Friday, June 13, 2003


We're all so used to stereotyping in advertisements these days that we're more or less inured to it. Nonetheless, occasionally you see an ad that includes stereotyping that is just so blatant that it makes you want to fume. The one that's got my goat right now is a coffee ad that I saw on TV the other night.

Apparently some coffee company has decided that those little portion control packs of instant coffee that you find in motel wardrobes are going to be the next big thing for the trendy, inner-city, 25 to 35 demographic, or possibly the over-the-hill 35+ and mortgaged up to the hilt demographic that looks back fondly on the days when they were under 35, trendy and inner city. The ad has a couple of attractive young women sharing coffee and discussing the hostess' new flat-mate, who we are told is very good-looking. Then the flat-mate comes home, and by god, he is very good looking. While coffee is being made for him, he goes to his room to change for his night out: we next see him standing on a trendy, inner city landing but only from the waist down. He is wearing high-heels and a skirt.

I don't know what kind of misogynistic, homophobic toad comes up with this sort of rubbish, but this sort of obvious stereotyping really pisses me off. Not every good-looking man in the world is gay: some of us are straight, thank you very much. Whatever some little toad of an advertising copy writer who can't pull a good-looking chick might think. Whoever this turkey is, he'd be better off lowering his expectations, rather than polluting our airwaves with these obvious attempts to queer the pitch for those of us who are better endowed in the facial aesthetics department. God put ugly men into the world for a reason - to take care of the ugly women. Deal with it. Either that, or get yourself a big jar of vaseline and console yourself with thoughts of the trophy bride you'll be able to afford once they make you a partner in the agency.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

DIY Tomahawk Update

There's a new page up on the airframe design problems you can expect to encounter if you decide to build your own cruise missile. No schematics unfortunately - I was looking forward to getting in a good supply of balsa wood, glue, pins and bulldog clips and putting in a productive weekend. Guess I'll just have to wait for the kit.

Dream Diary

I can't help being bored by the ongoing Crean/Beazley stoush. Even so, mug punter that I am, my money's still on Crean to win, by a nose at most.

This flies in the face of the realities of Labor's factional politics, which I first learnt about when I was a member of a Labor Unity (Victorian Right) dominated ALP branch back in the 80s. At one branch meeting the branch president gave the following report on a recent State Conference of the party:

"This conference didn't go well for us, the Left rolled us on a lot of issues."

Everyone nodded, and the deputy president called for questions. There was a moment's silence, then from the back of the room where the alienated leftie members sat, someone asked:

"Excuse me Jack, but just which issues did the Left roll 'us' on?"

"I couldn't tell you that Gummo, I was in the Labor Unity caucus room most of the time," [tr: the back bar of the John Curtin Hotel] "But I do know we got rolled."

Of course this was back in the days before ALP branches started signing up members at weddings, baptisms, funerals and race meetings, and being a rank and file member of the ALP really meant something.

Of the newspaper articles I've read, Barry Donovan's in yesterday's Age sums it up best for me. Zeppo Bakunin, who is closer to being an ALP insider than I ever expect to be - he's actually on speaking terms with his local member - summed it up this way: the New South Wales Right would rather lose an election than yield control of the ALP. Don't expect them to give up if Beazley loses the vote on Monday.

The whole conduct of Beazley's bid stinks, starting with the leaking of the private poll results showing that up to 10 New South Wales members could lose their seats if Labor went to the polls with Crean as leader. The way this was handled shows how little genuine political talent the Sydney mob have. They could have used the information to develop policy and a long-term campaign strategy to win back support: instead, they decided the best way to use the information was to scare the shit out of their own sitting members to push them over to the Beazley side. Basically the threat is, support Beasley or expect to spend the rest of your career in the ALP stacking branches in Bennelong.

This doesn't show a lot of respect for the members concerned, nor for the voters. It's a case of bugger the policy issues, give them big Kim. He knows how to win them over. If Beazley does get up on Monday, I can think of only three reasons for a reasonably sane person to vote for Labor:

1. They may be conniving bastards, but at least they're your conniving bastards and nowhere near as bad as their conniving bastards.

2. You live in a safe Labor seat and, as usual, the sitting candidate is a lot more competent than the Coalition wannabe who's only running to audition for one of the marginals.

3. You don't give a rat's arse any more and the Labor candidate's name was at the top of the ballot paper.

Bored as I am by it, the whole thing bothers me enough to sneak into my dreams. Last night, I had a shocker. I was living somewhere in Sydney and, god knows why, listening to Silver Tonsils on 2UE. He was doing a talk-back session with Simon Crean as guest. There was a call that went something like this:

Tonsils: Our next caller is Jim. What do you want to talk to Simon Crean about Jim?

Jim: I was wondering if Simon remembered appearing on your show back in August 1995, when you asked him about the shoplifting guide in that student newspaper?

Simon: Er ...

Jim: And after Mr Laws got stuck into you, you got onto Jan Wade and told her how she could prosecute the editors of the paper?

Simon: Er ...

Tonsils: Well, I remember Jim, but it's a bit old hat. Do you have anything else to ask Simon Crean?

Jim: Yeah. Mr Crean, if you get to be Prime Minister, are you going to let that turd across the sound-desk push you around again?

Postscript: You can read the original Rabelais article here. Really - just scroll down the page a lot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


An excerpt from Technorati's Interesting Newcomers Page (yes, I was looking to see if my own blog was listed):

1. G. 29 new blogs 39 blogs 40 links (Cosmos)
2. Brain Flashes 14 new blogs 58 blogs 61 links (Cosmos)
3. .blogdaddy 10 new blogs 37 blogs 50 links (Cosmos)
4. The Internet Topic Exchange 15 new blogs 74 blogs 152 links (Cosmos)
5. Shotput into the Abyss 11 new blogs 36 blogs 41 links (Cosmos)
6. Tiger: Raggin' & Rantin' 9 new blogs 41 blogs 63 links (Cosmos)
7. the dissident frogman 10 new blogs 47 blogs 62 links (Cosmos)
8. Heath Row's Media Diet 11 new blogs 66 blogs 76 links (Cosmos)
9. Brain Flashes 10 new blogs 58 blogs 61 links (Cosmos)
10. Desktopchina Live Page004 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
11. Desktopchina Live Page024 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
12. Desktopchina Live Page008 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
13. Desktopchina Live Page025 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
14. Desktopchina Live Page023 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
15. Desktopchina Live Page031 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
16. Desktopchina Live Page002 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
17. Desktopchina Live Page009 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
18. Desktopchina Live Page016 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
19. Desktopchina Live Page032 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
20. Desktopchina Live Page036 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
21. Desktopchina Live Page003 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
22. Desktopchina Live Page010 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
23. Desktopchina Live Page017 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
24. Desktopchina Live Page037 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
25. Desktopchina Live Page005 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
26. Desktopchina Live Page011 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
27. Desktopchina Live Page019 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
28. Desktopchina Live Page026 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
29. Desktopchina Live Page012 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
30. Desktopchina Live Page020 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
31. Desktopchina Live Page027 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
32. Desktopchina Live Page013 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
33. Desktopchina Live Page021 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
34. Desktopchina Live Page030 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
35. Desktopchina Live Page001 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
36. Desktopchina Live Page006 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
37. Desktopchina Live Page014 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
38. Desktopchina Live Page022 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
39. Desktopchina Live Page028 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
40. Desktopchina Live Page007 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
41. Desktopchina Live Page015 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
42. Desktopchina Live Page018 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
43. Desktopchina Live Page029 8 new blogs 42 blogs 42 links (Cosmos)
Thanks to James Russell for this perfect stocking-stuffer for next Christmas. Can hardly wait to see the looks on their faces ...

Palliative Care for Cats

CSL [pron: Seezl], the last of my ex-cats is on her last legs. Between the skin cancer that did for both her ears, the thyroid problem that did for most of her body weight, and the dementia that did for her few traces of good nature, she's been on her last legs for a couple of years anyway. But, now that the crusty discharges have started, the Cheynes-Stokes breathing can't be more than a couple of months away.

Old cats can be difficult to love. The cute little kitten, whose name we got off the old vet supplies box we took her home in, has long since turned into a skanky, smelly and utterly repulsive old moggy of questionable personal hygiene. You discover that the earth-tones in the hall runner (a traditional design from the fabled workshops of distant Dandenong) provide perfect camouflage for last night's attack of cat diarrhoea.

She hasn't been getting too many compliments from passing strangers lately and the friendly enquiries about her breed ("long-haired Australian lop-ear") have stopped. Most people pick up speed when they see her pad down the path, or hear her ingratiating mewl. She's a great deterrent to loiterers with intent.

Soon friends will start their well-meaning and pointed inquiries like surely it would be kinder to have her put down? They'll probably get the same answer they got when they asked about the last moribund cat: she may be smelly, incontinent & unpleasant to get close to, but as long as she isn't suffering and still enjoys rolling around in the sun, there's no good reason to euthanase her. Inconvenience is'nt a reason - it's an excuse. Can you smell cat-poo? I swear, I can smell cat-poo somewhere.

So the last visit to the vet will be put off until she's no longer able to stroll imperiously down the hall and call out for the front door to be opened so that she can get outside to poo on the neighbour's front lawn as all self-respecting cats do. And then call out for the door to be opened again, so that she can get back inside to the food bowl. With luck, she won't have to go to the vet at all, and her last hours will be spent curled up on an old towel in somebody's lap. As long as it's not mine, I don't really mind.

Monday, June 09, 2003

I Wuz Right (Sort Of)

The sometimes impenetrable J-Stro has been having a good gloat in various comments threads over the fact that I squibbed out on my moralising, interminable and inconclusive series of blogs on the recent war, while he, with his superior understanding of geopol, the Bush Administrations's fopo and dopo agendas, and an intellect unclouded by discredited lopo or pomo ideology, produced the only ethico-political theory of the war which yielded a testable hypothesis.

Whether J-Stro's testable hypothesis should be accorded any more respect than Athena Star-Woman's, equally testable prediction, based on the current position of Jupiter, that Leos can expect to meet a tall, dark handsone stranger this week, is questionable. But, for whatever merit there is in these things, here's a prediction I made on March 24:

Ken Parish has an interesting post up Through a glass slightly less darkly, which is attracting a fair bit of comment, some on the subject of Saddam Hussein's weapons of you know what, and when they are likely to be used. As we know that we're talking principally about chemical weapons (such as VX gas) and biological weapons (such as bacillus anthracis) - the nukes seem to have been dropped off the agenda. I'm prepared to say, with a little confidence and a lot of hope that they won't be used. [emphasis added]

Unlike J-Stro's hypothesis, where all the supporting evidence has to be drawn by inference from the statements of White House officials, as interpreted by the media, this one should be easy to refute: just produce one recorded instance where Saddam's chemical or biological weapons were used in Gulf War II. Unfortunately, this doesn't validate the "theory" I used to produce this prediction: derrida derider shot a couple of large holes in its historical basis. Nor is it particularly relevant to the new debate over whether we wuz lied to about the threat of Saddam's weapons in the first place and whether it is acceptable for a democratic government to lie to the electorate. (Or, if you prefer the soft option, whether it is desirable for us, as citizens, to go on electing governments who are so bloody credulous on issues of national security). It's just another piece of the self-indulgent opinionated crap that blogging is really all about.

What's In a Name?

A little googling turns up evidence that, elsewhere in the world at least, the name Phil Ruddock is still one which can be spoken with pride and respect. At Ulster's Ballymena RFC:

Phil Ruddock continues to defy age (and fashion rules) at training, while back row combinations from Whyte, King, Lorimer, Shirley and Crabbe continue to thrive off the possession provided by the front five.

And also in Barnsley, home of Wakefield Juniors, a doughty band of budding coarse fishermen, where Phil is the captain who led his team to victory in the National Junior Angling Association NATIONAL KNOCKOUT:

At the end of the match the weigh in showed Wakefields team captain Phil Ruddock had lead by example and had won his section with 9lb 3oz, Shaun Kearsley also took another section win with 8lbs 11oz, other team members Michael Reeder took second in section, Gareth Ridge a third and Daniel Ibbotson a fourth in section.

and the National Federation of Anglers North East Regional match for junior anglers:

The junior match was a forty-eight pegger, which fished very hard due to the wind, and the canal towing like more like a river, however it was known that the target species was the abundant Gudgeon, if they would feed.
As the team results were given it was confirmed Wakefield had secured the win with their four section wins, a section second and section third, a fantastic achievement.
To add further celebrations the individual winners were announced which showed Wakefield were superior on the day.
Phil Ruddock was individual fourth with 1kg 460g.

Haloscan ist kaput. Again.

Or Not.