Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I've been having psychic dreams lately. I dream something, write it down and then a few days later it comes true. The downside is that I have very boring dreams. I wish I could see the future and see the lotto results or see someone being run over so I could stop it, but no. I have to dream about peeling spuds to make mashed potato and sorting my sock drawer.

I have a friend who owns a motorcycle and doesn't want to bring it in to work. Why? Because it is too loud in the underground car park. I thought that was the point. If you don't like loud noise go buy a segway.

Kind of reminds me of a scene from 'Attack of the Clones,' what?

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I've got Delta Goodremania.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Everyone knows that the US produced a set of playing cards for their troops to identify the most wanted Iraqis during Gulf War II. How did they decide who to include and who not to include? I know that the Iraq Propa...uh...Information (snigger) Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka Comical Ali) wasn't included. I'm sure they could have squeezed him in on a joker. Was he disappointed or relieved? What about an important figure like the Iraqi Post Master General? Although in Iraq he's probably the Post Master Field Marshal. I wondered if all 52 were bad dudes or whether some were just making up the numbers. Well, here is a selection. Enjoy.

This guy shouldn't be hard to spot, what with his pin-stripe shirt and pin-stripe face. It's Zebra man with one wonky eye.

Focus! Focus! This bloke also has one of the least enviable jobs in the Iraqi military.

What evil lurks in the hearts of men? There are quite a few like this - loser nobodies without a photo and names seven feet long. How is the above photo supposed to help you identify anyone? Unless he was wearing a black hooded jumper and facing the other way.

Mind you, a lot of the blokes look so similar you might as well just use the same photo. Isn't the second guy just the first guy with his eyebrows raised?

Apparently they raided some high school yearbooks for some of the photos. By the way, Sabawi was voted most likely to advise the President.

This one taken while holidaying in Basrah. Pass the sunblock, Uday!

One fat, bloated bullfrog in fancy dress, coming up.

This poor bloke is retired. Tell the yanks to scour the nursing homes for Henry Szeps. If anyone knows what RCC stands for let me know. So far the guesses are Rockdale City Council, Randwick Cricket Club, Roman Catholic Community, Radio Controlled Car or the Rover Car Club.

Basil Fawlty impersonator wanted.

And lets not forget the major. Papers arrived yet, Fawlty?

And Manuel while we're at it. Next week we'll round up the cast of Blackadder.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Happy Boxing Day everyone, especially to my mates in the UK. I saw a weather report on Sky TV the other day - the temperatures were 3, 5, 6, 2 and coloured blue except for a solitary 8, which was coloured orange. I'm sorry but 8 degrees celsius maximum temp does NOT qualify for an orange sticker. Where I come from it would have icicles hanging from it.

And a Happy St Stephens Day to Michelle in Ireland. Here is a quote from giving a short biography of St Stephen.

"...He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
His hearers plugged their ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death."

And to show that the Catholic Church has a sense of humor, they made St Stephen patron saint of stonemasons.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

When I was in Thailand I stayed with a mate named John George. He had a sweeeeeet apartment paid for by work. One weekend he got a fruit basket delivered, as a thank you or something. I didn't recognise a single piece of fruit. Not one banana, apple or orange - it was full of weird alien fruit, strangely coloured and textured, like martians sent him a thank you present. It was the only fruit basket I have ever seen that required an instruction manual.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Why do hot young chicks always get after school jobs at pharmacies? It's very offputting when you go to buy condoms or haemorroid cream or an enema kit or anti-fungal powder for your crotch rot and someone who looks like they just stepped off the cover of dolly is ringing it up. I always chicken out and buy jelly beans. I think that's why they sell them at the counter. They offer an easy out. After all, if you think to yourself "hmmm, I could really go some jelly beans right about now," you don't automatically make a bee line for Soul Pattinsons, do you?

Monday, December 22, 2003

You know the way to tell an expensive restaurant? Very big plates, very small portions and very heavy cutlery. That must be the trick to a good restaurant - change the proportions of everything. I think if I opened a restaurant I'd change the proportions of everything. You'd have to crawl to get through the door, the chairs would be small, the tables huge. You get pint glasses and the wine waiter would fill your glass with an eyedropper. And all the waiters would be little people although the chef would be gargantuan, the size of several Iain Hewittsons on the imperial scale. The menu would look like a novelty cheque. The plates would be big enough to park a car on, the cutlery would be those wooden forks and spoons people used to put on their walls in the seventies but you'd be well advised to bring tweezers to eat the portion. The bill would be printed on a chad as if it was punched out of a tram ticket but the numbers on it? It would require commas, that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

In case you haven't been paying attention, I work shift work. 12 hour shifts, two days, two nights, four off. If you don't know or don't care what it's like, go and read the instructions on a noodle packet or something. If you are interested, there are only two films I can think of that deal with what it is like.

The first is 'Night Shift' with Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and that blonde chick from Cheers whose name escapes me for the moment. Never mind, it'll come to me. It's a pretty ordinary film but a bit of a classic. The Fonz and Mr Mom work the night shift at the morgue. Diane from Cheers moves in upstairs from the Fonz. It turns out she is a hooker with a heart of gold, the lads set up an escort agency using the morgue vehicles and resources on the night shift and hilarity ensues. It doesn't really portray night shift all that realistically, probably because Ritchie Cunningham, The Fonz, Batman, Diane Keaton, Babaloo, Ganz, et al, never worked night shift in their lives.

The second is 'Pushing Tin' with John Cusack, Cate Blanchett, Billy-Bob and Angelina. Didn't get very good reviews when it came out, but I liked it. It's about the people who work in air traffic control - not in the tower but on the scopes in a darkened building miles away from any airfields. John and Angelina get it on, which annoys Billy-Bob cos he was married to her at the time. But the most interesting thing is how it portrays working shift work. Anyone who has worked shift work in an office with a bunch of other people can relate to leaving work as the sun is coming up and going out with the boys to have bacon and eggs and a beer when everyone around you is on their way to work. Praying it will rain the day after working night shift cos you know you will sleep better when you get home. Not knowing or caring whether it is Sunday, Monday or New Years Day, cos it makes no difference when you are rostered on. Working with the same people day in, day out, til you get to know them better than their families do. Seeing those same people week after week, month after month, year after year until you are sick of the sight of them, and then on your days off you still go round to their house for a bbq and see the same faces. Even the stock characters are familiar. The overweight, neurotic guy. The female exercise fanatic. The shift manager who has been there forever and doesn't appear agitated no matter what's going on because he's seen it all before. The weird, single, slightly creepy guy who is weird, single and slightly creepy because he's worked night shift so long, or maybe that's why he's been working night shift for so long. The faded, jaded office stud, who was never that great to begin with and still thinks he is twenty five, possible with the remnants of a porno actors moustache. The bloke who sings at 3am, tells jokes and thinks he is funny and entertaining, even though he isn't. That's me.

Shelley Long. I knew it would come to me.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Saddam Hussein has been found. It was obvious where he was all the time - hiding under Iraq. HA!

You know, sometimes I think these things up and they are hilarious in my head, then I write them down and they don't seem anywhere near as funny. Guess which time this is.

Jury duty. What is the deal with that? I've never had to do it. All the people I work with have had to do it. I reckon it would be awesome, like being in an episode of 'Law and Order.' The people I work with reckon it's not quite as exciting as that. I'd volunteer if I could but apparently they frown on that sort of thing. They prefer people who don't want to be there. Justice is not only blind but grumpy.

Why don't we get to see more old documentaries from the 70's and stuff about high tech? I used to love those documentaries when I was a kid.

The below should be read in a smug, educated American accent. Think smoking jacket, lantern jaw and brylcreem. Probably horn rimmed glasses. Picture a young Darren McGavin.

"Some modern mainframe computers have as much as 4 kilobytes of memory - that's as much information as three afternoon newspapers!"

"By 2001, air travel will be as common as riding a bicycle. Every home will have a helicopter to travel to and from work, or just to do the shopping."

Wow! I would exclaim and lapped it up.

I remember one documentary - it must have 1975-76 - that talked about the energy crisis which was in full swing at the time. You young people don't remember this, but when I was growing up petrol rationing was more often than not the rule - for years I thought you could only buy petrol on even numbered days. But this documentary predicted that the world's oil supply would run out by 2005. I'm already stocking up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Office Christmas Party Monday night.

Here are three stand out pictures.

From the upcoming "Men of Bad Taste 2004" calendar. Sloth snuck in on the right hand side, but he doesn't look out of place.

Your camera is like your wingman - and you NEVER leave your wingman.

Tentatively entitled "The Non-conformist." I am modelling my fabulous, furry, leopard-skin Christmas shirt in the vain hope someone will want to fondle it.

As usual it was a hoot - mucho steam blown off. Also, as usual, the participants dwindled toward the end of the night as their tolerance for alcohol was expended. For the record I left at 4:30 AM.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Why does Australia still have a cultural cringe? Why do we really care what ill-informed foreigners think?

"Hong Kong-based expat Chris Baker argues that the international perception of Australia is no longer one of a country that prides itself on tolerance, openness and fair play."

His point being? Is that all we care about? International perception? We're not interested in whether or not WE consider Australia to be a country that prides itself on tolerance, openness and fair play. What is international perception, anyway? It's only how we are distorted in the international media, which anyone with any common sense realises is a load of bollocks anyway.

"Some of their questions are focused on specific domestic or foreign policy, while others are more general lobs at Australian 'values'. Why does Australia imprison refugees in the desert?" We don't imprison refugees in the desert, we imprison illegal immigrants in detention centres, just like every other country in the world. Or should we let criminals roam free to placate Guardian readers? Some of these detention centres are in the middle of bloody nowhere. 98% of Australia is in the middle of bloody nowhere. Ask someone who has legally applied to emigrate to Australia whether illegal immigrants should be granted automatic entry.

"Are Australians frightened of Muslims?" Muslims who plant bombs in pubs and planes and shoot at pedestrians from moving vehicles? Absolutely. If you're not you need your head read.

"Is Australia really racist towards Asians?" That's so vague and inaccurate it's hard to know how to respond. Why not just yell "you smell!" from a speeding car?

"Why did Australia support the war in Iraq without the support of the UN?" More to the point, why didn't the UN support its own resolutions? Perhaps the vocal objections to any action against Iraq had more to do with anti-Israeli attitudes, outstanding loans and the domestic re-election policies of certain European politicians. Why are journalists in Australia so keen to believe foreign politicians lies?

"Why did Australia close its Parliament to the public during the visit of George W. Bush?" Because a bunch of non-representative left-wing ratbags intended to disrupt proceedings in a very un-Australian way, not for any genuine reasons of protest, but solely as a knee-jerk reaction against the Liberal party.

"Why does Australia admire its sportspeople more than its thinkers?" I consider that a positive trait. Nobody is much interested in religion or politics in Australia, both of which are responsible for more wars, death and suffering than anything else in the history of human existence. How many million deaths has cricket caused?

"Why aren't teachers respected more in Australia?" If you went to a government school in Australia you'd know the answer to that one.

"Why did Australia ban the movie 'Ken Park' (which ironically was screened here uncensored and without much comment the same week that half a million people took to the streets to defend civil society and free speech?)" Now this is a good question. Sometime the OFLC bans things for reasons no one can much work out. I believe it was because of the depictions of under-age sex. But at least you can object to it without worrying about the secret police arresting you and your family in the middle of the night. I note that 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' and The Koran are or were until recently banned in China.

Ask any tourist or visitor who has just visited Australia whether we aren't the friendliest, most helpful, open-minded, fairest, most-tolerant, happiest, luckiest people in the world. There's your answer.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Next time you're in Franklins, look for the sign advertising their holiday opening times. I believe it is supposed to say 'Ho! Ho! Holiday opening times!' A design error makes it look like 'Ho! No! Holiday opening times!' Somehow it seems apt.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Today is good sleeping weather. I should explain that I work shiftwork - 2 days on, 2 nights on, 4 days off. Great! I hear you exclaim. 12 hour shifts. Oh, not so great. I'm also on dayshift today. It's persistantly raining and windy, perfect for sleeping, here I am at work. But that's cool, I love rainy weather. I should live somewhere where it's cold and rainy all the time instead of Sydney. If you know of such a place, kindly forward this information to me, it will be duly noted.

Now, because we work round the clock in the office, we have to hot-desk, but more importantly hot-seat. For those of you not familiar with the concept, that means you park yourself on the seat just vacated by the person you have taken over from, which is still warm from their buttocks, hence hot-seat.

I don't like it. The only adjective I can come up with which adequately describes the feeling is 'icky.' It feels icky.

Even worse is sitting on a warm toilet seat. Is this just me? You like to have the illusion that you are the first person to use the toilet. You know it's an illusion (although if you were a plumber, you could deflower a virgin toilet just about every day) but you don't need a physical reminder of how recently someone else defecated in this very spot. A good television forensic scientist could probably work out an approximate time of evacuation. Icky, non? Oui, c'est tres icky.

I hear you can purchase toilet seats with electric warmers, presumably for colder climes. If I designed toilet seats, they would have chillers. Nothing says 'virgin toilet' like a goose-pimpled bot-bot.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Increasingly when I have been wandering around Westfields looking for new shiny gew-gaws to keep me distracted from reality, I have been stopped by young attractive women in uniform with foreign accents. Lucky you, I hear you cry, but there is a catch. They all want money. Specifically they want me to donate to a charity, like save the children or feed the leopards or man the yardarms or whatever. Now, I give money to charity. Not much, I'll be the first to admit, but I'm willing to fork out over a worthy cause. But the problem is, that isn't enough for this latest breed of, lets face it, beggars. That's what they do, they beg for money. I'm not judging, merely pointing out the facts. They don't want me to hand over a lobster and go on my merry way. Oh, no. They want to sign me up and take money out of my bank account automagically every month. Deary, me, where DO I sign up for that? That sounds like a great option. I'd LOVE to have my wages garnished. Kind of like paying child support for children I never had in a country I've never been to. And when I refuse to give someone access to suck money out of my bank account at will, they accuse me of being a typical man and afraid of commitment. Well, I am, but they don't know that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The PowerBall lottery is up to $30,000,000 first prize - and nowadays with the dollar the way it is, that means something! Admittedly you could probably only buy a small outdoor toilet given Sydney property prices, but it's something. A bloke at work (who prefers to remain nameless) said the first thing he would do is quit. I disagree. I'd like to take the time to burn my bridges first. I'd go in to work as normal, then tell all the people I don't like what I really think of them, ending up in the bosses office ranting and raving about what a hellhole the place is before security drag me out of the building by the collar, kicking and and screaming and frothing at the mouth. People have said to me, "but I like the people I work with, I like my job and my boss." To these poor deluded souls I say don't enter the bloody lottery! You're spoiling the odds for the rest of us.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I spent the weekend at my parents place in my hometown in Country NSW. I should point out that although I've lived in Sydney for over ten years I actually grew up in a smallish town Which Will Remain Nameless, mostly for legal reasons. I'll give you a hint though - the cicadas there are going NUTS this summer. Deafening.

While I was there I spent a couple of hours in Kmart doing some Xmas shopping. I was nearly knocked over by the breathtakingly ugly appearance of a lot of the people shopping there. It appears that 9/10 of the inhabitants of my hometown could find employment as circus freaks if they so desired, in between shifts at the acid-factory and working as extras in Mad Max films. The town breeds some sort of mutant hillbilly westie redneck variant. I don't remember if it was always that way and my absence has given me some perspective, but take a quick look at the pic at the top of this page tell me if you think I'm in the relatively normal humanoid 10% or if I'm in the circle-working, good-trackie-dak-wearing, gorilla-biscuit-looking, penrif-panfers-supporting, angels-rads-coldchisel-fan 90%. On second thoughts, don't.

I overheard the following conversation;
"Was it your birthday yesterday, Blake?"
"Sorry, Brock. And were you seven or eight?"
As amusing as that exchange was, I was struck by the kids name. Apologies to all the teeming millions of Brocks out there, but can you get a more Westie name than that? Why not call your kid Monaro and be done with it?
"These are my kids Brock, Monaro, Moffatt, Torana, Brabham, Charger and Dickjohnson. Oh and Bargwanna is on the way."
Pardon me for being old fashioned, but whatever happened to John, Paul, George and...well, not Ringo, but Matthew, Mark, Luke and Simon? Or would that be too judeo-christian-centric and therefore culturally excluding to the Zoroastrians, Sethians, Callithumpians and the Temple of Herectical Zealots?

Don't get me wrong, Brock is probably a good kid and it isn't his fault his parents are bogans. After all, who among us gets to choose his own name? I just reckon Australia needs less Brocks, Dylans, Jordans, Ashtons and Beckhams and more Trevors, Ians, Bruces and Rodneys.

Apologies to the Brocks, Dylans, Jordans, Ashtons and Beckhams reading this and polishing knives.