Monday, October 31, 2005

That is so 1991

Josh writes:

So in about seven years, when they make the next Peter's Friends/Big Chill, what will be on the soundtrack?

The 90s and 00s (or whatever they decided to call this decade) seem relatively low on generation-defining anthems and fashion gimmicks. While the 70s and 80s were (for better or worse) chock-full of iconic fashion statements, all I could think of for the 90s was:

  • Emo glasses
  • Emo glasses with yellow lenses
  • Irony
Which are essentially all the same thing. Oh, and there was the skirts-with-trousers controversy, too. Is that really all? If you had to pick half a dozen songs that summed up the decade, would you have trouble?

Or, to put it another way:

"Dude, the 90s called -- they want their ______ back." Fill in the blank.

Anything? "Dot-com startups" perhaps? "Ace of Base albums"? "Episodes of Friends that were actually funny"? What?

Maybe it's just because we're still too close to the 90s. Maybe the things that will stick out like a sore thumb in a decade or two are still too tainted with familiarity to be recognizable. Who can say -- answers on the back of a postcard. And by "back of a postcard", I mean "e-mail or in the comments section", because it's almost 2006 for Christ's sake.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

“Do you find you can’t finish the crossword like you used to? Nasty taste in the mouth in the mornings? Can’t stop thinking about sex? Can’t start doing anything about sex? Wake up with a sweat in the mornings? Keep falling asleep during Play For Today?”
“Extraordinary, Doc. It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling.”
“So do I. I wonder what it is.”

You should all go out and watch The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin on DVD.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Letters from the Editor

That Morthos Stare writes:

Over the last few weeks we have received a number of letters from readers concerning activities here at ‘Brain Stab’ central. Some have been amusing, a few offensive and at least one implicitly pornographic. Those letters not snatched up and hidden in bedrooms around the country we reprint below, with our lovingly-crafted replies appended.

Dear sirs.

Young Mr. Mepoc has not written much for your broadsheet in recent months. What has happened to him? Has he become interested in girls? Is he part of the New World Order and no longer has time for informing and entertaining us plebs?

Desperately seeking reason,

Reg of Awatane

Dear Reg.

Let me be the first to assure you that none of ‘Brain Stabs’ writers are in any way interested in girls. Girls are the number one cause of cooties in our generation and the ‘Brain Stab’ staff have, quite rationally, sworn off these disease-ridden pox-hags and, instead, entered into a Spartan-like union with each other. As to Mr. Mepoc’s whereabouts, little is currently known. Some claim to have seen him felling trees in Oregon whilst another witness claims that the Swedish monarchy is hiding him from his former masters. Whatever the case, we are sure that when his current travails are over he will return to amuse us all with anti-libertarian folk songs and paintings from the Algarve.

Brain Stab

Mr. Brain Stab.

Does Morthos think he is funny? If he does, has anyone thought of having his head checked out by a medical quack? My aunt thought she was funny; it turned out that she had rabbis and had to be put down.


Susan Kilgore-Trout, Blackpool


I suspect your aunt had rabbies, not rabbis, although she may well have been a modern woman and who are we to judge? Anyway, rest assured that Brother Morthos Agrippa Octavius Bloodmonster Spittoon Yellow (his full name, currently) does not think he is funny; he is, in fact, a cryptographer for the Bohemian Crown Prince and all of his posts are, in fact, coded shopping lists. Except for the post about the gnats. That was meant to be funny. Pity, really.

Brain Stab

To whom it may concern.

Please make RSJS desist from mentally undressing me everytime I read his posts. The long sentences, the slippery-slopes of his analogies are doing my head in. I can’t cope with some many jokes about the cock. Help me.



Dear sir.

We would apologise profusely for the behaviour of our writers if a) we had any control over them and b) we actually cared about our readership. As ‘Brain Stab - Stab. In. Head!’ is a vanity project with a readership number in the decimal places we consider it your fortune that you have stumbled over our words. Let me assure you, Mr. RSJS, that Mr. RSJS’s posts are amongst the finest in his literary cadre and everyone loves the cock. Especially Mr. RSJS (no offence meant, but take it anyway).


Brain Stab

What is up with this ‘Josh’ character? Does all he do is read the internet and post stories about newsreports? Does he not have a real job? And what’s this I hear about his hot girlfriend?


Rodney, of no fixed abode.

Rodders (I may call you that, may I?).

This ‘Josh’ character of which you speak is, in fact, the latest advance in geopolitical artificial intelligence. Running almost entirely upon a battery made of Nerdelicious soaked in Mountain Dew, the Josh-o-matic 3000 trawls the internet at an amazing 800 baud on three simultaneous channels. He also has a calendar function and can travel through time. As the only real machine amongst the ‘Brain Stab’ staff he is permitted to associate with persons of the opposite persuasion, which is probably where the rumours of ‘hot girlfriend’ have come from. Either that or the cannibalism.

Brain Stab


Why does Apathy Jack hate the world so much? I like flowers. He should to.

Thank you for your time.

Tina, age 3

Tina, dahling!

Jack doesn’t so much hate the world as hate the people who make up the world. And he doesn’t so much hate the people who make up the world as hate the people he has to interact with in the world. Rest assured, he loves flowers. In fact, many is the morning where Jack will wake up and cheerfully tell the writing staff of ‘Brain Stab’ that he going off to make love with the flowers. Those of us unfortunate enough to follow him have seen him happily jump and stomp over paddocks of daffodils, break into nurserys and rend orchirds with his teeth and do improbable acts with poppies and his underbelly. He also likes children... And not for that reason, you filthy-minded kindergarten brat. Back to the cage with you.

Brain Stab

Hey guys.

Why don't I ever post anymore?


Because you are looking after baby. Look after baby. Baby need be looked after. Baby.


Brain Stab

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here's a Few Things

Josh writes:

OK, so the thing about the cats was bollocks, but this appears to be legitimate: Cows make fuel for biogas train. It's from the BBC and everything:

Still bubbling and burping, and carpeting you with an acrid stench, came the organs and the fat and the guts. Enough, from one cow, to get you about 4km (2.5 miles) on the train.

A tanker collects the organic sludge and makes the short journey to the biogas factory, where the stinking fuel is stewed gently for a month, before the methane can be drawn off.

There's a video, too, which should only be disturbing to those of you hypocritical enough to not want to think about where that last steak came from.

Speaking of hypocrisy, just when you thought Winston Peters as Foreign Affairs Minister was the biggest joke Parliament could play on us, out comes National, assigning Wayne Mapp the position of "Political Correctness Eradicator".

Say it with me folks: Political Correctness doesn't exist. It used to, back when the words meant something. For a while it was something good, then it went a bit overboard, but now all it seems to be is a generic catchphrase, such that "political correctness" now means little more than "left-wing stuff I don't like". Yet here's the National party, sending one of its own off on a quest to slay this mythical beast -- isn't this the party that got all up in arms about people treating Taniwha seriously? Nevertheless, I wish Mr. Mapp well as he departs. Just watch out -- it might be a Boojum...

And finally: Aaahh, that feels sooo good. Surprised it took someone that long to come up with it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

We can read books together, I’ll become clever.

Apathy Jack writes:

So I’m talking to two of my lot before the school production. They tell me they’re bored, and ask if they can raid my book supply.

I take them up to the English department, and lend them various of my books. We then retire to the English Resource Room, where I weigh them down with sundry of the books we have there.

They tell me they won’t get these finished before the holidays. I tell them that I don’t care if they don’t bring them back, so long as they read them. (Most of these books are, of course, not my property, but if you think about it, that’s less reason for me to care about their return, not more...)

As we leave, one of them, arms laden with books, tells me that she had never read a book in her almost sixteen years of life, until earlier this year when I started teaching her and gave her one I thought she might like.

Now, this may be the last thing that the cubicle-jockeys amongst you need to hear, but I really can’t comprehend spending most of your week at a job you don’t love more than damn near anything.

Monday, October 24, 2005


That Morthos Stare writes:

In re that previous matter I was speaking about, here is my at-the-moment reaction to the piece that won the round I was in.

I have been pulled, screaming and inchoate, from my other world to the Earth, Auckland specifically, at dawn, to prostelyse to minds encumbered by a religion clothed as science clothed in education. My brain case throbs with the eaten pain; neurons, long decayed, cry and weep as this bodies vital fluids seek to rejuvenate them. My words, currently chosen as inappropriate, fail to convey the invitality of my work.

(Hover the cursor for a translation...)

Books you should be reading # 4 of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Join Me by Danny Wallace

And I’m not even usually someone who gets bored. I’m a go-getter, a jet-setter, a heavy-petter. I know what I want out of life, and by gracious, I know how to get it. But what I want out of life is usually a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, and how to get it involves nothing more than a short stroll to the kitchen, so I’m not sure if that really counts alongside the achievements of others.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

Of course, I don’t think I’m going completely bugshit crazy, but there are worrying signs.

Over the last few days, for example, I’ve been mentally composing an incredibly in-depth argument proving that the song ‘4ever’ by young Avrilalikes The Veronicas is the pinnacle of feminist empowerment, because it is clearly a response to that dirty bastard Andrew Marvell. After all of the glass ceilings and decades of stilted or outright pyrrhic victories, we finally live in an age where women can threaten prudish men with hurrying chariots and hymen-eating worms and the like.

It’s the times when I convince myself that Avril and Avril (or whatever their names are) are actually intimately familiar with Marvell’s oeuvre and have intentionally written

Here we are so what you gonna do
Do I gotta spell it out for you
I can see that you got other plans for tonight
But I don't really care

as a direct response to and/or conscious revision of ‘To His Coy Mistress’. Those are the times that worry me.

There are more and more of those.

Did you know that The Veronicas wrote tATu’s comeback song ‘All About Us’?

Well, you should have.

Because it’s important, that’s why!

God I’m so tired.

Being an Entertaining Idiot in the Land of the Skeptics

That Morthos Stare writes:

A while back I told the ‘Brainstab’ audience of my soon-to-be triumph in the world of Skepticism; to whit, my forthcoming publication on the possible rationality of so-called paranormal phenomena. Some searching souls asked after the piece, wanting to know when it was likely to come out and whether they could have an advanced look at it. My answers were, variously, soon and ‘That’s an ecumenical matter!’

Today I reveal more, but I do it unconventionally. For that is the Brother Morthos way (which is usually loud, brash and features exploding nuns and ninjas jumping out of windows (Jamaica style).

For the last three years the University of Auckland, under the guise of PGSA (the ‘Black Council of the University of Auckland,’ purporting to be the Postgraduate Student Association) has run a graduate fair called ‘Exposure;’ its purpose to provide a forum where graduates can display their research peacefully. It’s a port of call, a home away from home... Sorry, gratuitous Babylon 5 reference there. ‘Exposure’ is designed to show off graduate research in three ways, those being the visual, the multimedia and the oral presentation.

As a trained public speaker oral presentations suit me just dandy. As a trained public speaker who learnt his trade through Drama training I am also not the perfect candidate for a serious academic seminar. Modern academic teaching focuses on substance rather than style, and style really is treated as nasty infection one should be without. I learnt this last year when I gave an oral presentation at Exposure04 on the North Head Tunnel Conspiracy and How It Relates to Critical Thinking Teaching. Whilst I wowed the crowd the judges went for the very mundane but academically standard presentation and left me only with a USB Flash Drive rather than a replacement iBook.

Woe was I. Flash forward with me now to July of this year, nine months later, where my eventual triumph in academic circles was first realised, vis a vis the Paranormal paper’s acceptance into a magazine of some standing.

Once I had submitted my paper to Dr. Michael Shermer I rather closed the book on that the article. Until such time it was published I really couldn’t do anything with it. As an article under contract I could give it to colleagues to look over but I couldn’t post it on the Internet. I could discuss the contents of the article in classes but I couldn’t really give out the piece to students without the proper attributions, which would only become known when the ‘The Skeptic’ went to press. That part of my life would be, for the time being, over.

Exposure05 was about to change that.

The article, I wager, is the most normal academic treatise I have ever written; it is earnest, coherent and eminently sensible, as befitting its audience. Thus it seemed obvious that if I wanted to re-present it to the world I would have to go all the other way. Make it funny, make it silly and, overall, make it almost non-academic. Think ‘Hard Copy’ rather than ‘Nature;’ ‘Sixty Minutes’ rather than ‘A Brief History of Time.’

Thus the Exposure05 oral presentation was born. I would present the Paranormal paper but do so in a guise that made it an entirely new and original work, yet do it in such a way that it all looked superfluous to requirements when really it would still be, at its core, a piece of fine Philosophy.

Pundits will tell you that educational pedagogical comedy is one of the hardest genres to write. Comedy is not naturally instructive; indeed, there is an article waiting to be written on just how fallacious arguments are persuasive whilst good arguments are not in the context of sitcoms. Educational works are not naturally comedic; whilst some writers can come up with funny illustrative analogies often they precede or are preceded by serious exposition. To turn a serious, originally six thousand word treatise into fifteen minutes of fun, would just be the icing on the cake.

The resulting artefact does not succeed on all levels. It has moments of humour and moments where things should be funny when they are not. I am please to say that the content, the philosophical substance, lurks there, only vaguely emasculated. Some of the argumentation has been replaced by suggestive analogies and much of the terminology has been simplified so that it almost represents what philosophers think but does it in a slightly more intuitive (and thus more prone to error) way. As a piece of Philosophy it is more successful than it is as a piece of Comedy, whilst as a piece of Comedy it likely obstructs the Philosophy from shining through.

Fine and good, you say. But, as you are also wont to proclaim, what does this mean to us, the readers? Well, gentle view, one who has gone this far, you too can enjoy the presentation I gave. Whilst you were unable to be with me the day it was given you can experience it now as a smallish (32 meg) download. In the course of building up the presentation and practicing the dialogue I ended up producing a narrated version of my slides so that I work out the relevant timings of my transitions and where to place vocal emphasis. The following file is somewhat representative of the presentation I gave, and I present it as a delightful prelude to the publication of its bigger brother in ‘The Skeptic’ either late this year or early next.

Science vs. The Paranormal – A Narrated Video (I recommend 'Save As' rather than just clicking the link)

(The editors of ‘Brainstab’ would like to point out, at this juncture, that this might well be the longest case of ‘Here is an amusing video to watch’ that they have had the displeasure to see written on their weblog in many a month. They would like to apologise, but don’t really know how and, frankly, do not really care all that much about your feelings after all. Piss off.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Books you should be reading # 3 of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Namedropper by Emma Forrest

I liked the idea of therapy – it was something I had heard Woody Allen talk highly of. I could tell Manny was worried that everyone would think I was a five-year-old freak because he kept saying, ‘If you have a session that clashes with a lesson, just tell your friends you have to go to Hebrew class.’

‘No way,’ I choked, ‘that’s so embarrassing,’ and every time I had an appointment I’d raise my hand and say ‘Miss Mathews, I have to be excused. I have an appointment with my therapist.’

She’d blush and whisper, ‘Oh, your therapist’ as if ‘therapist’ were actually a code word for ‘Hebrew Lesson’. Teachers are so weird.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Magnetic Mirror of Your Soul

That Morthos Stare writes:

A while back I posted some student poetry from the Ivory Pagoda; here be some more.



Monday, October 17, 2005

Zen Moment

Josh writes:

Blank Tui Poster
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Seen on Symonds street yesterday. Statement against Buddhism or gift to Photoshoppers? You decide.

Friday, October 14, 2005

So, Jack, how was your first week back? (Or: Horse Blinders. Like Equus.)

Apathy Jack writes:


So I was threatening my class that if they didn’t work on a revision essay, I would strangle them with the cord from my radio. Detaching the cord, I stalked around the room to see who was or was not doing what.

Of course I got distracted: The Indians had never heard of the thuggee cult, so I had to spend a while teaching them about their country’s history. Moving on, cord in hand, it occurred to me that one of the slackers had a pony tail so long that I could strangle her to death with her own hair. Tried that for a while before coming to the boy who looked up at me, looked down at the work he had been set, spent only the briefest of moments weighing up his options and said “Better start with the strangling, Chief.”

One of the boys asked if I was going to beat him with the cord. I confessed that the idea had a directness to it that was more appealing than strangulation, and flailed it at him a time or two. Which of course he caught on his cell phone camera.

Of course, this is the kid who, when we were all in over the holidays building the set for the drama production, saw the gleam in my eye when I was using the nail gun. He knows whom not to annoy...


Two of my lot, studiously working on essays, talking as they write...

Student 1 “Last year, I wanted to go to the Santa Parade, but I told my dad that I went because my boyfriend wanted to take me, so dad called him ‘Santa Claus’ for the next year.”
Student 2 “What? Your dad is Santa Claus?”
Student 1 “No, my dad calls my boyfriend Santa Claus to take the piss.”
Student 2 “What about your dad and pissing?”
Student 1 “My dad calls my boyfriend Santa Claus to make fun of him.”
Student 2 “I’ve written ‘piss’ in my essay.”
Me “Alright, you can only do one thing at a time, and for now, that’s an essay. Got it?”
Student 2 “I’m not getting distracted.”
Me “You know those blinders that horses wear to keep them from seeing anything either side of the racetrack? I’m going to get you a pair of those so you can focus exclusively on the essay.”
Student 2 “I’m not getting distracted!”
Student 1 “You know, a box would do.”
Me “Actually, I have a box...”

Then I cut one side off a box and spent the next wee while forcing my student to wear it while she wrote her essay, but that’s primarily visual humour, so it doesn’t blog well...


Dean “I wanted to talk to you about Siobhan.”
Me “Never heard of her.”
Dean “She’s not one of yours. She’s in Ms Singh’s class. But she’s out of her depth. She’s really struggling with the class, and is panicking about the upcoming exam. So I said I’d have a word with you.”
Me “Okay. Well, I have a free period when Singh has that class, so how about I pull her out of English for tomorrow and have a chat with her. I’ll see where she is, and what she needs, then we’ll take it from there as to whether I send her back to English, or whether I do some work with her in that time slot for a few days.”
Dean “That sounds good.”

This is the Dean under whom I worked when I first started at Hoodrat High. He was always at me to knock off the “unorthodox” stuff – a nice way of saying I shouldn’t stick my nose into other teachers’ business. But after all these years, he knows Who I Am and What I Do.

I don’t do it for the validation, but when it comes it doesn’t suck.


The good thing about teaching so close to the drama department is that we always have a soundtrack, be it the repeating tracks the Dance classes are learning steps to, or just the Drama teacher shouting. (I liked it when she turned up – I wasn’t the loudest teacher anymore...) In this instance, choral music.

Student “Is there a Church here?”
Me “It’s the Rapture. God’s come to take away all the bad people.”
Student “I thought he was going to take away the good people.’
Me “Ah. That explains why you’re all still here.”

We laugh together, me and my predominantly Christian Pacific Island students.

Well, I laugh.


Student 1 “Mister, are you a gothic?”
Me “No.”
Student 2 “Of course Mister’s not a gothic. He’s not wearing black nail polish.”
Me “See?”
Student 1 “Nah, I’ve seen the CDs he has in his back cupboard – all rock and stuff. He’s a gothic.”
Student 2 “No, he can’t be a gothic – he’s a teacher, and gothics hate kids. And a gothic couldn’t be a teacher at this school anyway, because gothics hate people of other races, and cultural diversity, right mister?”
Me “Exactly right.”

My flatmate tells me I shouldn’t be encouraging these sorts of ideas...

The class I was informally teaching last term has been officially given to me now. My girl – the one who alerted me to the problems in her class, who got me to come in and take over from the teacher who was buggering things up – said she misses the old teacher: the class may not have learned - or passed - anything, but I’m making them do work, which is far and away a worse option. When I point out that she has to work to pass, she argues that she would rather not work and just accept the failure. She would rather face the consequences of apathy than reap the rewards of effort, because effort takes, you know, effort.

Then she tells me that she’s revised her plans to drop out next year: She is going to come back on the first day of school, and see who her English teacher is. If it’s not me, she’s going back home. But of it is, we keep this one for one more year.

This job kills me some days. But you know, some days, it doesn’t.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

That Morthos Stare writes:

Why Philosophers will Rule the World

We are the original problem-solving discipline. We care about problems and are not afraid to play with a variety of solutions, ranging from quick fixes to deep changes to the underlying structure of reality.

Why Philosophers won't actually end up Ruling the World

I was the only person in the Department who could fix the fridge on level six.

Your Medicine Link for the Day

Josh writes:

Given the title of this blog, I can't really pass up the opportunity to mention this headline, can I?

When asked for comment, the defendant replied "braaaaaiins", before shambling away with both arms outstretched...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

He's Thrown a Kettle over a Pub. What Have You Done?

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

It's time for an indulgent thought experiment.

What if you were a university and you decided to put together a one year long course of papers in subjects that would be almost universally useful to anyone. Something that people could take that would give them worthwhile skills that no matter what else they decided to do would still come in handy. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Certificate of Usefulness. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Summer School.

PHIL 105 Critical Thinking

Since we are constructing a certificate with the broadest appeal and utility possible it is hard to go past some Philosophy. Everyone encounters arguments throughout their lifetime and would benefit from having a grounding in the skills of making their own arguments better and recognising where other people's fall down. And Morthos has to eat.

Semester One

STATS 150 Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

This course is akin to PHIL 105, but with numbers. It's not too advanced, but eminantly useful.

LAW 101 The Legal System Part 1

Law, like the NZ Politics paper below, affects everyone. I havn't taken this paper myself so I don't know if it actually would be useful to those who don't want to become lawyers, but I like the idea that people should find out how the legal system of their country works.

POLITICS 107 New Zealand Politics

"An examination of who governs New Zealand and in whose interests. Topics include: government formation and functioning under MMP, political leadership, national identity, parties and elections, the role of the media in election campaigns, the place of Maori within the political system, and business and politics." - Who doesn't need to know about that?

ECON 101 Microeconomics

This course provides an introduction to the economic behaviour of individuals and firms with emphasis on output and price determination in the various market structures. Theories and selected applications will be presented. Economics is one of those things that effects everyone, and if it effects everyone it should be in our Certificate of Usefulness.

Semester Two

ACCTG 102 Accounting Concepts

A good grounding in how to manage your money is very beneficial. There are a great deal of self-employed or small-business folk who get lost at GST or Income Tax time, and this paper will help them even if they do just send everything to their accountants.

LAW 101 The Legal System Part 2

Law, like the NZ Politics paper below, affects everyone. I havn't taken this paper myself so I don't know if it actually would be useful to those who don't want to become lawyers, but I like the idea that people should find out how the legal system of their country works.

ECON 111 Macroeconomics

This course aims to analyse aggregate economic activity in the national economy and its interrelationships with the rest of the world. Emphasis is placed on basic principles involved in measurement and theoretical analysis of national output, employment and interest rate, money, inflation and unemployment, exchange rate and open economy issues. Alternative theoretical explanations of key macroeconomic problems and relevant economic policies are compared. The theoretical concepts are illustrated from a range of New Zealand and international applications.


Fuck it, let's let the punters choose one. Unless anyone else can find something that should go here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Model Does Coke! Also, Earth Orbits Sun!

Josh writes:

Christ, are people still talking about Kate Moss inhaling half of Columbia's GDP on camera? I figured the whole thing was utterly inconsequential, but since it still seems to be going, it does give me a chance to wank on about our friend the polite fiction.

Recall that there are three important aspects to a polite fiction:

  1. Everybody knows it's true.
  2. Everybody knows everybody knows.
  3. Everybody pretends that 1 and 2 aren't true.
And woe betide anyone who tears this delicate tissue of lies, for they will become society's scapegoat.

Remember the Mike Tyson ear-biting incident of a few years ago? Boxing is a "sport" that involves two grown adults deliberately attempting to bludgeon each other into unconsciousness; a sport where an acceptable tactic is to pummel your opponent's brows until you open a cut there, and then continue to pummel that cut until enough blood is running into their eyes that they can't see you clearly. And that's when you let them have it. And yet, provided the injuries are restricted to bruises and concussions and nice wholesome internal bleeding, it can safely be thought of as a noble art of strategy and grace, harking back to hallowed days of gladiatorial spectacle.

But to see one of the world's leading boxers perform such an act of animal savagery is to lose the ability to deny that this savagery was there along; that it is, in fact, inherent in the activity. But who bears the blunt of society's disquiet? Who gets the blame? Everyone in the world or Mike Tyson? Let's put it to a vote...

And so we come to today's "news". Everybody knows that models (along with most celebrities) are legendary coke fiends, everybody knows that everybody knows, and everybody ignores it and gets on with their own lives. Until Ms. Moss gets snapped snorting up the nose candy like she was powered by half a dozen miniature cyclones, and suddenly there goes plausible deniability. So who's the bad guy here? Everyone in the world or Kate Moss? Democracy, do your thing...

I mean, don't get me wrong here -- I shed no tears for a psychopathic rapist or the Typhoid Mary of anorexia, but in these particular instances it's clear that their vaguely controversial lapses are focused on with such intensity to avoid society's gaze turning upon itself. It's not that they did what they did, it's that they got caught, and in such a way that they couldn't be ignored.

You know, this may be the most pretentious thing I've ever written. Tell you what -- forget everything I just said and go read Ali Davis on the polite fiction instead. She talks about porn and junk.

Monday, October 10, 2005

October Dog Abuse

Apathy Jack writes:

A fine month for Dog Abuse. In ascending order:

A ransom note for a kidnapped dog comes with stinky evidence...

A man is unjustly hounded (hounded, get it?) for the perfectly reasonable beheading of a dog...

Cow vs Dogs. Cow wins, in one of the most truly magnificent things I’ve seen in a long time...

However, even the cow shots pale (in terms of existential horror, at any rate) in comparison to the one piece of dog abuse that makes even me cringe: Beedogs.

(This is my new favorite hobby – send all your tales of Dog Abuse™ to me via my profile. I’ll love you longtime...)

They Might Be Giants

That Morthos Stare writes:

More important than performing my own material before an audience of two hundred students is finding a legitimate reason to play a full 'They Might Be Giants' song in class. Tomorrow my triumph is complete; 'Wearing a Raincoat' from the album 'The Spine' makes it appearance in the class on necessary and sufficient conditions.

I hope I'm not the only one excited by this.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

So, a thousand dead Mexicans after flooding you say? Odd I didn’t see that on the front page...

Apathy Jack writes:

You know what is funny to me?

When the planes hit the World Trade Center, the American channels were screaming that there may be as many as thirty thousand dead.

Turns out there were, what, slightly less than three thousand?

I mean, that’s still a lot, but you know...

Then when the tsunami hit Indonesia, the same channels were saying that up to three thousand people may have lost their lives.

Actual death toll; pretty close to three hundred thousand.

Funny how these things work when it isn’t white people dying, isn’t it?

Just saying, is all...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

So, Jack, how were your holidays?

Apathy Jack writes:

“Stupid neighbours doing construction in the middle of the day! We need to go and explain to them that we’re bums, and we just sit around the house all day, so their noise is bothering us.”
“I’m not a bum! I have a job. I just haven’t been this week. Or last week.”
“Face it, you’re a bum.”
“You wouldn’t say that if I was wearing pants!”

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Herald to Science: Know Your Role

Josh writes:

Here's something odd:

So Tristan at About Town mentions this story about Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, a man whose words have in the past been taken as support by proponents of intelligent design. According to the article, his latest lecture clarified his position to state that he's all in favour of the theory of evolution:

Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said he could believe both in divine creation and in evolution because one was a question of religion and the other of science, two realms that complemented rather than contradicted each other.

"That's odd," says I, having just read this story in the Herald, which reports on the same story, only puts much more emphasis on the Cardinal bagging evolution and cautioning science not to overstep its boundaries:
A senior Catholic cardinal and champion of "intelligent design" has criticised the "limits" of science in its quest for the truth.

Vienna's Christoph Schoenborn said science studied what was observable and scientists overstepped their boundaries when they concluded Darwin's evolution theory proved there is no creator [scientists have concluded no such thing, but that's another issue].

Like I say, odd.

About Town's Paul then supplies the Reuters article that both stories were taken from, examination of which shows that Xtra has quoted it faithfully, while the Herald has played with it a bit to give it a different angle. I haven't noticed the Herald being any more biased in favour of ID than most news outlets (given that we're talking about an industry that will put a boulder on one end of a see-saw and a pebble on the other and call it "balance") -- what's their game?

Apathy Jack writes:

See, now that I think about the latest Bali bombing, how long do you reckon it will be before George W Bush is on tv making the following speech:

“This terrorist attack in Indonesia was perpetrated by Indonesian citizens against the Indonesian people, and also against a number of Australasian tourists. And I for one, will not allow the Iranians to attack America like that again! We leave for Tehran within the hour.”

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hitlog Follies: I Promised You a Line Graph, Fuckers

Josh writes:

The results are in. After long hours of painstaking research, poring over hitlogs and occasionally making shit up to suit my purposes, the survey of hits on our site for pictures of men's penises is complete (that is to say, I got bored). Starting from the time of Jellybean's post that first contained the phrase, I have diligently calculated their frequency over time, using the tried and tested "counting them" method. The results are presented below:

As we can clearly see, the incidence of searches for depictions of throbbing appendages rises and falls in direct correspondence with global events, indicating that people are less concerned with images of huge glistening members in times of crisis. Nevertheless, the people of the Internet have spoken, and once again the cry has gone out in a single voice: We want cock.

Who are we at Brain Stab to argue? We'll be posting numerous pictures of men's penises, just as soon as we find out what one looks like (obviously, we have spent our entire lives wrapped in neoprene for the sake of Purity, and aren't even sure what penises are).

Of course, this data by itself may not be providing the full picture. What to make, for instance, of that fact that September 27 saw not only a record number of genital searchers, but also a hit for mouth full of cock mpeg? Or the early October rise in dog abuse searches (prompted by Jack's post of September 12)?

At any rate, this much is certain: reading this post stole part of your life and you're not getting it back. You were going to waste it anyway.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Science: Dirty, Dirty, Dirty

Josh writes:

Your science links for the day:

Chinese Science Perverts Spy on Panda Sex via Satellite

Spanish Science Perverts Expound on Hypodermic Squid Penises

But having such a big penis does have one drawback: co-ordinating eight legs, two feeding tentacles and a huge penis, whilst fending off an irate female, is a bit too much to ask, and one of the two males stranded had accidentally injected himself with sperm in the legs and body.

I'm starting to wish that Intelligent Design wasn't complete bollocks -- any Designer who'd come up with the Self-Inseminating Giant Squid would have to be fun to be around.

Apathy Jack writes:

"From time to time I meet people who say they are never bored; they are of two kinds; both, for the most part, liars. Some are equally entranced by almost all observable objects, a straggle of blossom on a whitewashed wall, chimneys against the sky, two dogs on a muck heap, an old man with a barrow... Precepts of my house master, a very indolent clergyman, rise before me... ‘only a dull boy is ever dull’... ‘the world is so full of a number of things’...

"Others find consolation in their own minds. Whenever they are confronted with a dreary prospect, they tell me, they just slip away from the barren, objective world into the green pastures and ivory palaces of imagination. Perhaps, by a kind of arrested development, some of them really have retained this happy faculty of childhood, but as a rule I find that both these boasts boil down to a simple form of pessimism – the refusal to recognise that any particular human activity can be of greater value than any other one."

-Evelyn Waugh

Well that's just sad.

Josh writes:

So, we've started getting comment spam. (That's not the sad bit -- I find it strangely affirming, like when I got my first Nigerian e-mail scam. Today we are truly citizens of the blogosphere, and my chest swells with pride at the thought.) Just a few so far, but they keep on coming, so time to turn on the "Are You Human" verification test thingy. You'll see it when you try to make a comment.

I've deleted them all, but one caught my eye. It read:

I just came across your blog about **keyword** and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have a web site & blog about [not fucking repeating your spam link here, mate]...

"Your blog about **keyword**"? Dopey spammer hasn't even filled out his template properly. I mean, I can't even respect that. Honestly, the lack of professionalism in today's spam merchants -- I blame the Labour government.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

"I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order you can nudge the word a little, or make a poem which your children will speak for you when you’re dead."