Saturday, March 22, 2008
I am a big fan of See Mike Draw since I first saw the site, oh it must be a week now. Anyway, do yourself a favour and check out his site. They're all very funny, albeit in a slightly twisted way.
Went for a walk yesterday along the river's edge with Henry and Jen, and spotted many birds lurking around looking for some tasty fish to eat. The picture today is of three Black-faced Cormorants. Also known as the black-faced shag (fnarr-fnarr), there are so many of these fellows hanging about that they give their name to the next bay up from ours, "Shag Bay". And don't the local teenage boys just love that!
Given that I have been surprised to learn that there are people from all over who seem to be reading this blog; I thought that I would accept an open meme that was presented at Miss Cellannia's site some time ago. Of course, always short of ideas, I thought that I would rise to the challenge and today present to you "four sets of four things" about my home state – the artist formally known as Van Diemen's Land – Tasmania. As always, bias shall play no part in my representation of my home.
A Tasmanian Devil, looking very annoyed
Four things that you may have heard about Tasmania:
2. Wilderness. Whether we're talking some of the world's biggest surf at Shipstern Bluff; wombats trekking through the snow at Cradle Mountain; the aptly named Hell's Gates on the West coast; world class bushwalking on the Overland Track; or just getting lost in one of the most remote and inaccessible areas in Australia, the unpopulated South West Wilderness area. Whatever it is that you're after outdoor wise, Tasmania has it.
3. The Thylacine. Also known as the Tasmanian tiger, Tasmanian wolf or Marsupial wolf, the thylacine was a large, meat-eating marsupial. It looked rather like a large dog with stripes and was rather shy. The last known live example died during the 1930s. For some reason, they thought that it would be a good idea to kill them all to protect some sheep.
4. A number of studies have established that Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
Scamander, a nice place for a swim on the East coast
Four Tasmanians that you may have heard of:
1. Errol Flynn. Maybe the most famous of all Tasmanians. Apparently very large in the trouser department. Notwithstanding some rather dodgy behaviour with both the ladies AND ducks, a good solid Tasmanian representative.
2. Ricky Ponting. I'd love to have put David Boon, but Ponting is the Aussie captain after all. I figure at least 1 billion Indians know who he is!
3. Ettie Annie Rout. A favourite of mine, the Kiwi's claim her (even though they disowned her for a time). Ettie's work among servicemen during World War I made her something of a war hero when she targeted the appalling rate of venereal disease that undermined the Allied armies. She identified this as a medical not a moral problem, but one that should be approached like any other disease, with all available preventive measures. She later turned her attention to the sexual education and empowerment of women.
4. I'm going to have to go with the twirly guy listed above, the Looney Tunes bloke. Who am I kidding, he is the world's most recognisable Tasmania, everyone knows him!
Nelson Falls, on the West coast, a good place for walking
Four oft overlooked beautiful places in Tasmania:
1. The beautiful North West coast of the state. Much derided, I defy anyone to tell me that the coastline from Cape Grim right through Stanley and Burnie (my home town) onto Devonport is not one of the prettiest stretches in the world.
2. The even more rugged and beautiful South West of the state.
4. Freycinet National Park, on the East coast. Alright, it isn't overlooked much, but it is very lovely!
Stanley, on the North West coast
Four Tasmanian Products that you have to try:
1. You can keep your shoddy pretenders; Tasmania is home to the world's best cheese!
2. What could go better with cheese than beer?
3. If the idea if beer and cheese doesn't rock your boat, how about cheese and wine!
4. Being an island, you won't be too surprised to hear that our seafood really is the best going around. There are lots of tasty treats, especially the abalone, lobster, salmon, trevalla, stripey trumpeter, ocean trout, scallops, oysters, mussels. If you can name it, we can catch it and serve it on a plate! (Although whale can be very to hard to get these days...)
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Friday, March 21, 2008
I've chosen this one taken in November, on a warm Saturday afternoon spent shifting a very large pile of rocks from one side of our garden to another, only then to decide that I didn't like the way it looked and shifting them back again. All great fun, I can assure you.
Anyway, Henry spent most of the time in a observational capacity, offering a little advice here and there. I offered him the shovel to help out, and took this picture of him contemplating a life of manual labour. I think that it was at this point he decided that 'benevolent dictator' might be more up his alley!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I wonder whether this would this pass muster for those advocating new laws on junk food advertising.
Today’s photo was taken on the Tasmanian Parliament’s front lawn at around 7:50 am this morning. It’s a nice brisk day, and there were very few people about. This is only about a few hundred metres from work, so no need to detour to find some colour!
The building itself was completed (primarily through the use of convict labour) in 1840 and is a pretty good example of a Georgian Colonial style. The structure is made of sandstone and was originally intended to be the Customs House and architect's offices. In April 1856 alterations were made to accommodate the new bicameral Parliament.
Aside from the political intrigue that takes place within, the lawn serves as a nice place to sit and eat your lunch or read a book, especially now that they've stiffened the laws around public drunkenness (unless you're an esteemed member of the opposition!)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I know what it means for people to have a viable African-American candidate, and I know that many Americans appear to be looking to make a statement that the US is capable of choosing a 'progressive' and more articulate alternative to the current occupant of the White House.
But Obama? He just leaves me cold.
For a while I wasn't sure what it was that left me that way. And then it clicked. I've figured out what it is that makes me unsure about Barack Obama. No, not the cult-like behaviour of some of his followers (although that too freaks me out a bit, but it's not unknown in US politics). What turns me off is who he reminds me of when I hear him speak.
And who is that, you may well ask.
Johnathon Livingston Seagull. That's who. And if you read my review of that book, you might get why I'm not comfortable about the similarities.
There just seems little detail. Hope, future, destiny, audacity, faith, opportunity, courage, daring, fearlessness and on it goes. Fantastic. Great. All really good things. But what do they mean? What does it look like? What is he promising to do?
I really hate quoting Walter Mondale here, because history has recorded how well he did in'84, but it was a zinger of a soundbite that I can see McCain pinching: "Where's the beef?"
Apologies for the light, I just grabbed the camera and started rolling. Anyway, I think that it has a novel 'Blair Witch' hand held feel to it!
I've been visiting many blogs over the past few weeks from all over the globe and admiring photographs that people have taken of their home towns, so I thought I'd take the camera in to work today and see if I could find something worth taking a picture of. Much like my "Journey into work" post of a few weeks ago, I was once again drawn to the waterfront!
(With a nod to Kottke.org for the tip.)
Apparently the rapper DMX has some fame in the world of music, although to be honest I'd struggle to identify him. I have heard of him though. Anyway, he revealed in an interview just published that he had never heard of Barack Obama, and it prompts an amusing little back and forth. People need to think of this the next time they wheel out a celebrity to pimp a politician or cause! The original discussion can be found at the XXL magazine's website.
(Note: the interviewer is in maroon, DMX in green).
"Are you following the presidential race?
Not at all.
You're not? You know there's a Black guy running, Barack Obama and then there's Hillary Clinton.
His name is Barack?!
Barack Obama, yeah.
What the fuck is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa?
Yeah, his dad is from Kenya.
What the fuck?! That ain't no fuckin' name, yo. That ain't that nigga's name. You can't be serious. Barack Obama. Get the fuck outta here.
You're telling me you haven't heard about him before.
I ain't really paying much attention.
I mean, it's pretty big if a Black…
Wow, Barack! The nigga's name is Barack. Barack? Nigga named Barack Obama. What the fuck, man?! Is he serious? That ain't his fuckin' name. Ima tell this nigga when I see him, "Stop that bullshit. Stop that bullshit" [laughs] "That ain't your fuckin' name." Your momma ain't name you no damn Barack.
So you're not following the race. You can't vote right?
Is that why you're not following it?
No, because it's just—it doesn't matter. They're gonna do what they're gonna do. It doesn't really make a difference. These are the last years.
But it would be pretty big if we had a first Black president. That would be huge.
I mean, I guess…. What, they gon' give a dog a bone? There you go. Ooh, we have a Black president now. They should've done that shit a long time ago, we wouldn't be in the fuckin' position we in now. With world war coming up right now. They done fucked this shit up then give it to the Black people, "Here you take it. Take my mess."
It's all a fuckin' setup. It's all a setup. All fuckin' bullshit. All bullshit. I don't give a fuck about none of that.
We could have a female president also, Hillary Clinton.
I mean, either way it doesn't matter. I don't care. No one person is directly affected by which president, you know, so what does it matter.
Yeah, but the country is.
I guess. The president is a puppet anyway. The president don't make no damn decisions.
The president…they don't have that much authority basically?
But Bush pretty much…
You think Bush is making fuckin' decisions?
He did, yeah, he fucked up the country.
He act like he making decisions. He could barely speak! He could barely fuckin' speak! Can't be serious. He ain't making no damn decisions.
Well Barack has a good chance of winning so that might be something.
Good for him, good for him."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Today's ad is best seen as a counterpoint to the previous one.
Accordingly, if cute 'n fluffy, sweet little lambs with flowers in their hair cannot stir your loins for a fight, perhaps extreme violence will! I like the touch of Rambo about this one.
Monday, March 17, 2008
This comic is for Vince:
I have been enjoying throughout the day these little cartoons by Canadian Kate Beaton (in my sanity breaks), who draws from all sorts of things, particularly interesting little titbits from history.
As an aside, the spellchecker says 'titbits'. Funny, I've always said 'tidbits', but it is TITbits. Filthy. Well there you go!
Picture this: much of Europe is under the yoke of a homicidal totalitarian dictatorship, entire nations' armies have been crushed and their populations as good as enslaved. Asia is currently being overrun by a similarly brutal regime. You have been attacked on the underhanded manner and have now been driven to fight a war on two fronts. The scale of this war is unprecedented in history. Young men are dying in every corner of the globe. The extreme costs of such an enterprise are putting a great burden on the nation's reserves. The public is being encouraged to purchase war bonds to aid the war effort, which may continue for many years.
So you stop and you ask yourself, just what is it that we fighting for? Just why should I buy war bonds?
Huh? A f*cking lamb in a bow with a laurel wreath on its head, and a flower tucked behind its ear? WTF?!?!?
This is the best that she could think of?
Back on the bad public policy bandwagon, I'll be interested to see where the Rudd government goes with regards to the baby bonus. Despite the fact that Jen and I are sitting on a nice little earner come August, I think that it is yet another good example of terrible public policy from the Howard government. There is no real social or economic rationale to the policy (in its present form), and really stands out as a crude inducement to win votes. These are generally where the most obvious public policy failures occur.
Thus, I was interested to read this piece by Professor Joshua Gans on his Core Economics website. In it, he argues that the bonus can be eliminated with little political cost. It is an interesting take on how government might phase out the bonus, and if there is one thing to be learned from the media's appalling presentation of the issue of carers' bonus payments, the purging of previous government's bad policies ('inducements') will have to be managed very cautiously.
Nonetheless, they've neglected to open the windows a crack while doing it, which means that they effectively glued it shut and now – despite significant effort on my behalf – I can't open my bloody thing!
The one thing that makes working in this godforsaken converted warehouse bearable and they take it away from me! It's projected to be 33°C today! This building has been shut up since Friday and it's like a sauna already!
This calls for my friend the angry protestor:
[Note: seriously, if anyone knows how to crack one of these mothers open, I'd be most grateful!]
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Anyway, with that off my chest, I dipped into my deep well of advertisements from days gone by and found a ripper. The woman is so dumb that I'm sure that she'd make a fine Vice Presidential candidate!