Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holy Days, for the war on Xmas has been lost and now it's time to get on the grog ...

Well it's the end of the year, and because this site lost its war on Christmas - what can you do but fight the good fight - we now have to trudge to Melbourne to fight with relatives, endure internecine warfare, and generate an ocean of misery sufficient to provide a year's emotional surfing of the resulting waves.

Don't get me wrong. We love Melbourne, what a wonderful town it is, and and we love the family, and we understand the town is fully wired, as is the family fully wired and inclined to electrocute the unwary.

But this site is taking a holy day or three off to cope with the stress. What with all the family feuding and fighting and fussing there isn't going to be time to keep the wretched commentariat columnists under close watch, let alone review.

And anyway there's a complicating factor. No one will be around to read said reviews, because everyone else will be feuding and fighting with their families. Or playing silly online games like Don't shoot your eye out!, which come and go according to the season (sob, and only scoring 6.5 million points).

You see, if we've learned one thing from loon pond, it's that the readership comes largely from bludgers at work, intent on escaping their duties, and entirely remiss when it comes to keeping the ship of the Australian economy on a straight and steady course.

Idle minds with mischievous time on their hands, and an intense desire to roam the intertubes looking for distractions. Stop it, you're ruining the country for Chairman Rudd, put your shoulder to the wheel, and your false teeth to the grindstone, and make 2010 a year of relentless work you bludgers. Harden the fuck up Australia!

So blogging during the Christmas break would be a bit like Adolf Hitler sending messages out of the bunker to fight the Russians and prevent Berlin from falling. And we know what happened there (and that's the very last dollar for the Godwin's Law swear jar this year, I swear it).

So it's goodbye and good luck and all the best for the holy day season and the new year, and if we avoid becoming road kill on the Hume highway, we'll resume business in the New Year, unless by some chance we might want to defame a relative in the interim.

Meantime, can we leave you with one vitally important message regarding enjoyment of the holy day season.

At our house, we have just one important Xmas ritual. We like to watch our favourite Xmas movie.

Now we know others do too. The soft at heart tend to favour It's A Wonderful Life, in which Jimmy Stewart gets shown an alternate world by a tedious angel, but if that sloppy sentimentality doesn't get to them, they've always got Miracle on 34th Street. Great aunt Irene might request Bing Crosby in White Christmas, at which point she can safely be banished to an old folks' home.

Others tend to go for comedies, like the BB gun riff on view in A Christmas Story, or Bill Murray in Scrooged, or getting even more desperate Will Ferrell in Elf, or god help us, Macaulay Culkin in the Xmas themed Home Alone. Did we mention Tim Allen in The Santa Clause? Pass by in silence. Grinch me if we get too deep in the shallows of the season.

Then there are the themed shows, like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, or The Muppet Christmas Carol, designed to prove that hell is other people's Christmas movie tastes in a never ending lounge room viewing session.

The arty crowd might select John Huston's The Dead, or Alastair Sim doing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, because it's in black and white, or the world war one show Joyeux Noel, thereby proving arty types don't have a clue.

Action or kinky buffs might dig out Gremlins, or have a soft spot for Bruce Willis in Die Hard, though the show belongs to that prize ham Alan Rickman, or perhaps settle for The Nightmare Before Christmas.

And there are more, each with their fans - the wretches who want to watch Holiday Inn, just to hear White Christmas for the millionth time, or the children who settle on payback revenge on their parents by driving them insane making them watch The Polar Express.

Well, we don't allow any of that. Our movie of choice is Bad Santa, and we recommend it as a healthy corrective to the usual humbug of the season. Sure it's got a saccharine up ending (it's a Hollywood movie for god's sake) but along the way it has its pleasures for the thinking pervert.

If you don't have a copy, get one, and if your video store doesn't have it in the weekly section, change stores.

Send the children to bed early, if you have any of the pests, on the pretext that if Santa spots them, they'll get diddly squat, or if you don't have a brood to brood about, sit down with the one you love (or hate, whatever, it's that kind of show), get out a bottle of decent wine, and get on the piss and enjoy. Here's a few teasers, without too many plot spoilers:

1. The opener, brooding about the misery of life. Best done at Xmas, and certainly by new year's eve. Ever noticed how the suicide rate goes up ?

2. Playing games with the children, a favourite Xmas past time.

3. Arriving at work, which we all must do in our own idiosyncratic way:

4. Arguing over a meal, which we love to do in the Xmas season. Shovel that chicken and pudding and hoe in:

5. Exploring a new mall, always a joy during the Xmas season, and remember, always think of the children, just like Senator Conroy:

And while at the mall, why not pick up a Tee? It's all you need to know to guide you through the Xmas and new year season. Party on and play safe:

See where reading Tim Blair, Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtsen, Gerard Henderson and the like on a regular, never-ending basis gets you? Mad as a march hare, howling at the moon, and thinking that loon pond is just like the Xmas season ... 365/12/7/24 ...

A heartfelt message, with Xmas cards, from loon pond

This site naturally urges world peace, harmony, fellowship, and goodwill to all, and joins with the world's leaders in hoping for a better, happier, more wholesome and spiritually satisfying 2010. However the spirit moves you.

But we will of course settle for the squawking of the loons, much uproar on the pond, rampant consumerism, devoted materialism, heartfelt nimbyism, the stupidity of Senator Conroy, and plenty of STFU debates which provide much heat and light, and possibly might thereby help solve the vexed question of growing energy needs, vis a vis global warming. And bugger all else.

We haven't had any traditions established here, but we would like to show our solidarity with a few of the leaders who've made this year such a joy for the commentariat columnists, and who thus are able to contribute such a mighty and fierce squawking to the pond.

But first let's start with a pig led recovery:

Sigh, is there anything a pig can't do? Except perhaps for an oyster and a lobster. Get in before the acid seas wash away their shells.

Now for some fond memories of the good old days, and certainly not photoshopped in the deviant way of The Punch, and other Chairman Rupert rags. First of all socialism, which still explains everything wrong with world, right from the time that Senator Joseph McCarthy identified the problem:

Have you ever stopped to think how the red-garbed Santa was a socialist plot, giving away free presents and encouraging a dole bludger mentality in children?

And as any liberal secularist - short hand for fascist, or perhaps nazi, or certainly national socialist - knows, Adolf Hitler himself enjoyed a good Xmas lunch under a handsome Xmas tree (I swear on a leg of ham, the very last of the dollars to head into the Godwin's Law swear jar this year):

And who can forget how we started the year with a brave man leading the world into, and then leaving the world in, a financial mess and with a couple of left-over, unfinished, useless wars?

And then of course there's that Islamic family from Kenya currently camped like boatpeople in the white house:

Oh dear, did I forget to use the healing brush on the Obama card? Never mind, somehow comedy central seems to fit. After all, the commentariat columnists have been choking on their bile for an entire year, and it's been such fun to watch. (And thank you Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart for making the world a much happier place).

And now for the antiopdean team, who've made this year such fun for the commentariat.

Wait, isn't that Chairman Rudd's 2008 Xmas card effort? I'm sure he can come up with something better for this year.

And we couldn't find one from Nathan, but we thought his loaves and fishes moment really fitted the Xmas spirit. That and the fake grass:

Well done Nathan. We didn't bother to see if we'd got one from Kristina Keneally. Do puppets hand out Xmas cards?

And as for the lycra clad lout - as Miranda the Devine is so fond of calling Tony Abbott for his addiction to the bicycle - we thought the mystic orient added a nice exotic touch.

Oh yes, and see - Chairman Rudd did come up with a much better card for Xmas 2009. So much more inventive and inspiring. But are they paying the dog standard MEAA rates? I've never seen such solid acting, year after year. What next, Neighbours, Home and Away? The sky's the limit for a dog with no fleas and a cheesy, cheery grin:

And so we come to the end of the Xmas card list. So nice of the world's leaders to drop in to loon pond and keep the commentariat columnists squawking their hearts out.

We see over at Crikey that Andrew Dolt galloped in and took out the Deveny for Australia's kookiest public commentator by a country mile, with Miranda the Devine lagging badly, and Janet Albrechtsen barely in the race, while Robert Manne and Steve Keen could only garner a pitiful amount of votes. (The 2009 Crikey Arsehat Awards).

Well done Dolt, what a pity we rarely stop by, but do remember that First Dog on the Moon's calendar is essential, so you don't miss "Buy a purple ribbon for National Andrew Bolt is a Dickhead Day"on June 3rd 2010.

Ah, 2010, as the teens strike the new millenium, it'll surely end badly.

Still, next year the brave commentariat will all be at it again, all aiming to topple the Dolt, and we hope to be here following them, as they heroically tilt at sundry windmills of a reprehensible and most likely inner west latte sipping kind.

Here's hoping the venerable Piers Akerman will score a mention as an arsehat, and Gerard Henderson be given a gig in Hamlet, he's so adept at playing that prattling tedious coconut of a Polonius, and Tim Blair be honoured for being most like an arsehat head-bombing, snippety, magpie crossed with a right wing blogging bower bird with more references to intellectual property outside the Murdoch tent than even the best property thieves.

And surely a new category should be invented in arsehattery, so that The Punch can be properly celebrated for the most consistently tedious contributions to the national conversation.

All that and more in 2010, and no you can't skip straight to 2012 ...

James Morrow, and a whinge and a whine about the nanny state ...

Well it's the silly season, so I thought I might offer up a few silly thoughts about James Morrow and his epic All these rules to curb our freedom:

It'S 6:00am. The day has barely begun and already I am a one-man crime wave. Taking the dog to the park to let her have a bit of a run, I blithely ignore a sign near the entrance not only banning off-leash dogs, but alcohol (fair enough, I guess), camping, golfing, archery, motor vehicles and horses.

Welcome to Nanny State, NSW.

WTF? So it was your bloody dog that at 6 am assaulted me with its muddy bloody paws, and its slobbering tongue, and its sharp-toothed fangs, while its goose of a smarmy smirking owner assured me that it was terribly friendly and just loved people, and the nip it gave me was a kind of love bite?

Then the bloody goose pulled out a wedge and sent a golf ball through the window of my car, barely leaving me enough time to pull the arrow out of my leg, supplied by a dumb fuck archer at the other end of the park - just before I got knocked over by a rampaging runaway horse, and a wayward dirt motorbike.

Um, what was that point about parks and signs again?

6:07am I am wondering just how I will continue to be a responsible dog owner once they ban plastic shopping bags.

Why don't you just shovel up the shit and stuff it down your pants? I'm sick of trudging through the shit left in parks and on footpaths by dogs and their righteous fucking owners. This isn't bloody France. Merde.

Oops sorry that sounded terribly mean for the holiday season. Perhaps you could mulch the shit - mixing it with copies of the Daily Terror is great for the garden, so I'm told.

6:30am The rest of the family begins to stir. The boys trot into the kitchen, having spent the night in bunk beds.

Miraculously they survived the night, given that Standards Australia is considering banning such furniture because less than one child a year has died due to occasional, and presumably extreme, mis-use of the things.

Did falling out of bed and bumping your head as a child lead you to such remarkable capacity for reductionism and misleading misrepresentation of the real concerns? Did you only read the headline New standards could make bunk beds unsuitable for children aged under 12?

Oh for the good old days when we didn't have to worry about seat belts, structural reinforcement, safety bags and other air-headed safety innovations, interfering in our god given right to kill ourselves, so the Darwin Awards might have ongoing wide ranging field of candidates.

Yes, bring on as much cheap, shoddy unregulated shit from China as we can manage, preferably coated in lead, and preferably with wretched wiring so that poor people using fans and heaters can burn down their homes with greater ease.

6:38am I commence the frying of bacon and construction of cheese omelettes for three hungry children whose body types run from the skinny to the solid but who do not carry a skerrick of fat.

And who might in later years turn up with hardening of the arteries at a local hospital, established through bad eating habits formed in childhood, and expect subsidised medical treatment courtesy of tax dollars. Just like the smoking gherkins who stroll around boasting about how it's their right to get lung cancer, emphysema, a stroke, or perhaps a dash of peripheral heart disease. Are you one of those gherkins puffing away on the side walk while moaning about the nanny state? Or in one of those socialised hospitals complaining about rampant socialism?

Somehow I still find myself worrying about a knock on the door from Nicola Roxon and her Taskforce to Prevent Everything, or whatever it is called.

Yep much better and wiser than worrying about dumb eating habits the payback for which will kick in twenty or thirty years down the track. Go on being a dumb fuck, and prevent nothing and allow everything - why not run out in front of a bus as a wheeze - but please, can you arrange for any medical treatment to be on your own dollar?

7:30am And we're off! Over several kilometres driving from Sydney's inner-south to the inner-west, I must pay very close attention to the speed limit as it bounces between 50km/h and 60km/h along a stretch of road where actual driving conditions never change.

Actual driving conditions never change? On a Sydney road? No changes in the traffic, no changes in other road users and their behaviours? That's a pretty mythical road, cling to it. Oh you think other road users aren't part of actual driving conditions. Yep, you're a Sydney driver right enough.

Never mind that keeping such a close eye on the speedo and out for speed cameras might actually make me a less, rather than more, safe driver.

You mean you need glasses or can't read signs? Is it safe to be on the road with you? Or do you just speed like every other Sydney driver, and then moan about the nanny state, shortly before rear ending someone?

7:37am Listening to the radio, I chuckle as the rapid-fire fine-print advertisers are forced to plug on to the end of their spots ("this message is for Epping RSL members and their guests".)

Oh yes, just as I chuckle about the good old days of cash for comment. How absurd to declare a conflict of interest, or advise of a regulatory issue.

Could that club message have anything to do with those bastions of the private sector, the pubs and their breweries and their grip on politicians, and their reluctance to allow people to avoid membership folderol and drop into their local club to drink and gamble as they will (Registered clubs amendment act 2006).

Like as if that's all the fault of the nanny state do gooders, as opposed to a turf war between the private sector's best and brightest advocates of pissing on and pissing away your money.

Oh I alright, I give up. For the life of me, I can't explain just why children aren't allowed in to the poker machine ares of clubs or have a beer when they're twelve. Must be those bloody nanny state do gooders.

At least these messages are not as silly as some of the safety warning campaigns run on public transport, especially the ones reminding the elderly how to board a bus.

They've been doing it for decades. If anything, they should be instructing others.

Instructing others? On how to catch a bus? Because they don't how to? Because they persist in driving into the CBD? Phew, lucky you like to catch public transport James, especially as it's a bit tricky in the CBD at the moment, what with the silly season:

8:30am No more than 30 seconds after stopping in the CBD to drop off a boot-load of Christmas hampers, I receive a $174 parking fine from a stone-faced Sydney Council ranger, representing Lord Mayor Clover Moore's widely-known hatred of cars (and suspected hatred of Christmas) made flesh.

Oh right, yes, of course, it's the right of everybody to drive into the CBD and act like a goose because their personal need is greater than the need of others - Xmas hampers no less - while tempers fray and road rage takes hold, and everybody knows that the CBD is way under capacity when it comes to handling cars and buses, especially in peak hour. What we need in the CBD is more cars, the more the merrier, on urgent Xmas hamper missions.

Who could foster a hatred of cars when it's patently clear that private cars should be able to frolic and gambol through the CBD at whim and will, parking wherever they like and dropping off Xmas hampers like dogs drop shit in parks to satisfy the whims and needs of their personal owners? (Shit in their own back yards? Why, when they can shit in public?)

8:45am Pull into a car park to leave the vehicle for the day. More than half my exorbitant fee will go to the State Government's parking levy, generally recognised as the highest in the nation.

Luckily that has nothing to do with Sydney being the biggest capital, and its CBD being under the biggest planning stress, and with failing public transport, not helped by gherkins who persist in using their cars and jamming everything up the wazoo.

But here's a thought. Why not head off to Adelaide to live? We'd be short one whinger, and the parking's way cheaper over there in the middle kingdom.

This policy is designed to get us to use the city's world-class public transportation system. Plugging the state's sieve-like coffers has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

No, and nothing to do with controlling private gooses in their private Hummers raging through the CBD, and trying to put a disincentive on gooses driving toorak tractors in to the CBD to ostentatiously display their wealth.

12:30pm Over lunch, I worry that regulations have already been passed outlawing those bunk beds before I've had a chance to chop them up and burn them in the . . . oh, wait. I'm not allowed to do that either. Guess I'll just wait for the midnight knock from the bunk squad.

Oh dear, running out of things to say? Got to recycle the old bunk bed routine?

How about this to help you out?

Over lunch saw a cockroach running up the wall. Thought how much that would disturb the nanny state do gooders when they realised that their attempts to keep restaurants clean in Sydney were like spitting into the flames of hell. When a rat emerged to munch on some left overs on the floor, I was charmed by the little feller. To think the do gooders want to interfere in this kind of metropolitan big city pleasure. Nothing like a little Sydney food poisoning to sharpen up the system. And if you get over it, you'll be a healthier human being for the experience.

12:40pm Have a look online at some properties, thinking it might be good to get a bigger place before the Greens get their ideas up about legislating for smaller houses, or regulations are passed in favour of dribbly low-flow shower heads and against airconditioning or a suitable number of bathrooms for a growing family.

A bigger place? For growing families? Nine billion on the planet not enough? Ever thought of going to live in New York for a little while and see what rat holes are offered as palatial living, at a handsome rent, up against the fight for a rent controlled place, or life on the street? Don't forget to take your very substantial wallet with you, as you moan about lifestyle choices and your love of MacMansions - for surely you must love MacMansions, and are only worried about whether they should be spelled with a Mc or a Mac.

Second thoughts, why not head out to Kellyville today? Something to suit every vulgar taste, and well away from the latte sipping chardonnay swilling swine in the inner west.

I tell myself to stop being so paranoid but then I remember that I can't buy any decent light globes any more . . . thanks to rules passed by a Liberal government.

Oh dear, and they took away fly paper as well. How awful of them to take away short life light bulbs when we were so much happier in yellow tungsten light that burned brightly and then required another trip to the supermarket the following weekend. Ever wondered about the benefits of 'daylight' lights?

3:30pm Ducking downstairs to pick up an energy drink, I wonder how long it will be before I have to show ID to do so, as state minister Ian Macdonald proposed recently.

What's that? Guess if you write like a petulant crabby twelve year old, mebbe you look like a twelve year old, or people mistake you for same, and yet somehow you're with kids!

Guess it's wise that they ask for an ID. As for all that talk of some of these shots having between 12 and 15 times the level of caffeine permitted under the food standards code, why next they'll be talking of taking away a nice crunchy snortable bit of speed or a tab of E from the kids.

After all, training to be a junkie hooked on highs is an important way station in the development of children into modern, participating, drugged out, caffeine loving, speed addicted members of society. (NSW government aiming to ban high-caffeine energy drinks).

6:30pm Returning home I check the letter box and wonder why no one has organised a holiday street party. Maybe it is because councils across town now make it nearly impossible to do so. At least one requires thousands of dollars to cover deposits, traffic management schemes and even an environmental impact statement.

What? Why don't you just go out to a Carols by Candlelight concert at Halliday Park in Five Dock, and have a bloody good time. But be warned, those bloody pecksniffian do gooders and spoilsports of the nanny state are likely to give you a good tasering. Suppose that's better than the good rogering they used to give in the old days (Man tasered at Carols by Candlelight).

7:30pm Finally I head out for a beer with a mate and am thankful that a ban on buying shouts is not yet in force, nor a ban on vertical drinking (ie standing up with a beer) as is in place at some pubs in the UK.

Yep, ain't it great. The Australian male still has the right to drink themselves into insensibility, and behave like a dickhead, and even get on a motor bike and try to ride home while drunk as a skunk. Thank the lord the high court has decided that they're the dickheads at fault, and not the poor bloody publican or the bar staff (yes I used to work the bars, and see the dickheads shouting themselves into insensibility).

Over drinks I hear a story from Queensland involving being forbidden, due to health and safety, from carrying a beer from a pub's downstairs bar to its upstairs terrace, and am grateful that such madness has not yet travelled south of the Tweed.

Yep, and I'm personally grateful that I don't frequent pubs where shaggy dog stories amongst whinging right wingers is the staple diet of the conversation. I much prefer to stand out in the street, having a quiet, jolly beer and shouting drunken abuse at passers by. I hear the nanny state do gooders are trying to stop it, but we'll see about that.

These are only a few of the rules and regulations which hinder and annoy us.

Um, you left out just one thing which really hinders and annoys me. Being forced to read whinging crap from whiners, usually about regulations and the nanny state.

Ever driven on a Sydney road lately? Try finding a cop as we speed about at whim. In much the same way as you can go about your business largely unimpeded in many areas, unless you happen to be a goose, who happens to think it's your god-given goose right to park in a no stopping freeway zone after 3 pm, as peak hour kicks in. No stopping? That means stop here, right?

You know, the price of living in a big city is an attempt to keep things civilised.

In America politeness is inbred - well after all you never know when a loon might pull a gun on you and blow you away for some perceived impoliteness or lack of civility. But no one talks about the amount of regulation to hand in a town like New York, even when people are herded like cattle into Times Square pens for new year's celebrations, all in the name of civic order.

No it's left to colonial gherkins in the antipodes pick up the teabaggers' chant and rabbit on about the infringement on their personal liberties, on their right to act as personal gooses, and the right to let their bloody dogs slobber all over other cafe users, because we all just love doggies. As if we need to embrace their dog as a bloody human worthy of a seat under the table, because otherwise dog owners are being deprived of their right to have their dog with them at all times, as befits people with emotional disorders and a frustrated need for constant doggie love:

Whether it is rules concerning whether dogs can sit with their owners in outdoor cafes, regulations forbidding property owners from cutting down trees on their own land, or demands that one pay more for electricity to save the planet, red tape is multiplying like rabbits in NSW.

We are even more apt to be treated like thoughtless children by the Federal Government: internet filter, anyone?

Hooray, at last we can agree. Oh dear, do I alway sound like a whinger whining on about Senator Conroy and his do gooder nanny state intertubes filter?

Never mind, fuck Conroy. Now back for the wrap up:

Meanwhile, in the case of issues like problem drinking, calls for new regulations take place even as perfectly sensible laws already on the books are only sporadically enforced.

So what is the point of all this?

Some of it, surely, is motivated by a sincere desire to make life better, safer, more pleasant.

Um, well what's the point of this rant? I suppose it's motivated by a sincere desire to make life better, and the intertubes free for all, without a filter, but why does it have to be written in the smug tone of a whinging four year old?

But in watching bureaucrats do their thing, one is often reminded of a four-year-old trying to pet a cat: clumsy, well-meaning, but rubbing the target the wrong way.

Oops, sorry, that's your line. Guess you rubbed me up the wrong way, even if we agree on Senator Conroy.

Some of it comes from a sort of specious reasoning that looks at every negative aspect of life and demands something, anything, be done.

And your column isn't a petty negative litany about every petty little thing that's wrong with the world?

Why, could it even come from specious reasoning and specious whinging about how everything's the fault of government and bureaucrats, as if they somehow aren't people too, when in fact most of the stuff that goes wrong with the world is surely attributable to the dummies and the whingers and the whiners who don't listen to the do gooders, and manage to crash their cars, or fall off a bus, or fall in front of a train, or who eat the wrong food, or who get pissed as a parrot and hop on a motorbike, or who otherwise just ... act like gherkins.

Well I guess if that's the case we wouldn't be able to do the wrap up without a tea bagger rant, as meaningless a guide to ordering the affairs of a city as might be offered up to a bureaucrat given that Sisyphean task ... and not helped by being written by a gherkin who think it's his god given right to drop off Xmas hampers how and when and where he likes, and bugger the world and its petty rules:

For politicians, what that something is is generally less important than that it is something. And some of this desire to regulate stems from a mindset that sees government, whether on the council, state, or federal level, as the preferred vehicle for any activity.

This world view is threatened by the values embodied in lemonade stands and block parties. At its worst, this attitude doesn't care so much if the state is liked so long as it is feared, and regards the rest of us as subjects rather than citizens.

And the best way to accomplish that, of course, is to make everyone guilty of something.

Or better still, fine them 174 bucks. Because you see the cost of a personalised parking service for geese who think the world is there for them to do how and what they like - in a no standing zone in the CBD - is these days a cheerful, hearty 174 bucks or more. Because we no longer live in a town of a couple of million, and as it gets bigger, the pressure on space also gets bigger, and the rubbing of shoulders breeds the odd bit of tension ... not to mention those bloody dogs cavorting all over the place.

Got pinged hey? Bet that hurt, hey James? Here's a tip. Don't get pinged. You see, this town has always, ever since the days of the Rum Rebellion, been operated by convicts, past present and or future for the benefit of other convicts, or ex-convicts.

And there's only one golden rule. Do what you like, but don't let them catch you at it - like the man I saw pissing in the park last night - and whatever you do, don't get pinged.

That's about the only sensible regulation, and you broke it. Now go forth, and teach the bureaucrats a lesson, but don't whatever you do, get pinged. But if you do get pinged, don't whinge, not when it's a fair cop.

Meantime, can we cut back just a tad on the whinging and the whining? Maybe stick to Senator Conroy, who deserves it?

You see, it ruins the mood of a quiet tungsten lit dinner using my last old fashioned lightbulb, which provides the mellow yellow glow my cockroaches and rats just love ...

(Below: I'm afraid as Morrow has disturbed my repose peace and mental safety, he's breached the code, and he'll need a hundred and seventy four smackeroos to keep him in our good books. And by the way it'll be another 174 buckeroos for the smart arse who drew up the sign and could only manage 'prohibbitted'. Or is it nanny state do goodism to expect an attempt at decent spelling and the use of a spell cheker?)

(Below: and what is it with men always talking about the nanny state? As if caring for your brood is somehow wrong, even if they're goslings. Why not talk about the daddy state? By golly, in my day, a governess knew how to take a boy in hand, and teach him the essentials of respect, and thereafter fear the power of the matriarchy. Yes nanny, no nanny, three bags full nanny, and none of that whining after a good paddling delivered to the pants).

Janet Albrechtsen, the UN world government conspiracy, Chairman Rudd, and a Liberal party dedicated to all pain, no gain ...

(Above: 'tis the season to be nostalgic. Remember the good old days?)

The art of gotcha coming and going is particular and specialized and requires an unerring ability to forget what you've written the week or the month before.

Here's Janet Albrechtsen writing before Copenhagen about the implications of Copenhagen in Beware the UN's Copenhagen plot:

Shame on us all: on us in the media and on our politicians. Despite thousands of news reports, interviews, analyses, critiques and commentaries from journalists, what has the inquiring, intellectually sceptical media told us about the potential details of a Copenhagen treaty? And despite countless speeches, addresses, interviews, doorstops, moralising sermons from government ministers, pleas from Canberra for an outcome at Copenhagen, opposition criticism of government policy, what have our elected representatives told us about the potential details of a Copenhagen treaty?

But wait, she's only just starting to warm up for a bout of hysterical fear mongering, relying on - of all people - that prime conspiratorial 'world government is upon us' gherkin Christopher Monckton:

Emails started arriving telling me about a speech given by Christopher Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, at Bethel University in St Paul, Minnesota, on October 14. Monckton talked about something that no one has talked about in the lead-up to Copenhagen: the text of the draft Copenhagen treaty.

Even after Monckton’s speech, most of the media has duly ignored the substance of what he said. You don’t need me to find his St Paul address on YouTube. Interviewed on Monday morning by Alan Jones on Sydney radio station 2GB, Monckton warned that the aim of the Copenhagen draft treaty was to set up a transnational government on a scale the world has never before seen. Listening to the interview, my teenage daughters asked me whether this was true.

Roll that one around on your tongue, and see if you don't burst out laughing. The aim is to set up a transnational government on a scale the world has never seen before. And what do we do tomorrow Brain? The same as always Pinkie, find ways to take over the world.

Hang on, hang on, Albrechtsen is serious:

So I read the draft treaty. The word government appears on page 18. Monckton says: “This is the first time I’ve ever seen any transnational treaty referring to a new body to be set up under that treaty as a government. But it’s the powers that are going to be given to this entirely unelected government that are so frightening.”

Frightening? Oh don't look under the bed, that's where they hide the monster, who comes out on Christmas eve, and eats children.

Monckton became aware of the extraordinary powers to be vested in this new world government only when a friend of his found an obscure UN website and hacked his way through several layers of complications before coming across a document that isn’t even called the draft treaty. It’s called a “note by the secretariat”. The moment he saw it, he went public and said: “Look, this is an outrage ... they have kept the sheer scope of this treaty quiet.”

Monckton says the aim of this new government is to have power to directly intervene in the financial, economic, tax and environmental affairs of all the nations that sign the Copenhagen treaty.

On and on with the fear mongering and the talk of power grabbing and sundry other bits of hysterical nonsense.

Post Copenhagen, and the failure of the world government conspiracy, here's Albrechtsen in Rudd is all talk and no voter pain:

Happily for Rudd, the pattern was repeated at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last week. Nothing of substance happened in the Danish capital. This is what happens at most UN gabfests. Talk and grandstanding from leaders looking for photo opportunities to send back home. Then, when the real work starts, each country pursues its national interest.

The result is no agreement and no great surprise. Copenhagen was always going to get bogged down in precisely the way it did.

Nothing happened at a gabfest, as is always the case with UN gabfests?

But, but, but what happened to that international government conspiracy and Lord Monckton? Dissolved in the suds of a gabfest, and washed whiter than white by grandstanding leaders looking after national interests. Oh no, say it ain't so Pinkie, we'll need to think of another way to take over the world. Whatever you say Brain.

Of course it was just more of the kind of gotcha blather that Albrechtsen specialises in. Peddle a conspiracy theory when it suits, peddle cynical disdain about the ineptness of the UN when that suits better.

Funnily enough it's the very thing she accuses Chairman Rudd of: a quest for opportunistic benefits.

You see, the new Albrechtsen argument is that Chairman Rudd doesn't want his ETS to happen, and wants instead to be able to blame the perfidious opposition, and grandstand on climate change on the way to the next election, without inflicting any financial pain on voters. Isn't that Tony Abbott's plan too?

Albrechtsen has been constant and consistent in insisting that climate change is just another conspiracy, peddled by scientists, in much the same way as her conspiracy spotting hero Lord Monckton.

Shouldn't she be jumping for joy that Chairman Rudd isn't taking any action? Because she's all for no pain, and plenty of gain?

Of course not. But how about the absurd pre-Copenhagen attacks on Chairman Rudd for his world ambitions, as if the leader of 21 million people, the largest per capital polluter going around, would see Australia and its strutting leader front and centre on the world stage.

After the reality kicked in at Copenhagen - where India, the United States, China, and Africa, and even vocal smaller countries dominated proceedings - the desire to keep up with that particular charade is irresistible:

As a "friend of the chair" at the climate change conference, Rudd was able to feed his UN-sized ego on the world stage without making any hard political decisions that would affect his home constituency. Here, in a nutshell, is Rudd's political nirvana. He can continue a prime ministership based on rhetorical flourishes and symbolism without inflicting any pain on voters.

Ah ain't it grand, the good old UN-sized ego, that only a little while ago was part of a giant UN-sized conspiracy to rule the world. And still it seems he's slated for the position of the UN Secretary General, as if the rest of the world can't wait to have Chairman Rudd in the chair.

You know, when Albrechtsen writes about federal politics, it would be a lot simpler if she simply wrote "I hate Chairman Rudd, and please don't vote for him at the next election".

Instead she always has to do some kind of three witches routine, straight out of Macbeth, pointing a bony finger at the lad:

Rudd is a smart politician. He has no power base or natural support within the Labor Party. His leadership hinges on poll results and nothing else. The moment those numbers dip, he is on shaky ground within his own party. Accordingly, he has refused to do anything that will upset the voters until the next election. Another win will secure his position for a while longer, but not much longer. Even with his no-pain strategy, Rudd will inevitably have to confront the growing push for Gillard to become prime minister. When that kicks in, Rudd risks leaving a legacy of having done as little as possible for as long as possible.

Oh how she hates him. Why it makes me chortle with glee.

Come to think of it, the best, perhaps the only reason to keep Chairman Rudd around is to see the frenzy he arouses in our favourite commentariat columnists. It's a bit like throwing a burley of blood and bone into a pool of sharks whipped up into a frenzy by SPECTRE itself. Invariably they find themselves disagreeing with something that ate them.

Well roll on Gillard. Let's see a woman in the top job - even if it means, according to the inviolable law of this site that at the following election the party the woman leads will plunge to electoral defeat - so that the commentariat columnists have an even bigger reason to be unhappy, and be able to lather up wild-eyed talk of world conspiracies which strangely never transpire ...

Here's betting Julia Gillard will turn out to have a giant sized UN ego, and be part of the devious UN plan to instal a world government. And no doubt fly about in black helicopters.

Oh what's that you say? The absurd hypocrisy of attacking Chairman Rudd for relying on no pain and all gain, when the same commentariat columnists cheer on Tony Abbott about climate change and his policy of no pain and all gain? As he assures us all we can respond to climate change without it costing anyone a cent, or hurting the economy in any way?

Don't be a silly billy.

That'd mean a commentariat columnist would have to offer up reasoned insights rather than paranoid conspiracy theories and ranting hate fests.

But the no pain, all gain thesis does lead to one delicious insight:

... John Howard restructured the workforce to deliver gains to workers and the wider economy. Alas, his government's Work Choices overstepped the pain barrier, which led to the Coalition's ousting.

Say what? Sob, remember the good old days, when all gain and no pain was an important part of the Albrechtsen thesis?

Sure economic growth was at healthy highs, but in a grand 'et tu Brute' moment, she told Howard it was time to hang up the pads, and Pass baton to Costello:

This is one of the hardest columns I will write. John Howard has been the finest prime minister Australia has had. He has overseen extraordinary economic success, created the conditions for a whole new class of aspirational Australians to prosper from the inevitable forces of globalisation, confronted the scourge of terrorism and has fundamentally realigned the political landscape in this country on so many fronts.

Under Howard it became cool to be a conservative. He rebuilt a political philosophy of individual responsibility for a new generation. His legacy is profound. From workplace reform to welfare to indigenous politics, to our sense of national identity, Howard has changed the nation in a way very few leaders ever do. Each step rankled his opponents as they clung to old orthodoxies. Yet Howard, through sheer dint of character and intellectual fortitude, prevailed.

But now he must go.

It’s not easy saying that. The economic numbers certainly do not warrant it. All the numbers are in the right direction. Unemployment at historic lows.

Economic growth at healthy highs. Neither does Howard’s character warrant it. He has been a leader in the true sense of the word. He has tapped into what the community thinks in a way his predecessor Paul Keating never did. He has overseen a period of unity within the federal Liberal Party that has enabled the Howard Government to win election after election. Every time he was written off, Howard fought back. But after 11 glorious years, this time the bad polls are pointing to something altogether different.

See any mention of Workchoices? How about a cynical preference for poll driven, all gain and no pain thinking? You know, I think we should remember that it was Janet Albrechtsen's column that led to John Howard's ousting - well if you want a conspiracy theory, isn't that as good as the next one?

With friends like that, no need to cultivate enemies. Do everything right, and still the polls say you're wrong, and so down you must go.

No wonder Albrechtsen scans the polls each day in a fever, seeking for the first signs, the first canker in the entrails, the disease in the liver that will foretell the demise of Chairman Rudd, and she'll write anything to bring that day forward. Never mind the policies, feel the width and length of the poll numbers.

Reasoned rational discourse on policies and future directions for the country? If you want that sort of stuff, get out of the shark tank before Albrechtsen eats you alive ...

(Below: Janet Albrechtsen and a James Bond shark. Despite the scribbling herein, there is of course no similarity).

John Humphreys, and whinging about the whiners, and talking up direct action as a way of avoiding it ...

We used to have a teacher who said on a regular basis ' don't do as I do, do as I say'.

It was usually in relation to smoking and alcohol, but he could on a whim extend it to any convenient issue to hand. What an insolent offensive bastard he was, even if he was usually right.

It turns out that if you google the phrase, you can get 189m. results, proving that dumb fuck teacher sayings are widespread in the looniverse.

And it seems John Humphreys has drunk the same kind of philosophical kool aid as part of his silly season celebrations, in Activists should stop talking about global warming and start acting.

You see, it seems global warming is an issue, and direct action should be taken:

Concern about anthropogenic global warming is appropriate. The Earth did warm up in the late 20th century, and the United Nations thinks greenhouse gas emissions are probably a major cause. Understandably, many people want to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Well that sounds serious, and it turns out that Humphreys is a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. So what have the CIS, and Humphreys done in the way of direct action to tackle this extremely dangerous issue? How have they put it front and centre on the agenda, and taken diligent action to solve the many issues involved?

Well if head off the the front page, here, it would seem bugger all, or diddly squat.

And Humphreys' brave personal stand on the matter? Why it's to whinge about how other people are whinging and doing nothing.

If climate activists had spent the past 10 years acting instead of wasting time at talkfests such as the one at Copenhagen, we would already have a price signal on greenhouse gas emissions.

It is an indication of the sorry state of community groups that when faced with a problem, they spend millions of dollars whinging and asking other people to do something. This is especially true when it comes to climate campaigners. While this group of young ideologues revel in their self-appointed moral superiority, they have so far achieved very little.

Let's re-phrase that:

If the CIS and its ideological activists had spent the past 10 years acting instead of wasting time scribbling research tomes and attending talkfests throughout the land, we would already have a price signal on greenhouse gas emissions.

It is an indication of the sorry state of the CIS that when faced with a problem, they spend millions of dollars whinging about leftists and community groups, and asking other people to do something. This is especially true when it comes to campaigning about the climate. While this group of right wing think tank ideologues revel in their self-appointed moral superiority, they have so far achieved very little.

We could go on and on in like vein, since it's always easy to spot a gherkin hiding amongst the lettuce leaves, and Humphreys compounds the desire to go ad hominem by carrying on like a prize gherkin about what others should do and how everything is the fault of others:

Instead of whinging and waiting for politicians to become benevolent, people who are worried about anthropogenic global warming can take immediate action.

People who are worried? Presumably that includes Humphreys and by extension the CIS? Are they a community group who should be taking immediate action? Okay, how?

To be fair, some groups offer people the opportunity to offset emissions by planting trees or capturing methane from landfill. But the only long-term fix is better technology, and so community groups should be looking at ways to encourage investment in alternative energy technology.

Effective action requires money. Green groups raise funds, but these are often wasted on political lobbying rather than direct action, and so community involvement is replaced by rent-seeking. To engage the community, climate activists should offer the chance to contribute to a climate-change fighting fund which would be dedicated to action and not politics.

Oh I can't resist. How about we do a little re-write of that last par?

Effective action requires money. Dumbo right wing think tanks raise funds, but these are often wasted on political lobbying rather than direct action, and so community involvement is replaced by rent-seeking. To engage the community, dumbo right wing think tanks should offer the chance to contribute to a climate-change fighting fund which would be dedicated to action and not politics.

Why and here's the very way that might be made to happen:

It is easy to imagine entire workplaces getting together and jointly agreeing to join the scheme. Businesses would also be keen to contribute to show their green credentials, and rich philanthropists would add to the fund. Dumbo right wing think tank groups already raise millions of dollars every year; they could contribute some of that to the climate fund instead of political lobbying. Instead of flying around Australia to report on failure, keen activists could arrange fund-raising to contribute. Political whinging is popular these days, but civil society has always been more effective.

Oh steady on, old chum, you mean to say the CIS couldn't indulge in political whinging, its chief and most popular form of self-entertainment? Not liking the sound of that, suddenly all that talk of direct action seems the sort of thing we should perhaps urge on green and community groups. Other people.

But Humphreys can't resist a clarion call to arms:

As the fighting fund would be entirely voluntary, there is no need for lobbying, legislation or international agreements. We could start immediately. We could have started 10 years ago.

Uh huh, standing by Mr. Humphreys, ready, armed and waiting ... for your lead and the heroic leadership of the CIS as a sterling example to the community. True, you could have started ten years ago, but better late than never.

The Government cannot solve all our problems. Indeed, government action has a track record of making bad situations worse. In contrast, a voluntary climate fighting fund can be started immediately without a drawn-out political fight, without all the political compromises, and without the costs associated with government policy. If the Government then later wants to add to the scheme, it could offer matching funding. But a voluntary fund doesn't need to wait for government help or approval. All it needs is a group of climate activists who want to act instead of just talk.

Uh huh, act instead of talk. We're back to the them who'll do the dirty deed, rather than the us in the community. All it needs is a group of climate activists who want to act instead of just talk.

Act instead of just talk? Well surely the CIS and John Humphreys can lead the charge, as a nifty salve to their blathering consciences, instead of blaming others for not acting ...

What's that you say? What's loon pond doing in the way of direct action? Well don't look at us, we're soon off on holiday to sunny Melbourne. We much prefer to be like the CIS and John Humphreys and blather on about others blathering on about others blathering on, instead of taking direct action ... You see, it's the fault of others, nothing to do with us.

What a honker.

Oops, I was recently chivvied for insulting geese, and rightly so, since geese honk for a purpose (sex, alarms, feeding calls, territorial rights, maintaining good flying formations, helping lost geese contact base), but surely it's not too late for a 'gherkin of the year' award, and surely Humphreys is a prime contender.

Some might think the gherkin is an innocent fruit, similar in form and nutritional value to a cucumber (here), but I think it perfectly captures the spirit of someone who blathers on about other people blathering on, and talks about activisits who want to act instead of talk, in a way that suggests the author will be quite content talking rather than acting.

That irritating teacher we used to suffer under had a number of other wise saws, including 'physician, heal thyself', and 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw igneous rocks' and 'hot air is mainly useful for the launching of balloons'.

He was a deviant, insufferable bastard, but you know, I reckon he might have been right ...

(Below: screen cap of 'about the CIS' - you can find it live here. Strange, no mention of community activism, a workplace climate change fund, or a drive to transform the community through direct action rather than blather, talk fests, and ideologically driven humbuggery).

(Below: a gherkin think tank).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Piers Akerman, climate change, miraculous blessed Mary MacKillop and what the world needs is a miracle and a few details attended to ...

It's a simple task. Name the bigger goose. Or perhaps the biggest goose.

Here's Piers Akerman, finishing off his standard rant about Chairman Rudd, climate change, and Copenhagen, in Rudd and Wong on a climate snow job:

As Sister Judy Sippel, a member of the order of Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, has observed sagely, the news of the canonisation of Mary MacKillop at the weekend offered more than was delivered at Copenhagen after 14 days talking by representatives of more than 190 nations.

"Little difference has been made at Copenhagen," she said. "Yet here is a woman who died in Australia 100 years ago whose influence lives on."

The Rudd Government's determination to press ahead with its damaging global warming tax agenda proves her point.

The extraordinary life led by Mary MacKillop offers hope and inspiration to hundreds of thousands of Australians.

The Copenhagen experience has delivered little but shame.

Oh it's a miracle! Hit me with that brandy and milk again. Um, but didn't the process to canonise the miraculous Mary start back in 1925? By golly, those Catholics know how to chin wag, then move things along quick stix. All done and dusted by 2010! 14 days, why that's an eternity up against 85 years, not to mention one women and a flock of papal bureaucrats up against 190 countries.

Here's the rest of the story from which Piers lifted his fodder to fill up his chaff bag of a column, under the header Mary MacKillop gives more hope than climate talks, says nun:

While celebrations today centred on the Vatican's declaration that a woman with cancer had been healed in the mid-1990s, Sr Sippel said she believed miracles occurred "all the time" at Mary MacKillop Chapel.

She said a young Vietnamese family often visited the chapel because they believed prayers to Mother Mary had cured the mother of pancreatic cancer.

Dee Encabo, who now lives in Wollongong, told AAP she comes to the chapel to pray during tough times.

Her mother died nine years ago, she said, and now she considers Mother Mary to be a "replacement mother".

"We know she is a saint for children," she said.

Blanca Lachia works in the gift shop behind Mary MacKillop Chapel.

"It's exciting," she said.

"I've been waiting for this news for nine years.''

Well you would if you worked in the gift shop. Talk about moving merchandise and knick knacks, the Chapel will be up there with Rome and all the dead popes.

Oh it's miracles by the bucketload, miracles in bulk, miracles all around us, never give up hope.

But we're all gunna die. No, you goose, you'll get pie in the sky by and by.

Yep, when in doubt, get down on your knees and pray. It'll fix everything, from cancer to climate change, and erase the shame of Copenhagen.

But why didn't god give Piers Akerman a brain, and instead decided to make him a brainless one man churn machine which never manages to separate the cream from the crap? In the old days, you couldn't even have made a decent pat of salted butter from him.

What a cruel hoax She played, and for all my prayers, things haven't taken a turn for the better, and no sign that Akerman will be any better in 2010. Better get moving Mary, see if you can fix things by 2050.

Meantime, if you want to count more angels on the head of a pin, why not read The Australian's tormented, tortured account of the theological issues surrounding Chairman Rudd fronting the altar for a wafer snack - Kevin Rudd's communion at Blessed Mary MacKillop's Chapel troubles church.

By golly, munching on a wafer can get you in deep theological waters, perhaps as a way of preparing us for a re-run of Noah's great flood (you see, She is wildly in favour of climate change as a way of taking direct action, especially if it's genocidal).

Guess there's no point in praying to Mary MacKillop if you don't have a run on the inside rails. Could it be that the world, full of Chinese and Indian unbelievers, is doomed?

But wait, what's this? A late breaking entry?

Yep, from the paper that brings you Piers Akerman and Tim Blair on an almost daily basis, squawking and flapping about the great climate change fraud and hoax of the century, and way out in front as joint winners of the year's title for loudest squawking loons in the pond.

Yep, the very same Daily and Sunday Terror, which produced this bit of pious platitudinous sanctimonious editorialising as a way of showing Chairman Rudd still has much to learn.

After establishing that smog and pollution might be a bad thing, the humble but far-thinking editorialist outlines a plan of action:

So, what should Australia do? We should take all practical and reasonable steps to reduce our pollution and carbon emissions.

That is not a controversial goal. It should not be hard to achieve. Voters want this to happen, as survey after survey reveals. Politicians - even the climate-change sceptics - agree that reducing pollution is a good thing.

The only question is how: either by planting forests and investing in new technology (as Opposition leader Tony Abbott argues) or by creating a market where pollution has a price and companies can buy and sell their rights to pollute, thus creating a profit-incentive to reduce pollution (the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme).

We are likely to end up with a combination of the two concepts at some point, so let's start working on the details.

If we wait for the rest of the world's leaders to agree, we might be waiting forever.

Oh well great, it's all sorted then. A bit of both, something from the top shelf and something from the bottom, fling it all together in this great big melting pot, and we just have to get down to the details.

Amen. Put the journalists in charge of the world, so we can end it now, or at least a lot sooner than a lot later.

Thanks no doubt to the blessed Mary MacKillop the Telegraph can miraculously go on putting out the polluting verbiage from its loons, while at the same time publishing a clarion cry for the world to get stuck into the details.

Oh, and so the answer to that question about the goose of the year?

Sneaky, I'm afraid. You were probably rooting for Piers Akerman, on the basis of profound, cynical, relentless, hyperbolic, hypocritical mendacity for the entire year, culminating in his fronting miracles and Mary MacKillop as a solution to what ails him, you and the world.

You probably had a soft spot for poor old Sister Sippel, who no doubt sincerely believes in miracles and quite possibly hoped the world might have done better at Copenhagen, and now only has a putative saint and miracles and the Pellist church for comfort, and so thought Piers had done her down.

And it's true - give me believer over a hypocritical cynic any day. At least you know where you stand, or kneel, as the case may be, depending if you want to die on your feet, or live on your knees ...

But for sheer mendacity and hypocrisy, and for failing to run one decent regular column devoted to exploring the science of climate change, I reckon the Daily and Sunday Terror and its editorialist win hands down the loon pond goose of the year award.

(Below: allegedly a snap of the Daily Terror editorialist picking up his goose, but how can I say this delicately ... doesn't he look a tad ... French?)

Gerard Henderson, and the stuffing of minds with the musings of a desiccated coconut ...

I did my best, but I failed.

I tried to write about Gerard Henderson and his latest scribble, Labor's good intentions fail to guarantee jobs for youth, but it felt like I was stuffing my brain full of desiccated coconut.

It's all the fault of the Blessed Mary MacKillop of course. After she worked her miracle, and Henderson wrote an entire column without mentioning John Howard once, and we called off the betting ring on the number of times that political giant's name would turn up in a column, we lost all interest in Henderson.

Sure this week he's returned to standard form, with three mentions of John Howard in total, the first being in the third paragraph, but it's not the same. Once someone's pulled off a Fine Cotton sting, there can't be any trust left in the relationship.

Yes, there's the usual and expected stuff about the return of the Xmas strike, and the routine history lesson as he trawls back over past governments, merrily re-writing history as he goes, and then there's his standard routine about how these days kids aren't being groomed by small business to work in kebab houses and burger stores, combined with mild panic at the thought of all those unemployed, fractious, rioting, foreign youths roaming around the south west in their rice boy cars, but the man is so bloody boring, such a stuffed shirt, that without the tang and zest of a betting ring, it's impossible to get through his verbiage without dozing off.

Oh there is one little gem:

These days, there is little debate on such ABC-TV programs as The 7.30 Report and Lateline - significantly less than that found on Fox News.

That gave me a good cackle, well okay, it led to a rather cheap and vulgar guffaw, but frankly readership on these pages drops away any time Henderson is mentioned. People run from the place as if they've discovered a dusty vampire in a coffin in the cellar, and forgot to bring along a wooden stake, some holy oil and a couple of cloves of garlic.

You can almost feel the mind parasites clearing your brain as you read Henderson, who spends an inordinate amount of time pretending he's a serious independent balanced scribe just looking at the issues in an even handed way, when he's really just another propagandist of the Lord Haw-Haw kind. (oops, sorry, there's a dollar for the Godwin's Law jar). He's about as balanced as a weather vane permanently skewed to the right.

Oh, and there's another good moment at the end, as Henderson worries about all those unemployed youths:

However, despite good intentions, Labor is making it more difficult for businesses to employ young Australians who live in low socio-economic areas.

Arbib knows the problem but there is no evidence that he understands a possible solution.

Because it's a pot and kettle moment, since Henderson's column provides no evidence that he understands a possible solution either. Outside of getting the chicks behind the check out counter (until the new self checking regime kicks in) , and the boys into the burger flipping business, for as low a freelance hourly rate as Workchoices might allow.

At the time of writing, Henderson had only attracted a few comments, mostly negative, as if - like the Grinch who'd stolen Christmas - he'd managed to imbue the silly season with terminal ennui.

Still, if you want more of the beast, you can always head off to his Media Watch Dog, which spluttered its last on the 4th December here.

There you will find the lighter, bitchier side of the desiccated coconut. He's still an ABC bashing, Guardian on the Yarra hating, Catherine Deveny loathing, 7.30 Report and Kerry O'Brien despising, prejudiced dickhead sod, but at least the prejudices are naked, and stated with remarkable clarity:

Nancy is aware, from personal interaction, that most journalists vote Labor or Green. So she is always fixated on the advice which members of the Fourth Estate see fit to give to the Liberal Party - especially when the Liberals change their leadership.

Yes, what a prejudiced goose Nancy is. And what a stupid one. From personal interaction. Well that's scientific, ain't it. Where we come from, we call it personal prejudice, and let it go at that, since unless Nancy actually sits in the voting booth and watches where the "x's" go, (s)he doesn't have a clue. If journalists divide up like the rest of the community, there'll be plenty of swinging voters, plenty of eccentrics, and plenty swinging either way.

Only a deluded myopic could keep on trotting out the same standard line, but that's Henderson for you.

Well here at loon pond, we're aware, from personal interaction and by reading their tedious guff, that most commentariat columnists are up themselves ...

Enough said. We've done our duty, we've seen the emperor with his SMH clothes on, and we've seen him without his clothes, or at least deshabille, over at his doggy site, and it's more than a mortal mind can bear ...

(Below: while looking around for emperors without clothes, we came across this image. And somehow we were reminded of Gerard Henderson - artist's site here, and curiously he turns out to be a working Glaswegian).

Sophie Mirabella, and a shiny mass of tinsel and baubles and glittering verbiage


I always used to get confused between the notion of a simile and the use of a metaphor.

Here's the handy wiki on simile:

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as". For instance, a simile that compares a person with a bullet would go as follows: "John was a record-setting runner and as fast as a speeding bullet." A metaphor might read something like, "John was a record-setting runner. That speeding bullet could zip past you without you even knowing he was there."(John being the speeding bullet). (Confused? Happily confused, but you want more? You can find the metaphor page here).

Now, feeling forewarned and well armed, like a speeding bullet, let's turn to Sophie Mirabella in Beware the electoral Santa bearing gifts:

There’s a high-risk derivative of the time-honoured “Secret Santa” that has become quite popular in recent years. All the carefully (and not so carefully) selected gifts are pooled and one by one participants get to select and open a present. They then face a choice: keep the present they’ve just opened or forfeit it and go for another, the contents of which are unknown but with which they will be stuck.

Ornately wrapped, carefully presented gift boxes adorned with bows and baubles are, unsurprisingly, first picks. But they don’t often yield the best results.

However, it’s human to be tempted by the promise of something better, to be lured by the illusion of a grander prize.

And it’s exactly what many Australians experienced just a few months before Christmas in 2007.

Here was a shiny new ballot box option – polished, presented and tempting with a literal cornucopia of promises. Each grander than the next. Rudd was political tinsel at its shiniest.

The Howard Government by contrast was so practical, so familiar – like a brown paper package tied up with string (and who apart from Julie Andrews finds that alluring?) Besides, Australians were generally comfortable enough with the personal bounty of gifts under their own trees – the risk of the electoral Secret Santa did not seem too great. Hey, why not, they might get something better? (Beware the electoral Santa bearing gifts).

Oh dear, that's not so much a metaphor or simile as a shambling tottering edifice of linguistic abuse erected around the notion of Xmas. Can there be any better example of seasonal silliness and stupidity, or a more shiny example of a politician so enraptured with their own verbosity that they keep on scribbling like a schoolkid seeking to impress with literary cleverness and subtle allusiveness?

So practical, so familiar, like a brown paper package beloved by Julie Andrews? Oh dear, shoot yourself in the foot by shooting off at the mouth.

Because Mirabella isn't content with that for an opener - she goes on and on and on, like a class clown, keeping up the similes and the metaphors, or whatever you want to call it.

Two years on, having scrambled through the mass of tinsel, shiny bauble promises and tissue paper spin, it’s become apparent to many Australians that the box is actually empty. It was all about appearances. It was all about being new and glittery – not actually offering anything substantial.

While list-making is a seasonal sport, I won’t go into Labor’s litany of broken promises, economic failures and lack of action. It would be much longer than Santa’s list – and heavier on the naughty than the nice.

Oh enough already with the Xmas stuffing, I'm feeling stuffed like a prize goose.

She won't go into Santa's list? What about Santa's metaphor grab bag? Fat chance.

Quickly, let's start doing the short hand version of the rest of the gibberish: disappeared as quickly as a stash of batteries on Christmas morning, shouted from the chimney tops, shiny Rudd present, take the political tinsel, shiny Rudd box, dodgy Christmas marketer ...

No, no, no, I can't take any more. Enough already.

We know it's the silly season, we know you don't like Chairman Rudd, but stop with the monomaniacal metaphors, or we'll all go blind.

And then she has the cheek to top it all with this line:

I could go on – but it is the season to be charitable.

Torturing us with your tortuous English is being charitable? Sounding even more tortured in your fractured incoherent dissings and ramblings than Chairman Rudd is somehow treating us with kindness?

Oh please, oh please don't go on.

Learn to keep it short, like our favourite supreme triple smoked Xmas ham, Alan Rickman in Robin Hood:

Wait a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it? That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!

Oh wait, the judges are handing me their results. It seems Ms Mirabella has been deploying what is commonly known as an 'extended metaphor':

An extended metaphor, also called a conceit, is a metaphor that continues into the sentences that follow.

And the judges have unanimously ruled that Sophie Mirabella is, by a country mile, winner of the conceited goose of the silly season scribbling contest.

The winner is entitled to receive, in ornately wrapped, carefully presented gift boxes, adorned with bows and baubles, a shiny new ballot box, a literal cornucopia of political verbiage, shiny political tinsel, brown paper and string, a pine tree, a mass of tissue paper, and a stash of batteries, of all kinds and sizes, including but not limited to AAA up to D.

Now if we can just borrow from Ambrose Bierce and his Devil's Dictionary:

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Politician: An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

Platitude: The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that snores in words that smoke. The wisdom of a million fools in the diction of a dullard. A fossil sentiment in artificial rock. A moral without the fable. All that is mortal of a departed truth. A demi-tasse of milk-and-mortality. The Pope's-nose of a featherless peacock. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought. The cackle surviving the egg. A desiccated epigram.

Language: The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.

Sorry Ambrose, way too pithy. We've decided to enrol you in the Sophie Mirabella School for Extended Metaphorical Scribbling.


We look forward to reading about the way the Easter bunny explains how Chairman Rudd stole our easter eggs and hid them in the backyard, before scoffing them down like the choccy addict he is ...

(Below: and now bored by Xmas chatter in the antipodes, how about Xmas in Japan? You haven't lived until you've experienced Xmas Japanese style, and shopped at
Tokyu Hands).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tony Abbott, and compulsory bible reading, provided you don't forget the juicy bits ...

(Above: something every school child should know. God had genocidal, murderous, wholesale slaughter tendencies. Be wary young folk, at any time, with a fickle flick of his wrist, he can turn you into a pillar of salt. Sure you'd be handy at an Xmas barbeque, but do you want to go as the flavouring? Click to enlarge images).

Tony Abbott can't help himself.

At a time when he should be settling in and devising ways to appeal to the centre, he goes stirring the possum and appealing to his fundie constituents.

He's just an old fashioned motor mouthed blabbermouth who shoots from the hip when he's not blathering with the tongue. How else to explain this provocation?

Bible classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Compulsory bible classes? Well Abbott's backed off a little, as the hounds were let loose (Lundy tackles Abbott on Bible Studies), calling the bible proposal the study of a cultural rather than a religious document, which is as about as stupid a defence as you can offer for a bit of dog whistling certain to get the hackles raised in all kinds of quarters.

You see, public schools haven't been in the business of compulsory bible classes for a long time, even back in the Howard picket fence dream time of the nineteen fifties. You could always opt out of the half hour of religious studies and go sit in a room and stare at the wall, if that was your wish, or if you could persuade your parents it was their wish.

And if the oldies were mad keen for you to get your head stuffed full of superstitious nonsense, you could join fellow believers for an optional half hour, or you could head off to Sunday school.

Much like geeks confronted by testing physical education classes could wave a parental note, or a medical certificate, or suddenly discover perilous ailments that prevented participation.

It's the use of the word 'compulsory' - we have ways to make you suffer by forcing you to study the bible - that, as intended, sticks in the craw, as Abbott fed the Herald Sun with an easy header: All kids must read the bible, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. Never mind the Jews or the Muslims or the atheists, feel the width and depth of the Christian culture.

Well I don't mind people who study the bible - I read it from cover to cover at an impressionable age, and immediately became convinced that agnosticism was the thinking person's sensible half way house, while atheism was probably the only terminus at the end of the tram line. As you would when confronted by myths dressed up as history.

But really the only decent translation of the bible - as literature - is the King James version, which is a bit like studying Shakespeare for the young, reared in a world where history and literature and an extended vocabulary are as remote as the habit of reading of classic comics from the golden age.

If some debased, half-assed translation using modernist gibberish or a mealy mouthed middle class dumbed down vocab is used instead, as a way of bending over backwards to appeal to young 'un, it'd be like offering them Charles and Mary's Tales from Shakespeare. The whole point would be lost. Not so much a "cultural document" as the kind of "religious document" the Catholic education system used as propaganda.

But mention King James to a Catholic like Abbott, and most likely he'd flinch, or at least the eyes would give a half-concealed flicker as he tried to tuck away his resentment.

It always sticks in the craw of Catholics that King James organised the only decently resonant literary translation of the bible - the papal efforts were half hearted (here for a short history of early English translations), and none of them achieved the charm of the many Victorian editions of King James which deployed the Ussher chronology, devised by James Ussher, the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, which conveniently dated the start of the world, or more to the point, the first day of creation, as beginning at nightfall, preceding Sunday October 23, 4004 BC.

Any decent house had such a bible, and therefore could reliably date any major biblical event by way of the annotations alongside the main text. Arguments about the reliability of the dating methodology, and whether Ussher might have been out by a day or a decade or a century, have all the poignant quality and charm of counting angels on the head of a pin.

But while this nonsense might appeal to the creationists in our midst, how would this kind of arcana interest the young, who after all have meaningful lives to lead, and no need to bother with the stupidities of their elders? Not to mention educators, scientists and secularists. Unless you happen to be Tony Abbott, I suppose:

"I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation," Mr Abbott said.

"That includes, most importantly, the Bible.

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity.

"That doesn't mean that people have to be believers."

Well by that kind of befuddled notion, we should also be studying all the great Greek and Roman philosophers, poets and sages at a young age - to see how the Christians shamelessly ripped them off - and we should not be averse to putting some of the great minds of other cultures in front of our young, including but not limited to Confucius, the Buddha, the Torah, the Qur'an (which is a helluva lot shorter) and Karl Marx (who's a helluva lot longer).

Oh and a hundred or so decently mind blowing western philosophers and scientists who changed the way we thought about and viewed the world, some with much more deep and far ranging effect than the bible, unless of course you happen to think that the average church currently says more about the world than the detritus of scientific inventions and understandings that now litter the planet, and which the church now manages only reflexive intolerance towards while making good use of to widen the audience for their superstitions (notice how many fundies fill up the full to overflowing intertubes with their rants about creationism?)

Reading the bible without belief - or with failing belief - is in fact an arduous and counter-productive chore, and to make it compulsory would lead to a brand new generation of faith haters, like the rebels in the nineteen sixties who objected to having nonsense rammed down their throats. The way that a young Tony Abbott bought the nonsense when he first read the bible means he provided a good sellers' market, but the same didn't apply to many others confronted by the compulsory cramming of religion, like geese force fed corn to get them fattened up for the metaphysical end times.

As expected, Abbott immediately got a bite from Howard government Islamic advisor Dr Ameer Ali, and from Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos, and Kate Lundy came out fighting on behalf of Chairman Rudd, who'd shot his own arrow of stupidity into the air when he got on board the Blessed Mary MacKillop bandwagon.

No doubt there'll be a frisson run through the media and the intertubes in the next few days.

How it will help Abbott placate centrists and secularists, and get them to swing away from the pieties of Chairman Rudd, only an adherent of the Pellist heresy might understand.

There's Chairman Rudd doing doorstoppers in front of church, and dancing with the ACL fundie types, and singing the praises of MacKillop the saint, and getting away with his preening and poncing, and there's Tony Abbott making stupid remarks that will generate a host of tweets.

"Compulsory". What a goose.

Now if only he'd suggested a decent angle that made the bible a good rewarding read. Like all the sex and violence and silliness.

As it so happens, thanks to Harold Bloom, this week is R. Crumb book of genesis week at loon pond - a grand Xmas present for your Xian friends - and we've put up a couple of pages which suggest just how the rich and fruity material might actually lure young readers into its wonderful web of fairy tales.

And there's lots more not featured in our humble fair use selection - slaves and looting and pillaging and raping and debauchery and killing and perversion and greed and lust and vile power mongering, some of it even approved of, or performed by, god herself (Crumb's refusal to show god as a woman is perhaps his only theological weakness, as he buckles under to the heretical Pellist tradition).

Come to think of it, the Australian taxpayer should fund R. Crumb to do the entire bible, and then we can get to talk about compulsory comic book reading in schools and the importance of schoolkids confronting important cultural documents ... after Crumb, perhaps we should provide a half hour for the reading of the sacred texts of Carl Barks ...

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of the Pellist heresy, the Pellists continue to insist terminal illnesses such as cancer can be cured by prayer.

But Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell admits such cures, like the miracle attributed to Mary MacKillop, is rare.

"Yes, obviously (cancer can be cured by prayer)," Cardinal Pell told ABC television today.

"And there are quite a number of examples in the books."

Cardinal Pell says that won't give sick people a false sense of security because they realise cure by prayer is a "very long shot". (here).

Mary MacKillop's managed two alleged, so called miracles in a hundred years. God's managing to send about 7.6 million people a year to meet their maker via cancer, and growing (here).

Long shot? I'd have a better chance of flying to the moon using my Hargrave box kite. God surely is the most refined sadist, or is it Sydney course bookmaker, when setting the odds. What a derelict old supernatural wonder She is.

As for climate change denying Pell, based on his rigorous scientific understandings, what a goose.

Who let all those squawking geese in here? This is supposed to be a pond for sensible loons ...

(Below: a few more random samples of R. Crumb. First up, a dash of child abuse, as recommended by god. Remember not to spare the rope! And of course when angels walk amongst you, and see tits on a statue, be prepared for some Supernatural action. And finally the vexed matter of Onan. Yep, I'd like to see the compulsory discussion of onanism in religious classes, so the matter can finally be sorted. It's got nothing to do with masturbation, which is totally virtuous. Rock on young - and old - wankers wherever you are, but watch out for that rock. Click to enlarge images).