Monday, 12 April 2010

The Brand New Hobo-Doll!

As many people know I'm most unfortunately out of employment and trying to find something new to do with my life. The applications are going out, and I'm baying at the moon, howling for a job.

It's a harsh world when employers don't appreciate you and I hate interviews. I hate 'em. Really I do.

And I've come to the conclusion that perhaps I should just become an entrepreneur. You know. Just invent some things and sell them.

The real problem is I don't know what to invent yet.

But once I've overcome that minor hiccup in my plan, I'm sure Orange Juice Snobbery Products Pty & Ltd will be a roaring success. You just wait and see.

One idea just popped into my mind and I've got a rough sketch going for it.

Welcome to the first OJS Products product ... The New .. in fact the first Hobo-Doll!

We all know how homeless people can earn a fortune. In fact it's shocking that some of them can earn more than what I've earned employed, and they probably can collect a pension as well and it's all tax-free.

Some clear $400 a day, and they're just sitting on their bot-bots in Martin Place with a sign around their necks.

Now, that's all dandy except not all of us want to sit in Martin Place, and what if you could have someone else sitting in Martin Place for you while you went out and got another job or just partied?

Welcome the Hobo-Doll!

The Hobo-Doll is a lovely plump doll that looks EXACTLY like a hobo and dresses like one and will do all your sitting for you and collect the cash. It will even wear a sign around its neck. No matter that it doesn't breathe or eat - no one checks homeless people too carefully for signs of breathing and when was the last time you saw a homeless person eating? Most of the time they don't look up when you throw a coin in.

The Hobo-Doll won't either.

I'm selling the basic doll for $15,000 a pop and if you find a lovely place in the right area, you'll easily earn back that money in a couple of months and more besides. For the better models, there are changes of clothes and a variety of signs, and a special automator that will say "Bless you Jesus Child" "Lord bless you" or "How 'bout a few dollars more for a pint?" whenever you throw in some money, for a touch of realism.

Prices will also differ depending on size, especially plumpness and the most sympathetic slouches cost a bit more. But they're definitely worth the investment.

Note that OJS Products cannot be responsible if you pick to place your doll in a place with low revenue, or if your doll is bashed up and ruined by vicious bikie gangs or jealous buskers. You must be entirely responsible for the safety and intelligent placing of Hobo-Doll!

Hobo-Doll will be your friend and colleague and amazing revenue-raiser - order him or her today!

Monday, 22 March 2010

On a Not-Quite-Meeting of the Minds

Recently I've been trying to get a job.

One job I tried for required me to be a good speller. A lady rang me up and said, "I'd like you to do a quick spelling test on the phone. Are you ready?"


"OK, first word. You can write them down if you want. Parallel."

"P-A-R-A-L-L-E-L" I spelled.

"Fabulous!" she said enthusiastically.

Oh good, I thought. I passed word number one. But maybe word number two would be really tricky.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Then finally it clicked.

"Umm, was I supposed to spell 'Fabulous'? I mean, was that the next word?" I asked tentatively.

"Actually I said 'nebulous'," she said.

"Whoops, I mean, I thought you were saying fabulous, I mean that was a comment, I mean saying I was fabulous ..."

My voice trailed off. Maybe I wasn't Fabulous. Heck, perhaps I was Nebulous. And how DID you spell "Parallel", anyhow?

Well I'm glad the next word hadn't been "Loser" or "Unimpressive" because I think I might have dented my ego irreparably. As it was I fortunately got through the test, and fortunately there were not too many other words on it to take personally.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Forgotten Mums

Just recently someone mentioned to me that the Today Show (Channel 9) did a story on mothers. They referred to 3 categories of "Mummies":

Yummy Mummies
Sportish but stylish Mummies and what they referred to as
Slummy Mummies

and continuously referred to "Slummy Mummy" in their show. Apparently yummy mummy is meant to be favourable and slummy mummy is not meant to be so.

Now I think this has overlooked many diffferent types of mummies. The television show has neglected to mention many different types of mummies, so I list the following:

crummy mummy (hopeless mummy)
dummy mummy (stupid mummy)
chummy mummy (mummy who's also your best friend)
tummy mummy (mum who has a paunch, probably hasn't lost fat from having three kids)
glummy mummy (mummy who's always totally depressed and thinks the world is about to end)
bummy mummy (mummy with a big rear end)
hummy mummy (mummy who hums classic rock while she does the dishes)
summy mummy (mum who's a whiz at arithmetic, usually good at household budgets, corrects the checkout chicks a lot and helps you with your maths homework)
gummy mummy (mummy whose teeth fell out due to eating too many lollies in her youth)
scummy mummy (mummy who doesn't bathe too often)
mummy mummy (embalmed mother)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Fireworks and Christmas Lights - two big light ups that really get me down

If there is one thing that Christmas and New Year have in common, it's big lights, both of which I generally find really annoyingly expensive and a waste of money and energy. Yeah, I'm the New Year and Christmas Grinch, rolled into one.

I saw an article on the news recently about this Australian house thta has about a million household lights and decorations outside it. The darn thing looks garish and it makes me sick. What I find repulsive about this is a) the expense and b) the wasted energy.

I'm not a rampant greenie by any stretch of the imagination, but heck, why do you want to blow out your bill like that? What's even more stupid is the way I bet you that Today Tonight will run one of those feel good stories abotu how much Christmas Cheer this guy has - it would be un-PC to suggest anything else - and then pretty soon afterwards run a story abouthow we can all energy save around the house. Tip No. 1 - turn off all those bloody lights!

Then the guy admitted that he spent $100,000 on Christmas decorations. What? He could have bought another house for that much and instead he opted for some tacky light-me-up talking reindeer?

But $100,000 on decorations is a drop in the ocean compared to NYE fireworks. Fireworks have to be the biggest waste yet. I can't see the point of them, the best place to watch them is on your TV screen and that being the case they ought to hire some graphic designers to do a cool display using CGI or something and save a whole heap of money.

No, instead we have to spend millions each year stringing stuff up on the bridge that gets blown up in a few seconds and goes up in pretty colours and then disappears. Its only use is to attract people in droves outdoors so they can piss and get pissed and leave broken glass and urine all over the place. Not to mention that fireworks are rather dangerous too.

Later on someone will complain about how we don't have enough money for this or that and you can go back to those pics you have of fireworks on NYE and watch how those millions of dollars got blown up. Wouldn't it be nice if the govt could say instead they were going to do something actually useful with the money, like we decided to buy books for schools or donate it to research or looking after a museum or something instead of blowing it up over a bridge?

And if they did announce that, it's very likely people would whinge about the Mayor not having the right New Year spirit.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Karate Kid Remake

I'm really sorry I can't share the pics of this remake with you, you'll have to go to the website to see them, but I have just found out they are remaking the movie The Karate Kid.

The classic cheesy original featured Ralph Macchio as Daniel-san, who even though he was in his twenties, played a teenager (he's a bit like Michael J. Fox, he just never grows up), who moves into a new neighbourhood in America. He gets bullied by these local guys and is surprised one day when a local maintenance guy, Okinawan-born wise old Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) jumps the bullies. Mr Miyagi becomes his karate mentor and teaches him techniques unconventionally, as well as about honour and self control etc. And so he ends up one-upping the bullies by the end of the movie.

Most of us watched the movie and remember classic lines like "Wax on, wax off" and Daniel trying to do the crane stance, or catch a fly with chopsticks, or Mr Miyagi being able to mend his leg by rubbing his hands together, or giving the silent smile through the crowd and the nod.

Anyhow, I read about this remake, and I naturally read plenty about people being angry as hell that their original was to be 'tarnished' with this idea of a remake.

Here's the set up. Will Smith has pitched the idea for a remake, to star his nine year old son, Jaden as The Karate Kid. There's been talk of calling it The Kung Fu Kid, possibly partly to update it and partly to not offend people who are extremely precious about The Karate Kid.

A mother, for work reasons, goes to live in China, her son Dre (Jaden) is attacked by bullies and needs to learn Kung Fu. A master of kung fu teaches him both kung fu and how to speak Chinese. The kung fu master is played by Jackie Chan.

A lot of blood is being spilled on the message boards. Some claim that people who are against the movie are only against it because they are racist, and don't want to see a black kid learning kung fu. Others say they aren't racist, others say yes, they just don't think a black kid is right for the role - it just does not fit well in the story. It doesn't portray the ethnic issues realistically and they can't relate to it, and anyway, everyone thinks of the Karate Kid as white nowadays.

Other objections brought up are that:

1. Jackie Chan is the wrong actor to step into Pat Morita's role. He's too young and too flippant and funny. In fact you didn't even need a really good martial arts actor to step into Morita's role - what was more important was that the person had the right warmth and chemistry, because Mr Miyagi teaches more lessons about self restraint and less kicking ass in the movies, that's what he's really about.

2. It doesn't matter that Jaden is black, but it does matter that he's nine years old. No one can relate to a nine year old getting beaten up; you don't believe he really needs martial arts lessons, not serious ones. You feel that more at his age he is just likely to get into a few scraps and be teased. The film is a coming of age story and Jaden is not the right age to give that any real meaning.

3. A lot of posters just hate the idea that Jaden got the movie through his Dad - the nepotism, stating that he's untalented and wouldn't have got it if it hadn't been for Will.

This objection ... well I can understand the resentment, but it's basically born out of jealousy, hell we'd all do it if we could, we just didn't get the chance. If we had a rich and famous father who could give us opportunities or 'legs up' we'd take them (not necessarily in showbiz but in some other way) and not think twice about it. Most of us have this already and don't think twice about ti, taking it for granted. Many of us live in houses, get pocket money, went to certain schools, got Christmas presents, had parents of certain intelligence who may have given us advice, some might have parents who helped us with a loan or said they'd babysit our kids for free ... WHATEVER.

All that is help, but if you mention it to many of these same people and say it's getting help from fortunate parents with resources, they cite it as "different" from getting your big rich Daddy helping you put you in a Hollywood film because all the help they receive is 'normal, regular help', but getting a film is "unusual".

Actually, it just means that you're used to it. There are some people who would look with envy at your level and say "I hate those rich lucky bastards who get pocket money and can go whingeing to their parents every time something goes wrong and can dump their kids/dogs/parcels at their parents when they need a break ... spoiled brats!"

It's just a matter of degree. And some people are sure they can pick what degree is "acceptable", trying to convince others it's generally acceptable, when what they really mean is "acceptable ... to me". And that level is usually "Up to as many opportunities as I get, is acceptable for others to have too! But don't go too much further than thaaaat!"

4. Another poster suggested that a better remake, if one had to be done at all, would have been to put an aging Ralph Macchio into the Pat Morita role and have him teach a small Japanese kid the way of Karate ... that is, if it's possible for Ralph Macchio to age.

I'm not particularly looking forward to this Karate Kid myself, but then I never saw the Next Karate Kid. I only saw the ones with Daniel-san. The original and the best!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

An Even Darker Side of Mary Poppins

Earlier this year, I suggested that Tim Burton direct a Mary Poppins film, which would show the darker side of Mary Poppins.

This was suggested to me in a dream and I'm still convinced it could work.

It seems that I'm not the only person who has a Poppins fantasy, or the wish to see Poppins' dark side. I was reading a movie message board today, and in a thread on suggestions for remakes of movies, a poster suggested a remake of Mary Poppins by Quentin Tarantino ... a really dark side to Mary Poppins.

Now, let me see, how exactly would it work?

I'm picturing Jane and Michael and the twins a little older now, and both are pot-smoking, cocaine-doing hired guns.

The scene should probably open at a cafe ... no, let's make that an upside down tea party on the ceiling, where Jane and Michael indulge in some badass gangster chat that is lightly disguised as philosophy about something totally pop culture irrelevant to the story, and use dirty language as much as possible.

Something like:

Jane: You see, Michael, I got this theory.
Michael: What's the f*ing theory?
Jane: You know that f*ing carousel we was riding on with the f*ing ponies?
Michael: Yeah?
Jane: Well, that is actually symbolic for child molestation.
Waiter: What'll it be today?
Michael: Can't you see we're f*ing floating on the ceiling having a private conversation? Come levitating later when I look like I'm ready to have my upside down jams and scones replenished.
Waiter: (sarcastically) Yes sir.
Michael: That's what's wrong with this country. You can't get no good customer service. he must've been molested by a f*ing carousel pony as a child and it messed with his sh*tworthy brain.
Jane: I was telling you about my theory. It's like, the carousel's spinning round, and the ponies are bobbing up and down, and the kids are being put on them by their parents, up down up down up down and this is just like being sexually molested, you know what I'm saying?
Michael: I hear you. Oh, shouldn't we be robbing that upside down cashier right now?

In the new Tarantino version of Mary Poppins, that spoonful of sugar Mary Poppins advocates probably costs thousands and has to be smuggled in over the border, but it really gives you a high!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Making of A Legend: Gone With the Wind

One of the great things about being unemployed is that you can sit back and watch TV shows you wouldn't be able to watch if you were at work. (I can't watch TV much at night as my Dad dominates the telly with his endless reruns of Law and Order.)

Today I saw a show I'd taped, The Making of a Legend: Gone With the Wind. I'm an official Gone With the Wind junkie (see the link on this site to the GWTW Forever site).

I have the DVD of the feature film, I just hadn't realised how much had gone into making it.

I knew, of course, that GWTW was the only book Margaret Mitchell wrote. Scarlett was initially called Pansy, and the book was not initially written for publication. Then a publisher read it and was interested, but didn't like the name Pansy, so Margaret Mitchell agreed to change it to Scarlett.

And then David O. Selznick secured the rights for $50,000 to produce GWTW.

I watched the show as they showed the search for Scarlett. It seemed they had an easier time deciding on Rhett Butler - the public demanded they choose Clark Gable. The only problem was that Gable was with MGM and Selznick wanted to do the project alone. It wasn't for ages and after lots of money and negotiations that he made a deal with MGM - they would let him 'use' Gable, and they'd also lend some money to fund the project, so long as they got half the profits of GWTW for the next 7 years.

Then it turned out that Gable didn't particularly like the deal, as he didn't want to play Rhett, so they 'sweetened' the deal for him by giving him ... $50,000 so he could pay off his wife and get rid of her and a weekend off so he could marry his new girlfriend (an interest payoff!)

Anyhow, I watched a lot of the auditions with the different Scarletts and Ashleys. After seeing what Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard can do - especially Vivien Leigh - watching the different screen tests is like watching a series of Australian Idol auditions, you just feel how wrong they are and you want a nasty judge to pop up and give them a gong and tell them they're absolute crap.

It was amazing to see how much work went into creating - or destroying - some of those sets. They decided one way to make a set was to burn down an old set and then rebuild. An idea they had was to burn down the old set and then film it as the burning of Atlanta. At the time they hadn't got Leigh and Gable working yet so a stunt double is what you see when you see the horse and carriage driving through burning Atlanta at the time. And they really did just burn down a whole set, film it, and then rebuild a set.

Then some sets were only partially built - for instance some of the big houses were built without roofs - it was less expensive - then an art director comes in later and "draws in" different style roofs later to make the different places.

And the scene in Atlanta with the soldiers all lying wounded ... well while they called in many extras to lie there as wounded men, but they didn't have enough so they put in some dummies as well and instructed extras how they could pull a string on the dummy so the dummy could move a little so it looked alive. (Apparently Margaret Mitchell's husband said when he saw that scene that if they'd had that many soldiers, they would have won the war!) I know, I know, I guess they cheated too because those extras, they only pretended to be wounded. Many of them weren't really shot or anything at all. They only pretended to be shot. And int he scene where Dr Meade is supposed to amputate the leg - I think he doesn't amputate it at all. It's all faked!

So much work went into the recreation, it was amazing, especially when you consider there was not the advantage of the special effects that we have today.

I watched in amazement as every detail of dress was attended to ... the only thing I think I could compare it to was watching This is It when I watched the perfectionism that went in to making the Michael Jackson tour show. How many people actually put the time and effort and research into their shows any more. It's immense and it's amazing.

By the way I still love Scarlett's green barbecue dress - it must be her most famous - but now I've really taken a fancy to that little light blue jacket and white dress she wears to the store when she's caught with Ashley.

Friday, 13 November 2009

You can rely on me

I may have mentioned before that I'm really utterly failing on this Get a Job thing. And in our society, success is so often tied up in being employed and having lots of money. If there was an award for the most Successful at Being a Failure, I would apply.

What has irked me so often is this thing about being overqualified to do work thing. Employers don't really try to find out anything about you, they make assumptions like if you are overqualified for a job you won't be very dedicated as you'll be very ambitious.

Well, let's just see. I have three tertiary qualifications and I haven't got much experience except in junior administration, do I look like the ambitious type? Please, these idiots really don't think very hard do they?

What I would like to say right now is that I would be a very reliable worker in almost any job, even low level, so long as people weren't totally beating me up every day, just because I HATE INTERVIEWS AND RECRUITERS. I can't stand them. I resent this whole process I am going through every damn day I do it.

I wouldn't try leaping to another job very fast because it would mean having to do ANOTHER STUPID INTERVIEW.

You'd have to be paying me a darn lot to make me take that jump quickly. A small pay rise or a new desk would not cut it. I would probably still sit there screwing tin lids on Cheesybite containers unless I got 300% payrise or something because I hate interviewing so much. It really is annoying the crap outta me!

There! You can rely on me, more than those not-so-bitter trainees who would jump for an extra $100 and a larger cookie jar in the shared kitchen.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Good luck to my tote bag!

Just the other day I was on my way to an interview with a recruiter.

I was standing at Gordon station when a very non-obliging bird decided to swoop down UNDER THE SHELTER mind you and drop faeces on me.

On my tote bag, that is.

I checked carefully and it didn't get my clothes, and the only bit of me it got was my hand (the hand that was placed on my tote bag).

Yelping, I made my way to the station toilets, swearing "shit shit shit". I felt that at least I should use appropriate language for the moment. Then I tried using the only available accessories (toilet paper, water and soap) to rid my bag of birdy-poo. Oh, and my hand, too.

I missed that train but caught the next and I decided not to regale the recruiter with this amusing story of birdy-droppings at the interview.

However, I have heard the old adage that if a bird chooses to drop its droppings on you, it's good luck! Is this meant to be an omen? Will I get a job with this recruiter? Or does it simply mean I will get no more bird plops?

Or does it mean that my TOTE BAG is to receive the good luck? Will it be a very lucky and fortunate tote bag, that has lots of happiness and longevity in its toting life?

I'm a little confused, but very optimistic!

Monday, 2 November 2009

'Tweaking' (aka lying) on your resume

It's a tough world out there, but someone's got to live in it. Like alive people. And lots of us have to work in it, or try to. But sometimes it's not that easy to find a job, or get into an industry we like, or some people just hate the job we're doing but can't think of a way out. Or some people are just plain lazy. Whatever it is, we have a system where for the most part a resume is a big slice of how to get a job, or even just to get an interview, but is it ever ok to lie on your resume?

Here's a discussion of that very topic.

Some people would say you have to be totally upfront on your resume, some would say it's ok to lie on your resume, and others would point to a middle ground - it's ok to tell white lies, to exaggerate, to 'tweak' a resume, but telling outright lies is just wrong. The problem with this is that where exactly do you draw the line on tweaking? And won't you be mad if you draw the line differently from someone else and that other person gets the job!

In the link above, many of the objections come from someone who wants to outright lie on their resume, and also because the motivation seems to be because he's bludged around a bit, and has decided he wants to lie because he knows a bit about some things, but doesn't have the certificates, and he wants to get a job that "doesn't totally suck" without doing the hard menial yards that most people have to do to get there. His idea is that he will try to walk straight in to a more comfortable position.

Whereas most people either have to do the hard yards either in a university/TAFE, or spend a few years doing low-level crappy work to get their foot in the door. I remember some producer at Channel Nine telling me she got there by taking on a crummy job filing tapes in the library for less than $18 000 a year in order to become a TV producer. And she had to badger them like crazy to get that job.

But is it EVER ok to lie on your resume? The arguments on the forum are that if you lie on your resume, it helps you not because you wouldn't have the skills if you didn't have the qualifications/experience. Others say that if you weren't prepared to work hard to get the qualifications and experience, then you cannot be the kind of person who would work hard to learn on the job, so the "I would work hard to learn on the job" argument is invalid.

But there are certain arguments for tweaking your resume.

Employers are notorious for skimming resumes and jumping to conclusions based on them, and key words leap out at them. What if the job you did recently, if you were to honestly describe it, would not really contain any of those key words, yet you know you gained the requisite skills. It might be easier to use the vague and industry accepted terms just to get your foot in the door, rather than be very honest.

What if an unusual situation occurred on your job that did not majorly affect your career progression, that could either be glossed over or covered up by a white lie, or look awkward on a resume that could put you slightly behind someone who had a more 'conventional' career path, or would take a 500 word exposition to explain that no one would bother to read? Many would choose the 'white lie'.

The trouble is, at what point do you distinguish between the white lie and the dirty big fat black lie? Everyone has their own standard.

If you say you have "lots of customer experience" and you really worked for two weeks in a boring old quirky shop where you might have been lucky to serve one person every two days, and simply took their money and gave them a receipt, is that just "slight embellishment" or a lie?

If you are misleading - for instance - write that you "attended" a course but don't point out that you mean that you turned up for the first half of the first class, but never studied the subject and certainly never passed any of the tests or assignments ... is that a lie?

And what about lies by omission? What if you omit that you have certain qualifications because you don't wish to look overqualified for a position, or interested in other areas of study which may make them think you are a less stable employee?

My resume is edited, embellished and tweaked, I must admit. It is not a bland setting out of my educational and work history to date. But I regard that as a necessity - I just don't know whether my own version is anyone else's "too far".

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Reclaim the Roads!

I read this article by Miranda Devine just recently and was a bit sceptical that she could be serious as it was so outrageously weird, but then, this is Miranda Devine we're talking about.

The article is about cyclists don't belong on the road and the whole idea that "the road is there to share" is wrong - the roads are there for cars (and by extension of that, vehicles in general - buses, vans, trucks seem to come under that generous definition). But not for pedestrians and cyclists who are let on the roads by the "good graces" of cars and shouldn't feel entitled to touch a road.

According to Miranda, the "road is there to share" idea actually does non-car-types a disservice because it creates in them a false sense of entitlement that they can use a road, which is naturally in Miranda's world, wrong, and this causes their deaths. Whoops!

Now, I've no doubt that Miranda is correct in that some cyclists, and also pedestrians behave badly and this can cause accidents. There is also cyclist rage just as there is road rage and there are pedestrians who get mad as hell too. But picking a clip of a mad cyclist or a bad cyclist and using this as evidence to support that your whole argument is correct is just not really presenting a good argument. It's not bad "journalism", though :), as far as journalism has taken us through the ages.

It seems to me that the sense of entitlement that car-drivers may be endowed with by Miranda's and the like's huffing and puffing may equally be responsible for deaths on the roads. "Shove out of my way, I'm allowed here, you aren't!"

When it comes down to it, all sorts of people use the roads - that's a fact. Vehicle users of all kinds. Bicycle users. And pedestrians. We use them in all ways. Not only is it a fact, but it is something that in the community we should face up to and allow for, because we value it. I'm sorry Miranda, but much as certain people may love their little cars, it's also a fact that many valued people cannot drive cars - and some of these people are very valuable people - and that it is valuable to a community that at least sometimes even people who could possibly drive cars, walk or cycle to their destination.

Let me give some examples:

Certain politicians such as Premier Bob Carr can't drive.
A whole lot of people who hold voting power such as the elderly and disabled are not able to drive.
A whole lot of people who are considered valuable to the community can't drive - such as schoolchildren.
The lamentations about obesity make it popular that people are encouraged to actually walk to places, or cycle.
If you're only going for a short distance, it would be considered a good idea that you not drive there - after all, it would cut down on the traffic and the parking spaces that a community had to supply. Imagine if everyone who usually popped out to go 100m down the street for a cup of coffee or the newspaper DROVE THERE.

And yet often these people use the roads. They walk or cycle beside them. They cross the roads.

They need to be given some rights on the roads - to be encouraged to use them and for their own safety. To say "Shit, yes, you toddle off to get your newspaper each morning but you are allowed on the road with my good graces only!" is equivalent to saying "If I feel like it I can and will knock you over and I have no responsibility for that. None!" and therefore, what right minded person would walk across a street?

The key here is that everyone is given rules and everyone has responsibilities. The whole thing about entitlement, and believing that your entitlement is greater than another groups, whether you be a car driver or a bike rifer or a dog-walker, engenders the feeling that you don't have to obey the rules or be responsible. You are above the others. And that's where the real problems start.

All of us should feel that we are allowed on the roads AT THE GOOD GRACES of everyone else in the community, and only so long as we obey the rules. Those rules may be slightly different depending on whether we drive a bus or walk a dog, but that has to do with level of appropriateness, not with level of superiority (You worry about the number of maximum passengers on a bus and designated stops, but you don't need to scoop up its poop or keep it on a leash). Being a allowed to use the roads should be dependent on whether you respect other people's safety and the general rules regarding your own use of the road, not whether you drive a lorry or use a skateboard.

This whole "my group is so much better than yours thing" ... sheesh, it's so vehicle-ism. It really is.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Stating the frikkin' obvious

"Breast cancer is an issue close to the heart."

I saw this today as a motivational message to do something about breast cancer. Are we supposed to be motivated to do more fot those with cancer of the left breast than those of the right?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Credit Card Whingers!

I saw this whinge about credit cards in the paper recently, and while I'm usually not a huge fan of credit card companies, frankly, why can't some people accept they are the idiots?

From the reporting, it seems that while the perfect day might have been ruined it might have been because certain people weren't that smart. Maybe it is a good reason to take a credit card away from them.

Jeremy Bath went off to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend and wanted it to be a surprise. The article states that he bought half the ring on one card (CBA) and the other half with a Citibank card. The surprise was ruined because Citibank rang his girlfriend and asked if she had made any purchases at a jewellery store recently on her Citibank card, and she figured out what was going on. The credit card company maintains they do this for security reasons - check on unusual spending habits. And some other commenters say they've been caught out too.

The blog-writer says that this is surprise ruining, over the top and cites it as a reason not to go with Citibank - at least, if you're thinking of buying engagement jewellery - because the jewellery was bought near the place of residence, and had not reached their credit limit or anywhere near it.

Now, in my opinion it's just good practise. Hell, if someone had nicked off with Jeremy Bath's credit card, had only got as far as a nearby jewellery store and had purchased a piece of jewellery and Citibank hadn't said a peep I bet some people would say that they were slack, saying "Jeremy doesn't buy expensive jewellery as part of his weekly routine, how could they not notice that's a bit unusual?!"

As many people pointed out, if you want to make it a surprise ... why the heck would you use a credit card that the recipient of the surprise jointly owned ... d'oh! It seems from the article his girlfriend was a joint owner of the card. If, of course, that is not true, then it may well be an invasion of privacy to let a non-owner know about your expenditure.

There may be some whingers who say that they would have no choice - they don't have their own card, and can't afford one, they can't afford to pay in cash so can't make a secret cash withdrawal ... what does that add up to?

You can't afford a surprise expensive piece of jewellery, then, or you take your chances! Maybe someone will blow your surprise or not. I don't think there is a rule that says that a surprise expensive ring on a holiday, along with a proposal, is an entitlement. Some people make do.

I remember Mr Coffee telling me he bought a few items in succession that was a little unusual for him, and his credit card company calling him immediately saying they had noticed and just wanted to make sure he really made them. He assured them he did and he was impressed with such good service. I'd want my credit card company to be that diligent, should I get a card.

I wouldn't want them to wait until the card was chock-a-block full of expenditures in another city over my credit limit till they clued in it might have been stolen or misused.

When I lost my wallet my bank debit card apparently had been attempted use within minutes (unsuccessfully, it got chewed up by the machine according to the bank) within a hundred metres or so of where I'd been having lunch that day; if I'd had a credit card I'm pretty sure they would have tried the same trick on in the same vicinity within minutes, and it's very possible they would have brought random goods from the department stores nearby. It would be good to know that a credit card store would have seen that it was unusual before it hit anywhere near the credit limit and alerted me.

Just because things didn't work out for these people ... and believe me, I'm sorry they didn't ... they look for someone to call an idiot, but for one time I don't think it's the bank necessarily that's the bastard here. Just, like many of us, it seems it's just doing its job.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Blackface comedy. I hope I am not offending anyone here. If so, apologies in advance.

Recently, on a Hey Hey it's Saturday sketch, a group calling themselves the Jackson Jive got verbally stoned by Harry Connick Jr for being racist because they used blackface comedy. The host Daryl Somers, apologised for any offence caused, and I too, would like to apologise for any offence I may cause in discussing this obviously sensitive issue.

This meant in the sketch, five of them turned up using black face paint (representing themselves as "Afro-Americans", also known by some people as "blacks", I hope that's not too racist. Another appeared wearing white makeup, satirising Michael Jackson who was an Afro-American who bleached his skin so it looked more of the pallour of those who are "Anglo-Saxon" or "Caucasian" or otherwise known as "white", hopefully that isn't offensive. Michael Jackson also recently "passed away", that is also otherwise known as "died". I hope that isn't too offensive either.

Now, I'm not "black" nor "white", not that it would matter if I was either. So I guess I don't really understand the fuss about blackface comedy, and whether it is the blackfacedness or the comedy bit that is really tasteless, or is it the combination?

Is it just plain offensive to make fun of blacks, or Afro-Americans, because it's racist? Because there goes the comedy material for about a third of those big budget Hollywood movies that are in production right this second.

Or is it smearing black face paint on that's just disgusting? Personally I don't like the look myself, I've usually thought the shoe grease should stay on the shoe though I haven't always been that successful. But what about all those disgusting, non-really-black actors who were trying to play Othello? Hung, drawn and quartered, ought they be?

A clue might lie in this where a guy says that blacks do not have pitch black skin, and that is why they are offended by that sketch. It is an interesting objection - one of the devices used by comedy is exaggeration - which is why clowns and mimes trying to hide behind a blank face use white makeup and exaggerated red lipstick which doesn't look anything like a real white human being. Hold the golliwogs!

To be perfectly accurate, most blacks aren't black, they're more browny, most whites aren't white either, they're kinda pinky-creamy-light-brown and I'll be damned if yellow skinned people look that yellow to me.

And anyway, why stop at racism? What I want to know is if black people can get on their high horses about blackface comedy, why should women stand for this crap either? Some idiots dress up INACCURATELY and EXAGGERATEDLY trying to imitate a DOWNTRODDEN group in the name of humour ...

I really don't know why we put up with Barry Humphries, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, or John Travolta at all, who've all exploited women and dressed up in drag and put on caked up makeup in stupid looking outfits that look nothing like what I'd wear - I don't know anyone who acts or looks like Dame Edna Everage - just for satire. It's insulting, it's sexist, and I think I give them a zero. What's more, they degrade women's plight further by going on to earn a fortune out of their huge man-in-women's boobs act than many women who have real or at least only slightly modified by a very discreet surgeon's boobs, make because their own boobs have hit the glass ceiling!

I think all women should stand on their high heels, jump on top of their 'Tootsie' and 'Mrs Doubtfire' DVDs and make it clear that if Mr Harry Connick Jr can get the weight of America behind him, we should at least get a portion of it too!

Unfortunately, I feel that no matter how much I jump up and down, the race issue will always propel American s far more than the gender one. After all, they voted in Obama, and not Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

It's all in the victim ...

2DAY FM Vile Files ... they have "been accused of routinely exploiting children and the disadvantaged for ratings" ... blurts the Daily Tele ...

which is where I ponder, if you 'exploit' a middle aged, able-bodied, white, rich guy, is he even exploited? Or is he unexploitable ...?