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Goodness me, I've now been blogging for ten years and totally failed to notice the anniversary. Well, "blogging" - I think blogs in general are supposed to have a coherent theme whereas this is just me alternately ranting and rambling. Which is sort of thematic, but not in the way that, say, fashion and food blogs are.

Still. I'm a little surprised that it's been a decade already. At least I can get a rough idea of what I was doing with the time... heh.
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From Slacktivist, "outraged" "Christians" sing a pagan song to celebrate Christmas.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee provided an opening for the latest display of Christianists’ perpetual indignation by referring to the large fir tree in the statehouse as a "holiday tree"

After Chafee lit the "holiday" tree, a few dozen carolers interrupted a performance by a children’s chorus to sing "O Christmas Tree."

"He’s trying to put our religion down," said Ken Schiano of Cranston, who came to the tree lighting after hearing about the controversy.

And what better way to defend our religion, he decided, than by singing, "O Christmas Tree" - a thoroughly secular holiday song that has as much to do with religion as "White Christmas" or "Merry Christmas Baby."

So for these Christianists, the best way they could think of to promote their sectarian view was to sing a secular song in defense of a Pagan symbol.


And for many reasons this makes me laugh. A lot. And also reminds me that I need to buy a tree off the scouts this weekend and find where I put the tinsel.
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From Slacktivist, "outraged" "Christians" sing a pagan song to celebrate Christmas.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee provided an opening for the latest display of Christianists’ perpetual indignation by referring to the large fir tree in the statehouse as a "holiday tree"

After Chafee lit the "holiday" tree, a few dozen carolers interrupted a performance by a children’s chorus to sing "O Christmas Tree."

"He’s trying to put our religion down," said Ken Schiano of Cranston, who came to the tree lighting after hearing about the controversy.

And what better way to defend our religion, he decided, than by singing, "O Christmas Tree" - a thoroughly secular holiday song that has as much to do with religion as "White Christmas" or "Merry Christmas Baby."

So for these Christianists, the best way they could think of to promote their sectarian view was to sing a secular song in defense of a Pagan symbol.


And for many reasons this makes me laugh. A lot. And also reminds me that I need to buy a tree off the scouts this weekend and find where I put the tinsel.

One Day

Oct. 24th, 2011 11:15 pm
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I had never heard of the novel One Day until the film came out and the tag line was "the book that everyone's talking about!". Really? Ok, then. I have, after all, been somewhat out of the loop of late.
More about the book, contains spoilers )

One Day

Oct. 24th, 2011 11:15 pm
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I had never heard of the novel One Day until the film came out and the tag line was "the book that everyone's talking about!". Really? Ok, then. I have, after all, been somewhat out of the loop of late.
More about the book, contains spoilers )
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Mostly so I can find it again, but also because it made me laugh.

"Torn" by Johann Lipowitz with Natalie Imbruglia.

Especially for the bit towards the end. Dean had to tell me why.
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Mostly so I can find it again, but also because it made me laugh.

"Torn" by Johann Lipowitz with Natalie Imbruglia.

Especially for the bit towards the end. Dean had to tell me why.
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Russell Brand's perspective on the London riots.

I'm getting more and more respect for the guy. Not least because it's not often you have someone admit they were a dickhead in their youth.
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I've never listened to much of Amy Winehouse's music - not that she produced much in the end.Read more )
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More Amazing Race average leg placing stats:
Read more )
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Just watched the World Netball Championship Final, live out of Singapore. Holy crap, what a fantastic game. Very close, with the widest score gap being NZ up by 6. I honestly thought NZ would win it - Australia were chasing the score for most of the game, needing to break NZ's centre passes to win. I was out of my seat when Australia crept back into it, with the scores being NZ up by 1 at the end of the third quarter (I thought we were robbed on that one, the umpires called it that the Australia goal that would have levelled the score being after the whistle, the countdown clock still had one second left on it.)

The last quarter was fantastic. Australia up, NZ up, both teams throwing themselves into it. For a "non" or "minimal" contact sport... there was a lot of contact going on. And then, with literally a second to go the scores were tied, and for the second game in a row between these two teams we were into extra time.

Extra time was as intense as the fourth quarter. Goal for goal, with the occasional two goal lead clawed back in again. At the end of the first half of extra time the scores were level again. The second half both teams came out even harder - the number of contacts increased exponentially as everyone threw their bodies on the line. Australia had the lead, then NZ, then Australia, then NZ... but in general it was goal for goal again, with neither side getting ahead.

And then, with a minute to go and an even scoreline again Australia made an error in their attacking goal ring, throwing the ball out over the baseline. NZ managed to get the ball up the court, and into their attacking third, into the ring... and missed, with the Australian defenders getting the rebound. With less than 15 seconds to go Australia got the ball down the court, and into the ring.. and with 4 seconds left on the clock scored the winning goal.

That was the point where Dean came in from the other end of the house to find out what all the yelling was about.

My favourite moment? Both teams, after the end of the match, forming a circle together to do the three cheers for each other and for the umpires. AFL? That's what sportsmanship looks like. You can't say that either of those teams didn't play to win, or that NZ weren't as gutted by a one goal defeat in this match as Australia were by their extra double time defeat in Delhi. And that is when you suck it up, cheer the other team, cheer the umpires and accept the runners up medal. Bloody AFL wimps.

I don't think it was ever in doubt that the final was likely to be Australia vs NZ. But there's some interesting teams coming through that will prove competitive in the next World Championships I think. England, South Africa, Jamaica, Malawi all look good - and I'm sure there's others I just didn't see. Sri Lanka has the tallest player in the entire championships. I'm looking forward to 2015.

Till then though, Australia are World Champions. And the Silver Ferns are going to be planning to regain it just as hard as the Diamonds are to keep it.
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Race standings:
Read more )
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At this point I think I'm better off doing a general overview of thoughts rather than a post per episode! Which is why I'm still doing one episode at a time, because I've just discovered I'm incapable. Hopefully I'll catch up to the current episode... by the end of next week, heh.
Cut to avoid boring people who aren't watching this.. )
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OK, more race current standings. I do intend to actually post impressions the last couple of legs, I just haven't had time to do it. Unlike this, which is a five minute procrastination job.
Read more )
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About. Fucking. Time.

I haven't written anything about the current asylum seekers fiasco, mostly because I'm finding it more and more difficult to do without huge amounts of swearing.

Seriously though, this has to be a new low - keeping 15 and 14 year olds in an adult prison in Brisbane. I mean, if there's any doubt then surely they should be being kept in at most a youth training centre? Or possibly home detention?

At this point I don't think either major party has a clue what they're doing, they're both headless chooks trying to prove how tough they are.
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From slacktivist and the Joys of Procrastination comes an article, "Concern over Republican Embrace of Ayn Rand Poison.

I initially clicked through because the quoted introduction made me laugh:

Some say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a political party's ideology on a belief that altruism, democracy and Christianity are "evil." Others say that maybe it is a bad idea to base a country's policies on fictional novels rather than science and history. Still others say is it a bad idea for national leaders to think of most of the public as "parasites" while saying people with tons of cash are "producers" who should govern. I am talking about the Republican Party's embrace of Ayn Rand and her cruel philosophy.

OK, I admit it made me laugh not least because I mentally read the first sentence in Jeremy Clarkson's voice as he introduces The Stig, and it kind of went from there.

The article itself is quite interesting. The main bit that amused me though was:

Clarence Thomas requires his law clerks to watch The Fountainhead.

Surely this has got to be a breach of human rights, specifically the Right to Freedom from Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UDHR article 5)??? I borrowed a copy of the book from the American husband of a friend of mine - I'd never heard of Ayn Rand until last year (she's not well known here) and so I was curious as to what her books were like. OK, I've been stuck about a third of the way in for... 3 months now, and all I can say is that this one at least is bloody awful. The lead character is boring while simultaneously managing to be an overly pompous and self-deluded early 20s idiot. Oh sorry, "genius". No one else has had much if any character development. The women are interchangeable cardboard cut-outs of a doormat. I do not see how this managed to get published, let alone sell. For a book that focuses almost entirely on architecture, she also doesn't seem to know very much about architecture. Or business models. Or anything, really. It's not even entertainingly bad, like Dan Brown or Matthew Reilly. It's just excruciatingly and frustratingly bad. (I keep wanting to argue with (and/or slap) the (possibly anti-) "hero" and the author about architecture, for starters.)

I read a blog entry by a woman whose father was obsessed with Rand, and who was a passionate Rand follower during her teens. She described the lead character as an attractive and dreamy hero. Which is one reason why teenagers should probably not be allowed to marry, they don't have enough experience in recognising delusional arseholes. Although I'm sort of impressed she made it through the book because really? I don't think I'm going to. I did read the Martha Washington comic based in part on Atlas Shrugged - which was... interesting. Still don't get the attraction of the philosophy, although I can see why Washington and the other guy that was kidnapped/rescued by the Randian cultists would. From being in a hellhole of a war they were suddenly dropped into a peaceful, safe life. Like asylum seekers, in fact. I did wonder how long it would take for Washington to realise that by adopting this elitist philosophy she was effectively joining in condemning all the people outside of the exclusive hideyhole - including her family, friends and others who just had the misfortune to be born on the outside and not be noticed. (I have to admit the bit with the robots was just freaking stupid though - I spent a lot of time laughing at that part, while simultaneously wondering what the hell Miller was on when he wrote it.) I give Washington credit for being a lot smarter than they seemed to think, and kept wondering if Miller was actually going for something subversive regarding Western civilisation and our attitudes to anything outside of our doorstep, or even the marginalised within our doorstep... but no, he appeared to have drunk the KoolAid and be sticking with the mythology. Pity. It'd be interesting to see where other authors took it.

The effect of Rand's philosophy on modern US politics is worrying, particularly as she seems to have based at least part of it on admiration of a serial killer (as you do).

Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"

Yeah, that's what you want in a politician. Someone with a complete lack of empathy holding power. Or, you know, not. I'm fairly certain Stalin would have fit her definition of a Superman too, and look how that turned out.

It is making me wonder how many movers and shakers in both the ALP and Liberal parties are influenced by her though, particularly considering the current bullshit over asylum seekers. I know some of that is Abbott trying to establish himself as the alternate prime minister (which seriously Tony? STFU and get over it) by destabilising the government as much as possible, but the rest seems to be coming from within the ALP and Liberal parties, and I find it concerning. If they're willing to ignore treaties that we've signed up to and actually implemented, why on earth would they be willing to uphold the human rights of their constituents if they don't think it serves their purpose?

I don't necessarily agree that it's a bad thing that a politician refused to accept a Bible (or a Koran or a copy of any other religious text - although I can certainly see how it could be considered rude, depending on context). But I do think it's concerning the way that some elements of Australian and US politics are going, which appears to be more and more towards the interests of a very small number of people and against the interests of the rest.

On the other hand, Rand did leave Russia post-Revolution - and there's always that option. Wealthy elites may think they're immune from violence in their country dachas, but mobs with pitchforks have a way of taking over.
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So one of the Tea Party sub-groups is running a kid's camp over summer.

It's all about indoctrination (of course) but I have to say some of their examples cracked me up.

Starting in an austere room where they are made to sit quietly, symbolizing Europe, the children will pass through an obstacle course to arrive at a brightly decorated party room (the New World).

Red-white-and-blue confetti will be thrown. But afterward the kids will have to clean up the confetti, learning that with freedom comes responsibility.


For some reason I find that completely hilarious. Freedom=Responsibility=confetti cleaning!

Children will blow bubbles from a single container of soapy solution, and then pop each other's bubbles with squirt guns in an arrangement that mimics socialism. They are to count how many bubbles they pop. Then they will work with individual bottles of solution and pop their own bubbles.

Sounds like fun - but how on earth is that supposed to mimic socialism?

"What they will find out is that you can do a lot more with individual freedom," Lukens said.

Could be just me... but I'd get more of a military spin out of that. You can pop your own bubbles, but it's way more fun trying to kill off everyone else's. (That'd be the socialist in me speaking, obviously.) It's like the tennis ball game we some times play at training, where the aim is to collect as many balls as possible. Half the fun is stealing other people's balls (and, in my case, convincing people to gang up on the really fit people to steal all of theirs. Heh.)

Still can't see how they get anything about individual freedom out of it... apparently individual freedom means only being able to pop your own bubbles? I'm confused.

But of course their stated aims are:

The organization, which falls under the tea party umbrella, hopes to introduce kids ages 8 to 12 to principles that include "America is good," "I believe in God," and "I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable."

You know it's times like these I wish they'd charge these idiots full price for every service they use. Every road, every school, every military campaign, everything. Government can't force them to be intelligent either, unfortunately. I also think that (assuming they're following Christianity, albeit it in a very loose sense) that the second statement is not actually compatible with the third statement for quite a number of reasons. Mostly beginning with the whole "render unto Caesar" and ending with "have you read the New Testament? Ever? Could you read it again please, as you've obviously missed the point." Sheesh.

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