Saturday, September 24, 2005

big blowouts

In his column in The Australian today, Christopher Pearson has a go at Julia Gillard over her guilt-by-association with Mark Latham. Pearson is particularly scathing about Labor's Medicare Gold proposal and writes it could've led to a massive budget blowout if they'd won. It's strange that Pearson has plenty of criticism for Labor but doesn't mention in this context the Liberal Party's Medicare policies which led to a huge blowout and broken election promise on the Safety-Net.
Another thing I found interesting in Pearson's article was this:

The other elements of Gillard's panacea--delivered with the usual flattened vowels and that strangely affectless tone--are "bold social policy and economic policy that delivers prosperity for all". Perhaps by the time she next proposes herself for a leadership role, or the shadow treasury, someone will have explained to her that governments can't reasonably hope to deliver on millennial fantasies of prosperity for all and that most of us would settle for modest fiscal competence.

Which is what Australia has had to settle for with the Liberal party--modest fiscal competence. I thought the Liberals were meant to be the party of the aspirational voters. You'd think Pearson would expect as much from Government as Government expects from us.

(btw, I haven't read any more of the Quarterly Essay on Howard etc yet that I mentioned below. Hopefully I'll get to finish it over the Long Wekend when my son is with his father.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

big fish

I saw whales off our beach today for the first time. They only looked to be about a hundred metres out but that must've been an optical illusion. Still, they couldn't have been more than a couple of hundred metres out. Are they supposed to come that close to shore?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

hurts so good

I read somewhere the other day that Britney Spears said she chose to have a Caesarean "to avoid the pain of childbirth". I'm always amazed that a woman would choose to have major abdominal surgery and be in a lot of pain for about six weeks, rather than just be in a helluva lot of pain for about a day. Besides, labour is amazing--even if you think you're going to die of pain.
The whole pain thing reminds me of the debate about Intelligent Design and to me it seems like incontrovertible proof that the design is Pretty Dumb.

my sister the paparazza

My sister insists she was partying in a nightclub in Bali recently with Roman Polanski and his wife Emmanuelle Beart and that she has the photos to prove it. Alright, she confesses, she wasn't so much partying with them as beside them, but I say I don't care, I bags the exclusive rights to blog any ensuing grainy shots of Roman and Manny. At the time, I have writer's block, and figure this is a way to get a lazy post in.
My sister sends me an enormous bitmap that only loads the bottom couple of inches of photo before crashing my computer. The bit I see makes me suspicious.
"It looks like your nostrils, and the back of a man's head," I say to my sister. "I can't print that," I say miserably. She insists there are other shots that show his face. I see our Scoop! fade before my very eyes. And anyway, I tell her, they're bitmaps not jpegs (even though I don't even know the difference) and furthermore they crash my computer. She promises to bring the disk up on the Long Weekend. Meantime I'm open to any offers from the glossy magazines.

update: A story in The Australian magazine this weekend on Polanski reminds me he's actually married to Emmanuelle Seigner. I was thinking of the girl from Betty Blue.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Ah, I guess there are one or two things to miss about Sydney. From the Sunday Telegraph today:

Combine alcohol and nudity and--no, you're not in a strip club--you're in a real life drawing class at hip drinking holes around town.
Art-lovers are setting up their easels in the ArtHouse Hotel (275 Pitt St) on Monday nights when between 50 and 100 people gather for free life-drawing classes. For details, phone 9284 1200.
At uber-hip nightclub Ruby Rabbit, 231 Oxford St, Darlinghurst (ph: 9326 0044), a Sunday evening drawing class costs $15 but includes a wine tasting and two-for-one cocktail list.

Yeah, that's pretty much my idea of a good night out. Mind you, I'm quite happy with getting mates to strip off in my living room and let me draw them! Three guys I know have volunteered to pose for me over the summer and I plan to take them up on the offers. (None seem to want to pose in winter; why is that?) Anyway, good to earmark the above information for a future Sydney trip.

little fish

I was surprised to read just yesterday about the whole saga involving the two Sydney secretaries fired for breaching email policy by lawyers Allens. I happened to have worked beside one of the girls involved a few years ago (not at Allens). I think, man, that could so easily have been my embarrassing email exchanges with her, there for the whole world to see. Geez. But it could've just as easily been some partner's affair with a secretary being exposed instead. It's not as if secretaries are the only people who use office email for private purposes. Secretaries in these firms generally have access to their bosses' email accounts. They can have up to five bosses, often including two partners. So a secretary might figure that since it's okay for her boss have her endlessly deleting stupid forwarded jokes from his CEO buddies, emails that are sometimes borderline porn, then it's probably okay if she lets of steam through her workday by pinging emails around the girls.
Everyone knows the problem of wasted productivity through email/internet use is spread right up and down the hierarchy in these big firms, and they're only sacking secretaries rather than solicitors because they're cheaper to replace. (Longtime readers might remember I came close to getting sacked for blogging. My rationalisation was always that I worked twice as fast deliberately to allow myself down-time. But I could see their point in the end.)
Allens' HR could've called a private all-staff meeting instead; discussed the crisis, reiterated email policy, given out final warnings (don't they get three strikes anymore?) and let the whole thing die a natural death. Instead, they really have made a mountain out of a molehill, as well as humiliating two young women. They clearly decided to make an example out of them. And I'm sure it will get results. Office workers who have signed Draconian email policies as part of individual workplace agreements should be nicely paranoid now.
Maybe it's the beginning of the end of personal email use, or internet use generally, at work, at least for the worker bees? But won't employees go nuts if all they've got left on their desktops to play with is Solitaire?
Anyway, all of it reminds me once again how much I don't miss the city one little iota.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I am just starting to read Judith Brett's Quarterly Essay entitled "Relaxed & Comfortable: The Liberal Party's Australia", which I got in the mail yesterday. (I seem to still be getting freebie copies, so thanks to mysterious benefactor or generous subscription dept at Black Inc.)
I'm starting out reading it from a position where, while feeling like a strong critic of the PM, I do not identify as a "Howard-hater". Sure, he regularly annoys the hell out of me, and frustrates me.
Just lately he has annoyed me again, by seizing another opportunity for spouting out more retrospective rationalisations for his war in Iraq.

"The nation state remains the focus of legitimate action for order and justice in our world."--John Howard

This bit in the same news story this morning annoys me too:
[Howard] labelled as a failure the UN's inability to agree on action against Iraq before the 2003 invasion by the US and a coalition of countries including Britain and Australia.

So if a group fails to agree, rather than negotiate further, a minority of strong members should seize control and impose a decision? Is that how he wants it to work?
Anyway, wonder how I'll feel towards Howard after reading the Brett essay. (That's if I get to finish it...The last few months have been insanely busy on the home front but I seem to be getting on top of things again now. It sure helps that my son has been to daycare three times now and appears to love going. It's unbelievable how much it helps.)

um....less is more?

To blog or not to blog, that is the question I've been pondering a lot lately. Oh, let's not bore everyone with details. Anyway, after reading Mystic Medusa in the Weekoz magazine this morning, I think maybe the answer is to blog. Or?

"This week's inspirational Sea Goat genius is Kahlil Gibran. 'If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully'.

Well, I'll try...... even though I feel at times that blogging is a catch-22 situation (i.e., kind of have to be crazy to do it, but if you're crazy, maybe you shouldn't be doing it. Or something). And I have a love-hate relationship with it.
Othertimes I think blogging is the perfect form for a writer like me who can never finish anything, because I can never 'finish' my blog. I don't know how to say goodbye and I've tried. So on it goes, for the moment.

Monday, September 05, 2005

more blogging

Forgive the lack of writing anything much of interest lately. The little man saps my energy like you wouldn't believe these days. I save up thoughts for the evening but when it finally comes, I lie down and I don't get up again. But as I keep insisting--am I trying to convince myself, do you think?--I should have some more time to play with soon. Like when my son goes to daycare regularly. I put him in the other week for the first time. It killed me because I'm a control freak. You think, how can anyone else possibly meet his needs the way you can? But it went OK (details to be recycled in a fictionesque post, I think...). As it turns out we lost our Friday place due to some more unfortunate soul requiring it, but have been given Wednesdays. Harley has swimming classes on Wednesdays at the moment (he's a Periwinkle), so we'll have to wait three more weeks til we can try again.
Also, thanks to the great bloggers who've linked to me lately; I promise to update the blogroll very soon, especially now that Margo Kingston's gone independent (and lo and behold...Our Jozef has a column there too!). Margo's former Webdiary was my entry point to the whole world of blogging and I always thought of Webdiary as the prototypical blog really. Here's hoping she manages to fund it and feed herself somehow.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

nightly news in shining armour

It's a bit surreal how our television networks have been falling over each other to rustle up Australians caught up in the tragedy of New Orleans and bring them home for tearful reunion shows. Still, I guess it's a relief to know that you can always rely on Kerry Packer and his helicopters to get you out of a foreign jam--well, so long as you give him an Exclusive!, probably.

related: "PM 'regrets' Australians letdown in hurricane chaos"