Friday, July 30, 2010

The most boring "debate" EVAH!

Gawd, I've worn pants with more personality than these two.

Of course, I'm talking about last Sunday night's Leaders' Debate. Or should I say, the "Leaders" "Debate".

This was nothing more than a glorified press conference. Pre-boxing bout weigh-ins have more of a free exchange of ideas.

Solution, maybe for next time: Tony Jones on the Q&A set with Leader A and Leader B at the desk, and 150 interested and articulate audience members who are able to actually ask questions. You know, tough, non-flagged questions. Questions that make the leaders think, and present answers that can be cross-examined. That I would watch. But what we actually got the other night was absurd, and utterly, utterly pointless. Vote 1 for the Worm!

Ostrich "scientists"

Ruben Meerman, a.k.a. The Surfing Scientist, and I were discussing climate change and global warming in the green room at a recent festival. This topic of conversation was kicked off in reference to a fellow presenter, who likes to get up in front of school kids and suggest to them that climate change is a big fat conspiracy.

Ruben put it in these terms: Imagine you go to see a renal surgeon, who examines you, and your scans, and your blood tests, and says, "You have a large renal tumour. It needs to come out as soon as possible." You go for a second opinion from another renal surgeon. He says the same thing - "You have a tumour, and it MUST come out." You see a third, fourth, fifth, twentieth renal surgeon - in fact you go and see 10,000 renal surgeons, and they all tell you the same thing. But then you go and see an ear, nose tha throat surgeon, and he says, "It's all a renal conspiracy - there's actually nothing wrong with your kidney."

Who are you going to believe?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Proust Questionnaire

What is your most marked characteristic?
Thoughtful. Not in the "thinking of others" way, although I think I often am that, but in the "thinks about stuff a lot" way.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

What do you most value in your friends?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Envy and resentment. OK, that's two, but the're linked.

What is your favorite occupation?

Being with friends.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sunday morning + window seat + sunshine + guitar.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Not being able to help your child feel better.

In which country would you like to live?

France looks nice, and I'd like to spend at least a year in New York. But if you can't find somewhere in Australia that suits you, you're pretty hard to please.

Who are your favorite writers?

Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman, Kurt Vonnegut, Annabel Crabb.

Who are your favorite poets?

Hmm. Not really a poetry guy, but I do like the elegance of a well-crafted haiku.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Yossarian from Catch-22.

Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?
Lucy from the Narnia books. I also used to have a bit of a lit-crush on Nancy Blackett from Swallows and Amazons.

Who are your favorite composers?

Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven

Who are your favorite painters?

Jeffrey Smart, and the Heidelbergers.

What are your favorite names?

Anything spelt conventionally.

What is it that you most dislike?

Injustice and deceit that leads to injustice. I'm looking at you, footballers of the world.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to draw like Shaun Tan.

How would you like to die?
Peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

What is your current state of mind?

Excited about the opportunities before me, slightly stressed at how little time there is to achieve them all.

What is your motto?

"A drop of ink may make a million think." (Byron)

(For Facebook Notes readers: this post is redirected from my 'head vs desk' blog at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Top 10 girls

CMIS Fiction Focus recently compiled a list of the top ten female protagonists in recent Australian YA fiction. And guess what? Anonymity from Anonymity Jones is there! You go, girl!

At risk of stumbling blind into a debate for which I am completely unprepared, is it telling that only two of the ten in the initial list are written by blokes? And for the record, I'm not making a statement either way, I'm just pointing it out...(For Facebook Notes readers: this post is redirected from my 'head vs desk' blog at

Why does it have to be so hard? (A bit of a rant.)

Be warned, this is where I turn into a bit of a bleeding-heart small-L liberal, but can we please, please, please stop using vulnerable people as political footballs. I'm talking to you, Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott, and retrospectively to you, Mr Rudd, and before that, Messrs Howard and Beazley. I'm talking to all of you, and I refer to the current debate surrounding asylum seekers.

I feel that Heather Ridout said it best when she was on Richard Glover's radio show earlier this week. She suggested that we should put the issue aside until after the upcoming election, so that it's not used as a leverage for political gain. Then, after that, the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader - whomever they might be - can sit down together and come up with a humane and considered solution. A bilateral solution. Gasp!

Agreed, we need to eliminate people smugglers, who are, by any measure, bad people. Yes,we need to protect our borders. But no, despite the best efforts of some to convince us otherwise, we're not being swamped by refugees. And no, we certainly don't want to return to the Howard years. But please, powerful people in Canberra, let's keep some sense of compassion for people who ill, for whatever reason, climb (with their families) aboard rusty, overloaded fishing boats and set out for Port Hedland.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.(For Facebook Notes readers: this post is redirected from my 'head vs desk' blog at