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.