Friday, October 17, 2008


Is it just me, or is today noisier than yesterday? I can remember when we used to sit around in the great outdoors and enjoy the sounds of nature. Now it is usually accompanied by some boom box blasting out meaningless rap with as much bass as possible. This is even truer in the suburbs where some dickheads seem to think that making noise is way cool and I can only assume it is because their pathetic little lives are so meaningless that they have to make noise to prove to others they exist. Cars are even worse but we’ll get to that another time.
Now if I run a pub and the neighbours complain the noise is too loud I get a warning. If it happens a second time I’m closed down. The converse isn’t true though. I can complain until I’m blue in the face about a noisy house but each time the police will only tell them to turn it down. How about some equality?


Because the TV is so crap, we tend to watch DVDs when we decide to blob out and become couch potatoes. Initially I though DVDs were wonderful things because you didn’t have to fast forward through twenty minutes of previews before you got to the movie. So now the world is watching DVDs what do they do? Stick previews, warnings about copying and other gumph on at the beginning and disable the menu button so you have to wait five minutes before you can watch what you just paid for. Then to cap it all the menu is Americanised so that it jumps all over the place and shows scenes from the movie so you know what is going to be in it before you even get a chance to start!

And talking about DVDs, where the hell do they get the prices from? They cost about pennies to produce (the newspapers even give away movies with some issues) but they charge $29.95 for a new release! Call me tight but that seems just a wee bit excessive.
One thing I try not to do anymore is rent from the local video shop. Weekly rentals are like a lottery, they may play all the way through or they may not. Flip one over at the counter and check out the scratches some careless dickhead left if you want to see what I mean.
And what to they do to improve on your standard DVD? Bring out an HD DVD! It’s even cheaper to produce because they don’t have to compress the movie as much, so of course they charge even more and the buggers still get greasy fingerprints and scratches! I mean, come on, it is the 21st century so why not have a memory stick or the like? No moving parts, nothing to scratch and a good excuse to make us buy yet another movie player.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I get sick and tired of seeing tree huggers trying to stop the development of land and watching people wearing Nike sports shoes protesting at globalisation. They have a right to demonstrate and sometimes they even have a valid point but 95% are professional protesters and I want to know where they get their money from when I’m at work earning mine. To me, if you get lifted by the police at a demonstration, and you are drawing benefits, they should be stopped. I don’t want my taxes to pay for some raggy-arsed git to travel the land causing chaos about something I may or may not be interested in.

Political Correctness

Do-gooder-ness has gone berserk and is destroying all the fun in the world. One of my favourite old jokes used to be:
Q. “What have women and roads got in common?”
A. “Man-holes”.
Doesn’t have the same impact now they are person access points.*
Political correctness is making everything bland and in the end we’ll have no characteristics to identify one part of the world from the next. If you don’t like being called “mate”, don’t whinge about getting no respect from the locals, just don’t bother your arse coming to Australia and stay back in Blandsville where you come from. Don’t pull up some Lancashire lass for calling you “love” or ducks”, stick to the docklands in London where you can pretend you are more important than everyone else. Disrespect isn’t in the words used it’s in the tone. If an Aussie calls you an old bastard he’s probably being nice, if you take offence he’s probably right.

*Having said that, I suppose it could be “What do women, gays and roads have in common?” “Person access points”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Women’s Rights

Women and men are different. In fact it’s one of the best things about our world. You may want to wake up next to Brad Pitt in the morning but I for one don’t. So if you accept that we are two different sides to the same coin, why try to make us equal when we are not. Don’t get me wrong, if a woman and a man do the same job, they should have the same rights and the same pay and I’ll argue with anyone who says different. Just don’t change the rules of what the job is depending upon a person’s sex. If I want to be a fireman I have to be able to run up and down ladders carrying hoses and people. If I want to be a firewoman I don’t. In the main, men are stronger than women and all the positive discrimination laws in the world won’t change that, end of story.

Then of course you have all the argy-bargy about women having babies and their husbands should stay at home and look after them. We’ve already established that men and women are different and that goes down to the hormone level. I’m afraid I’ve never had the drive to swell up and give birth (it’s a beer belly) but I’m glad my wife did. The funny thing about hormones is that they have been put there by millions of years of evolution for a purpose and one of the things they do is make a new mother want to be with their child. If she doesn’t, fair enough but I’m sure the majority do. And all the short-haired butch lesbians in the world won’t change that.

Gay Rights
Now I’m not going to say gays and lesbians don't have rights. Of course they do, they are people and should be allowed to live their life anyway they want without prejudice
. As an aside, men’s bottoms hold no fascination for me but I have been a practicing lesbian all my life.
But I do have a problem when it comes to children and homosexuality. I can’t for the life of me understand how a lesbian can get the government to fund artificial insemination just because she doesn’t like lumps in her partner’s underwear. Excuse me but I pay taxes to help this? Billions of women have found the best way to have children is the bouncy game and it is free. Your mother played it and that’s how you got here, if that isn’t good enough for you don’t bother.
And why do we help fund all the in-vitro stuff for mature women who are past their eggs’ sell-by date? If they wanted a career before kids, how has it changed now they’ve got a couple of bob? Tough titty, stay rich and lonely in your old age, nature gave you your shot and you wanted a new settee instead.
Oh and shouldn’t there only be one term for homosexuals in this politically correct world, doesn’t using gay and lesbian indicate an inequality between them?


Before I start to chunter on about my views on discrimination let me make one thing clear, I am only prejudiced against one thing – discrimination itself. I firmly believe that people are people no matter their race, gender or creed and hopefully that will keep the self-appointed arseholes of the world off my back.
Now, having said that I hate discrimination, I also hate positive discrimination just as much. In fact I can think of few things that cause negative discrimination as quickly as the positive kind. It’s just not fair. Just because I’m not a black lesbian single mother doesn’t mean I don’t have rights too. And more importantly, surely my rights are just as valid as theirs. It’s not going to be long before we’ll have to have a white heterosexual men’s group because we are probably the only people you can take the piss out of who still do not have a voice in the world.

You’ll have gathered I’ve bounced around the world a wee bit and therefore I have had the joys of seeing positive discrimination causing injustice in many different forms and sometimes it makes me seethe. Now I always thought that one of the great things of western civilisation was democracy, but when it comes to positive discrimination that all goes out the window.

In New Zealand it is the two sets of laws for the Maori and the Pakeha (non-Maori). I think Maori culture is great and that’s what it should be – culture. It should have no bearing on the way New Zealand runs today, democracy is about the majority’s rights. If my kid commits a minor crime the punishment should be exactly the same whatever ethnic group they belong to. I love fishing and willingly pay to fish trout from a river or lake and accept the bag limit. If I’m Maori, free fishing and a stick of dynamite is pretty quick and fits in with my traditional rights. The fact that Maori didn’t have dynamite or indeed trout (introduced by those evil Pakeha) doesn’t seem to enter into it. Tradition used to be jade hooks and a bit of flax for fishing line - that is culture and tradition.
If you claim to be Maori (you can be 7/8th English and still be Maori) and get a new job you have to have a wee party at the workplace for your friends and relatives. That’s cool, in my culture we go to the pub to celebrate so why isn’t work paying for us to get shit-faced?

In Australia there is a Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I didn’t realise they had so many affairs they needed a minister; condoms yes, minister no. Now what happened to the Aboriginals in Australia was awful but excuse me that wasn’t us. I agreed with John Howard that the government shouldn’t apologise because after all they didn’t do it. I know there are lots of problems with poverty, child and alcohol abuse but I bet there are more people in Sydney with those issues than there are Aboriginals in all of Australia. How about setting up a ministry to solve poverty, child abuse and excessive drinking? Probably too radical an idea.
We should all just get real and say this is the world of today, stop whinging and get on with it.
Another wonderful traditional right is the hunting of Dugongs. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders have hunted them for thousands of years and deem it part of their culture. Fair enough, I don’t have a problem with that even though I get fined if I clip one with my boat. But nowhere in my reading about pre-European culture have I read about the hunt using 150hp boats and shooting them with .202 rifles.

And why is it that the limelight loving Maori and Aboriginal activists all seem to be whiter than I am? The one advantage of the white boy go-home attitude would be none of these self appointed natives would exist. I’m sure if people of German descent were entitled to some advantage over the rest of society they’d be proud of their German ancestors instead.

Reality My Arse

What is with this reality TV lark? There’s nothing real about it at all. Let’s pick half a dozen extroverted loudmouths, stick them on a settee and let then prattle about their worldly experience (average age 22) and let some other idiots sit on their settees and watch it. We’ll make it our major theme for the whole channel and then to show how cutting edge we are, we’ll come up with the same idea next year. Cheap mindless TV? You betcha arse.
Of course you can’t have reality TV unless it is controversial, hence late night versions of the aforementioned prats wandering about topless or waving their willies in the air. Does sex sell? Of course it does but is watching some spotty oik with spiky hair and a nose ring flaunt a two-inch willy sexy, make your own mind up.

So no matter what else goes on, the announcer must be able to use the word controversial in every promo for the programme. In our house we had a game for a little while trying to guess how far into the promo the announcer would declare that next week’s Australian Idol was the most controversial yet. He never failed us once. What a sad indictment on our viewing world that the TV companies think we have to have guaranteed angst to watch their programmes. Whatever happened to saying we’ve got some really good acts for you next week?
I know "reality" TV is great for the companies profit books, cheap to make and popular with the viewers but I often wonder if its popularity is more down to a lack of choice than a desperate need. Anyway, it totally pisses me off.

All of the above is only for ground-based channels, when it comes to pay TV we are even bigger suckers. Many years ago in the UK cable TV was a wonderful thing, two competing companies, 43 channels to choose from, everything ran at exactly the time it said it would and NO ADVERTS. Made sense really, you’re paying a premium to buy these extra programmes so why would there be a need for ads? Well, corporate greed of course. The minute Sky bought BSB nothing started when it was supposed to and ads appeared in the middle of everything but movies. In Australia it got even worse.
My favourite channel was always Discovery and Mr. Murdoch ruined it. First they started running ads about how this researcher or that researcher couldn’t do their job without a Toyota Landcruiser (most researchers I know are lucky to have a clapped out old Landrover) and then they changed those to ads about any old tosh. Not only that, they actually advertise their own programmes even more often. I’ve even seen ads for the programme I’m currently watching! Did I need to be told there’s a good programme on now? I don’t think so.
Some of the filler programmes they put on are even worse. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the pilgrims crawl up the ninety-nine steps of the church in Lake Bled. Their knees must be killing them by now.
Then there was an episode of Mythbusters about Alcatraz I watched that lasted two hours on Discovery. The following week the same episode was shown on a ground-based station and lasted one and a half hours including ads. And we pay extra for this!
I had a call one day to ask if I was happy with my package. Personally I am, but as for cable I said the ads are killing it and I was told Australia allows 30% of airtime to be ads. This mustn’t include self-promos though and the chances of turning on Discovery and seeing a programme are about 1 in 3. I started buying Discovery DVDs so I can actually watch an entire documentary without getting bored or missing the end because I wandered off during a break and came back when the next one had started.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Goggle-Box

I am a child of the television. I grew up with television, I enjoy sitting in front of the television and I believe that television is both the saviour of our bored little minds and the sinner that makes them so.
If you’ve had a busy day hiking across the Andes, wrestling crocodiles or sitting on the settee, a good way to relax is to put your feet up and watch the telly. Strange that it can make me so bloody angry.

Living in TV Australia, the first thing you notice is that the adverts are louder than the programmes they (very, very frequently) interrupt. Now I know the TV companies claim they aren’t really and it is only a matter of pitch but so is dragging your nails down a blackboard. The truth is the volume (or pitch) is annoying and any advertiser that pays for that lucrative first spot is an idiot – I spend the first ten seconds looking for the remote to turn the volume down and then watch the little bars shrink until the aggravating pitch is at an acceptably low level. Did I see that ad for so and so? Nope, and I wonder how much that cost them?

And why oh why do the ads end up being where they are? Whatever happened to continuity? I well remember watching Clint Eastwood merrily killing Gene Hackman in a bar room shoot-out in Unforgiven. Part way through Clint’s quest for justice - bang – an advert break!
Then of course there is the dreaded advert two minutes before the end of the movie. You know that when it comes back all that will happen is that the end credits will start scrolling up the screen. They know that you know too, they just don’t care. And if you wanted to hear some nice music to round off the viewing experience, forget it. Someone thought it was cool to split the screen into three, self advertise another two upcoming programmes and talk over those credits and nice music. It’s even worse if the credits include outtakes because the programme you bought into watching is now squashed into the top left corner of the screen while someone tells you about the next “controversial” episode of some reality TV pap they show.

Giant Budgies

Well I was finally persuaded to get a bird feeder and stick it in the back garden. Nowt exciting, just a metal pole with a old plant pot saucer on top. Still after stuffing it full of millet and sunflower seeds the local freeloaders started to turn up and we now have giant budgies (Moreton Bay Rosellas), crested pidgeons and magpie larks (vicious little buggers) scattering seed everywhere which means I'll have to do extra weeding - typical!