31 October 2008

Around The City


Martin Place, 2pm



Good point




Interesting urban renewal



Play Mobil Man

This Is Not A Plea For Sympathy For The Bali Bombers


The Bali bombers are set to be executed very shortly. The temptation is to say "good riddance". But when one ponders the attitudes of some of the families of the victims, it all starts to seem a bit creepy and disturbing to call for blood.

In this case, it would seem to be absolutely justified to call for the death penalty. The Bali bombings were horrific, a crime, cowardly. No sympathy should be extended to those who carried them out.

But there's that word - justified. The bombers believed that they were absolutely justified in what they were doing. The belief that another human ever deserves to die is what caused all this in the first place. And if it wasn't for that belief, the families of the victims would still have their children with them - how can they share the love of death and revenge?

Unlike my feelings regarding the execution of Nguyen Tuong Van, I don't have any sympathy for the bombers. I certainly won't be sad when they are executed - but that doesn't shake my belief that it's the wrong thing to do. Lock them up in fetid hell holes for the next sixty years with gruel and whippings, for all I care. But believing that the death of another person is ever justified is wrong. I don't care what side you're on.

27 October 2008

Latté In The Suburbs


I'm not normally a big fan of the NSW Liberal leader Barry O'Farrell. But when he described the State Government as "making it up as they go along" following the announcement of the Metro line to Rozelle, I had to agree. What next, I wondered; was Nathan Rees going to call all his surprise witnesses again?

But it was the Daily Telegraph who really stuck the boot in, describing how residents of Sydney's west would be funding a rail line for "latté sipping inner west residents". Hold it, I thought - can't you get lattés at McDonalds these days?

In the article Why Campbelltown needs Newtown from the SMH, writer Kim Huynh states that Newtown residents hate the westies. But I believe that they hate us far more. And it's far more acceptable for them to state it - encouraged by papers such as the Telegraph (just check out the comments on their website).

But what do we in the inner west do for them? We're more likely to be single and/or childless, therefore paying higher taxes to support the schools, hospitals and baby bonuses they need. We give money to charity, support the arts (and the taxpayer contributions to those are far less than the aforementioned middle class welfare) and contribute less to global warming. If it wasn't for inner city residents willing to be tolerant of other cultures, we'd all be eating grey lamb chops and over boiled vegetables for dinner every night.

Also, westies often carry on as if it's an accident that they came to live where they did. Well, I work hard to afford my home. I planned to live somewhere with good public transport. How much rent would the cost of running your SUV cover?

But it's still acceptable for them to hate us; we're elitists if we object. Latté sipping leftists, as if there wasn't a Gloria Jeans in Penrith, thanks to us popularising "good" coffee in the first place.

22 October 2008

Scenes from Circular Quay



Public art is rubbish




No talking at all



Nice while it lasts



The standard touristy shot

20 October 2008

From the Royal Botanical Gardens










(I think The Satyr bears an uncanny resemblence to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Spooky.)

17 October 2008

Disquieting Muses


Some of you may have been a little confused by my last post. Where were the disparaging references to Piers Akerman? The sarcastic observations? It was just a mediocre painting.

The answer is, I'm thinking of taking this blog in a whole new direction. I've been doing this politics thing for a while now. And after a while, you just lose your mojo. It's worse than that - I've lost my muse. The muse is the person who inspires your passions, fuelling your creativity, taking you to greater heights of expression.

And it was with a sense of horror that I realised my muse was John Howard.

The man was an endless source of inspiration. And he certainly inspired my passions, mostly grim rage. Now he is gone. I blogged through the trauma of the 2004 Federal Election, the last of the dark days, the unravelling of the Howard government, the euphoria of the Rudd victory. But once that was over, what do we blog about? Be careful what you wish for...

Of course, I would not for a second wish Australia back under the control of that malevolent little weasel. But I feel I've little to write about anymore. Kevin Rudd is...not bad. But he's not that great either. It hardly makes for scintillating prose: "Rudd made a few good points though there are aspects of the policy I disagree with". As for the rest, writing about the sad sick state of NSW limits the potential audience, as well as being too repetitive and depressing to believe. Sure I'm excited about the upcoming US presidential election, but I'm too far away to be able to blog as well as the many better bloggers who are actually involved with things.

So inspired by some wonderful work I've seen lately (here and here for instance), I've decided to focus on posting, and posting about, photos and art for a while. I do after all live surrounded by both natural and man made beauty, and hope I can find inspiration in a whole new area. If not, then hang on a few weeks; I'm sure I'll abandon this as quickly as I abandon all my other whims.

14 October 2008

Solace



Solace

Watercolour and acrylic on paper

A Plea For Fairness In These Difficult Times


The key to understanding the current global financial crisis is knowing that merchant bakers trade derivatives, which are commodoties based on the value of I'm making this up.

I'm yet to find any thorough yet understandable explanation of what's been going on lately. But I can certainly understand the Rudd government's solution - spend the surplus! The government has decided that the rainy day has arrived - the surplus, which had been earnmarked for major infrastructure projects, will be doled out to families, low income earners and pensioners, in the hope that the extra spending money will be spent, going straight back into the economy.

Theres two points that can be made from this. First, just a few months ago we were being told to stop spending money, as excessive spending was driving up inflation. Now we need to spend to keep the economy ticking. We're used to government spin, but it rarely involves their entire heads.

There's also the sinking feeling that once again, there's nothing in this resuce package for people like me, not falling into any of the categories who stand to benefit. Due to the dizzying array of bonuses and tax breaks available to breeders, half of all Australian families pay no net tax. Someone has to chip in to fund their procreation. This surplus was built off the work of industrious, childless people. We should be entitled to some of it back. I promise to plow it straight back into the economy through my favourite retailers. (Anyway, call me harsh, but I think the solution to pensioners' demands for more money is this).

03 October 2008

Musings for the Weekend


  • Whilst returning from Newcastle on the train last week, my pleasant journey was interrupted by wails and screams. Two heinously ugly children had missed their stop. I thought, well at least their parents will be releaved not to have to see the little trolls. I mean, these kids were not only obese, not only whiny, but possessed of faces that made you a firm believer in creationism - how could natural selection have led to this?
    Parental bonding is primarily a biological reaction to protect the young. That's why baby animals are cute - so we want to look after them. We've all heard the phrase "a face only a mother could love". But are there faces that are so cretinous, they would lead to complete maternal rejection?

  • Scott Adams recently wrote that he's optimistic about the current financial crisis. He's formed "Adams' Rule of Obvious Calamities. It states that any calamity that is foreseeable by the public at large won't turn out so bad after all. The best recent example was the Y2K problem, where computers worldwide were expected to fail. It seemed impossible that those issues could be resolved in time, but they were."
    It's certainly true. Menawhile, look at all the disasters which came out of the blue - the Asian tsunami, 9/11 (no, really! No one could have forseen 9/11). The lesson learned here is don't waste your time worrying - everything will be fine, unless it isn't, in which case you won't know till it's too late anyway.

  • It's Pink Ribbon day soon, and as usual work is trying to guilt us all in to handing money over for shoddy pens. I have to wonder, though - do they really need my money? Sure, breast cancer is a major health issue. But has their ever been a cause as well publicised or supported as breat cancer? On my desk right now sit a pink ribbon bottle of water and jar of coffee, both purchased without regard to causes - they just happened to be two of the many brands that get behind the campaign. It all comes to seem a bit cynical - until scenarios such as this seem like less of a joke. Where's the money going? Uusually to raise awareness - I think we must be at saturation point for breast cancer awareness by now.

    Well, I'm taking a well deserved break for a while. I know I haven't been posting much lately, but that just shows how hard I've been working. Anyway, I won't be posting much till about the 13th, so in the meantime read some good books, read some good blogs and remember I'll be back, ready to plagirise books I've read as blog posts soon. And I'll be Twittering in the meantime.
  • 01 October 2008

    Reasons To Be Thankful In A Dark Financial Time


    Now I know squat-all about economics - at uni, my economics lectures were ususally on around the time the bar opened, and even when I bothered to show up all I could think was "If the lecturer is an expert in money, why does he dress like a flood victim?" But it's apparent to all that the world is getting into pretty deep financial doo-doo. I overheard a colleague yesterday calling her mother and telling her to take all her money out of her superannuation, then realised it was not a joke. Last night (AEST) George Bush made an address to - well, I guess to everybody, as he referred to "citizens of all nations" - assuring us all would be well, and he hoped the bailout would go through after all. He was looking grave and standing in front of more books than he's ever read, so I knew things are grim.

    Meanwhile back home, all I could think was "thank goodness Kevin Rudd won the last election".

    The mantra of the conservatives is that economies should be allowed to do their thing unimpeded. The market is all. The market is the best judge. The market always get is right. But now the spinning plates of the market are falling down around them, and the emperor of the free economy has been caught without clothes, if I may draw a doubly dodgy analogy.

    We're likely to escape relatively unscathed by this recession/depression/panic in Australia, for two reasons. The first is in the past - a strongly regulated financial sector (that government intervention that conservatives hate). The second is for the present and the future: what we need now is tarriffs and economic protectionism, and would we have gotten that under Howard? He'd probably have donated $AU500 million towards the bailout. He relentlessly sold off as many government assets as possible, the futility and brainlessness of which is now being shown as government around the world nationalise banks and whatever else they can in an attempt to prop up the financial house of cards. But they haven't learnt anything. Dubya was even speaking of making a profit by selling the yet-to-be nationalised assets in the future, even though it was speculation that got everyone into this mess in the first place.

    Conservatives never learn. We were right in the first place. But, you know, we won't expect a thank you.

    ~~~~~

    If you think "women's rights" seem to be exclusively focussed on the rights of mothers these days, then this is the best article I can ever remember reading on the subject. I'l try to post on this later, but for now please read the thing!