Saturday, July 30, 2005

Books I Haven't Read

Josh writes:

Here's a picture for you: You're an average guy -- wife and kids, you probably work on a farm. You get up in the morning, get together with a bunch of guys like you, and you go out and kill people. Hunt them down and hack them to death with the tool of your trade (the machete) for the most part. Men, women and children. You might rape some of the women -- you make a point of looting the bodies and homes of your victims -- and at the end of the day, you go home to your family, go to bed, and get up the next day to do it all over again.

You do this non-stop for three months.

I've been reading reviews of Machete Season by Jean Hatzfeld, a book containing interviews with 10 Rwandan Hutus (now jailed) whose lives were as I described above during the genocide in that country, and I'm really not sure if it's a book I want to read or not.

On the fairly glaring negative side, I'm not all that keen to have further images of men mutilated and babies smashed against walls taking up residence in my brainmeats. On the positive side, it'd be nice to see further evidence backing up my belief that the old maxim about dogs being one missed meal away from wolves applies to people as well.

These guys, convinced that everything will go back to normal if they can just "finish the job" (i.e. kill every single Tutsi) and made bold by the complete lack of repercussions as the rest of the world muttered "stupid darkies" and looked the other way are folks just like you and me, different only in circumstances -- to think otherwise is no more plausible than believing that an entire generation of Germans was inexplicably born with the Evil Gene.

I'm a socialist for reasons already summed up pretty well by Hewligan here. In short, I don't trust any of you fuckers not to go feral the minute it suits you. Those of a libertarian bent may want to claim that it's the state that pushes people into these actions, to which I reply: they never seem to take much pushing.

Apathy Jack writes:

“Ella, come. We need to talk.”
“About what?”
“You’ve been snapped for wagging Maths.”
“What? What will happen?”
“Well, I told the Dean that the problem would be fixed by Monday. But if it isn’t, she’s going to come to talk to you.”
“But she goes on forever and she’s really boring and doesn’t know what she’s talking about!”
“Exactly. So I’m afraid you’ll have to go to Maths for a couple of weeks.”
“Mister, no!”
“Just for a few weeks, so that your Maths teacher can calm down and stop filling in Dean’s referrals. A fortnight won’t kill you.”
“Yes it will!”
“Ella.”
“Alright. Two weeks?”
“That should about cover it.”
“Okay. I’ll try.”
“That’s not what I asked.”
“I’ll try!”
“Come on.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll go to Maths for two weeks.”
“Good. Now look in my eyes and say it.”
“I can’t.”
”Come on.”
“I’ll go to Maths for”
“Look in my eyes.”
“I’ll go to Ma”
“In my eyes.”
“I’ll go to Maths for two weeks.”
“Thank you Ella.”


I’m sure the idealist that I was a few years ago would be horrified, but a small victory is still a victory, and after a while you learn to take them where you can find them...

Friday, July 29, 2005

DurkadurkaDargaville

RSJS writes:

To quote Winnie Peters: "You don't allow preachers of anthems of hate and violence into the country to pervert minds."

…presumably as he doesn’t like competition.

If Winston was perhaps an undercover SIS agent who had spent decades under a false moustache rathe than his Shatner Turbo 2000 quiff, infiltrating the poppy-seedy underworld of Balsamic fundamentalists in New Zealand, his piffle about hydras (cribbed directly from “The Siege” and let’s face it ladies, he’s no Denzel. He’s barely a Dweezil) might have some sparkle of validation, some tiny scintilla of reality likee a glowing fart in the vacuum of space. But we know this cuntestant in the election hasn’t infiltrated much more than a well-stocked bar and the odd mince’n’cheese pie in his fat fucktard life. So his new-broom sweeping claims of far-reaching mystical-beastie terrorist cells were cut from whole cloth yanked out of his hair-choked ARSE.

I’m not claiming we don’t have terrorists in our midsts and midriffs. Tim Selwyn is a classic example of one striking terror into the hearts of Her Majesty’s Empire with his seditious photocopies. Mike Smith and his chainsaw, Mike King and his pork sword, the NZ Idol creators mopping their damp cock-heads with dollar bills and the dreams of the screeching weasels they mock… but I AM claiming that Winnie has never seen one, tasted one, inserted his calloused thumb up the arse of one, read a report about one, seen a documentary on one, been in the same building as one on a Midwinter’s night when the hearth was crackling and the chestnuts were roasting, nada, nix, nuttin’ nowt knickknack paddy whack, give a dog my bone. He may accidentally be telling the truth and the Cookie Time DC10 might be crashed into the Kumeu wriggly-tin sheep in the name of Jihad. But that would be coincidence, not prescience.

It’s also attention grabbing media hype from a pinstriped spinmeister and hell, I’ve just given him a few column inches (as it were). So go the Winnie the Pooh and your rousing of the rabbles, including me. But remember, always the kingmaker, never the king. Perhaps he should wear peach?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A bunch of stuff:

Apathy Jack writes:

Four things. Feel free to read only that which interests you.

...

Chaotic

Scene: The new Algonquin Round Table of the digital age, populated by the New Media commentators. Which is to say: A pack of homepage-jockeys sitting around watching TV.

Ben: Hang on, I’m confused. Was Kevin Federline a dancer for Britney on this tour, or was he just tagging along?

Nick: I think he was a dancer on one of her old tours and she just brought him along on this one.

Ben: See, where was that on Careers Day? They were all like; here’s how to get a career in accounting, here’s a business course you could do. Where was the course to spend all day fucking Britney Spears and not working and getting your own TV show out of it?

Jack: There was a course for that. It was Scrub 101, and I distinctly remember that we were all enrolled.

I don’t think I can describe the beauty of Britney and Kevin:Chaotic. Of course, being an American show, it is hugely sanitised, with naughty words and non-sponsored t-shirt logos edited out of the couple’s increasingly incoherent conversations. However, one thing the censors seemed to have missed is the burning rice paper of the cigarettes they are both endlessly smoking every night. Surely someone as rich as Britney can afford tailors?

My flatmates are generally disappointed that Britney is as trashy and low class as the grungy trailer-spawned Federline. I disagree with them for reasons of my own. Let’s just say I have a vested interest in millionaire nymphomaniacs who look like Barbie falling in love with crap hillbillies with terrible hair, and I think there should be more of it.

...

Bending under it’s own weight

See, I’ve been living in the suburbs for a few weeks now, and there are still the odd birth pains. The sheer distance from town (ie not within walking of the CBD) still provokes the occasional desire to put on my straw hat and sit on the rocking chair on the porch with a shotgun. Of course, I don’t have a shotgun, but one of my flatmates has a samurai sword. If only I could get Clutch’s A Shogun Named Marcus out of my head, I’m sure the neighbours would be in for less of a shock in upcoming weeks.

I’ve seen a surprisingly large number of police in the last fortnight: Two, at the local bakery after what looked like an attempted shoplifting. I saw police at street level in my old neighbourhood exactly three times in five years; all of which involved murders. Is it wrong that I lost some respect for the baker for calling in the constabulary for an offence so small as to not have a body count?

The number of car alarms I’ve heard recently started to make me think these suburbanites were paranoid, but then I just realised – The people here are simply less resigned to the inevitability of larceny than were my old neighbours.

Takes all kinds, I guess...

...

Just One Fix

Yesterday my kids offered to tell me the names of the naughty cokehead celebrities.

My kids know.

Remember when name suppression used to mean something?

...

There was some singing, then some praying, then some more singing, then some more praying, then Grant Morgan turned up and lowered the tone entirely...

Over the school holidays, I ended up at three protests, mostly by accident. Firstly, the tail end of the demonstration against the Black Caps going to Zimbabwe. I hate Zimbabweans, not because of their politics, but because I’ve met a few, and they’re an easy people to dislike. All things being equal, I think we should punish them by forcing them to watch cricket, the one sport in the world more boring than Curling. But you know I was in town, I was bored, and I heard strains of “Whatta a want..?” over the horizon.

The protest brought back a lot of memories, not least of all because I recognised most of the beardos and hippies in attendance.

There were a pack of the little anarchists who live down the road from my old flat, resplendent in Dead Kennedys hoodies and scarves tied around their faces, like a Black Block pre-school. I doubt whether any of these kids could find Zimbabwe on a map, or pick Robert Mugabe out of a lineup, but they sure as hell knew they were angry at Phil Goff (once he was pointed out to them).

I remember that the last few protests I’ve been at have been hijacked by special interest groups. That’s why, as I came up on this rally I was pleased to see that on this demonstration against genocide in Zimbabwe, there was only one banner demanding freedom for Palestine. I commented to Ben on the apparent absence of Water Power, and he produced a handful of anti-Metrowater leaflets from his pockets, which had been given to him earlier in the march...

As some have pointed out; New Zealand has a basketball team touring China right now, and these tie-dyed-in-the-wool professional protestors haven’t made a sound.

Maybe if all of the Falun Dafas were white?

Anyhoo, the next protest I went to was the University staff protesting for more money, or better quality asses’ milk in the marble bathes we all know they have in that Ivory Clocktower of theirs, or something. I went marching with my old activist crony Johnny the Red, and listened to speeches with Span(ner) and sundry remnants of the Old Guard. Despite the fact that most on this protest were younger than the last (lecturers and bean counters having a lower average age than the Springbok Tour Reunion of the anti-Cricket demo), this one seemed a bit more grown up. No one shouted out slogans, there were no twelve-year-olds pretending this was the G8. Just a nice sunny day hanging out with old friends in familiar surrounds. Sure, that wasn’t the aim of the protest, but it was easily the most pleasant piece of activism I’ve tagged along with in a while.

Then I ended up at a rally for diversity, organised by the city’s Christian and Muslim communities. The place was too pregnant with the unrecognised irony that these two religions are among the least tolerant organisations in the history of the world. The baby anarchists were at this one as well. I couldn’t tell if they were fer or agin, but hell, they probably couldn’t either.

I didn’t stay for long.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Little Things

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Well, it's election time. Campaigning has started, every move the party leaders make will be scripted, as is everything they say and wear by their trusty minders. Jenny Shipley had her blue attire, Helen Clark just appeared on Campbell Live with her trusty red suit...

Don Brash, with his charming naivity, wore a red tie.

An Update! If you go here, you will see Xavier Goldie celebrating Labour's freshly announced Student Loan policy. Now Xavier moonlights as chairman of the Princes Street Labour Party Branch and Aboutown blogger, but here he is resplendent in Tory Blue. I mean does symbolism mean nothing to anyone anymore? Am I talking out of my arse? By the way Xavier, you could look a bit happier about it - unless you are a Tory in disguise, in which case "good work son!"

Back of the head.

RSJS writes:

So back last century a few Yank comedians chuckled over the British coppers. Bill Hicks used to joke about the coppers yelling at the "Hooligans" that the Plod faced. Robin Williams used to point out the American cops would cry "Stop, or I'll shoot!" while their transatlantic clones, unarmed and embarrassed, could only shout "Stop! or I'll say stop again...".

So who's laughing now, hmmmm? FIVE TIMES IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD. No Patriot Act bullshit, no raiding library computers, just the point-blank insertion of five lead slugs into the skull of someone they thought might be suspicious.

Which is why Britons never shall be slaves.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Communities

That Morthos Stare writes:

There are many things I don't understand. Why microscopic processes collapse on the macroscopic levels. The popularity of lip piercings. My fixation on peculiar women.

Then there are the Livejournal Communities. Communities that, with few exceptions, exist to glorify in the subjective notion of beauty.

Peer group and peer acceptance is hard enough for most people. Still, in the world proper people tend to gravitate towards their own kind by simple social pressures.

In the world that is Livejournal you get voted in. Or, as can sometimes be the case, be told to 'Fuck off,' just in more rude terms.

Some of the Communities exist for a legitimate reason, such as support for various hobbies and weird haircuts. Most of them, however, are Communities that seek to accept, or reject, you on the basis of what you look like. Your reward for passing muster? The ability to accept other like-bodied people.

Let me stress this; such Communities don't then engage in constructive dialogue or engage in projects to beautify the world. As far as I can see their express purpose is to make sure that ugly people can't interfere in their little part of the online world.

Of course, those who get rejected from one Community can just set up another. Perhaps it's all good in the end. It's just possible that what we are seeing is the construction of little polities that will one day result in an ecumenical movement of 'Hey, we're all basically the same, aren't we?'

Then again, it's probably more likely that it's just people being bitchy.

Damn you all to hell.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Want something to blow you away?

Apathy Jack writes:

Then you should probably read this television review by local super villian Tim Selwyn.

It cracks me up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Healthy Man Love

Josh writes:

Parents want male teachers for boys

Not sure what to make of this -- here are some possibilities:

First, I look forward to watching Jack, now a valuable and sought-after commodity, whore himself out to the highest bidder like the dirty, dirty slut we always knew he was.

Secondly, I wonder if the fixation on adult male role models doesn't cause us to miss out on other things. Having a mother and a father, and having had plenty of male teachers, I don't feel I was lacking in adult role models -- what I didn't have, though, was sisters. As a teenager I was your typical introverted, don't-know-how-to-talk-to-girls type, and at least some of that had to come from the fact that the concept of familiarity with similarly-aged members of the opposite sex was completely alien to me. So maybe there are other things to consider than just exposure to adult company.

Nextly (as my old principal used to say -- how's that for a grammatical role model?) one wonders why parents are so concerned that little Timmy gets enough exposure (for want of a better word) to examples of manly men. Is talk of psychological development and healthy socialisation simply shorthand for "make sure he doesn't catch The Gay"?

I suppose there are worse things paranoid homophobe parents could do to stop their boy from turning sissy -- beating him to death, for instance -- and hell, maybe I'm reading too sinister a motive into this in the first place. My concerns are triggered, however, by the coincidental fact that I read that Herald article just after the first in Salon.com's four-part investigation into the growing "pray out the gay" movement in the US (a movement where exposure to male role models and "healthy man love" is also deemed crucial).

As with the creationist/ID movement, what we have is a bunch of zealots peddling bad science to make a dodgy ideology sound more respectable -- in this case its subscription to a sort of layman's Freud which says that homosexuality is a mental disorder that comes out of a boy's unfulfilled need for love from a physically or emotionally absent father becoming twisted into sexual desire towards all men. Thoroughly discredited by modern psychology, but that's hardly an obstacle.

In another parallel, proponents of such "reparative therapy" advocate for "equal time"/"telling both sides of the story", this time in sex ed classes, where they want their views on homosexuality taught as an "alternative viewpoint". In some cases, they're winning.

It's all very moderate and nice -- they're compassionate, not hateful; they simply want to heal these poor damaged souls. Of course, the niceness starts to slip a little when we get to why these people need to be "cured" and out come the claims that homosexuality causes "surging AIDS rates, drug abuse, 'gay bowel syndrome,' psychological problems and violence."

And then there's the proof of the pudding -- do their techniques actually work? At this point, it may be worth noting that Exodus, one of the more prominent foundations in this area, is famous for its two ex-gay founding members now being ex-ex-gays, and the current chairman having been found in a gay bar. Incidentally, no website for an organization that tries to put a benign face on sexuality reprogramming should have a "FAQs" link on its home page -- much too easy to misread at a glance...

Shameless Self-promotion

That Morthos Stare writes:

I'll preface my words of glory with the caveat that says that 'I am sure that some of you will find this interesting.'

My day job is that of a Philosopher. I teach (and quite well if student evaluations and ovations are a measure of success) and I research.

And today my research has finally produced fruit.

Some of you will know that my field is Epistemology, and that I have an interest in weird phenomenon. I'm not a Believer in that I am fairly sure that life is chemical and that ghosts are simply misunderstood instances of natural laws oprating in conjunction with particular facts. Still, as an epistemologist I can't deny that perhaps, just possibly, some of the features of the world as we claim to know it (through the practice of the Natural Sciences) are, in fact, misunderstood.

It's a pity then that more people aren't epistemologists.

Last year there was a slight verbal scuffle between Drs. Michael Shermer and Freeman Dyson on the matter of evidence for the existence of the paranormal. I read both tracts and found myself siding with Dyson, who thinks there is reason to think that paranormal phenomenon might be a justified belief, rather than Shermer, one of America's most prominent Skeptics.

So I wrote a paper on the material, filling out the vague argument I thought Dyson was suggesting, for presentation at a conference.

A version of this paper has now been accepted for publication in 'The Skeptic,' edited by Dr. Shermer.

This makes me happy. Happy because finally my interest in weirdness has produced not one but three reasons to think that we should entertain beliefs about paranormal phenomenon, happy because I've managed to write a paper on Epistemology that is scientist-friendly (according to Shermer) and happy because the paper is, whilst not overly critical of Skeptics (who I do think should become Epistemologists and also be a little more aware of the History of Science) does point out that garden-variety Skepticism, that which proclaims the Cult of Science, isn't such a happy place to be after all.

I'm mostly happy, however, because this paper shows that Philosophy is, as it always has been, useful to Science (whose proponents often ridicule their parent discipline).

Whilst I may make enemies tomorrow today I make a friend of the world.

Words of Advice

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think he or she is wonderful.

Some parents go further. They become so blinded by adoration they manage to convince themselves their child has qualities of genius.

Well, there’s nothing very wrong with all this. It’s the way of the world. It’s only when the parents begin telling us about the brilliance of their own revolting offspring, that we start shouting, “Bring us a basin! We’re going to be sick!”

School teachers suffer a good deal from having to listen to this sort of twaddle from proud parents, but they usually get their own back when the time comes to write their end-of-term reports. If I were a teacher, I would cook up some real scorchers for the children of doting parents. “Your son Maximilian,” I would write, “is a total wash-out. I hope you have a family business you can push him into when he leaves school because he sure as heck won’t get a job anywhere else.” Or, if I were feeling lyrical that day, I might write, “It is a curious truth that grasshoppers have their hearing organs in the sides of their abdomen. Your daughter Vanessa, judging by what she’s learnt this term, has no hearing organs at all.”

Roald Dahl “Matilda”

Apathy Jack writes:

The elections are less than two months away, so I’ve decided to work on a wee project.

Before the big Unistat elections last year, I kept myself entertained by making a wee page called POPlitics. Go have a brief look and then come back.


Right, you get the gist. Anyway, I’m thinking that I’ll make a new page like that for the upcoming NZ elections. So what I’m doing here is soliciting links. If anyone out there has something they think would be appropriate, then it probably is, and I’ll no doubt use it.

There are no real rules, because this is a simple boredom related project, but here are some guidelines to smooth the process:


* I’m really looking for links that are either humourous (or at the very least a burlesque demonstration of the Sport of Kings) or revealing something that the proles won’t necessarily have known before, say some news that wasn’t spread as far as you thin it should have been. Sure “B is for Brash” is obvious, but rather than just a link to National’s website, how about a link to a funny Brash cartoon, or better yet, surveillance photos of that drunken night with Helen Clarke that they think no one knows about?

* Be as creative as you want. If you come up with a cuttingly funny “H is for Hide – Here is a link to masturbationhorror.com” entry, then by all means send it in. Or, if you just have a link you think is interesting or funny, then send it in without commentary, and I’ll see what I can come up with.

Don’t be shy of whoring yourself out. If you’ve got an entry on your blog (and you all do, bloggers being an incestuous little community) that you think would be a good contribution, then by all means send it in. Of course anyone who sends me something will get linked to (so that the three people who look at the page will get to see you in all your glory).

Stuff (and nonsense) sent via the ‘Contact’ thingy out on the front page.

Sorted.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

So, the new Harry Potter book hits shelves today.

If you are at all excited about this, you are a child.

Of course I don’t mean that as an insult, I simply mean that if you are looking forward to reading Harry Potter and the Emotionally Subnormal Arrested Development or whatever it’s called, then you are not a grown up. I have students who refuse to read these books because they are for kids.

Ah, hell with it, I’ve said all this before. Just go and read this thing I wrote a while back.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

I hope you can forgive me for that time when I put my hand between your legs and said it was small because it’s really not at all
I guess there’s just a part of me that likes to bring you down just to keep you around because the day that you realise how amazing you are you’re going to leave me


Maria Mena – The Only One

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oh, Are We Still Doing This?

Josh writes:

I thought I'd missed the "take the piss out of political billboards" Photoshop fest, but it seems to be going again, now that Labour's got some out too. With that in mind:




Alternate caption ("Labour Likes Babies, But We Couldn't Eat A Whole One") discarded -- well, it's been done before, hasn't it?

In the Future there Will Be Robots...

That Morthos Stare writes:

...and the robots came to visit today.

Shahin Maghsoudi, a former student of the Philosophy Department and Technical Director of robot-hosting.com has developed robots for use as lecturing assistants. Now I don't know about you, but to me the idea of a robot lecturing assistant fills with me with images... Images of a mighty bloodbath as an endo-skeleton war-machine marches into a lecture hall. It pauses only briefly before killing the whelps and maiming anyone who dares to run away. A deathly silence falls over the room as it crushes the lecturer between its titanium thighs before stating, in its Vin Diesel voice, that now is the time to learn about Modus Ponens...

Before spraying the room with napalm.

That is a robot.

Which is why I must report with some degree of disillusionment that the robot I cheerfully went to see today (my Department is considering implementing them) was a Half-Life 2-esque character model.

And all she did was give out canned responses when you clicked on a box.

The future is arriving and its yesterday's model.

Books You Should Be Reading # 1 of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

The Muller-Fokker Effect by John Sladek


It was sundown in Las Vegas. The biggest fairy Officer Kulak had ever seen stood in front of a television store, pretending to look at the Billy Koch service. He was more or less respectably dressed, but Kulak knew what he was by the rhinestone-rimmed sunglasses. The trouble was, he couldn’t do anything. The laws being what they were, Kulak could do no more than kick him a few times and make him move along.

A party of interested tourists stopped to watch. ‘Las Vegas ain’t what it used to be,’ said one. ‘In the old days, they’d haul in a fruit like that, get him to blow everybody in the station, and then pound the piss out of him.’

‘That’s what they oughta do,’ said another. ‘But I guess the criminal element is just taking over.’

Friday, July 08, 2005

Hang the DJ

Josh writes:

It does not make me a bad person that I'm not overly concerned by the London bombings.

Obviously, for the individuals concerned -- the victim and their families -- I have great sympathy, and for the individuals responsible, I have nothing but contempt. Nevertheless, not too worried. London will be fine. London is hard. London took the Blitz and told the IRA to fuck off -- it will eat this puny "terror", piss on its fires and be down the pub with its mates while you're still trying to get reception back on your mobile, you soft cunt.

Now, what may make me a bad person is that I've had Panic stuck in my head since I first opened the paper this morning...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

Actually, one more thing about La Casa De Los Muertos just before I leave:

This morning, shambling around getting ready for work, I switch on the early news which informs me that my street has been closed off because of the shooting death at one of the several Triad-run Karaoke clubs around the neighborhood. I shuffle to the window, and through the darkness and the driving rain all I can see is the red and blue flashing lights reflecting off the bright yellow police tape stretching across the road.

I am going to miss this place you know...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

After five years, I’m moving out of my flat. Been trying to come up with a “finally it’s over” post for a while, but the fact that one would take effort has effectively stopped any eulogising in it’s tracks. However, my friend Raj has written something on his webjournal which I think I’ll let do most of my talking:

Jack had his farewell party for moving out of the famous Flat Of Death (as it is situated above, what used to be, a funeral home). I was also treated to finally being inside the infamous student hovel which I'd heard so much about for almost my entire adult life. The stories, I'm glad to say, are quite true. The maze-like corridors, the de-militarized art deco, the fact that Jack's bedroom was - in fact - the bathroom with his bed hoisted unto a loft directly above the door, the rats that had evolved to using popsicle sticks as tools, the rooftop patio (or perhaps patio that is, in fact, a rooftop?) and more. The place looked like a film set from the movie "SE7EN" and it was beautiful. In fact they could easily rent the place out AS a film set and the art director wouldn't have to change a thing. What a magnificent squalor, I'll carry its memory with me forever.

I’ll add one more thing, just so you know from Whence I Have Come...

Next door to my flat, for as many years as anyone cares to remember, was a liquor store called Henty’s. The proximity of this bottle barn meant that the alcoholic wastrels living here were never more than a thirty second dash away from a drunken stupor. Over the years, it even provided a few of the flatmates with employment. (And what employment: Have you ever seen the smile on the face of a university student who has just got a job in an off-license? It’s like Christmas only really wrong.)

So anyway, another common feature of this pace is that, at least since the eighties (after Push Push were evicted) the vast majority of people here have been students. Over the last year or two this has changed, as the (surprisingly stable of late) roster of flatmates have been getting jobs. Come the end of the academic year last year, one of the students moved out, and the other handed in her thesis, officially becoming A Grown Up.

For the first time in over fifteen years there were no students living in this flat.

Henty’s went out of business less than a fortnight later.

There are no coincidences, every story is true, and the pressure change of living in a real house may give me the bends and kill me.

Between a Stone and a Hard Place

Josh writes:

I dunno, I feel a bit sorry for Ashraf Choudhary. I mean, sure, that was a bloody stupid and somewhat worrying thing to say, but what were his options? The man had been asked, as a Muslim -- the most prominent Muslim in the country -- to denounce the Koran on national television. It was either "stoning homos is good" or "yeah nah, the Koran is shit."

He tried to go for a wishy washy "yes with an if or no with a but" answer, claiming that it's not OK here, but refusing to say unequivoably that it's unacceptable. Obviously that didn't wash, but frankly I can't think of a way out of that situation that would have -- as I recall, when Bri the Bish was questioned about the similarly fucked up bits of the Bible by Kim Hill, he just dodged the question by saying that it's up to the preachers to interpret the Bible for today's society (fair enough, but still doesn't explain why you choose to stick to the bits that say "no fags", but ignore the stuff about keeping slaves and stoning adulterers).

(You could use this to point out problems with holding to a religion in general, but that's another argument entirely.)

The whole situation also provides an interesting response to the "how come you can say mean things about Christians, but it's not PC to mock Muslims and Jews?" bleating one hears from time to time. Here's a Muslim who refused to come out and say that his religion was wrong and is pilloried for it -- would such a question even be asked of a prominent Christian MP?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I will make fire and kill you in the face.

RSJS writes:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10334286

“A risk of choking has lead to the product recall of children's shoes called Winnie the Pooh Flowers Joggers.”


Sex with squirrels, the world lurches another step closer to handing it it’s parody merit badge and diving headfirst into the muddled metaphor of farce. Shoes prove to be a choking hazard. Shoes. The stupid overpriced label-crazed thingies one crams on one’s feet to stop AIDS-infected needles puncturing your piggies and leaving you a dead pariah in a skip behind a brothel. Or some shit. I don’t know, my mind is on “tilt” over this latest recall. Someone has shaken the pinball table of my mind too much and my balls are now jammed. And worse, in its now damaged state its projecting hallucinatory images of fat parents cramming Winnie the Pooh shoes down their children’s throats to punish them for being too fucking blonde, then screaming blue murder at the retailers as the woggle on the laces broke off on a milk-tooth molar and killed the kid. I want to see an indignant housewife in gingham screaming at Paul Holmes that she was only using reasonable force in the form of kicking the child in the tonsils with his own sneakers but the dastardly tag made them into a murderer aaaaargh sue. Or maybe it’ll be a poverty tale of families who spent all their cash on ciggies and Lotto forced to eat old boots to live and their poor starving little sprog was asphyxiated on some gristly shoelace. Awwwwww, start another freakin’ telethon. In fact, I want to see any indication that a fucking womb-monkey even came close to death as a result of this dangly nothing on his trademarked shoes. I want to be convinced this isn’t anything other than a paranoid overprotective Nanny State beat-up because some arsecandle with desiccated reproductive organs decided do write a letter of complaint in a shrill font. I want to see the blood of the innocent for fuck’s sake…

Ah, sod it. And anyway, here’s a rule of thumb for people with vacant-eyed offspring: If your child decides to try to eat his own footwear and chokes to death as a result, this is a good thing. Shoe-boy was never going to be anything other than a spare-parts organ bank and a dope-smoking pig-rapist anyway. He died from EATING HIS SHOES. Or worse, SOMEONE ELSE’S SHOES. His death is a good thing and we should rejoice over his blue boot-crammed body. REJOICE.

End of public service bewilderment.

Monday, July 04, 2005

More on the 'Lie'

That Morthos Stare writes:

The problem with deceit is that it is the ultimate weapon.

Take my ‘lie.’ When things aren’t going smoothly it becomes more than mere deceit. At these moments it is a potential weapon, the first article of war that burns within me.

And it only serves to make matters all the more worse.

As a weapon its power is legion. When she pisses me off it urges me to tell her. To reveal that I never intended to touch her hand that fateful night. To mention that what she takes to be the start of our relationship was just... an accident.

And that urge is pure vengeance.

The ‘lie’ now becomes a set of words, designed to hurt.

And what scares me is that I would use them without any regard for my own preservation...

Now she might shrug it off (given roses and chocolates and Baileys...). But no matter how happy we might then seem the ‘lie’ would live on.

In both of us.

And when the tables turn, and they would, she would use the ‘lie’ against me.

Because my words would fester in her heart from then on, and thus my vengeance would be the undoing of everything.

So much for the ‘truth...’

Apathy Jack writes:

“Dammit, I just finished yelling at you lot for doing something wrong two minutes ago! I swear to God this better not be something bad!”
“It is. You’d better hurry, sir.”

God I hate fucking everything season!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

There’s one of my little girls. In that way that sometimes happens with the Teaching, in addition to educating her on ancient Roman religious practices, I am also a combination Father/Councilor/Advice Columnist/Big Brother/Whatever else needs doing during any given crisis.

So this little girl, wearing a dress that leaves, by my rough estimation, almost eighty percent of her uncovered, takes me by the hand, leads me to the dance floor, and proceeds to dance with more energy and sensuality than most people put into sex.

God I hate ball season.