The New Australian

Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

The New Australian - Proudly nearly Australian since 2010. "I'm not grumpy, the rest of the world is just unrealistically upbeat"

Malthus, problem solved

As previously noted many times, the comments on this organ far surpass the original content in terms of wit, originality or accuracy.

 

Yesterday being an excellent example. Today’s topic is inspired by our correspondent Muzzer.

 

Back in 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus put forward the proposition that population growth was exponential while food growth was arithmetical. The long term consequence of this, he predicted, was that there would come a time when the planet would be unable to feed itself and society would collapse back to feudal, subsistence living.

 

Bearing in mind that this prediction was made some 216 years ago and the human race is still producing more food than it needs (albeit not distributing it with any level of fairness or efficiency), a cynical mind might question whether his premise was particularly sound or not.

 

It matters not, because the idea of an impending disaster is an attractive one to many people.  Often, these people were the same ones you saw handing out copies of the Socialist Worker in the student union bar at university. The fall of the Berlin Wall hit these people hard; suddenly a dogma which they had invested a lot of personal time and energy into pursuing and proselytising had been discredited.

 

Fortunately, a couple of decades  earlier, The Club of Rome had been formed and had a back-up plan to defeat capitalism.

 

The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man

 

Niiiice.

 

So mix a tendency towards Malthusianism with a belief that the planet is doomed because of mankind and you can begin to understand the motivation behind the attitudes we see in evidence whenever people raise a question about climate change such as “how come there’s been an exponential rise in CO2 in the atmosphere over 3 decades but no warming has been measured for nearly 18 years?”. The casual conflating of someone’s scepticism of an unproven scientific theory with holocaust denial is always personally distasteful to me, for example.

 

So the problem we have is this; if the Malthusians and followers of the religion of catastrophic man-made climate change are correct, we need to rapidly slow and possibly reverse the growth of the global population. Some Malthusians like the idea of providing free birth control to the Third World, after all, if someone has to have fewer babies, it really ought to be people in the rich western countries those who consume less resources. Oh, hang on.

 

Realistically though, a few Durex Featherlites chucked out to some folk in Bongo Bongo land isn’t going to crack this nut. What’s needed is a step-change, a circuit-breaker, a paradigm shift.

 

And that’s exactly what Muzzer stumbled upon yesterday, little genius that he is.

 

Of course, the answer has been staring us in the face for years. Here’s a brace of visual clues;

Raft of the Medusa

Alive!

Clearly, anyone who truly believes that the planet is doomed through overpopulation should be the first to agree that cannibalism is the only hope for humanity. It’s also similarly obvious that the first invitations for a dinner date should be issued to those who most fervently believe in the impending catastrophe.

 

Apparently, the people of the Marquesa Islands used to refer to human flesh as “long pig” because of a strong similarity to the porcine taste and texture.

 

So, in preparation for the end of the world due to the cancer we currently call “friends and family”, this organ is calling for recipes. We need some suitable preparations, marinades and techniques to make more appetising the prospect of chewing through, say, Tim Flannery for dinner.

 

Add your suggestions to the comments section and bon appetite!

For the benefit of Professor Kyte

We’re all going down to the Lord Nelson for a Denier Bier.

 

The venerable professor from the University of New South Wales probably won’t be there though, because it’s the end of the world as we know it.

 

 

“The challenges from waste to warming, spurred on by a growing population with a rising middle-class hunger for meat, are leading us down a dangerous path,” Professor Kyte said. “Unless we chart a new course, we will find ourselves staring volatility and disruption in the food system in the face, not in 2050, not in 2040, but potentially within the next decade.”

 

Agriculture and land-use change currently account for about 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Feed quality can be so low in arid parts of Africa, where livestock typically graze on marginal land and crop residues, that every kilo of protein produced can contribute the equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide – or 100 times more than in developed nations, Professor Kyte said.

 

Well, you can switch to veganism if you want to appease your Malthusian conscience, Professor Kyte, but the rest of us will  be merrily supping ale celebrating the 18th birthday of the pause in global warming.

 

Venue: Lord Nelson, The Rocks, Sydney.

Date: Friday 5th September (this coming Friday).

Time: 6pm to closing time.

 

Tyresome Sunday trading

The TNA-mobile suffered an exploded tyre yesterday.

It’s never a great experience and this was no exception as I was traveling at 110kph, in the rain and with a kayak strapped to the roof.

Of course, that’s just the start of the fun. Next, I discovered that the mechanic who put the wheel nuts on didn’t bother with a torque wrench and, instead, tightened them up to the same specification NASA uses to seal the panels of the international space station.

Finally, with a sore back and completely sodden clothes, I drove home at the 80kph limit of the temporary spare. “Right then“, I thought, “I’ll get up early tomorrow and drive down to one of those half a dozen tyre places on the Pittwater Road and get it fixed. And while they’re at it, they can loosen all the other wheel nuts back to a tightness which doesn’t resemble one of the labours of Heracles to undo“.

How stupid of me.

I’ve lived in Australia for nearly 4 years, you’d think I’d have learned by now. Of course you can’t buy a replacement tyre on a Sunday. That would be too bloody convenient, wouldn’t it?

In a 2km square in the industrial/retail area there is a Bob Janes, a Kmart, a Beaurepaires, a Jaxquickfit and about 4 other independent tyre retailers. Not one of which opens on a Sunday.

Granted, as problems go, this isn’t the greatest; we don’t have any long journeys planned for today or tomorrow so our lives are not being impacted greatly. It does make me reconsider making future long journeys on a Sunday though; driving back from Melbourne at a sluggish 80kmh would probably usurp my definition of “completely fucking tedious” (currently “a loop tape of Spicks and Specks“).

Of course, we all know one of the main reasons why car maintenance can’t be undertaken on a weekend after midday on a Saturday; our old friend penalty rates.

The government has helpfully determined the hourly rate of pay for tyre fitters who work on a Sunday. I say “helpfully” but probably the more appropriate adjective would be “stupidly”. Clearly it’s too expensive to hire these people to work extra shifts compared to the business that the extended opening hours would bring in.

So instead, people such as Charlie or I (we haven’t yet flipped the coin to decide who) have to buy a commodity item during regular office hours. Depending on the nature of employment, this will involve either taking leave from work or that old lie, “working from home”. The point is, someone will take a financial hit for this, either the employee losing valuable leave or the employer as they subsidise the repair in reduced employee productivity.

It might not seem like such a big deal, and this organ is well-known for a tendency to be WhingeingPom.com, but multiply this productivity hit across loads of other goods and services which are trading on a Sunday in other countries (Kwik Fit in the UK, for example) and it goes some way to explaining Australia’s growing productivity problem.

All that said, it would seem that there are some retailers out there who don’t quite understand the concept of turning a threat into an opportunity; A search at the University of Google for “tyre sales Sunday opening” produced this result. No, it’s not an independent tyre shop that opens for a few hours on a Sunday, it’s a forum where people are complaining about not being able to buy a replacement tyre on a Sunday. A respondent who seems to run one of the retailers I would have liked to give some business to today replies as follows;

So why should I have to work different hours to you?? If you need tyres or work done on your car you can drop it off at 8am and we will drive you to work.

I have a family, and I work 6 days a week, why should we open later at night or on sundays just in case you get a flat tyre??

Um, because we’ll pay you?

Maybe switch to half day closing on a mid-week day or run a smaller staff profile one day and put someone on Sunday morning? Or any one of probably half a dozen more solutions to capitalise on the fact that none of your competitors are open on Sunday.

Of course, being hamstrung by government legislated pay rates which penalise any employer who wants to trade additional hours doesn’t help.

The forthcoming recession is going to make fascinating viewing.

 

Rainy day women #4

Australia is a tough nation of uncompromising, battle-hardened, robust individuals who will never take a backward step.

 

Unless it rains.

 

Iggy Dylan Moonunit, one of les enfants du TNA is due to play the last game of the rugby season tomorrow. Or he would be if the weather was bone dry and the forecast was favourable.  As things stand, he’s probably going to have to find something else to do with his time, such as sniffing glue or spraying graffiti, as the playing field has been closed.

 

When we first signed him up for rugby we were told to check the wet weather line on training nights and on the morning of the matches.

 

The what?? Wet weather?

 

Fuck me, if my junior rugby matches had been called off every time it rained in England I’d be a damn sight better at table tennis and Scrabble than I am now.

 

Seriously people, rugby is a winter sport; it’s designed to be played in the wet. Speaking from experience, there is nothing quite as reassuring than the gentle splash of a patch of mud just after you’ve been tackled by a 7ft lock with biceps the size of your thighs; it’s a sign that you’re likely to not have to ask to have your shoulder re-set back in it’s socket.

 

Things are different in Australia, Frontier Nation though. Here, they close sports fields because playing on them might wear them out a bit and it’s a “safety issue” for some sports. Yeah, cricket and Formula One, maybe.

 

In my entire rugby career (spanning more than two decades) I’ve only ever once played in conditions I felt were unsafe due to precipitation; on tour in China during the rainy season, I was at the bottom of a ruck and my mouth and nose were under water. “Oh shit”, I thought, “Mum and Dad are going to be pissed off when they learn I drowned playing rugby”.

 

There’s little point me ranting about it on here though, it’s too late already; an entire generation has grown up under the delusion that rain stops play for all sporting activities.

 

Witness; the bike store in the basement of my office building. On a sunny day, my tatty Le Mond commuter would be jostling for space on the racks.

 

image

 

Apparently, Australia is going to bomb Iraq next week. My advice to ISIS/ISIL is to quickly buy some cloud-seeding equipment and bring the rain on. It’ll be much cheaper than anti-aircraft defences.

I think I’ve found your problem…. and the solution

Parking ticket revenue has declined in the City of Sydney, apparently. The official hypothesis is that we’ve all become a lot more considerate and compliant with the local by-laws.

Nope, the TNA sniff test just issued a big FAIL result again.

I wonder if an average sick leave total of 16.1 days a year has anything to do with it?

Three fucking weeks off sick in a year???

I’ve not taken that much off in total over two decades. Being paid by the bloody day might have something to do with it. Snow days, tube strikes, life-threatening hangovers, major terrorism attacks, heat waves, swine ‘flu; it would have to be a bloody catastrophic event to stop me from clocking on and billing those hours. Like the sort Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain wants you to pay taxes to avoid. THAT catastrophic.

No, what we have here is a public sector solution with public sector results.

If the Clover Moore sycophants and thumbsuckers had half a brain between them, they’d tender the parking rangers’ department off to a private contract.

Because I’m nice that way, I’ll even give them some clues on the key provisions to write in the agreement;

  1. We don’t care how many employees the contractor has walking the street; this is an outcome-based contract charged as a fixed component (for the baseline) and variable (above baseline).
  2. The minimum acceptable annual number of tickets to be issued will be 1697 x {how ever many rangers we currently have} i.e. what we’re currently managing to do.
  3. If more than that baseline of tickets are issued in a year, the contractor will receive an extra $5 per additional ticket.
  4. 5% of tickets issued will be audited monthly to confirm compliance with the rules of issuance. A non-compliance rate greater than 2% will result in the contractor issuing a credit for 10% of the monthly service fee. Three of these in a rolling 12 month period triggers termination for cause.

Now, we all hate parking wardens when they catch us parking illegally and we can dislike the high parking fees or lack of spaces available but the rules are there and should be enforced. It just doesn’t require a department of workshy public sector SNAFUs to do it.

Of course, this won’t happen for two main reasons;

  1. Communism, and
  2. Corruption

Both of which are endemic in New South Wales’ governments.

By the way, if you are secretly-pleased that the parking wardens are a bunch of workshy muppets managed by civil servants with the IQ of a lichen, imagine how angry you’d be if this car stayed for an hour and didn’t attract a ticket.

A big river in Egypt

Hypothetically…..

Imagine, if you will, that you are the head honcho (or honchess) of a large business unit within a multi-national organisation. Depending on which country the HQ is located, your title might begin “Head of” or “Executive Manager” or “Senior Vice President” or something similarly grandiose.

Giddy heights and rarefied air indeed.

Now imagine that, in line with a much-publicised corporate strategy, you’ve committed to implement and lead a significant change across not only your business unit but every part of the organisation with which you and your staff deal, practically the whole company with only a few exceptions.

This change will cut across some of the fundamental ways the organisation does business, bringing projected benefits which would make make national headlines were you to be successful.

The CEO is backing it and much investment and foundation work has already been put in place to ensure that the programme is set up for success. A highly-experienced team are in place ready and willing to support you in this endeavour.

Perhaps the only area of potential distaste is that, once you’ve finished the implementation, there will be some inevitable redundancies across all business units, yours included, as the crippling inefficiencies and waste are removed from the current situation.

That’s the background and right now you’re arranging a three day off-site workshop for your trusted team of leaders. Do you;

A. Set the workshop agenda such that this change is really the only subject to be addressed, bringing in expert speakers and facilitators to help guide the planning and approach of the change, learning from relevant case studies both internally and from peer organisations, or

B. Similar to (A) but break it up a little with some more “business as usual” discussion points and an opportunity for some light relief as you are conscious that everyone will be daunted by the prospect of what’s ahead, or

C. Ignore the forthcoming changes and just focus on the “business as usual” agenda and only discuss the change if some disloyal member of staff mentions it?

And that, ladies and gentlemen is why it is such a pleasure to be paid on a day rate to work with Australian business managers. Their incompetence is surpassed only by their lack of maturity and leadership.

Despite all the amplification

 … you could dance to the rock and roll station….

 

In a Velvet Underground mood today. Nothing to do with the subject of this post though.

 

While waiting for the iTwat to kick in on the car stereo this morning, I caught a snippet of a Radio Moscow ABC programme on farming in Tasmania. There’s been an increase in dairy farming due to some irrigation work that’s been going on for a while.

 

One of the statements got my attention before the sounds of Eddy Current Suppression Ring (brilliant recent discovery, by the way) kicked in. It was around security of water supply; the farmer was quoting Tasmanian Irrigation (which seems to be deficient of a noun if you ask me; “authority” or “department” perhaps) that they have 95% security of supply and that Tasmanian Irrigation department has planned for the scenario that CSIRO describes as “Ultra Dry”. No, that’s not a shite beer.

 

It all sounds very commendable, frankly. Even this fan of small government can see the benefit of having a single controlling body overseeing the careful husbandry of the water supply. The free market is brilliant at finding the most efficient and innovative solution to most problems and with the right regulatory framework perhaps a free market solution to water supply would similarly be of benefit but this is Australia we are talking about here, not some Ayn Rand utopia. This is the country that has a government department to regulate the overtime rates for people who make your morning coffee.

 

So, I’m not about to go slamming the farmers, Tasmanian Irrigation or even the ABC reporter today. Who or what am I going to rant at?

 

Climate Bollocks, of course.

 

One of the commenters to this organ (no, not Bardon; he seems to have disappeared following the fairly robust assertion that I am a Zionist in the original meaning of the word and Hamas is pulling a bloody and immoral propaganda con-trick on much of the world), Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain, often argues that even if the global warming communists were incorrect about the catastrophic nature of the warming that hasn’t happened since Hong Kong was British, we would have a cleaner environment and we would have paid for what was in effect an insurance policy.

 

Does that stack up though, is it just a little insurance premium that we’re stumping up?

 

My thought process goes like this; the farmer needs a guaranteed source of water to underpin his business model, the costs of which inform the price at which he must sell his milk. The government body regulates this water supply, determining how much and when he can draw his allocated megalitres. Their charges are set to factor in future costs, including those required to ensure the sustainability of the supply. The future plans and costs are set by applying scenarios provided by CSIRO. CSIRO are predicting the possibility of an “ultra dry” spell due to climate change.

 

Now here’s where it matters less where one sits on the catastrophic global warming through to big conspiracy by the people who used to read Mao’s Little Red Book at university continuum and more about what your view is on the nature of human behaviour when someone has invested personally into an hypothesis that isn’t being corroborated by the facts.

 

Consider for a moment, a group of staffers at CSIRO who are unconsciously more than a little concerned that the IPCC’s very own data sets are showing no global warming since the late 90’s. Let’s go frivolously strawman fallacy 4 da lolz, as the kids say.

 

(Phone rings) CSIRO Climate Helpline, how can I be of assistance?

 

Tassy In-bred: Yeah, hi there, it’s Bob here from Tasmanian Irrigation (whispers) department. I need to work out whether or not I need to build more dams over the next 10 years or so. What do you reckon the climate is going to do, get warmer, colder or stay roughly the same?

 

CSIRO Oh, definitely warmer. Absolutely.

 

TIB Ok, that’s a shame because those dams are bloody expensive and we drown a load of land when we build ‘em. Are you absolutely certain?

 

CSIRO Dead certain mate. Erm…. Bet your mortgage on it. (Sotto voce) I know I have.

 

So the dam or some similarly expensive irrigation project gets built. The costs for which are fed through to the farmer’s input costs which he then passes on to the consumer or is paid for from debt taken out on behalf of the Tasmanian public. The consumer has to pay 2 cents more on a litre if they want to buy Australian milk.

 

It’s just 2 cents, right? Not much to pay for an insurance policy.

 

But consider the amplification effect. Chez TNA gets through 3 or 4 litres of milk a week, so that’s five dollars extra a year. Still not much for an insurance policy. But there’s 15 million households in Australia so that’s maybe $40m a year in additional costs for milk.

 

All due to a somewhat overstated scenario for climate change.

 

And that’s just milk. Amplify that across every product and service where an overstated scenario has been acted upon. Billions of dollars of malinvestment and a significant increase in the cost of living of anyone who is unable to live without the luxuries of, say, food or accommodation or transport.

 

Of course, all of the above was a fabricated scenario with no basis of truth whatsoever.

 

Which is also what could be cruelly said of the warmist’s predictions of global warming;

IPPC vs reality

 

 

it was all riiiiiight.

 

Don’t forget to come out for a Denier Bier with us at the Lord Nelson on September 5th from 6pm……

None more black than the blackest day

No, keep reading, this isn’t another one of those wonderfully wise with hindsight pieces which are sprouting up in the Australian mainstream media on the subject.

The latest development in this pitiful tale of the heads of sporting bodies being duped into a political press conference is that a bunch of rugby league players have been given 48 hours to cop a plea bargain.

Hmm, 18 months’ worth of high profile and expensive investigation culminates in a rushed threat of legal action with a two day time limit to avoid?

It doesn’t pass the the sniff test, does it?

The suspicion is that the noise around the Essendon AFL club used up all the resources and attention of the anti-doping body and now that they’ve finally got round to the shaved monkeys rugby league players they are in an unseemly haste to get a score on the board.

But let’s wind it back a touch shall we?

Ignore for a moment the fact that peptides have only just been designated drugs that require a prescription (therefore were legal at the time the alleged doping took place).

Let’s also paper over the obvious lack of a positive blood or urine sample from any of these players, otherwise we would have heard about it by now. We are clearly dealing with evidence no harder than witness statements.

No, what piques my interest is the legislative and governance framework within which all this is taking place.

What authority and power does ASADA have over Australian sportsmen?

It’s useful to remind ourselves of Tony Benn’s five questions to ask those with power;

1. What power do you have?
2. Where did you get it?
3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. How can we get rid of you?

I’m particularly curious to learn how a government-appointed body gets to exercise power over people playing sport for privately owned companies (the NRL and their respective clubs) if no law has been broken.

So, to answer the late Mr. Benn;

1. What power do you have? Loads, actually. The Anti-Doping Act details the powers. These include taking samples without notice, seizing property as evidence and charging fees for the privilege.
2. Where did you get it? Obviously from the Act but, interestingly, the legislation doesn’t stipulate which sports are covered or not. The law only covers those sporting bodies that sign up to the “service” and then enforces that individual sporting code’s anti-doping rules. Mostly, these will then delegate the compiling of the list of banned substances to the World Anti Doping Agency (perhaps we might ask the 5 questions of WADA while we’re at it).
3. In whose interests do you exercise it? That’s an interesting one. Difficult to say with any real certainty. The obvious answer would the spectators and participants of the various sporting codes. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Other interested parties might cynically include employees of ASADA, heads of sporting bodies who have a vendetta against particular clubs or players and very definitely politicians who need to divert attention from failing policy in another area.
4. To whom are you accountable? The Federal Minister of Sport.

5. How can we get rid of you? Two ways; a majority of voters to vote for a political party which explicitly states in their manifesto that ASADA will be disbanded. Unlikely. The next best options would be for the individual sporting codes to opt out of ASADA’s oversight or amend their anti-doping rules to remove alignment with WADA.

Let’s try to sift all of this and simplify it; a professional rugby league player is employed by a private limited company (his club) that has signed up to a set of rules defined by another private limited company (the NRL) that has signed up to a banned substance list defined by a body based in Canadia funded by other national governments and policed by another government body which is accountable to a career politician.

Is anyone surprised then, that sport was hijacked for political gain a year and half ago and the consequences have been both tardy and unsatisfactory?

It’s all relative, as they say in Adelaide

It’s a good job every Australian taxpayer is fabulously wealthy due to their inherent talent for selling poorly-built houses to each other in a generational Ponzi scheme investment.

Otherwise how on earth could the following taxpayer-funded or subsidised salaries be justified?

Exhibit A
The country’s top cop, AFP Commissioner Tony Negus makes $650k each year to chase down the bad guys. That’s 92 dollars for every AFP employee he manages.

Over on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the Director of the FBI, James Comey, is paid $200k each year. That’s about a 6 dollars for every FBI employee he manages.

Conclusion – Australia is paying about 15 times too much for its top cop.

Exhibit B
The CEO of Radio Moscow The Australian Broadcasting Company, Mark Scott, makes $805k a year.

That’s about one dollar for every 29 potential domestic consumers of his broadcasting services.

Across the Pacific Ocean again but a little further north to Canadia we find that the Canadian Broadcasting Company CEO, Hubert Lacroix, makes $421k.

That’s roughly one dollar for every 83 potential domestic consumers of his broadcasting services.

Conclusion – Australia is paying about three times the going rate for the head of a state broadcasting service.

Exhibit C
New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird, is paid a healthy $330k a year to oversee the venality of state politics. That’s one dollar for about every 24 residents of the state.

The governor of the State of Washington, Jay Inslee, earns $160k per year. Thats one dollar for every 43 residents of his state.

Conclusion – New South Wales is paying double the going rate for its state Premier.

Exhibit D (and saving the best for last)
The country’s top postman, Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour earns $4.8 million dollars a year.

That’s one dollar for every 406 items delivered.

USA Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe pulls in only a measly $512k a year.

That’s one dollar for every 31,000 items delivered.

Conclusion – Australia is paying 76 times more for the boss of the post office.

There you have it, Australian taxpayers, four simple explanations as to why you have the lowest crime, the best TV and Radio, some of the most efficient and well-run state governments and the greatest postal system in the world.

After all, as the old adage goes, “pay peanuts, get monkeys“.

(Note: I’ve not bothered converting American and Canadian dollars to the Australian version for the above examples, it would be out of date immediately and the order of magnitude is not material to the illustration).

Snow selfie

This organ receives the occasional request for the cowardly veil of anonymity to be lifted. Mainly as an obvious precursor to me getting my lights punched out but sometimes to make offers of marriage, forward hampers of champagne and foie gras from Selfridges and to enable Nigerian government officials to deposit sizable sums of cash into my account. I blame Tim Newman for the latter.

Anyway, today’s your lucky day. In a moment of weakness I give to you a photo of Charlie and I taken in the fashionable idiom of “selfie”.

image

And a bonny couple we make too, I’m sure you’ll agree.

For the observant amongst you, yes, my head isn’t unnaturally large and that IS a helmet I’m wearing. For the first time ever, I succumbed to the lid.

This may have something to do an impressive wipe-out earlier in the week which knocked me unconscious and resulted in me genuinely not knowing the day of the week for ten minutes. Charlie was not impressed especially as she’d previously commented that I was “going a bit fucking hard today, you idiot”.

Oh well, if early onset Parkinskon’s is good enough for Cassius Clay, it’s good enough for TNA

A boy named Surname (slight reprise)

Some time ago this organ noticed the bizarre trend of Australian parents to give their kids weird names, surnames as first names being the tip of the iceberg.

Here in the snow, we’ve dumped given our children an opportunity to improve their skiing at ski school. The morning sign-in ritual is instructive as the names are called out.

Usually I am an inscrutable poker-faced operator but I must confess to a double-take when Sambo was called forward.

He didn’t look anything how I’d imagined him either;

image

I bet you’ll find that book is out of stock at your local ABC Shop. I dare you to ask if they can order it.

Other surnames for first names we’ve been bemused by recently include the following;

Mason – disappointingly regular handshake and no apron in sight.

Jamieson – and the father’s name wasn’t Jamie.

MillerCamberwick Green never made it down under, presumably.

Cadmus – not a surname but “an old English name” as the proud mother informed us. So is Wealhtheow and Beowulf but nobody fucking uses those names anymore either.

But I think the prize for ridiculous surname as a firstname goes to poor old Lomax at ski school. One can only imagine the discussion about child names in that household before their little son was born.

Maybe, like me, they really enjoyed this excellent and thought-provoking book showing a clear linkage from Blues rhythms and melodies back to extant West African tribal music.

image

Yeah, p’raps not.

My personal opinion, and feel free to challenge this (like I give fuck if you do) is stupid names and surnames for firstnames is an excellent indicator of the combined arrogance and stupidity of the parents. Intent on making some kind of expression of individuality, they impose on their offspring a lifetime of explanation and constant spelling of their moniker to newly-met strangers.

What a bunch of Pratts (funny how no-one uses that surname as a firstname).

Bloody global warming strikes again

Another damn skiing holiday ruined due to lack of snow.

Oh, hang on;

image

Great conditions here in the Victorian Alps, the snow is about as powdery as it ever gets in Australia and 1.5m deep.

Speaking with a local on one of the pomas today confirmed that conditions this year are amongst the best he can recall. He’s been skiing here every year since 1980.

Apparently, 1997 was the best ever year (he couldn’t remember the exact year just that “it was the year Princess Di died”). Interestingly, that was the last year of global warming according to the IPCC’s own raw data.

We’re loving this climate change thing here on the ski runs. Who’d have thought that an exponential increase in CO2 in the atmosphere could result in no noticible change in climate global warming on this scale?

To celebrate The Pause we’re having a drinks party at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Sydney’s Rocks area on September 5th from 6pm.

All the usual Sydney-based contributors to this fine organ will be there, including KiwiBear and Margaret Thatcher’s greatest fan, Daveinthepeople’srepublicofBalmain.

Apparently, Australian funny guy, Dr. Jonathan Miller Adam Barrington Spencer may even be coming along to split our sides with his brilliant monologue on how heat sink in to the oceans. ‘Cos that’s what heat does, innit? Sinks.

Disobeying the Fun Police

Australia is a tough frontier nation, we all know this. The history from British and Irish invasion settlement has been one of tough exploration, hard work, foul language and even harder drinking.

Not for Australians the effete lilly-livered European namby-pamby safety-first culture. Oh no, maaate.

Last time I skied on a European mountain, I recall having a mug of gluhwein at the top with our party, to keep out the cold.

Near the bottom of the slope, we had a round of schnapps to celebrate arriving unscathed.

Back at the top of the ski lift another quick snifter was taken as a precautionary measure in case of accidents (everyone knows the W. C. Fields quote; “throw a drunk man downstairs and he’ll dust himself off, throw a man with a hangover and you’ll be charged with manslaughter”).

And so on. All made possible by a large number of helpfully-located huts selling a range of medicinal or warming alcohol options.

Imagine, then, our surprise upon reading rule 9 of the Australian Alpine Code.

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It gets worse; arriving on the slopes and one notices a distinct lack of venues selling hard liquor. Sure, there’s a restaurant where one can get a beer but fizzy volume is not going to help the situation, plus, halfway down a busy ski slope is a bad location to be looking for privacy to unzip jackets, salopettes and thermal underwear for emergency relief.

Fortunately, Charlie and I have the solution.

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A $4.50 flat white, an ageing hip flask which has seen active duty at about 200 international matches in a cold and windy Twickenham Stadium and a fine single malt.

It may be 10.30am local time but it’s after midday nearly everywhere else in the world.

Salut!

Australia’s economic bellwether

Economic predictions are tricky things, even the most high profile gurus in the fake science of economics have been publicly hoisted by their own petards in recent years. In these days of money-printing and increased governmental interference in markets the field seems more about second guessing central banks than actually having any insight in the nature of markets.

My personal view is that most Western economies are heading down the same road Japan travelled for the last two decades. Stagnation, deflation and the destruction of the middle class.

Certainly, it seems that the bad news is starting to arrive more frequently. Unemployment rising to 2002 levels, for example, which isn’t surprising given that the investment and infrastructure building phase of the resources sector is over. The plan to pick up the slack with house building doesn’t seem to be working so well, perhaps.

Bizarrely, the inefficiency of Australian construction and infrastructure projects might be mitigating what might have otherwise been far worse levels of unemployment. If infrastructure projects cost almost twice as much as they do in France, those involved should have a bloody hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Australian productivity levels have been heading down the karsey for sometime now. This report from McKinsey“> is damning in faint praise on the subject (well worth a deeper perusal, if you are that way inclined).

Many will take a contrary view of this, but regardless of what your personal position is, I think I’ve just found the definitive bellweather for the Australian economy.

The link in the paragraph above is to the results page of the Sydney Junior Rugby Union. Now, before you start accusing me of completely losing the plot, consider this; in the Under 11s and above, the local junior rugby clubs tend to lose any players who go to private school.

Why? The facetious answer is because rugby union in Australia is considerably more snobby and elitist than even the motherland. Which is why it is dying on the vine, by the way; the grassroots is not being developed in the fertile recruiting grounds such as the western suburbs. Instead, the other three football codes battle it out for the young players.

The real reason is twofold. Firstly, many of the private schools explicitly ban their students from playing for the club that they may well have been playing at for the last five years. Consider that; your parents pay a fuckload of school fees every term and in return get told what you can and can’t do with your weekends.

Secondly, and this is less of a factor, boys attending the few private schools that don’t actively ban club rugby participation are usually too knackered after playing for their school on Saturday to play again for club on Sunday. Or too time poor to train twice midweek.

The final piece of the puzzle is the knowledge that certain suburbs have a much higher public school demographic than others.

Do you see where we’re going with this now?

If one tracks the results of the various Sydney rugby results tables for the U11s and above and start to see a trend of clubs such as Seaforth, Mosman, Manli ™, etc. improving dramatically, it might be due to a sudden return to the public school system of boys whose parents can no longer afford private school fees.

Just a theory at this stage but when time allows I’ll dig around for some historic data to see how the correlation tracked the economy in previous decades.

Of course, if the headmaster of Cunt College et al had a change of heart and did the right thing by the sport it would completely kick the hypothesis out of the park

But there’s more chance of the Wallabies winning the Bledisloe Cup than that happening.

Ploughing a fallow furrow

Following on from the previous post on inarticulate Australians, here’s a recent interview by Ticky Fullerton (yes, that’s her name! Jeesh, bloody stupid Australian Pommy names) with Andrew Forrest.

Forrest is one of Australia’s richest people and once won “Young Entrepreneur of the Year”. He’s like an Australian Thomas Eddison, Robert Stephenson and Steve Jobs all rolled into one bijou human body, he’s that innovative.

Oh OK, he bought a mine. That’s about as far as innovation goes here. Anyway, he’s still fabulously rich so his opinion on all things from indigenous welfare and “whither Australian farming?” should be of interest to to us all.

Make allowances for his unique approach to sentence structure and syntax and listen to the innovation he’s bringing to the Australian farming industry. He’s setting up an Australian/Sino 100 Year agreement.

100 years no less.

What’s this long term jointly Australian and Chinese vision, you may ask?

Branding Australian food produce.

That’s it.

Fucking genius.

The problem seems to be that Australian farms can’t produce food and ship it to China at a price that leaves a profit for them. “Twiggy” doesn’t make it totally clear which part of the process is breaking down; is it the production costs, the transportation costs, access to distribution channels or, as his solution seems to address, the marketing?

I’m no farmer but I do consume their produce so I reckon that qualifies me for having an opinion.

My deeply-held suspicion is that Australian produce isn’t getting many sales in China because the domestic market is highly protected and therefore supports higher prices than the global market.

Don’t believe me?

One word; fucking bananas. There were people in the Arctic Circle eating cheaper bananas than in Australia back in 2010.

There’s a great quote from the Twiggy meets Ticky interview if you can be bothered to wait for it. He’s asked why Chinese are buying Australian farms and making successes of them?

Because Australia is “short of ability and drive and leadership to do it“.

Not just in farming, Twiggy old son. Not just in farming.

Sober slurring

At least someone in Australia recognises there’s a problem.

Parliaments around the country are plagued by politicians who can’t pronounce basic words.

…. Others exhibit patterns that omit or import wrong consonants: ‘‘probly’’ = probably, ‘‘gumment’’ = government, ‘‘nothin’’ = nothing, ‘‘vunnerable’’ = vulnerable, ‘‘bedder’’ = better, ‘‘communidy’’ = community, ‘‘anythingk’’ = anything

How true. The inability of many of my, supposedly educated, colleagues to articulate, enunciate or demonstrate a competence with the rich English vocabulary constantly astounds me.

Conversations with them are splattered with basic errors of grammar, pronunciation or even comprehension.

Using “pacifically” when “specifically” was meant, for example.

Or being told that someone wants to “akx” me a question.

Pluralising the singular is another common cringe-inducer, although that’s not a uniquely Australian error as our ex-Sarf Lahndan correspondent to this organ regularly demonstrates. Although he’d probably say, “you was wrong there, TNA; I seen you do that too“.

Of course, if the pinnacle of correct enunciation, Radio Moscow the ABC, is anything to go by, the general populace don’t stand a chance of getting it right. Why? Two words, John Wogan. How any serious news outlet could select a rhotacistic growler to read the bulletins is beyond my comprehension.

The article linked to at the top of this post isn’t infallible either. Apparently Bill Shorten has excellent pronunciation. Maybe so, but perhaps one of his advisers could explain to him that the psycho Russian leader isn’t “Mr. Pewten“?

Jumping the shark is the new Australian national sport

Market competition barely exists in most goods, services and industries in Australia. Australian consumers are lucky if they even have a duopoly in some areas.

There is an exception though; sport. Specifically, football.

The competition between the four football codes is so intense that soccer opted out and switched the season to be out of sync with the others.

The remaining three end up trying more and more innovations and gimmicks to attract spectators. Refcams, is rugby union’s sole attempt at innovation this year, for example.

The other two codes (AFL and NRL) have decided “themed rounds” is the way to go. NRL tried giving a round the theme “The No Drink Driving and Beating Up Your Girlfriend Round” but it didn’t catch on.

They both have a reasonably patronising “Indigenous Round” and this week, AFL came up with this lame bollocks;

Freak

But the prize for the most bizarre distraction from the actual spectacle of the sport has got to go to the NRL;

Supertwats

Next week, let’s all cheer along at the “Rocky Horror Show Round”, swiftly followed by the “Transgender Support Round” and the “Cup Cake Round” as we head into the “Dress Like a Pirate” finals.

Australian waiters and waitresses, here’s a tip

Think of creative ways to encourage people to pay the tip in cash instead of whining about the switch to PIN only card payments.

This may not come as much of a surprise for regular readers, but I rarely tip.

More specifically, I rarely tip in Australia. When in other countries, such as the USA, I’m very happy to add 12 to 15% on my bill though.

Why am I such a tightarse in the “fair go” country?

Because of the highest minimum wage in the world which nobody really earns anyway because they are all on the “award” or even the “penatly rate” instead.

$16.87 an hour or $640.90 a week seems pretty bloody adequate for unskilled labour, I reckon. It’s even more for café staff depending on which state or territory they live in (the “award” rate varies by geography, of course, because the states are SO different).

Let’s call it twenty bucks an hour for bringing me my coffee and croissant. Yeah, you’re going to have to be bloody efficient and attentive to the point of cloying sycophancy to earn anything on top of the bill if that’s your hourly rate.

Back to the original ticket on the outrage bus that the waiters and waitresses (not “waitstaff“) are selling this month; credit cards need PIN validation now rather than the quaint 1980′s signature option that was previously available.

The entire Australian hospitality industry is obviously going to collapse from today as a consequence. I’m actually shocked that I managed to get served in a coffee shop this afternoon. Presumably the waitstaff were working their notice and won’t be back tomorrow (regardless of the weekend penalty rates).

By the way, on the subject of the wonderfully Russia circa 1934 idea of the weekend penalty rates; why not compromise and have the employer liable to pay time and a half or whatever on the 6th consecutive day of work for an employee rather than just because the day of the week starts with an “S”?

Radical idea, isn’t it? I’m full of ‘em.

Back to tipping; personally, I’m with Mr. Pink.

Doggone it

Australia is the land of excessive legislation. There are laws here that don’t exist anywhere else on the planet.

Laws about riding motorcycles in groups of three or more, for example.

Riding cycles without helmets or not smoking while walking past bus stops are others.

The reason is that the ratio of bodies with legislative powers to population is higher here than anywhere else.

All these parliaments and councils need to make more laws to justify their existence.

This they merrily do without considering the likelihood of these new crimes being successfully detected or prosecuted.

I wonder, for example, how many dog owners get fined for this one;

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Amusingly, the dog in this picture below sniffed aound the sign in the picture above in a manner which suggests it’s had more than its share of territorial piss splashed on it by other canines recently.

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The sun is shining too brightly on the sign in the second picture but take it from me that it stipulates a 10 metre dog exclusion zone around the playground.

Oops.

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