July 27, 2007

Horse 786 - The Joys of Air Travel

The bane of braindead people who have ever been sitting around airport gate "lounges" with barely enoghy room to swing a cat (which as the recent news in the last few days shows, can predict death) we board aeroplanes in goat class where incresingly wider people are jammed inot incresingly narrower seasts in the name of efficiency.

There are those special people who inhabit the world of business class. In general these people are only there because their companies are paying for them, and the only reason that their companies have the extra cash in the first place are because management rips off its workers in the first place and is allowed (nay encouraged) to do so thanks to Mr Howard's IR laws.

No, I think it's safe to say that the romance has gone out of airline travel.

When you are on board you'll be sitting next to a hulking personage who'd just been to McHorrible and now in our enlightened days of no moking flights, it means that the airlines can save money by recycling the air inside the cabin. Consequently Stinky McFartpants who's five rows ahead of you now gets to share their glory with everyone on board.

I am the Harbringer of DEATH!!!

July 25, 2007

Horse 785 - Phoenix Focus From the Flames

Ford Australia anounced in the space of less than 24 hours that the engine plant which has been manufacturing the same 6 cylinder engine for the past 40 years will shut down. They've also announced almost in the same breath that the Ford Focus will start to be built in Oz from 2011 onwards. As far am I'm concerned, the only surprise is that anyone was surprised.

The Falcon itself dates back to 1960 when it was built in the US as Ford's "smaller" car. The staple engines for the car for the next 24 years were the 4.1L in-line 6, the 302 Winsdor V8 and the 351 Cleveland V8.

By the time the EA rolled around, the 4.1 was dropped in capacity to 3.9L to allow fuel-injection. The Cleveland was dropped never to return and the Windsor also fell out of favour. Although Holden had retained it's 5L V8, this was esentially the beginning of the end of them as far as V8's were concerned for a regular family car.

The Falcon has in recent years slowly been losing its market share generally as smaller and more efficient cars like the Corolla, Astra and even Mazda's 3 have been swiping sales from under it. The Corolla has in fact as we speak stolen the top sales spot away from even the Holden Commodore.

Enter the Focus.

The Ford Focus was already Europe's biggest selling car because of higher petrol prices. It also does very well in North America where it fulfils the role of Ford's smallest car. Although Ford will sell the Mondeo here later this year (and I personally think they should ditch the Falcon altogether in favour of it and start making that here), having the Focus as an Australian built car should give the local firm a decent say in how it's going to be put together. Arguably the proving grounds at You Yangs are the toughest in the world, which should also in theory give the Focus an edge in the WRC.

The main problem here is that the Focus is an entirely sensible motor car. When Top Gear left one in the streets of London as an unreleased car, it garnered no attention at all because of its bland styling. I suspect however the 2007 Mondeo should set the trend as to what the packaging will look like in the future.

I'm afraid it's a case of "populate or perish" for Ford. The Falcon is looking a bit long in the tooth and is the ideal car for Australia... of 1970.

July 22, 2007

Horse 784 - I Rest My Case

Australia's exit from the AFC Nations Cup last night possibly showed a systematic case of the squad being full of prima donnas who don't really appreciate what wearing the national strip actually means.

Harry Kewell said before the tournament that he was "giving up training with Liverpool" so that he could come to play for Australia - this attitude is patently wrong. He didn't give up training or Liverpool but moreover donned the Gold of Australia which obviously is beneath him.

Players like Lucas Neill, Dave Carney and Mark Milligan showed what it is to play with pluck, heart and ticker, whereas Viduka who admittedly was marked out of the game and Aloisi just looked like a numpty head despite using his nut to head in a corner for Australia's only goal.

Against Japan they were under the pump from the get-go and for only 2 minutes they weren;t under pressure. Going down to 10 men for a dud challlenge and one that really makes me wonder whether there isn't a degree of racism against the English speaking nations generally at all levels in Australia, the only thing really holding out the blue tide was the big red man Mark Schwarzer.

Kewell's first penaly strike I think is about the last nail in the coffin for me. I'm claiming this in a long line of instances where he has disgraced the 10 of Australia, and whilst in can be said that one player can not be held responsible for the fate of a nation, it can very much be said that one player can very much be held responsible for his once shirt... which Kewell neither wants nor deserves any more.

Give it to Archie Thomson or Dave Carney. Even Nick Carle showed skil and vision and very nearly became a hero... if only he'd started.

July 20, 2007

Horse 783 - Going on a Kangaroo Shoot

Stolen from The Australian - but not the photo... that's in Staines... MASSIVE!
The famed Qantas flying kangaroo may be headed for extinction – or at the least – an expensive makeover. Qantas confirmed it is looking at remodelling one of Australia's most recognisable logos.
"We are always looking to ensure our product and image remain contemporary," a Qantas spokesman said.

The airline would not confirm whether the Flying Kangaroo would keep its place in the revamped branding. The original kangaroo symbol first appeared on Qantas aircraft in 1944, derived from the Australian one penny coin.

I honestly didn't believe this when I heard about it on the radio, then when I saw it in print I was gobsmacked. The red tail of Qantas with the "Flying Kangaroo" has been around since 1944 and grew to greater prominence when they took delivery of their first Boeing 707. So famous was their aircraft that they even found their way into The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian artist Herge in Flight 714.

All of this nonsense probably stems from the probable takeover of the airline by the consortium Airline Partners Australia. High level meetings by men in suits who have to be "dynamic" have come to the conclusion that the logos which the company has been flying for two generations just don't cut it any more.

I have heard of directors having a fair old wank at times but this has to take the cake. You don't build a brand image by changing the logo to make it contemporary, sorry. When people overseas see one of these things in the sky they instantly know exactly which airline it is, and more importantly which country it's from. As far as distinctive logos go, it's possibly one of the best that there is. What possible statement does the Flying Kangaroo make other than this is Australia's Overseas Airline.

Even the route from Sydney to Europe is universally called the Kangaroo route. Notwithstanding the fact that The Flying Kangaroo basically built it, but it was once called for the many "hops" that would be made on the journey.

No, I think Qantas if they actually carry through this silly ploy in this silly way, will suffer the silly consequences and in the process lose their identity.

July 18, 2007

Horse 782 - A Priori

One of the great problems that is always put forward when trying to explain the existance of God is that this requires a priori knowledge. Logically it follows that unless you can prove the existance of such, then we in the 21st Century with an essentially Greek mind.

The apostle Paul ran into this problem from a philosophical standpoint 1950 years ago and wrote that the Jews demanded miraculous signs and Greeks looked for wisdom. If you fast forward to the 21st century, you still have people searching for spirituality, hunting for miracles and the scientific community demanding empirical proof.

There is of course a great problem here. The Greek mindset is after reproducible events and conditions, and sets up postulates that are all a posteriori, that is science can not accept anything unless there is empirical proof; by definition empirical proof is a posteriori or if you will after the event. Science in all its finery can not explain things for which there is no proof.

Religion generally and Christianity in particular relies on very a strong a priori standpoint, ie. that God exists. Science demands empirical proof of this, so it's only natural that the two will find it impossible to hit a common standpoint.

Paul in his letter to the church at Rome made what surely has to be the most a priori statement in history: For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Esentially the argument is the Ontological argument that because creation exists there must have a creator a priori. Science still demands proof of such though, by rejecting the so called "obvious" argument, but interestingly still pursues an answer.

I'm going to take a few steps sideways and ask some seemingly stupid questions.

1. Imagine that the year is 1601 and you're living London, England. Do Kangaroos exist?
What? Of course. Kangaroos have been around forever. Considering that no Europeans have ever set foot in Australia, and no Kangaroos have ever been observed, then as we know based on a posteriori evidence that they do most certainly exist.

2. The year is 2007, and I want to listen to Rocket FM on 103.2MHz. I have an AM Radio, why can't I pick up the radio station? I mean radio waves exist, and I have a radio receiver so what's the problem from a philosophical standpoint?
The argument is not whether something exists but whether you actually have the instruments at hand to be able to detect something.
There are in fact lots of things which I will wager that science will never be able to empirically prove. The whole argument of existance is one. Where does someone's consciousness attach itself to their body? If someone has a soul, spirit or whatever you call it, why can't it be detected? Even the concept of love which you can find chemical triggers for doesn't really have a rational empirical set of proofs.

The big problem I have with disproving the existance of God, is that there is a whole heap of observation evidence. Is science really prepared to tell every single religious person on the face of the planet that has ever existed that their experience is fraudulent?
Why is for instance (and this is the deepest darkest Africa question) that every known tribe ever discovered has at least in some way come to the conclusion that something that they can't see has brought things into existance? If it's really a part of so called evolution, then the law of large numbers should have suggested that there should have been at least one atheist tribe somewhere on the planet and that simply has not occured.

Augustine wrote about God that "You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are rest-less till they find their rest in you" and Blaise Pascal is famous for the concept that man contains a "God-shaped hole". These postulates could be said to have been based on that a posteriori event known as experience but again there is no empirical proof.

Pascal reached the point that I have done and wrote these:

"We understand nothing of the works of God unless we take it as a principle that He wishes to blind some and to enlighten others."

"This is what I see, and what troubles me. I look on all sides, and everywhere I see nothing but obscurity. Nature offers me nothing that is not a matter of doubt and disquiet. If I saw no signs of a divinity, I would fix myself in denial. If I saw everywhere the marks of a Creator, I would repose peacefully in faith. But seeing too much to deny [Him], and too little to assure me, I am in a pitiful state, and I would wish a hundred times that if a God sustains nature it would reveal Him without ambiguity."

If God exists, then why is there no empirical proof?
Are you actually sure that there's not or have you merely rejected the a priori standpoint? If you refuse to accept the a posteriori evidence that people generally are looking for some form of "spirituality" then where does this leave you? To conclude that there is no God is already logically stupid.

I believe that God lets us arrive at our own conclusions on the matter simply to keep us curious. I happen to agree with both Paul and Pascal. If an a priori standpoint is obvious, then I fail to see why I should prove it. It would be like trying to prove that 1=1.

Finally what did God have to say on his own existance? I think one of the names He gave Himself is quite appropriate... "I AM"*.

*I AM - of course it's obvious. It's one of the great Der's Of History.

July 17, 2007

Horse 781 - Atheism is Logically Stupid

This short document, I think is internally sound. If anyone would like to find a hole in the argument then I invite them, but as yet even among academics, it has not yet been broken. My position is thus: That Atheism is logically stupid.

Wait a minute you say, if you can not prove God exists, then how are you supposed to prove the inverse. I spin a little trickery here - I'm not about to.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God. The word itself comes from the Greek adjective atheos from the privative "a" which as a prefix means "without" and theos meaning "god". Now to arrive at a premise logically there must be either one of two conditions:

1. The atheist themself must possess all knowledge because if there was a possibility of God outside the realm of this, then God is still an unknown. Since the position of the atheist is precisely the inverse of the theist, then this must suggest that the atheist's knowledge is perfect. The position is self-contradictory because such an entity would actually have to be God themself thus disproving the position.

2. If on the other hand all knowledge is possessed by a collective, or another individual, then that entity/collective by virtue of holding all knowledge is also god but the problem of the first position exists.

So then, if the position held by an atheist is logically wrong, at best the atheist is actually an agnostic with the possibility that God exists outside the realm of their knowledge. It's strangely humorous to consider that when so called wise people are left to their own devices, they actually generate nonsense for themselves. It would seem therefore that the existance of God should be a priori knowledge since logically Atheism is stupid... and proven so.

July 13, 2007

Horse 780 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter being the seventh son of an earthenware manufacturer (hence the name Potter) accidentally starts a fire in his father's shop which kills his family and accidentally sets off the Great Fire of London of 1666. Being utterly pennyless, the child now aged 36 is forced to find employment and seeks his fortune at the local Wimpy Burger.

Because the Phoenix is a mythical bird which rises up out of the ashes (in this case the Great Fire of London) it springs to life and goes in search of a decent meal. Not finding one, it goes to the nearest Wimpy Burger where it it served by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a large triple cheeseburger value meal with chips and a Fanta.

The Phoenix forgets that it is made of fire and so drinks the Fanta, wherein its fire is extinguished and the creature dies. Realising that the bird is indeed a Phoenix, Harry yet again sets fire to the City of London and the Phoenix rises out of the ashes for a second time in as many days and grants the title of King of England to Harry.

Harry's first act as king to to go to Harley St, where he hires the services of a Doctor who by virtue of owning a time travel device, takes him back to the year 1066. Due to a miscalculation, King Harry is accidentally shot through the eye and William takes of over England with his army of Normans in what is surely the most confusing roll call in history.

Rated PG - Pretty Gumby
Opens at the Globe Theatre on Jul 27, 1597 if you also happen to have access to time travel.
Note to Ms Rowling - I've also made up a bunch of crap. Please send me £186,000 in unsequential £20 notes.

July 09, 2007

Horse 779 - Crimethink = Doubleplusungood

Crimethink is a form of Mindthink which is unsame Goodthink. Crimethink is ungood and is punishable by correction from Miniluv. Doubleplusungood crimethink is paticularly heinousplusnasty and will not only be corrected by Miniluv, but can also be punished by Removethink if it is found to be ungood enough. Only Minitrue has the authority to decide which mindthink is certifiable as crimethink.

Crimethink is plusbig on the internet, and should be reported to Minitrue and/or Miniluv whenever encountered, so it can be corrected back to goodthink. Agreeing with, concealing or otherwise aiding crimethink is also doubleplusungood crimethink and will also be punished.

Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc. BB mark crimethink doubleplusungood. Thinkpol catch crimethinkers. Miniluv rectify fullwise. Miniluv luv crimethinkers. Miniluv cure crimethinkers. Crimestop remake crimethinkers pos goodthink. Miniluv vaporize crimethinkers. Crimethinkers bec unpersons.

Ownlife is person have joy unwith BB or joy BB unapprove. Sex for ownlife is sexcrime. Outerpartymembers have doubleplusgoodchoco is ownlife. Outerpartymembers have doubleplusgoodtea is ownlife. Outerpartymembers have doublepluscolorfulsalt is ownlife. Outerpartymembers have doubleplusgoodviccig is ownlife. Members have uningsocful joy is ownlife. Ownlife is oft doubleplusungood, unand unoft plusungood or ungood. Ownlifers is oft unwith party, unwith BB. BB unapprove ownlife. Miniluv undo ownlife fullwise. Thinkpol unluv ownlifers. Thinkpol catch ownlifers. Ownlife oft join crimethink. Ownlife is oft crimethink. Ownlifers go joycamp. Ownlifers have plusingsocfuljoy in joycamp.

Doubleplusungoodthink. unoft, plusungoodthink or ungoodthink. Oldthink is unwith BB and party. Oldthinkers unluv doubleplusgood waylive BB command. Oldthinkers oft is crimethinkers. Oldthinkers oft make crimethink. Oldthinkers unreq party, unreq BB. Oldthinkers bec unpersons. Oldthinkers ungooder to proles or movefulbios.

Horse 778 - An Asian Adventure

Australia 1 - Oman 1

The problem with entering a new confederation is that Australia has had absolutely no records before tonight. Considering that they only lost 1-0 to Italy in the 2006 World Cup, Australia entered the 2007 AFC Nations Cup as favourites; although perhaps this was a little premature.

The side hasn't really played much in a system where you're likely to have a consistent fixture list. In the OFC it would amount to a few matches every four years against a heap of island nations no bigger than Blacktown City Council. Suddenly we're up against actual countries that play together and apart from the odd player in Europe, they're coherent enough as a squad to play well together.

Against Oman tonight Australia played without passion or heart, and were nearly facing looking really stupid after a goal down in the first half. Only after Cahill's rather opportune shot late in the game did Australia actually look like they were trying when it finally dawned on them that they might lose.

Warning to Australia: Asia isn't a joke. They play as hard as Europe and are capable of ripping apart an Australian side given half a chance... tonight Oman were given that half chance.

July 07, 2007

Horse 777 - Sevens

Who'da thunk that the 777th post would be on 07/07/07?

There are seven days in a week, seven colours in the rainbow, seven dwarves, seven deadly sins, seven seas, seven continents, seven points for potting the black, seven points after the kick for a touchdown...

So what is the grand point of all of this? One could point the finger at it being lucky or something but who cares?

July 05, 2007

Horse 776 - Making A Bomb Threat

All too often bomb threats over the phone are assumed to be hoaxes. Although your threat should be a hoax (explosives are too expensive, and make a nasty mess), they should be performed with the skill and finesse of a bulldozer. Practice is a must if you are to convince any snot-nosed twerp answering the phone in the local Joe's Pizzeria that you are "for real". Try standing in front of a mirror and, holding up two fingers like a gun, saying in a menacing voice "Are you talking to me? Well punk, are ya?" a couple of times.

Now you're ready! Start by casing out a place to find one that has the least intelligent person likely to answer the phone. Places such as video arcades and fast food outlets are the likeliest (just a generalisation - no insult intended - nah, I lie, they're all thick). Try to avoid organisations such as your local ASIO office, Environmental Protection Authority, or law enforcement authority of any kind. They're usually a little more on to it than you really need; perhaps you should save them until you're really good.

Find out the phone number through the telephone directory, or by asking them in a casual way e.g "My 18 year old sister has the hots for you because she really loves the look of a man in uniform, especially that Italian chef's hat you get to wear, and might give you a call - what's the number here?".

Go immediately to the nearest public phone (preferably one right outside the joint) and place your call. Most places in the civilised world have caller ID now, but there should be a number you punch in first to stop your ID coming up at the other end. Put this number in first, or they'll have you straight away.

Your first contact with the victim should include manic laughter, or a low pitched "Mwaaa aaa aaa" as your intention is to instil fear and panic from the start. Warning: If you muck this up, you'll be met with laughter and not be taken seriously from then on. A hint is to tape record The Count from Sesame St, including the thunder, and play this back to them if you can't manage anything better than a cackle. Always talk in a French or Arabic accent, it is more likely that a terrorist attack will come from the French or the Arabs.

Now, most large businesses have a "Bomb Threat Card" which they use to prompt them in what to ask in just such a situation. Prepare yourself with answers to each of these questions. Below is a list of suitable responses to give you some ideas:

"What does it look like?" - The more you convince them that it could be damn near anything, the better your ruse will work - "It is disguised to look like an everyday item and you've been walking past it for days now."

"What time will the bomb go off?" - I suggest you aren't too specific here. Try: "It will only go off if somebody touches it"

"What will set it off?" - remember they are now in panic mode, and just reading off the card by this stage - "I just told you that you big eejit! (in a slow and patronising voice) It will go off it anyone touches it or bumps it, or there are any sudden loud noises. It is especially susceptible to screams or loud voices such as shouting for everyone to leave the room - oh yeah, and it has a proximity detector that, should you leave the room, it will also go off."

"Why are you doing this?" - "Because I can't stand the voices any more."

"Where are you calling from?" - "The house across the street... nice curtains by the way."

"Who are you?" - "You remember that guy you used to pick on at school..."

Now play the tape of The Count again, or do your wee manic laughter routine, and hang up. When a suitable crowd gathers outside, sneak up behind the person you're sure answered the phone and whisper "Boom" in his ear, then blend back into the crowd again. Stick around to answer the police's questions. Try to describe yourself exactly to them and see if you get away with it.