Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Monday, 31 October 2011


You cannot kill what does not live... Aaaahahahahahaha. Aaahahahahahahahaha. Aahahahahahahahaha.
The Prime Minister says the government is on an “all-out mission” to kick-start industry. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will announce that 35,000 jobs will be created using nearly £1 billion of public money.
That Keynes monster just refuses to die, doesn't it? You think it's gone, you think the horror has passed and that you're safe now, and then it turns out that it's right behind you. It's like that bloodied hand punching through the soil of the freshly dug grave at the end of Carrie, or seeing two more zombies as the doomed survivor reaches their last bullet, or that wisp of smoke from a small but growing pit on the floor as an acid dripping xenomorph comes out of the walls right after everyone thinks all the xenomorphs have been killed. I say we take off and nuke the whole Treasury from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
He will unveil new investment in more than 100 projects that should trigger billions of pounds additional investment from private enterprise. It will include six “shovel-ready” projects, including two new power stations.
Shovel ready? Ah, this'll be grave robbery policy horror then? Shovels for Clegg's Igor to disinter a few policies from under a headstone marked "New Labour - 1997-2010 - Gone, not forgotten, and not fucking dead enough," before returning them to his cackling marthter Dr Camenstein to stitch together before giving it the old bolt of lightning treatment, am I right?
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Mr Clegg said: “What we’re trying to do is invest public money, taxpayers’ money, into companies which can create jobs that last, and for every pound that will be invested from the Regional Growth Fund we estimate about £6 will be matched from the private sector.
“We are trying to rewire the British economy so we are less reliant on the city of London and financial services and we’re giving more backing to manufacturing and to parts of the country which for too long were basically reliant on handouts from Whitehall.”
Ah, governments trying to pick winners. Another old monster that just won't die. Tell us, Cleggor, when your plan to reduce debt is to grow the economy fast enough to reduce the relative rather than the actual size of it but the growth forecasts have since turned out to be a bit on the optimistic side, what makes you think this magic figure of £6 of private capital being attracted for every pound you wast, er, spend now is any more accurate? Don't strain yourself trying to answer on your own, by all means dig up a fresh brain if you need to.
The Coalition has been criticised for not doing enough to boost growth, with Chancellor George Osborne too focused on reducing the country’s deficit.
He is? Was he planning to start any time soon? Did he get distracted by that bubbling beaker in the back room of Number 11? Oh, dear God, did he try some of it? Is this a strange case of Dr Osborne and Mr Darling... except he's somehow got stuck on Mr Darling? And if so would that actually be worse than him being stuck on Dr Osbourne? I'm honestly not sure it would.

Meanwhile, outside Castle Dracumong...
Mr Cameron will emphasise the need to bring super-fast broadband to remote areas, expecting private industry to match a £1 billion investment already announced from government and local authorities.
Is this the same billion pounds as the billion pound Nick Clegg was talking about or is it a different billion pounds? Did they clone it? Ah, yes, they just took it down to the quantitive easing laboratory and hit the duplicate button for a while. It'll all be fine. Probably. Unless the cloned money sneaks up and strangles the original money and then takes over its life, and then you'll try to buy something with the original money only to find that it's dead, DEAD, DEAD.
One Whitehall source said: “It is bringing forward infrastructure investment where possible, dealing with difficult planning decisions across Whitehall.
“This is the Prime Minister’s obsession with 'shovel-ready’ projects that could make a difference in the near-term. He has pushed for it and it is being delivered. He wants to ensure every sinew was strained to get the economy moving.”
Shovel ready again, we're back to Dr Frankermon. Or is he just a Pinhead? Not sure, really, it's hard to tell. No, wait, that's it. This is John Carpenter government and there is a Thing. Or rather a State-Thing, a crawling, creeping mass of unspeakable vileness that takes over and imitates its victims but never changes its intentions, always growing and feeding, feeding and growing, taking all it can and giving nothing but false appearances. We saw it with the last government, how it started off seemingly friendly and one of us before getting increasingly creepy and growing a hell of a lot of extra arms and legs, until eventually its head dropped off and was replaced by a misshapen, twisted, screaming thing that ate snot and hurled Nokias. We thought it destroyed but part of it must have got away and infected some of the others. Come to think of it the broken promises started way back so it must have happened a while before. No wonder the Tories are all sitting around a fire staring suspiciously at each other and trying to work out who, if any of them, really is a Tory. No wonder those who love democracy and those who love liberty are eyeing the Liberal Democrats and wondering if any of them are either.

No wonder the fucking nightmare didn't end last May. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

Questions to which the answer is "Fuck off"

Yes, I know there are lots of these and that anything on an official census probably qualifies, but the one that's uppermost in my mind at the moment is this:

How much do you drink?
A report to be published on Monday will say eight million professionals are routinely drinking too much alcohol, and endangering their health, even though they do not binge drink or get drunk.
It calls for new checks, so that GPs quiz all patients about their drinking habits, first at the age of 30, and again as part of general health checks which occur every five years from the age of 40.
And even though it's a non-issue for me and my honest answer would score maximum healthist brownie points, my inclination would be to choose from a range of replies starting with "Why are you asking?" and finishing with "Go fuck yourself." Aside from the intrusiveness I hope everyone can see in this that the concept of no-safe-level-every-drop-is-killing-you-a-bit has taken one more jackbooted step from neo-puritan idealism to policy. You don't have to binge and you don't have to get drunk, but you can still be drinking too much. How much is too much? Who can possibly know when, as pointed out on Devil's Kitchen a couple of years back, the recommended consumption levels for alcohol were pulled out of the collective arse of a working party of the Royal College of Physicians (the article is only available to people who pay The Times as even archives are behind the paywall now, so the rest of us have to put up with seeing it for free on Wayback - fuck you, Rupes).
Guidelines on safe alcohol consumption limits that have shaped health policy in Britain for 20 years were “plucked out of the air” as an “intelligent guess”.
The Times reveals today that the recommended weekly drinking limits of 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 for women, first introduced in 1987 and still in use today, had no firm scientific basis whatsoever.
The disclosure that the 1987 recommendation was prompted by “a feeling that you had to say something” came from Richard Smith, a member of the Royal College of Physicians working party that produced it.
He told The Times that the committee’s epidemiologist had confessed that “it’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t” because “we don’t really have any data whatsoever”.
Mr Smith, a former Editor of the British Medical Journal, said that members of the working party were so concerned by growing evidence of the chronic damage caused by heavy, long-term drinking that they felt obliged to produce guidelines. “Those limits were really plucked out of the air. They were not based on any firm evidence at all. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee,” he said.
I'm not sure how a guess can be both intelligent and plucked out of the air, but really it's by the by. The point is that they have a number based on fuck all evidence and a vague feeling that the medical profession really ought have an answer, and if you exceed that number then you're drinking too much, end of discussion. Doesn't matter whether you're an enormous flanker type with the capacity to out-drink a small Moscow suburb or a five foot nothing woman who can get pissed on a glass of wine, you're drinking an amount which is officially unhealthy, and since a large glass of wine is three units on its own you certainly don't have to get sloshed to get there. Small wonder that some healthist think tank can found that 8 million people - about a fifth of the workforce overall and so a good chunk of the number of white collar jobs I suspect they mean by "professionals" -  are drinking too much. Christ, even if you just get tipsy once a week and that's not the only time you drank then you almost certainly had more than 21 units, although the current article implies that they've been raised slightly at some point.
Government advice states men should drink no more than four units a day and women no more than three.
Which despite being more over the course of a week is actually a subtle move towards further puritanism - it's still no more than a large glass of wine or a pint of medium beer per day for the ladies and a pint and a half of the same beer or maybe two pints of coloured water variety beer for the fellas. Even your openly teetotal and increasingly lightweight Exile could probably still drink two pints of piss-strength without being what anyone would really call drunk, and if I was going to make them last all day I seriously doubt I'd even feel it. That the goalposts have quietly been made so wide seems a little suspicious, and so I had a little Google and almost immediately I found a BBC article from August 09 that mentions the reason for the low daily limit rather than an even lower weekly one.
The 1987 sensible drinking limits, which set the bar at 21 units per week for men and 14 units per week for women, remained in place until 1995.
It was then that the government decided to switch the limits from weekly to daily in a bid to curb binge drinking and emphasise the harms of saving up a week's limit to blow in one or two sessions at the weekend - a decision it stands by today.
Which should be surprising only in that it was the previous Tory nannies rather than the Labour nannies or the current Cobbleition nannies who were behind the move. It certainly shouldn't be any surprise that after three different governments under four different PMs British drinkers are still being told to restrict themselves to the equivalent of two pints of fizzy piss a day in case they choose - and how dare, how very bloody dare they even think of choosing for themselves - to lay off the sauce during the week so they can make merry, or at least a little less miserable, at the weekend. Oh, except for British drinkers with breasts, who are to have no more than a pint and a half of fizzy piss, probably not even that if they've got children. Jesus, these days you could probably heave a brick at an Alcohol Concern meeting and hit half a dozen people who'd tell you it should be less even if someone hasn't got children but was in a slightly wistful and broody mood for half an hour or so around mid-afternoon. Yes, of course I'm being sarcastic but I'm afraid to Google again in case I also turn out to be right.

As an aside before returning to the current nannying there's one other thing in that 09 BBC article I'd like to draw attention to, which is that it was basically about neo-puritans getting their cocks in a knot because - you'll never guess, oh, fuck me sideways with a beer barrel, you just did already - the guidelines aren't tough enough and are fooling everyone into drinking too much.
Daily limits on alcohol consumption are meaningless and potentially harmful, experts have warned.
The government says men should drink no more than three to four units per day and women no more than two to three.
Liver specialist Dr Nick Sheron, of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, says these limits were devised by civil servants with "no good evidence" for doing so.
Why should there be? There was no good evidence for the previous suggestions either, remember?
He says the advice runs the risk of people taking it to mean that it is safe to drink alcohol every day.
And the older advice risked people not drinking daily and having what the puritans doubtless regard as a skinful and what everyone else would think of as a few drinks at the weekend. Heads the nannies win, tails the drinkers lose.
Dr Sheron's comments follow a report by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee which suggested public confusion about safe drinking levels was fuelling problem drinking.
Of course it is. On Planet Righteous where the public naturally deals with any confusion by getting throughly shitfaced nearly anything can fuel problem drinking. Certainly anything that doesn't make it absolutely crystal clear that no level of alcohol... come on, everyone, you all know the words by now.
Dr Sheron says we should go back to using the old weekly limits, which are based on sound research.
Sound research? Do us a fucking favour, they were based on two fifths of fuck all. Calling it sound research is either ignorant of the Times article less than two years before in which someone who was actually there admits that they were made up, or is simply bullshit.

And from misleading, ah, sorry, confusing the public with arbitrary limits based on nothing much and other policy based evidence it's now suggested that GPs have yet another set of boxes to tick, along with a financial incentive to tick 'em, in the form of interrogating patients about their alcohol consumption and having a regular schedule of opportunities to do so. All backed up by a report with some numbers to make it sound justified, natch. And don't go thinking this is lefty do-gooders at work here (my bold).
The report, by 2020 Health, a centre-right think tank, says many middle class drinkers are not aware of the risks of their evening tipple...
See? This is nudge stuff. That (mostly) unspoken assumption that you don't know what's best for you, are incapable of finding out for yourself and understanding, and therefore can't be trusted make your own decisions on the matter. It's old style rightist paternalism of the kind the alleged Tory PM, David Cameramong, is absolutely in fucking love with, the supercilious prick. In the minds of these people failing to comply with recommendations cannot possibly mean that an individual has simply weighed and accepted the risks - it can only mean that they didn't understand, that they're in a state of confusion and must be helped and guided and steered, and if need be cajoled and bullied and forced.

It's denormalisation, folks. Come now, you didn't think that was just something to be used on smokers, did you? The "normal" amount of alcohol consumption has been determined to be as near to nothing as makes no odds, and you will be questioned to see if you comply and nagged if you don't. And in case you're wondering who did the determining, here's a familiar name.
The Royal College of Physicians said the current guidance was 'extremely dangerous' because it implied that drinking every day was safe.
This is presumably the very same Royal College of Physicians that not so very long ago more or less sat around a table making up some very similar sounding guidance. There isn't an actual question in there, not as such, but all the same the answer to that is also "Fuck off."

The worst of all drugs

Blogging has again been patchy the last week or so, time being so short for various reasons that I'm very behind on reading my favourite blogs. Honestly, my RSS has bookmark has what could easily be a serial number behind it and if I don't get either caught up or ruthless about skipping the older stuff I'm worried it might resort to exponentiation. So while I'm getting through some of it, and assuming I don't get all busy again right away, I'll resort to a bit of metablogging and bring up a post some will already have found via the Von Mises Institute blog: a moving story of a American who became a user of the most addictive and destructive drug in modern society, and how he's managed to get clean:
... My addiction to the state started in high school. I saw that all the coolest people — Naomi Klein, Tom Morello — wanted me to drop out of free society and free exchange. They always seemed to know what was best for everybody else, and I wanted to be smart like them. So I started experimenting with statism.

In university, I got into the hard-core stuff: socialism and communism. All my friends were doing it. I thought we were so revolutionary with our union buttons and our “Free Tuition Now” banners. Calling for state intervention to solve every social problem let me avoid thinking about my own problems.

In 2007 and 2008, I got hooked on the hypnotism of state theater. I gobbled up every YouTube clip of the US Democratic nomination fight I could get my eyeballs on. Everyone I knew thought Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would save the world. And when that nomination bottle was empty of all surprise, I couldn’t stop; I just starting using the Republican nomination to get high.

But somebody had mixed some crazy stuff into that contest, as I bet you know. The clean stuff hit me hard, and I hit rock bottom.

I woke up under my state-funded grad-student desk, heaped high with the papers for my state-policy-recommendation thesis, knowing that my black hole of student debt was papered over only by state scholarships, and I saw what I had become.

All my friends were still users. So it was hard, but on the Internet I found other people who were clean. I started volunteering, getting involved.


My life has started to come back together. I can spend time with my family now without even getting that itch to regulate something. I feel free again...
I am not an anarchist, anarcho-capitalist or otherwise. For reasons I will one day blog at length I'm a minarchist libertarian, all the same I'd recommend popping over to The Daily Anarchist and reading the whole thing. There's a particularly good version of the 12 step program among the first few comments.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hello, I must be going

Click for linky
Both my readers (hi, Mum) along with pretty much the entire English speaking world, and certainly those parts of it that have seen either Crocodile Dundee or any of a large number of Australian beer ads, will be aware that "G'day" is a common greeting between Australians.* That's a greeting, Telegraph. A greeting, got it? "Good day" might have been used both as a greeting and a farewell, but not "G'day". Or if it is it's very rare. Certainly I've only ever heard Aussies - and we'll leave aside the fact that Mrs Windsor isn't one anyway despite being queen of the place - say "G'day" when they arrive, not on their way out of the door. It's Australia's "Hi" or "Wotcher"not some Down Under equivalent of "Aloha" that can be used interchangeably.

So I can think this headline is down to one of three things: it was done by someone who's about 80 and can remember when British people said "Good day" and thought it was used the same way; it was done by someone middle aged as a very subtle tribute to early 80s Phil Collins music; or it was simply reaching for a stereotypical Australian stock expression because fuck it, the tabloids would have and they outsell The Tele, and who cares if the result makes as much sense as saying "Chuck another prawn on the barbie, we're off now."

And what the hell's a picture of Barry O'Barma with Mrs Queen in London doing in a story about her leaving Oz? Jeez, couldn't you guys find a picture of her in Perth?

* Generally it should not be attempted by naturalised Australians, resident migrants or visitors - it sounds right in an Aussie accent but makes anyone else sound like a tit.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The white whale, the whiiiite whaaaa... sorry, whiiiite wombat

Okay, everybody. It's Rolf harris impersonation time. Just look at Polar, here, isn't he a brave little fella?

And now place your bets on which newspaper's online edition will be the first to fuck up and use a picture of Polar the white wombat for a story about piglets, doubtless referencing Babe, and how long it'll take.

Call me Fishmeal, eh?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

An old queen comes to Melbourne - UPDATED

Oh, hooray. An elderly queen comes to visit Melbourne today, and no it's the proper one rather than a Priscilla variety so I shall be far too overcome with patriotic pride in the monarchy depressed to blog today. Normal ranting should be resumed late this evening as long as my natural curmudgeonly republicanism doesn't get me strung up with red, white and blue bunting or thown before the Royal Tram. Yes, the Royal Tram. No, I didn't know there was one either, and yes apparently we are supposed to so be ecstatic that a posh and very cashed up octogenarian tourist is going for a tram ride.
Melbourne's custom-designed royal tram has been unveiled on the eve of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Melbourne.
Custom designed? Really?
The newly-painted Z-class tram will carry the royal couple from Federation Square, along Swanston Street to Government House Drive tomorrow.
Premier Ted Baillieu said the specially prepared tram would remain in public operation for the next year in honour of the Queen's visit.
So "custom designed" means passing on tarting up one of Melbourne's remaining iconic W-class trams, the ones still running on the routes tourists tend to use because they just look so good, in favour of a circa 1980 built Z class with a new paint job which, since it's going to be used for normal passenger services as soon as she buggers off home, will be otherwise completely unmodified. Have I got that about right? Mind you, the last time I was on a W-class the bloody thing broke down, which is presumably why Oprah Winfrey had her boat race plastered across one of the big, new modern ones.

Anyway, for whatever reason Lizze's got the tram equivalent of shoulderpads and a mullet, albeit with a coat of paint (can't remember who but someone once remarked that the poor old dear probably thinks the whole world smells of fresh paint), but on the upside I'll bet everybody's too chickenshit to ask her to pay a fare. Even if she does I doubt anyone will check her ticket because despite seeing inspectors now and then in more than five years they've never checked mine.

UPDATE - Eating words time.
And like any other passenger the Queen had to pay her way, although her Australian equerry, Commander Andrew Willis, had the job of buying her ticket.
They used a myki - a pre-paid travel card - but it is not known if they chose the two-hour zone-one fare costing $3.80 or opted for the cheaper $2.80 dollar pensioner discount ticket.
Four mounted officers from Victoria Police escorted the royal tram which travelled at walking pace, during the eight minute journey.
Either way it's a bloody good deal. Even if they didn't go for the concession rate that means personal tram hire here comes out to $57 an hour, and that's got to be one of the best value things for visitors to do in Melbou... what? What do you mean it's not for everyone, just royalty?


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I'd call that an out

Click for linky
Mr Cameron supports steps that the eurozone is taking to boost its banks and bailouts funds as part of wider moves towards closer fiscal union in order to avert a European debt crisis that has threatened to plunge the global economy into a slump.
But he fears that regular meetings of the euro’s 17 governments will lead to the creation of a Franco-Greman dominated “caucus” or a bloc that could hijack the EU’s single market for its own ends, damaging the British economy by imposing regulations that benefit Paris or Frankfurt over the City of London.
”There is danger that as the eurozone comes together that those countries outside might see the eurozone start to take decisions on some of the things that are vital to them in the single market, for instance financial services,” he said.
Well, no shit, Dave. So it'd be a really good idea to get the fuck out of there, right? Rather than have your supposedly Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary, Willy the Vague, attacking the idea of consulting the millions of British people who've never had a say on Europe along with the smaller number who were consulted and now feel they were misled? So if the Euro block is going to impose damaging regulation then the answer surely is to remove its power over the UK and cancel the standing order that pours vast sums of UK money into the EU black hole. You just need a good excuse, and happily the neighbours have provided one.
”We’re sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you hate the euro, you didn’t want to join and now you want to interfere in our meetings,” the French leader told Mr Cameron, according to diplomats.
He didn't even want you in the room, Dave. Not even in the room. Can it be made any clearer for you? But don't treat it as an insult when Nicky is really doing you and Britain a tremendous favour. The response should be a dignified exit while tossing the phrase "Well, if our money isn't good enough for you..." over your shoulder on the way out.* Come home, announce a change of mind and policy in the light of the new attitude of the Eurozone to the UK's participation in helping to rescue it, and say that referendum is very much on the table.

Yes, I realise that there's a good chance you'll lose the vote in parliament because your LibDem partners are opposed, and right now Labour would vote against you if you copied every single policy from their own last manifesto. But that could work for you too, do you see? Having been defeated on the issue you could say that the only way Britons could have their say is with a Conservative majority government and call a snap election. Hell, you probably wouldn't need to actually call an election but just tell the LibDems you'll go see Mrs W if the vote is lost. They're unpopular with everyone at the moment and know it, and the last thing they want is an election any time soon where they'd probably lose seats to both the other two main parties. You'd probably also pick up UKIP votes by the bucketload as well. So man up and go for it, Dave. Sarkozy has opened a door a crack for you here, and all you have to do is be willing to kick it hard enough to open it all the way.

But of course this is Call-Me-Dave we're talking about, a man who has, like the other party leaders, already reneged on a similar promise and so someone I would trust slightly less far on this issue than I could throw a tree.

* Only, point of order: it's not your fucking money, and don't you even forget it in your sleep.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Getting blood from a stone...

... must be something Oz's chief tax collector believes he really excels at, because he's asking for an extra $300,000 a year for it. No, not $300,000 but an extra $300,000 - he already gets (I won't say 'earns') half a million.
AUSTRALIA'S top tax official has come under sustained attack in a Senate hearing for lobbying to get himself a 58 per cent pay rise.
Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo is at present paid just over half a million dollars.
He has written to the Remuneration Tribunal asking for a package of around $800,000 to bring himself into line with other agency heads such as the head of the Securities and Investments Commission and the Competition and Consumer Commission.
Well if it's just a matter of bringing into line there's a perfectly good solution, though the heads of ASIC and the ACCC wouldn't like it, but to be honest I don't see why any bringing into line is necessary. If the job's worth a minimum of $800,000 then they wouldn't have been able to get anyone to do it for less. As it is Michael D'Ascenzo was prepared to do it for half a million and is now having an attack of the sads because some other people get more. I'd hope the tribunal recommend dropping the salary by the exact amount he wants it raised and seeing if anyone still wants the job.
Asked by Labor senator Doug Cameron how much extra he was planning to pay his own workers, he said the increase would be about 3 per cent.
Asked to put a percentage figure on the pay rise he wants for himself, he said he ''hadn't worked it out''.
An increase from $505,000 to $800,000 would amount to 58 per cent.
< Whistles > Hey, Occupy protestors. Greedy and exploitative fat cat alert, but you need to get your signs and arses over to Canberra and protest there. Seats of government are the root cause of everything you've got your cocks in a knot about anyway.
Mr D'Ascenzo defended the application, saying it was a matter of comparative wage justice.
Labor Senator Mark Bishop, who chairs the committee, said comparative wage justice hadn't been used as a basis for justifying wage increases since the 1970s and 1980s.
Good for Mark Bishop, and worthy of my 'Politician's getting things right' tag. But it must also be said that it's nice of Mr D'Ascenzo to bring it up in October, the end of which is the last date for getting tax returns in and so is a month when taxation is on many minds. I'm sure I can guess the thoughts going through most of those minds as they learn that the Australian Tax Office's capo di tutti capi (well, he runs the ATO and has an Italian name - if you think I'm not going to make a joke Mafia reference you're very much mistaken) already earns something like ten times the median salary and now wants more than half as much again.

I think it's an offer I think we can and should refuse.

Offered almost without comment


Friday, 21 October 2011

Happiness is firearms safety

Click for linky
I don't care how glad you are the bastard's dead, get your fucking finger off that trigger, you daft bellend. Fundamental rule of firearm safety: you always always always treat it as if it's loaded even if you've personally taken the magazine out and worked the action. Now and then guns thought to be unloaded turn out to have a round in the chamber after all, and I can tell you from personal experience that hearing the rattle of bolts going back and forth followed by a lot of clicks and one loud bang tightens one's sphincter a little even when it's on a range and you know that all the business ends are pointed in a safe direction. I quote from a post last year in which a very pretty girl is licking a pistol in a very suggestive way with her finger on the trigger and the muzzle right underneath the tip of her nose:
For those who've never who've never shot the basic safety rules are fairly common sense and run along the following lines:
  • Unless visibly made safe a gun should always treated as if it is loaded and ready to fire.
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  • Be aware both of the target and what is around it.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the guard until you are ready to fire.
  • You'll look better with your nose where it is than you will if you blow it off your face and on to the fucking ceiling.
I think an extra one might have snuck in there.
Click for embiggerfication and guide to what is a safe direction

Oh, Jeez, there's another picture here, and if anything it's even worse as he has a finger over the muzzle.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! Don't fucking do that. Just don't.


... sorry, Harold Camping and company, just kidding. Mind you, it's been a bit wet today and not as warm as yesterday. Does that count for anything?

Situation Vacant

Wanted: Western Security Theatre requires dramatic lunatic for role of Emmanuel Goldstein in our long running farce Oh Fuck, The Fucking Fuckers Are Fucking Everywhere after the recent replacement for our retired long term Goldstein lacked the hoped for durability. Package including times of performance will be largely up to the successful applicant, as will be much of the script. Window licking experience and own wardrobe, including head underpants if desired, is absolutely essential. Apply through usual agencies.

Of course, it could all be bollocks. It wasn't long ago the media seemed sure he was kipping on the sofa in Hugo Chavez's pool room.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

The sun won't fall down tomorrow...

Bet your bottom dollar, unless of course you're mad enough to still think that after at least two bum apocraplypse predictions Harold Camping's still on the money that it's game over at 6 tomorrow evening. Oh, and also too busy spreading the word to hear that Camping has dialled back the rhetoric slightly and has now only said that the end is 'probably' October 21st. Well, with his track record you can hardly blame the guy for wanting to build a way out into his current prediction, which brings me on to my own prediction which is that by Monday, or maybe the end of next week, Camping will be making similar noises to those Christians who last May were citing reasons why humanity couldn't possibly know the date for sure. In the meantime if the world's still here on Saturday morning those of his followers who've accidentally forgotten to blow literally all their money will be rapt.

Oh, sorry, poor choice of word? Maybe a very predictable choice of music will make up for it.

And just in case the internet is here and the rest of us aren't I've scheduled the next few posts.

Predictable attack on private ownership

Not a recent sign in Ohio as far as I know,
but don't you just wish it was? 
The slaughter of dozens of lions, tigers, bears and wolves set free from a private Ohio farm has sparked calls for restrictions on the largely unregulated ownership of exotic pets in several US states.
Police in Ohio shot dead almost 50 animals in a frantic hunt after the owner of an exotic farm freed the dangerous animals and then killed himself.
The bloody toll - which included 18 endangered Bengal tigers - has sparked outrage from conservationists, who say it should be a call to action against private ownership of exotic animals.
No argument from me, this is sad. I don't know the ins and outs of this story, why the guy kept all these dangerous animals or why he set them loose before topping himself, but the unnecessary loss of 18 individuals of a species numbering only a couple of thousand or so - plus the other animals - is a bloody shame. That said I don't think I agree with the conversationists and anyone else whose knee jerk response is not just sadness but outrage and the stock statist cries of 'It shouldn't be allowed' and 'There ought to be a law against it'. Yes, there are all sorts of practical problems to keeping an animal in captivity, and the bigger and stronger and more fearsomely armed it is the greater the problem and the expense needed to tackle it. A dog and two cats? Easy. Fifty or so assorted large predators? Different ball game.

Easy? You'll pay for that in your sleep, Exile.

And yet should that alone be a barrier if someone has the resources needed? Sure, if you live near a private zoo and the lion keeps coming over your fence and taking a dump in your veggie patch there's an issue, but isn't that sort of thing what tort law is for? Wouldn't it still be an issue if an animal escapes from any other zoo, private or public owned?

Not only that but banning private ownership means losing one of the advantages of private ownership - property rights. Think about who owns all the endangered species in the world. Generally it's nobody, isn't it? Oh, states and governments and maybe monarchs might claim ownership but even then for all practical purposes there's no real owner, and if the animal is either a resource itself or getting in the way of a resource someone else wants to get at then tough. This is tragedy of the commons stuff, and the way to avoid it is private property rights and the threat of someone coming along and suing the arse off anyone who causes damage or loss, i.e. hurts or kills, that animal.

Take the unfortunate Bengal tiger, for example. Wikipedia suggests that the principle threat to its survival is poaching for skins and body parts, which sounds plausible enough. But what if the tigers were all or mostly privately owned? Wouldn't the owners take steps to protect their property, and if the tigers had value (this is distasteful but presumably the tiger doesn't need its skin, teeth, bellend or whatever after it's carked it from natural causes, so is there still a problem with trading in parts then, and if so is it different from telling the doctors they can harvest a dead relative for organs even though they didn't have a donor card) wouldn't they also encourage the tigers to make lots of little tigers and feed them up to make even more little tigers, and so on? Yes, you could simply hack up all your tigers now for a quick buck, but every half competent owner would be aware of the downside of killing the goose that lays gold eggs or at least understand the principle. Most owners would want to maximise their return and keep up the supply, which in turn means wanting there to be as many tigers as the market can cope with (and can safely be accommodated without eating said private owners, of course).

Now I agree that it's a little weird and not a little nasty to think of encouraging a trade in tiger bollocks or rhino lips or shark earlobes or whatever, and certainly my inner and not quite dead lefty is wailing something about the humiliation of noble beasts for profit, but you know what? Fuck it. If it means not seeing the Bengal tiger go the way of the Tasmanian tiger wouldn't it be worth it?

Really the only concern should be whether or not private ownership would work, and for that I suggest we look at species which are largely in private ownership and see if any are endangered. And as far as I can tell the world isn't exactly short of cats, dogs, horses, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys.....

Chinese whispers

Click for linky

Jin Liqun, chairman of China Investment Corporation (CIC), the nation's sovereign wealth fund, warned that Europeans should "work a bit harder" if they want to pull the eurozone out of recession.
He said people in the West are too reliant on welfare payments and the benefits system, looking for external solutions to the debt crisis rather than tackling the problem from within.
Mr Jin also said the long-term economic slide could only be solved by amending the restrictive labour laws that mean Western workers are unable to compete in global markets.
"The root cause of the trouble is the over-burdened welfare system, built up since the Second World War in Europe - the sloth-inducing, indolence-inducing labour laws.
Double ouch, but I can't see where he's wrong. It might be hard to hear it from someone representing a country where freedom can be a pretty notional concept and the state tries to oversee practically everything, but the guy's got a point. In the west the governments don't try to oversee as much - or at least most of them don't yet - but they have encouraged the raising of a couple of generations who rely on the state to wipe their arseholes for them because they couldn't find them by themselves bent over a mirror with a greased stick. Money no? Economy bad? Is wrong. Government fix. Government fix now. Also done poo-poo and now smell bad. Government fix that now too please.

And it brings to mind something I said back in January when I came across a US site advocating protectionism and other anti free trade measures: I think that the Chinese might turn out to be better at capitalism than we in the west. Well, as long as they don't make a habit of producing seven foot long slippers by mistake.

I fear for thee, my country...

... though this is Britain I'm talking about, and as both my readers (hi Mum) will probably be aware for various reasons, not least that it doesn't really exist anymore, I'm at best ambivalent about how much it's still my country as opposed to just being where I started. Still, I'm always quick to say how fond I am of the old place and how much I worry about where it's heading, which seems to be a land where nobody is even capable of an independent thought without running it past a man from the government. Yes, here too, but today's example is typically British. And fucking depressing.

Click for linky
I'm not on a 'bleeding obvious' rant here. I'm not a parent and I'm in no position to say whether these things are good, bad or indifferent, though I suspect it probably depends a bit on the individual child and maybe the parents too to a lesser extent. What works, works, and your mileage may vary. No, what caught my eye was the unspoken and unchallenged assumption in the subheader there that there should be guidelines for this sort of thing. God forbid people should be left to work these things out for themselves and conclude, as many in the comments appear to have, that kids do pretty well without them if they have interaction with parents and others instead, much as they've done in all the generations before the electronics age. But then it got even worse with a poll halfway down the article.

Allowed to watch? Allowed? I looked desperately for the option that read 'Exactly as much as the parents feel is right for their child and what the fuck's it to do with the rest of us?' but strangely it's not there.


But... but... but women just don't do that

No, this isn't another incidence of crying rape when nothing happened and to hell with the consequences on any man unfortunate enough to be picked up for it. This is sexual assault by a female. For the benefit of any PC types and GROLIES who may have stumbled across this by accident and haven't found the exit, yes you did read that sentence correctly. Having ovaries is not some magical condition that renders someone saintly and incapable of crime or any kind of deviancy, and there are enough well known examples of sick bitches doing some pretty disgusting stuff that the point shouldn't need to be made. Even without bringing up the Myra Hindley's of this world there are regular examples of low level female sex offenders to drive away any idea that sex offences are male thing and women just don't do that. It may be a less frequent type of a relatively infrequent offence, but oh yes they do.
A young woman got a teenage acquaintance and three of his friends drunk and had sex with some of them after a party, a court has heard.
Laura O'Donnell, 20, was today released with a suspended jail term and a community-based order after a County Court judge found that her troubled background had been responsible for her offending.
So there's no chance she just wanted a toy boy shag and was a bit young herself to play Mrs Robinson, then? Troubled background? Even from ten thousand miles away I reckon I'll hear the Ambush Predator's teeth grinding when she reads that - I know these stock pleas of mitigation can be a hot button issue with Julia.
In sentencing, Judge Sue Pullen described the offences as "very serious and disturbing" and said the woman's behaviour was "quite unacceptable".
The boys, aged 12, 15, 14 and 14, were plied with alcohol on three separate occasions. The first two incidents involved one of the victims and the third, all four.
[O'Donnell] pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and five counts of committing an indecent act with a child under 16.
And here we have an example of law being written with assumption that the perpetrator will necessarily be male. 'Sexual penetration of a child under 16.' Not with a child, of a child, and if Laura O'Donnell's offences involved plain old vanilla sex, as I suspect they probably did, then she would in fact have been the penetratee.* Yes, of course penetration of various sorts can be done by a female, but I suspect this wording originally had intromission by adult males in mind, and in case there's any doubt that garden variety sex between an adult female and a male below the age of consent counts as her penetrating him there's this case (coincidentally heard by the same judge).
The court heard [Kimberly] Gale met the boy and his mother through their involvement in a suburban football club.
Prosecutor Susan Borg said Gale had become friends with the mother at the club and after overhearing her say she was having trouble getting him to school, Gale offered to drive him there.
For three or four weeks in March and April, Gale drove the boy to school every morning, and on at least one occasion put her hand on his leg and told him he was "hot", Ms Borg said.
On one occasion Gale, then 23, asked the boy if he wanted to spend more time with her, and he replied "yes". She drove him to her family's home. The pair had sex then she drove him to school.
Two weeks later, they went to Gale's home again on the way to school and had sex.
Gale pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16.
That was only last November, by the way, less than a year before the O'Donnell trial and further knocking the idea that women are saintly beings and above such things just because they're women.

There's no question that both women committed offences in strict legal terms, and it certainly seems like they took advantage of people who might not have been boys but probably weren't quite men either. I'm not going into a discussion of consent laws here, I'm just interested in the female offending aspect and how the law and society think about it - or, as the case may be, prefer not to think about it all that much. Despite what these two women were charged with it doesn't sound like they did the actual penetrating, and if they had you'd expect them to have received rather heavier sentences than the two years and five months, all suspended, that O'Donnell got and the two years and two months, 16 months suspended, that Gale got. It's not like Judge Pullen is afraid of handing down some serious time as the minimum 16 years served of a 19 year sentence she gave one knife wielding, recidivist rapist shows.** That being so I reckon we can rule out any nastier ideas that either of these women were using strap ons or anything along those lines, which as far as I can tell would make it a rape charge anyway. No, this is almost certainly vanilla sex between adult females and males under the legal age of consent, but while this would be called something else in other places - statutory rape, perhaps, or simple underage sex - the charge here sounds like it suggests male offenders as the norm rather than just a majority. And since even the Graun these days concedes that the proportion of female sex offenders could be as 20% or more and you don't have to look far to find it suggested that it could be twice that. The fairer sex probably is fairer generally, but you wouldn't want a cop to look at a suspect and go: 'Sarge, I'm pretty sure those are breasts - we've got the wrong man!'

Oh, and just for amusement let's briefly revisit the case of Kimberley Gale just one more time.
Her lawyer, Amy Wood, told Judge Sue Pullen her client had had a difficult childhood...
That bang you just heard was an Ambush Predator going through her roof.

* Out of curiosity I looked up the actual law, which seems to be Section 45 of Victoria's 1958 Crimes Act. Interestingly, though the offence is 'Sexual penetration of a child under 16' the very first subsection reads: 'A person who takes part in an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16 is guilty of an indictable offence.' It seems almost as if it was expected to be mostly men but even a half century ago someone recognised that the wording of the law needed to allow for the possibility of female offenders as well.
** No, I wouldn't have been at all sorry either if she'd locked him up for far longer, though it was only 6 years short of the maximum for rape in Victoria, but because he's 55 already that minimum 16 year term means he'll be at least 71 before he can be released, and since his own behaviour made him ineligible for parole during his previous prison term he might still end up doing the full stretch and not getting out until 74. Either way, there's a fair chance the bastard will cark it while he's still inside even if he does genuinely reform this time.

Out on the street, Grandad, you don't need this place anymore - UPDATED

In case you haven't heard about this... well, they call themselves a charity but since what they're suggesting doesn't seem too charitable I'll just call them this bloody Intergenerational Foundation mob, and their idea of 'encouraging' old folks to sell up and move to smaller houses I'll direct you to the Snowolf, Longrider and Bucko the Moose, who all cover everything I could possibly say about it and much more besides. All I'll add is that if the name 'Intergen Foundation' came up in a movie you'd probably assume it was an evil sci-fi corporation. How close that is to reality is probably down to how you see retired homeowners.

UPDATE - despite the strong waft of fake charity emanating from this bunch I see that they're a new charity (like the world was fucking short of 'em) and so there are no accounts to look at yet. But it'll be very interesting to see what proportion of their income comes from the public sector when they do produce accounts, very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Two old gun clichés

When every second counts the police are only minutes away.

When you criminalise possession of guns only criminals will have possession of guns.
Even as clichés go these two are pretty well worn, yet not only are both still true nonetheless true but from time to time that's demonstrated in a single incident. That's right, I am about to give you an example of that. How'd you guess?
A great-grandfather has told how he used a baseball bat to fight off two thieves who were ransacking his gun cabinet and stole a cache of weapons.
The 70-year-old grandfather-of-10, who has one great-grandchild, told Perthnow he swung his bat at both young men who were smashing into his gun cabinet and attempting to steal his utility at his Alexander Heights home early today.
Now straight away the problem with this should be obvious. Thieves were stealing his guns - his unquestionably legally owned guns which he kept in gun cabinets in accordance with WA and Commonwealth law - and he had to defend his property, and his life if they'd arrived armed or managed to load a gun and turn it on him, with a fucking baseball bat. Surely it's not just shooters who can see the stupidity in this, but just in case it's not I'll note that if they'd stolen a car from his driveway the law would not have insisted that if he chose to give chase he should do so on nothing faster than a bicycle.

Oh, and on that subject they did nick his car too.
He described how he was awoken just before 5am to find his prized Ford XR6 ute on the driveway with its doors wide open and a man smashing his gun cabinet open with a sledgehammer.
John, who lives at the home with his wife, was awoken by loud bangs from his garage just before 5am.
When he went outside to investigate he found the men trying to break into his gun safe and fought with both of them with a baseball bat before they fled in his ute.
As the robbers drove off John smashed the vehicle's windscreen with the baseball bat.
And predictably enough the ute was found burned out a short time later, minus the six guns the thieves had got away with, natch. As Vincent Vega put it, what's more chickenshit than fucking with a man's automobile? Well, I suppose there is nicking his guns as well, safe in the knowledge that he's highly unlikely to have one out and ready to use to defend himself against you because that's against the law, and the overwhelming majority of legal gun owners are scrupulously law abiding no matter what they might think. And the recently disarmed John is a case in point.
"I've got a crook hip [he took a blow to the side from the sledgehammer - AE] but I'm not as sore as they are,'' he said.
"If they came back I wouldn't have any hesitation . . . (to do it again).
"I confronted them because this is my house, and I've got a right to protect my property.
"Had I had a pistol in my hand, I would have used that as well.
"They've got no right to come in here, I would have used anything to stop them, I've got every right to do that.''
He shrugged off suggestions he was a hero for standing up to the two thugs.
“It’s just something you do to protect yourself and your property and I feel we’ve got every right to,” he said.
“I’d do it again now, right now, if they were here.
“I think everybody should have a pistol under their bed and use it.
“Had I had my pistol under the bed I would have used it and bugger the consequences . . . this has got to stop.”
But of course John did not have his pistol under the bed, because neither John nor anyone else here is allowed to keep a pistol under the bed. Yes, at least law abiding Australians are allowed to have pistols - providing the local police give permission and that owners comply with various state and Commonwealth laws, of course - and clearly this is a better situation than not being allowed to have one at all. But it's not as good as being at liberty to have one, especially since if self defence is not a valid reason for wanting a pistol, or any other type of gun for that matter, and the law insists that you keep it unloaded and locked away then it's quite useless when dealing with sledgehammer wielding intruders anyway. Jeez, you can have half a dozen guns and for all the good they do you locked away you might as well defend yourself with a baseball bat and hope for the best. Oh, actually that's exactly what happened, isn't it? John didn't have his pistol to hand and resorted to a baseball bat because at least he's allowed to have that lying around, and now doesn't have his pistol or his other guns at all anymore by the sounds of things.
Six guns were stolen including a shotgun and two air rifles.
Terrific, score six for the bad guys, even if John did get a few good whacks in with the bat before they got away. And what about the good guys?
A description of the thieves has not yet been issued by police.
Well, that's not exactly an auspicious start, is it? And of course it's not long before we're reminded to leave it all to the police.
WA Police Sergeant Graham Clifford said the law did give people the right to defend their lives and property, but it was a grey area.
If the defence went too far and became a form of punishment, people would probably be charged, he told AAP.
Which is fair enough, but I don't think home owners dealing with intruders, possibly violent and possibly armed, really give a tinker's stuff about punishing them for breaking in. Driving them off or failing that making them no longer a risk to the occupier and any family there, yes, and if achieving that means one or more intruders lying face down and approaching ambient temperature in a pool of their own vital fluids, well, so be it. Nobody made them break in to someone else's home and put the occupants in fear for their lives, so the consequences of their decision to commit crime are on their own heads. But punishment? Seriously, Sgt Clifford, how many people do you think would honestly give a stuff about punishing intruders when just getting rid of the danger they present is all that matters in that instant?
``Really what we'd prefer people to do is back off and observe and let us know what's going on and we'll chase them down the track,'' Sgt Clifford said.
And I wouldn't want anyone other than trained, professional police investigators doing that, but as for the backing off part, what about when you're at home and have nowhere to back off to? We know we're still supposed to call the cops and let you guys sort that out too, but the problem is the intruders are there already. And in case it's not clear why that's a problem that can be tackled only by people being at liberty to defend themselves we only need to ask one simple question: how long did it take WA police to respond to the report of a break in at the home of a registered firearms owner?

If it was more than five seconds there's your answer.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Another one for the Ambush Predator's collection

Yesterday a Perth teenager said she'd been raped whilst out jogging, and today...
A 15-year-old girl who claimed to have been raped while jogging in Mt Claremont has now confessed to police that it was a lie.
Why? Just... why? I can sort of understand, though certainly not condone, crying rape after a drunken shag or one night stand that's regretted the morning after, but from the sounds of what the ABC say she simply made the whole thing up. Unfortunately the made up description of the made up man who made up attacked her certainly fits the description of a lot of men who are actually real.
Police launched a search on Monday for a sexual predator, who the girl claimed was 20 to 30 years of age, fair-skinned with long light brown hair and had an Australian accent.
Police appeared hesitant about the claims but still issued a description to the media, which included that the assailant wore "long dark pants and a dark hooded jacket".
Okay, the lie came out before anyone was arrested but that description would have put thousands of men in Perth in the frame, and there's every chance a few of them were in Mt Claremont and wearing dark trousers and a dark hoodie. And if one of them had been dragged in what would she have done then? Confessed that it was all a lie? One would hope so but since these things are known to escalate it's not beyond the realms of possibility that she'd have said: 'Yes, officer, that's the man.' Okay, because he'd done nothing the charges would eventually be dropped or at worst he'd be found not guilty - well, probably - but even an overnighter in the cells along with the associated DNA collection and so on is enough to taint a life.
Senior Constable Naomi Smith yesterday said the girl was still being interviewed about her claims and police were still waiting for a forensic analysis from the girl. [Forensics? Possibly what prompted the admission that it was made up? - AE]
Today Senior Constable Smith said police were now following up the circumstances of the report with the girl and her family
Which I hope means they're considering charging her. It may not have gone very far and it didn't, thank goodness, actually point the finger at any individual, but all the same this could so easily have been an horrific experience for some innocent but unlucky bloke. I'm not normally one to support prosecutions on the basis of what could have happened, though in practice the police in most jurisdictions don't seem shy about the idea and I doubt West Oz is an exception, but even if nobody is arrested after a false rape claim it is not a victimless crime. I'm not talking about the unquantifiable effect it has on real rape victims, though I'm by no means saying that that doesn't happen. No, the victim is everybody who pays for policing since the police themselves have had their time wasted, and because they have much better things to do than follow up on crimes that have simply never happened - an excellent example of which is coming up tomorrow - I don't have a problem when they charge people for it.

Happily this shouldn't be too hard to put a dollar value on for when people admit they've spun the police a fantasy story. So, what's the going rate for some initial forensics, a Senior Constable for about a day or so and I imagine several other officers for at least several hours?

Don't ask a journo to check your pulse

A terminally ill taxi driver? Really?
The late Mr Bills has become the first man to be mummified in the style of the ancient Egyptians for at least 3,000 years.
"The late Mr Bills" would tend to suggest that he's not so much terminally ill as actually dead. Or did The Mainly Fail get a second opinion?

In Masho veritas?

Well, if it applies to wine couldn't it apply to The Daily Mash talking here about the 'Occupy' mob's spread from New York to other cities?
... first-time protestor, Roy Hobbs, insisted: "I'm here because I'm sick and tired of all the greed that stops me from getting what I want.

"That's why I've come up with a plan that will solve everything. It involves dividing all the money in the world equally and then waiting to see what happens next."
You know, I really believer that is the plan. I really, really do.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Oddly creepy

It's New Zealand vs Australia, it's half time, and the Wallabies are 8 points behind. My feeling is it's going to be the All Blacks who go through to the final. And that's as good a reason as any to show one of the weirdest things to have come out of the Land of the Long White Cloud - not the Haka, which is as impressive as hell, but the Gingerbread Haka, which I find strangely disturbing.

Oh nos, anothr newspapr typo

Click for linky

I'm sure whoevr does the headlins at The Austrian received sufficint educaton to know that 'smash' has a secnd 's' but everyoe makes mistaks now and thn, and maybe spellcheckrs don't work on headlins which would explan why it's often wrng in the headlin and right in the article. But doesn't anyone ever come back and check? This one's been talking about a 'smah' for two days now. It's just a little thing, I know, and I'm probably being a pedantic grammar/spelling nazi as well as a hypocrite because there certainly are mistakes around here. The difference is though I have a staff of one, and I'd like to think that if I had a fraction of the resources of a big newspaper there'd never be a mistake on the blog at all. Now and again I'll give a longer blog to Mrs Exile to read right before I hit publish and sometimes she'll spot a typo I hadn't seen, but like most bloggers I'm my own proof reader and inevitably it's hard for the person who writes something to do a good job at checking it for errors. You tend to read what you know you meant to say rather than the words formed from the keys your fat, useless, sausage fingers actually hit. So is the reason for typos in some publications simply that they don't have someone proofreading and the writer is expected to do it? I've no idea what the procedure is in real newspapers but surely at least two people, the writer and an editor, see an article before it gets published? You'd think that at least one would be able to spot it when a five letter word is missing a letter.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I say we take off and nuke the shoe shop from orbit

It's the only way to be sure.

epic win photos - Alien Heel WIN

Apologies for the light blogging. Still busy.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The bleeding obvious

Another example of the journalistic art of stating the perfectly obvious, this time courtesy of The Australian reporting on the sad death of a 15 year old girl at a railway crossing, the latest in a series of railway deaths recently (my bold).
The girls's death comes a week after a three-year-old boy was struck by a train in regional Victoria and died in hospital the next day.

Last month, a 70-year-old woman was killed by a train at a level crossing at McKinnon railway station.

Police believe she was standing on the wrong side of the pedestrian safety barrier when struck by a city-bound train.
Oh, you think? Hard to see how the train could have been travelling on the wrong side of the barrier without the article being about a deadly derailment. Oh well, I suppose it makes a change from wildly inaccurate or inappropriate picture captions.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The cake is a lie...

... and so is the floor, the walls and the idea of which way is up.

More art for gamers here

Great discoveries of this blog #1 *

When you've got absolutely nothing else Bonjela works quite well on insect bites. Okay, 'great' might be overstating things but don't say I never tell you anything useful.

* It's highly unlikely that there will be a #2.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Watch for the crashes

What? No crash? No accidents at all with all those rules being broken left, right and centre? With all those pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and trams using that same space? Nothing at all, almost like people are managing to just get along by themselves? Not entirely unlike those places in Holland - also being tried in London, I believe - where they've done away with some or all of the rules governing priority for who's riding what coming from where and leaving it for people to sort out on their own. On the other hand you probably couldn't make that work with all junctions and I'm not sure Flinders and Swanston would be one anyway. Still, it doesn't change the fact that all that rule breaking didn't actually hurt anyone. Food for thought.

PS - maybe it's the camera angle and the music but I have an urge to spend the rest of the weekend playing SimCity.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Too close to reality

'Are you a customer of ours?'

Tilting at windmills

Click for linky
... soon after being installed [at the Gorran School in Cornwall] the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up - showering the school's playing field with debris.
Since then the school has been locked in a battle with suppliers Proven Energy which has now gone into administration leaving the school with little hope of any money being returned - and a pile of scrap in their field.
Having seen this earlier I was going to blog it later on today, but I see Watts Up With That have already done a thorough job on it, including the fact that the debris with which it showered the playground included two fucking turbine blades lessons have not been learned as well as the local community's apparent inability to treat this as a learning experience - they're now spunking away half a million pounds on two 'community turbines'. Nip over to WUWT and have a read of the whole thing when you can. I can't add anything other than the cynical observation that someone, or several someones, in Big Eco is probably getting wealthy off places like Gorran. Which would be fine if what was provided in return actually worked.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Could have been put better - UPDATED

'Live blog'? Really? You don't think that perhaps that's an unfortunate phrase to use?

And has this obsession at The Teletubbygraph with live blogging got a little out of hand? Of all the things you could live blog is the death of a well known businessman, or even the death of anyone at all, the right sort of event? It lends itself to ongoing stories, so floods, earthquakes, political party conferences and other disasters are all suitable for live blogging. But this? How's that work?

1.55 Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died.

2.20 Steve Jobs still dead.

2.40 He's still dead.

3.05 Still dead.

3.20 The Daily Telegraph has spoken to medical experts who have confirmed that not being alive is a very common symptom of being dead.

3.30 Steve Jobs persistently not alive at this point.

3.45 Still not alive.

For Pete's sake, Tele, you've probably got obits for every other famous name all teed up somewhere ready to go the moment they drop off the twig, and sometimes before. Why not just dust it off, update it and click publish? The only reason I can think of for live blogging this is that Steve Jobs' death has been falsely reported a few times by reputable sources as well as hoaxers (that one was only last month), so there's an outside chance of an update to the effect of 'It's just another bloody hoax' around half five or something. Since even Apple's home page is showing a tribute photo and 'Steve Jobs 1955-2011' - which The Tele must know as they've used it too and they said where they got it - this seems a lot less likely than parts of the MSM still trying to work out this new media thingummy.

As for Steve Jobs himself, whatever I've had to say about his company (and there's more on the back burner) and some of its products, his death is still sad. I'm not joining this trend for mourning people you've never met, but the guy had a family and 56 is no age at all these days.

UPDATE - Oh, Christ.

Click for linky

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Still busy, but... - UPDATED

... not so busy that I can't find a few minutes to join in taking the piss out of The Mail for this:

It's almost like they're making up the news as they go along or, as Newsthump suggested, from time to time they occupy a parallel universe (a Dacreverse?) in which things happen a bit differently.
The Daily Mail is insisting that it published family reactions and prosecutor quotes to an Amanda Knox verdict that was never delivered due to a brief trip to an alternate universe.
Daily Mail reporter Nick Pisa told us, “It definitely happened, I saw it with my own eyes. There’s was a flash of light and then Amanda Knox was crying, before being taken back to prison – and all the prosecutors were celebrating.”
“I took copious notes and then there was another flash of light.”
“I filed my copy quickly like any good reporter, only to find out that in this universe she was found not guilty. I’m as shocked as anyone.”
Media analysts have suggested that this latest incident points to to the fact that the universe is clearly ganging up on the Daily Mail...
Hopeless knobs, they really are.

UPDATE - see the whole thing in all its glorious failicity over at Max Farquar's. The cunning bugger screencapped the whole thing before The Fail could take it down. Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Quote of the day

Okay, to be fair on Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh, talking here about Melbourne's biggest dam reaching 50% full for the first time in seven years, this really ought to be called "Incredibly selective quote of the day" but never mind.
I can't have thoughts as the minister...

Occupy Wall Street...

... and then what, you clueless bunch of fucknuts? Going to throw America's captains of industry from the roofs of their own buildings, are you? Should be pretty fucking entertaining given the US has a national debt on the order of fifteen trillion dollars. Now, what's Mandarin for, "Nice one, you fucking idiots"?


Monday, 3 October 2011

More light blogging

But in the meantime I thought I'd add to the list of shotgun library photos on stories about airguns and photos of wolverines on stories about bears and other bum captions with an Aussie example. And you don't need to be much of a petrolhead to see where The Age's Drive section have gone wrong here.

The car in front might still be a Toyota but they use a different slogan for Aussie adverts - d'oh, what a feeling!
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