Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New concepts in street art


Been seeing this stuff about the train lines of my home suburb for a time. They really are stunning and original pieces of Art. Take a gander at http://www.cratemen.com/ for more...

Post Australia Day














Well like any self respecting Iconoclast, I can be perceived as a little anti-patriotic at times. I do feel that perceiving our history and attitudes with a slightly critical eye serves our identity in the long run more than one eyed-flag cloaked patriotism. Like any patient nation at the office of the historical identity therapist, it is better to come to terms with your shortcomings rather than to ignore them. The response to the "sorry" question with regards to the Aboriginal nations of the continent was more often than not "we shouldn't dwell on it" as it was negative, and negative stuff always brings one's national identity down ya know?
Unfortunately our national identity tends to omit things in favor of what are often much more important but less populist things. I'll save getting on my Gallipoli high horse til another time, but for many outside of Australia we are really known for three things; Wierd Animals, Sport and Beaches.
Now we do indeed have and featre in our history all three of the above, but most people on Australia Day will not be reminded that despite our wonderful treatment of them, Australia has contributed very healthily to the Arts and Science.
Despite underfunding, undervaluing and even putting it on trial once , Australia contributed greatly to the modernist and post modern Arts scene. Science also receives a bit of a kicking in our culture, despite at one time being the world leader in solar technology and playing an oft forgotten role in the moon landing.

But one thing Australians do better than many other English speaking countries is making truly shambolic Television. Honestly our talent for it is something to be proud of...XD

Monday, January 19, 2009

A culture of chaos...

Well that solves that issue then, the decline in the quality of Melbourne's public transport system is the "culture's" fault says our top transportation bureaucrat.
Apparently we have to live in Singapore, Tokyo or Fascist Italy to get trains running on time.
While an interesting hypothesis, it kind of falls down when you actually find out that cities with similar "left leaning" cultures also have quality public transportation. Montreal and San Fransisco come to mind as I have actually used those two systems and both rate higher in surveys than Melbourne's on many indicators, and neither city really feels like it is being run by Mussolini...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Slightly obesessive Friday...

Patrick McGoohan 1928-2009



Well I was preparing a post about Doughnuts when this news came on the radio...
McGoohan was always a very principled actor and artist, he reportedly passed on playing James Bond in the early 60's (and later on playing "The Saint") and often sighted a dislike for the character. (Primarily the violence Bond employed and his womanizing) He stared in the secret agent series "Danger Man" from 1960 until 1968 , a series that predated "Dr No" by two years and contributed to the look and feel of the cold war spy genre. Reportedly McGoohan insisted on several conditions for the role, primarily that the character would use his brains over his gun and there was to be no kissing...
He is perhaps most famous for my favorite TV series of all time, The Prisoner, in which he stared and produced. He also wrote and directed the series's final two episodes, of which the second last ;"Once upon a time" is , in my humble opinion, the best forty five minutes of television ever produced.
He went on to appear in many roles on stage and screen after The Prisoner, including an Ironic role as the Warden in "Escape from Alcatraz". He moved to LA but generally shunned the Hollywood mainstream, living in semi retirement. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, his three daughters, 5 grandchildren and great grandchild.

Thank you Mister McGoohan, you were never just a number...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Music, Music, Music...

Well it's a musical day today and possibly one filled with good news for a change. It seems that Apple has seen the light and are removing DRM from itunes. Good news, and about bloody time.
DRM pretty much exists to be hacked and illustrates to the end user that you are renting the music you just brought online , not "really' buying it. This of course becomes a disincentive to buy legitimate copies of music or software and fuels pirates.
Back in the day, buying an album from the record store did not require the music fan to read and agree to an end user agreement; you just paid your money and got your record, everyone was happy. You could lend it to people, make a crappy copy on tape to listen to in your walkman or even *gasp* play your record on a different turntable!
Today as so many ads at the start of DVDs tell me, all this activity is stealing and wrong sending all who perform these heinous crimes to the same layer of hell reserved for robbers, people of covert their neighbor's Asses and charted accountants.

So there.

The problem is that shortly after the Media companies put all their fish in the one digital barrel, they realized that the same technology that allowed them to reduce overheads and make Micheal Bay movies also allowed people to copy and transfer that data more easily. Copying an LP is no easy task, a CD or DVD on the other hand...So this suddenly allowed them to re write the unwritten contract between the user and the provider, suddenly we can only play a downloaded track on one PC or install a piece of software three times off one disk or , in Itune's case, play the downloaded tracks on one brand of mp3 player.
Alternately I could download the album from a torrent and use it as much and how I like. (And it's free)

So bravo Apple, maybe the dozens of people who brought a Zune can now buy stuff from the Itunes store with minimal fuss.

Also is good music news, it seems that those days of the LP and the Record store are not yet over...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

John Howard strikes from beyond the political grave!

Well the minor controversy about the US president elect staying in a Hotel rather than Blair House seems to now center around our wonderful former prime minister.
Now Blair house is not a small place , surely they could have co-existed for the one night Howard was booked there. But of course there was those things that Howard said about Obama back in 2007....
Could make things awkward I suppose...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It'll be either Monkeys or Robots...

It is indeed a slippery slope to the eventual conquest of the human race, but I'm glad Matt Yglesias got the cycle of such things correct :)

Btw. My outside bet on whom our eventual conquerers will be are Bears , and then Giant space ants , both will involve much work producing honey for our new overlords...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I love the smell of **** in the morning

Well one of the joys of working in a school over the holidays is that all of the maintenance is scheduled over the break. To whit, today , thanks to carpet cleaning , the whole place smells of wet dog. Not to be bested by the interior , the front turf decided that today was the day that it was to be laid for the new year so it smells like manure...

It is indeed an aromatically challenging day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Absolutely

As noted in today's Age editorial , yes indeed Australia has a great degree of responsibility for dismantling the legal and literal hell hole that is Guantanamo Bay.
It's very easy to for Kevin Rudd to hold up his hands and blame the previous government and it's support of Gitmo, but that does not change what has been done with our nation's support.
What concerns me more is that the Labour Government will house former prisoners and use it as a media opportunity to show how they are putting Howard's way behind them, while leaving in place the draconian anti-terror laws that the Labour Party did indeed support in opposition that allow very simalier things to occur on Australian soil.

Call me cynical...

Dr Whom?


Those who know me will indeed be aware of my Doctor Who fan tendencies. It's all , I am sure , to do with growing up here in Australia with a healthy diet of BBC imports.
While I have a love-hate relationship with the whole "new who" series, news of a brand new Doctor is always exciting. (note to self:too many uses of the word new in one sentence) So hats off to Matt Smith, the youngest actor yet cast in the role. One thing always guaranteed is that you will be remembered for playing the part no matter how well you work out in it...
While Australians by and large love the Doctor (It still rates it's socks off even when the ABC decide to play it 6 months after the UK run... grumble.) , that seems to be nothing compared to the UK where the news of the new actor was deemed worthy of a time slot of it's own on BBC1.

And so it's come to this...

Well yes, after avoiding adding my brain waves to the quite-full-of-brainwaves-already blogosphere, I have broken down and decided to give this a go.
I read quite a number of blogs and news sites and started to feel that I needed to give back to the Inter-tubes that helped me pass so much time at work each day...

What can we expect? Who knows, who cares? One thing I can be sure of is that after starting a blog I am now 100% more qualified to be a cable TV political pundit...