Friday, April 12, 2013

You might think it's TGIF day, but for the pond is just another nausea day ...

If the pond saves just one lost soul on a daily basis from a bout of nausea, upset stomach, headache, or a technicolor yawn on a daily basis, then perhaps one day it can enter the house of the long absent lord proud of a mission accomplished.

Call it the ultimate Bushian moment if you like, but who knows, there might be some lost soul out there who stumbles across Gra Gra's piece for the lizard Oz, and decides to google these fateful words:

Where Thatcher was different to today's breed of politicians was that she believed in things. She didn't lie or break promises. Britain is a better place because of her honesty and her fearlessness.

The man who did whatever it takes to stay in power? That man talking about how things were better in the old days? And under Thatcher?

Whatever you do, don't do it.

Surely you can feel your gorge rising already? Surely you can sense you'll crave some effervescent antacid, say an Alka-Seltzer, but what good will it do?

You already knew Gra Gra was a Swiss bank account loving ratbag, how much evidence do you need to accumulate?

Surely enough is enough, and now having delivered the warning, it's time for the pond to move on.

But let's not move too far, because there's another story at the lizard Oz that might send the accidental reader into a tail spin, because it's composed by Troy Bramston, and Troy is an ace reporter who's sipped deeply of the lizard Oz kool aid:

Think about the implications of this "exclusive" and what it means, and why it's allegedly worthy of the tag "exclusive" and punters forking out the readies to avoid the fickle finger of the gold bar of Murdochian fortune.

It seems from birth Australians must sign up to one political party, church, religion, affiliations, faiths, creeds, policies and outlooks, and to change any is to risk a headline "exclusive" in the lizard Oz.

Now the pond personally doesn't care if Simon Sheikh was a Calathumpian before he joined the current party of his choice, and the story resonates with all the depth and insight of a splash written up this way:

Lizard Oz member of the commentariat and hack radio broadcaster Graham Gra Gra Richardson was a financial member of the Labor Party - and might still be, for all the pond knows or cares, which doesn't stop him from being an uxorious obnoxious worshipper and clutcher of the hem of Margaret Thatcher.

Most likely the lizard Oz and Troy have run out of stories on 457 visas and unions, and now want to run an extended campaign against anyone likely to threaten the hegemony and thwart the master with a divided Senate.

But they'll have to do a lot better than discovering that a kid (Sheikh was 22 when he headed up GetUp!) was once a member of the ALP. We all make mistakes, even the pond, which for a brief moment once imagined it was as Catholic as Tony Abbott ...

Silly pond, even stupider Abbott ... and then came the considered news that it might take more than a couple of weeks for Abbott to make a difference in relation to border protection, having once stupidly boasted that it would take him only a couple of weeks to put everything magically into turnaround.

Now there's a story of hypocrisy and deception you won't find on the front page of the lizard Oz.

And this despite Mr. Abbott having the very best advisers producing the very best advice:

The pond apologises unreservedly for any nausea that photo might have produced in a stray, innocent reader. To the Alka-Seltzer, and carry it with you because you just never know when the nausea might hit you ...

Speaking of nausea, the NSW follies, sometimes known as the grand five ring Obeid circus (performing NSW politicians in five circus rings at one time), reached grand new heights today with bizarre news of a bizarre plot to install Richard Torby as NSW premier.

You can read about it in Revealed: 'Obeid's grand plan' for Torbay as premier, though most likely it will only appeal to Sydney-siders interested in the daily rat run, or students of the Rum Rebellion, anxious to work out whether it remains the premier example of corruption in "the first state", or "the premier state" or the "towards 2000 state" or whatever misleading and deceptive number plate you wear on your car like a mug convict dressed in arrows or stripes ...

Don't worry Sydney-siders some day we'll reach 2000 ... and just remember nobody could make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, the pond was astonished to discover, thanks to Albo, that not only would a VFT train cost squillions, it would take 45 years to build.

Forty bloody five years!

How stupid is that.

Perhaps behind the headline was the implication that the train would be built from Sydney to Goulburn or maybe Canberra, and then spend a decade recovering and trying to find the dosh to finance the next leg to Woop Woop, but fair dinkum, do any of the dunderheads involved in the report have any idea how fast the Chinese, the Japanese or the Europeans can build a VFT?

But it does explain, in its own way, why the current Labor government would have trouble speedily rolling out fibre optic cable in a packet of Weetbix.

And speaking of cable, it's about time to say a few short, sharp words to Stilgherrian, who of late has been in raptures over Malcolm Turnbull's vision, as you can read in Like it or not, Turnbull's NBN vision strikes a chord.

Stop it, stop it at once, or you'll go blind.

For a start, what the fuck is all this talk about Turnbull's vision?

When you go into a two dollar store, do you talk about the vision thing?

No, you just want the plastic goods, hoping they'll last a couple of years, and that they'll be no more than five dollars (two dollar stores aren't quite the two dollars they once were), and bugger any jibber jabber about the vision thing.

What Turnbull's offering isn't a vision. It's something that's cheaper, quicker, and - yes it has to be said again - nastier.

It's got three fifths of fuck all to do with a vision thing, and five fifths of everything to do with a dollar a litre permeate free milk.

A vision thing is when you get a bunch of futurists together and they start yammering on about the need for 1Gbps connectivity and 4k image streaming and holographic or 3D image projection and HD telemedicine, and HD educational experiences for an entire class, or an entire school, all at the one time, delivered to each student, and the way we have in a very short time, gone from the most wretched of modems to an insatiable thirst for data, which will keep growing, and which will utilise apps and functions yet unknown, and which will not only be about entertainment, which is all the Liberal party imagines broadband can do ...

And, sob, in the process, what damage it has done, undermining all their good friends in publishing, the music and movie and television and newspaper industries in the process ...

The vision thing is this sort of thing, which you can find in Turnbull's NBN plan inadequate: futurists:

''The problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow,'' said technology commentator Brad Howarth, co-author of A Faster Future. ''It's like the M5 tunnel - by the time it was completed it was already jamming up.''

But okay, we'll bite.

Why did Turnbull pwn the day? By speaking leetspeak from the turn of the bloody millenium, putting the newbies in their place?

Well no, it turns out that Abbott used the word "megabits" several times, if awkwardly, and he delivered gushing praise for Turnbull, and he's worked out a plan - backed by impeccable research and a report - that guarantees the coalition can deliver something cheaper and nastier a bit faster, and never mind the details or the awkward "yes but" copper moments.

Oh and this:

So why did Turnbull pwn the day? 
For a start, his message was delivered from a gleaming blue and chrome set at Foxtel that simply looked like the future - pressing more buttons than yet another shot of Conroy in hi-viz vest straddling a muddy trench.

Yep, to get Stilgherrian on side, you just need to roll out the elephants, or the dancing girls, or a glittering glitzy set, along with a chance to dump on the geeks and the nerds and their unwarranted expectations of fast connectivity, and yammer on about pensioners subsidising the geeks ... that is, until you consider how pensioners might be more effectively monitored and delivered health services over very fast broadband, to a level and a quality undreamed of at this moment in time, but who knows, in only a decade ...

In short, the only conclusion is that Stilgherrian, out of intrinsic perversity, has jumped to the dark side.

Perhaps there will be a home for writers like him who fancy that Turnbull's plan is some kind of vision thing, as opposed to a way to shut off policy debate, and pave the way for Abbott's ascent to power. Perhaps he can score a job at the new vision-less NBN, and roll out second hand cars to people who shouldn't get airs or ambitions about their level of connectivity, because you know, near enough is good enough for all the little people ...

The result?

Yes, a severe case of pwn nausea.

And over the last few days - what with Stilgherrian dropping into the pond's mailbox over the last few days worshipping at the feet of Turnbull, much like Gra Gra clutching at the hem of Dame Thatcher - has been a desire to burst into song:

Isn't it rich? 
Are we a pair? 
Me here at last on the ground, 
Broken copper in the Newtown ground
You in HFC mid-air,
Trying to get Optus to deliver a trailer
Without the whirling circle of slow-streaming death,
Send in the clowns. 

Isn't it bliss? 
Don't you approve? 
One who keeps tearing up the ground, 
One in a gleaming blue and chrome set. 
Where are the clowns? 
Send in the clowns. 

Just when I'd stopped using fibre, 
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was copper, 
Making my entrance again with my usual flair, 
Sure of my lines, 
Not one futurist is there. 

Don't you love farce? 
My fault I fear. 
I thought that you'd want what I want. 
Sorry, my dear. 
But where are the clowns? 
Quick, send in the clowns. 
Don't bother, Stilgherrian's here. 

Isn't it rich? 
Isn't it queer, 
Losing his timing this late 
In his career? 
And where is the fibre? 
There ought to be fibre. 
Well, maybe next year ... 
Or the year after that...
Or whenever the vision thing finally comes to pass ...

(Below: bet you you'd the pond was exaggerating about how you could fit big herds of performing Stilgherrians in five circus rings at one time. Wrong, wrong, wrong).


  1. Once I read Richardson and the effect was akin to the following:

    Never again!

  2. Do you think Murdoch might have paid Stilgherrian? How much I wonder?

  3. The piece referenced was written for the ABC, the other pieces by Stilgherrian this week have been for Crikey. Neither could be remotely construed as Murdochian.
    Perhaps Stilgherrian will explain his new "vision thing" and mention any corporate largesse in his weekly round up:

    The pond fervently hopes that Turnbull's team drops a very large green box outside his home, and he stumbles into it regularly at night.

  4. I don't think Stilgherrian was praising the coalition's plan, he just reckons that most mug punters will think they're getting more-or-less the same thing as the govt's delivering, but cheaper and quicker. It's a triumph of image over substance (again).

    He may be right. Most people won't understand the differences between the two schemes, and I work with a bloke who's quite tech-savvy who doesn't see the problems with FTTN. I mean, he should know better, we're both IT Professionals, after all.

  5. Sorry David, but here's what he wrote for Crikey:

    The Coalition's policy and the accompanying 36-page backgrounder present a coherent and powerful argument. Most of it will be broadly familiar to anyone who's been paying attention to what Turnbull has been saying for the last three years -- as opposed to just whining that he doesn't get that FTTP is technically superior. He knows it is, but his argument is that technical superiority is not the only factor that needs to be considered ...

    He proceeded to pour cold water over Simon Hackett's arguments and graph, before wending his way to this:

    Turnbull has factored in operational costs sourced from existing operators. He's also provided, on page 15, his working-out to challenge the notion that building FTTP in one hit now is, overall, cheaper than a two-step approach -- using the kind of modelling that investors are used to seeing. It's there to be challenged.

    Ultimately, it's a choice between two sets of beliefs. The Coalition's mix naturally includes "private ownership and an open, competitive market create more direct incentives for efficiency and lower prices for consumers" and "private investors are usually better placed than taxpayers to evaluate, fund and bear the risk of new investments in networks or technologies in an increasingly dynamic sector, and they've presented a business plan". Labor's naturally includes issues of equity and building infrastructure for the community good. That's been matched with the not-unreasonable technologists' beliefs about the empowering and enabling nature of data networks -- but they are nevertheless "just" beliefs.

    Etc etc. With this choice:

    And in any event, how much of this stuff should the government pay for, versus individual householders and businesses?

    Between now and September 14 the broadband battle will be fought on these two fronts: left-brain hard numbers and right-brain beliefs, gut feelings about the benefits versus the risks, and ideology.

    He shows every sign of having jumped the shark, and settled in Turnbull's camp. Sure he's cynical about what people will understand, but he absolutely doesn't mind Turnbull selling the pup. Maybe he dreams of running the new NBN for big Mal ...

  6. Ah, I just read what he had on the ABC. I'll go and read the Crikey piece now.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.