Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

one liners for a while I fear...

Black dog has come for me again.

I'll continue to respond as best I can to the comments in the other posts here and on the blogs I'm currently terrorising, but don't expect me to make much sense (what's new, eh?)

Not looking for sympathy, medical advice, counselling, or abuse, so comments on this particular blog item will be deleted should you be stupid enough to make any but if you want to discuss depression, I'll open this post up for comments on that topic.

Don't you spare a thought now, it's all my fault you know. For refusing to do anti-depressants or ECT. I'd be cured if I did that. We all know that anti-depressants and ECT have eradicated depression and suicide.

We all know that....

And anyway, there's a new theory doing the rounds - depression is a choice. See? Told ya it was my fault...

Now piss off!

Fool-suffering factor = zero

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

sophisticated atheism...

Caution: Make sure you fully understand the meanings of the words 'sophisticated' and 'sophistry' before proceeding. The previous post may be of some help in this regard. A thorough grasp on the fallacies of logic is also useful.

On the subject of the existence or non-existence of god (or gods), I argue that there can only be three philosophical positions (as defined by me) which a person can adopt:
  1. Theism: The belief that it is true that there is a god (or gods).
  2. Agnosticism: The belief that we do not know, in any scientifically or logically acceptable way, whether or not there is a god (or gods).
  3. Atheism: The belief that it is true that there is no god (or gods).
Before we start splattering spittle in all directions here, let's get clear that I draw a distinction between knowing and believing. Failure to "get it" about this distinction has sunk many a ship full of sophists. [softly cue-in: Down Among The Dead Men by Flash And The Pan]

So, here then are my definitions of knowing and believing.

Knowing: Being able to demonstrate, either scientifically (via the laws of physics), or logically (beware the fallacies of logic), that something is true.

Believing: Holding something to be true, but being unable to demonstrate such truth either scientifically (via the laws of physics), or logically (beware the Fallacies of Logic).

And hence I argue that the only reasonable position a person can adopt is that of agnosticism.

I assert that we are all believers in the sense of this discourse, and therefore my biggest problem is with atheists.

Atheists often claim that they are not True Believers. This claim makes them hypocrites, equivocators, sohists and/or obfuscators. They claim to have a problem with True Believers whilst using all of the above tricks of the trade to confuse their interlocutors into believing that they (the atheists) know that there is no god (or gods).

I put it to you, dear reader, that an atheist is nothing more than a pig-ignorant lying bigot. Atheists steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that they are really agnostics. And please don't blur the boundary between atheism and agnosticism, that's another pet obfuscation atheists peddle.

And thusly I now propose a new way of categorising philosophical positions regarding the existence, or otherwise, of a god or gods:
  1. Agnostics i.e. claiming to have not enough knowledge regarding the existence (or non-existence) of a god or gods in order to form a scientificaly or logically consistent opinion on the subject
  2. True Believers in the existence (or non-existence) of a god or gods - also known as Bigots.
  3. Idiots and Liars.
As you can clearly see, dear reader, you are either an agnostic, a bigot, an idiot, or a liar.

Please have a bit of a think about this and let me know in which category you think you belong...

the da vinci wankfest...

Seems every blogger has to do a dummy spit about The Da Vinci Code. It's de riguer apparently. Therefore I now have to get into Da Vinci Code mode myself...

Let me start with the obligatory statement "I've never read so much crap in all my life."

But I'm not talking about the book....

I'm talking about the armchair critics of the book...

So many pseudo-intellectual book club types it makes my head spin. Every sophisticated* blogger in town seems duty-bound to dump on the book. And how they go on and on and on and on about the evils of the book...

You've heard a fair chunk of that sort of tripe at the last five dinner parties you were so desperate to get away from so I won't bore you with it, but there was one classic bit of intellectual snobbery which I just have to share with you here. Not sure where I read it, might have over at Lavatory Rodeo, the main roost for that type of narcissistic nitwit. (Bugger, I just Googled "Lavatory Rodeo", and found that the reigning idiot residing at the opposite end of the cesspit spectrum, Tim Blair, has beaten me to it. Bugger...)

But back to the classic bit of intellectual snobbery: It's the proposition that it's books like The Da Vinci Code which, by being on bookshop shelves in large numbers, are denying valuable shelf space to more "deserving" books...

These snobs have utterly lost touch with reality. They have become deluded by their own spin and they are spinning like tops. They are in La La Land. They completely fail to understand that if bookshops stocked only works by literary and intellectual giants (much like themselves, of course - see the narcissism here?) there'd probably only be three bookshops in the whole of Australia. The rest would have shut up shop due to insolvency.


It's the potboilers which keep neary all bookshops alive and viable, thereby allowing them to also present tidbits and savoury morsels for the enjoyment of snobs, pretenders, poseurs, and sophisticates - at premium prices (just as it should be).

*A little education might be appropriate here about the word "sophisticated"... As an adjective describing people, it means to have been corrupted, misled, fed full of sophistry, made artificial. To put it bluntly, it means to be full of bullshit. So now you know what people are really saying about you when they tell you you are "so sophisticated." You also know what sort of an imbicile you are dealing with, when you realise someone is busting their gut to become more sophisticated.

Back to Da Vinci Dreaming... So here we've got a bunch of literary sophisticates arguing about how many words can dance on the head of a pin (and which words they should be), but wait... The Hills are alive with the sound of another kind of music as well...

The von Crap family of religious nutters are in full song as well, denouncing the book as the work of the devil. Do you get this? The purveyors of the best selling work of fiction ever written are having a go at a book which might well become the penultimate best selling work of fiction ever written. And that's not so bad if we look at it from the point of view that this might be mere penis envy between purveyors of fiction, but what gets my goolies is that the bible bashers are frothing at the mouth, warning that The Da Vinci Code is a mere work of fiction standing on a few historical facts, whilst failing to issue the same warning about the Bible. Talk about seeing the speck in their brothers' eyes whilst failing utterly to consider the beam that is in their own eyes...

So many idiots, so few bullets...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Be tough!

Suppose that, as neurology suggests, we all create internal landscapes (or social mindmaps) in our heads based upon the external social and emotional "landscapes" which we have been exposed to. Then, we will also perceive the world differently based on the conditioning experiences we have had.

That is why it is foolishness for somebody with a totally different mind-map to turn to another and enjoin them to "just be tougher", or something. That makes no sense! You would first have to learn the other person's mind-map to determine what they should be tougher concerning, and how they might begin to go about this. Men who have had to deal with several misandrists in their lives are, assuredly, already tough, if they have managed to survive the ordeal, as well as to learn from it. Constant experience with misandry will dig deep trenches in the psychic landscape, neurological patterns of memory, which caution a person not to be caught out by the prevalent social patterns of misandry which they ar bound to encounter, ever again. To speak to such a person, who has developed this knowledge of the world, and to utter, "just be tougher," makes almost no sense at all. You, as advisor, are dealing with theoretical postulates. The person whom you are seeking to advise is dealing, already, with known knowns.

We all have internal landscapes based upon our past experiences. These help to map the territory for us of our future experiences, determining what sorts of problems or rewards we're likely to encounter in terms of our particular social and geographical environment's typical offerings. To advise another concerning their demeanour within their own particular environments is to attempt to influence a Psyche with an inner map which seeks to match an 'outer' world of physical objects and particular social effects.

To admonish someone to be "tougher" is to raise an implicit comparison between postulates of your own particular internal landscape and theirs.

Not all would-be admonishers can live up to the standards of extreme toughness which they uphold with regard to another. Most cannot, I have found. For their very sense of personal "toughness" is actually based on an absence of the degree and type of difficulties actually faced by the person whom they are admonishing.

The one that is receiving the admonishing is, often, very tough! The person who is doing the admonishing, nonetheless, is often merely successful in life.
I didn't write that. The original article was about women and misogynists. All I did was change "Women" to "Men", and "misogynists" to "misandrists". Given my "issue" with misandry, I couldn't help but notice how equally well the piece worked applying gender reversal.

My apologies to Jennifer, no offense intended. You can go read the genuine article here...

Friday, May 26, 2006

bastards in paradise...

It's time to rattle their chain again...
The Hon Philip Ruddock MP
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

May 25, 2006.

Dear Mr Ruddock,

I refer to Mr Scott Parkin's legal challenge, in the Federal Court of Australia, to the adverse security assessment which those under your responsibility have made.

Mr Ruddock, I charge you to ensure that Scott Parkin gets a fair hearing. That is your job, and I expect you to do nothing less.

Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), people have the right to a fair and public hearing and to an effective remedy for human rights violations.

I am most concerned that your use of a non-disclosure certificate under the National Security Information Act (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) 2004 would compromise both Mr Parkin's right to a fair and public hearing and Australia's obligation to provide an effective remedy for human rights violations.

Mr Ruddock, please stop using ridiculously paranoid security legislation to harrass harmless and well-intentioned peace activists. When you attack them, you attack me. When you harrass them, you harrass me. I take all of that very personally, Mr Ruddock, and it just serves to harden my resolve to fight you at every turn as you cook up dodgy legislation or mis-use existing legislation to thwart dissent.

This is Australia, Mr Ruddock, not some Central American banana republic run by a CIA-installed puppet government (or is it?). You are going very close to dishonouring everything I hold sacred about freedom and democracy in my country. Not to mention basic human decency.

Remember one important fact, Mr Ruddock: You are working for us - the citizens. All citizens, Mr Ruddock, not just the robber barons at the Big End Of Town. Your job description requires that you do not cow-tow to foreign powers or corporate entities.

I beseech you to use your office to obtain a fair and open hearing for Scott Parkin, whose only crime was to stand up against corporate imperialism and the wars this breeds.

Yours sincerely,

Vietnam veteran
Freedom fighter
Anti-war activist
Fighter for human rights.
Fighter for democracy
Fighter against corrupt politicians
Come on, guys, please get with the program. I know Iain Murray, Scott Parkin's "co-conspiritor", and co-ordinator of this letter writing campaign. I first met Iain at the National Nonviolence Gathering last year. He is 100% committed to nonviolent action. If Parkin was working directly with Iain, which he was, then there is absolutely no way that Parkin would have been involved in planning anything violent. No way.

Late update: Iain requests that the letters be written in a temperate tone (that means not at all like I am wont to write.) And I agree with him. One hothead is enough, and I bags that role, ok?

Monday, May 22, 2006

idiots loose in parliament....

It is understandable that the appointment of Minister For Veterans Affairs seems to generally go the biggest idiot on the Government Front Bench, but this latest snafu takes the cake. I think you'll get the gist of things from this typical veteran's email to the minister:
From: Jeff ******* (Surname/email address elided)

Sent: Monday, 22 May 2006 9:24 AM

To: ''

Subject: your comments about mental illness of ex servicemen

Dear Mr. Billson,

I am a third generation TPI. That means that three generations of my family have had their effective working life cut short by serving their country. This is not meant to seek sympathy from you but to establish my credentials.

"Whereas in the past the military was viewed as a place where social "misfits" did time in order to get "sorted out", such people were not suited to today's defence force, where multiple deployments to difficult environments was the norm", he said.

Did you really say this or is it a miss quote by the press?

Who are these people you are describing?

You may not realize that there are a lot of ex service men and women who are suffering from a variety of war caused psychological disorders who see this as the Minister who is supposed to be representing their problems to parliament, attempting to white wash away the problems they are suffering from, as a preexisting condition. It implies that we are responsible for our suffering because we were unfit to represent our country when we volunteered or were called up. It implies that the new recruits will be able to go to war and come back unscathed because they will be chosen from sterner stuff than they were in my grandfather’s, my father’s and my time.

I hope this isn’t your intention Minister as the ‘misfits’ of Anzac Cove, the Kokoda Track, Long Tan and so many other areas of conflict are now tainted by your comments.

We, the long suffering ‘misfits’, are already seeing our sacrifice devalued by a succession of governments, including your own, who have let the TPI payments be eroded from 100 percent of average weekly wage to now in the low 40s and in free fall. What happens next?

Do you want us to give back our medals and apologise for failing to be ‘sorted out’?

I hope you can find these superhumans who are able to endure being in ‘today’s defence force, where multiple deployments to difficult environments’ are ‘the norm’. When did that become the norm and who is responsible for making it that way?

You and your government colleagues are the ones who send us to war. I am sorry that all us ‘misfits’ failed you. Maybe next war we should send politicians to show us how we should have been better ‘suited’ to see and experience to horrors of war and not be affected by it.

Judging by the way you can hear and see the suffering of the ‘misfits’ and ignore it, indicates that you are made of that ‘sterner stuff’ we now require.

Lead on Mr. Billson.

Yours Sincerely

Jeff *******

(A Very Proud Misfit)
I'll be drafting a similar response to this bumbling ministerial fool's public outburst. I'll keep you posted.

can't you tell?

I'm only just barely holding it together. How weak of me not to be strong, socially adept and well adjusted. How dare I be so self indulgent as to go to pieces. There will be no room for weaklings under The New Regime dictated by Globus Pax Americana. The strong will prosper and the weak shall rightly perish. If they're going to run the planet this way, I insist they provide euthanasia clinics where the weak and broken can go to exit with a bit of dignity. They shoot horses, don't they? And they could have a pet food factory right next to every euthanasia clinic. Think of the efficiency...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

censoring comments...

I have long been an advocate for the idea that a person's blog is their own personal publication and as such other people's comments are like "letters to the editor". Like all publications which publish "Letters", not all letters get published. In the publishing world it cannot be any other way.

So, how/when/why should bloggers censor comments?

What should the guidlines for deleting comments be?

I invite your comments.

(If they're off-topic, I'll delete them.)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

rodent threesome...

No names, please... That would be defamatory....

imaginary weapons...

George Bush is going to kill you with imaginary weapons and the American taxpayer is paying out megabucks for this pleasure...

For real... Read the book review.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Say NO!!!

This is worth your participation:
In the Valle de San Felix, the purest water in Chile runs from 2 rivers, fed by 2 glaciers.

Water is a most precious resource, and wars will be fought for it.

Indigenous farmers use the water, there is no unemployment, and they provide the second largest source of income for the area.

Under the glaciers has been found a huge deposit of gold, silver and other minerals. To get at these, it would be necessary to break, to destroy the glaciers - something never conceived of in the history of the world - and to make 2 huge holes, each as bi as a whole mountain, one for extraction and one for the mine's rubbish tip.

The project is called PASCUA LAMA. The operation is planned by a multi-national company called Barrick Gold.

The Chilean Government has approved the project to start this year, 2006.

The only reason it hasn't started yet is because the farmers have got a temporary stay of execution.

If they destroy the glaciers, they will not just destroy the source of especially pure water, but they will permanently contaminate the 2 rivers so they will never again be fit for human or animal consumption because of the use of cyanide and sulphuric acid in the extraction process.

Every last gram of gold will go abroad to the multinational company and not one will be left with the people whose land it is. They will only be left with the poisoned wate and the resulting illnesses.

The farmers have been fighting a long time for their land, but have been forbidden to make a TV appeal by a ban from the Ministry of the Interior.

Their only hope now of putting brakes on this project is to get help from international justice.

The world must know what is happening in Chile. The only place to start changing the world is from here.
Please circulate this text amongst your friends and ask them to sign the on-line petition at:

Further reading:

oh yeah...

It's difficult... blog intelligently at this time, let alone get around to all of your blogs to read them. It's even more difficult for me right now to think about making any rational comments on your blogs.

So think yourselves lucky that I'm being a ranting recluse within the safe confines of this blog...

I do appreciate your visits here though...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

caveat bloggor...

Bloggers beware... (What follows cannot be considered to be qualified legal opinion. It is a very loose guide at best.)

Today I attended a quickie workshop designed to inform activists and community advocates about our new national defamation laws.

And the news does not get any better for bloggers either...

Points to consider:

A blog is a publication. Because it is seen by search engines, it can even be deemed to be a mass-circulation publication. This can have serious consequences... (So if your defence was going to be, "but I only have three regular readers", think again...)

Unlike large media organisations, bloggers do not usually have large budgets for a legal defense.

A defamatory statement is a statement which holds a person up to hatred, ridicule or contempt, or tends to lower the person in the estimation of reasonable members of the (Australian) community.

Intention is irrelevant. You cannot use the defense that you did not intend to defame.

Pictures/images can be defamatory.

You can defame by innuendo.

You can defame the person without naming the person.

Quoting another source (or merely publishing a link to a story) (e.g. a newspaper, website, another blog, etc.) may leave you open to a lawsuit for defamation by an aggrieved party.

Disclaimers may not protect you.

Dead people can't sue, but their relatives can.

Corporations of less than ten employees can sue (and corporations of all sizes can sue for monetary damages arising from defamation.)

You can be sued for an honest mistake.

Publication of a denial of the defamatory statement may not protect you.

Using the word "alleged" may not protect you.

If you can defend your statement, you're safe. What constitutes a defense?
Truth, evidence, and proof. But these are only truths, evidence and proofs if the court accepts them as such. In other words, if sued for defamation, the onus of proof regarding the truth of your statements rests entirely with you (even if you quoted someone else.)

Even expressing opinions requires careful wording.

The statute of limitations for defamation is 12 months. BUT... The clock starts ticking again (and again, and again, and again) every time your statement can be found by a search engine (for instance). If sued successfully, the task of removal of the offending material from the internet may be deemed to be your responsibility and it could be a mammoth, tedious and maybe even expensive task.

(There's a lot more but I'll deal with that via questions, and with the caveat that I am not in any way qualified to give legal opinion.)

So, bloggers, have a care...

Further reading: Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has legal advice for bloggers, including advice on defamation.

bush stradivarius

The instrument is called a Bush Stradivarius (double bass of course), the performer is Zoe and she was playing with a group called King Curly (as a guest, I think), at the Blue Mountains Folk Festival earlier this year.. What's important is to share this wonderful instrument with you, dearest reader.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

recommended reading...

Why not sart with Wikipedia and then see where you go....

Comments must be 250 word essays on the pro's and con's of socialism.

All essays are due 9.00am Wednesday local time, give or take 24 hours.

a day in the life of the cryptocracy...

It's time again to rattle the chains of the NSA, CIA, FBI. ASIO and GCHQ.

There's this software thingie called ECHELON. It's old hat now and I'm sure Dubbya's Gestapo have even better software these days, but the idea is the same.

Well, here's how you attract their attention: You generate text that has as many words as their paranoid little minds can come up with. Such as:

Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charges, ambush, sniping, motorcade, IRS, BATF, jtf-6, mjtf, hrt, srt, hostages, munitions, weapons, TNT, rdx, amfo, hmtd, picric acid, silver nitrite, mercury fulminate, presidential motorcade, salt peter, charcoal, sulfur, c4, composition b, amatol, petn, lead azide, lead styphante, ddnp, tetryl, nitrocellulose, nitrostarch, mines, grenades, rockets, fuses, delay mechanism, mortars, rpg7, propellants, incendiaries, incendiary device, thermite, security forces, intelligence, agencies, hrt, resistance, psyops, infiltration, assault team, defensive elements, evasion, detection, mission, communications, the football, platter charge, shaped charges, m118, claymore, body armor, charges, shrapnel, timers, timing devices, boobytraps, detcord, pmk 40, silencers, Uzi, HK-MP5, AK-47, FAL, Jatti, Skorpion MP, teflon bullets, cordite, napalm, law, Stingers, RPK, SOCIMI 821 SMG, STEN, BAR, MP40, HK-G3,FN-MAG, RPD,PzB39, Air Force One, M60, RPK74, SG530, SG540, Galil arm, Walther WA2000, HK33KE, Parker-Hale MOD. 82, AKR, Ingram MAC10, M3, L34A1, Walther MPL, AKS-74, HK-GR6, subsonic rounds, ballistic media, special forces, JFKSWC, SFOD-D! , SRT, Rewson, SAFE, Waihopai, INFOSEC, ASPIC, Information Security, SAI, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Privacy, Information Terrorism, Kenya, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, NAIA, SAPM, ASU, ECHELON ASTS, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, SAO, Reno, Compsec, JICS, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, RSP, ISS, JDF, Passwords, NAAP, DefCon V, RSO, Hackers, Encryption, ASWS, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secret Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, SALDV, PEM, resta, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, Tanzania, SAMU, COSMOS,

You might like to add things like "Osama bin Laden for President", or "Kill George Bush".

Anything to amuse these humourless numbnuts working for these insane institutions.

I'll see you in Gitmo...

Friday, May 12, 2006

word of the day - deniability

Plausible deniability also Deniability is the term given to the creation of loose and informal chains of command in government, which allow controversial instructions given by high-ranking officials to be denied if they become public.

In addition, in politics and espionage, deniability is the ability of a powerful player or actor to avoid blowback by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party.

The necessary act is farmed out or delegated to a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major player. This can take the form of a private person or mercenary being hired to carry out a task, or a government or agency being asked or compelled to do you a quiet favor.
Source: Wikipedia

synchronicity, my arse...

Between 8:26 and 8:45 this morning, at breakfast, I was ranting to my partner about how utterly sick I am of the misandy which underlies much of what masquerades as well-intentioned feminism and I was reiterating most of the gist of a blog item (and the comments thereto) on that subject.

A few minutes ago, my ego was scanning Sitemeter to see what vistors I had recently and lo and behold a person from Port Talbot, England, had been reading this blog at exactly that time and duration. And guess which blog item they were reading....

I think Jung was wrong about the acausality of things...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

while you're meditating...

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
(Salvor Hardin in "Foundation")
- Isaac Asimov US science fiction novelist & scholar (1920 - 1992)

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
- Albert Einstein US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
- Arthur Schopenhauer German philosopher (1788 - 1860)

"Anger at lies lasts forever. Anger at truth can't last."
- Greg Evans Luann (comic), September 27, 2003

"Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest of violence."
- Francis Jeffrey Scottish critic & jurist (1773 - 1850)

"No religion can be built on force."
- George Sand French Author (1804 - 1876)

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
- Voltaire French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)

"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."
- Blaise Pascal French mathematician, physicist (1623 - 1662)

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
- Bertrand Russell British author, mathematician, & philosopher (1872 - 1970)

* Stolen from the left sidebar of Muppetlord.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

yuze can all get &*%#...

I can't stick my head in the sand. I'm cursed. I am driven to try to know; to find out what's happening; to discover what's going to happen, etc. I see it linked somehow to survival. Probably a PTSD thingie.

I link it all to survival. If you don't know, you can't make the right decisions to survive. Paradoxically, you also discover that no-one really want to know. They've all become addicted to "being positive" and pursuing, like it's some kind of holy grail, only pleasurable stimuli. Like pain is to be avoided at all costs... They seem to yearn for a world in which there is only good, no evil. Only light, no darkness. Only pleasure, no pain...

Anything which is a worrying or "negative" stimulus is to be avoided like the plague. And those who would herd us like sheep depend on this phenomenon, and they push all of our narcissism and hedonism buttons to keep us nicely where they want us.

Baa-aa... baa-aa... baa-aa... baa-aa...

And when the pain gets too much for me; when I can see no hope at all remaining for these poor sods, I, unlike the "happy" little sedated sheep in this great big sheep farm called The "Arbeit Macht Frei" World, will top myself. With pleasure. No regrets, Edith. I'd rather be dead than a sheep on a sheep farm.

So, yes, reading this blog could be bad for your mental "health".

I'd better add a disclaimer right here:

"If you decide to top yourself, and you think that this decision had something to do with reading this blog, you need to get back in touch with the idea that you, and you alone, are responsible for the decision to top yourself. Don't blame me, you jerk!"

I think the smart sheep have stopped reading this blog some time ago and are happy grazing somewhere else. I wonder how the price of mutton is doing these days... Must buy mutton futures...

I remember when I was about 13 or 14. I was with two friends and we were talking about science et al, and we came to the question "Do we want to know things or don't we want to know things?" The other two were quite firmly committed to not wanting to know, whereas I was emphatic about wanting to know.

Thus was the first cobblestone on the road to my personal hell laid...

"The horror... The horror..."


This is how things happen...

Someone leaves a comment on your blog. You go visit their blog and read a bit. The person is in Western Australia but is originally from Zimbabwe, and writes about Zimbabwe.

Later, you're in a shopping centre ("mall" for Yanks and Victorians) and you're browsing through an Angus & Robertson book sale stall. the books are super cheap. You spy one which is a modern history of Zimbabwe.

So you buy the book...

Now you're reading it. And Proo's Shipping News... And it's all very slow going... Why does depression make reading so difficult? Is depression just a cop-out? Wouldn't it be better if depressives were just put up against the wall and shot for being a scourge on society? Certainly an elegant solution to a very messy problem...

Monday, May 08, 2006

ninety nine inflated condoms...

I knew that would get your attention...

Today I heard that song from the eighties by Nena, "99 Red Balloons". So, below, are the lyrics, first in German, and then the English version, all lifted from this website.

Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von neun-und-neunzig Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst Du vielleicht grad' an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied fuer Dich
Von neun-und-neunzig Luftballons
Und dass sowas von sowas kommt

Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Hielt man fuer UFOs aus dem All
Darum schickte ein General
'ne Fliegerstaffel hinterher
Alarm zu geben, wenn's so waer
Dabei war'n da am Horizont
Nur neun-und-neunzig Luftballons

Neun-und-neunzig Duesenjaeger
Jeder war ein grosser Krieger
Hielten sich fuer Captain Kirk
Das gab ein grosses Feuerwerk
Die Nachbarn haben nichts gerafft
Und fuehlten sich gleich angemacht
Dabei schoss man am Horizont
Auf neun-und-neunzig Luftballons

Neun-und-neunzig Kriegsminister
Streichholz und Benzinkanister
Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute
Witterten schon fette Beute
Riefen: Krieg und wollten Macht
Mann, wer haette das gedacht
Dass es einmal soweit kommt
Wegen neunun neunzig Luftballons

Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons
Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons

Neun-und-neunzig Jahre Krieg
Liessen keinen Platz fuer Sieger
Kriegsminister gibt's nicht mehr
Und auch keine Duesenflieger
Heute zieh ich meine Runden
Seh' die Welt in Truemmern liegen
Hab' 'nen Luftballon gefunden
Denk' an Dich und lass' ihn fliegen


99 Red Balloons (English version)

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, "Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by

99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by

99 Knights of the air
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Silverhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go


I just LOVE the German version...

Much better than the English one...

general ravings #424

Watched Andrew Denton on TeeVee tonight.

The Leunig interview: Leunig appeared to me to be ducking and weaving Denton's questions. I think he avoided many opportunities to be frank and open.

The Pink interview: I am now a SERIOUS Pink fan. She bowled me over (which is not difficult.) Now for my theory: She used to think she would die by the age of 27. Janis Joplin died at the age of 27. She laughs like Joplin. She was born ten years after Joplin died. She only ever wanted to be a singer. She is focussed on issues which, if she was back, Joplin would be passionate about. She seems to be a soul who may be a reincarnation of Janis Joplin. So, dear reader, if it ever becomes official that she IS Janis Joplin reincarnated, please remember you read it here first. Of course, if it never becomes official, just forget what you've just read. Ok? Good.

Why are you still reading this blog? Go away!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

fixing the CIA...

Yes, but will they ever become fully apolitical... Anyway, read on McDuff...

A new study published by the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence calls for a fundamental reconceptualization of the process of intelligence analysis in order to overcome the "pathologies" that have rendered it increasingly dysfunctional.

"Curing Analytic Pathologies" by Jeffrey R. Cooper has been available up to now in limited circulation in hard copy only. Like several other recent studies critical of U.S. intelligence, it was withheld from the CIA web site. It has now been published on the Federation of American Scientists web site.

Author Cooper provides a thoughtful critique that notes the intrinsic difficulties of intelligence analysis and observes how current organizational practices have exacerbated them.

"The Intelligence Community presently lacks many of the scientific community's self-correcting features," he writes. One major impediment to improving analysis is the hypertrophied secrecy practices that prevail in intelligence organizations.

"Unfortunately, the more that evidence and judgments are restricted in dissemination by compartmentation and distribution limitations, the more likely it is that questionable judgments will pass unchallenged."

Fundamentally, the whole concept of the "intelligence cycle" -- referring to the conventional sequence of collection, processing, analysis and dissemination -- is misleading, Cooper argues, and should be jettisoned.

"With its industrial age antecedents, it usually conveys the notion of a self-contained 'batch' process rather than a continuous spiral ofinteractions."

Taking Cooper's thesis seriously, one could respectfully say that his new study embodies some of the defects in intelligence analysis that he writes about.

Thus, the study presents what is essentially one moment in an ongoing conversation and freezes it in a nicely produced but static document. This reflects the kind of spurious finality that Cooper dismisses as the "conceit of finished intelligence." And then the CIA, by disseminating the document in hardcopy only, sharply limited its audience and effectively precluded a "continuous spiral of interactions" regarding its contents.

That last part, at least, can be corrected.

See "Curing Analytic Pathologies: Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis" by Jeffrey R. Cooper, Center for the Study of Intelligence, December 2005 (5 MB PDF):

Author Cooper said he would welcome feedback from interested readers. Comments can be posted on the Secrecy News blog:
So there you have it, capitalism's meanest, ugliest abattoir, concerned only with furthering America's political agenda, says it's interested in pure analysis. Can pigs fly?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Victory in Miami...

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote to ask your support for striking workers at the University of Miami. Those workers had chosen to go on hunger strike rather than bow down before a company which was refusing to grant them dignity
at work.

Today I am very pleased to report that the dispute is now over, and 450 poverty-wage janitors won the right to form a union and raise living standards for their families.

Your 5,000 messages of protest and solidarity represented one of the largest international trade union campaigns LabourStart has ever been involved in. That campaign took off like a rocket, flooding the inbox of the university president with hundreds of messages in the first few hours.

The workers in Miami were aware of your efforts and their own website was
periodically updated to reflect the growth of the international campaign you
were part of.

(Edited version of a Labourstart email I recieved)

A touch of the tar...

Do yourself a favour, visit kinangardarup and read this really great blogpost.

Monday, May 01, 2006

a lion's heart...

There was Richard the Lionheart, pissed off with Saladin's Muslim hordes, about eight hundred years ago... Richard, King of England... Crusader King...

Not unlike George Bush, or Tony Blair, or our very own Man Of Steel, The Right Honorable John Howard.

Well, actually there is a wee bit of a difference...

Richard went Crusading himself. He went into battle with his troops. He risked his sorry ass in a big way. He personally took part in the battles.

These Three Amigos? These wannabe modern Crusaders? Oh, they sneak into Baghdad, like thieves, in the dead of night on top secret flights, do their dirty deeds, and then sneak back out again, under equal secrecy. Not until they're back on safe ground are the media images of these "brave leaders" released.

Their subjects swoon with admiration...

Pass me that bucket please...

for Ron...

Why? Because he might get a giggle out of this...

It started with my spotting E. Annie Proulx's book The Shipping News on my partner's grandmother's bookshelf. So I blurted out that I had seen the fillum, hoping to impress. It didn't work. I was told the book ran rings around the fillum. As usual...

So, that's how come I'm now reading the book...

Then, tonight, I was talking with my partner about Annie (as you do) and I mused about how her name (Proulx) would be pronounced. I offered "Prool" (silent x). She cautiously avoided having an opinion. Later tonight, after talking with her father on the phone, she reported that her father pronounced the name as "Proolay". Now, with this I had a HUGE problem...

So, I was off to the internet... I typed "Annie Proulx" into Google, and predictably, the first hit was, Annie's own website. And there, in the FAQ's, was the answer, from Annie, to the question about the correct pronunciation of her name...

It's "Proo". It's official...

Go there, her bio is worth a read, as is her "about Brokeback Mountain" article, as is the whole website. Go there, you will amaze your friends, about your depth of knowledge of Edna A. Proulx, at the next dinner party...

(I hope she forgives me this...)