June 28, 2007

Horse 775 - I Poop, I Quit, I'm Free!

Have you ever felt like you were pregnant but just really needed to take a big dump?

Standing there, crushed from all sides, two-thirds of the way down the bus, hanging on by one finger from the ceiling pole, you wish that you had thought to go before you started the journey home. The stop-start peristalsis of the heavy downtown traffic only serves to constantly remind you of your uncomfortable predicament, denying you the luxury of putting your mind elsewhere. You're sure you can actually feel the gradual increase of internal pressure, but suspect that it is just an illusion created by a vindictive subconscious. You shift from one leg to the other, but know that that is a fairly futile attempt to relieve your discomfort. Only one, but in your current location, unthinkable, action could possibly end your torment. There is just no escaping the fact that you're stuck on a bus, really needing a poop.

Only two more stops to go now. You consciously clench your buttocks to ensure that any sneaky sudden farts don't take you and your fellow passengers by surprise. While you do so, you stare resolutely downward and steal a glance at your watch, instantly forgetting the time. You realise that's good, though, because it gives you the excuse of looking again in a few minutes, giving you a small window of relief before the inevitable pressure returns again. Another added bonus is that it means you can better avoid eye-contact with your fellow commuters: the strain just might be showing on your face. A bead of tickly sweat runs slowly down your neck, even though it is neither hot nor humid where you are.

The situation worsens as you step off the bus and head for the subterrainian depths of the railway station. A sign on their convniences proclaims that they're closed for cleaning but the door is locked and in all honesty, it looks like they haven't actually been cleaned since 1963. A mad rush for a train follows and it's back to standing in croweded place, but this time there os the accompanying smell of death that always follows commuters at the end of the day, so it's relief when you finally do step out at your station and watch as great plumes of noxious gas also follow out of the train doors, so you start walking for home.

There finally. Not quite running, for the sake of appearances, round the corner and across the road, you walk stiff-legged through your door. Jacket off and chucked on the sofa, through the lighter door, pants down and seated. At last. The release is sudden, and good enough to give you goose-bumps on your thighs. Finished, and you are pleased to discover that it's one of those that requires minimal wiping. Also, a solid sinker, so that there is little chance of embarrassing residue left for your flatmates. A deep sigh while you look in the mirror, and you consider what to think about and do next. Most of all, you're now very, very happy.

Imagine all that, and you are imagining the kind of joy of release people feel when they voluntarily leave a job. The chances are, that if you see a colleague come back to their desk and sit with just a contented grin on there face, they've just handed in their notice. It could be that they're back from a good dump, but most people get their poop-grinning over with in the cubicle or while washing hands. It would have to be pretty damn good for them still to be smiling when they got back to their desk. But both kinds of joy are based on the same basic feeling of some kind of release. The joy arises from the fact that any release provides an increase in freedom. The properties of this relationship are the topic of this article, and the two concurrent examples given above, of voluntarily quitting a job and of having a good poop, will be developed further to show the intricacies and boundaries of this relationship.

The examples of quitting and pooping have been chosen for this illustration as they are both clear examples of an event through which an individual is released from some sort of boundary to their freedom. The physical need to relieve oneself of inner bodily tension is an innate animal feeling that every person experiences and with which they can easily empathise. Similar feelings are the scratching of itches, sneezing, and vomiting. It is at least theoretically possible that an individual could have never had an itch, sneezed, quit a job, or driven the porcelain bus, so the absolutely universal practice of faecal release is used here as a metaphor due to its complete inclusivity.

The physical feeling of release can be looked at as the relief of some sort of bodily discomfort. This definition must be examined at a deeper level in order to appreciate the relationship with freedom. What is physical discomfort but the persistence of some body part or bodily function in distracting the attention of the mind? This shows physical discomfort to be similar to any kind of mental or social bind or commitment, the release from which does produce a similar feeling of joy. When the persistent attention demanded by an impatient bowel is released, the mind is then freer to pursue its whim. This is plainly similar to the ending of a social, mental or even, but more indirectly, financial, bind in that after one is released from its chains, the mind has a greater degree of freedom. Is then, the more physical feeling of satisfaction some kind of mental reward for removing a barrier to its freedom to roam?

A positive answer to the above question involves reliance upon some kind of mind/body duality that can be easily challenged philosophically. A more graceful and intuitive way of explaining why the feeling of release feels good is thus: After a sudden transition from a situation that is somehow restrictive (remember this includes physical discomforts that can be described as mentally restrictive due to the attention they demand) to one that is not, the memory of the restriction is most vivid. As that memory fades, the feeling of joy of release also fades. In other words, the joy of release changes in proportion to a perceived increase in some kind of freedom.

This hypothesis may be taken to give new weight to political argument about the value of freedom. While it is true that the realisation of the relationship between freedom and the feeling of release does give personal liberty a new weight by linking it to actual undeniable feelings of joy, I shy away from the responsibility of taking this argument that far. The statement "Man must be made free because it feels good when you poop" could have political or even revolutionary consequences far beyond the imagination of this humble philosopher. Perhaps as this realisation spreads, humankind may finally realise the equal worth of every person, and treat each one with the respect and kindness they deserve.

Such thoughts and statements are far too rich for a person with my weak stomach for confrontation, and so I leave them to others braver than myself to make. I will however make one final statement following from my argument that will help reassure many people who may, perhaps, be weighing up their present vocational situation: Quitting a job is pleasant due to the large load you will drop. Just like a nice big dump, however, invaribly you will eventually need to do it again.

June 27, 2007

Horse 774 - No Change At Number 10

With Tony Blair stepping down and "Never A Frown With" Gordon Brown set to become the Prime Minster of the UK, you'd expect that there should be moving trucks ready to swoop in on Downing St but the fact of the matter is that Gordon Brown has in fact been living at Number 10 for quite some time.

When Mr Blair took office in 1997 in the wave of Cool Britannia, he found that the house that Maggie Thatcher describer as "the flat above the shop" was too small for his family with three children (it is worth noting that Leo Blair was the first legitimate child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years), so clan Blair took up residence in the house across the street usually reserved for the Second Minister to the Crown, the Chancellor of the Exchequor.

This meant that the Number 11 residence which Gordon Brown would have moved into was occupied, but because Number 10 itself was free he moved in there. It's perhaps a little funny that the two chap living on two side of the same street actually had their offices in each other's house. To be fair, I'm surprised that the Rental and Bond Board didn't look into this for tax evasion.

So this Wednesday when the traditional kissing of the Queen's hand ceremony takes place, Gordon Brown will be going home to Number 10, except for him it will be totally normal. What could be interesting is if he retains his office as Chancellor. Several PMs have done so in the past, so it might be common sense for him to continue in the role concurrently.

June 25, 2007

Horse 773 - The Unsound of Music

I have seen adverts on walls recently for the "Sing-Along" version of The Sound of Music which is currently playing at Panthers. I take serious issue with this show for the following reasons:

Maria professes a liking for raindrops on roses woth noting that there may be people with hayfever in the audience. Similarly the mention of whiskers on kittens can also trigger allegies as well as Ailurophobia which is the pathological fear of cats. Also, asking people to remember these things when a dog bite happens is wrong if you consider that the dog should be reported to authorities under the Dangerous Dogs Act, so you you can have it destroyed. Also the bee string requires reporting to the EPA so that the swarm can be either destroyed or dispersed.

For the moment I shall ignore the pronouncements Maria makes in another song with regards the administration of medicines to children without prior consultation with a qualified medical practioner and must point out the obesity hazard involved in applying sugar with medicines except when prescribed.

Lastly let me make it clear that the ability to look after seven children, climbing through the Alps and escaping from ofur divisions of Nazi SS and Stormtroopers is hardly a childcare qualification. I must insist on at least a Cert II before you take up a new position with another family.

June 23, 2007

Horse 772 - The Law of Maximum Inconvenience

Murphy's Law states that whatever can go wrong will. The IBM Polyanna Principle is that theory that machines should work and people should think; when the reverse happens then the point of the machine no longer exists. Bell's Discovery Law is that theorem that all of the world's greatest inventions like the light bulb, penicillin and the telephone, all are discovered by accident and that the time it takes to make that accident is inversely proportional to the amount of funding it has. Cole's Law is thinly sliced cabbage...

This brings us to the Law of Maximum Inconvenience which is the principle that people only complain when something bad directly affects them. The grass is greener on the other side, the other line always moves faster, trains are always running late. Nobody complains about things that actually work properly, on time and to function.

If you look at the world and especially this blog, you'll find that people generally do better when they're mildly annoyed. It is this answer to Chris' question tonight as to why the Great British nation is so good. I mean if you're Empire has been in decline for 60 years, if it's constantly raining in the summer, if you have to wait for a bus, and if your sporting teams are consistently beaten in every sport you invent, then that's a lot to complain about. The UK is a nation of complainers, and with right justification.

Australia on the other hand has very little to complain about, They've been World Champion in practically everything and the climate is pretty brilliant. Australia has stable government and an adequate justice system. So where's the inconvenience? The flip side to the law is that with all of this extra energy we have to find things that annoys us... we do; including other countries.

So let's start whinging and complaing, we need to; even if there's nothing to complain about... we don't want to break the law now do we?

June 20, 2007

Horse 771 - Thugby League II

All the way back in Horse 60 (21st Nov 2003) I wrote this:
The idea is to give the ball to the big blokes to run it at the other big blokes for three tackles, chuck it to the slightly smaller blokes to chuck it around for two, then boot it. Not much to it. No doubt the purists of the game would argue there's more involved (goal kicking for instance) but gee whiz, it must be a struggle for a coach to come up with a different game plan every week.
Yet again, someone has noticed something.

Whilst watching Australia go down in a Rugby test 22-19 against a South African side who have only just discovered a wonderboy with a golden boot, the Prawny Bard couldn't help but remark at the level of strategy that was being employed and that it made Rubgy League look rather stupid in the process.

Although I've written on this before, I do happen to think that Rugby League is the lesser (by quite some) of the two for two prime reasons and both of them are consequences of the rules.

1. Possession not rewarded.In Rugby League you get 6 goes to move the ball; that's it. Even if you move the ball forward 99m you get no reward whatsoever for holding the ball.

In American Football you only get 4 goes, but the catch is that if you move forward 10 yards, you reset those 4 goes. The incentive is there to actually do something with the ball. Like Rugby League it is a stop-start affair; played with reference to the line of scrimmage but even so, within the confines of those 4 plays you can still gain a just reward for maintaining possession. Only when you get to the end of the field are you then forced to think about compulsorily scoring to maintain possession.

In Rugby there isn't a tackle count. If you can successfully hold the ball for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or even 13 tackles then good luck to you. It seems rather a bit silly in Rugby League that all that the defensive side is required to do, is simply soak up six tackles and magically without any fight at all, the ball will be given to them. In Rugby, they forcibly have to steal the ball or force the attacking side into a mistake.

Therein lies the crux of this issue. In all ball games where you have to put the ball into a goal (that even includes snooker and hurling) the only way you can actually score points is if you happen to be in posession of the ball. Rugby League as far as I know is unique in that you must surrender control without being forced or unforced into making a mistake. Through no fault of your own other than by arbitrary rule, you must give the ball away.

Ironically in the days of unlimited tackles, the great St George side who won 11 straight premierships (and probably why the rule was invented) would not hold possession themselves but surrender the ball to the other side, and their defensive forwards would continually batter the opposition until they basically were useless and then proceed to rally points away. The game of Rugby League was noticiably better to watch and thanks to ABC2, you can still see the awesome power of that St George side hammer away with the kinds of force that makes today's State of Origin fixtures look like feeding time at your local nursery.

2. Scoring options are silly.If you compare American football, Rugby and Rugby League you get this (and I'll compare like with like):

Touchdown 7
Goal 3

Touchdown 7
Goal 3

Rugby League:
Touchdown 6
Goal 1
Penalty Goal 2

The NFL and the IRB have both come to the same conclusion. Although scoring a goal can be done from further away than a touchdown, the act of scoring a goal is still inherently difficult. To only award a single point in Rugby League virtually means that scoring a goal is only ever used as a tie-breaker rather than a viable scoring option.

In both American Football and Rugby, teams will try to go for a try/touchdown simply because it's worth more points. If you're going to go to all that effort, then scoring a goal requires 2 and bit attempts downfield to accumulate the same reward as crossing the line but the game changes a bit in the rain and snow. In adverse weather, points are more valuable, so actually going for the risk can be worth the effort and as we saw on yhe weekend, to have a kicker who is capable is an asset.

Since the principle method of scoring is Rugby League is so highly rewarded, then to do anything else is scarcely worth the effort; thus the kicking skills of Rugby League are not prized and instead of tactical kicking being employed to garner advantage or score points, then kicking only serves as a method of resetting the field position when the opposition run at you for their 6 goes.

I do of course have issues with the fact that by wildly changing jersey designs every year it makes the crowd look disgenious; other issues such as the fans culture and the fact that a Rugby League crowd doesn't sing or cheer unless directed to and so the whole atmosphere is akin to Tranquility Base at times, so I won't go into them here.

In summary, I still don't like the game but unlike the majority of people who rail against football and go no further than calling it the game of sheilas, wogs and poofters, I can actually articulate my main problems on technical grounds... which I fear your average Rugby League fan may not understand anyway.

June 19, 2007

Horse 770 - Where's My Subsidy?

I make reference to the following:
The federal government will offer close to $1 billion in subsidies to help Elders and Optus take high-speed broadband to Australians living in the bush.

In all fairness to Telstra (which I've often bagged for its continual corporate whinging in the past), it is hardly fair that its biggest competitor should be given even a red cent to help fund anything. I totally appreciate that rural areas are disadvantaged when it comes to high-speed broadband but giving money to a private enterprise for something of which the government has already wiped its hands of amounts to little more than pork-barelling.

This might sound harsh, but this relates to a campaign which Telstra started about six months ago called BAC or the "Broadband Australia Campaign". I was insulted when a leaflet was sent to us asking us to register with nowwearetalking.com.au and suggested that regular Australians take up a political cause on their behalf.

"Telstra wants to invest billions of dollars in delivering high-speed broadband across Australia. But backward-looking regulations, which prevent Telstra making a competitive return, are stopping us from building this new infrastructure" - BAC

Boo hoo hoo. Hug a rainbow. Quit whinging Telstra.
Why should you Elders and Optus sponge off of the Federal Goverment for? Are you backhanding funds to the Liberal Party?

When the Federal Government forcibly sold Telstra via its so called "mandates" in which it stole the national telco from the hands of the Australian people so it could make itself look like it was "managing" the economy. I turned my back on what was now a private enterprise. I find it offensive that Telstra has never paid for the massive copper wire network it inherited, I find it offensive that it owns several satellites which it also inherited, I find it equally offensive that the Federal Government should be giving money to any private enterprise.

Companies do not work for the good of the "people" but the profit of their shareholders. From BHP to Leo's Bakery Pty Ltd, they all have that same motive. The government doesn't send money to these companies, so why should it to anyone else?

Optus & Telstra - I want the money paid to you via the government and I want it now. You're both irresponsible... Where's my subsidy?

June 13, 2007

Horse 769 - St Saint - The Patron Saint of Patrons

I may mention from time to time that St Xxxxx is the patron saint of Yyyyy, however I think I should some sort of overview on this so as to clear up an imporession that may have been left.

1. I am not Catholic
2. I think that praying to "saints" is useless
3. It probably borders of counterfeit

The Catholic Church for all it has or hasn't done, elevates of appears to elevate some people to a level that would appear to be holier or something than regular people. Now although this may be of some use within the realms of running an Empire such as the British system of Earls, Dukes, Ladies, Sirs and Marquis, or perhaps ranks of merit and order within the armed forces like a General, Admiral or that of a lowly private.
The appointment if "saints" within in the church if anything should be done by the one who happens to direct it. In the British Empire it is the Queen who confers knighthoods, and the armed forces confers ranks, so within the church the appointment of rank should be logically determined by God himself, no?
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues
1 Corinthians 12:28

In fact the practice probably grew out of the old Roman System of gods, as a result of the Romans adopting Christianity as the state religion. If this is the case, then appointing something or praying to something that isn't God, is rather a direct violation of the Second Commandment and would constitute idolatry.
Certainly although I might mention that April 23 is St George's Day or that Ferbruary 14 is St Valentine's Day, if they actually happened to be real people, then praying to them would be as useless as praying to the moon, the sun or The God of Lemonade. If anything, a created being has far less power than their creator.

If all have sinned and fallen short of the glory or God, doesn't it then follow that praying to a saint is in fact praying to another being that has sinned and also fallen short of the glory or God? What follows is thus: Can that enitity really save you from anything? Since they can not save themselves from death and as far as I am aware there are only three exceptions to people dying (one was taken away before he dies, one died and smashed death to bits, and the other was brought back to life and probably died again), and not one of these exceptions actually happen to be a "saint". If they can't save themselves, then please render a reason as why they could or would even be able to save you? Dead men don't tell lies... not eat.... not breathe... nor play the bagpipes.

So in summation, playing to saints is stupid as is praying to Mercury, Mazda or Ra. The only saint really worth bothering is St James... which is one station away from Museum.

June 07, 2007

Horse 768 - Please Kick Me In The Nads

Read On:
Or in case this link doesn't work - here is the story below:

According to Canadian police Friday, a man in small town Guelph, Ontario has been approaching women on the street and asking them to kick him in the groin. Six women reported incidents to police in recent months, Sergeant Cate Welsh told AFP. On two occasions, the man approached on a bicycle.

"Some of the women obliged him," she said. "I would imagine it would be quite painful, but he didn't make a peep, just stood up and went on his way." "It's hard to imagine what motivated him," she said. "It's very strange." Sleepy Guelph, with a population of 120,000, is located about 90 kilometers (45 miles) west of Toronto.

The suspect, described only as a Caucasian man in his early 20s, with a goatee and a large gap between his front teeth, faces six charges of mischief. None of the women were harmed.

It's not everyday that a chap offers ladies the chance to kick him in the groin, you have to admit. Now, I wonder if this really is a man, or a woman pretending to be a man, or the man has some sort of protector on, or the man is an really an alien wanting to know what all the fuss about groin injuries is. I like how the man "faces six charges of mischief." Brilliant, that they have a law to cover such things.

This does however, remind me of the episode of ER where this guy is practicing a theory of his that, asking only two questions, he can learn enough about a person to come up with an insult that will make them hit him.

So then ladies, who of you out there are actually prepared to kick him in the nads and give them one of those boots from a suit of armor? I'm thinking of the kind that have a blade or spike at the toe. I wonder if he'd then ask you you kick him - somehow I suspect not.

I guess that this is further proof that the world is not only stranger than we imagine but stranger than we can imagine.

June 01, 2007

Horse 767 - Work Choices - A Fairer System...

... for business.

When you consider that it's just decided to cut the minimum wage to make Australian industry "more competitive" and that about 60% of all worker in this country are putting in unpaid overtime, with the possibility that under an ABA that penalty rates and holiday pay are no longer mentioned in the legislation, then it follows that business must be better off because they're paying less in wages whilst taking higher rewards. That's clearly a fairer system.

Participation rates, that is the level of Australians actually actively employed, now includes any worker employed for one day within the census period of 13 weeks. Coupled with the "work for the dole" schemes, the Government is able to show both the lowest level of unemployment in 30 years. It's funny that, for if you look at the 1960 definitions of what consitutes being "fully employed", then Australia actually has an unemployment rate of 59.6% or roughly double that at the height of the depression.

Real wages have been steadily falling since 1981. The measure of this is the "median wage time purchase power". If we look at the Holden Commodore, this stood at 32 weeks back in 1980 but now it's blown out 67 weeks and whilst it could be argued that cars are more technologically advanced, the number of weeks wages to buy a 48/215 in 1948 was 33 weeks.

Mr Howard's reforms are coming along nicely. Australia has chosen its path to economic competitiveness with Asia by in effect, lowering our wage bill. Since it's a demand driven system, what Canberra demands, Canberra gets... just be buggered if you happen to be reduced to an economic labour unit along the way.

(Written with data from the ABS, the ATO and Work Choices) - Authorised by A Rollason of the John Howard is a Toadying Little Mugwup and I hope he gets Diahorrea Party