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Showing posts from August, 2008

Don't Let Journalism Die!

As you've no doubt heard, Fairfax Journalists have gone on strike this weekend to protest the axing of 550 jobs in the company.

Fairfax say that their papers - including The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Financial Review - will be published this weekend regardless, using "strike breakers"...otherwise known as "scab labour".

So, show your support for journalism, and the rights of workers, by boycotting Fairfax papers this weekend. Show Fairfax management that journalism still plays a huge part in Australian society and we won't stand by and let this happen.

And hey, it's the easiest protest you'll ever be involved with - all you have to do is not buy the newspaper!

Please sign up below to show your support and spread the word, or join our group on Facebook.

Intermittent Tuesday Book Club

Always interested in expanding my mind then boring you all senseless with the details, I've been doing a little reading lately. Based on a recommendation, I started with The World Without Us, a study of what would happen to the world if all humans somehow, someday, were no more. It was thought provoking, if a little confused due to a lack of a central hypothesis.

By far the most profound book I've read in, well, ages, is Letter To A Chrisitan Nation by Sam Harris. It's only a slender volume, under 100 pages, and takes only an hour or so to read. But it's a book that could change the planet. Harris writes directly to the Christians of America, asking in effect, "Are you kidding me?" Some quotes:

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim…

Funnier! Sweeter! Fatter!

Well the Olympics are drawing to a close. Thank God for that. Maybe we'll get some decent shows back on TV - although Ten is making us suffer through 6 solid nights of Australian Idol next week.

Australia has - let's face it - not done as well as may have been hoped this Olympics. This can be exemplified by our cycling team: in Athens they won five gold; in Beijing they've managed one silver. Fingers of blame are already being pointed - at the Federal treasury. "We need more funding!" goes the cry from John Coates on down. Instead of admitting that maybe we're a bit crap these days, the poor workman blames his tools and wants more money. Well, maybe we could ask Stephanie Rice to chip in some of her endorsement dollars? Me, I'd like to see a Nobel prize winning tally, and demands for more funds to help Australia excel at winning the things.

EDIT, Monday: The SMH makes this point beautifully in this piece.

So what about the suprise of the games - Great Britai…

For Once, I'd Like To Be Wrong

Sommething is rotten in the state of NSW, is the headline of the article in today's SMH. I'll say. The culture of corruption, smugness and slackness in Rail Corp is now starting to affect the rest of the NSW public service.

Those public servants are only indicative of the real problem - emulating their political masters. A letter writer in Saturday's SMH described the Iemma government as the worst political administration ever visited upon an Australian electorate. It's hard to disagree.

So far, for most of us watching carrcrash Iemma government is a source of irritation, and fodder for stand-up comedians. But re-watching The Day of the Roses, the mini series based on the Granville rail disaster, last week, the whole thing seemed like less of a joke.

At Granville, a packed morning peak hour train derailed and hit the supports of an overhead bridge, causing it to collapse on the train beneath. 83 people died. The causes of the disaster? Smugness, slackness, muddle by and c…

Dial P for Purity

Who says Christians aren't trendy? They have their own bandwagons to jump on, just like everyone else. First it was WWJD? bracelets, now it's purity rings. Presumably the next step is for young Christians to have "DANGER! No entry" tattooed on their public mounds.

The theory behind a purity ring is that it symbolises your pledge, to God and yourself, to remain a virgin until marriage. The ring will then not be taken off until it is replaced by a wedding ring.

The problem, as has been pointed out previously, is that most people who make viginity pledges break them. And once they do, they are less likely to engage in safe sex and less likely to seek treatment for STIs. Apocryphal evidence would also suggest that those who are breaking virignity pledges are less likely to do so after mature consideration during a loving relationship, and more likely to get smashed at a party and wake up wondering who the hell that is next to them.

But of course, if there is a way to make m…

Olympian Vicariousness

Boss, in front of TV: Come look everyone, we're about to win gold in the 400m relay!*

Me: If I had enough energy to get up, I'd be there in the pool.

It may seem contradictory that Australia is one of the world's great sporting nations, and also the fattest nation on Earth. Not at all. The athletes excel at sports so the rest of us don't have to.

Taking pride in their achievements allows us to feel that we somehow had something to do with it, even if we watch the coverage in a darkened room, nursing a hangover and bruised legs. Actually I have made one contribution - the taxes I've paid which have gone to the AIS.

Whilst I'm on the subject of the TV coverage, poor job Channel 7. I'm not sure what's worse, abandoning three hours of coverage on a Sunday afternoon for a dull AFL game, or not actually showing the "evening highlights" promised at the start of the session. (Four hours I waited last night to see the gymnastics). I'm capable of Olympi…

August Check In

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Yes, things have been quiet here lately. But I have a good excuse! (I usually do). I've been sufferring a medical condition which is affecting my ability to concentrate and write. Rather than suffer the shame of posts not up to my usual standards of investigative wit, I'm taking some time to recover. We know what's wrong now and it's nothing serious, so I hope to be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, I'm considering adopting this tactic: