Tuesday, August 31, 2004

oz politics easy reference guide

At last a useful, short guide to current to politics in Australia. Provided by the excitable Ms Fits. High Elvis quotient in this one.

Another longer guide, also written to explain Oz politics to USA persons, and Australians who only watch TV, is provided by Tim Dunlop at Road to Surfdom. Low Elvis score.

Monday, August 30, 2004

elvis quotient - on watch

The election is now formally on. Formerly it was informally on.

My monitoring of the underbelly will be through "Sheilsey", "Queequeg" and "The Priest" Parish. They will be my main weekly big shop, the supermarket of the Broadway and Off-Broadway.

I'll expect and rely on them to provide a reasonably healthy diet of nutritious angles plus the dubious thrill of reading the feverish comments pecked out by the camp followers with grubby nail bitten fingers on greasy food filled keyboards from the great sweating partially washed with their bloodshot eyes and waxy ears and bed hair and the spewed up heartburn reflux of midnight rants oozing out of the dimly lit fetid bedrooms and the detritus strewn studies of long suffering surfers of suffrage in ozonline.

For my Off-Off-Broadway I'll trawl around the sidestreets and then, as is my want, down the back alleys and garbage lanes of Blogstralia looking for the different, nice, unusual to link to.

Me? I'll stick to looking for the only thing that should influence voting. The only evidence that matters. The Elvis quotient of the candidates.

We all know what it means.

Howard has none. Latham has some. I can't see any in the Libs at all. Bob Brown looks like the sort of guy who can't dance and would wear a bright pale yellow finely knitted v necked jumper for smart casual. No Elvis quotient there. Julia Gillard has got enough Elvis for a duet. There's buggerall Elvis in the Dems now that whatsisname the ex goth boy is off the slops.

Keep tuned for any sightings of Elvisness. Comments and tips welcome.

abc radio bows to blog pressure

Michael Duffy just announced on his Counterpoint program 10 minutes ago that he has been forced to drop his theme music from the show and choose another.

I just know that it was because I'd pointed out on July 6 here that the theme is was the song "Golden Brown" by The Stranglers. A well known homage to heroin usage.

Now where are the rants against the "political correctness" and "luvvies" of the ABC?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

the trinity, the holy ghost, van

Speaking in tongues: the songs of Van Morrison
Martin Buzacott and Andrew Ford (ABC Books 2005)
Excerpt from Part One
A Soul in Wonder: Themes and Variations

Like Tennyson’s Ulysses, Van Morrison is a part of all that he has met, a storehouse of experience and memory. To listen to Van Morrison singing his songs is to get inside his cluttered mind and follow him on remembered journeys around the East Belfast of his youth, up this street, down that avenue, across the viaducts, beneath the pylons. You’re carrying a window-cleaner’s ladder, on your back a knapsack containing Paris buns, the latest Ray Charles single and a copy of Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.

The landscape has a familiarity, and yet you feel a sense of wonder. All around you are childhood memories, and they provoke your imagination, inspiring you to the extent that you are constantly searching for a higher meaning and a connection with some perfect silence, most likely to be found in nature or in some ancient past. Frequently disappointed in your quest, and too often encountering shysters and people who distract you or seek to thwart your progress, you soldier on out of a sense of duty and because it’s your job (you are a Protestant and have a work ethic to match). Sometimes when you’re in a good mood you might hanker after a companion who will share the mystical quest with you, and if she’s female, you will walk with her down by the river (or railroad, or avenue), listening together to the wind in the willows, and at the end of the day the two of you might retire inside for a little bit of conversation, play some old blues, soul or jazz records, and then finish it off with that old backstreet jellyroll.

These repeated patterns of creative behaviour —the childhood reminiscences, the spiritual searching, the nature-worship, the homages to musical idols, the themes of innocence, experience and complaint—are everywhere in Morrison’s work. They are the building blocks from which the he constructs his songs and imaginative landscapes [. . .]. And in one of the most consistent careers in popular music, most of [these themes] were there right from the very beginning.

In autumn 1968 when he recorded his first proper solo album, Astral Weeks, Van Morrison had just turned 23. The degree of retrospection embodied in it is, then, surprising. Most 23 year-old men do not sing about their childhood. Most 23 year-old men do not even sing about the past: they sing about their girlfriends or their car, and the songs are in the present tense or in an ideal, chimerical future. But there, on Astral Weeks, on what are still regarded as some of his finest songs—‘Cyprus Avenue, ‘Madame George’, and the album’s title track—Morrison is already busy reminiscing.

Although it was surely never intended, Astral Weeks now seems like a manifesto, a statement of intent: this is the kind of artist I am, and this is what I will remain. In the first verse of the first song—‘Astral Weeks’ itself—we hear about venturing in ‘the slipstream’ which is ‘between the viaducts of your dream’ and we encounter his desire to be ‘born again’. These are words, images and themes that Morrison revisits to this day, and from the start some of these were more transparent in their meaning than others. The viaduct, for instance, is a tangible symbol of his childhood in East Belfast. Singing ‘Summertime in England’ at a New York concert in 1990, he intones the word over and over: ‘Viaduct, viaduct, viaduct, viaduct’. It becomes an incantation of an almost spiritual nature, similar to his whispered pleading at the end of Into the Music (1978) to meet him ‘down by the pylons’. One imagines these viaducts and pylons as symbols of Morrison’s childhood and early teenage years: tadpoles in jam-jars, illicit cigarettes, R&B records and the first, furtive fumblings of adolescent sex.

From the very start of his solo singing career, it was these songs in celebration of an idyllic youth that were least close to jazz, blues, soul or gospel, the popular music forms in which Morrison had been steeped as a child. Most significantly for 1968, the songs on Astral Weeks could hardly have been considered rock and roll ‘in any ordinary or hyphenated sense’, as Greil Marcus wrote at the time. Harmonically, these songs and all the childhood songs that followed tend to have a modal simplicity whose roots are in Celtic folksong . . .

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

might come in handy one day

In 1989 the American musicologist Alan W. Pollack started to analyze the songs of the Beatles. He published his first results on internet. In 1991 -- after he had finished the work on 28 songs -- he bravely decided to do the whole lot of them. About ten years later, in 2000 he completed the analysis of the official Beatles' canon, consisting of 187 songs and 25 covers. Here we have ordered this massive work in five categories.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

ruby ann boxcar

Shes really funny. Clever. She was on ABC radio this afternoon, running rings around the private school girl presenter de jour.

From her website:

"Needless to say, Melbourne can be summed up in one word...BEAUTIFUL. Talk about pretty. And the people were so nice. Actually I'm writin' this here from the beautiful hotel them folks put me and my husband Dew in down in downtown Melbourne.

The only problem I've had to far was a freek accident. You see, it's winter time over here, which I LOVE, so I kind of came down with a little tingle in my throat on the first day I arrived. Well, I just popped a eucalyptus flavored cough drop in my mouth, and before you could say, "He Matilda is your dance card filled," I was attacked by a group of them Koala bears. They was on me like skank on my sister. They all was tryin' to suck that dog gone cough drop out of my mouth. To be honest with y'all, I think that was the first time I'd ever French kissed something that wasn't my husband or a relative. Anyways, I managed to break free and spit that dog gone thing clear across the street, and they got after that thing like my daddy on a wing at KFC after church on Sunday afternoon.

But like I was sayin', these folks down under are some of the most wonderful people you'll ever get to meet outside of a trailer park. But I'll have more of that for y'all next month. For now I got to run. My husband sleep medicine has finally kicked in and I'm feelin' robust. "

So if you're in the Melbourne area come and see me cook up a dish on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 27, 28, and 29, around 1 PM at the Malthouse or you can attend my one woman show, The Ruby Ann Boxcar Experience, on Sunday August 29 around 2 PM at the Malthouse. For more information call +61 (0)3 9645 9244

Thursday, August 19, 2004

bob + willie + western swing = bliss

"THE BOB DYLAN SHOW" TO PLAY IN 22 MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PARKS ON SUMMER TOUR . Joining Bob Dylan on the tour are Willie Nelson and Family and The Hot Club Of Cowtown. Kids under 12 will be admitted free with an adult ticket holder. Gig list, venues and dates

Campanelli Stadium Brockton. Sunday 15 Aug 2004
......Nelson, 71, took stage first, playing his classic hits, such as "Whiskey River," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Georgia on my Mind," "Good Hearted Woman," and "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys."

Nelson played 25 songs in a 90-minute set, grinning and waving to audience members the entire time.

At various points during the show, Nelson tossed his hat or bandana into the crowd, only to have fans throw their own hats back to him. The crowd went wild at one point, when Nelson tossed his cowboy hat into the crowd and put on a Boston Red Sox cap a fan had thrown on stage.

While Nelson interacted with the audience, Dylan, in typical Dylan-fashion, only addressed the audience once — when he introduced his band at the end of his set. Still, his fans loved him.

Dylan's playlist consisted of very few of his classic tunes. He played mostly his more obscure Christian and gospel songs, and blues songs off his 1997 "Love and Theft" album. [my emphasis]

After playing a 12-song set, Dylan played a three-song encore, consisting of mainstream hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Like a Rolling Stone," and "All Along the Watchtower," which brought about shouts of, "Yeah Bobby!" from the crowd.

Also in his typical, Chaplain-esque way, Dylan bounced and bobbled around stage seemingly in his own world.
At one point in the show, he stood in center stage looking like he was holding an air guitar, only to wander off stage and back on again.......

porn - moral panic

A bunch of idiots in the Labor party have come out in favour of internet filtering.

Jason Soon uses this to point out "that Labor has been captured by the Wowser Left in the shape of reactionary Tory socialist Clive Hamilton".

Irene Graham of the Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (EFA) has a personal web site full of censorship history and facts about filtering.

UPDATE: Al Bundy, Prof Bunyip's milder nephew, has taken apart the Australia Institute's porn polemic far better than I could.

UPDATE ON UPDATE: Ken Parish over at Troppo Armadillo has the beginnings of a thoughtful thread emerging on the latest porn filtering gambit.

Paul Watson reckons its because Hamilton is a baby boomer. Watson suggests that men who don't know how to handle women should become Friends of Dorothy and makes a subtle but self sacrificing offer - "I’m over here, guys! Now that porn’s corrupted you, poofterdom is more than ready to offer you a healthy sexual relationship!" [..more..]

UPDATE 3: Barista builds up a 15 bar pump head of steam and pulls the lever on the Gaggia and serves up a hot double shot of black on the porn issue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

busy week already

Its only Tuesday and the week is already a disconcerting blur.

On the radio is Toots Hibbert singing "Maggies Farm" from the album Is It Rolling, Bob? an album of Bob Dylan songs by reggae artists. I prefer Bob doing his own raggae on "At Budakan". I still think Pressure Drop is one of the best songs ever partly because it always grabs me and partly because I don't think anyone knows what its about and partly because I remember reading an interview where Toots said he didn't know what it was about. But we all know what it means. I was out of the country when Toots was playing live here this year.

A bunch of idiots in the Labor party have come out in favour of internet filtering. Jason Soon uses this to point out "that Labor has been captured by the Wowser Left in the shape of reactionary Tory socialist Clive Hamilton".
Irene Graham of the Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (EFA) has a personal web site full of censorship history and facts about filtering.

UPDATE: Al Bundy, Prof Bunyip's milder nephew, has taken apart the Australia Institute's porn polemic far better than I could.

Why on earth has Scrafton undertaken the "lie detector" test? I thought he was travelling well until then. Back Pages has a few good threads on the matter.

On a brighter note. Amanda from Flop Eared Mule tells me that Todd Snider has a new album "East Nashville Skyline" with good serious content. I always knew he could do it. Great interview with Todd and Lone Star Music.

Oh and I discovered a wonderful 1957 piece by Roland Barthes on the Citroen Goddess. I guess in 1957 post modern was just modern.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

youthful exuberance - my arse

"...When Tavistock brought the Beatles to the United States nobody could have imagined the cultural disaster that was to follow in their wake. The Beatles were an integral part of "THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY.

The phenomenon of the Beatles was not a spontaneous rebellion by youth against the old social system. Instead it was a carefully crafted plot to introduce by a conspiratorial body which could not be identified, a highly destructive and divisive element into a large population group targeted for change against its will. New words and new phrases--prepared by Tavistock(1)-- were introduced to America along with the Beatles. Words such as "rock" in relation to music sounds, "teenager," "cool," "discovered" and "pop music" were a lexicon of disguised code words signifying the acceptance of drugs and arrived with and accompanied the Beatles wherever they went, to be "discovered" by "teenagers." Incidentally, the word "teenagers" was never used until just before the Beatles arrived on the scene, courtesy of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.

As in the case of gang wars, nothing could or would have been accomplished without the cooperation of the media, especially the electronic media and, in particular, the scurrilous Ed Sullivan who had been coached by the conspirators as to the role he was to play. Nobody would have paid much attention to the motley crew from Liverpool and the 12-atonal system of "music" that was to follow had it not been for an overabundance of press exposure. The 12-atonal system consisted of heavy, repetitive sounds, taken from the music of the cult of Dionysus and the Baal priesthood by Adorno and given a "modern" flavor by this special friend of the Queen of England and hence the Committee of 300.

(1) Tavistock: An Institute in UK where they research in mind control, run by highly trained psychiatrists who answer to the Illuminati. From here Ayatollah Khomeini, Radovan Karadzic and Milosevic among others were all trained for their mission. ..." [...read more...]

Saturday, August 14, 2004

farting as a defence against unspeakable dread

Farting as a defence against unspeakable dread, Sidoli M

This paper describes some features of the behaviour of a severely disturbed adopted latency boy. Peter was born premature, suffered several early hospitalizations and surgical operations, and at 2 months of age was removed from his mother's care by Social Services for neglect and abandonment.

Although his subsequent development has been clouded by a series of losses and sudden changes of caregivers, Peter has maintained an unexpected desire to relate, showing considerable innate resilience. When feeling endangered, Peter had developed a defensive olfactive container using his bodily smell and farts to envelop himself in a protective cloud of familiarity against the dread of falling apart, and to hold his personality together.

In the paper Fordham's views of development and Anzieu's concept of psychic envelopes constitute the theoretical underpinning. Bion's concepts of beta- and alpha-elements are discussed in relation to Jung's views on symbolic development and psychological containment.

Author Keywords: adoption, dread, neglect, resilience, sensuous olfactive object


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

same till different hands

Centrelink worker helps people, does job well, repays money to taxpayers, gets 9 months.

Governor General does bad job, doesnt help people, gets $650,000 gift from taxpayers, repays nothing.

"Centrelink customer-service officer Angelo Alateras handed out more than $92,000 in unauthorised payments because he felt compassion for his clients, many of whom were homeless or drug users.

The court heard most of the defrauded money was recovered, and the judge made a reparation order to the Commonwealth for the outstanding amount of $29,122.83.
Judge Walsh sentenced Alateras to nine months' jail, but immediately released him on a $1000 good-behaviour bond and placed him on a two-year community-based order."

"Mr Butler, a 62-year-old former United Nations weapons inspector, was the highest paid vice-regal representative in the country. The payout takes his earnings for 10 months to about $1 million. Included in the deal is another month in Government House, Hobart, to settle his affairs, plus moving expenses."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

song for richard butler & peter hollingsworth

Once upon a time
You dressed so fine,
You threw the bums a dime,
In your prime,
Didn't you?

People'd call,
Say, “Beware doll,
You're bound to fall.”
You thought they were all
Kiddin' you.

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out.
Now you don't
talk so loud.
Now you don't
seem so proud
About having to be scrounging
for your next meal.

How does it feel?
How does it feel,
To be without a home,
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?


Sunday, August 08, 2004

doctors and torture - abu ghraib - guantanamo bay

Prof. Robert Jay Lifton, author of "The Nazi doctors: medical killing and the psychology of genocide." New York: Basic Books, 1986, and many other works writes in the issue of The New England Journal of Medicine July 29, 2004 of the possibility that:

"There is increasing evidence that U.S. doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Such medical complicity suggests still another disturbing dimension of this broadening scandal."
"... Physicians have served as actual torturers in Chile and elsewhere; have surgically removed ears as punishment for desertion in Saddam Hussein's Iraq; have incarcerated political dissenters in mental hospitals, notably in the Soviet Union; have, as whites in South Africa, falsified medical reports on blacks who were tortured or killed; and have, as Americans associated with the Central Intelligence Agency, conducted harmful, sometimes fatal, experiments involving drugs and mind control.
With the possible exception of the altering of death certificates, the recent transgressions of U.S. military doctors have apparently not been of this order..."
[..more.. full text article..]

Since at least 1988 medical involvement in torture and mistreatment in Iraq was commonplace under Saddam Hussein with one survey reporting that 32% of physicians had falsified death certificates, 50% had conducted nontherapeutic amputation of ears as a form of punishment and 49% had falsified medical-legal reports of torture

[Survey published in Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 291 No. 12, March 24/31, 2004 - Abstract only]

Irant over at Immanuel Rant in the comments below suggests this article by Robert Fisk on Abu Grhaib from September last year.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

sweet f (t) a

Tim Wu, who I think is guest blogging over at Lawrence Lessig's blog posted about the FTA. Even though I'm not sure if I understand all they are talking about yet it is interesting to see at least a passing reference to the FTA on a USA site and a number of comments.

Last week I was chatting with a friend who now works on the House Ways and Means Committee. Talk turned to the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, which Congress passed in July and which President Bush ratified yesterday.

“That DMCA and copyright term extension stuff,” he said to me, “None of it was really seen as controversial.”

“Some people consider it controversial” I said.

“I’m sure you’re right, and that’s what I thought” he said, “But we only got letters from the library people.” A pause. “Its become a standard clause, and doesn’t really get much attention. If people care about it, they need to do more.” He’s right. Years of DMCA & term extension criticism can easily boil down to “not controversial.”
[..read more comments...]

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

i pledge allegiance to the flag .....

John Howard announced today the re-convening of the House of Un-American Activities with the power to subpoena Opposition Leaders prior to being certified fit for office in Australia.

Tony "Head Altar Boy" Abbott has agreed to change his name by deed poll to Tony "Joseph McCarthy " Abbott.

Alexander Downer has agreed throw his support behind Howard by impersonating J Edgar Hoover in fish net stockings and a fetching, if somewhat 50s style, off the shoulder pink chiffon evening dress donated by Cheryl Kernot.

Fearing being grilled by the House of Un-American Activities as Peter Seeger was Peter Garrett has retrospectively changed the name of his former band to Texaco Oils (and just in case, they have registered in UK as Midnight Royals)

the family pharma

I snaffled this from the comments over at Backpages by Robert Corr who snaffled it from Crikey's list of former Howard staffers "who do they work for now"

From Crikey's list of former Howard staffers we have the following:
  • Paul Cross: former Michael Wooldridge's office, now at drug giant Merck Sharpe & Dohme.
  • Mark Elliott: former John Howard adviser, now at Pfizer as Corporate Communications Manager.
  • Catherine McGovern: former Nick Minchin staffer, now at Glaxo Smith Klein.
  • Craig Regan: formerly worked in John Howard’s office, now works at Pfizer.
  • Kieran Schneeman: former McGauran chief of staff, now the chief executive of Medicines Australia.
  • Ken Smith: formerly worked in Michael Wooldridge's office, now at Pfizer.

flip flop and fly

Ooh what a roller coaster for the last few days.

Will he, won’t he, wait for senate committee, wait for inner caucus, wait for all in caucus. The awful awkward inevitableness of the backing of the FTA. Tonight I walked past the TV room and Kasey Chambers was on that Rove guy singing. Then someone flicked over and Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott were on Lateline.

I had a flash and flicked back again, Kasey was singing, then back again. Julia was talking. My God. They could be sisters. Same face structure – if you squint a bit. Any way its suits me to see Julia as a political “axe” wielding Kasey, with a nose ring, a tongue stud and a few celtic tatts, a sense of history able to put a story across. She certainly blew Howard’s little Altar Boy off the stage tonight.

It also gave me a bit of hope. If Howard and his mob do hold out on the PBS amendment, which may well be unnecessary and unworkable, then going on tonights performance Julia and Mark can run the line that they aren’t spoilsports but just want to look after the battlers. Bad policy to sign but great politics. Lets the debate be out in the open but Labor not just being seen as negative.

Maybe Julia should try to roll Mark as soon as the election date is announced, renege on the FTA and become Godzone’s first woman PM by a whisker.