Saturday, February 28, 2004

A tasteful post 

An intriguing comments thread in Tim Blair's latest post:

I ate skippy last night; wouldn't mind trying koala, but I reckon it'd be like mutton marinated in dencorub.

I've been trying to find a good recipe for koala for a while now. I decided to hit Google (with a little help from www.ask.com) and see what I found. The most obvious entries - 'How to cook a koala', 'koala recipes' and 'eating koala' failed to turn up anything useful.
'Roast koala' turned up a link to this page, which has a recipe for Koala Casserole (also Kangaroo Pie, Wombat Roast, Dingo Steak and Possum Punch.)

A nice furry koala, spices and herbs potatoes, rice or pasta any of choice, carrots, onions, tomatoes and lemon.
Find a furry koala. You will need to climb the tallest gum tree and feed your koala sleeping pills to get him down, If not already furless from the sleeping pills skin your koala, Make sure your koala is furless, Then cut him or her up into tiny pieces and arrange in frying pan. Fry gently with herbs, spices, onion and taste. Add tomato and other ingredients, mix until brown and when cooked serve up with cooked rice or other options. This should be a satisfying dish to suit even the fussiest eaters.

Next I tried searching under the terms 'Fried Koala', which located this post by Daniel Hong. It offers a 'Roasted Koala Bear' recipe.

The Ingredients
Cajun Sauce

Roasted Koala Bear

1. Pick a single tree where Koala is hanging

2. Fire that tree and start roasting the Koala

3. When the Koala is down, scrap off all the outside. Rub the dead one with Cajun Sauce

4. Cut it like how you cut Thanksgiving Turkey

Daniel advises: 'Check with your local conservation council'. Hmmm, thanks Daniel.

I was running out of ideas and getting desperate. I tried, as a last ditch effort, a search under the terms 'Koala stew'. This returned two promising hits...

- Firstly, a link to a 'Koala stew' recipe by Ken Ewell which, unfortunately, turned out to be defunct. But if you have time, a koala to spare, and you like cooking, why not contact Ken and ask him for the recipe?

- Secondly, a fascinating news item from 2000: "Greens MP Ian Cohen says he is disgusted by a recipe sent to him by the New South Wales Member for Murray Darling, Peter Black, which details how to cook koalas for Christmas dinner."
I can't remember this myself, but it might be worth contacting Black, if only to follow up these useful tips:

The recipe describes how to skin, gut and cook a koala, and suggests the marsupial is served with Bunya Nut Satay Sauce with a side plate of Kakadu plums or Quandongs.

It reminds would-be chefs to obtain their koala from a pathogen-free colony and that it is illegal to have a koala in their possession.

It is surely an outrage that it is so difficult to find a recipe for our national icon in this day and age!

Friday, February 27, 2004

Nooooo, really? 

America's oldest man dies at 114

Why am I not surprised? America's oldest man has died: so what? What did they expect him to do? Fly to the moon? Take up yodelling as a pastime? Tap dance over the Himalayas? Continue living indefinitely?
Dying is what old people do. The older the person, the easier it is. Dare I say it, it's an ability - a talent, if you will - ingrained in each and every person upon the encroachment of senility. And nothing kicks the proverbial bucket quite like the wrinkled, shrivelled, decrepit old foot of an 114 year old American.

BTW - a quick search on Google under the words "World's Oldest Man Dies" revealed over 68, 000 headlines of that sort. Apparently, he died in 2003. And in 2002 before that. Hey, it's an annual event!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

All very zen... 

Over at The Spectator, Alexander Chancellor writes:

When David Blunkett was in Delhi at the same time as me, he was quoted as saying that he was looking forward to ‘seeing’ the Taj Mahal.

Last year, The Spectator published an interesting exchange between David Blunkett and reporters - Blunkett saying how he could "hear" the New York skyline.

If a tree falls in the forest, and there's nobody around but David Blunkett to see it, did it really fall?

And, just before Chancellor gets on to the issue of David Blunkett:

As Max Hastings wrote in last week’s Diary, the use of sign-language interpreters at opera performances is extremely distracting. It is also, as he said, very puzzling. Why would deaf people enjoy opera anyway?

Hastings has been banging on about the use of sign-language interpreters at the opera in last years Spectator as well.

If they hold an opera, and only deaf people come, is it really opera?

Bloody NIMBYS! 

Don't you think this headline is just a tad biased? Or am I a monkeys uncle?

That article - with that headline - appeared on the front cover of the Newcastle Star today.

I F&*^*^*&^&*&^$%)(&*ING HATE NIMBYS!

Should we have more nuclear power stations? 

... Colin Keay says yes.

I want my air-conditioner to be turned on or off by me, not by some distant load controller. I want to be on the end of a dependable electrical supply system where outages are non-existent. I want electrical energy to be on top for me, my family, and you, my listeners, whenever we need it. That happy state of affairs will prevail only if some long-term planning decisions are taken very soon. And only if we choose the nuclear option to generate clean, reliable electricity.

... When did that happen again? 

Apparently, something infinitely small has just got infinitesimally smaller:

Scientists say an instant is now shorter

The length of an instant has just become shorter, according to scientists.

And how did that happen? Well...

Researchers in Austria and Germany measured the smallest time interval recorded, and found it lasted a ten million billionth of a second.

It's about ten times shorter than the previous shortest measured interval, which lasted about one femtosecond or a million billionth of a second.

It didn't. But it makes a nice headline.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Shock! Horror! 

Oh no! Somebody wrote into the Green Left Weekly and accused the Cuban Government (ie, totalitarian dictatorship) of (gasp!) homophobia!

I was glad to see the Socialist Alliance attend this year's Queer Pride March. It is important that the left continue to have a presence at the event. However, I was not impressed with your choice of banner. Taking a banner featuring Che Guevara to a queer march is like turning up to a Hungarian national day with a poster of Joe Stalin.

The history of the Cuban revolution and queers is abysmal. Post-revolution queers have suffered from state sponsored oppression. Some claim that in recent years attitudes have changed in Cuba. But at best it seems that queers “are no worse off” than in other countries. This isn't much of a boast from a country that claims to be socialist and the liberators of humanity.

What is beyond question is that Che Guevara stands squarely in a deeply homophobic tradition. So rub the stardust from your eyes, burn that Che banner; this guy can't be rehabilitated.

Daryl Croke

The socialists response to this letter was immediate. Could comrades Castro and Che be poofter-bashers? NEVER!

I defend the use of Che as a symbol of fighting oppression.

Croke makes sweeping condemnations of Che and the Cuban government's attitudes towards homosexuals. Homophobia was not generated by the revolution, it existed beforehand. Revolutions are made with imperfect people and there is no magic wand to eliminate prejudice. Sure, Che Guevara may have been homophobic, but then again so were most progressive leaders for hundreds of years prior to Che.

...No other government has made such huge progress given the campaign against homophobia is barely 18 years old. This turnaround was part of a wider campaign titled “return to Che”. The symbol of Che Guevara stands for the overcoming of all forms of oppression and for becoming a complete human being, and it is this example he tried to set (regardless of his prejudices at the time), which is the reason why we place his face on our banner.

Stephen Garvey

Who cares if dear old comrade Che was actually a homophobic asshole? It's what he stands for that matters!
This week, two more ideologues enter the debate. Kim Bullimore writes:

While state-sanctioned homophobia has existed in the past in Cuba, the social advances made as part of the revolution have ensured that the lives of gays, lesbians and queers are in fact far better than those of their counterparts in many places around the world, particularly compared to other Latin American and Third world countries. This is because ordinary, working, people are better off in Cuba than in these other countries.

Queers, like everyone else in Cuba, have access to free healthcare and education, subsidised housing and food as a result of the revolution.

Ah, yes - queers are completely free to share in the state-wide poverty and starvation along with everyone else! Viva la Revolucion!

Will Type for Food 

I’m looking for work. Anything, really. I can clock upwards of 80 words per minute on the keyboard, and am reasonably experienced in several computer programs. Oh - and I can answer the phone and operate the photocopier with the best of them. But apparently this isn’t what the employers are looking for, despite what they’re saying.

In fact, the average job-advertisment is just as bad as the average property advertisement: full of jargon and obfuscation.
For instance: you’d think that with my typing speed, I’d be well qualified for a keyboard job of some sort. No! Actually, according to some employers, I’m over-qualified…

Positions Vacant
Data Entry
Person of below average abilities required for menial task in the Newcastle CBD.
Desirable criteria: experience in typing one letter over and over again into a database.
Don’t apply if you are actually skilled in this area. The employer wouldn’t want you to increase office productivity, or anything like that. You’d just get bored, and we’d rather you stayed on welfare than actually earnt some money.
Call FRED on 1800-IDIOT now.

A lot of employers try to make the job look harder and more important than it actually is, perhaps in an attempt to make themselves seem more important.

Positions Vacant
DON’T APPLY FOR THIS JOB. You’re not good enough.
The successful applicant for this position will have ridiculously high typing speed (at least 30 wpm), and will excel in the office environment (you’ll be doing a lot of photocopying.) You’re communication skills must be nothing short of astounding (you’ll be answering the phones a lot) and proven experience in problem-solving (Well, actually, we just put that one in to make the job look more difficult than it really is.)
Essential Criteria: You will have at least 100 years experience in a similar environment. You will have a PhD, an MPhil, an MMus, GABA, and an FDA, level 4.

The real message: we’re not interested even if you do have enough skills. We’re just not willing to take the risk, even if you are better than any of the other candidates.
There are some job-advertisements for which hardly anybody in the world (and by “hardly anybody in the world” I mean “one specific person who is not me”) is qualified for. You wonder why employers bother advertising for these positions:

Positions Vacant
Expert in Swiss Yodelling and modern Alaskan Linguistic Semiosis with a PhD in Conics from Obscureville University who goes by the name of Robert ‘Bob’ Jenkins. Apply in person at my house, Mayfield, next Monday, like we arranged. And don’t forget to bring a six-pack along.
PAY RANGE: Anything you want, Bob.

And then there are the Equal Opportunity Employers. Oh, I fucking love these guys…

Positions Vacant
Bureaucratic Slave for Blugalug Council
TASKS: Shuffling papers, filing forms, photocopying, mail-outs, and other meaningless, dreary tasks.
ESSENTIAL: Experience in passing the buck, shifting the blame, taking messages from people and then never getting back to them.
DESIRABLE: Experience in taking frequent holidays, striking for no apparent reason, being paid large amounts of money for doing not very much.
Blugalug Council is an Equal Opportunity Employers and will give special preference to: Women, Asians, Aboriginals, Negroes, Indians, Differently-abled people, Lesbians, Homosexuals, Cross-genders, Victims of paedophilia or child-abuse or bullying, Seniors, Youth, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Wiccan, Pagyn, Socialist, etc, etc, etc…

In other words, if you’re a live white heterosexual male, like me, then don’t even bother...

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Goodbye and Good Riddance 

So, who wants to hop in the Trabant and go for a trip back in time to East Germany, the old East Germany of the Stasi and the Berlin wall, of communism for all and riches for nobody?
Me neither. But I did get along to see Goodbye Lenin with Mum today...

The film, set in this old East Germany, is about Alex and his idealistic communist mother. When Alex’s mum sees him being taken away by police, she has a heart attack and falls into a coma. When she finally wakes up, she is unaware that the Berlin wall has fallen and that East and West Germany have reunified. Alex attempts to cover up all this, wishing to give her reassurance and comfort.
As you might expect, Alex’s explanations get crazier and crazier. He’s scared that, if his mother finds out about the reunification, the shock will kill her. But he also comes to realise that he is not really describing to his mother East Germany as it was, but East Germany as it should have been.
He says at the end of the film: “I’m glad I lied to my mother. She believed in an East Germany that never existed, and that was a belief worth having.”

What to make of this?

The folks at Green Left Weekly seemed to think that it wasn’t all that critical, really, of the bad old East Germany. In a strange little review, Louis Proyect says, firstly, that life in East Germany wasn’t that bad, really. Hey, he says – “ the old system … guaranteed cheap rents, a job, medical care, and low crime. With globalisation turning most of the planet into an ever more ruthless competition for disappearing jobs, such a past might retain some appeal.” And secondly, he explains how it’s all America’s fault, really – if they hadn’t been so unfair back in 1946 when they were busy dividing up Germany, then the Soviet crackdown wouldn’t have happened. Really.

Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, Paddy McGuinness took a different view: “underlying the film is a much sadder story which reminds us just how appalling the communist regimes were, something which many people, particularly the young, have forgotten or do not even know.”

Me? I’m with Paddy. The film shouldn’t ignore the realities of life in East Germany before the fall of the wall, and it doesn’t. The footage of the protests at the start of the film is one example, showing some graphic examples of state brutality.
But the central irony of the film, of course, is that the old East German system was a lie: a failing economy hidden away by continual state propaganda; all alternative media sources to the state media being suppressed and censored. This is the lie that Alex gives to his mother, and it’s amazing how easy it seems to come to him.
The film, with a wry sense of humour, and good acting all round, is well worth seeing.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

It's the next step up from Cow-tipping 

Sproing! Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Plonk!
Sproing! Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Plonk!

Today's Sesame Street was bought to you by the Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome and the Children's Television Workshop 

A friend told me yesterday that there was going to be a new character on Sesame Street, a monster called HIV, who has the AIDS virus.
As it turns out, this is pretty old news - I found an Ananova report dating back to 2002, and the character appeared on the South African version of Sesame Street, not the American version - but it set me thinking: why stop there?
If you want to educate kids about common illnesses, why not introduce a whole range of new characters. For instance:

Li'l Lil Leprosy: A cute little yellow beast whose arms and legs keep on falling off at comically inappropriate moments.

The Schizoid: This monster has the occasional hallucinogenic episode when it imagines it is being manipulated by a human who has his hand stuck up it's bum.

Junkie Monster: The Cookie Monster's long-lost relative. Somehow he's got in with the wrong crowd and has become addicted to heroin. Watch him go crazy if he doesn't get it!
Amusing plot suggestion: Junkie Monster holds up Maria's store in order to get enough money to buy his smack!

Madame Ebola: As the episode of Sesame Street introducing this particular character opens, we find her relatively healthy. However, by the end of the half-hour, she should be vomiting blood, intestines, screaming, etc. Of course, you could cut out all the gory details, but why would you want to? Sesame Street is meant to be an educational program, after all!
Suggested dialogue: "Hi everybody! This is Madame Ebola! She's going to die!" "Oh, but doesn't everyone die in the end!" "Yes, Big Bird, but Madame Ebola's going to die today! In great pain!"

Hey, we could be onto a good idea here! Maybe the folks at www.sesamestreet.com could include our suggestions in the show!

Sights to See Around Newcastle 

There are many sights to see around Newcastle.

There are many coal-mines which supply material to local, national and international power stations. Not only do they help to provide base-load power for the rest of the state, but they also provide jobs for hundreds of locals, and they annoy local environmentalists.

The Kooragang Island wind turbine doesn't work very well, but it looks pretty.
It is powered by 100 greenies who sit underneath chanting environmental slogans all day and night. These slogans produce hot air which rises, causing the blades of the turbine to turn.

Also, the Queens Wharf Tower is a serious contender for The World's Most Phallic Building.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Speaking of Doggerel... 

In the SMH this morning:

Shirley MacLaine has co-authored a book with her pooch.

I feel a bad joke coming on: Is this woman absolutely barking mad?!?

Friday, February 20, 2004

Move Over, Doggerell Pundit! 

Tim Blair links to this story about Oxford engineering student Matthew Richardson who caught a plane to China in order to give a series of talks - about economics!
Here is my own poetic tribute to this plucky young chap:

From Oxford he came – Matthew was his name –
The best of Britannia’s breed –
And he caught an airliner into darkest China
To spread the free-traders creed,
Yes, to spread the free-traders creed.

What though he be a mere engineer?
The theme was to be economics
So he borrowed a book, and swotted up fast
On that complex and difficult topic,
That complex and difficult topic.

This Capitalist Pommy in the land of the Commies
Undaunted forth sauntered up to the stage –
And he read from the book while the Chinese looked on
As if he were a venerable sage,
An ancient Confucian sage.

So here’s three or four cheers to that brave engineer,
A brave and bold fellow indeed
Who caught an airliner into darkest China
To spread the free-traders creed,
Yes, to spread the free-traders creed.

Webly Weirdness 

I'm trying to work out what this site is all about.
It's called 'Cthulhu coffee' and here's the explanation they offer:

If you're really confused about what this site is all about, here's a quick dictionary:

Cthulhu, the Utimate evil
Coffee, the Utimate drink

Whatever it is about, I like. Muchly.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Government Dumbness 

A particularly stupid idea:

The Lord Mayors of Wollongong, Newcastle and Parramatta have put their support behind a move to establish free CBD bus loop services in their cities.

I use public transport a lot, so I can vouch for the fact that it suffers from the same problems as any other over-subsidised public-sector organisation: it never has enough money. The $2.50 (or $1.25 concession) fare I and my fellow commuters pay barely serves to keep the existing system intact.
But here is the Newcastle City Council promising a new bus service while at the same time promising to eliminate the bus-fare! And how the hell are they going to pay for it?

Word of the Day 

From the latest edition of Viz:

Wanquility: The all too brief post masturbatory period of serenity experienced immediately before the loathing, self-hatred and shame sets in.

Politics Explained 

Politics all over the world splits into two main factions - Left-wing and Right-wing.
In Australia, the Left-wing is represented by the Australian Labor Party and the Right-wing is represented by the Liberal Party.
However, Labor and the Liberals are further split into sub-factions. So, there is a Labor left (or the Left-left faction), a Labor right (or the Left-right faction), a Labor-centre (the Left-right-left faction), not to mention the people who actually vote for Labor (commonly known as the Left-right-out faction).
Similarly, in the Australian Liberals, there is a Liberal right (or the Right-right faction), the Liberal left (or the Right-left faction), etc, etc.
Yes, but what do they actually stand for, these factions? I'm not really sure, myself, but I think it goes something like this:

Left: The Left is right, the Right is wrong.
Right: The Left is wrong, and the Right isn't. Right?

Over the past twenty years or so, a number of parties like the Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens have sprung up claiming to represent a 'third-wing' of government - the 'centre-wing', if you will. Which doesn't really make sense, when you think about it, because what kind of hell-beast has three wings? If a bird had a third wing, where would it go - in the middle of its back?
These centrist parties like to think of themselves as 'sitting on the fence' that separates the Left-wing and Right-wing parties. Which is an interesting way of understanding their position ... until some busybody tries to raise the bar and shift the fencepost... hmmm, perhaps that's what Paul Keating did when he was in Government (see below).

Here concludes today's explanation of modern politics, which explains nothing.

Fun New Game 

Hey! It's time to play Mix the Metaphors with former Prime Minister Paul Keating! Writing in the SMH today, Keating says that ... he says ... well, you tell me what he says:

I think we've always believed in the invincibility of Sydney's physicality.


That the sheer scope of natural beauty could absorb development, particularly of the slow-moving kind. In the now head-long speed of development, that beauty and physicality is threatened...

But development is an abstract concept - isn't it? So how can it move at a headlong-speed?

Newcastle and the Hunter can become the safety valves of Sydney's pressure-cooker development, doing the people of the region a turn into the bargain.

Since I live in Newcastle, I'm not sure whether I like this idea of being in a pressure-cooker...

But one of the challenges is to preserve Sydney's green west, for the fibros and brick veneers to give way to attractive medium-density preserving much of the green. If we don't get this right, we'll get the eczema of development moving out, with detached housing simply obliterating all of that history of green we have right to the edge of the Blue Mountains.

Will that 'eczema of development' be going at a slow-moving or a head-long pace, Paul?
Next, the article takes a spiritual turn:

I think the harbour should be viewed holistically, and all of its foreshore declared an area of state significance...


because it is an area of true state significance.


What we've got to do is lift the public consciousness about the importance of these sites and make the political parties understand that they'll get hurt and that there is a cost in abusing these sites.

'Lift the public consciousness?' How do we do that? Is this public consciousness an actual physical object, and if so, how much does it weigh?

I think the working harbour debate is a bit of a red herring.

No, Paul, a herring is a fish, it lives in the harbour.
But it's time for a conclusion - and what a conclusion...

We should be supporting the people who want to put a ring around the public domain...

But how can they put a ring around the public domain if we're supporting them?

...and lift the bar on the political system ...

And how can we lift the bar if we're already supporting the people who want to put a ring around the public domain?

... so people can't touch these things without getting burnt.

...Yes, Paul. Whatever you say.
But seriously, can anybody tell me what he means? Is there anything behind all this blather? Mail suggestions through to me!

Who's Racist? 

Take a look at this poster over at Protest Warrior. It's funny and thought provoking, and it's a neat reminder that sometimes, the worst sort of racism can come from the Left.

Well, I decided to do my own, Australian version:

White Racists, Vote for the Left!!!

- We oppose Free Trade with other countries. Keep Australian Jobs for Australian workers. Why should those dirty Pakis and greasy Wogs earn a minimum wage doing jobs for Australian companies when they could be earning nothing at all? They don’t deserve a cent!

- For over fifty years, Unions have proudly supported the White Australia policy, fearful of ethnic workers willing to work for lower wages (the White Australia policy was effectively ended by the Liberal Government of Harold Holt!)

- Mandatory Detention of Illegal Immigrants: another great Labor party initiative!

- By opposing development wherever and whenever we see it, we hope to keep unsightly lower-class ethnics out of gentrified White suburbs.

- We properly recognise Aborigines as inferior, and in need of special help – ie, Abstudy, Affirmative Action.

- Aborigines were made full citizens of Australia in 1962: another Liberal party mistake! Since then, however, successive Labor governments have been working to keep Aboriginal culture separate from White culture, thus denying them the many benefits of full citizenship!

- The Labor party continues to support meaningless symbolic causes like ‘Reconciliation’ so that we will not have to do anything for the practical betterment of the blacks. That’ll keep ‘em in their place!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Real Politix 

Here's a newsflash for the Australian newsmedia: Australians are not Americans and Americans are not Australians. We don't vote in their elections and they sure as hell don't vote in ours. So why do we go crazy every time there is a presidential election in America?
I don't care who Kerry went to bed with or didn't go to bed with, and I care even less what Bush did as a member of the Air Force back in the 1970s at a time before I was even born.
But there are a number of American presidential candidates who remain shockingly underrepresented in our media - the fictional candidates! In the interests of fairness and balance, The Novocastria Blog presents a list of these candidates for your amusement and your edification.

He's cute, he's cuddly, He's Five!, he's Philippe, a regular at Achewood.
Campaign Slogans: "I am happy to be your president!"
Policies: Will distribute little puppys named Mr. Poopytime as a means of combating sadness: "It's is my firm belief that little puppy dogs named Mr. Poopytime will bring our nation together!".
"I think everyone agrees it's time this country was run by someone who is five!"
Why you should vote for him: His vice-presidential candidate, Todd is quite possibly the most politically incorrect candidate ever!

He's the Dark Horse of the presidential race: what does he stand for? Does he even exist? Nevertheless, you have to admit his campaign slogan has a nice ring to it: Republicans for Voldemort!. Check out his campaign headquarters over at Goats!
Policies: The destruction of that twerp Harry Potter, ascension to the throne of Hogwarts, world domination.

Unspeakably evil and horrendously ugly, the semi-mythical Octapoid-creature Cthulhu will return from his slumber to rule over America with an iron tentacle.
Campaign slogans: "Why vote for the lesser of two evils?" "The Great Cthulhu cares little for mortal affairs and mortal politics."
Policies: "The Great Cthulhu views our foreign neighbors as equals to the United States. It encourages trade in all forms, including slave trade, child trafficking, and it will continue to give Primary Trading Partner status to the country which sells the most children worldwide." "Cthulhu does not feel that humans should have the privilege oo killing other humans, it reserves that right to itself." "The Great Cthulhu's solution to the United Nations will be to eat all current U.N. delegates. It will then build the U.U.N. (Unilateral United Nations)"

Howard the Duck ran for President back in the 1970s, and it's high time he ran again! The chain smoking fowl ran on a campaign of basically letting everyone do what they wanted. I don't know for sure, but I thinHoward would resent his name being abused by Vermont Governor Howard Dean in his run for president.
Campaign Slogans: "I'm not negative, I'm angry!" "What do I believe? Deep down? That people are no damn good"
Policies: I don't think he had any!
Possible drawbacks to his campaign: Has had possible cross-species relations with Beverly Switzler. His chain-smoking won't go down well with the anti-smoking lobby. The nefariously perfidious (or perfidiously nefarious) Doctor Bong will be working to stop his campaign in its tracks. Oh, and he once got turned into a hamster.

Well, that's my list. Readers, send in your own suggestions for fictional candidates. My own suggestion: Urkonn of the Davruss! he's a goat-man with a shady past, and it's possible that he wants to bring death and destruction to the world in the most painful way imaginable. How could you not vote for him?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Nukes for Newcastle: 1 

The Ubernerdling, local scientific genius and editor of fantastic science-zine Nerdling, has just published a wonderful, informative booklet on Nuclear energy. Find it here. (Warning: the document is in PDF, so you'll might have to wait a while for it to download.)


- Helpful advice on building your own homemade Breeder reactor (and neutron-ray!)

- A handy guide to help you calculate your own daily radiation intake!

- A fascinating look at the use (and misuse) of radioactive materials in medical treatment.

- And so much more...

I'll be contacting the Ubernerdling shortly to try and enlist her for the Nuclear Reactor for Newcastle campaign!

Melancholier Than Thou 

I've just been reading some poetry by Tennyson. God, those romantics were depressed!

Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,

A hand that can be clasped no more -
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.

He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly through the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.

Now that's miserable! Here is my own humble attempt at a Generic Romantic Poem:

Fuck I'm depressed
I just want to die
I'm exceedingly gloomy -
(Very deep sigh)

This city's a shithole
This world is a dump
My friends tell me to cheer up -
Well, they can go jump.

If I had the courage,
I'd shoot myself dead.
But I don't. So I'll stay here
And grumble instead.

Readers are encouraged to send in their own Miserable Efforts to my email address.

Why? Why? In God's Name, Why? 

The headline says it all:

Britain calls inquiry into why it calls so many inquiries

EVERY disaster sparks an inquiry these days; so do political ructions, murders and, increasingly, other inquiries. This week, Britain's Public Administration Committee thrashed out what a literary critic might call a meta-inquiry: an investigation into how and why the Government calls so many of the things.

I did some Googling, and it turns out there are a lot of these inquiries hanging about, ranging from the serious:

Inquiry after runaway rail wagon kills four workers in Britain

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Inquiry into the Racist Murder of Stephen Lawrence (Alternative name: Why, why, did they have to die?)

to the political:

The Hutton Inquiry into the Death of David Kelly (Alternative name: Why, why did they have to lie?)

to the trivial:

Inquiry on STM Publishing in 2004 (Alternative name: What the hell is STM publishing, anyway?)

And who can forget the upcoming Inquiry into Intelligence used to justify the Iraq war?
All of which makes me wonder: you can have in inquiry into Intelligence, but can you ever have an intelligent inquiry?

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Welcome to the Novocastria Blog 

This blog is about: Poetry, people, philosophy, politics, life, literature, art, cartoons, science, skepticism, chess, television, films, the environment, environmentalists and their weird enviro-mentalities, and ... anything else I feel like talking about.


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