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Showing posts from January, 2006

What's all that about?

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Any takers?

Mini-golf memories

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One of the most underrated forms of entertainment is the humble game of mini-golf. After many years away from the sport (and it is a sport, no correspondence will be entered into), yesterday I reaquainted myself with its pleasures at Sidetracked, an eastern suburbs establishment frequented mostly by bored schoolkids on holidays, and teenagers on a date. In my case, it was the former.

I have many mixed memories of my past as a mini-golf player. For years I was a regular patron each summer at the Top Fun, in Merimbula, which I was thrilled to see not only still exists, but has a website to extol its virtues, a feature which was absent when I last visited in 1992. My visits to Top Fun would usually begin with great enthusiasm for mini-golf, which soon became an unhealthy obsession. I was a stubborn perfectionist, which is not an ideal quality when playing mini-golf, and when things didn't go my way, I let the world know. Many was the game that would involve me kicking the water …

Rethinking Australia Day

Ho hum, Australia Day is hear again, and it's met with the same utter lack of interest. Rightfully so.

The central problem with Australia Day is marks the anniversary of an event that is so fundamentally contested that it fails as a day of unity. Marking as it does the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, its meaning resonates with only a niche segment of the population. The description of British colonisation as invasion is highly debatable, but the very fact that it is debatable detracts from the unifying forces of the date. Whether or not it was invasion is a moot point - the the truth remains that the question is hotly contested.

It is wrong to suggest that the problem is a lack of Australian patriotism. Misdirected as it may have been, the events at Cronulla last month demonstrate that Australians can indeed find great pride in celebrating their nationalism. Apathy in response to Australia Day is not merely a post-modern globalised response to the slow d…

The McGauran defection

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Senator Julian McGauran has defected from the Nats to the Libs, and in doing so has put the future of the Nationals in the spotlight. The Nats are in the spotlight in the same way that many wallabies are in the spotlight immediately before confronting a bullbar and a future in a shallow roadside grave, quite possibly on a highway that runs through a National Party electorate.

The Senate seat

Before dealing with the substantive issue that McGauran's defection raises, it's worth looking at the question of his Senate seat. Ownership of a Senate seat is a tricky question, since there's no by-election option to decide the matter, and most Senators are elected on the basis of their party allegiance and above-the-line votes rather than a personal vote.

McGauran was elected in 2004 for a six year term on a joint Liberal-National Party ticket in Victoria. For me, this is the key fact that means that McGauran is absolutely right in holding onto his seat since he remains true to th…

The politics of prostitution

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Britain's New Statesman have got some light holiday reading for you:

Why British men are rapists

In the world of stag-night excess, lad mags and lap dancing, paying for sex is losing its stigma and more and more men do it. These "clients" are responsible for a grotesque crime, yet they get away scot-free. By Joan Smith


A patriotic pants man.

I first starting thinking seriously about the politics of prostitution last year when I was in a uni tute with a room full of radical feminists, and off-handedly mentioned that I didn't see anything wrong with prostitution if that was the occupation that someone chose for themselves. Little did I realise that my remark was such a controversial one. The looks of disgust in my direction were harsh and severe and made me feel like a butcher at a vegan's convention. Clearly not a popular position.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that I have an ultra-liberal position on prostitution. To me it is a perfectly legitimat…

It's not just because they linked to me

Not to sure who Tim or Jon are, but they're the authors of a damn funny blog, Sterne. Get it? I don't. Anyhow, check out this teaser, and then gorge yourself on the real thing:

Ringo Starr Publishes Pro-Capitalism, Pro-Ringo Children's Book

Hard on the heals of Paul McCartney's anti-capitalist kid's book, High in the Clouds, McCartney's former band-mate Ringo Starr has published his own children's book.

Starr says his book, titled Give Uncle Ringo Your Money, Now! came to him in a dream.

"I dreamed I was sitting at me desk writing some rubbish kiddie book, and all this money started falling from the sky. When I woke up, I immediately began writing. I expect the money at any moment now. That's why I brought me umbrella."

Give Uncle Ringo Your Money, Now! tells the heartwarming story of Bingo, the runt of a litter of four puppies who, while lacking the talent of his brothers, succeeds in winning the heart of his owner, Uncle Ringo, by performing u…

Beautiful Burma

A friend of a friend has recently spent some time in Myanmar/Burma, and has uploaded some photos of the trip. Myanmar is a beautiful place, and these photos are exceptional. Check em out. (You might need to log in to view, but it's worth it).

Kadima after Sharon

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How simple things were a fortnight ago. Arik Sharon was riding high, he'd made the boldest move of his political career, and the rapid advance toward peace from the past twelve months was set to continue. Then he had to go and do something stupid, like have himself a heart attack, and then a stroke. Bad time to drop dead, in an election year and all that.

But fear not. The inherent rightness of Kadima, and its urgent necessity on the Israeli political landscape, exists beyond the enormous shadow cast by Ariel Sharon. Sure, it took someone of Sharon's stature to make the bold move, but the party lives on regardless. Kadima was not just borne out of Sharon's desire to be re-elected: it was a reflection of the political facts that (a) Likud was always going to be lukewarm on disengagement, and (b) that there was definate common ground shared by realists inside both Likud and Labour.

Commentators are waxing lyrical about the implications of Sharon's untimely exit from …

Sex and Cricket

Twenty20 is to cricket what pornography is to sex. It's a mere extraction of the whole and utterly fails to do justice to the real thing. Like porn, Twenty20 satisfies the most immediate carnal urges of its participants and spectators in a way that is rewarding in the thrawl of the moment, but it retrospect leaves a feeling of deep unsatifaction. At best, Twenty20 can mimic cricket, in the same way that porn mimics sex, but in the end it just leaves you longing for something meaningful.

Whilst Twenty20 contains the most exciting parts of the test and one-day game - there are plenty of spectacular wickets taken and sixes scored - it is devoid of the rythym and reward for perseverence that makes the sport so special. Instead, it falls victim to the need for instant gratification.

It's a shame, really, since the commercial appeal of this form of the game is likely to trump the merits of longer forms. Twenty20 is artless, soulless, and at the end of three hours the whole thing…

Summer reading fun

It's 40 degrees outside, the cricket's on TV and there are icypoles in the freezer, so why on earth would you head outside? Instead, sit back, relax and have a read:

Rob has hit the road and is now in the subcontinent. Follow his adventures through India and place bets on precisely which day he'll get Delhi Belly. This way to Planet Rob.

Before there was Big Brother, before there was Gladiators, and even before there was Man O Man (Rob Guest, where is he now??) there was It's A Knockout. IAK was the ultimate goofy game show, with a huge set, big props, bright colours and grown men and women regularly humiliating themselves. To learn all there is to learn about IAK, and plenty more, visit Andrew Grey's wonderful tribute site. Appropriately enough for such a proudly daggy show, the site is hosted by Geocities. Enjoy!

We're all familar with Wikipedia, the hip and cool great grandchild to Old Grandpa Britannica, but few are familiar with Uncyclopedia, the deran…