January 28, 2005

Horse 284 - Dead People & Medicare

I read with much mirth the following in today's Sydney Morning Herald (28/01/05) - "521,000 people in the financial year 2003/04 named on Medicare cards who were either dead or unborn" I agree with this in priciple but maybe not in execution. Health Care should be afforded to all Australians and especially the dead, I mean you can't physically get any more unwell than actually being dead now can you?

There is the problem of the undead which I suppose must include all zombies, ghosts, poltergheists and vampires. Though in the case of vampires there is a distinct argument against them being on Medicare, a blood transfusion to a vampire is like giving Coco Pops to a 9 year old or pizza, chips and PS2s to the people of Nimbin. The estates of dead people actually do pay the Medicare levy, so I guess that means legally they do have the rights to the services they've paid for, even if they are zombies.

On the subject of the unborn I could start all sorts of debate about abortions which would by reason put them into the same category as the unborn undead. Apart from those people who at some point in the future will actually be born, the rest should become Defence personnel. It makes sense that if the Federal Government is so intent on "pre-emptive strikes" on hostile powers then perhaps those attacks should be done with pre-emptive people.

Lastly I propose that the unborn, dead and the undead be given universal sufferage. The law specifically precludes minors from voting and technically the unborn, dead and the undead aren't minors. In any event haven't dead people already decided the fate of numerous elections... like in the case of our own Federal Government.

January 27, 2005

Horse 283 - You Can't Get it Rolling, You Can't Get it Goaling, You Can't Get it Feeding a Fire

Let's hear it for Australia Day. In one foul swoop Slammin' Sam Kekovic reminded us all exactly what it means to be Australian... to give the bird to the rest of the world. I did have lamb on Australia and a Foster's despite complaints from the people across the street who are vegetarians* (do they come from Vegetaria?), and yet somehow Australia as a nation seems very timid about holding onto and defining itself.

217 years ago Australia became the world's biggest gaol and with that came the world's biggest inferiority complex. From Imperial Britain to Imperial America though that's buisness in nature), Australia has always needed to copy and be someone else.

Our two biggest sporting icons are a cricket player who stuck it up England, and a Horse. I think our greatest leaders of all time were Billy Hughes who stuck it up the League of Nations and John Curtin who stuck it up both the UK and the USA in WW2. Yet somewhere after WW2 Australia again felt inferior but instead of hiding under the wing of the UK, hid squarely under the feathery bottom of the USA - oh dear. John W seems to want to be a handmaiden to George W at every whim and turn.

Actually on that subject of Foster's, I find it really almost insanely odd that it is marketed overseas as "Australia's Famous Beer" yet is impossible to find on tap in Australia. This whole national inferiority complex leads to the rather bizarre state that more of the stuff is consumed outside than inside the country. Carlton & United would rather foist crap like VB & Carlton Draught on Australian's than "Australia's Famous Beer" to the same people. In fact it goes so far that they had to remarket it as the upmarket Crown Lager rather than Foster's. It seems that Australians are snobbish enough not to buy Foster's but too stupid to realise that it's the exact same stuff as a Crownie in a different bottle. I kid thee not!

Furthermore I reckon that multi-culturalism is a load of pretentious crap. If Australia wants to stop being so wishy-washy we should start mono-culturalism - ie. that of Australianism whatever that happens to be. America has it albeit brash and harsh & the UK has it albeit whiny and whingy (so would you be if your empire as big as that had collapsed in a generation). No Australia needs a national identity and that should begin with what the country does best... give the bird to the rest of the world.

*If Vegetarians are so quick to point out that "Meat is Murder" then why don't they collectively speak out against war? Even blind Freddy can see that Murder is Murder.

January 26, 2005

Horse 282 - Eat Lamb On Australia Day

There's nothing worse than being Un-Australian; I should know, I've been Australian all my life and I'm sickened by the creeping tide of Un-Australianism eroding our great traditions. Like our custom of eating lamb on Australia Day.

Un-Australianism is everywhere, for example people wearing those plastic brightly coloured flip-flop shoes with flowers on them. What's wrong with rubber thongs in simple primary colours? If I hear another person say "thong" when they mean those swimming costumes puncy Brazillian bloke wear up their bums, I'll do my block.

Sadly the scourge of Un-Australianism has even infected our national day. A balanced Australia Day diet should consist of a few nice juicy lamb chops and beer, and perhaps a bit of pavlova for those with a sweet tooth, yet your long-haired, dole bludging types are indulging their pierced tastebuds in all manner of exotic, foreign and often vegetarian cuisine, chicken burger value meals, pizzas, a number 42 with rice. It's an absolute disgrace, and people ask why we need capital punishment.

Do you think the Diggers in the trenches were fighting for tofu sausages? No, They were thinking of grabbing a lamb chop off the barbie with their bare fingers, sustaining third-degree burns, then sticking their hands in a relieving Esky to fish out a cold one. Look at our national song, Waltzing Matilda. It’s about a bloke trying to get a nice bit of lamb into his tuckerbag, not spicy chicken wings!

The soap-avoiding, pot-smoking hippie vegetarians might disagree with me, but they can get stuffed. They know the way to the airport, and if they don’t, I’ll show them. So the message is clear even for you backpackers. Roll out the barbie, ensure the gas bottle's filled, stack the fridge full of lamb and prepare the invitation list.

So don't be Un-Australian, serve lamb on Australia Day. You know it makes sense. I'm Sam Kekovic.

All I have to say after this is - I want to thank you Slammin' Sam for giving us the road map to life.

January 24, 2005

Horse 281 - Good Ol' Anti-Semitic America

When Prince Harry dressed up like a Nazi, there were cries in the media that he was being Anti-Semitic. Am I allowed to accuse the USA of Anti-Semitism now that they've decided to attack Iran? Maybe not attack just yet, but that seems to be the implication of the latest list of trouble spots . Certainly Iran appears more of a priority than say Korea or Zimbabwe.

The USA is Anti-Semitic? Surely that's a stupid premise. I may have to unpack my viewpoint. To do this I wind the clock back to lots and lots BC.

The Semites as a racial group include ALL descendants of Shem. In order they are: Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serah, Nahor, Terah then Abram. Abram had 2 sons: Issac who was the father of Israel, and Ishmael who like Israel had 12 sons. You'll find this list in Genesis 25:12-18 and these folk comprise the beginnings of the Arabic world. The Arabs were always going to "bruise the heel" of Israel, and very little has changed.

In a modern context the Balfour Declaration of 1917 set aside the state called "Palestine" as a nation to be separate and distinct from the nations around it. Essentially this was the restoration of a subjugated territory from under the Ottoman Empire after that had broken up (the Ottoman Empire grew out of the Eastern Roman Empire which in turn grew out of the Roman Empire proper which had ruled the area BC and certainly at the time of Christ).
1948 saw the beginning of a Jewish nation state after the atrocities they suffered under the hands of Nazi Germany. The Arabic world immediately resented it and spent constant attempts (even today) trying to destroy the Jews and their nation.

America's constant defending of Israel as a nation (6 day war, Yom Kippur, Gulf War I, etc.) is most likely because of the powerful Jewish influence from business. Many Jews fled Germany from 1933 onwards, and their estute business practices (which was a cause of resentment in Germany) again flourished in corporate America; in fact I suggest that could be one reason why this current Pax Americana based on business actually exists. Jewish scientists developed "the bomb" and rocketry ironically in Nazi Germany.

Of course such a standpoint is going to create an incredible deal of resentment from the Arabic world. One fact that was almost but not entirely whitewashed over that the World Trade Centre was home to quite a number of Jewish interests, and yet there were none actually killed on that roll.

What was the USA's first action against this? Attack terrorism... fantastic ideal, that smacks if the ideal of fanatascism... hit back at the people that did this to the American Nation. Where shall they attack? Where else but the Arabic world. Afghanistan, Iraq and next on the list Iran.

The only flaw with this is the American & Saudi alliance. Perhaps this is not quite so much of a problem when you realise that the Bush's and the Saudi's have been getting along in business terms for quite some time now, even the Islamic clergy seem to hold Saudi Arabia at a distance because of their secularism.

My accusation now is that the USA is blatantly Anti-Semitic (specifically only one half) and it's little wonder considering that they bought into the longest running family feud in history. "The War on Terror" had very little to do with terror, a bit to do with oil, but I see this in the greater scheme of things as little more than the old argument of the Jews v Arabs. Interesting that neither Zimbabwe, North Korea, Ireland or Spain were ever considered by the US Government isn't it?

January 20, 2005

Horse 280 - Repeal the Second!

I think that BJD has drawn a different inference than I did from this article. Whilst I agree that the article was inexpertly written, I see that point that the writer is trying to establish. In 2003 Chicago took from Washington DC the dubious honour of being "the murder capital of the world". This means to say that Chicago has the greatest number of homicides recorded on the planet.
An interesting parlance needs to be brought to attention here before I continue the point. Murder is a civilian action; what we are witnessing in Iraq currently is mainly the result of a military prescence and as such the definition is blurred somewhat. Also of import is that civilian police in Iraq I'm sure are not able to produce accurate statistics on constitues a civilian case of murder per capita.

Having said that, the case of Chicago should be compared to a like civilian state not ravaged by the sounds of war. Chicago has roughly 9.1 million people or double that of the state of New South Wales, or roughly the same size as the city of London, however Chicago being in the USA has one major thing against it... its laws. The number of murders in a country by inference must go up in accordance with the propensity and the ability to carry them out. The USA has enshrined in law the "right to bear arms", see below.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. - 2nd Amendment

The NRA (National Rifleman's Association) is one of the largest lobby groups in US politics and may be a contributing factor as to why the law has never been repealed. 451 in Chicago must be compared to 247 in London or 158 in Sydney (assuming Sydney had 9 million people. Between Sep 2003 and Sep 2004 there were 79 cases of murder).
Now I don't know about you, but it seems that if you lived in Chicago, the chance of being murdered is roughly 2.8 times that of living in Sydney. If you then lay this across the entire of the US, for 250 million people approximately 12,500 people would be murdered every year; yet this is the best record in five years. This is something to be pleased about?

Now I'm not suggesting somthing simplistic like "if you remove the guns then you remove the problem"... actually yes I am. Of course the entire problem will not disappear overnight, but the Second Amendment by its very existance has created a culture whereby firearms are reasonably accessable. No longer does the country need to assert its independance, no longer do the wilds need to be tamed either.

The Second Amendment is an archaic, stupid piece of legislation; the sooner it gets removed the better.

January 19, 2005

Horse 279a - Jamming The Frequencies

Let's take a trip back in time to 1974. Colour TV is still at least 6 months away, cable TV is well... 20 years away at least. So then, let's tune into the radio shall we.

These are the available options:

2FC 575kHz - FC stands for Farmer & Co. 5 Dec 1923
The ABC's Radio 1, the national radio station. Although some popular music found it's way onto Radio 1, the ABC was still quite stuffy. In 1972, Radio and TV licences meant that the ABC no longer had its own budget but had to live in the pockets of the Federal Government. The ABC has suffered ever since.
Now 576kHz

2BL 700kHz - Broadcasters Limited. 13 Nov 1923
The local ABC station. It mainly played sport and talk, some broadcasts were relayed from Melbourne. In 1974 it was a definate backwater and only when the power of talkback was realised, did the station ever assume credibility.
Now 702kHz

2GB 870kHz - Giordino Bruno. 23 Aug 1926
GB refers to Giordino Bruno, an Italian philosopher highly regarded by the Theosophical Society not Grace Brothers as could be assumed. In 1974 it was mainly the same as now, occasionally running night-time music programs.
Now 873kHz

2UE 950kHz - Electric Utilities Supply. (Was changed from EU to UE) 26 Jan 1925
Featured some pop music and some talkback, Mr Laws was already on the air here. In the early Sixties it was Sydney's leading pop station, and long-serving breakfast DJ Garry O'Callaghan was for many years the most popular announcer in the city.
Now 954kHz

2KY 1010kHz - No idea what it stood for, possibly Sky?. 31 Oct 1925
Was owned by the NSW Labor Council and featured light music, racing broadcasts and talkback. The format has not changed to date.
Now 1017kHz

2UW 1110kHz - 13 Feb 1925
Became all-pop format in 1964, and dubbed its on-air team "The 11-10 Men". Its all-pop format lasted until 1984 when it found that a little regional station called 2WS had found a new niche, for a while it even had the nerve to call itself Magic 11. These two stations fought out the last fight for pop on AM before they both jumped the band.
Became 1107kHZ. Now FM see below.

2CH 1170kHz - CH seems to refer to Council of Churches. 15 Feb 1932
Was then and still is owned by the Australian Council of Churches. For some years it carried a number of foreign-language programs serving various ethnic communities, but in 1972 it cancelled all its "ethnic" programs and switched to a bland mix of so-called "easy listening" music, with some religious content.
Still 1170kHz

2SM 1270kHz - St Mary's or St Mark's. Is owned by the Catholic Broadcasting Co. 24 Dec 1931
Took the led from 2UW in the early '70s and ruled supreme as the leading pop station in the city from then until the advent of commercial FM radio in the early 80s. Changed it's name to Gold 1269, and now back to 2SM.
Now 1269kHZ

Quite boring isn't it? Especially when you have a look at the commencement dates; the last being 1932. In 1972 a Federal enquiry was launched into the broadcast industry. For 40 years, not a single broadcast licence had been issued in any of the state capitals of Australia. In all capitals there were 2 ABC stations and 6 commercial stations. Elsewhere around the world, FM was starting to break into stride, and in the US, more than 400 independant stations had started around the country on both AM and FM. Australia looked like a radio black hole.

So then, let's add to the confusion.

2JJ 1540kHZ - Double-J. 19 Jan 1975
The first new radio licence issued in 43 years. As stated in Horse 279, it caused a tizzie in the Industry.
Now FM see below.

2EA 1305kHz - Ethnic Australia. 17 Jun 1975
When SBS started it was natural that the quango be given a radio licence. Although the radio station's philosohhy has not Changed, the frequency did. Bought 2UW's transmitter sets which were better quality.
Now 1107kHz

2WS 1224kHz - Western Sydney. 23 Nov 1978
Originally a community station, it found itself unexpectedly a market leader when in 1984 it switched its programming to include "Juke Box Saturday Night" which was basically what 2SM would have played in 1968.
Now FM see below.

That list covers up until 1980 when the rules more or less changed forever. When the Federal Government opened up FM licences, the traditional radio stations more or less saw the medium as a joke (not even the great BBC had FM). Two licences in most cities were taken at the head by the Austereo Group, and JJJ slowly took up national FM broadcasting rights as did the ABC proper with its classical network.

102.5 - ABC Classic FM. 1980 - ABC
The ABC's station aligned closely to Radio 3. Plays as the name suggests, classical music and nowt much else.

103.2 - CBA Christian Broadcast Association. 1980 - Independant
An experimental licence was awarded in 1974. Mainly plays christian traditional & "pop" music, with elements of the old BBC 247 Light Programme.

104.1 - 2Day FM. 1980 - Austereo
Top 40 Music and pretty well not much else. The station in format is an exact copy of Radio 1, Z100 in NYC and 50 zillion other pop stations on the planet.

104.9 - Triple-M. 1980 - Austereo
Owned by the same group as 2Day FM. Supposedly put up as some sort of competition I suppose. It plays mainly Top 40 with a definate rock feel to it.

105.7 - JJJ. 1980 - ABC
Triple J was originally sent up the same weak tower as 2BL. On FM it meant that they were then on a purely line of sight basis until 1989 when it went up the main FM spike with TV. It survived the realignment of the ABC and retained its character entirely.

Things got a bit weird in the 1990's when the regional stations went metro then jumped to FM.

101.7 - WSFM - Australian Radio Network - 1990
Formerly 2WS 1224AM it became 2WS 101.7FM then changed its name. 2WS did have a stereo AM transmitter but that idea failed in Australia as far too few people bought the radio sets. The format also changed slightly as a lot of the records that it was playing were mono but that very fact caused it lose its base and it has had to carve out a new market.

106.5 - MIX - Australian Radio Network - 1991
Another tragic story of the FM jump. 2UW was in direct competition before it found itself stranded as the only real music station left on AM. It switched and was effectively swamped by the three biggest stations in the country. Has now changed mentality and is trying to brush itself off as female friendly.

96.1 - The Edge - Australian Radio Network - 1991
I don't even know where to being this story. In 1932 it won a regional licence for Katoomba and called itself 2KA transmitting on 780kHz. It moved to Penrith c.1984 but retained the purposes of the station. In 1991 it jumped the FM divide as all its stablemates were doing and then underwent the stupidity of name change. It became One-FM then 9inety-6ix. When the Australian Radio Network moved all it offices to Ryde, this like the other two followed suit.

New Licences were awarded in 2001, more community licences were sold and the Federal Government held out a tender for yet another licence, but as yet I only know of two stations that have occupied the air on this latest wave.

96.9 - Nova - DMG - 2001
Worldwide media giant DMG entered the radio world amid great fanfare and the policy of playing no more than two ads in a row. Not surprisingly this annoyed the Austereo and Australian Radio Networks who argued that the radio market had reached saturation point. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen.

94.5 - FBI - 2003
The station still has an underground cult status in Australian radio. Similar to Double-J in its early days, the station prides itself on trying to be different but ends up sounding like everyone else.

So then, that's the soundscape of the city as I see it. All of this will be swept aside as far as I can tell, when the great divide of AM/FM will be washed away by the raging torrent that will be the Digital Audio Band (DAB).

Horse 279 - Loud and Proud Across the Nation

"We don't like you either", is the slogan used by JJJ on and off since 1975 when the station basically gave commercial radio and the ABC itself a right kick in the pants 30 years ago today.

For this I'll use the Sydney Stations as that's what most of the readership know of, though equally the same outrage was felt throughout the country.

The reason why I mention this is more of an historical anomaly. In 1975 the ABC looked at the BBC and saw that Radio 1 after switching to popular music ruled the airwaves. Radio 1 had been built from the old 247 national station which before 1967 was the only nationwide BBC station in the UK. The ABC thought about this and saw that to compete against the big music stations of 2UW and 2SM it would need to launch its own station. But the ABC realised that to do so would be a mistake in the light that an untapped market was waiting.

On 19 Jan 1975, 2JJ burst forth with the Skyhooks' "You Just Like Me 'Cause I'm Good in Bed". The track had been banned from commercial radio due to the protests but programming this song as the first track on the first day of broadcast and on the Sabbath, no less caused an instant furore a fact which no doubt delighted the mischievous wowser-baiters at 2JJ. 2JJ at 1540kHz chimed in and stole 2SM's thunder which had promoted itself as "top of the dial", Mr Laws at 950 2UE attacked the station for it's crudeness and because of the initial media outrage it stole 5% of the market within 2 months.
The other thing which instantly annoyed the establishment was Gayle Austin, who by her prescence of air actually became the first female announcer on radio to have her own show anywhere in the world.

Of course in 1980 Double-J became Triple-J when Aunty was granted the first FM licence in the country. From here, the story of the ABC on radio is where it more or less aligned itself to the BBC's stations in character. FM 105.7 was chosen in Sydney, simply because on most radio sets it involved no movement of the tuning dial from it's old location.

Not too bad for "... perhaps the least loveable offspring spawned by the ABC."

January 18, 2005

Horse 278 - Harry The Nazi

What sort of person could possibly defend a scurrilously maniacal bigoted dictator? I'm not about to for a second, but what I find so utterly repugnant about this whole Harry the Nazi thing is the utter contempt that the newspapers and in particular the Sun* has for sanity.Over in London's west end, theatre goers have for the last 16 weeks been privvy to a musical written by a Jew called The Producers that paradoxically pokes fun at the Nazis. Perhaps in a bizarre sort of way, the media is again parading doublespeak.

I question the sort of person who goes to a function with the sole purpose of photographing royalty. Sure, Harry may be a pratt but the person who took the photograph has made a cool £50,000 and the newspaper trade itself continues to rake misery in order to sell newsprint. Obviously if they could they'd publish photographs of royalty in the shower if they thought they could get away with it. While we're at it, let's sneak into Princess Beatrice' room and grab some pictures of her naked and see if that makes it to page 3. If it's good enough for that hotel heiress then why not?
While we're at it, let's clamp down on every Japanese car displaying a sticker of the Hinomaru (the Japanese Imperial Naval Jack). 7½ million Chinese people were tortured at the hand of the Japanese versus 6 million Jews. Are we therefore to think that somehow Jews are more important?

I think people are being incredibly po-faced about this. As with any subject, there is humour that can be derived from Hitler and the Nazis. By that I don't mean humour that seeks to trivialise their actions, and neither am I suggesting that this stupid bit of behaviour by Prince Harry was at all amusing, except to him and his aristocratic friends. However, the number of people saying that this was absolutely disgusting because there's nothing funny about the Nazis, we're coming up to Holocaust Memorial Day and so on, I find rather depressing.
Does this mean that I shouldn't laugh at the 'Don't mention the war!' sketch from Fawlty Towers, which derives humour from aspects of Nazi Germany? Does it mean I shouldn't still find it funny that workers at Disneyland who hated their working conditions and low pay started referring to the place as 'Mouseschwitz', were then instructed not to by the management, and instead started calling it 'Duckau'? It is possible to refer to such things in a funny way without demeaning the things behind them. I think that people today are becoming increasingly overcome by what the satirist Armando Iannucci referred to on the BBC's Question Time programme as 'manufactured outrage' every time something like this happens.

The only reason, in my mind that, it retains such a focus in the daily press (TV/Radio & Print Media) is that for a news editor it gives them another reason to have a go at an already "easy target" i.e. the royal family or anyone in public life, and therefore they can command some fairly outrageous headlines and starp lines that grab Joe Public's imagination. Nowadays if someone in public life so much as farts, then they are being pilloried for it, come on guys get a grip on reality.
We all make mistakes and faux pas, there's no need to make such a big deal out of it. The Sun will always be far more offensive than a misguided student prank. When the sole priority of your newspaper is peddling bigotry & hatred, then you lose the right to the moral high ground.

Since this whole affair is a terrible mistake it's worthwhile to consider that in 1997, the press lost their biggest target when a black Mercedes crashed into a Parisian road tunnel whilst being pursued by the paparazzi. Has anyone actually ruled out the possibilty that it was actually tagged from behind by a media vehicle? Is that effort now being used to hunt down and attack her son?

*Also of note is the that the Sun like the Daily Telegraph is also a Murdoch run paper, as already razzed on by this column.

January 16, 2005

Horse 277 - Pocky Madness

You really have to love Japanese advertising sometimes. Pocky is one of those weird snacks that looks stupid but tastes yum. It's basically a long biscuity thing covered in chocolate, not unlike a Tim Tam or some such but due to the fact that it's in Japan, the marketing people with do anything to sell anything including setting up a fake pop group to promote it.

Pocky Girls are in principle the same as the Spice Girls with a different girl for every flavour. What I find odd is the hoardes of people you find in the adverts, and like this photo the equally strange expressions that people make.

Now I don't know what I've missed culturally here, but this guy just looks plain odd.

Captions Please

January 15, 2005

Horse 276 - Living in a Pizza Oven

Hello Australia.

Some 218 years ago, the English Government (before the Second Act of Union) decided that keeping prisoners on board ships was no longer an option. Not because they felt that this was inhumane but because the number of hulks that were around simply weren't enough. To combat this problem, prisoners were sent to Australia which in effect became the world's largest goal.

Now this sounds like it should be a post for Australia Day (in 11 days time) but the point that I wish to drag out here is that the consequences of making Australia a gaol are still being felt. 41 degrees C the mercury hit today, now had this been in the UK, modern authorities would have condemned this as being inhumane conditions in which to keep prisoners. What then happens when the country of free people are subjected to this?

Because of my English heritage, I hold the bizarre qualities of being able to understand cricket, be relatively chivalrous, and have a reasonable ability to empty containers of fermented vegetable products. To the downside of this, is that I have been genetically bred to live in constant rain and and the bottom of a peat bog if necessary. Australia on the other hand is a dry dusty sort of place and me being white skinned and all, tend not to get sunburnt but to suddenly burst into flames.

Now before this is seen as slating this country, bear in mind that I think that as a nation it has the ability to achieve great things. I just wish that we could somehow tow it about a thousand miles south so I wouldn't feel so damn hot and bothered.

January 14, 2005

Horse 275 - I like Henry

One of my all time greatest heroes isn't someone who saved the world but an industrialist, a businessman who didn't take crap from anyone, found himself in court more often than not but in his own way helped change the world quite siginificantly. The company's products still sport his famous signature, and it still remains one of the biggest 50 companies in the world. The man I refer to is none none that Henry Ford.

His first car (oddly enough was called the type A) left the doors of the factory in 1903. The motor company celebrated its centenary in fine style 2 years ago, but the most famous thing that the company is for is the process that started in the company's ninth year.
Economies of scale had been known about for at least 125 years. Adam Smith had written about the principle in his seminal book "Wealth of Nations", Smith observed that by utilising specialisation of labour, a factory producing something as simple as pins (only 2 components) could increase its production a thousand fold.
In 1914 Ford utilised this principle and Ford's motor cars began to move down a mechanised production line where each process would add just a little bit to the cars as they moved along. The idea was so good that the total time it took to produce a car went from 26½ hrs to just 93 minutes. That date? 91 years ago today. 14 Jan 1914.

Ford may be famous for his brash temper which produced such quick tempered remarks like: "You can have any colour, so long as it's black." or "History is bunk" but my favourite call of all was his address to the US Congress "You don't get anywhere sitting on your ass.".
During the depression he believed that people would only spend money if they were working and therefore had it. Despite heavy losses he was true to the workers that stayed on, and the Ford Motor Company went from number 3 to number 1 in just 4 years.Henry Ford believed that if you worked hard then you should get and deserve to get rewarded for it.
He remains in my mind one of very few businessmen who deserve their place in history, he respected his workforce and realised that it was them who ultimately made the company money, not him. It's always good to drive a Henry.

January 13, 2005

Horse 274 - Client Species

There are several kinds of clients that exist if you are an accountant.

1. Meticulous Record Keepers
These are the bozos who keep everything no matter how irrelevant of petty it is. These people will keep every receipt right down to the pack of Tic Tacs they bought at 12:37am on September the 17th.
These people mean well but unfortunately generally have the expectation that if they are that ordered then so should the accountants be. Accounts are to be generated and reports created by magic. They gave us literally everything they could think of, the answer has to be in there surely.

2. She'll be Right
In stark contrast are those people who save nothing. Every single bit of paper they posess gets turfed, or if they are hippies, recycled. The problem here is what do you do with no information? Sometimes they keep bank statements and things can sort of be worked out from there.
Their philosophy is that it's the accountant's job to do "the accountant's job" therefore at the point that their one piece of paper gets slipped under the door, they out like a shot leaving us to do yet more magic.

3. I've Just Found This
These people would keep immaculate records if they could remember not to leave everything behind the TV. They can do their own magic, and it's rather like producing rabbits from hats. Rabbits have this amazing habit of burgeoning populations from only 1, I'm utterly convinced that the people who keep records like this must magic them up sheet by sheet.
The whole downside to this is that although you may start work for them in July, in can in some cases be next May before the first draft accounts are ready.

4. But I Sent In the Form
This one was quite new to me. There are people who understand all about tax. They can fill in every form brilliantly but then it all seems to go horribly wrong. For although they can do every single calculation to a T, they neglect one very simple procedure... to actually pay tax.
The two sides to filling in a tax form are filling in correctly and then sending a cheque to go along with that form. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. The problem is that they get all these nasty bills and then complain that they did send the forms in. In order to pay tax, first you have to pay tax.

5. Do You Know a Good...?
I am not Sensis Pty Ltd. I know that I use a lawyer, banker, financial planner etc but I am not one, do not have a trading certificate in same and am not connected to one. The notion that the accountant is somehow connected to the world because he sees all sorts of documents is really a furphy.
I can not have a chat to the Judge, I can not represent you in court and I do not know which shares, property or bonds to buy.

People are thick.

January 12, 2005

Horse 273 - Sponsorship

Sponsorship is a question that raised it's head in the world of sport in the late 50's. Nowadays it's not uncommon to see adverts for blackcurrant drinks next to others for telcos next to each other at sporting fixtures, but the question that I ask of these is just how effective are they?

The classic example of this and also the most contraversial was that of the tobacco companies. Anyone who saw a cricket match from late 1977 to about 1992 saw Benson & Hedges from domestic to international levels around the world. Likewise, Marlboro was willing to throw money at motor racing teams like McLaren and the Holden Dealer Team for many years. Those distinctive day-glo red and white cars were seen on TV sets and often at the front of the pack (pun intended). Ferrari still carry Marlboro sponsorship but few will say that it has as much impact as say Senna & Prost.

In the increasingly competitive world of telecommunications we've seen O2, Orange, Vodaphone, Telstra, Virgin and 3 spend exorbitant funds on sponsorship - like the 3 Test Series which actually had 2 tests, followed by another 3 Mobile 3 Test Series. Vodaphone's logo was splashed on Man Utd, The Wallabies, The English Cricket Team and Ferrari F1 all in 2004. But what did they actually get?

Arsenal were carrying the logo for the Sega Dreamcast some 14 months after the console had ceased selling. Ansett's sponsorship of test cricket led to their bankruptcy, and Benetton were made more famous by the F1 team that carried their name after they sold it.

In all of this the most successful sponsorship case is Ferrari. Ferrari you may ask? The name synonamous with grand prix racing. Contrary to popular belief the racing isn't sponsored by the factory. Ferrari do not go motor racing in order to sell road cars, in fact the opposite is true. The whole reason why Scuderia Ferrari SPa exists is purely to go motor racing; they only started building road cars to fund that end. Thus the road car division is simply that - a method of deriving funds in order to keep on racing and if Ferrari keeps on winning on track, then by virtue of that fact they should keep on selling cars to continue racing. - Very Successful that is indeed.

Meanwhile should anyone require me to put Samsung on my tie, tatoo Don's Smallgoods on my arm and change my name to Optus - come up with enough money and it's yours. Except that this bozo already though of it and is up to £171 for his effort.


January 09, 2005

Horse 272 - Let's All Laugh at Man Utd

Conference Side Exeter City yes, Conference Side Exeter City held the great Manchester Utd to a scoreless draw in the 3rd round of the FA Cup yesterday. Plucky Exeter held the 11 times winner of the trophy by playing simple football, for which millions of £££s not not match.

Not even the second half introduction of Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alan Smith could salvage United's pride on a thoroughly miserable afternoon for them which brought back memories of their similarly painful draw against Walthamstow Avenue on the same ground 51 years ago.

If there was one obvious conclusion to be gleaned from the opening 45 minutes, it was that Ferguson's back-up side is not capable of sustaining any kind of Premiership title drive. The other obvious conclusion is that Fergie badly underestimated his opponents and as such is going senile - step down Fergie.

After 94 minutes and the blast of the final whistle, the roar from the visitors' end rumbled all the way down the M5, which is exactly where United will be heading in 10 days' time.

Exeter - "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight"
Man Utd - Follow Best's lead - take up darts and topiary.

January 08, 2005

Horse 271 - The Ice Age

The Great Ice Age, a recent chapter in the Earth's history, was a period of recurring widespread glaciations. Mountain glaciers formed on all continents, the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland were more extensive and thicker than today, and vast glaciers, in places as much as several thousand feet thick, spread across North America and Eurasia.

The Ice Age is different to the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages in that it was a lot colder. The Industrial Age probably warmed things up a bit with all the coal that was being burned and the Space Age is characterised by vast expanses.

But looking through KGB files only just released to the west, we can now safely say that the last Ice Age ended in 1934 after Joseph Stalin declared war on everything (nature, people, himself) and since that date and the invention of the refridgerator, the only practical uses for ice are now in drinks and for keeping donor organs cold.

January 07, 2005

Horse 270 - Arthur King and your silly kn...iggets

The beginning of every year always fills me with the same sorts of questions; namely what what my maker have for me to do in the next 12 months. Usually to some degree the conditions of the previous year will always be carried forward but like all of us at any stage in our lives the future is yet unwritten. Note shameless link here

Today I walked on down to a Toonie DVD rental place and hired King Arthur. Now the films greatest themes aren't about him conquering stuff or finding Excalibur or even any of those type things but the "bigger questions" of where is my home? & where do I belong?

Now I ask the same question. The answer in broad principles is that the world is a finite space and it isn't so much where I belong but to whom. The answer in broad terms is that we've been built for God's pleasure and purposes and not our own. I am small and the world is big; He is bigger.

The North Star will always be there to guide you. That doesn't mean you follow it. It always points north, you must know for yourself what direction to travel. The best place to travel is home, the journey out may be fun, but the way home is always better. That sounds glib, what a stupid paragraph.

January 06, 2005

Horse 269 - Red Ska 3

...And then it just got a bit weird. It isn't a good idea to be giving me any more than about two days holiday, for then I start to get restless.

1. My Ka now sports Red seat covers, and a Red 3 ball for a gearknob.
2.Was up on the roof and resealed about 3 dozen tiles. Got up there with a tube of epoxy and glued the little dudes back together.
3. Looked under the house and was going to run some Cat 5 but got freaked out by 6 redbacks so like a wuss I scurried back inside.
4. Thought it pert to investigate my quatravox stereo. It had finally died and so I installed my Marantz amp. Now the Kriessler and Bang & Olafson speakers can once again ring out their powerful voices. The downside is that I went from 60's turn dial to 80's LED display.
5. Went comic book hunting. Found Chrono Crusade book 2, and Mahoromatic 3 & 4.
6. Had a look at
The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company as I'm still interested in a 1977 European Cup Winners strip.
7. Checked the wheel aligment in the Ka.
8. Cured an oil leak in the Merc
9. Threw some Rat-Sac in the roof
10. Mopped up after the cat made a nasty on the kitchen floor (not like Captain Cook).
11. Sat here and told y'all.

... and it's only 5 past 3 in the arvo. Worried worried worried, what to do next? Augh!

January 04, 2005

Horse 268 - The Electric Mayhem

Long before The Darkness started parodying glam rock, way before Chad Smith ripped his shirt in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, long before Britney Spears started baring her midriff and in fact before of any of these were even born, the Electric Mayhem were doing all of this even before colour TV.

Whether Sgt Floyd Pepper was named after Pink Floyd or the Beatles 7th album is a matter of conjecture, whether Zoot has only one pair of pants is also unknown and how Janice ever managed to keep her eyelashes in decent condition is unknown, but one thing is certain - Dr Teeth has to be about the coolest musician that ever lived.

Absotively and possolutely!

rollo75 is on holiday until January 10 and is generally wasting time ^_^

January 03, 2005

Horse 267 - BLVD of Broken Dreams?

"The task we all have to face is the same; that is, to live a fulfilled life in spite of many unfulfilled desires" - Walter Trobisch

When I think back over my life, I'm dismayed at the amount of time I have spent worrying about needs, wants, money, time, relationships or the lack thereof. I wish I had spent more time dwelling on the present and less time worrying about the future. It is not healthy to build our lives around events that are uncertain. Instead, individuals, especially Christians, must learn both to prepare for the future and to live fully in the present. I am realizing that I can't always change my circumstances, but I can choose my attitude towards these circumstances, as well as how I live my life in and around them.

There are things in life that are far more important than what I happen to be hoping for today. It's difficult, but I recognize that I need to hand my life over to God all my dreams, hopes and desires. I am called to live my life fully for Christ, regardless of my what that life happens to throw my way. I want to be able to say with Paul, "I have learned to be content with whatever I have...in any and all circumstances...I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13). To serve God whatever the circumstances, that is God's will for me.

2004 has largely been a year of marking time for me. Admittedly virtually every rule surrounding what I am and was supposed to do between 6am Monday and 7pm Friday were completely thrown adrift, and within my own mind and heart the quietness that came from nowhere alerted me to what I'd been hoping for and wanting for such a long time. In the sermons from the pupilt, the messages resonanted within me, but surruptitiously I'd been carelessly insulted either deliberately or by accident by members of the congregation on about half a dozen occasions.

So for 2005 I still am not sure where I am let alone where I am meant to be, but it's OK to want a change of circumstances, it's OK to work for those changes but above all to remember that I've been called to be content in all of them. It's wise to plan for the future; it's not a bad thing to want something, but unless they fall under the control of the one who already owns them then if unmet, it could be easy to become jaded.

I'm not sorry for this post, this is my space - so there. Nyah nyah nyah ^_^

rollo75 is on holidays until the 9th of January and will be either very bored, alone or sleeping and would enjoy it if you could cure any of these predicaments

January 01, 2005

Horse 266 - Football IS Football

Soccer finally becomes football
Date: January 1 2005
As of today, the game of soccer in this country will officially be known as football. The national body will assume its new title, Football Federation Australia, and all other organised bodies are expected to follow suit.

The FFA says: "While we are not pretending that all Australians will take to calling the game football immediately, we feel that it is important to make this symbolic change, and to bring the world game in Australia into line with rest of the football world."

Here at the Herald, we agree and have decided to embrace it - from the start. From now on, the game will be called football in these pages, as it is throughout the world. The word football will still be used as a generic term for rugby league, rugby union and Australian football.
- Sydney Morning Herald

Is this the definative answer? How much more do you need? A quick look at the history of the game should put people in their place.

All throughout history, many ball games have emerged as well as perished independently to one another, often leaving us with nothing but speculations. Considering that many of these games were impulsive and had few or no regulations, it is likely that they also were quite violent. The roughness of these early games surely must have demanded involvement of the legs, for kicking.
We have to emphasize the difference between such scuffles and today's "beautiful game". The feet are not only used for kicking but also for controlling and moving the ball (dribbling.) Using body parts other than the feet, like the head or chest, is another factor suggesting the development expert technical skills.

During the Middle Ages Europe was the stage for violent town games known universally as Mob Football. It is very surprising to notice the progress of ball games in this historical period and consider their violent upturn. In contrast to the ball games of Ancient times, authorities often prohibited and opposed their practice.

The Football Association was founded in 1861, the oldest of the clubs being Sheffield Wednesday in 1861. The FA Cup as an open competition was founded in 1871. The Rugby game broke away in 1871 with the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby League broke apart from that in 1908 in Australia. The theory that William Webb Ellis "with fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game" in 1823, is in fact a load of old codswallop and can not be substantiated as there has never been a William Ellis that has ever attended the Rugby school.

Football should remain football and now that the SMH have relented it is my personal crusade to enforce this rule. FOOTBALL IS FOOTBALL.