Thursday, April 17, 2014

The pond takes a break, but not before predicting dreams, nightmares and a bloody big hangover ...

(Above: Willy Pogány c. 1910, Slimy things did crawl ... upon the slimy sea)

So this is Easter, and what has the pond done?

Another year contemplating a god who would crucify Her son in the most brutal way imaginable, while offering pie in the sky later on ...?

How's that helped?

Let's not mention the genocide that led to the film Noah, and the torturing of thousands of innocent, hapless cinema goers, or the suffering of the dozens trapped inside churches this Easter by angry Sydney Anglicans and Catholic priests.

Or for that matter the mystical musings of Elizabeth Farrelly this very day in Meditation on the cross:

I feel it in the Gothic, its hefty stone stretched skyward; in the psalms, with their sooty melancholy and soaring descants; and in the upright of the cross. God keeps us tall. 

She keeps us tall?

This vertical stretch, good for us, is demanded by the planet. On any issue – materialism, carbon, financial crisis, climate change, population – old Gaia needs us to clamber up a few chakras. Blindingly obvious. Our environmental crises are not scientific, political or behavioural. At root, they’re spiritual. It’s almost as if Gaia wants to drive home the core mystic message, the age-old paradox; we must lose our selves in order to win eternal life. 
Paradox, and the parable needed to express it, lives at the heart of Christian traditions: darkness in light, poverty in riches, pain in beauty, death in renewal. Paradox is the mystery and the enchantment. Witnessing the sung Passion last weekend sent shivers down my spine. The music was glorious but the story – the betrayal, the regret, the suicide, the cowardice, the despair – the story is breathtaking. I like Jesus best in his darkest doubt. A doubting God is the most bewitching paradox of all. For me, that’s it. Story could stop right there. 
Easter, the pagan point of renewal, is the chosen moment of God death. Saturday’s Paschal Vigil begins with The Blessing of the New Fire, reminiscent of an Aboriginal smoking ceremony. This mix of paradox and paganism gives Christianity a potency that New Age religions cannot access; a potency daily betrayed by mainstream dumbed-down populism.

Uh huh.

Like people scribbling about tallness and shivering and Gaia and paradox, and in the mainstream media this very day abusing others for their mainstream dumbed-down populism?

The pond feels a koan coming on:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. 
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!" 
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?" (and more koans here, and here).

But on to the matter at hand, which will see the pond sheltering from the storm and broadband in a world as remote as the dreamtime, though it's sometimes mistaken for a major rural heartland. It's either an Elizabeth Farrelly dreaming or a pond nightmare.

Of course it happens because big Mal isn't up to the job, but then his dream for the big smoke isn't much of a dream either.

More a same old ongoing nightmare, of the kind where Freddy Kreuger keeps lurking under the slow-moving bed:

... users of the FTTN network will not receive speed guarantees beyond 25 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, the report states - similar to the maximum performance under ideal line conditions of today's ADSL2+ service. 
Fibre customers hoping to receive the fast service they ordered may also end up being disappointed under NBN Co's proposals. 
NBN Co reportedly said it will not take responsibility for individual line speeds, leaving the selection of the correct speed tier to end users and providers. It will not prevent end users or providers from ordering up to 100 Mbps speed tiers for a service that would typically experience speeds of less than 50 Mbps, according to the report. (more details here)

So have there been any consequences for this profound failure?


Hold on.

Remember all those predictions by the Liberals of a state-owned monopoly using its market dominance to deny competitors offering a better service?

NBN Co this morning signalled an attack on the fibre-to-the-basement plans of competitor TPG, in an effort to mark its territory in reponse to the threat of emerging competition. 
It announced a plan to bring forward its FTTB rollout in certain metropolitan areas in a "commercial response to emerging competition for high-value customers", in a rollout that could extend to 50,000 apartments.
TPG has already begun construction on plans announced last September to roll out fibre to the basements of an extra 500,000 apartments across metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. 
The plan mimicks the Coalition's FTTB efforts and has drawn criticism from NBN Co CEO Ziggy Switkowski, who said it had the potential to “severely impact" the NBN. 
TPG is using a legal loophole in federal anti-cherry picking legislation in order to build its FTTB network alongside the NBN. NBN Co will announce a list of priority areas in the coming weeks, which it said will likely include Haymarket in Sydney, New Farm and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, and South Melbourne. 
"A building that signs up to TPG runs the risk of being left with only one retail service provider – TPG itself," NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.

Yep, offer a shitty service, and when someone offers a competitive service, crush them like cockroaches.

Because when Turnbull and Cormann blathered about a multi-mix technology last week, they didn't mean an actual multi-mix.

They meant a monopoly on shitty services ...

Of course the fear of cherry-picking is a fear that government will be left offering expensive services to remote users ... while users clustered tidily in big cities and wanting a half-way decent service will pay for the pleasure and tell the big Malaise and his tin can and spaghetti machine to go away ...

Never mind, at least where the pond's going they're still relying on string and sealing wax for a broadband service ... and the carrier pigeons are performing well, though beaks are drooping under the stress ...

Meanwhile, the pond is still brooding about the HFC which is the new big Malaise dream for the pond's neighbourhood.

Yes, we've already had our future technology, and we've had it for decades, little did we know.

But if they do force local ADSL users off copper - as proposed in the pond's street - and on to the HFC, the pond will end up with even worse broadband, because all users will be forced into what the jargon calls shared utilisation.

Too many users ruins the speed.

This is well known - it was predicted way back when, as you can read in Coalition FTTN would ignore HFC areas: Conroy.

The HFC cable infrastructure is capable of supporting speeds up to 100Mbps, and Telstra and Optus have upgraded the infrastructure to a certain level in order to support these kinds of speeds. However, the technology is considered by many to be broadly unsuitable for Australia’s future telecommunications needs, as it does not function well under heavy shared utilisation, and many renting so-called multi-dwelling units such as apartments are unable to have it connected as it requires a whole block of apartments to be hooked up.

There it is: ... it does not function well under heavy shared utilisation ...

The pond can't work out what's worse. Being forced to agree with Conroy or living in a bleak grey future, a kind of black plague of grey technology known as the grand Malaise.

Come on down TPG, it's not just the apartments that need you ...

What else?

Well occasionally the pond goes cultural, as a break from the tedious rants of the reptiles or the mystical musings of the slightly strange.

Sadly, the first episode of Fargo was disappointing.

The Slate review here had it about right:

All of these characters and all of these stories frequently add up to something handsome, funny, and weird. But Fargo is missing the spark of originality that would make it great. If you’re going to remake something as concise and self-sufficient as Fargo, there should be a reason, and pointing out that unexpected evil lurks in the hearts of men is not a very good one. For that we have, and I am just barely exaggerating, almost every other drama on television.

The problems came early, with the new version of the William H. Macy character shown as a total drop kick and a loser, and worse, graced with a name (Lester Nygaard) that led to predictable, cheap, easy jokes.

It would have been easy to give Martin Freeman a little more to work with, so he could produce a less one dimensional character. In the near to opening sales scene, his character could have been given the sleazy charm of a grifter insurance salesman, who could at least defraud the gormless pregnant woman and her gormless partner who turn up in his shop front. A closer can still be a loser, or vice versa, as Macy showed (and he threw in the Tru-coat) ...

Instead  Freeman's character is subjected to OT bullying and slapstick broken noses, which head into caricature well before the episode is over ....

Never mind, the pond got out the feature film, and soon enough all was forgiven and forgotten ...

Well except for big Mal. You see, the reason why everyone in old media - from the FTA networks through the Murdochians to the Fairfaxians - is happy with shitty broadband is that talking about a show that just premiered in the United States - and destined for SBS here - is what all the closed fortress types fear, and never mind that a simple same day FTA service would make it all redundant ...

In closing, please allow the pond to stay in the y'artz for a moment, to marvel at the way having The Graudian as a local downunder edition has led the pond into some bizarre encounters.

Like reading the incredibly pompous and more than vaguely ridiculous Jonathan Jones on art.

It seems that Jones has a hang up about Banksy, and frequently embarks on rants about the man. You can sample this sort of nonsense in New Banksy? Whatever. Graffiti is just a tame in-joke for Guardian readers.

Now it's a good thing that the pond gave up on Freud, because otherwise there'd be something bizarre about a writer for the Guardian flagellating readers for being readers of the Guardian - a kind of Algernon Swinburne or Percy Grainger quality, especially when all Jones has to offer is bile and prejudice, and personal opinions dressed up as universal truths ...

The pond was fixated and entranced, that such a thing should be (yea, just as slimy things did crawl with legs upon the slimy sea), and read the outraged comments, and it dawned on the pond that Jones was just a y'artz troller.

So we read a little more, and came across Jeff Koons: art's king of pop reigns on at the Gagosian.

In Antiquity 3, a model in lingerie and stockings rides a toy dolphin and caresses a toy monkey in front of a trio of marble nudes. The art of ancient Greece meets modern sex. They get on well in this irresistibly funny tease of an artwork. Koons collides the sublime and the ridiculous yet slyly asks a question that is hard to answer: what is beauty? Is it abstract or carnal? 
A scrawled, primitive drawing also covers the composite image, which draws attention to the peculiar play of dimensions in it. The picture is a tangle of two-dimensional and apparently three-dimensional space, of the flat and the seemingly solid. This is the kind of attention to form that makes it impossible to dismiss Jeff Koons. The real tedium of so much art today lies in a lack of interest in aesthetics, a lack of pleasure in visual complexity. Perversely, Koons, who has never pretended to be a hands-on artist and who is notorious for commissioning craftsmen to make statues as well as running a factory-like studio, stands out for his attention to the finer details. His works are richly visual and formally satisfying. 
Long may the monkey king ride the seas of commerce on his dolphin, and long may Gagosian attend him.

Banksy really bad, and Koons really good? In particular this Koons really good?

The pond has come across this easily excitable kind of male before.

Indeed there's a shop on south King in Newtown dedicated to the kustom kulture scene, Faster Pussycat. You can usually find this sort of Betty Page thing there:

It's probably where Koons and Jones do their shopping.

So the Graudian gets the village idiot to cover the y'artz?

And Malcolm Turnbull is entrusted to deliver broadband to Australia?

Enjoy your easter eggs and hot very cross buns. It's going to be a long winter of discontent ...

The pond will, roadwork permitting, resume business after Easter, but here's a last movie memory from David Rowe, and more Rowe here ...

Never mind, after Easter, it might not be a dream or even a nightmare, it might just be a bloody big hangover ... but where's Mike Tyson when at last he's needed?


  1. And Dorothy here's to the overflowing gothic abc where in their now limitless religionist blathering way they may talk of infinite apples being oranges as sensibly as talking of that being the foundation of modern scientific method. Yes, they got to all that Copernican, Kepplerian stuff, and beyond, much earlier through a religionist squaring the circle. No need to mention Galileo, nor reliance on Euclidean false premises...

    "Nicholas of Cusa realises no, there is a way of thinking about this infinite; it’s very paradoxical, but it has to capture this dynamism of the infinite. He gives this famous example of the square and the circle: if you think of the square and the circle as two fixed shapes, they’re clearly different from one another. But if you expand them to make them bigger and bigger until you are thinking of an infinite circle and an infinite square, well they are going to coincide. This is his remarkable insight that in the infinite, in the ultimate, all things coincide."

    And apples are oranges. And orange peel is an ingredient of fruit cakes, as are nuts.

    "We have to avoid claiming to know what God is. ‘We see today that a lot of people claim to know how God is or what is in fact the same, they claim to know that there is no God, or something,’ says Mr Bocken. ‘We like certainty so much in our days.’"

    And to hell with now more than a hundred years of relativity and knowledge that it's probability not turtles all the way down.

  2. So this Jew sits on the park bench in Jerusalem next to Jesus, looks at him and asks...: "So what are you doing over the weekend?" which a dreamy Jesus answers..: "I am going to be tried, tortured, crucified, raised from the dead to then ascend into heaven." the jew sighs nods his head and says..: " Sounds good already, but I wouldn't make a habit of it!"

  3. George has done it again. He compared himself to Voltaire and derided proponents of climate change action as "believers" who do not listen to opposing views and have reduced debate to a mediaeval and ignorant level. He was referring to the quote "I will defend to the death your right to say it." wrongly attributed to Voltaire.

    Unfortunately the man of 1,000 books didn't bother to do a Greg Hunt check the source of the quote.

    "Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868 – 1956),[1][2] who wrote under the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre, was an English writer best known for her biography of Voltaire entitled The Friends of Voltaire, which she completed in 1906.

    In her biography on Voltaire, Hall wrote the phrase: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" (which is often misattributed to Voltaire himself) as an illustration of Voltaire's beliefs. Hall's quotation is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech." Wikipedia, Wikiquotes.

    No where does it appear in any of Voltaire's writings.

    Georgie, you got some 'splainin' to do!


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