Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Attention Thoughtful Right Wing Bloggers!

Tim Dunlop, the man who put out the call some months back for thoughtful right-wing bloggers, is at it again. He's written a long post explaining Australian politics from his own left-leaning perspective. He wants right-wing bloggers to respond.

If anyone would like to write an equivalent piece to this from a different political perspective, then I'd be happy to post it (if it's any good).

He certainly offers plenty of points for debate:

In fact, I know very few on the left who hate Howard personally

Their (the rights) self-image is built on a rather pathetic kind of victimology--led by the not-very-personally popular prime minister himself--where they imagine themselves to be at the mercy of a leftist conspiracy within the media...

And he also offers this quote by John Quiggin:

[T]he campaign and the outcome will be tied more closely to events in the United States than is usual, for two reasons. First, the current Australian government has been easily the most reliable supporter of the Bush Administration anywhere in the developed world (and probably anywhere in the world), even if no-one much outside Australia has noticed. It’s one of the few governments not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and John Howard was the first to answer Bush and Blair in the call for troops in Iraq.

So come on, Right wingers! Heed Tim Dunlop's call and send in a post!

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Slackers Guide to Newcastle

Vibewire, a local web-based publication for youth, have a couple of writing opportunities going during this election (just announced). More information can be found at the website Election Tracker. I'll be going for one of the Election Slacker positions - writing comic-type pieces about our politicians. Here's the 600 word profile I sent through, complete with pictures...

The Slackers Guide to Newcastle!

Welcome to Newcastle, a bustling hub of inactivity somewhere to the east of the rest of Australia, somewhere to the south of the Central Coast, and somewhere to the left of Sydney. It’s a city that’s run by the law of economic sloth, not economic growth!

Traditionally a coal-and-steel based city, Newcastle has since become the unacknowledged capital of the lucrative unemployment industry! There are currently over 100 separate employment offices in the area, including:


These employment agencies will register anyone who is able to know what their acronyms stand for, and is willing to fill out ten pages of impenetrable legal jargon, and give their name, date of birth, tax file number, bank account number, recent employment history, contact of three separate referees, and sign their soul away for eternity.
Having being registered with 20 of these employment agencies for over half-a-year, I feel I can provide a personal testament to their ability to maintain and even improve the already high standards of unemployment in this city. Yes - business is booming for those who make their business other people’s lack thereof!

Another increasingly important industry is tourism. People come from all over the country to stand on Honeysuckle Drive and look at the four-storey hotels blocking out the ocean; to look in the empty shop windows at Hunter Street Mall; to pet the buskers at the upper end of Hunter Street; and to take photographs of the picturesque abandoned factories and warehouses in Carrington. As an added bonus, Newcastle also has the Queen’s Wharf Building, one of the most phallic buildings in the world!

Finally, Newcastle has a thriving arts and culture scene. Silverchair is just one of the many bands from this area to burst on to the world stage: others include The Dissociatives and … um …. hey, did I forget to mention Silverchair?

Another exciting musical group is Opera Hunter, who put on at least one production every year. Sometimes two. Their audience consists of cranky old women, incontinent old men whose cranky old wives tell them to go, fidgeting school-kids whose teachers tell them to go, and me.
Every year, the city plays host to the This Is Not Art Festival. Nobody knows what it is about, except that – it is Not About Art, and it involves lots of hippies getting together in conference rooms and talking about what Art Isn’t.

There are many different political groups in Newcastle, everyone in strident agreement with one another. Here is a brief summary of what they stand for:

More jobs! More taxes!

Putting the mental back in environmentalism!

Socialist Alliance
Redistribution of Wealth! Making Your Business Our Business!

Patriotic Youth League
It’s racism for the younger generation!

No War Collective
We opposed the war in Iraq when there was one, and we oppose it even more now!

In general, Novocastrians are very excited by politics. The local council meetings sometimes even have people show up to them!
The federal seat is currently held by Labor M.P. Sharon Grierson.

We don’t know what she has done in the one term that she has held the seat for, or what she stands for apart from being voted in for a second term. But it seems likely, given the working class history of Newcastle, that she will be elected once more. We are not sure whether this is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing, but it is definitely an Important Thing.

However, when the election comes round, one thing is certain: most of us will vote.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Brick In Your Face Approach To Debate

We interrupt these crapulous meditations to bring you a semi-serious posting that I've been thinking about for a while. It doesn't say everything that I wanted to say, but ... it'll have to do...

A Semi-serious Posting

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats

Yeats is almost right. The best don’t lack conviction, it’s just that, by and large, they lack the intelligence and wit to impart their convictions to others. So often we see issues of importance being hijacked by simple minded nitwits from either side of politics. For instance:

RefugeesThe Liberal Government are RACISTS!There is absolutely nothing wrong with the mandatory detention of refugees at all, and I think the Howard Government has done an absolutely smashing job.
Iraq WarIt’s all about OILLLLLLLL!!!!Get out your guns, boys – it’s terrorist-killin’ time!
AbortionNobody is allowed to have an opinion on this matter except the mother. And me.MURDERERS! CHILD-KILLERS! FORNICATORS! (etc etc)
FeminismMen are violent rapist murdering scum and women are lovely nurturing gentle beings who wouldn’t harm a soul.Hairy-legged feminists hate men!

See what I mean? These are arguments about as subtle as a brick in your face. They’re simple, uncomplicated, easy-to-understand, and ready-made so that the leftist and rightist ideologue never lack something to say. The trouble is that by resorting to this level of debate, important facts get left out. What should become an argument instead becomes a set of accusations hurled by ideologues at one another.

That being said, what alternative is there?
Do we choose to ignore both sides of the debate and go on with our lives? Or do we try somehow to reconcile the hitherto opposing sides of the debate? Well…

IssueIgnorance Is BlissVile Centrist
RefugeesPeople sewing their lips together as a protest against the conditions in mandatory detention? Ho-hum, this performance art bores me, what’s on the telly?Clearly we should let everyone out of the detention facilities now and vastly increase our migrant intake while simultaneously keeping strict controls on the refugee intake of this country and making absolutely sure that no terrorist will get in…
Iraq WarIraq? Is that a new brand of underwear? Let’s just reinstall Saddam into Government and forget all about it, shall we?
AbortionOf course this is a serious issue and … hey, look, there’s a dog licking it’s own balls! Perhaps we should abort all pro-lifers?
FeminismI Am Man, Hear Me Snore…Let's all hate one another!

Different set of clich├ęs, same brick-in-your-face approach to debate. Not that ignorance is bliss or vile centrism aren’t completely unattractive as far as philosophical positions/debating positions go.

So, like I said, debate gets hijacked by ideologues and/or idiots. The majority of people tend to stay silent, not because they don’t care, but because a reasoned discussion and debate on important issues that takes in all the available evidence and builds on itself is just so much more difficult than resorting to the conversational equivalent of the brick-in-your-face.

I know, I know, I’m probably the last person who should be talking this way to others. But there you go…

I Concur That I Disagree That I Aver That I Agree!

Quite right!

When I Say That I Disagree, I Disagree!

Certainly not!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Speaking of Mixed Metaphors

And for my next post, I shall simply recycle the best-of-quotes from Gempires:

But small niggles aside, life is a steaming vat of saccharine turtles and I am a big hairy spoon (and that's a good thing), to coin an unusual and nonsensical analogy. Nonsensical metaphors are the fruit of the frappe of life.

It's raining like the ocean hiccupped and landed on the sky and is falling back to earth through a sieve. It's pouring rhinos and godzillas. It's teeming entire countries!

It seems I have the willpower of a penis in a vat of wet vaginas. A flute of pink champagne sits to my right. As if to verify this fact, I just took a large sip. Why is there such a thing as pink champagne? It tastes equally as rank as yellow champagne. I must admit though, it looks sexier. If I were champagne and I had to choose whether to be pink or yellow, I'd most certainly choose pink, even though generally speaking I despise pink. There are a few exceptions. It's like choosing a clitoris over a pimple, or windburn over jaundice.

Now, I have a question. Why do we pay old farts like Gerard Henderson to write for us in the SMH when Gempires does it better, and for free?

Or, to put it another way, why doesn't she get paid for this stuff?

How To Mix Your Metaphors

Letter in The Newcastle Herald by Hank Willems:

Lately there has been comment on the lack of truth in government statements. But the most serious political lie is that we have a strong econ0omy. The fact is that, every month, our balance of payments falls short by some $2 billion.


Metaphor #1: the balance of payments... (I personally think this metaphor would work much better with a currency like the British pound, but there you go...)

Metaphor #2: ... falls short by some $2 billion.

Moving along:

If this is not a case of "apres moi le deluge", what is?

You tell me and we'll both know.

We are digging ourselves into a hole and heading for disaster.

(It gets better)

The only way we can ever square the books...

(Still better) the long run...

(Even better) by selling off the farm.


Metaphor #3: ...digging ourselves into a hole

Metaphor #4: ...and heading for disaster

Metaphor #5: ...the only way we can square the books

Metaphor #6: ... in the long run

Metaphor #7: by selling off the farm


Unfortunately, both federal and state governments are working towards this by encouraging privatisation, which will make selling the farm much easier. Australian politicians (as well as economists) remain silent. We must keep the ownership of our land, resources and infrastructure in our own hands.

Indeed. And now for the coup-de-grace, the anti-Apre moi le deluge, if you will!

I believe it is much later than we think.

Bravo, Mr. Willems! You've obviously been taking lessons in mixed metaphors from Paul Keating.

Places I Go

In Belmont:

There is a Belmont Citi Centre

There are two Newcastle Permanent banks, probably under 300 metres from one another

There is an office marked 'Jim Hall, MP for Shortland'

There is a Caffe located in Hairy Cottage, Macquarie Street

There is a brick wall next to Hairy Cottage with a gigantic Go Lo logo on it

In Raymond Terrace:

There are two McDonalds, one as you go into town, the other as you go out

There are two Woolworth shopping plazas, each directly opposite to one another (they look exactly the same when you go in)

There is Glenelg Street, which has a palindromical name

There is a large area of town where skateboarders and bicycle riders have been banned and there is a piece of graffiti on the pavement in this area saying 'Skateboarding is not a crime'

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Green Left Weakly Even Weaker

Check out this piece in the Green Left Weakly, by Deirdre Griswold. It seems to have an average of one error, mistruth, or exaggeration every sentence:

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has become a huge box office hit, even though the Disney Corporation did everything it could to torpedo the documentary.

BZZZZZT - WRONG!!!! Disney announced a year before the release of the film that they would not be bankrolling it. Mike Moore admitted to this in a CNN interview!

This alone makes it important to evaluate the film and try to understand why it has penetrated what is commonly called “popular culture” — which 99% of the time is in a politically conservative mold shaped by giant corporate institutions.

BZZZZZT - WRONG!!!! Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Judi Davis, Bette Midler, Quentin Tarantino, Janeane Garofoleano, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi, Whoopi Goldberg, Jann Wenner, Neil Diamond, Robin Williams - all involved in 'popular entertainment', all with a liberal-democrat stance. (And that's just for starters.)

Across the US — and, indeed, in much of the world — this film seems to have fallen like rain on a cultural landscape thirsting for the unvarnished truth.

WHOOP!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!! My Unsubstantiated And Totally Subjective Statement Alert has been activated!

People are clamouring to see it across the world.

BRRRRRINGGGG!!! "Hello? Police? This is the Newcastle cinema, and there's a horde of half-crazed hippies threatening to tear my place down unless I screen a piece of poorly-edited propaganda by a socialist on the other side of the world!"
Clamoring to see it? Yeah, right.

Reviews from hundreds of small-town newspapers across the US report standing ovations and cheers when the film ends.

WHOOP!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!! My Unsubstantiated And Totally Subjective Statement Alert is going overtime! Care to source any of these claims sometime, Ms. Deirdre Griswold?

Audiences laugh and cry, and few are unmoved.

BZZZZZT - HALF-TRUTH (if that)!!!! This only follows if you accept the previous sentence!

The last time a cultural work evoked this much interest and passion from the “silent majority” in the US was the 1850s, when Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was published and soon began outselling the Bible. In 1856, 2 million copies of this anti-slavery novel were sold. Families gathered at the end of the day on farms and in cities in the US north, reading it aloud and weeping.

Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, still more exaggerations!!! Is Ms. Griswold even able to believe herself?

In a July 4 opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, he (Moore) urged the anti-war movement to wrap itself in the US flag: “For too long now we have abandoned our flag to those who see it as a symbol of war and dominance, as a way to crush dissent at home.”

But the flag IS the symbol of the US state. And the US IS an imperialist country that has run roughshod over much of the world.

BA-BAAAAAM!!! NO SOUP FOR YOU, Ms. Griswold! You have just missed the first law of Being An Intelligent, Reasonable Human Being - saying that something IS true DOES NOT NECESSARILY MAKE IT TRUE!

That's why burning the US flag has become commonplace.

BZZZZTT!!! Nice way to follow a biased and unsubstantied allegation with a totally unexplanatory explanation!!!

Nothing short of a revolution to overturn capitalist exploitation and oppression will change this...

KA-CHING!!! Ms. Griswold, you have just won the TEN-DOLLAR PRIZE for the year's most ridiculous piece of Inflammatory Communist Rhetoric!!!

(Several boring paragraphs of supposedly 'insightful' commentary)
At the same time, those here fighting hardest against sweatshops and poverty wages often come from countries where intolerable conditions created by these same corporations are forcing millions to emigrate. They are today's fugitive slaves, and they are now living all over this country.
All this is going on while imperialist wars are raging in Iraq and Afghanistan and young workers here have to choose between dead-end jobs, prison or the military.

BZZZZTT!!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!! WHOOP!! BRRRRRING!!! KA-CHING!!! BZZZTTT!!! BZZZT!!! BZZZZZTTT!!! Communist Blames Evil Corporate Capitalism for All the Ills In The World Today While Completely Failing to Acknowledge All the Ills Caused by Communism!!! Like, we didn't see that one coming from light-years away???

Well, that was fun...

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Me Like To Give Money

For once I had money to spend, and what better way to spend it than to give it to Greedy Money Grabbing Multinationals? Exactly. So yesterday, I did what any self-respecting young slob in Newcastle with both time and money to waste would do - I headed into Charlestown square and did just that.
In the same spirit, I would like to take the opportunity to offer plenty of unsolicited advertising for those Greedy Money Grabbing Multinationals who made my day so pleasurable.
I arrived at 1.00pm at Charlestown Square and immediately headed up to the food court. There must have been 10-15 seperate food retailers on that floor alone (Charlestown square has three floors), including:

Well, of course they were. There was also:

I like these guys. They have a great 3.90 coffee and cake deal. The store in Charlestown square was set out in a particularly attractive manner, with all sorts of colourful cakes and special offers and bargains and deals. I gave them a pass and headed on to
Posted by Hello

I've been addicted to Oporto ever since University. My chess-playing buddy Jason and me used to go up to the Newtown Oportos every now and then and buy a burger for dinner. I ordered one of their meals (price, about $7.90) and got it immediately. Mind, I had to go up to the other end of the food court to find a seat, but it was still very satisfying.
Afterwards, I headed down to

where I quickly bought myself a copy of Peace Kills, by P.J. O'Rourke. I'm already halfway through it. Definitely not his best work, but still worth reading.
Speaking of killing, I had some more time to do that to. So, even though I had just had a meal, I thought it was high time for desert. I went back up to the Foodcourt and sat down in

The coffee was - mediocre; the caramel slice was the same. It was the first time I'd ever had something in Starbucks. Would I do it again? Shit, yeah!
By that time, it was about 2.30. I wanted to see a movie at 2.40. So I walked out of Charlestown Square shopping plaza and into these guys...

and saw this movie...

And, yeah, it was good. Not as good as the first, but not bad, for a sequel. It was good to get to know Shrek and Fiona again, good to be reaquainted with Eddie Murphy's hilarious Donkey, and hilarious to have the land of Far Far Away trashed by a gigantic Gingerbread man.

And that's as far as my day went. After seeing the movie I popped into Charlestown Square again - it was eerily quiet. All the shops had closed up for the Saturday afternoon. A few straggling shoppers drifted past, and I could hear Christian rock being played through the centre on the speakers. A shopping centre is a fine place to be in when other people are around; when they're not, it seems to metamorphose into a Salvador Dali landscape: bizarre, inhuman, but still strangely fascinating.

If It Looks Like a Pig, Barks Like a Dog, and Possesses Definite Opinions About the Relative Merits and Demerits of Privatisation...

... then chances are that it's a Right Wing Death Beast. There's been a little debate over the origins of Right Wing Death Beasts - here and here, to start with - so I thought I'd weigh in with a natural history of the Right Wing Death Beast.

The Right Wing Death Beast was the result of a series of experiments in Genetic Modification by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. They took the DNA from a Capitalist Pig, an Imperialist Lapdog, and a Republican Armadillo and mixed it all up. The resultant beast was then raised on a virulent Conservative ideology by such unrespectable authors as Hayek and Adam Smith.

Pretty soon, The Right Wing Death Beast rose to positions of power and prestige.

Next time - we look at Communist Gooses, Socialists Asses, Environmentalists Sheep, and other ideological abortions from the left!

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Yobbo has put a call out for Hot, Horny Asian Girls on his website. Time for me to apply!

Dear Mr. Yobbo,

It has come to my attention that you are advertising on your site for the position of hot, horny Asian girls. As you know, for some time I have been searching for a job via the medium of blogging.
I would therefore like to apply for the position. By and large, I feel I am very well qualified for the position. Of course, I am not hot, horny, Asian, nor a girl, but apart from that, I'm sure my University education and amazing skills at the computer make me suitable.
I am aware that the position will be unpaid; however, as I am a supporter of Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I am more than willing to become an unpaid whore for the mighty Yobbo conglomerate.
In short, I feel that this position would be EXCITING and STIMULATING, and that I would learn a lot from it. Further, if there are any other positions you would like me to take, please let me know - I'm very flexible...

Yours Sincerely,

Tim Train of

Gratuitous Linkage

More links from TonyT, Yobbo, Paul and Carl (the second most offensive bloggers on the internet), Rise and Reverberate, the Currency Lad and Random Prose. Right, guys, I warned you - now I'm just going to have to add you to my blog roll.

Asking the Hard Answers

Who said the internet was an unproductive method of wasting your time? After browsing innumerable websites, I feel I am definitely able to come to some firm, conclusive questions on the big issues. Like:

How do you pronounce 'Teh'?

Is it metaphorically more appropriate for a bean to symbolize a Kurd or a Sunni?

Can Jane Austin's Bleak House be read as a satire on the Iraq war?

In short, my friends, the Internet is definitely the answer.
Now what was the question?

Saturday, August 07, 2004


A mere four (or so) weeks after the launching of this exciting blog-project on the internet to find myself work via the blogosphere, I - um - appear to have found myself work without the aid of the blogosphere.
If it's any relief, it's part-time work - and I'm not sure how long it will last - and I'm still undergoing training at the moment - but it's a welcome change, and I'm hopeful that it should lead to something a little more permanent.
Briefly, I'll be writing reports for this organisation .
In light of this happy event, I'll have to start reconsidering the nature of this blog, so you may see a few changes in tone over the next couple of weeks. However, I still fully intend to keep it up to survey new work opportunities, so feel free to keep on sending suggestions through to me.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Is Tony Jones an Idiot?

I'm just asking. See what you think - here's Tony Jones interviewing Tony Abbot on Lateline last night.

TONY JONES: Tony Abbott, first to you, if your figures are right, this could be the $6 billion amendment, the 30,000-job amendment.Are you really prepared to put the whole free trade agreement at risk just because of this one amendment?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, we think it's a good deal as it stands and it should go through.

TONY JONES: But you are you prepared to put it at risk because of this one amendment, that's the question?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, the amendment which Mark Latham is putting up is both unnecessary and unworkable.We don't have the problem of evergreening in this country, as Stephen Conroy pointed out today.So what Labor wants to do is to put the whole of the free trade agreement at risk to protect us against something which has never happened in this country and which can't actually happen under our patent rules.

Okay, he said that it was unnecessary and unworkable. At this point, surely Jones, genius that he is, should have said, 'okay, if you think that it's unworkable, then that obviously means that you are prepared to take this issue to an election.' and provoke a response out of Abbot. But no. That's just too freaking obvious for this little reporter...

TONY JONES: All right.I will bring Julia Gillard into this in one moment.I just want to clarify one thing with you first because it was the same thing Mark Latham clarified earlier this evening, essentially.Are you prepared to take this issue into an election if necessary, rather than come to a compromise with the Labor Party, if they insist on this amendment?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, we support the free trade agreement.The free trade agreement is the Howard Government's largest and best baby, if you like, of this term.We support it.It's our child, And we aren't anti-American, the way the ALP is.

TONY JONES: Yes, I appreciate what you're saying, but it hasn't answered the question.Are you prepared to take this all the way to an election rather than seek a compromise with Labor on this one amendment?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, what they're asking us to do is something which is unnecessary and unworkable.They say that the agreement, as it stands, is in Australia's interests.We certainly think that the agreement, as it stands, is in Australia's interests, and Labor should pass it as it stands.

TONY JONES: Are you prepared to take this to the election if necessary?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, we're not going to put an unnecessary and unworkable amendment into the enabling legislation just so that Mark Latham has a feather to fly with Labor's anti-American Left.We're not going to pander to the basically anti-American instinct of the Labor Party and its leader.

TONY JONES: Are you prepared to take this to the election if necessary?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, I think I've made myself pretty plain.

TONY JONES: Well, no you haven't.I've asked that question three times now.

TONY ABBOTT: We're not -

TONY JONES: Are you prepared to take it to the election if necessary?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, we're obviously prepared to campaign on the free trade agreement.

TONY JONES: All right.I assume that means that you're prepared to take this to the election if necessary.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, of course.

Jeeeeeeesus Chhrrrrist! Is Tony Jones an idiot? Is Tony Jones an idiot? Maybe I should keep on asking the question until I get a response, but I think the answer to that is already freaking obvious.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Welcome to The Web

Hello, hello, hello to all first-time visitors to my brand-new three-week-old get-work website. I'll make this brief: I need a job. You pay, you live in Newcastle, me type real good. Employ me!

Spam Scam

What new lows will I sink to in order to get a job? Here is my latest blatant attempt at self-publicity:


Dear Potential Employer,

In a blatant attempt at promoting his many talents for employers, a young Novocastrian has set up a website showcasing his resume and his writing skills.
The website, titled Will Type For Food, is located at, and Tim Train, the creator, hopes to put the widespread blogging community to good use.
He says of the project: “I’m offering a prize for the person whose tip-off leads me to get a job; I also have made a shirt by screen-printing which I can wear around Newcastle, showing off my website address to as many potential employers as possible.”
He has also emailed many local Hunter websites in the hope of securing links for his website and getting a wide local readership.
The content of the website is varied, featuring job-ad parodies, several surveys about job-related issues, satirical articles and stories, as well as a number of general interest items, in the hopes of further broadening his audience. There is even a section giving advice to employers who wish to find the right employee. (Hint: it involves calling Mr. Train and saying “You’ve got the job.”)
“If it works, employers will soon see what a fantastically talented and dedicated employee I would be,” laughs Mr. Train. “Even if I do say so myself.”
So, what happens next? Can Mr. Train really GET WORK BY THE NETWORK? Employers – it’s over to you!

Tim Train
0423 364 097

I shall terrorise all publishers, media outlets and publicity agencies in the region with this letter until they bow to my will and take me on as valuable member of their staff!

Moore Bores

I have a small problem with the new Movie Show on SBS: it has three of the most pretentious gits ever to disgrace our television screens delivering trite reviews, padded out with oxymorons, tautologies, and cliches:

Produced, written and directed by Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11’s agenda is the war on terrorism and the Bush Dynasty.

That's the start of a Michael Moore review by Jamie Leonarder. He continues:

Sure you can call it poorly edited, raw quality, propaganda and sentimental

Not to mention poorly researched, paranoid, anti-right-wing, anti-Saudi-Arabia, and exploitative (check in at Tim Blair's website every now and then for details, or here and here). Not that I'd do that myself, it's just the preliminary judgement I'd make about his film after having read his 200 page paranoid rants in Stupid White Men and Dude, Where's My Country.

But in its totality, 9/11 transcends its flaws to deliver one of the most insightful documentaries ever made. In a “democratic” society we must have a counterfoil in the media to make governing officials accountable. “Who will watch the watchers?” Before we shoot the messenger, let’s all take the time to examine the message.

Who will watch the watchers? I want to know, who will watch the film after that hackneyed effort? And who will even bother watching The Movie Show anymore, if this is the standard of review? Not me: I changed channels and watched the end of The Others, one of the best horror films in recent years.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Gangs Of Hoodlums

I got a copy of The Port Stephens Examiner today by my parents. Here's a cute story:

Gangs of hoodlums, aged as young as eight, are roaming the streets of Nelson Bay, terrorising storeowners and shoppers in broad daylight.
Congregating in gangs of six to eight on pushbikes and skateboards, the brazen hooligans have in recent weeks been responsible for a spate of thefts and vandalism in the town centre. (Link unavailable online)

Somebody save us from these brazen hooligans on pushbikes!

Where's a Eunuch When You Need One?

So I'm just back from The Marriage of Figaro. How was it? Well, the strings were too slow and the singers were too fast and everyone else was out of time. The undersized orchestra was crammed up in one corner of the room, not in front of the stage but to one corner of the stage. They began by untuning their instruments and then launching into a rapid series of dischords.
But they did still manage to have many moments of concord and harmony, and for a local orchestra they did a fair rendition of this classic Mozart piece. And the singers generally did a very good job managing at all times to stay in tune and in time, except for the times that they didn't.
The opera, originally set in enlightenment Italy, had been translated and transposed to outback Australia, with some weird references to the stolen generation and the first world war thrown in just to make it all the more meaningful. The most interesting character was Charlie (originally Cherubino) played by a woman (originally the part was played by a eunuchised man). It was obvious from the moment she came on to the moment she left stage, and the femininity probably helped at times, since the part had a lot of cross-dressing in it. Still, it would have been nice to see the part played by a eunuch - maybe it's time the local Catholic church revived the tradition of castrating choirboys before they hit puberty?
All in all, a fun time. Next time, perhaps Opera Hunter could tackle something more challenging - a modernist piece, say. Because it's easy in well-known classical pieces to tell when a musician hits a dischord, but in unpopular modernist music, the musicians can always blame the composer. (Though there's always the danger that they'll play concords by mistake).
And you probably shouldn't take this short review too seriously, either - there are a lot of skilled musicians in Newcastle, enough to put on several big musical productions a year. Next time you're in Newcastle, chances are you'll be able to go along to one of them.

Position Vacant

VAST BUREAUCRACY requires DEVOTED SLAVE to perform various DUTIES:

- Bang your head against the wall repeatedly
- Write a report about it afterwards and have it signed and copied in triplicate
- Filing

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How I Whined and Won 1 Wine

Spent five more taxpayer-funded dollars on Friday night to enter a poetry competition in Newcastle CBD. I was the second of five competitors. When it was my turn, I got up, read my poem with much spluttering and frothing about the gills.
I won.
Got a bottle of wine and the chance to spend still more taxpayer-funded dollars at the Poetry Slam in Balmain this September. Afterwards got pleasantly drunk with Dean (owner of the venue) and a dramaturg from Brisbane called Doug. We grouched for hours about nothing much in particular (ie, politics).
Poetry readings? Wine? Balmain? Quick, people, get me a job before I become a member of the dreaded chattering classes!

UPDATE - Worse things are soon to follow. I'm going to the opera today. Will the horror ever end?
Email: timhtrain - at -

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