Peak Australia: ‘What’s Up, Skip?’

Saturday, 9 March, 2019

“I decided to land on the concrete slab of the old Orroral Space Tracking Station. I was concentrating on the landing and didn’t notice the Kangaroo until after I landed. As it ran towards me I thought it was being friendly so I said ‘What’s Up, Skip?’ It then attacked me twice before hopping away. I packed up my paraglider and had to walk several kilometers to get phone reception and call a friend to come and collect me.”

Words: selfie and dronie

Wednesday, 4 November, 2015 0 Comments

The word “selfie” was first used in September 2002, in a forum posting on the website of the Australian public broadcaster ABC:

“Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps,” said the poster, student who called himself Hopey. “I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”

No surprise, of course, when one considers other Australian diminutives: “barbie” for barbecue and “firie” for firefighter. It was the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013. Definition: “informal noun (plural: selfies), a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

Speaking of selfies and their place of etymological origin, here’s a cautionary tale: a woman who posted one with the barcode on her Melbourne Cup ticket had her $825 winnings stolen. In happier news from the neighbourhood, All Black rugby star Sonny Bill Williams took an Oscar-inspired selfie. BTW, if you need some selfie esteem, Andrej Karpathy has written an algorithm to rate the results.

Last year, the noun “dronie” entered the vernacular. It’s “a video self-portrait taken by a self-controlled drone” and Vimeo employee Alex Dao is credited with coining the word in response to this excellent video posted by Amit Gupta.

Meanwhile, Alex Chacon, the creator of the around-the-world epic selfie video has made an epic “dronie” of his latest adventure in Mexico.

Finally, “Dronestaventure” was made by Michael Lopp using a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. The music is Buzzin’ by the Canadian DJ, producer and graphic designer Edmond Huszar, better known by his stage name OVERWERK.

This year’s Word of the Year? In our age of emoji, either # or ♥.

It’s warm in Melbourne

Thursday, 16 January, 2014 0 Comments

When the temperature reached 43.3 degrees at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne yesterday, the referee, Wayne McEwen, deemed the conditions to be unsafe for players so he applied the “extreme heat” policy, suspending all play on outdoor courts. For the BBC, this was a golden opportunity to trot out the old tropes. “2013 was recently declared Australia’s hottest year on record,” it reported, adding, “The Climate Council report attributed the development to climate change, caused by greenhouse gases.”

Despite the hardships experienced by the tennis millionaires and their fans, however, 2014 is set to offer cold comfort to the global warming believers. Paradoxically, it looks like being a very good year for unbelievers in the cult of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). Those frequent-flyer UN jags to negotiate a global climate treaty have been discredited; the notion that the US Senate would ratify a climate treaty sounds farfetched; austerity has sobered up the EU to the point where increasing energy prices as a way of reducing carbon emissions is off the agenda, and China and India are not remotely interested in giving up their development objectives for the goal of carbon control.

To be sure, global warming sceptics don’t have a platform like the BBC to promote their cause, but the absurdity of the activists is a gift that keeps on giving. In December, warmist scientists and reporters sailed to Antarctica to find signs of the global warming they claim has changed that continent since Douglas Mawson explored it a century ago. Instead, they found sea ice where Mawson didn’t and their ship got locked in. Who rescued them? China and the US. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Tom Switzer declared: “Game finally up for carboncrats.”


There’s going to be a Ruddbath Down Under

Thursday, 5 September, 2013 0 Comments

Australians vote on Saturday to elect a new parliament. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is hoping to win a third term for the ruling Labor Party and he’s up against a coalition led by Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party. But wait, wasn’t the election planned 14 September? That’s right. Back in January, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the election would be held mid-September, but following a nasty Labor leadership struggle in summer the shrill @JuliaGillard was ousted as leader by the bland @KRuddMP, who then abandoned the originally planned date.

On Saturday night, Rudd will be abandoning government as well because all the indications are that Labor is going to get hammered. Australians are sick to the teeth of the leftist/greenish ideology they’ve been force fed by the Gillard-Rudd axis. Polls show that the coalition is walking it home:

“Tony Abbott has overtaken Kevin Rudd as the nation’s preferred prime minister for the first time in their four-year rivalry as support for Labor fell to its lowest since Julia Gillard was removed.

Going into the last week of the election campaign, Labor’s primary vote support has slumped to 33 per cent — the lowest ever under Mr Rudd as Prime Minister — after Treasury and Finance repudiated the government’s claims on the cost of Coalition promises.”

Hope ‘n change, and all that.

Meanwhile, the loony left is expressing its pre-mourning, pre-grieving post-mortem op-ed rage.

Mick Jagger at 70

Friday, 26 July, 2013 0 Comments

He once said, in the heady excess of youth, “I’d rather be dead than singing Satisfaction when I’m 45.” Today, Mick Jagger is 70 and he’s still singing Satisfaction. Of all the odd things Jagger has done over the past seven decades, his playing the title role in Ned Kelly, a 1970 British-Australian film directed by Tony Richardson, has to be among the most extraordinary. In this clip from the movie, he sings “The Wild Colonial Boy”, a ballad about a young emigrant who left Kerry in Ireland for Australia in the early 19th century. Jack Donahue/Jack Doolan/Jack Duggan spent his time “robbing from the rich to feed the poor” before he was fatally wounded in an ambush. He didn’t make it to 45.

Sky blue drab green

Sunday, 6 January, 2013 0 Comments

Home for the Christmas from Brisbane, Australia, were Kieran O’Brien and Hazel O’Sullivan and they brought with them, by request, an example of Australia’s laws on cigarette and tobacco “plain packaging”, which came into force on 1 December. These latest restrictions replace brand logos and colours with dull olive-green coverings. The effect in the case […]

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Death by mob media

Monday, 10 December, 2012

Friday’s post here, A terrible year for journalism is ending badly, was written some eight hours before news broke that Nurse Jacintha Saldanha had taken her life after being humiliated by two presenters from the Australian radio station 2DayFM following a so-called prank call. Her death is an appalling tragedy and it emphasizes the point […]

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Maybe You say Saint Lou Lou

Saturday, 3 November, 2012 0 Comments

Sisters Elektra and Miranda Kilbey are Saint Lou Lou. Brought up in Australia and Sweden and blessed with natural beauty, the twins have all that’s needed for for a perfect pop career. But they’re more than just pretty faces and there’s musical substance behind the fashionista style. “The saga begins”, they say beguilingly. More, please.

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Off with your head if you offend the Arab world

Monday, 17 September, 2012

For many Australians these demands for capital punishment of the most drastic kind must have come as a shock, especially since the last execution Down Under took place in 1967, and that was the state-sanctioned hanging of Ronald Ryan. His crime was not that of insulting any prophet, however. Instead, he had been found guilty […]

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What Can I Do For You?

Saturday, 5 May, 2012

YouTube is a treasure trove, perhaps the greatest treasure trove in human history. A recent browse revealed the 80 voices of the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir performing the music of Bob Dylan. It’s inspiring to hear his songs of faith treated with such devotion. Here’s What Can I Do For You? from Dylan’s 1980 album, Saved. “You have laid down Your life for me / What can I do for You? / You have explained every mystery / What can I do for You?” The lead vocalist is the superb Lisa Shergold.