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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Goodbye ‘05

Hope you had an enjoyable festive period. Here’s to a great 2006.

The nightly news has been filled with snow-related stories, and even with the sliding car thing I’d love to be there, especially today. Eek! I have a friend in Maine, where today it will be 35f (that’s about 2c). Here it will be 108f. You can watch a real time graph of Melbourne’s weather here. It really is quite addictive.

If you haven’t visited Sadly, No! then that should be your resolution for the new year. Though you don’t have to wait until Sunday, go there now! Really, it’s the best site on the whole internets.

Have a safe new year, what ever you do. Me, I'll be at home monitoring which TV networks change their graphic package (Please let it be Nine). Oh, I'm such a TV geek. See you next year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

North Korea photos

I’ve been fascinated by North Korea for some time. The country is extremely secretive, so any outsider information is of great interest. The BBC is displaying several photos taken by a businessman who visited the country. I highly recommend taking a look, as there are some fantastic shots, especially the kids on the frozen pond and the almost deserted stretch of road.

Howard won’t denounce racist use of flag

Well, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. He never conceded that the race riots were racist (even though the mob of drunk white people were deliberately attacking anyone that looked remotely of Arab or Mediterranean descent). Now he won’t criticise the racists for draping themselves in the Australian flag while going on their racist rampage. That’s just fantastic.

Though, there is support from an unlikely place:

PM, Costello differ over flag use
"The Australian flag represents the nation, it represents what is good about our nation and it is not something to be wrapped around as you are battering somebody in the street," Mr Costello told ABC radio today.

"I actually think that is a desecration of the Australian flag.

"The Australian flag should unite, it should not divide the Australian public."
Unfortunately, Costello agrees with Howard that there is no racist problem in Australia.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Chuck a Barbie on the barbie

If The Shining wasn’t proof enough that little girls are creepy, this study proves it. Though, seriously, who hasn’t wanted to chuck Barbie into a microwave oven?

Monday, December 19, 2005

The War on Christmas - Part Deux

With the War on Christmas under way in Australia, I decided to surf around the TV channels to see how the war is affecting Christmas television…

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hey you three, get a room!

I’ve seen a lot of quasi-homosexual football goal celebrations, but nothing this overt.

Australia joins the fight to save Christmas

I was feeling left out of things, what with the Americans fighting the War on Christmas, but now the War on Christmas affects the entire global community. Yes, the evilness has spread to Australia! But rest assured that Christianity won’t become even more of a minority religion than it already is, because John Howard is on the case:

Howard in call to save Xmas
By Tony Vermeer - December 18, 2005

PRIME Minister John Howard has made a passionate defence of religion at Christmas and urged shopping centres to restore nativity scenes.

Because nothing is more holy or sacrosanct in Christianity than the sacred grounds of Chadstone.

"When I was a kid you'd go in and see the Christmas tree and Santa Claus, but there'd also be nativity scenes in department stores."

One: What is with the poetry? Two: When John Howard was a kid he could have witnessed the original nativity scene.

Now if that wasn’t stupid enough here is where it gets delicious:

'Holiday' Cards Ring Hollow for Some on Bushes' List
By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer - Wednesday, December 7, 2005

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

If our deputy sheriff gets all hot and bothered over shopping centres that don‘t have nativity scenes, I wonder what he thinks about Master Bush taking the Christmas out of Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fox’s DaySide gives sanity the finger

On today’s episode of DaySide with M & J (Michael and Jackson? Meowth and James? Mary and Joseph?) on Fox News Channel, which tastefully opened with M catching a tossed plastic baby, both presenters and much of the audience sported purple fingers. How cute! Though in the interest of balance I hope they do a show with the audience waving around their stumps where their legs used to be. Oh, and they’d have to do the episode without electricity. You know, just to be fair and balanced and all that shit.

This is totally off topic, but is it just me or does this photo look kind of like the creepiest Michael Jackson impersonator standing with the girls from the movie A Tale of Two Sisters?

This too is completely off topic: This Amazon search for ‘Mary and Joseph’ came back with Roy Rogers Volume 1, featuring The Days of Jesse James. Creepy!

Hinn’s voice? Doh!

Just caught the opening of Benny Hinn’s ‘This is Your Day!’ TV show. The large crowd were singing and then out of nowhere this horrible noise started emanating from the speakers. For a second there I thought it might have been the sound of Satan coming for me (apparently this wasn’t my day). After that second had past, and I’m damn serious about this, the voice sounded so much like a drunk Homer Simpson slurring some song.

A vision switch to the stage, however, revealed the real culprit. Yes, it was Benny singing. See, if there really was a God you wouldn’t hear stuff like that.

Also, it looked like a pretty warm night where ever it was in Brazil. People were sweating and fanning themselves with rags and paper. Except for Benny, of course, who shared the stage with no less than three fans (with two directly aimed at him).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush admits to faulty intelligence (regarding Iraq, not himself)

Bush conceded today that the Iraq invasion was based on faulty intelligence during another Oh Shit The American People Are Starting To Wake Up About The Horror In Iraq rallying speech.

BBC: Bush takes on Iraqi war critics

"Many intelligence agencies judged that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and it's true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," said Mr Bush in the speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Yes, the intelligence was wrong, Saddam Hussein wasn’t a threat to America and the smoking gun - that might have come in the form of a mushroom cloud - never existed. So Bush is admitting that the invasion was wrong, both legally and morally? Well, not quite…

But he added that Saddam Hussein was nonetheless a threat, and had been looking for the opportunity to restart his weapons programmes.

Ah, ok. Well that’s good to know. The intelligence saying Hussein was a threat to America was wrong but that doesn’t really matter because, er, Saddam Hussein was a threat anyway. This intelligence that Hussein was hoping for a chance, one day, to restart his weapons programmes, I wonder if that too is darn good intelligy?

I also take offence to this statement that the intelligence was wrong. Yes, the intelligence about WMDs was wrong, but the way Bush says it takes blame away from him and the White House. He is basically saying that the intelligence presented to him was wrong but he took it on good faith, and now he is apologising for being presented false intelligence. But we know the truth. The Bush Administration desperately wanted to invade Iraq. Intelligence was skewed to back-up their plans. Intelligence that said Hussein had no weapons and posed no threat: binned, we don't want you! See, intelligence that doesn't tell us what we want to know is just darn bad intelligence. Below are links to some very interesting reading...

"Government deleted truth" — Andrew Wilkie


Much of the case of the US-led push for war and Australia’s following of the US lead, lay not so much in faulty or poor intelligence, according to Wilkie, but in the drive to remove any ambiguity from the intelligence reports. The reports presented to the government were couched in qualified terms such as, “would”, “possibly” and “on the basis of an uncorroborated interview”. The government removed any ambiguity by deleting references to these terms and turned a qualified assessment into an unqualified statement.

A lack of intelligence by Andrew Wilkie

'Intelligence" was how the Americans described the material accumulating on Iraq from their super-sophisticated spy systems. But to analysts at the Office of National Assessments in Canberra, a decent chunk of the growing pile looked like rubbish.


What Happened to Iraq's WMD? By Scott Ritter

The recent exchange of vitriol between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and more specifically the disconnect between the intelligence data cited by the Bush administration as justification for invading Iraq and the resultant conclusion by the CIA that all Iraqi WMD had already been eliminated as early as 1991, has once again thrust the issue of the use of intelligence for political purposes front and center.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iemma’s rapid ascent to power

Not long after succeeding Bob Carr as NSW Premier, it seems Morris Iemma has taken a further leap in politics…

Professor Kim's News Notes: "Racial violence flares up down under"

"Dozens have been injured. and Prime Minister Morris Iemma has called an emergency session of parliament in an effort to secure new powers for police there."
That’s super news, but has anyone told John Howard yet?

Interesting articles on the unrest in Sydney

Alan Jones: I'm the person that's led this charge By David Marr

Radio doesn't get much grimmer than Alan Jones' efforts in the days before the Cronulla riot. He was dead keen for a demo at the beach — "a rally, a street march, call it what you will. A community show of force."

He assured his huge audience he "understood" why that famous text message went out and he read it right through again on air. "Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day …"


Sons of beaches: a land girt by bigots By Tony Parkinson

Although the word is much used and abused, what is happening at Cronulla could not be more un-Australian. Two tribes who presume it as their right to attack others who look, speak or think differently have turned a beach playground into a battlefield: on the one hand, Lebanese youths asserting a separate cultural identity, and seeking to rule by fear the streets of their adopted home; on the other, a baying pack of drunken boofheads, susceptible to the worst excesses of phony patriotism and yabbering on mindlessly about teaching "the Lebs" a lesson.

[snip]

This is about bigotry, plain and simple; two warped narratives feeding off each other.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Summer Reading Ahoy!

Now that summer is upon us again you’ll probably want to indulge in a favourite pastime - reading shitty books at the beach. There’s something romantic about getting a searing sunburn while reading idiotic prose. After you’ve negotiated the mob of white supremacists littered around the beach (Let’s do Hitler proud, let’s clean up the streets the Nazi way!) you can settle down to third-rate writing. But with so many crappy books out there it can become frustrating trying to pick one. But fear no more! Here is a Handy-Dandy Summer Book Reading Help List!

September by Bridget Marks

Marielle is a 58-year-old cunt (socialite), who lives in New York. Then her son is killed in the WTC on September 11, 2001. Her son was the result of a fling with a Pakistani diplomat. But then it turns out that this Pakistani diplomat might be the mastermind behind 9/11. (???) And then this 58-year-old cunt (millionaire socialite) becomes a covert CIA operative in two weeks and goes on a mission to kill her former lover and save the entire world. Me thinks there was a lot of drug taking during the writing of this, er, ‘book’.

If you’re seeking something in the “non-fiction” section (and I use that term very loosely) then I can heartily recommend Michelle Malkin’s Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. It catalogues liberals ranting and raving like lunatics. Saddam Hussein had no nuclear or biological weapons? The invasion of Iraq was based on forged documents and biased intelligence?! George W. Bush is inarticulate!!! How do they come up with this stuff? This book is a shocking entry into the illogical world of Liberals. If you feel that you can’t handle such explosive stupidity then there is always the film adaptation:

Monday, December 12, 2005

I’m ashamed to be Australian...

The world view of Australia used to be one of friendly, laidback people, and a diverse landscape populated with unusual indigenous animals. In the past few years that has changed. When people around the world think of Australia they almost always think of one thing: racism. It was during the Tampa crisis that I became, for the first time, deeply ashamed of Australia and many of its citizens. I adored that our country had a huge population from different cultures and that they mingled, the true multicultural experience. But there has been a deep level of racism in Australian culture, going back to when the white settlers first set foot on land and met the indigenous inhabitants.

Racism spilled over in disgusting behaviour in the suburbs of Sydney yesterday...

Alcohol, the Australian flag and raw racism fuelled a violent rampage by thousands of young residents in Sydney yesterday, drawing widespread revulsion as bloodshed and bigotry turned a seaside suburb into a battleground.


...

As the crowd moved along the beach and foreshore area today, one man on the back of a Ute began to shout "No more Lebs" - a chant picked up by the group around him.

Others in the crowd, carrying Australian flags and dressed in Australian shirts, yelled "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ... Oi, Oi, Oi".

...

"F--- off, get the f--- back to Lebanon," one man shouted at an 18-year-old man who had ventured to the beach for a dip.

He was the first to be targeted just before 11am, chased by 200 people to the Northies Hotel sports bar, where 20 bouncers joined police in holding back a crowd that swelled to several thousand. Many of them were drinking, some of them clearly underage.

The Age: Racist furore as mobs riot
The Age: Violence flares at Cronulla

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Democracia?

This is cool: Inuit sue US over climate policy

This is not:
Teen suspended from school for speaking Spanish

This is just stupid:
Bushes' 'holiday' cards ring hollow for some

And this is really ugly:
U.S. military probes video of road violence - British contractors appear to shoot at Iraqi civilians

Friday, December 09, 2005

Imagine…

I have a game for you to play today. Try to imagine no possessions. I wonder if it’s possible…

Hmmm, okay, I think I can picture a world without possessions. Looking pretty good... oh, wait.

John Lennon Sonic Mobile

oooh! Gotta have that. And only 15 pounds! Bargain!

Okay, back to imagining a world without possessions. Okay, I think I have a pretty good idea of how nice a world it would be. But not as nice as a world with a...

John Lennon Baby Team Nursery Rug!!!

And only $200, too. No, wait! It's on sale!! $138! Really, I mean that's so cheap it's like I'm stealing the thing.

I'll start thinking about a world without possessions once I put my Visa back in my wallet. Okay, done. Now... Yes, I think people would lead more fulfilling lives if they focused on the important things like loving each other and the beauty of nature instead of becoming slaves to materialism. I’m really digging this world…

... oh, wait. My fridge is just screaming for a
JOHN LENNON FRIDGE MAGNET!!!!

Coulter, telling the truth for once?

"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," Coulter told the crowd of 2,600 Wednesday.

Stupider? Well, that’s debateable. But stupid? Oh yes! Some examples:

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism [BARGAIN PRICE]

Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right

How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter

Americans are Dumb R.I.P.

I just found out today that the excellent blog, Americans are Dumb, is no longer. The continual dumbanity (yes, I created a word) took its toll on Lt. Dan, and I can’t really say I’m surprised. In theory it’s great, but when you think about searching the internet for dumb things dumb Americans have done (which would take all of a minute) and do it every day, month after month, then I’m just glad he’s still alive. So, in tribute to Americans are Dumb I present three examples of Americans being dumb:

1. They shoot and kill mentally ill people. (It’s being debated whether or not the man actually said he had a bomb. Even though I’m not a terrorism expert, I’d assume that real terrorists don’t go around shouting, “I’ve got a bomb. Hey, everyone, I’m a terrorist! I hate you for your freedoms, so I’m going to kill you all. Did I mention I have a bomb?”

2. San Francisco police made a “fun” video to be shown at a Christmas Party. The “morale” boosting, “fun” video contains a scene where a “white police officer in a patrol car [runs] over a black homeless woman”. Sounds hysterical. No, really.

3. They have “legally murdered” one thousand people since 1976.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I’m not sure, but I assume it wouldn’t be a picnic...

Monday, December 05, 2005

My Favourite Film

Tonight the ABC screened a special program called My Favourite Film. A few months ago viewers were asked to submit their favourite film via the internet or phone. The results were unveiled last night. I can’t say that I was surprised by the winner, though I had expected a Spielberg to make the top 10.

I couldn’t decide on one film, so I voted for two. They were Fight Club and the Australian classic Malcolm. Unfortunately Malcolm didn’t make it into the top 100 (sadly it seems to have been forgotten by so many people), but Fight Club made it in at #10. My mother was rooting for the musical The Sound of Music, which surprisingly polled at #11.

As with any list the fun comes with debating the inclusions and sounding off against the exclusions. Amélie is a very nice film, but I don’t think it deserves #2. Donnie Darko at #5? That’s a little generous. It’s a great film, but better than Fight Club? Not according to me. It was disappointing that the top 10 was devoid of Kubrick (though 2001 ranked at #13, followed by Dr. Strangelove at #17 and A Clockwork Orange, #26).

One of the worst shockers was Serenity at #38. That movie has been out for a few months, and already a gaggle of teens believe it to be their favourite film?! Rear Window at #68 is a travesty. And to think Love Actually ranked higher. Hang your heads in shame! And Trainspotting at #73, what were you people thinking?!

Concerning the films that failed to make the top 100:

- The song might have been Don’t You Forget About Me, but many people apparently forgot about The Breakfast Club.

- Many viewers did the wrong thing when they failed to nominate Do The Right Thing.

- The viewers must have had this gem slip from their memory, because Memento deserved to be there.

- No Kurosawa! No Bergman! And what’s with so few Hitchcock films?

Other films that I think should have been there (even though it was a populist list): Requiem for a Dream, Rififi, Police Story, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Baran, The Abyss, Metropolis, Amores Perros, Natural Born Killers, Russian Ark, In The Mood for Love, Three Kings, Happy Together, Wages of Fear, Deconstructing Harry, Se7en, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Blue Velvet, Ordinary People, Ran, Platoon, Woodstock, Taxi Driver, The Conversation, Night of the Living Dead, Lupin 3: The Castle of Cagliostro, Obchod Na Korze, Rebel Without a Cause… I could go on all day.

Also on the film front, I watched the excellent Aussie film The Quiet Room the other day. The focus of the film is a twelve-year-old girl. As her mother and father’s relationship continues its slide she stops talking. But her mind is filled with observations and thoughts and we get to hear them in wonderful voice-overs. A really great film worth finding.

See the Top 100 list in the ABC's My Favourite Film poll

Here is a list of the films I have seen out of the Top 100:

02 Amélie
05 Donnie Darko
10 Fight Club
11 The Sound of Music
13 2001: A Space Odyssey

16 American Beauty
17 Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
23 The Matrix
26 A Clockwork Orange
29 Life is Beautiful

33 Lost in Translation
47 Picnic at Hanging Rock
48 The Usual Suspects
50 Forrest Gump
64 Spirited Away

68 Rear Window
73 Trainspotting
74 Muriel’s Wedding
77 Ferris Bueller's Day Off

79 Lantana

86 Fargo
95 Mulholland Drive
98 The Thin Red Line