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Showing posts from June 29, 2008

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less

I have found the ideal photograph for the inside fold of the debut LP that I have blogged on previously . Yeah, another shot straight into the sun, but I generally only do it at either ends of the day. The thing that I like most about it is that you can make out only a select few shapes and movement from this vantage point. Thus, you are left pretty much unaware of exactly who or what it is that is coming straight at you. This lack of knowledge would terrify some, but the fact that it is the sunshine and not the moon has a calming effect on me. The explanation is juvenile, as when this happens I generally imagine that it will resemble something out of an ad for Coca Cola from the early 1980s. Thus, in my head it is less likely to be a serial killer, and more likely a curvy brunette wearing a bikini. Dripping wet. And smiling. And thirsty. Good times.

A LOLHenry for the new generation

I must admit to not being a huge fan of the whole LOLcat phenomenon . The pedant in me has a tendency to get frustrated with the (deliberate, I hope) poor spelling and grammar. Of course, I have little time for textspeak or leetspeak or any such nonsense. Yes, I do understand that it is simply a new way of interacting and a genuine 'voice' of a subculture, I just happen to think that it is stupid, and makes the people who use it look stupid. Hence the LOLHenry that I created the other day, and have posted today. Aside from an inevitable dumbing down of the language (and the standard mode of communication itself), I resent that most LOLCats make felines look like a bunch of ignorant morons. As a unabashed fan of the feline (and apologies to any relatives of Phil Jaques reading this), I feel that the sort of simplistic, inane and poorly constructed nonsense most LOLCat discourse resembles is far more suited to dogs. The canine is infinitely more likely to speak in such a cr

Bescheidenheit ist die höchste Form der Arroganz

Today, despite the snow on the mountain and general brisk temperatures, I had spent a lovely lunch sitting in the park appreciating the sun and agreeable vista. Of course, such serenity inevitably prompts on to reflect upon weighty subjects such as one’s life and general purpose. I read an article the other day on the notion of parenthood and happiness . The general thrust was obvious to me (that having children in-and-of-itself will not make someone happy), but clearly a disappointment to many others. I will be honest with you and share the fact that prior to young Henry’s appearance on this planet, I was somewhat ambivalent to the idea of having children. I had no set against it, mind you; but nor did I have any drive to become a father. Of course, now that he is here I would not have it any other way, and today I had cause to contemplate another unforeseen bonus of the little bloke. On occasion (from even early on in my life), I would stop and ask myself “have you in any way t

Sports logos worthy of ridicule or admiration (or both): DUD LOGOS

In the world of art, there is a concept known as “so bad that it is good”. Some examples include Ed Wood’s Plan Nine From Outer Space ; Swayze’s Road House ; Schwarzenegger's Commando ; the occasional entrant in The Eurovision Song Contest ; McGonagall’s The Tay Bridge Disaster . I will be honest with you and say that don’t feel that any of today’s logos qualify. In fact, I feel that more likely they belong in the far broader category of “so bad that it is horrible” class. So, lest my rambling on gets in the way of my rambling on, I offer to you this week’s category! EPISODE THREE: DUD LOGOS These two featured just two weeks ago, but I really could not pass them over. If we are talking bad art, it just isn't possible to overlook the Hamilton Tigers 1921 effort that fused the tiger and the Elephant Man (on the left). Rendering what is arguably the most majestic and fine-looking creature in the world as a malformed and miserable mutant takes some beating

I came here to hunt whales, not my commander's vengeance

No, we’re not talking witches today; we’re talking about one of the prime industries that Tasmania (or Van Diemen’s Land , as it was then) has ever seen, albeit fleetingly. The years 1836 to 1841 marked the peak of the Tasmanian whaling industry , in 1836 there were nine stations in and about Hobart. By 1841, thirty-five bay whaling stations in Tasmania were manned by more than 1000 men, but by then they had managed to kill the goose that lay the golden eggs. I have always found the rise and fall of the Tasmanian whaling industry a really useful example of what Stephen Lukes calls ‘ the Tragedy of the Commons ’. Putting on the political science hat for a moment, the tragedy of the commons is best understood as a kind of social trap that involves a conflict over finite resources between individual interests and the common good. Hardin concluded that free and unregulated access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately - through its very structure - dooms the resource

Motivational Poster

I made it myself. You can make one too. Just go to this website . [Polite nod to the gang at Mental Floss .]

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love

This isn’t my photograph (I wish). It’s NASAs. Seriously, you need to check the link for a set of mind-blowing images of the Earth that they’ve taken over the years. You’ll wet your pants.

Do you know what it's like falling in the mud and getting kicked, in the head? With an iron boot?

The photo above was taken as I was walking up the road to the bus stop this morning. As you can see, it was a lovely and bright morning. Actually is was incredibly dark and pelting down with rain. It was also about three degrees, so I briskly made my way to the stop (and some protection from the rain and wind). By the time that I made it into town the rain had stopped and (some) sun had emerged. This brief reprieve from the rain presented a lovely view of the mountain liberally coated in snow. Because I have featured the mountain a little too much of late , I have attached today’s effort only as a supplementary photograph.

Ads that I like #50

It has taken me three weeks to decide on advertisement number 50 in this series. True to form, I have squibbed it and gone for a double feature! The first is an ad for Sealy mattresses from 1944 that firmly adheres to the adage, sex sells . Here we have a precocious bit of jail bait in a admirable sweater (and even more admirable brassiere) doing her best Meg Ryan impression from When Harry Met Sally in order to entice some overweight, balding and middle-aged man well past his prime into parting with some hard-earned for a mattress that will never see the workout that the sales pitch of little old Lolita here promises. But you know, Hank, Frank or Charlie shouldn’t feel too bad for missing out on a bit of indecent, immoral (and by the looks of her age) illegal fun. You see, I am sure that I have seen Lolita lurking about someplace else. That’s right; here she is with a few more miles on the clock and the sort of wear and tear that comes with the journey. Consider that one a n

The deepest depth of vulgarism is that of setting up money as the ark of the covenant

Yesterday evening was pregnastics again, so Henry and I entertained ourselves while Jen was out doing whatever it is that a roomful of heavily pregnant women do when corralled together. Today’s photograph is testament to the fact that Henry was in terrific form. In fact, we managed to cover most of the amusements that have consumed our evenings of late: Dinner Vacuuming Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Singing Dancing Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Reading books: (last night we enjoyed The New Baby , Guess How Much I Love You , Meg and Mog , and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ) Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Wrestling Extreme hugs Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Tower building Tower destroying Drumming Forward rolling Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Cubby house building Cubby house dismantling Deep breathing Dessert Piggy bank emptying Piggy bank filling Relaxing You will have probably noted the preponderance of piggy bank-related activities. Yes, H

The elusive prime

Henry and I have just finished Muriel Spark’s excellent short novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie . No doubt, many people will be more familiar with the cinematic version of 1969, but I must say the book is far better, for the usual reasons (nuance and depth not the least). Upon some reflection on our recent reading habits, we have deliberately chosen a ‘feminine’ novel to mix things up a bit. I have been worried about Henry’s escalating assertive masculinity, and figured that a book written by a woman, set in a girl’s school and ostensibly about a ‘strong’ women in her prime would offer a counter balance to the raging testosterone that has taken over the house. Having not read any Murial Spark previously, let’s just say that I was taken by surprise. I was taken aback by the complexity of the narrative and plot. This is a book rich and original in style. In terms of delivering a ‘feminine’ voice, I guess it did that. I am not sure if it delivers a message that will be helpful for He

You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun.

I am continuing my ‘urban grit’ theme today, with another image of the out-of-control wild streets of Hobart. Yes, today we have a photograph of barbed wire. For reasons obviously beyond my feeble comprehension, there is a bundle of haphazardly arranged barbed wire on the side of the fire escape to keep reprobates off of the roof of this building. The logic behind this placement intrigues me. You see, the barbed wire only extends perhaps 1.5 metres across the ledge adjacent to the roof top, but the fire escape itself extends at least 2.5 metres, but more likely 3. This would allow enough space for all but the most corpulent of miscreants to freely access the roof and commit all sorts of heinous acts with the pigeons nestled on top. This oversight leads me to think that I can safely rule out roof access as the reason behind the inexplicable placement of the barbed wire. However, the wire does not sit in front of anything but a bare brick ledge. It protects no skylight, vent, power box o

One hundred years ago today!

I would like to note that today is the one hundredth anniversary of the Tunguska Event . You would be forgiven for having not heard of this event or even any idea of where or what a Tunguska is, but it has fascinated me ever since I read about it in the World Book Encyclopaedia as a kid. As an aside, I will admit to dipping into the old encyclopaedia for random reading matter right throughout my childhood (remember kids this is BE time ( B efore the I nternet). The Tunguska Event was a massive explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in (what is now) Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia during the morning of June 30, 1908. To confuse matters more, we have the lovely quirk of Russian history that records the date as June 17, in the Julian calendar, which was used at the time. Most estimates of the energy of the blast agree on somewhere between ten-to-fifteen megatons of TNT the most likely. This would make it about a thousand times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima

Monster from the deep?

Here is another of the latest games. He lines up like a hairless Dennis Lillee from the Punt Road End, counts to three and then steams in at me while I sit on the floor, trembling with what he might be carrying to hit me with from the dark. We call them "extreme hugs".

I think I've discovered the secret to life... You just hang around until you get used to it...

Lest you all think that Hobart is a forever happy, neat and tidy utopia, I felt it timely to inject a little urban grit back into things. This lovely shot was taken not three minutes walk from the city centre, somewhere between the needle and syringe exchange and Spotlight , the home of all things fabric and craftware. This is a spot in a nice little carpark that I like to stop with Henry and lecture him on the poor behaviour of some people. The title today is a quote from the wise words of Charlie Brown's little sister, Sally. I've blogged before about her brother, but I quite like Sally too. One of the things I like best about her are her 'new philosophies' that were frequently developed in the latter years of the strip. Generally, Sally's 'new philosophies' went along the lines of "Who cares?" or "How should I know?" I think that they reached their zenith when she declared that her new philosophy would be the word "No". This