March 31, 2009

Horse 973 - They're Killing Beepa!

If we look back to a more innocent world where STD did not mean something nasty but Subscriber Trunk Dialing, when 007 was not Bond James Bond but just the dialing code for his car phone and when Big Pond meant that place you'd go in the summer, fishin' for yabbies, mate, yeah.

In 1975 after the PMG split into the Australian Postal Commission (when it only cost 10c to mail a letter) and Telecom, a new superstar was born, a hero who would win the fame and ovation of the people forever. That hero was:

Beepa the Owl.

Beepa got his got job in 1956 bewteen between Dandenong and Melbourne and St Marys and Sydney so customers knew that they were making a timed, long distance call.

He worked diligently on every phone call letting you know of you were making or receiving a telephone call from another STD area. Beepa championed ringing off peak to save you money, but sadly the familiar "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep" that you hear when making a Subscriber Trunk Call (STD) call will soon become a sound you will never hear again.

For what is glibly deemed "technological reasons" Beepa is being killed. I for one think that the pips are an integral part of the network. You can't just disturb the sanctity of the pips. It would be like taking the pips away from the top of the hour on the ABC.

Besides, Beepa lets you know if you're getting a phone call from your far away relatives, or perhaps that telemarketer in a call centre in Overseas Land who constantly disturbs you right in the middle of your Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Beepa had the decency to let you know about them but now Telstra have written his death warrant and are ready to smash his little skull on the Steinway.

Meanies. Heartless Owl Killers.

For one last look at the magic that was Beepa, click the link below.

Beepa the Owl
1956 - 2009

Gone but not forgotten.

March 25, 2009

Horse 972 - Winning High on the Hog,22049,25129224-5012691,00.html

V8 SUPERCARS' top team have dumped Ford for a pink pig as payback for the manufacturing giant's sponsorship snubbing. Team Vodafone - home to 2008 champion Jamie Whincup and Bathurst king Craig Lowndes - have replaced the Ford badges on their Falcon with a pig for the season beginning on March 19.

So that's what that was eh?
Whincup also won Race One yesterday (Saturday) in his new FG Falcon, which his team has branded a ‘Hogster’.

"I think we proved today that we are the fastest Holden team out there, there isn't any Ford's in front of us either... just a couple of pigs!"
- Garth Tander, HRT

How ironic Mr Tander that a driver driving for the HRT should complain that the opposition aren't representing the enemy. Perhaps his views are worth consdering, for it underlies something far deeper in the sport.
888 themselves as I found out had been in talks with Toyota. Perhaps either as a result of this, or generally because of funding cutbacks, 888 weren't given any of Ford's allocated money for 2009. This may have been an act of stupidity on the part of Ford, because the team that has won Bathurst thrice in a row is no longer a viable platform from which to blow a trumpet from.

With the global financial crisis taking hold and GM and Ford being total basket cases, it has been announced by both GM and Ford that the local RWD platforms are looking shaky at best:
It follows that without either the Commodore or the Falcon in existence, then there won't be Commodores or Falcons to build V8 Supercars from.

What I'm wondering is that because Holden has had $149million thrown at it by the Australian Government to build a "four cylinder car" and Ford already announcing that they'll be building the Focus from 2011... what is the future of Touring Car Racing in Australia from 2012?

Since the carmakers basically dictate the class of racing that goes on, are they likely to adopt WTCC regs or something similar in principle to the CoT from NASCAR? Cause there certainly won't be any big sedans to build cars from.

Do we see Holden for instance pulling out a Cruze? The car currently campaigns in the World Touring Car Championship under S2000 rules.

What of Ford? Ford Australia ran a Fiesta to S2000 regulations in the ARC and Arena Motorsport are running one in this years BTCC.

Maybe it's neither. A standardised "nothing" car with associated decals front and rear wouldn't be a lot different in principle with say NASCAR. How about a prototype thing like the DTM? Whatever the case the current VE and FG V8 Supercars have no common componentry whatsoever with their road going counterparts.
It could be argued that this already the case though. The pushrod V8s haven't been seen in road car for nigh on 10 years and the road going versions of both VE and FG are larger than the dimensions spelled out in the regulations; as such that they actually have metal cut from the chassis and the roofs are re-profiled, just to comply.

For 2009 at least my loyalties will be split, between the Blue Oval and the Pink Pig, but for now I'll say...
Go the Hogster!

March 24, 2009

Horse 971 - Anti-Semitic Semites

Every time I hear a news report coming out of the Middle East about disputes bewteen Israelis and Arabs, Jews and Muslims, I can not help but feel three things:

1. Grief that families are constantly destroyed needlessly. Brothers, Sisters, Fathers, Mothers, Uncles, Aunts, Friends, Families, communities, cities & Nations ripped apart stupidly.
2. Disappointment that neither side can be bothered to read their own scripture.
3. Utter contempt that all we seem to have is a case of two lots of muderous bastards who continue to hack each other up for no damn good reason.

Consider the following from the BBC:

"All the articles had one clear message," one soldier said. "We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land. Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion."

Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that the findings would be examined seriously.
"I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of course there may be exceptions but I have absolutely no doubt this will be inspected on a case-by-case basis,"

Most Moral Army in the world? No. NO, NO, NO! and NO!!!

You are not moral, you are a murderer pure and simple. About the only true statement in all of this is the following: Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion. Correct - this is a war of religion, or rather a failure of people to adhere to it.

The Arabic world holds that the Jews "stole" the land off of them in 1948 with the creation on the modern state of Israel. This in itself ignores the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which stated:
"His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people with the understanding that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

In other words, Arthur James Balfour after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire recognised two important things:
1. The Jews had a right to their homeland.
2. That all people living in the country should be afforded the same political and civil rights.

What should make this really quite sound according to both Jews and Muslims is recorded for us in the Pentateuch:

God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel.
And God said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you."
- Genesis 35:10-12

With this land eventually came social responsibility:
Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.
- Exodus 22:21

The two principles are that the Jews owned the land, and that aliens were not to be suppressed. I must admit that at this point I could be accused of being anti-Muslim, but if Islamic people were to look into the Qu'ran, they find that not only is Moses (who was the author of the Pentateuch) one of the Ulul Azmi and therefore of the five highest prophets in Islam, but that the teachings of the Ulul Azmi are binding on all Muslims; furthermore, of all the prophets actually mentioned in the Qu'ran, Moses and his life are mentioned more than any other prophet.

As for the Jews themselves, how can they justify racism in the name of a "moral" cause? This is the same thing that we saw in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, it's the same thing at work when Paul rebuked Peter in Antioch (Acts 15 and later mentioned in Galatians 2), it's also probably the underlying cause as to why Jonah refused to go to Nineveh who was actually displeased when the people of that city repented.

God himself said to Moses in Exodus 32: I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. You can almost imagine God hissing in frustration.

It seems to me that when both sides want to hack each other to bits, then I can't find sympathy for either of them. I'll even go so far as to accuse the Semites themselves as being the most Anti-Semitic people on earth.

March 23, 2009

Horse 970 - Rafa Investigates

Hercule Poirot may have been a plucky little Belgian who could solve mysteries and overturn clues where other detectives could not, but I fear that his modern-day counterpart may be a Spaniard and living in Liverpool.

Rafa Benitez for the past 5 years has been searching for the missing league title. After moving to Liverpool he quickly discovered some clues after Gérard Houllier was mysteriously outed. Rafa has upturned some masterful clues of late (and also that as every day passes, Rafa is looking more like Poirot every day).

Firstly on the brink of oblivion, he found three points against Man Utd when Liverpool destroyed them 4-1, now a week later that same side has smashed asunder Aston Villa 5-0, which has meant that a potential 10 point gap is now only 1.

It would appear as though Liverpool have a friend in ex-player Danny Murphy. It was him in 2002 who snuck in a goal against Man Utd and now, when Liverpool have got a whiff of Pal, he's done it again but this time in a Fulham kit (when Fulham won 2-0 against Utd at the weekend).

What I do fear is that this might be yet another false dawn. Man Utd have a game in hand, and although they're a point ahead, it's their's to lase rather than Liverpool's to steal. My mind is already doing sums for the end of the year but of course not actually being able to predict the future leaves me in the sort of position that would take the combined forensic skills and analytical minds of Morse, Poirot and Holmes to unravel.

If anyone is able to solve The Mystery of the Missing League Title, then Benitez is the man to do it. I am ready and waiting for the Rafalution to begin.

Liverpool 5 - Aston Villa 0
Kuyt - 8
Riera - 33
Gerrard - 39 (pen)
Gerrard - 50
Gerrard - 65 (pen)

Stevie, Stevie, Stevie,
Stevie Gerrard,
'e mugged Aston Villa
'cause 'e iz well 'ard!

March 18, 2009

Horse 969 - Ruddbank Sierra
"They know that if they exit Australia, there's a big, fat, bloated Ruddbank, a taxpayer-funded safety net that will take them out at full value."
- Helen Coonan - still an A-Grade Pratt.

Forget V8 Supercars, those dinosaurs of motoring, anyone who has a memory longer than 10 minutes will of course cast their minds back to the days when foreign machinery ruled the roost when turbo Sierras and Godzilla GTRs flew over the mountain. Dick Johnson's red Shell Sierras, GTRs of Skaife and Richards, Holden's first son Peter Brock twisted people's hearts by defecting to Ford, but none were as formidable as an ex-dairy farmer from Queensland, Kevin Rudd and his very own Ruddbank Sierra.

Who can forget when he came tantalisingly close to Bathurst glory in 1991 when 5 laps from home he had a turbocharger let go and the Ruddbank Sierra blowing a cloud of smoke down Conrod Straight, settled helplessly at the side of the track, while the GTRs flashed past and claimed victory? Few people could look away as Kevin Rudd and Win Percy traded paint around Symonds Plains lap after lap.

I guess that we never did find out why Kevin Rudd quit motor racing. Rumour said that he might be making a comeback two years ago when the Kevin 07 campaign was launched but sadly that was to become PM rather than another tilt at the mountain, but it is nice to see that Ruddbank is going to be relaunched.

March 16, 2009

Horse 968 - Who would win in a fight?

Who would win in a fight: Chuck Norris, The Stig or Mr T?

This is surely the greatest question of all time. Even the Pirates vs Ninjas question pales in the light of this very vexing conundrum. If we use logic and reason, an answer might reveal itself. First, let's look at the combatants.

Chuck Norris:
Chuck Norris is accredited with many facts such as his tears being able to cure cancer (even though he has never cried), being his own father, being able to divide by zero and not believing in Germany. But it appears that most of these facts revolve around his ability to roundhouse kick things out of and sometimes back into existence.

The Stig:
Some say that he is scared of bells, that he can smell corners, that he was brought up in Africa by a herd of Cheetahs and that he names all his potted plants Steve. All we know is that he's called The Stig.

Mr T:
Mr T speaks only when necessary. His main form of communication is folding his arms and slowly shaking his head. And regardless of the situation, he is always understood. Apparently Mr T is allergic to doorknobs; that's why he can only kick through doors. Another problem is that Mr. T cannot be killed by conventional means. The only known method to destroy him is prolonged exposure to jibba-jabba.

Knowing about our three antagonists is helpful because you can the establish some sort of hierarchy.

The question of whether of not Chuck Norris could kick The Stig is made somewhat irrelevant by one small factor. The Stig once drove a white Jaguar XJS off of the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. Whilst it may have taken four years, The Stig simply walked back out of the ocean. If we suppose that Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks The Stig, then all that happens is a long playing sort of loop.

Mr T and Chuck Norris once encountered each other on a lonesome British path. It is said that they shook hands, or so it appeared, in actuality, their combined power caused an earthquake, which gave their hands a look of shaking to any onlookers, who were probably too scared to accurately testify anyway. Before the inevitable battle could begin, the earthquake created Scotland.

The question of who would win between Mr T and the Stig is also ruled into irrelevancy. Mr T's chief weapon is his little friend PAIN. Since the Stig is impervious to pain, and in all likelihood, pain would just bounce off his visor, then the net result would be nil.

The most usual response I get when I ask this question, is that the universe would implode in on itself. The very universe itself could not deal with so much awesomeness being concentrated in one place, ergo the fight would never occur.

March 14, 2009

Horse 967a - Man Utd 1 - Liverpool 4

Ronaldo (pen) 23'
Torres 28'
Gerrard (pen) 44'
Aurelio 77'
Dossena 90'

That gap which was 7 is now 4. What Liverpool have managed to do this season is beat Chelsea and United, against both of whom they have now registered 'doubles'.

March 13, 2009

Horse 967 - 10 Points to Oblivion

We stand on the brink of one of the most highly anticipated matches of this Premier League campaign. As if the prospect of Man Utd vs Liverpool weren't enough, Liverpool are playing for their (and also Chelsea's) last hope at redemption for 2008/09.

Football fans are well equipped at doing mental sums. Sometimes to work out the chances of avoiding the drop, or qualifying for either Europe or perhaps for promotion, but this weekend the sums are easy enough to work out.

The table as it stands now reads:
Pld 27 Pts 65 - Man Utd
Pld 28 Pts 58 - Chelsea
Pld 28 Pts 58 - Liverpool

If Man Utd beats Liverpool, then they go 10 points clear. 10 points is almost a mythical, magical, mystery number from which no team has ever clawed back, except for one side... Manchester United who managed to make up the deficit of 11 points to Liverpool of all clubs back in 1996/97.

Most worrying and especially for me is that should Man Utd win the League, they will have equalled Liverpool's record of 18 titles.

I can only hope that success in the European Cup mid-week translates domestically at the weekend. Liverpool ran rampant over Real Madrid, smashing them 4-0. They'll need to put in a performance like that to stop Sir Haggis Ferguson getting his filthy mits on another title. Feh, feh & feh! It just makes me want to spit red.

March 12, 2009

Horse 966 - Sleep Sweet Madoff

Another reason to be proud, this being a citizen! For the poor it consists in sustaining and preserving the wealthy in their power and their laziness. The poor must work for this, in presence of the majestic quality of the law which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread.
- Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault, The Red Lily (Le Lys Rouge), 1894, chapter 7.

I find this to be a most interesting thing. For as I wander around the streets of Mosman, being ever increasingly aware that there are things that the people around here have that I often go without (like lunch for instance), that the people who live in these houses have in many cases done precisely jack squat to acquire their wealth.

The way to make a small fortune is either to start out with a big fortune, or reap the rewards of work that you did not do. When I walk down the street and see BMW X5s, Mercedes S-Classes and the odd Ferrari, it is greatly apparant that there is no possible way that the people behind the wheel could have ever worked for them.

Yet I ask a question of Thibault which perhaps in his emotive haste perhaps forgot to answer. What need do the wealthy have for sleeping under the bridges, from begging in the streets, and from stealing bread? Clearly they have the money so that they do not need to. Or perhaps that is Thibault's very point itself, that the law which would be created by the wealthy, exists to keep them in that state.

I wonder then what drove Bernie Madoff to steal two and a half billion score dollars from investors. If he had robbed a shop of just one score of dollars with a handgun and a ski mask, he'd be being held without bail, getting to know his new roommates. Maybe in this case the majestic quality of the law swept forth and prohibited him, but I still wonder about the thousands of other people in offices, who in their power and their laziness have been stealing the bread from the very poor who will be now forced to sleep under bridges.

The real irony of this is that instead of a prison for criminals who have committed crimes of moral turpitude, Mr Madoff will probably be sleeping in relatively good conditions, quite removed from those who might find a bridge and adequate place to sleep.

Sleep is the one luxury afforded to rich and poor alike. For somewhere in the dark abyss whence consciousness has drawn closed the veil, to sleep perchance to dream affords one relief from the need to beg in the streets, and from stealing bread.

I'm hungry. I wish I had some bread. Me thinks I shall take a nap.

March 06, 2009

Horse 965 - Cynicism is Biblically Sound

Surely this must rank up there as the daftest statements you've ever made Rollo, brimming over with wrongability and verging on veritable blasphemy.
Ahah I say! Maybe one needs a better understanding of what Cynicism is.

The OED defines Cynicism as the attitude of a cynic, which itself is not terribly helpful as it then leads us to find out what a Cynic is. A Cynic is a person with a pessimistic view of human nature and little faith in human sincerity or goodness. Taken in its truest definition, there are plenty of references throughout scripture to back this up:

Romans 3:10-12 - There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Romans 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Galatians 6:3 - If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Philipians 3:3 - We put no confidence in human effort. Instead We boast about what Jesus Christ has done for us.

Christ himself displayed a pessimistic view of human nature on several occasions. Perhaps the most famous example was when an aduteress was brought before him (interestingly there is no mention of her partner), Jesus simply said: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Why would he do that? He obviously knew the score, and quite cynically knew that everyone present bar him, had enough against them to thoroughly prove themselves guiltworthy.
And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

Properly placed pessimism is one of the most useful things there is. A pessimistic view of human nature and little faith in human sincerity or goodness (especially our own), is surely one of things that convinces people that they could very well be in need of a saviour.

March 04, 2009

Horse 964 - It's All About Sol

Did anyone else notice this little gem from Telstra's in house spruiker Now We Are Talking? I took a screen cap and I think that like all good examinations, the answer can be found on the test paper.

When SOl Trujillo leave the office of CEO of Telstra, he leaves behind a trail of unhappy workers, unhappy shareholders and an unhappy government. Or rather he doesn't leave behind 10,143 who have had their jobs axed under his tenure, but when he does leave in July, he will expect a payout of about $30 million. Weird isn't it?

Apparently this is all based on performance bonuses. What does performance actually entail? Doing a good job?
Not according to the 66% of institutional and retail shareholder who voted against the phone company's remuneration report at the annual general meeting in Sydney. Following that vote, Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie declared the board would ignore its shareholders wishes and would continue to pay executives under the package regardless. Well done.

Also well done to the same board who managed to erode the company's share price from $5.03 to $3.68. If you did happen to buy into T2 then sadly, you've been shafted, and it doesn't take an idiot to work out where that money went either.

Sometimes it is said that an organization reflects the character of its leader or vice versa. Is this true for Sol? Mr Trujillo will be remembered for fighting the ACCC, fighting sucessive Liberal and Labor Governments, and putting together a really pathetic bid for what should have been a massive broadband project which I might add Telstra was screaming for via the "Broadband Australia Campaign".
So perhaps inadvertently Now We Are Talking may have been finally what another website has been asking them to do. Though it does pose quite a pert question:

What is wrong with Australia? Sol Trujillo.

March 03, 2009

Horse 963 - X, Y and Z is for Stupid

If you look down any suburban street, the chances are that you're going to find at least one car somewhere with either an X, Y or Z somewhere in the name or the model. It is my general supposition that these letters on a motor car either indicate that the car is either pointless or puerile, or just plain contemptible, or that the driver of said vehicle is a combination of same.

Think about it...

In Mosman these sorts of vehicle abound: Volvo XC90, Mazda CX-7, BMW manage to do it a number of times with their X5, X3, Z3 and Z4, the Jaguar X-Type. Cast your gaze to white bread suburbia and you'll find the Ford XR6, XR4, XR5, XR8, Holden's Captiva MaXX, Hyundai's Getz, Toyota have the Yaris.

So then, if placing X, Y and Z instantly propels your new car into the realms of the stupid, what are the acceptable letters you can use?

Well there is always the venerable S as in the Mini Cooper S. Perhaps you can even double it as in the Holden Torana SS, maybe even triple it like the Nissan Pulsar SSS but the second you add X, it falls down again. The Holden Commodore SLX is loftily overly stupidly named.

If you don't like S, you could always go for the ubiquitous GT. As in the Ford Falcon GT and GT40 and you can even add letters after it as in the Ferrari 308GTB. Maybe if you have a dinky little car you could have a hot hatch like the Peugeot 206 GTi, or the Suzuki Swift GTI, perhaps the Vauxhal Astra GTE. GTX on the other hand is merely an engine oil.

R is also quite a good thing to put down. Honda have an Integra Type R, and there's the Nissan GTR. Few would argue with either the McLaren F1 GTR or the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.

Nissan tried to confuse everyone with a Pulsar Q, BMW still like to indicate that their cars are fuel injected despite the fact that every car on the market has been fuel injected probably for 10 years plus now (320i) and Audi, Citroen and Mazda have gone for market recognition with thier A4, A6, C3, C4, 2, 3 and 6.

If I was going to release a new car I'd make sure that X, Y and Z were nowhere to be seen. For this reason when I found out that Holden have resurrected the name Cruze for their... Cruze, I instantly knew that the car underneath the badge would be a horrible pile of crud (the website can be found here: ) and also why I really do not believe their slogan: Park your preconceptions, you've never seen a car like this before. The problem is... that I have in Horse 955 in which I said The Lacetti itself is expected to be replaced by the Chevrolet Cruze.

I'm afraid that Holden may have given the game away here; even the name is stupid. If they're considering building it here then I suggest very strongly that they don't. It's rubbish.