Posts Tagged ‘opinion’
If the lovely people at Hallmark are to be believed, Christmas is a time for giving, indulging and sending out vibes of goodwill towards all men, women and house-trained animals.
The reality of the festive season could not be further from the clichés, corny poems and pictures of goofy-looking reindeer the marketing gurus expect us to embrace every December.
While the David Jones catalogues and Coles billboards depict well-dressed shoppers with Joker-esque grins peacefully perusing the aisles, apocalyptic scenes are playing out on the ground.
Is there a get-your-fucking-hands-off-that-last-trampoline-before-I-lose-my-cool card?
It’s all well and good to espouse the spirit of season but the fact is all textbook theory about appropriate Christmas behaviour takes a back seat to retail guerrilla warfare in the lead-up to December 25.
Those who doubt me should have been in the Townsville bottle shop I happened to be in at midday.
As I was filling my trolley with enough vodka and cider to anaesthetise a three-year-old gelding, I witnessed two women swap the Christmas spirit for a verbal stoush over spirits.
Basically, the second woman – let’s call her Little Miss Swear Jar – objected to the first woman – who we’ll call Mrs Three Bottles – taking what appeared to be the last three bottles of an unidentified dark rum off the shelf, even though the former obviously wanted to buy one of them.
Unfortunately, it was at this stage Little Miss Swear Jar forgot all about those warm Christmas card messages and launched into a tirade that would have made both elves and seasoned sailors blush.
Bearing in mind that I made a beeline for the opposite side of the store when the argument started, I’m pretty confident it went something like this:
Little Miss Swear Jar: You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me.
Mrs Three Bottles: What?
Little Miss Swear Jar: Why the fuck are you takin’ all of them?
Mrs Three Bottles: We’re having a party and I need three bottles.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck off. Everyone’s having a party tomorrow. Give me one of those fuckin’ bottles.
Mrs Three Bottles: Get fucked.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck you, moll. You’re ruining my Christmas* and you can go and get fucked right up.
* Author’s note: Apparently, spirits really do maketh the occasion.
What were those morons at Hallmark saying about goodwill and compassion towards our fellow man?
After witnessing what should have been a pay-per-view event, I left the bottle shop thinking the advertising boffins should forgo the soft, heartfelt approach to Christmas marketing and focus instead on promoting a range of retail rage cards and light battle armour.
In 2012, it seems the key to Christmas is just surviving the supermarket skirmish.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a fantastic festive season and stay safe while enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.
I’ve got a strong feeling my name will turn up in Santa Claus’ naughty book this year but the fact you guys and girls –this blog’s raison d’être – keep coming back day after day negates the lump of coal that will be stuffed into my stocking* hours from now.
* Author’s note: This is not a euphemism.
In theory, the individuals we elect to represent us at a political level should be the cream of the crop.
Lamentably, somebody forgot to inform the Newman government of this fact.
What we currently have governing Queensland is a collection of Christmas geese, turkeys and those wind-up toy monkeys that clap cymbals together.
As 2012 draws to a conclusion, voters in Queensland seem to be realising that the goose has been overcooked, the turkey is a touch on the dry side and that the toy monkey is just a cheap, annoying novelty.
Following its landslide victory in the March election, the Liberal National Party held 78 seats in Parliament and took a stranglehold on politics in the Sunshine State.
After only eight months with Campbell Newman at the helm, things have gone decidedly pear-shaped.
Former ministers David Gibson and Bruce Flegg fell on their swords in controversial circumstances, while the stench of nepotism surrounding the appointment of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Minister Ros Bates’ 25-year-old son to a senior AO8 public service job is nothing short of rancid.
When you throw Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s apparent reluctance to admit that he – not the health boards – is ultimately responsible for health delivery in Queensland into the mix, it’s hard not to feel short-changed as a voter.
Things don’t get any better as you move up the LNP food chain.
The Premier rules the roost with a seemingly dictatorial attitude to democracy and has demonstrated his predilection to move swiftly against those who question the state of affairs.
Any lingering doubt about the internal dissent towards party decisions should have dissipated after Member for Condamine Ray Hopper defected to Katter’s Australian Party, and Carl Judge and Alex Dawson were read the riot act before being given no option but to exit stage right.
Even mining magnate-cum-conspiracy theorist Clive Palmer – a man who has poured some serious money into the LNP coffers – has spoken out about the apparent turmoil, swapping his life membership for rumours of starting a political party of his own.
Titanic II jokes aside, the rats seem to be deserting the political disaster that is the Newman government.
If the current rate of attrition continues, the 78 seats the LNP held in March will be whittled away to about 64 by the 2015 election.
Queensland deserves a better level of governance than it is currently enduring.
You and I deserve better from the people we elect to represent us.
Is it conceivable that our state’s political saviour could materialise in the form of an eccentric billionaire with a penchant for dinosaurs and blueprints for a big ship?
The last time I went to a circus, I was in Brisbane and paid about $75 for my ticket.
My most recent visit to a zoo was while visiting Perth and, from memory, the privilege cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $20.
Why does it cost so much more to watch dancing bears, juggling clowns and those dopey-looking penguins when the show’s in Canberra?
When you consider what we pay our Federal politicians to carry on like petulant children, it’s easy to see why so many people become disillusioned and why our elected officials rate somewhere between journalists, used car salespeople and serial killers on the scale of professional trust.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard hasn’t been able to use any words other than sexist, misogynist and offended this week.
For that, Australians paid almost half a million dollars.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott achieved the seemingly impossible and sunk lower than broadcaster Alan Jones when he slipped the old “died of shame” nugget into a speech during question time.
That will be about $350,000, thank you very much.
You have to feel sorry for Peter Slipper, the disgraced former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
When Mr Slipper fell on his controversy-plagued sword on Tuesday night, he took a pay cut of more than $140,000.
Hopefully, he won’t struggle too much on his adjusted annual salary of a touch under $200,000.
Am I the only one who feels like we are currently getting short-changed on the Federal political front?
We need the best people representing us – being our voice – in Federal Parliament and I am all for paying top dollar to attract them, especially when you take into account the salaries individuals of that calibre would command in the private sector.
What we are presently seeing and reading about day after day in Canberra suggests that, in many instances, we have fallen well short in identifying the best candidates when we went to the polls in 2010.
There’s an old idiom that suggests if you pay peanuts, you will find yourself surrounded by monkeys.
Unfortunately, the peanuts the Australian public are feeding the current residents of Parliament Zoo cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per bag.
Worse still, once you have purchased a bag of the exorbitantly-priced legumes and realise it was too much to spend on the political animals performing behind the smudged glass, you can’t get a refund for three years.
If our Federal politicians continue to carry on like angry five-year-old chimpanzees, I for one will be advocating covering our nation’s capital in Nobby’s nuts.
I’m sorry, but I’m not lolz-ing.
The Oxford University Press announced the latest inclusions to Oxford Dictionaries Online this week, some of which defy logic.
I used to enjoy perusing the quarterly updates of “current English” but now, the three-monthly read leaves me with a numbness in my special place and a strong desire to stick my head into an oven.
How the hell does formally acknowledging nonsensical words – or in the case of “mwahahaha”, a stupidity-inducing sound – as part of our lexicon make us a more evolved society?
If anything, recognising words like “douche” and “photobomb” demonstrates humanity is now officially catering to the lowest common denominator.
It’s almost as if we’ve waved the white flag and submitted to an army of faceless, iPod-toting, monosyllabic overlords who communicate with grunts , fist bumps and group hugs.
In a nutshell, it’s fucking ridic.
If an alien race was to attack the earth tomorrow – which would be a pretty douchey thing to do – the first laser-wielding ET wannabes to hear us communicate could be forgiven for assuming the zombies had already eaten our brains.
When I discussed the list of latest inclusions with a friend, they played the “our language is dynamic and ever-evolving” card.
Until they reached the word on the list that pays homage to genitals that resemble rhinestone-emblazoned disco jackets.
Ladies and gentlemen, could you please stand and put your hands together for “vajazzle”.
Mankind has not only conquered space, it has also made room in Oxford Dictionaries Online for a verb that means to “adorn the pubic area (of a woman) with crystals, glitter, or other decoration”.
I feel like I’ve woken up after sleeping for 20 years to find out Kim Kardashian is the president of the world.
Despite my friend being more than 1000 kilometres away and on the end of a scratchy mobile phone connection, I could pinpoint the exact moment when their eyes locked onto the word that describes genital crystals.
If you ever want to pull out a lay-down misere on somebody’s argument about how the current evolution of our language is a good thing, show them an Oxford University Press reference to pussy glitter.
While the vodka-loving boozehound in me approves of “dirty martini” getting recognition, the inclusion of “vote” – as in a specific reference to reality television – saddens me and reinforces my belief that humanity has pushed boldly past the point of being astronomically fucked.
It can’t be long now until Skynet becomes self-aware and the living dead commence their attack.
The moment you see “ROFLMAO” in a dictionary is the very instant you should descend into your Judgement Day bunker and wait for the language-destroying hoi polloi to succumb to our zombie masters.
For all those Twitter users who have a yearning to become one of my tweeps, clicking the button below will unleash the 140-character lunacy.
It’s funny how the something we take for granted as an everyday part of Australian life is viewed by those unfamiliar with our lifestyle, but a friend’s reaction to the concept of camel racing – and betting on it – drove the reminder home last week.
“You’re going to race what?” she said with stunned confusion via Skype after I’d explained the concept of the Boulia Camel Races.
“So they’re like those feral camels you see in the desert and people actually ride them like horses?”
After I reiterated what the iconic event was all about and that there were also on-track bookmakers, she started laughing, shaking her head at the idea of wagering hard-earned money on the ships of the desert.
“Man, you Aussies will literally bet on anything,” she said with her thick New York accent.
Her comments about Australians having a penchant for betting on anything that moved made me think, and after our conversation ended, I sat back and contemplated the gambling eccentricities of punters in this country.
That’s when it hit me.
We actually will bet on anything we can get odds on, including what are essentially feral pests.
It’s part of what makes Australia the unique country it is but when you consider what else we place wagers on, an annual punt on camel racing doesn’t even make the top three weirdest things to race and bet on.
I don’t know why, but Australians love to bet on pests.
In addition to camels, cane toad and cockroach racing round out the trifecta of animals-we-could-do-without that we’re happy to support with our wallets, as long as they’re racing and not invading our houses.
While the noxious cane toads are raced weekly in pubs from Cairns to Coolangatta, it’s the cockroaches that raise the eyebrows of most tourists when they witness them racing for the first time.
Perhaps the most iconic of all cockroach races in Australia is held every Australia Day in my old stomping ground of Brisbane, at the Story Bridge Hotel in Kangaroo Point.
According to a spokesman for the annual spectacle, the event “has had a long and distinguished history” that set the foundation for cockroach racing in Australia.
No, I’m not kidding.
I couldn’t make this up if I tried but it gets better: organisers fly in cockroaches for racing.
Yes, racing cockroaches apparently travel to compete, just like Black Caviar.
“We actually buy them [the cockroaches] and fly them up from Melbourne,” the spokesman said when I posed the question last week.
“It’s a huge event.”
If insects and feral animals aren’t your style, you can always bet on the lizard races in Eulo.
Feel like a seafood fix?
If so, crayfish racing may be your forte.
The first time I saw a crayfish race was on Magnetic Island in about 2004 and while the crustaceans are hardly the most enthralling
racers, they are certainly supported by spectators like they’re running in the Melbourne Cup.
Worse still, punters who decide to bet as well as splash out the $10 or $20 needed to purchase one of the ‘thoroughbreds’ act like they have just purchased Makybe Diva for $15,000.
The only difference is that, if your crayfish doesn’t perform well during the race, you can always commiserate eating with a little bit of garlic butter and a cold beer.
I spoke to my friend in New York again last night and after I rattled off the list of amphibians, insects and crustaceans Australians regularly bet on, she burst out laughing and said it proved her point.
“Do you guys just look at random animals and decide to catch them, race them and bet on them?” she queried.
Who said horses and greyhounds were the only animals you could bet on?
Australia’s love of a punt is evident in the crazy things we race and wager on but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, if you are betting on something ridiculous – including the proverbial flies on the wall – in Australia this weekend, take a moment to reflect on how unique what you are doing is as you put your betting slip into your wallet.
With many sports quickly approaching finals season, I think we all need a timely reminder that there is more to sport than winning.
There, I said it.
And I meant it.
I’ve spoken to several people representing a myriad of sports over the past few weeks and a disappointingly familiar message was sounding: sport isn’t as enjoyable as it used to be.
Lamentably, it wasn’t just competitors whinging about it.
Numerous spectators and fans of both local and professional sport have told me they don’t find watching the games they love as pleasurable as they used to.
One rugby league fan – who could best be described as a diehard-cum-fanatic – told me about how the recent State of Origin series caused him no end of stress.
The gentleman, who is a Queensland supporter, explained to me that he “bleeds maroon and football” but was finding it hard to enjoy watching the game he apparently loves.
“That second game [when New South Wales won 16-12] nearly killed me,” he recounted dramatically.
“I couldn’t sleep for a few days after it because I was so p—– off that those b——- won.”
When I suggested he was taking it a little too personally, he snapped back at me.
“Rugby league is life.”
Really, that’s the official line we’re running with these days?
Am I the only one who noticed the sun still came up on the Thursday morning following the loss, just as the sun rose on the horizon for New South Welshmen after the Maroons won their seventh straight series on July 5?
Following the 21-20 thriller at Suncorp Stadium, a friend suggested on Facebook that it was the best day of his life.
This is a guy who, according to his error-plagued social networking post, had never experienced anything greater in his 30 years walking the earth.
While I’m a sports fan, a football match – or any sporting event for that matter – doesn’t count in the top 100 things I’ve done in my life.
I don’t think it should for anyone, and that’s where I think we are going wrong.
The more I listened to people’s tales of woe, the more I thought about it until I finally came up with what I believe to be the cause of the feeling.
People are taking their sport – and themselves – far too seriously.
Whether you are watching or participating, be it a junior game or World Cup final, sport should be fun.
If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.
The Oxford English Dictionary indicates sport is an activity “in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”.
See, it’s all about the entertainment.
Without an element of enjoyment, sport quickly becomes nothing more than a quest for victory and supremacy.
Don’t we have enough competition and seriousness in our lives without exacerbating the situation by pretending our lives depend on each shot at goal?
Just because you miss that three-point throw doesn’t mean you will lose your job.
Your family won’t desert you because you hooked that eight iron shot on the fifth hole.
Stepped over the sideline as you sprinted towards the try line? It’s okay, it’s not the end of the world; the zombies aren’t going to suddenly attack because you missed an opportunity to score four points.
As a collective sporting community, we need to step back and take a look at what small percentage of our lives centre around the games we love.
While this may pain some to read, sport isn’t the be all and end all, irrespective of what you believe or are told.
When we finally accept this statement to be true, everyone is suddenly going to find sport – whether as a player or fan – a lot more fun and interesting.
It’s simple: the more you enjoy your sport, the better you will be at it and the more pleasure you will derive from it.
It’s not rocket science, but it seems to be a lesson that’s easily forgotten.
So, when you run onto the sporting field to play or sit on the sideline to barrack for your favourite team this weekend, remember there are benefits to sport that transcend trophies and silverware.
Okay, I’m just going to say it.
I don’t want to hear the name Black Caviar uttered for at least three months.
When something without opposable thumbs has more than 19,000 followers on Twitter, enough is officially enough.
The fact that a horse has a Twitter account in the first place defies logic, but common sense and the Australian public have never been bedfellows when it comes to the champion mare.
Don’t get me wrong.
I am not questioning how good a thoroughbred Black Caviar is – the proof is in her 22-0 race record – but I’m beginning to tire with the incessant media coverage and public hysteria surrounding the five-year-old.
Like almost 20,000 others around the globe, I follow Black Caviar on Twitter, which probably makes me part of the problem.
I originally followed her account to keep up-to-date with news pertaining to her on-track performance but as her number of followers swelled, something very strange happened before she departed on her much anticipated
Royal Ascot campaign.
She started tweeting in the first person.
Given the Peter Moody-trained superstar has hooves, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest she may have a little help in the social media department.
That said, if it is in fact her tweeting, she’s transcended just being one of the world’s best sprinters to be the only horse in the world capable of operating a BlackBerry.
“Luke is feeling that what happened the last few strides will detract from my win, is breaking his heart. It shouldn’t, WE WON TOGETHER.” she tweeted on June 24 in defence of embattled jockey Luke Nolen.
What have we become as a sport-loving nation when we are falling over ourselves to read – and respond to – messages apparently from a non-toilet trained five-year-old?
Cleary, Sydney Morning Herald chief sports columnist Richard Hinds agrees with me.
In his column on June 24, Hinds pondered Caviar fever and wrote, “Not even the lack of opposable thumbs – or, actually, any thumbs – diminishes our wish to believe it is Black Caviar tapping away on her iPhone, not some clever proxy.”
I’m glad I’m not alone as I question if we have gone too far in our love of a racehorse.
With all the hype, rock star treatment and 24/7 coverage, it’s easy to forget she is just that: a horse.
Yet the Australian public has gone Caviar crazy, embracing – and purchasing – every conceivable novelty bearing the mare’s name or famous salmon and black colours.
Thousands of Australians packed into Royal Ascot at the weekend wearing Black Caviar ties, vests, shirts and, unfortunately, dresses.
I’m sorry, but there are few things on this earth more disturbing than a middle-aged woman wearing a shiny salmon dress covered in black polka dots while drinking champagne as the world watches.
Some have taken it further, demanding their local tattoo artists give them a permanent reminder of the country’s wonder horse.
Collingwood Magpies star Dale Thomas is the most high-profile person to sport a Black Caviar tattoo, but at least his is the result of losing a bet to one of the horse’s owners.
Many Australians are getting ink depicting the mare just because they can.
What’s next, getting the entire Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams tattooed on your back just because you are getting into the Olympic spirit?
While there’s no doubting Black Caviar is an incredible animal and one of the best Australian thoroughbreds of all time, I think it’s time to step back and smell the metaphorical roses and horse manure when you begin covering yourself in salmon and black tattoos or believing a horse – living in a stable – is utilising social media to communicate with her fans across the world.
The mania surrounding the mare won’t stop on its own.
The media organisations – who make a fortune every time a Black Caviar story airs or goes to print – and the five-year-old’s connections – who are also doing very well, thank you very much – will publicise her until they are flogging the proverbial dead horse.
I have no problem with supporting our best export since Phar Lap but I do have an issue with Black Caviar’s publicity people trying to convince us she’s capable of sending personal messages of insight and inspiration, 140 characters at a time while they get rich because of our apparent gullibility.
Irrespective of what Black Caviar – or someone cleaning her stable – tells you on Twitter, you don’t need a spare tyre cover with the five-year-old’s head emblazoned on it for your four-wheel-drive.
Just because the Channel 7 presenters tell you “everyone will be showing their support by wearing her colours” when she jumps from the barrier doesn’t mean you should spend $2000 on a tailored, three-piece suit in salmon and black.
The next time you feel like adorning yourself with a Black Caviar tattoo or donning a suit that mirrors Nolen’s silks, remember the mare is just a horse who defecates where she pleases, which may have included on the roses at Royal Ascot.