Monthly Archives: August 2009

Fear not, brothers and sisters!

You can beat your addiction!

Here’s how…

Just say no to social media!

Are you one of the millions of people whose lives have been ruined by a never-ending torrent of tweets, friend requests and ‘Which kind of pasta are you?’ quizzes? Then it’s time you joined the Social Media Addicts Association.

SMAA is run by reformed social media addicts who all had the courage to stand up and admit to their problem. Will you stop poking people you haven’t seen since college, and join us?

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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in diversions, web stuff, www


Checking out audio possibilities

Free doesn’t allow audio uploading — not that I am complaining.

So instead I offer you Message 1 mp3.

This is what it looked like when I checked it out in Google Chrome, my VLC Player doing the honours.


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Posted by on August 26, 2009 in blogging, personal


Books I am reading, or am about to read

Thanks, Kevin from Louisiana, for the post idea. 🙂

I am currently reading:

  1. Edward Wright, Damnation Falls (US crime fiction 2007).
  2. Timothy Clack, Ancestral Roots (Science non-fiction 2009).

I am about to read:

  1. Karen Armstrong, The Great Transformation: The World in the Time of Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah (UK non-fiction history/theology 2006).
  2. D Michael Lindsay, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite (US non-fiction politics, religion 2007).
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Posted by on August 25, 2009 in personal, reading


Respect, yes; fetishism, no.

One of the great weaknesses of otherwise laudable desires to avoid racism or promote inclusivism – both desires are mine too – is that in action it tends to become a kind of puritanism, a set of shibboleths which do nothing to promote the true spirit of consideration and compassion that ought to be at the heart of what its detractors label “political correctness”. For example, the pursuit of non-sexist inclusive language by those who are, in my view, tone deaf or linguistically challenged leads to absurdities like rejecting “kingdom” in the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer but not objecting to “realm” or “reign”, apparently not realising the ultimate root of those words is the Latin “rex/regis” which of course means “king”. Similarly, such folk object to “mastery” but not “domain”, which comes from Latin “dominus” meaning “master”. The most curious one to me is “women” which, believe it or not, has nothing to do with “men”.

Now we have Michael Mansell and others sounding off on the apparent racism of these two busts.


They depict Tasmanian Woureddy and his wife Truganini. I have seen them and to me they are both haunting and beautiful and a reminder of a great Australian tragedy. They are far more impressive than any other depictions I have seen. While it is true that Woureddy and Truganini  used to be referred to as the “last Tasmanian Aborigines” and while it is also true this is not strictly so, as descendants of the Tasmanian Aborigines are alive and well today, they do represent an irrevocable loss, both for Tasmanian Aborigines and for all Australians.

But here ideology takes over – scoring, in my view, an own goal.

Two women from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre allege they were verbally abused and threatened at the museum yesterday when they demanded the removal of the copies from public display.

The centre’s legal director Michael Mansell says such images convey the extermination of Aboriginal people.

"These images are held up to perpetuate the racist myth that unless you were so called full-blood, untainted by marrying with white people, you weren’t a real aborigine," he said. "The fact that the museum has been displaying a bust of Truganini, along with the busts of other people, is perpetuating the myth. Everybody knows that the image of Truganini conveys to the racist people of the world that she was the last something or other…either the last full blood or last aboriginal. That is a racist perpetuation of a myth and her image is being used to try to exterminate the aboriginal people in Tasmania. For that reason her bust should not be sold just so people can make money out of it. These busts shoud be returned to the aboriginal community in Tasmania without any conditions so that aborigianl people are no longer hurt by the use of the images of a dead woman who can’t protect herself and who, if is she had known about this, would have objected very strongly," Mr Mansell said.

OK, I may share the argument about making money out of them, but the fact is they are also art works and as such may change hands.  But instead of worrying about what the busts convey to the “racist people of the world” we should reflect on what they convey to anyone with an ounce of brains – but I have already noted what they convey to me. What do you think?


Revisiting “The Maltese Falcon”

star_icons25 star_icons25star_icons25star_icons25star_icons25 They really do not make movies like this any more!  I watched it again on Saturday night.


— You aren’t exactly the sort of a person you pretend to be, are you?

— Why, I’m not sure I know exactly what you mean.

— The schoolgirl manner. You know, blushing, stammering and all that.

— I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad. Worse than you could know.

— Good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be…we’d never get anywhere.

— I won’t be innocent.

— Good. By the way, I saw Joel Cairo tonight. Do you know him?

— Only slightly.

— You’re good. You’re very good.

Cracker of a script. Great direction. Great acting.


Sunday lunch – Sirdan at Chinese Whisper

At our favourite Chinese restaurant today, Chinese Whisper in Crown Street.

Sirdan had been in Melbourne the previous weekend, seeing this:

The Disintegration Of The Persistence of Memory, 1952-1954

Excellent, he said. And he also saw A Day in Pompeii. He stayed at the Hotel Windsor.



This entry is being written by a dictation in speech recognition. It is quite a strange experience:  composing an entry this way you have to speak very clearly.  It is not perfect as it often misinterprets what I say. For example, “in absurd ways” came up as  “in the ad showed why he’s” and then as “the ads so the lights”!

But I am told that the computer will gradually learn to recognize my voice and my pronunciation. The hats and Australian accent (which is the computer’s version of “Perhaps an Australian accent”) is rather challenging for the poor thing. Still I suppose it is amazing that it works at all. The last three words were “works at old” until I said all in a slightly American accent!  

But if I say very clearly to the computer “Open Windows Live Writer!” that’s exactly what it does. I typed that bit so the poor thing would not have a breakdown, as Live Writer is already open of course.

Now to see if WordPress is back online…


Posted by on August 23, 2009 in computers, diversions