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Showing posts from March 2, 2008

Aye, I love me scrumpy, me

Team Benry made a quick trip to the market this morning (encouraged by a pregnant, grumpy and hungry Jennifer, and an equally grumpy, always hungry, not at all pregnant Henry), and managed to bag myself a big jug of authentic scrumpy. I’d seen it there before but balked at the idea of lugging around the huge flagon and looking like a severely misplaced wurzel, but today we were on our way to the car and I thought now is the time to strike! Now, I love my cider, all kinds of cider. I love the really fizzy stuff that makes you warm and stupid, and I like the fizzy stuffy that just tastes nice on a hot day. So Mercury Cider , very nice! Cascade ‘Sparkling Apple Juice’ , yummy. But do you know what, I love my scrumpy, only it’s always been a bit of a struggle to get. I know that “scrumpy" can be used in many senses and means different things to different people, but to me, ‘Scrumpy’ means real cider. By that, I mean that it has to be made more or less entirely from apples, it has to

The Last Word

Alright, I promise that I won't say any more, it's been done to death and he's now been cleared , but I'd like one last word on the whole sorry Roos saga. My understanding of the rule breach that Paul Roos was investigated over states that one is not supposed to "intentionally induce or encourage any player to perform otherwise than on his merits". Roos said that any comment that he may or may not have made was simply in jest. Fair enough, but I struggle with that given that the other part of his defence appeared to be "why would I seriously tell him to not kick a goal (and throw the game), I didn't need to because he knew that we never intended to win the game!" Now, I have no doubt that he's telling the truth. Footage of the game showed McVeigh run on to the groundlaughing after receiving his instructions from Roos, so it probably was all a funny little comment about not kicking a goal that the four witnesses probably heared (albeit their

How much tax is too much tax?

I was looking at the Marginal Revolution site today and stumbled across an interesting little post (and subsequent discussion) by economist Tyler Cowen on Robert Nozick 's famous "Wilt Chamberlain" argument around tolerable wealth and taxation. For the uninitiated, Nozick's line was that if people were prepared to pay to see Wilt play, then he was entitled to higher compensation because of his demonstrably superior ability. Nozick used Chamberlain as a real-life example to demonstrate that non-entitlement theories of justice (most pointedly, that of John Rawls ) were inherently unjust. Now, as my earlier stated interest in both the Young Hegalians and the Frankfurt School probably indicate, I obviously take some issue with Nozick's assumptions. Broadly identifying myself as a 'reconstructed' social democrat (with a pragmatic streak), I found myself locking horns on numerous occasion with my favourite undergrad lecturer. Now, despite our philosophica

Ads That I Like #22

This is a poster that appeared during the Spanish Civil War, seems to be encouraging roosters and their girlfriends to have more and more little chicks. Perhaps there was some grand plan to train and arm these revolutionary offspring and send them to the front to tackle Franco and his troops. Or perhaps there wasn't. Anyway, I am a sucker for chickens, especially cute little fluffy ones, and I feel that this is a good companion piece to the last ad that I posted, which I lovingly titled “Soviet Cock” . I’ve no doubt that a crucial factor undermining the eventual goal of communist domination of the entire globe was not enough chickens. Or at the very least, a lack of revolutionary zeal in the chickens that were produced. Now if you doubt my reasoning, and are actually interested in the real story behind this poster, the title maybe gives it away. “Intensificar la reproducción es hacer obra revolucionaria” pretty much translates as “Intensifying reproduction is revolutionary work”.

Sick, Sick, Sick

You know, this kind of freaks me out a bit. Like some sick game by perverts, many of whom may well get off on it. It also reads as a slight overreaction, and will no doubt annoy these kids. For more the story behind this picture, visit the Daily Mail , those fine purveyors of nonsense.

Russian Elections

One of my new favourite websites is the always magnificent English Russia . The motto of the good people behind the website is "just because something cool happens daily on one sixth of the Earth surface". The other day, no doubt inspired by election fever in Russia , they posted some posters from Russian elections held in the 1990s, but mainly from Presidential Elections. One picture appealed to me in particular: I am told that the banner reads: Youth choose Zyuganov Now, for those of you wondering, the honey in the poster is Gennady Zyuganov, who has occupied the somewhat incongruous position as leader of the new Communist Party of the Russian Federation in post-communist Russia. You can see why the kids would all be rushing out to support Zyuganov; because he really is one cool looking cat! FYI, in the first round of the 1996 Presidential election –an election that I best associate with ' Mad Vlad' Zhirinovsky – Zyuganov finished second with 32%, trailing only Y

Show me the child until [16 months] and I’ll show you the man...

On the bus this morning I was thinking about what Henry's favourite toys might be, and why he likes them. At the moment, the cream of the crop appears to be: A broom; A wooden spoon; An empty box; Rocks; His mother's wallet; An old mop; The watering can; And an untold number of plastic containers. I've been trying to deduce from this what vocation he may be headed for (after a long and distinguished career at centre half back for Essendon Football Club , of course!) I'd like to think that the wide selection of favourite things indicates that it's open, but at the moment his personality type seems to suggest too me "Brutal Third World Dictator". Should I be worried?

National Grammar Day

The US are celebrating National Grammar Day today, and I'm sure that the parties will be numerous and exciting. Having spent seven tortuous years marking thousands of undergraduate essays at UTas, the dire state of proper English is something far dearer to my heart than the odd murdered whale or a smidgen of global warming ! But now you can help . Visit the website for more info. The good folks at Mental Floss are doing their bit , encouraging readers to make personal National Grammar Day resolutions , applying the logic that innumerable micro actions yield impressive macro results. After thinking long and hard about it (fnarr, fnarr), my own personal resolution will be to pay more attention to the compounded hyphen. I know, I know, it's a big call, but we all have to do our bit. Thus from this day forth, I vow to use a hyphen when joining two or more words to serve as a single adjective before a noun. However (and this is the tricky part), when compound modifiers come afte

Muscular Thinking

Someone e-mailed me a page of ersatz figurines/dollies yesterday and it gave me a chuckle. It essentially imagines a range of action toys dedicated to Western philosophers. The logic is that now – with the help of modern technology – the "greatest minds of all time now have great bodies to match". However, I couldn't help but notice some notable omissions. As a great fan of the German Idealists , I wouldn't mind seeing a " Fighting" Fichte (my own personal favourite), or "Stunning" Schelling . More obviously, no "Magnificent" Marx OR "Exacting" Engels ? That's just plain wrong! [As an aside, anyone who wants to fund my draft film script envisioning The Young Hegelians as a sexy group of private eyes who fight crime by day and make love all night, give me a call!] And even if I've gone off them a bit over the last few years, there clearly has to be scope for a whole set dedicated to the Frankfurt School . I mean really

Photo Essay: My journey to work

I thought that I would do something a bit different today, and take the camera with me to record my trip to work this morning. I've been looking at people's blogs a bit of late, and have seen all sorts of interesting accounts (pictorial and otherwise), of life in all sorts of places, from Alaska to Ghana to Romania . So I thought that I should add little old Hobart to the list, as well as record it for myself, for future reference. As someone who is really into history on all levels, sometimes you forget that if you don't leave some trace your own little existence; it's bound to just disappear! So here we go my trip to work on this Wednesday morning, March 5, 2008. As my bus leaves at 7:30 am (sometimes earlier, sometimes later), I'm out the door by 7:20 at the latest for the walk to the stop. Today, Henry and Jen accompanied me to see me off (and were themselves headed off for a brisk morning walk!). So we said our adieus, and went our separate ways. Jen, by e-m

Cool Photo of the Day

Go on, have a guess at what this is a picture of:   For the answer, visit this link . I think that this is very cool indeed.

The least popular person ever?

I am enjoying seeing that poor old Brendon Nelson has somehow managed to drop in the polling with regards to people's preferred Prime Minister this week. Seriously, how does your popularity drop from an already wretched 9% to an all time low of 7% in the context of a presumed interest rate rise and a government that has signalled its intention to cut spending ? Turnbull and Abbott must be rubbing their hands with glee (although sneaky old Joe Hockey is up to no good behind the scenes, I'd wager). Just for laughs, I've attached footage of one of Brendy's better moments. Henry can't get enough of this clip!

To try or not to try, that is the question

The Swans insist that it is all much ado about nothing ; the AFL is keen to protect the integrity of the competition ; Roos thinks that he is being unfairly persecuted and that the AFL have a vendetta against him ; Andy Demetriou says that it's "nothing personal" , he's even in the Telegraph counselling restraint . Aker (being Aker) just can't keep out of any argument and reckons the pre-season comp should be scrapped . The people of Sydney are in uproar ! In The Age, Carro reckons that it is a farce and is holding the fort for her good mate Snooze; in the Hun noted hack Mark Robinson thinks that it's all the fault of the league ; yet also in the Hun chief footy scribe Mike Sheehan disagrees and thinks that Roos has come out looking soiled , and that the AFL's point is valid. It should shock no-one that I agree with Sheehan. The competitive spirit within me cannot accept that football can tolerate actively trying to lose a game. As I said in an earlier p

Blogging boosts your social life

The ABC reported yesterday afternoon that "blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face." I must admit to feeling a bit this way as well, especially when you discover that there appear to be some (albeit not very many) people out there who are reading what you say (thank you Google Analytics ). The fact that potential exchanges are global in scope maybe intensifies the feeling of interaction. I've certainly interacted with more people from a richer variety of cultures than I've perhaps been able to prior to getting into the whole blogging experience (visiting other people's pages, leaving comments, joining into discussions on a whole host of ideas and issues that reflect the diversity of the globe). The study itself strikes me as a little flawed though, does maintaining a My Space page count as a blog? I've always thought of it as an aesthetically displeasing so

Ads that I Like #21

Today's advertisement endorses the old adage of "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen". I have met a number of men who fancy themselves with the ladies (always bachelors, of course), who swear by this approach to wooing the opposite sex. I myself am a firm believer in the maxim "whatever advice precedes or follows the sentence ' the ladies love this ' will generally achieve a contrary outcome". A heads up to Sue who sent me the ad, I hope that you're getting some peace and quiet.

Cool photo of the day

Here is what I think is a rather cool picture of a vessel battling through heavy seas. Dark Roasted Blend has posted this pic and a whole lot more in their "Ships versus Waves Spectacular" .

Wanker of the week

I don't even have the energy to slag this guy off anymore. Luckily, he does a good job of confirming his official role of 'Wanker' each time he opens his mouth. Evidence #127: AFL out to get me: Roos I really can't wait until football sees the back of him.

Death and the Civil War

A very interesting discussion can be found in the New Yorker around the American Civil War and the impact of the resultant deaths on the US. Adam Gopnik's essay "In the mourning store" is well worth a read. Gopnik's essay revolves around three new works that explore the war and the impact of death on US society: Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War ; Mark S. Schantz’s Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death ; and Mark E. Neely Junior's The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction . Especially interesting to me is how - in order to deal with the horrors of war - new forms of social ritual emerged. As Gopnik points out, these rituals were "designed not so much to 'blind' survivors to the reality as to make them believe that the reality was necessary and noble". In many respects, this has been echoed in most subsequent wars. Even more interesting to me is the refle

I’m glad Steve’s doing it

Stumbled across a blog that I'm currently enjoying very much, Steve Don't Eat It! Essentially, it amounts to some bloke named Steve who has decided to eat things that he is aware of, but would not normally try. He records his experience for us, the general public. I am currently up to Volume 7 ( Cuitlacoche , a black fungus that infects corn) and perversely enjoying his accounts very much. If you're into this sort of thing, well worth a look. And Steve, please keep eating it!