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

http://divulge.bjd.au.com - 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! - http://www.abc.net.au/triplej

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 http://galea21.blogspot.com)

1. What time did you get up this morning?
0752am - v.late for me
2. Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds
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?
Thomas
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 http://www.geocities.com/rollo75/002.htm
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?
White.
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?
9
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 - http://www.geocities.com/rollo75/horse9.htm) 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2 or being totally annoyed by Jo Whiley on Radio 1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1

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

97-99FM!

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.

http://divulge.bjd.au.com - 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. http://www.livejournal.com/users/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

http://divulge.bjd.au.com/ - 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?

November 01, 2004

Horse 218 - The End of my Youth (9 Days)

Today is the 1st of November (All Saints Day) and I have been surreptitiously reminded that our local church Youth Group is for ages 18-25 which means in broad terms that I have approximately 9 days of my youth left (that's 26 years old on Nov 10 for those doing the maths). After this time I am expected to trade it in and become an "Old Farty Pants"™. The question then is, what do I have to show for my misspent youth?

When Toad of Toad Hall bet his Rolls Royce on a game of bridge, he upped the ante and then bet Toad Hall on a game of snooker. The Badger accepted the Chief Weasel's invite and not only bet his own home on the game but proved to be an expert snooker player so easily won back his home, Toad Hall and the Rolls Royce. The Badger put his expert skill down to a "misspent youth". Now the question is, do I have that same skill? On occasion I have been known to frustrate far better and more skillful players than me, so on that note, the answer is a resounding yes.

I am also reminded of the opening of what most people would consider to be a very difficult book of the bible. The opening of Jeremiah has a lengthy poem which likens the period of Israel's wandering as like a honeymoon period. God tells the people to remember the "love of their youth" (Jer 2:1-13) when they literally followed and walked after the cloud.

Mostly I've come to the stark realisation over about 3 years that my character is completely formed and the very little will actually change from here on in. Shakespeare made the comment the "once you finally realise who you are, you'll realise that you're not pathetic after all". Now this has never really been a problem for me but I will say this. If you really want me to act and be something that I'm not this late, then sadly you're too late.

PS: I have no idea where this ramble was going or where it went. Perhaps someone with a
greater sense of purpose could analyse this for me - for now, I'm off to grab a Yorkie bar.