Thursday, November 30, 2006

So today I spent some time editing 50 of my posts replacing the name Clayton Northcutt out and replacing it with my real name of Thomas. It's no big surprise, really, that Clayton Northcutt is an alias - it's quite an absurd name, as people have probably noticed, which is why I probably like it. I shan't expect anyone is surprised that I was using an alias, one would only need to do a few clicks to discover. Therefore, to create unity (and possibly in some sort of attempt to 'personalise' this blog as my own, thus giving myself more ideas to write about) across my Internet interests, I will use Thomas across the board.

Not really worth a blog post on it's own, just thought I would make it clear in case you thought you were in some bizarro world where Clayton Northcutt had disappeared.


If you you've been watching Channel 9 as of late (in particular, the cricket), you may be aware that there is a new movie out called Casino Royale. That's if you've caught one of the ten million ads they have been playing between the overs.

What a joke professional sports has become in recent times. It's all about dollars and cents. It's all I've known in my life, and in recent times, it has even made me sick. I wouldn't be able to bear it if I were someone from the second generation before mine, when sports persons had to have a job as well as compete to make a living. And they weren't competing for cash, they were competing for the country. What happened to that?

I can already hear people saying that they still are. Well, I beg to differ. Shane Warne, in his chase for more cash, now plays overseas in the English county competition, rather than doing something back here, in his home country. It's nothing new, many cricketers have done this over time. I'm not singling Warne out because he is an easy target - they are all as guilty as he. Rather than doing something to help promote the sport of cricket in Australia, such as playing in our domestic competition when he can, acting in coaching clinics or starting grassroots programs, they all chase the dosh and head over to the U.K.. Absolutely disgusting and disappointing.

And the amount of sponsorship crap we, the viewers, are forced to endure on T.V. for some mediocre cricket at times is even worse! Damned channel 9 slip ads in whenever they can. Am I glad that they are bringing the cricket to my homes? Yes. But would I just as quickly turn on a radio to listen (and, for that point, listen to more interesting people and their commentary) to the cricket if the advertising got out-of-hand: damn straight, and proven, because I did it for the fourth day of the recently completed test. I even found myself getting live updates on the computer, instead of watching the entire day's play, and when something interesting happened, would switch the T.V. on to watch what had just happened, knowing full well that I would likely have to endure a bunch of ads as the milked the cash and showed me some more ads before I saw any sort of replay.

Instead of seeing sports as a cash cow, the organisers and programmers should to show some form of audience loyalty. I mean, it's not like we don't see enough ads during prime time programming, in the early morning shows, at late night - throughout the entire day! And don't anyone tell me this is why pay T.V. should have all sports because I've watched pay T.V. enough to realise that they too have a ridiculous amount of ads (in regards to you having to pay to watch the shows as well).

Everything is quickly becoming commercialised, and hardly anyone seems to be saying something about it. Even S.B.S. is getting in on the act too, and they are unbearable between shows, as that's when most of their ads appear because they haven't taken to cutting up their entire line-up to slot ads in (though that's not to say they haven't started).

Just leave my sports alone, please. Let me enjoy them, rather than endure them.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Apparently I show off (I know, I was surprised too!). I was accused during a diner in the past week. The strange thing was, I wasn't even showing off when I was accused of being such a person. I generally brag about things that set me above-and-beyond other people because, hell, I've done it/got it/been there/done that etc., but this time I was accused of showing off by making simple conversation.

Therefore, this entire post, to live up to the accuser's idea that I am a show-off, is going to be dedicated to just that, acting the show-off.

- My passport is nearly running out of pages to stamp, and come March, it will be full. Yes, I'm a frequent traveler. I have traveled to more foreign countries than I have pithy states in my home country. Let's look shall we:

- Australia:
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Queensland
- Canberra

- Rest of the World
- The United States of America
- Singapore
- France
- Italy
- Switzerland
- England
- Scotland
- Turkey (Feb '07)
- Poland (Feb '07)
- China (Feb '07)

- Now, to brag even more, here are landmarks and places of interest I've been to:
- L.A.
- Disney World
- Miami Beach
- Had breakfast with orangutans at Singapore Zoo
- Eiffel Tower
- The Louvre (before it was conspiracy hot-spot), where I saw the Mona Lisa (the size of a post stamp indeed)
- Venice
- The Rialto Bridge
- Florence
- The Duomo
- Michaelangelo's David
- The Pontevecchio
- Rome
- The Forums
- The Colosseum
- The Vatican (yes, I know, technically its own country, but I saw it when I went to Rome)
- Lake Como
- The Chunnel Tunnel
- Went to three days of The Lords (yes, you read it right, the home of cricket: Lords) Test in the '02/'03 Ashes Tour
- London
- Trafalgar Square
- The Changing of the Guard
- Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
- Houses of Parliament
- Birmingham Palace
- Loch Ness

- For all these flights, gallivanting around the world, I have flown more Business Class flights than 'Cattle Class'/Economy Class. Now, for the people 'in the know', there is this section called The Bubble. It's located directly behind the cockpit. If you were ever a kid and went up to see the captain, and had to go up a flight of stairs, and you saw a bunch of elitist snobs doing their thing? Well, that would have been me. There are four, count them, four hostesses catering to twelve, count them, twelve passengers. A ratio of one-to-three: insane. It's something like one-to-a thousand downstairs, near the cans. I've traveled in The Bubble quite a few times. Quite a few times: me in The Bubble. Just wanted to reinforce this.

- I have never stayed in a motel/hotel/accommodation that is less than three stars, and that three star place was a one-and-only occurrence. Everything else has been four stars.

- I have never paid for a flight ... ever. It's not because my parents took the family overseas the first few times. No, I have just tree words: frequent flier miles. My family never pays for flights, anywhere. My father's occupation means that the points keep rolling in: enough to give away free flights to anyone who turns 21 in our family, enough to give his son and grandfather free flights to Europe and back, enough to be able to take a major overseas holiday every five years. I enjoy saying free flights.

- I'm going on another holiday. Another holiday. I'm leaving this island for a third time, and then, in all likelihood, leaving it again in '08. Why? Because I can and because traveling is the greatest thing you can possibly spend your money on. Anyone who neglects to travel is a failure.

Do note, anyone who has bothered reading this, that I haven't even mentioned the point that saw me being called a show-off. What that point was, is that I have a running bet with my father that I can eat more gelatos than he. He was there for a month and at 46 different flavours. I have a little over a week to beat that. I was merely discussing this wager with my friend when I was accused of being a show-off.

It looks as though I don't even have to try to be classified as something undesirable anymore. Fantastic! My mission is nearly complete. Only when I don't need to say anything in order for me to get branded will I be fully satisfied with myself. It will save a hell of a lot of breathing, effort and time, won't it? And I won't have to bother writing blogs about important issues (that's not to say I already am), because my opinion on things will already be known.

Clayton Northcutt.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Here is a little known fact: there was recently discovered another constant in the universe, which transcends the differences of theories which, after being studied, could significantly contribute to our understanding of the creation, development and future of the universe.

That constant is that I am always right.

The mathematical formula is as follows:

[Thomas's Opinion] +/- ([Evidence] x [Time]) = Correct

Now, some rather alarming things to result from this finding were as follows:

- This formula only works for me. I believe it is a combination of superior genes, the amount of Vanilla Coke ingested over the 'ego development' stage (nothing to do with Freud, purely the part of my life where my ego went from normal to abnormal), chewing pencils and being the greatest 18 Cup holder of all time. Also, because of the nature of the formula, only one person can possibly be correct all of the time, therefore it is me, because I believe I am right all the time, and because I am right all the time, that is the truth.
- The presence or lack of evidence is remarkable in it's scientific properties to prove my correctness. It acts as a balance of sorts, correcting the level of opinion, after being multiplied by time, to bring about absolute correctness. Thus, while evidence present will bring up the validity of my opinion, not having it will do the same job.
- In the case of evidence as well, if it ever comes about that my opinion appears to be proven wrong, it is, in fact, incorrect to assume that, as either the evidence I relied on was wrong (which, because it may very well not be written by me, there may be a distinct possibility of that) or you are really wrong, not right, therefore I am right, and not wrong.

Now this formula can be applied in a range of scenarios. An example is given below:

Person: I don't agree that you are correct all the time.
Thomas: It is my opinion that you are wrong. Because my opinion is always right, you are wrong, and because you are wrong, I am right, as the only other option to not being right all of the time is being right all of the time, and your opinion is wrong, and thus, I am right.

Endeavor to use this scientifically (in the sense that it is my opinion that it is right, and thus must be) proven formula in all cases, but be careful - there will be people who don't agree with me being right all the time, and thus, do not rely on my opinion just yet until it is accepted in the academic community (what I'm trying to say is don't say, in an essay or anything, "Thomas says this is right, thus it is true" because you will likely fail through jealousy of the maker, and not me being wrong).

Don't be fooled by the people who say the formula is wrong, it is only an act of jealousy that they aren't right as many times as me (that is, all of the time). I mean, how can I be wrong? I'm Thomas! I write on a frigging blog for Christ's sake! If I write on a blog, doesn't that prove my supremacy? Just take a look at any other blog that passes out judgment and opinion, and watch as they believe they are always right. Well, I don't believe I am always right, I know it. It's my blog, a blog which covers my opinion, and because it is always right, my blog is always right, and thus I am right because I write a blog that is always right. Get it?


Thursday, November 23, 2006

My world came crashing down one-hundred and nine hours ago (approximately). What event could have caused a catastrophe? My Internet died. Yes, I was without access to, in reality, my life, for an excess of four days! Trust me, I was going insane fast.

The disappointing thing is I ended up walking aimlessly around my house, a hollow shell of my former self. If I had a resounding thought, I would have to ... handwrite it. If I wanted to speak to someone I would have to ... actually speak to them. I had to acknowledge my family, prior to now known as "those other people who live in the house". I felt removed from the word: with no snail-mail to replace my email, I felt under-appreciated and unacknowledged. My spine began to reform into its natural shape, rather than the twisted, contorted and bent posture it is begin to return to.

Truly I was lost. But now am found - found by a bearded man on a contract from Telstra. He is the messiah and he will lead me to the promised land.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Well, it starts again. I received an email from a one Henry Coleman (two actually, but I suppose his automated email sender has a glitch). Here follows:

Dear Friend,

I know this email will come to you in an odd manner as you have not received any prior communication from me before now.

But be that as it may, my name is Mr. Henry Coleman and I was privileged to be the account officer of my deceased client who lost his life sometime ago.

In the process of review of the financial report by my bank, I discovered that both of you have a similar last name, hence I contacted you so that I can give you further briefing on my intention and how to disburse the estate he left behind.

I will most acknowledge your prompt response as that would enable us to start something immediately.


Henry Coleman.

Who am I to refuse this seemingly honest man his offer to give me money. But how much money? And are we dealing with the same person? Well, I thought we should set the record straight:

Dear Buddy,
Thank-you for contacting me in regards to this issue.
If your deceased client's name is similar to mine, I believe we will be in business. You must be quite an able research to discover my surname as I don't generally publish or reveal it. However, if you have managed to find someone else with the rare surname of Northcutt, as stated, we may have things to discuss.

My family has, in fact, recently lost a family member, and thus, I don't believe this to be a coincidence or a mistake, what with the matching surnames and all. It was Randal J. Northcutt, who lived in Hong Kong due to his card-carrying status of the Australian Communist Party. He felt that because he could never be Chinese, he shouldn't join the Chinese Communist Party, but instead his own nation's one. Also, he couldn't un-join as he was the last member, and there would be no one to witness the procedures. If this sounds like your client, then I have no doubt that we should be talking.

Could you please inform me as to the size of Randal's estate to see if it is worth the hassle of doing business, i.e. I don't particularly have time to arrange the transaction of 50 Ethopian goat (as that is where most of his business was done, Ethopia, due to the cheap cost of land, labour and life). I am a slightly busy man, what with my position as Executive Officer of Outlet EDF23 for the Matsushita Semiconductor Company, unprofessional blogger and professional 'do-nothing' (also known as a uni student).

My regards,

Now I sit and hope that I get a reply. This looks like another Mr. Kian. Quite ironic too that I was quoted as someone who has fun with scammers on a blog, and I get another email from them.


Now, being a 'loyal' reader of the blog New Lines From A Floating Life, I have managed to keep tabs on, though in no way attempt to partake in, an online argument/disagreement/tiff between two bloggers, on the author of said blog and the author of Seeking Utopia.

Now I sat back and cried at the somewhat childish/playground happenings, as it severely lowered my benchmark for certain peoples. Then again, I cannot really blame at least one party, as they are not a 'product' (as I like to call it, though lay no claim to originating the dubious definition) of the technology age, in fact, they are at least a generation removed guessing by photos (and good on him for not shielding away from the 'scary' technological world). However, it is quite sad to watch an online argument play-out, as, after going through my phase of seeking out Net-guments, and having fun with them (in reality, I was enjoying the activity of aggravating and pissing off people more than anything), I have come to live by the motto:

In an online argument, nobody wins.*

And, once again, nobody wins in the, what appears to be now, mud-slinging (not all that different to what is happening in the N.S.W. Parliament) from one side to besmirch others.

With that being said, I'm going act the hypocrite I actually am (and pride myself on being for some reason) and weigh in on this debate. In this post, one assumes that the brunt of these accusations about a "boring blog" are directed at this man and this blog (due note, author I am referencing, that if I have wrongly interpreted your writings, I will be happy to amend the post you read with a formal apology**). Now, I found it hard to comprehend point one (which probably, no, actually lead to me laughing at this post, and not being able to take the rest of it seriously, as I expect the author intended), in that, and I quote:

1. Does the blog author write his or her own material (as I do) or is each post filled with links to other people's work and ideas? Such a person either can't write or lacks the talent to be original! Or, most likely, both!

Hmmm. Well, last time I checked, though I may be wrong, as it was, oh, a couple of weeks ago, and you know how times are a' changing, but when you write a piece (any piece) you try to SOURCE what you can to back said piece. If you are writing some sort of prose, you include sources to support your statements. If you are writing an opinion piece, you include sources that support your opinion. Now, please dear readers, email me, leave comments, write me, tell me face-to-face if I am wrong, and I will alter my thoughts and posts***. However, I don't feel I am wrong in thinking that you need sources to support your claims, and thus, you are wrong, author of Seeking Utopia. Dead wrong. But, then again, most people are wrong when it comes to a difference of any sort with me, and if I ever might be wrong, I'm not, it is merely someone else who told me the wrong facts that is wrong, and you are certainly not right.

Ok, so, please, have a perusal of the 'characteristics' that make a blog boring, and do note that I managed to fulfill 1 (by linking to author profiles and blogs, and sourcing my facts), 2 (because I don't use titles, nor do I use pictures on my blog (not, for example, my DeviantArt account, which is specifically for images, and not my blog entries. If you want pictures, Google Image Search is very able, though be careful of images of the 'adulterous' nature, or not beware if that is what you are looking for (I don't judge)). Whoops, there's three more links!), 3 (I perceive this as an attack on the lacking morals, maturity and nature of this author (another link!)), 4 (I only receive comments from, shock and awe, my readers, which make up "a small, local group" when compared to the totality of Internet usage), 5 (I believe I am using this blog to push my own agenda, as is any other bogger. Now, it may very well happen that a collective of bloggers, also known as a blogette****, share similar agendas, but their blogs are still pushing their agenda), 6 (Oh hell yes! I like to imagine I've received an above average education, but reminiscing on my days at school, what with my bludging and some of my teachers, I can't say received above average. Also, I believe I use "semantic tricks" when debating as, well, because all we have is God-damned WORDS, what you don't say and what you do is likely to be of importance numb-skull! Thus, pointing out that, say, when you try and name all the primary colours and you say "They are red, blue and not red or blue" you aren't saying yellow, and, therefore, omitted the specific colour of yellow, thus proving lack of knowledge) 7 (I have zip-all comments, don't boast in writing, but have a counter at the very bottom of my page, and thus am obviously trying to make out this blog to be something that it isn't. God forbid I want this to be something, like, I don't know, a place to write, and tell people that it's a place to write) 8 (The actual phrasing of this passage is unclear, and because I use comment moderation, and I saw that question in there, I feel that my blog is even more boring as a result, not that I care though, and I will come to this later ... well, now).

Frankly, because I broke all the 'rules' as to what a boring blog is, I still don't give two tosses, left, right, forwards or back, as to whether my blog is perceived as:

a) Boring
b) Interesting

Do you know why? Because I'm not bloody writing this blog for someone else, or to get a fan-base or to get paid. I am writing it because every now-and-then I want to write, and because there is no Write Whatever The Fuck You Want 1001 at Sydney University (although I sometimes have questions as to whether this is really called Sociology at uni). And in sum, I don't care if people find my blog overly-interesting or overly-boring. If people do enjoy it, great. If people don't, I have no ill feelings, or suffer any emotional state that is worse than what it was if I didn't know altogether.

On a side note (other than the fact that this author professes to be a professional thinker, which seems to be negated by his unprofessional thinking in this post), I would have posted this as a shorter, condensed and to-the-point comment on Seeking Utopia, but I couldn't actually find a way to post comments, which I suppose makes Seeking Utopia a boring blog, as well as laughable and, well, ridiculous, not to mention the home to someone who probably thinks girls have cooties and children arrive from the stalk, such is the naivety of the author in question. There may have been a way to post comments, but in this age of simplicity and ease, because it would have required me doing research of my own (another factor that makes this blog boring, because researching to find a source is supposedly forbidden) I couldn't be fucked trying. Which generally sums up my experience with Seeking Utopia: I couldn't be fucked trying to read through anything past the first post from here on in.


Now for my poor-man's footnotes:
* - Nobody wins, unless you're Thomas, then you win automatically because, as is well known, I'm always right.
** - No I won't. That was a lie, just like this author's post about characteristics to define a boring blog. It is biased, subjective and pathetic. But, if this person can lie, and think he can get away with it, so can I; the only difference is, I don't think I'm going to get away with it.
*** - Yeah, nah, that won't be happening either. After all, I'm right, you're wrong and England prevails! Wait, that's a line from the movie V For Vendetta.
**** - I just, to the best of my knowledge (which means I really did just, because I'm right), made that up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What's the go with the weather as of late? Rain in Sydney, bush-fires out West, snow in the north, drought ....

What next?

I'll tell you what next: the God-damned Four Horsemen! Hell, two of them are already here (Red horse = war, black horse = famine). And if you don't believe me, you just wait till the sun turns black and the moon blood-red.

Ok, no joke, I just wrote that and there was a loud clap of thunder and the rain just started to bucket down.

Perhaps I'll end this post here ...

(And making fun of the Bible seemed like a good idea)


It's very rare that I recommend a book to people (animals, on the other hand, not so rare), because, well, I don't particularly enjoy reading, because most things I am meant to read are supposedly "compulsory", thus I steer away from reading altogether (probably my form of rebellion, or a pathetic attempt at 'sticking it to the system', who knows).

But I have stumbled upon a must read for anyone who enjoys the following:

- Irony
- Satire
- Poking fun at Americans
- Blogs
- Charles Firth

Yes, Charles Firth, the same man from CNNNN, The Chaser Decides and The Chaser's War On Everything. Quite the comedian and impersonator. And now, author. American Hoax is one of, if not, the best political/comedy/sociological book I have ever read.

In short, Firth invents and acts as four Internet persona, from different socio-economic classes and political affiliation, all Americans, and tries to get a shoe-in with the current pundit/political opinion scene. The best part is the success he finds and the surprisingly easy path he walks (for certain characters) to said success.

Go and get it. American Hoax.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Here is why I think being afraid of the dark is really being afraid of yourself.

Everyone knows that (most) people have an irrational fear of the dark. They are afraid of 'things' that aren't really there. But how did those things, that don't actually exist there and then, actually come to be there? Imagination. A person has to imagine up the fear-source and place it in their context (whether it be their bedroom, out in the open, where ever) for there to be something to be afraid of. Thus, it stands to reason, that a person is merely fearing their own imagination if, in fact, there is no actual object to fear.

Now imagination is one of man's (and yes I proudly use the un-P.C. term) defining characteristics for all we know. It is hard to see (though, granted, also hard to prove) examples of creatures in the wild using an imagination. You don't see zebras playing 'lion and zebra' or a crocodile playing 'fish'. And you also don't see animals displaying an overabundance of fear at non-existing objects. You see them fear other animals, but that is generally only in their presence, or habitat, where they are likely to be found. Otherwise you would see very few animals as they would be hiding all day long.

As humans, we use our imagination for a variety of reasons, least of which I am going to put here, but suffice to say without it, we may very well not get by. Now if we ourselves are imagining up these fear-sources out of our own perceived experiences, and not, for example, from actual experiences, then it is quite easy to say that a we are imagining our own fear, and thus, we are the course of our own fear, and therefore, we are fearing ourselves, because there really is nothing to fear.

I make the emphasis on perception above because, given, someone who has experienced a traumatic event, and are afraid of the culprit/fear-source returning to continue said traumatic event, there is an actual fear-source, though likely not present. But perception is important in the rest of the cases. Who has actually physically 'experienced' the Boogieman? Seen him? Actually know what he does? I still don't know the answers to those last two question, though, ignorantly, I haven't actually given much thought to Mr. B-man as of late, which is surprising given the amount of time I spent in trains, train stations and lesson breaks last semester. But suffice to say, fear of the dark, which is generally transferred to fear of a monster or something like that, is only being afraid of what you can think/imagine what is in your closet, under your bed, etc.

Now, as I said, if you are afraid of what you are imagining into existence, then no doubt, you are afraid of the product of your own mind. It is also accepted than no two persons learn or think alike, and if this is the case, then each person is creating an individual product from their mind, though applying the generic label created within society to this product, i.e. Boogieman. Thus, people are afraid of the thought processes going on in their own head, and ultimately, afraid of their own mind for what it can potentially, and eventually, does imagine is in the closet or under the bed.

Now, if this scenario is suffice for you, what is to say this fearing one's self cannot be extended into the world of light, where the only a major fear is a bombing, a terrorist attack, and the like, for people out there. The vast majority of people haven't physically experienced a terrorist attack, but they have perceived that they have. The amount of times 9/11 images were shown to the world, the way it is commemorated every year, the way it is talked about at least once a month, the way it is the 'image of terrorism' for the world; the amount of times the Bali bombings is talked about here, the amount of times it was shown over here, the importance it now has become to Australian society, the continued 'travel advice' we receive; the references to the London Underground bombings across the world, the media ready to publish reports of how it could happen here, or in America, or anywhere, the continuous ramming home that it was home-grown terrorism, that the attack was carried out by 'average' Englishmen; all of these things give us, the public, the customers of mass media, the customers of politicians, the customers of fear, are duped into believed we have physically experienced the attacks, rather than viewers of.

This perception is further played up and drawn on by the likes of the politicians, who use it to their own agendas (elect/pay/sign away liberties/ignore me), the likes of the media, who use fear these days as an advertisement to get us to watch a show like Border Security (and trying to get people to believe in the 'other's' stereotypical identity, and reaffirming our views that we shouldn't trust anyone except who we are told to), the likes of the people with their own, personal agendas (racists/homophobics/fundamentalists/extreme lefties/extreme righties), who exploit the fear the most in that they are ready to attribute blame to people who did and did not have anything to do with the fear-source.

Now because majority of people haven't physically experienced a terrorist attack, though fear on anyway, through perception of experience, they are imagining what could happen. While it is accepted that there is a healthy amount of fear, fear something like a terrorist attack anywhere, any time could, and possibly does, lead to an unhealthy amount of fear. I don't mean fearing it so much that you don't leave you suburban home because terrorist attacks happen only in high-density population areas, I'm talking about fearing a terrorist attack so much you are prepared to prejudice a sect of people because of your fear. "Be alert, not alarmed" might sound like a good slogan for a political campaign (the fear that this campaign created will inevitably, and has already, be used to political gain), but how "alert' should/can one be before it is too alert? And how afraid does one have to be to single out entire groups/nationalities/religions as a fear-source? And how long will it be allowed for society to label their imagined fear source with labels created in society?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Na na na na!

Na na na na!

Hey! Hey! Hey!


So pretty boy Trescothick is headed home. Stress-related problems he says? He just can't hack it! That's right! He can't hack it. It can't deal with the knowledge that the Aussies are going to walk all over the Poms, take back our urn and have a massive party, a la like theirs.

No streamers and confetti and fans at Trafalgar Square this time son. No thinking you're now the world's best team because you cheated (yes I said it, cheated) your way to a hairline finish last time, then pulled up with one series win between then and now (and against Pakistan in England! How easy do you want it?).

You just make sure you rearrange the trophy cabinet to cover up where The Ashes could have been.


Monday, November 13, 2006

You know what I'm sick of? Hearing about 'Australian' values. Point blank: they don't exist. How can there ever be an 'Australian' value? It implies that we have values that simply do not exist in the rest of the world, which in itself is an insult to, yes, the rest of the world. And what gets me even more pissed off is how 'Australian' values are used by every which politician in every which scenario.

But if, for a moment, we were to accept that there was such a thing as 'Australian' values, I have a question: what the hell are they!? I am yet to see someone, anyone, sit down and write them out, define them in context or out of, even give me so much as a whiff of definition. I know what values are, but I don't (and I suspect that nobody else does) have any idea what values are uniquely Australian; because that is what 'Australian' values implies. The term implies that there are values that us Australians hold that cannot be found outside of, you guessed it, Australia.

Don't worry, I'm not pinning this ridiculous term on Australia only, I've heard of 'American' values, 'British' values, 'Christian' values, 'Muslim' values, pretty much every kind. And out of the hundreds that are out there, there is really one that has some creditability and substance: 'Western' values. Please do note the emphasis on the some previously. Other than that, I consider every term null and void on the basis that once one value can be seen outside of the *insert context here* values, then it not only undermines the idea that the context has unique values, but it also proves that Billy Ban Jo down in Wagga Wagga, if he holds the 'Australian' values, which, by being an Australian he does by it's very name and nature, then he is likely to have some of the same values as Redneck Jim in Texas and Jihad Bob in downtown Baghdad, which defeats the purpose of the term 'Australian' values.

Now I don't want to hear that 'Australian' values are a certain collection of values: a hand-picked crop from the world's values, because it isn't. Take a stamp collection. Sure, Billy's stamp collection is Billy's, but it is still a stamp collection no matter which way you look at it, and it differs from Jim's and Bob's in only as much as he may have some different stamps. So Billy, the individual, owns his stamps, just as Jim and Bob. And Billy may own some of the same stamps as Jim and as Bob, but he may have other ones that the other two don't. That's the whole point! Now lets say that Jim moved to Adelaide (good luck staying awake), and brought his stamp collection here and got Australian citizenship: he is now an Australian, he is still the owner of his stamp collection, but now he might find that some of his rare stamps aren't rare here, and some of his common stamps are now rare. But it's still his stamp set, right? Well look at it in terms of values: while his "we are responsible for the environment" value was a rarity in Texas, now it's common. In reverse, while his "racist" values were common in Texas, they aren't in Adelaide.

That's how easy things can change for a person's values in context. Any Australian knows about the issue of immigration: look how many people, thus, are immigrating/seeking refuge/etc. here with their pre-existing values! Now should they be forced to change? This is a tough question to answer. Some people, I suspect most people, will say "yes" for the values that are totally unacceptable, and I would agree with them. There are values that are not acceptable. Do note, though, that I didn't say "there are values that are not acceptable in Australia". This is the crux of the matter: there are values that should be renounced the world over, and there are values that should be embraced in every corner of the globe. There is nothing that makes Australia unique in terms of values!

I also have an additional question for those people that say "yes" to the above question, and it is one that I just cannot answer: if they (people immigrating etc.) are to change the values when coming to us, do we have any right or standing to change the values of other countries when going to them, a la the Iraq/Afghanistan War and spreading 'Western' values? A la the spread of capitalism over the past 150 years? A la the expansion of foreign mass media, originating from the 'West'? These are some heavy questions, and while it may be easy to say "yes, we have the right" for some of those scenarios, there are some, and others, that all the signs point to "no", but we have been conditioned and 'cloned' into thinking "yes".

And thus I reinforce my point: the individuality of context. If you agree with my sentiments from the above paragraph, that there are extenuating circumstances on both ends of the spectrum and there are cases where we have had the right and exercised it, and other cases where we haven't had the right, but done so anyway, if you agree that there have been different cases throughout history, leading up to today, then you must agree that the situation for the individual person, who makes up a nationality, who make up the term 'Australian' or 'American' or 'Muslim' or 'Western' or 'Terrorist'. And thus there is no such thing as a nation's values, like 'Australian' values. There are only values.

But that's not to say that every value is acceptable. I have stated that there are right and wrong values, and I hold that position, as will everyone, regardless. But it's the problem that, indeed, everyone has their own opinion of right and wrong values, that there is no uniformly accepted 'code' of values. If there were, the world would be perfect, but it isn't. And it isn't because 'Westerners' 200-100 years ago thought that capitalism, democracy and exploit should be imposed on people because they were the Capitalists'/Decocratiser's/Exploiter's values at the time, because some countries nationals believe that tyrannical dictatorship is a value everyone should share. It's not a perfect world because too many people make too many assumptions, and in terms of values, it's because too many people assume they know what the 'code' of values for the world population should be. Do I know? No. Do I think I could have a god at it? Certainly. Do I think I could make a 'code'? Hell yes. But if I do, aren't I just creating a list of 'Thomasonite' values? Yes, yes I am. Which is what, in itself, screws the world up even more.

Now before someone berates me for being a terrorists sympathiser, a supporter of religious fundamentalists, a supporter of any religion, race, creed, institute, outspoken Muslim clerics and the like, let me cover my bases and say this: I do not, will never, accept some values out there. What some people believe in is very, very, wrong, and there's no two-ways about it. But there is also misunderstanding. And we are a civilisation: and in it is the word we should all live by - civil. If we pride ourselves in being the smartest creatures on earth, the most intelligent, the most civilised, then shouldn't we act it? It is when people act on these abhorrent, these disgusting, these disgraceful values that shouldn't exist anywhere in the world that civilisation really becomes a word not to describe something civil, but to describe the neglectful, the digressed, the revolting ways of humans.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Now that the Democrats have taken control of, well, everything except Bush's veto-signing pen, already people are being held accountable for their failures of the past four years, ala Donald "I used to have a job" Rumsfeld. I expect that John Bolton's, the United States' U.N. Ambassador, days are numbered. The Democrats didn't want him anywhere near, well, any job that would require responsibility, and the only way he got his Ambassadorship was when Bush appointed him when Congress was adjourned, and his temporary position is up when Congress, the Democrat's Congress, resumes action. Already his name has been resubmitted, but with every Democrat going to laugh at the idea, and a significant Republican snickering in the corner as well, there ain't no chance Bolton is going to be able to bully and B.S. his way through this one. How he even got in in the first place is beyond me, he has the least amount of diplomatic experience of those that could have been up for the job, absolutely the wrong views (even I, a fan of criticising the U.N.) about the U.N. and participation with it and his general behaviour in positions whereby he can bully and barge his way through to his intended destination. Simply, Bolton appears to see the United States and the United Nations one and the same, and has feelings of contempt and disregard for such an institution.

At least the welfare cues will have some friendly faces for him.

On two additional notes, and for my St. Ives Correspondent in particular, I have an article that really covers what everyone following the current American political scene (and supporting the Democrats) is thinking, and a quote that will surely reassure our hopes in the '08 Presidential Elections:

"But in order to change history, we now have to work even harder to turn last night's result into tomorrow's progress. I'll be asking you to help me do this in the days and months to come, and I can't wait to get to work."
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Commander in Chief was one of the most neglected shows to ever grace the glass screen. Neglected by its creators. Neglected by the networks. Neglected by the viewers.

Anyone who has a memory (functioning one, that is) will recall the plugs, the hype, the anticipation created for a Channel 7 buy; Commander In Chief. It was hot from the States, it was supposed to be a Holy Grail for fans of political dramas and 'alternate' realities. And, indeed, it was most of that. It certainly did begin as something that us politic-fans could sink into. And it did offer many what-if scenarios for the people who like to think after they have tuned off their T.V.s.

But it was canned. Purely and simply, the right-wing powers that be (and its millions of sheep that all sing the same song) declared it (at the best) Democrat propaganda and (at the worst) a secret plot by Hillary Clinton to begin her presidential campaign early, desensitise the public to having a female president and win the 2008 Presidential Elections. Thus it was dropped, at 16 or so episodes (I would check for you, my loyal reader, but my Internet appears to have, as the Tasmanians call it, fucked itself). In America it was off the airs before even a plausible ending could be filmed, edited and put to show. In Australia, it just disappeared. Seriously,, the website for the (now) greatest free-to-air channel we have, removed any link, any reference, any image associated with the show. My friends and I were dismayed: what had happened to this show? We knew it had been canceled in the States, but shouldn't they at least show us the owing seven episodes?

Well, cut a long story short (because the show seemed to disappear from our conversations as well after this), it was back on, last night, at the wonderful (advertised) time slot of 11:00 p.m. (though actually came on at 11:30, such was the overlap of the Melbourne Cup). Anyone who has read some of my beginning and middle blog posts will know that, for some strange reason, all my favourite shows manage to find themselves included in the Red-Eye hours, or late night time slots. Arrested Development, The Office, Scrubs, Survivor (which has been pushed back as of late), Boston Legal, and now Commander In Chief. If anyone out there enjoys watching Lost, The O.C. and Criminal Minds (to name but a few shows) at decent hours, fear the fact that I too enjoy them, and be prepared to stay up late if the current trend stays the same.

Ok, enough about time slots. What I intended to do was critique the show, and I will ... now. I loved this show. I still enjoy it, but I don't love it. It began (note the began) as a serious (in as much a T.V. show can be) political/drama show. Now, looking back, I realise two things:

1) It tapered off of the real politics and began to focus on (attempted) mini-cliffhangers (which only spanned the single episode) and drama, without any needed reason (i.e. the characters had been built up already, back stories had been adequately explained, etc.);
2) I didn't notice that my main interest in this show, the backstage, closed door, knife-in-back politics had, in fact, taken a backseat to teenagers throwing parties in the White House, marital problems between the President and the First Man and the like.

Now, taking that into account, for a drama to survive, it really needs something to put it head-and-shoulders above every other drama out there. Now a setting of the White House, yeah, I'll give it that. But we return to the done-and-dusted drama plot of a troubled family going through the procedures to reconcile by the end of every episode. The setting is the only thing that separates this from a show like The O.C. (which, in itself, is disappointing, as that is another formerly fantastic show headed downhill).

So what did Commander in Chief need to do to keep its life? More politics. It needed the down-and-dirty, the always new, always interesting, always intriguing politics that we, the public, aren't privy to. See, the show needed to (well, what the producers thought the show needed to do) present the audience with a new scenario for the President every week, lest it become (shock and awe) another boring drama. This, in itself, made it subject to ridicule and boredom in that we, the audience, were having reality presented back to us! People watch T.V. as an escape from the fucked-up world that we live in. Why, then, would we want to (literally) watch fictional characters acting out real life scenarios? Believable scenarios at that! 24 is so unbelievable that it makes for a great watch, regardless of the fact that Jack Bauer is in a scenario that could be real. (So-called) Reality T.V. throws people into ridiculous and unbelievable situations too. So why would a show like Commander in Chief, with the real (and beneficial) option of showing a side of, and spinning, politics unlike any other show, bother with the over-the-top drama that it adopted in its remaining episodes?

Neglect. The producers, writers and directors watched it walk in to #1 on its night in the States. Then they watched as it was beat by shows that attracted the audience they were after (ignoring the politics fans for a moment, as they would form a minority). It was beat by a crime show (Criminal Minds) and a medical drama (House). One assumes that the creators of Commander in Chief saw that they would have to appeal on a different level to get the audience back. So, instead of promoting the politics that stands it out from crime and medicine genres (which are two topics that absolutely flood T.V.s these days, especially crime), they decided to compete on a drama level. And it was destined to fail in this regard, because not only do the people watching it for the politics switch off, but then you have to compete against the abundance of good dramas out there, like House, which burst onto the scene with force. Such was the neglect by those behind the camera.

The neglect by the networks is easy to see: stuffing around with its time slot, having it disappear from T.V. for, what?, three months? This certainly didn't help in:

a) Attracting new viewers
b) Keeping the old viewers

So it lost more and more momentum. Rather than putting the moderate show up in a spot where it stood a chance or, on the reverse of the coin, would fight in a hotly contested ratings slot, they, the networks, stuffed around, lost the show's viewers, then canceled it. Networks generally are to blame for hit shows becoming flops, and they are not exempt from this fine show biting the dust.

The viewer, however, have the least to own up to. How can you expect a viewer to:

1) Keep track of an ever-moving T.V. show
2) Keep track of an ever-moving T.V. show that isn't really doing much to keep you interested
3) Keep track of an ever-moving T.V. show that isn't really doing much to keep you interested and is competing against other shows that do snag your interest
4) Keep track of an ever-moving T.V. show that isn't really doing much to keep you interested and is competing against other shows that do snag your interest, which then goes on a break for three months

The viewer is kept in the dark! And as a result, us, the fans, miss out. It's like Arrested Development: a fantastic show: now dead (this case, though, is distinct, in as much as the people behind the camera did the best job out of the three: the network killed the show, and the fan is left crying, well, at least I was). The only saving grace for fans of Commander in Chief (unlike most other shows that get canceled with a fan-base) is the telemovie that is being produced for mid-07. Perhaps, as I hope, if this scores massively with the ratings, it could become a semi-permanent thing (a once a month movie perhaps? The returning of the series?).

So hold out, Commander in Chief fans, hold out for a new day and for a new year. Hold out that the telemovie will answer the millions of questions we were left with when this unique and fantastic show was canceled so abruptly, and lost its way on the path so early. Hold out that the politics will return to this political show. And hold out that, well, it doesn't all suck.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Edit: Damn.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Here are ten (really six, but ten is the popular number) surefire ways to make a quick (millions of) bucks:

- Convince a publisher to publish you erroneous, lie-riddle, plagiarised, crap-piece of a "book", ala this. For full details on how to successfully undertake this process, contact this person;

- Get a camcorder and record your stupid friends doing even more stupid things, ala this and this. Follow this up by having a studio publicise your home video as a movie and sell it through the cinemas, where a customer's ticket price is overly inflated for the quality of "movie" they are seeing. For full details on how to successfull undertake this process, contact this person;

- Have a friend run in the U.S. Presidential Elections and win. While a well paid job in itself, stealing for your own gain from the country is a rather risky business in this position. That is why you should have a friend become President so that they can give your four-man bus shelter building company construction contracts in countries recently "liberated" (or, as normal people like to say, invaded). For full details on how to successfully undertake this process, contact this person;

- Create/develop/invent/steal a product that intentionally has faults built in, and then, after already bilking the customer for an exorbident amount in the first place, charge them for further upgrades to said product, ala this (or, if not intentional, Mr. Gates you are employing the wrong people for the task, i.e. work for the dole persons). For full details on how to successfully undertake this process, contact this person;

- Become dictator of your country, ala this. CAUTION: excessive use of this method may result in injury or death. To ensure maximum gains from this method, make sure that you are the stooge of larger world powers, are friendly towards them, cause wars(1)(2) that jack up oil prices and not develop WMDs to hide from United Nations inspectors. On second thought, perhaps this won't be enough. Regardless, for full details on how to successfully undertake this process, contact this person (hurry!);

- Google "surefire ways to get rich". For full details on how to successfully undertake this process, contact this person.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Of interest to cricket fans, source here:

Pakistan's top bowler Shoaib Akhtar was banned for two years and teammate Mohammad Asif for one year after they tested positive for a banned steroid, an official said yesterday.

A three-member doping tribunal appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ruled the pace pair out of all international and domestic cricket, meaning they will now miss next year's World Cup.

Akhtar, 31, and Asif, 23, were sent home in disgrace from the Champions Trophy in India on Oct 16 after the PCB said the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone had appeared in their samples.

They now have the right to appeal, officials said. Both insisted they did not take any banned substances knowingly, but they waived their rights to have their 'B samples' tested.

Banned for life I says. Cheating in any sport besmirches its name and reputation. It's what happened to Hansie Cronje. It's what should have happened to Shane Warne. It's what should happen to these two jokers and anyone else who chooses to cheat. If they won, and they went through undiscovered, do you think that, at the end of it all, they would have gathered round and said "It's only a joke guys, we were cheating, take the trophy". No, they wouldn't.

Kick 'em out for life. All of them.