that the audience is aware of all the little noises in the theatre - the rumble of the weather outside, even the shuffling of the audience itself.

Personally I agree with the audience that sat in on that fateful day in 1953, in that 4'33" is a load of old tash but it does highlight a very interesting principle. When one is still, one suddenly becomes aware of all the little things that one has missed because you were rushing.

Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46 should be very familiar to a lot of us at church; I happen to like it for two reasons: The first is that the tune comes from The Dambusters, the second is that line telling us to be still - so that we might listen ever so patiently to the noises that we so often miss.

Kryten: Listen! Can anyone hear anything?
[Pause. There is silence]
Cat: No.
Kryten: Precisely. No one can hear anything! And you know WHY we can't hear anything? Rimmer: Why?
Kryten: [The Voice Of Doom] Because there are NO sounds to hear.
Rimmer: Kryten, isn't it round about this time of year that your head goes back to the lab for re-tuning?
Lister: No, no, he's right. There's no sounds because the engines are dead. We've lost all power!

Sometimes even more important are sounds that have ceased to be. Sometimes the noises that used to exist and that don't any more spell danger. Sometimes the quiet is regenerative and sometimes it's a signal that we need to be moving again. Whatever the case 4'33" is a potent reminder that "silence" (despite that it doesn't actually exist) is actually quite important.

November 02, 2004

Horse 220 - Killiwall CD Fillibayer

My CD shoom creat is busted. I gooly to the electric smot for a new one but upon finding none that I like I ask the devotchka behind the counter ifn they have one perchance I may purchase.

"So what's it going to be then, eh?" So I be popping me gulliver over the glass counter and rozz at the nay-sammy and veritable guff and the dollarshow they be proffering with filly. Said devotchka appy polly loggies and then like sarky I is given chakies at other seashell nollycoppers.

I crarks to me ownsome that this be chepooka and for a minoota me messels in me mozg that I need more pretty polly, so giving up I yeckate to privodeet the mesto. Nachinat that is shazat me shilarny be that this electric smot be bezoomny and that ye olde dollarshow be the proverbial load of cal.

I'm razdrazed enough to make this malenky malchick bolnoy!

Horse 219 - Why American "Democracy" isn't

The USA prides itself on being a shining example of democracy when in actual fact nothing could be further from the truth. The American version of "democracy" is one of the most fundamentally flawed things in the world, and few people actually realise just how incidious it really is.

1. Non-Compusory Voting - Americans have the right not to vote or rather, only those people who actually care do. What this means is that the president will only be elected by about 30% of the population at best. Under 1 in 3 people voted for the president assuming an abrnomally high turn-out of 60% of the voting public. 40% of the population can't be bothered to vote so that's hardly the voice of the people is it?

2. The Electoral College System - The way the presidency race works, is that you vote for the president, and those votes are tallied for your state. The state then finds out who wins the presidency for that state and sends out a number of "college votes". The number of college votes is based on the importance of population of the state. What this means in reality is that the president only needs to win the popular vote in 7 key states or 8% of the population (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Maryland & New Jersey). This means to say that the other 43 states are never catered for as they never matter.

3. The Cabinet - Having assumed that 40% didn't vote and that 43 states didn't vote for the president, this president then gets the privilege of appointing the executive of the nation, ie. the cabinet. None of these people are elected persons, not one of them has to go under any public scrutiny at all. The president is literally free to appoint anyone he feels like, and since he is most likely to appoint the people who supported his campaign, effectively very rich people can bribe their way into positions of extreme power.

To summarise:
Of the 260,000,000 US Citizens
only 195,000,000 are old enough to vote
only 117,000,000 actually bother
only 20,800,000 people's votes count in reality
only 10,400,000 actually voted for the president who's votes count (4% of the total population)and not one single person other than the president decide who goes in the cabinet.

That's democracy?