Tag: Australia

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.”

Eurovision: Lucky Night for Moldova?

Saturday, 12 May, 2018 0 Comments

Simon Goddard, author of Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths, claims the Lancashire singer is a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. “My fascination with the show had an almost religious aspect,” Morrissey confessed to Goddard.

Who will Moz be cheering for tonight? Sweden’s Benjamin Ingrosso with Dance You Off? Not, we hope. Yes, it’s perfect pop in the peerless way that only the Swedes can make perfect pop, but the perfection is passionless. More joyful is Norway’s That’s How You Write A Song by Alexander Rybak, who won the Eurovision in 2009 with the highest points total, ever. Both Sweden and Norway are Top 10 candidates tonight, for sure.

And the UK? Nice dress, shame about the song, SuRie. Ireland? Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Together is simply dire. Will Germany finish last again? Michael Schulte’s You Let Me Walk Alone is so obviously an Adele copy & paste job that it has to be a serious contender for zero points.

Our tip is My Lucky Day by DoReDoS from Moldova. Using a simple white wall as a prop, Marina Djundiet, Eugeniu Andrianov, and Sergiu Mita have created a slapstick show that mixes Danubian polka and the Charleston. This is proper Eurovision kitsch.

Back to Morrissey. His video of You Have Killed Me opens with a pastiche that mirrors the Eurovision from its glory days in the 1960s and ’70s, and for interval music during his 2006 tour, Morrissey used the immortal Pomme, Pomme, Pomme by Monique Melsen, who represented Luxembourg in 1971 and was awarded 13th place for her efforts. By the way, the 1971 Song Contest was held in Dublin and was won by French singer Séverine representing Monaco with Un banc, un arbre, une rue. Neither Luxembourg nor Monaco is in tonight’s Grand Final in Lisbon, but Australia, Israel and Albania are. The old order changeth.

New scam: Scammers offering scam compensation

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017 0 Comments

The e-mail subject line is suspect: “Dear Beneficary.” The misspelling of “Beneficary” there should alert every potential beneficiary that something odd is afoot. The mail is from one “[email protected]”, who claims to be acting on behalf of the officiously titled “Barrister Dusman Diko, Solicitors & Co, Chambers,” in Benin, a French-speaking West African nation that’s famous for being the birthplace of the vodun (or voodoo) religion and home to the Dahomey Kingdom from 1600 to 1900.

Anyway, Dusman Diko, we are led to believe, represents an entity called the “United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) West Africa Regional Office, Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc,” which happens to be located in Benin. There is no such unit and the UN constantly warns people about scams implying association with its offices. And now, the e-mail:

Dear Beneficary

I am writing to inform you that your Scam Victim Compensation Payment is ready, sum of $1,200,000.00 USD is been granted to you by the Scam Victim Regulatory Authorities. The fund is ready to be released to you, I await your urgent confirmation as soon as you read this message. Secondly remember that you will be responsible for the registration fee of $55 only and be assured to receive your compensation payment as soon as you are able to comply fully with the payment release procedures.

Sincerely yours,

Barrister Dusman Diko, Solicitors & Co, Chambers

Office of the Attorney General, Division of Scam Victim Services
For: United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) West Africa Regional Office, Fraud Victim Compensation Unit of Fidelity Insurance Plc, Benin Republic, West Africa

Despite the criminality involved here, one has to acknowledge that it takes a certain level of roguish ingenuity to come up with a “Scam Victim Compensation Payment” issued by the “Scam Victim Regulatory Authorities”.

Note: Australians report losses of $300 million to scams in 2016.

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.”


Welcome to Limerick

Saturday, 21 December, 2013 0 Comments

Given that we’ll be bound for Limerick later this morning, there can be no better way to start the day than with a sprightly slip jig from the Irish piping tradition in the form of O’Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick. The tune was published around 1800 in “O’Farrell’s Collection of NATIONAL IRISH MUSIC for the UNION PIPES, Comprising a Variety of the Most Favorite Slow & Sprightly TUNES, SET in proper STILE & TASTE with Variations.” Here, with variations, it’s interpreted by the tasteful Australian guitarist Steve Cooney.

The Anglosphere faces a futebol challenge in Brazil

Monday, 9 December, 2013 0 Comments

Most reasonable people would agree that our world would be a far more barbaric place without the game that Ebenezer Morley helped codify 150 years ago and the lingua franca that enables people from Ghana to Ireland to share their enjoyment of it. When it comes to sport and communication, the Anglosphere is the gift that keeps on giving, but past and present generosity won’t count for much on 12 June next year when the World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo. From then on, it’s nation against nation and the devil take the hindmost.

In the case of the Anglosphere, its representatives — Australia, England and the United States — were dealt a particularly cruel hand by the FIFA draw last Friday. The Socceroos of Australia have to face Spain, the Netherlands and Chile, while the Three Lions of England are pitted against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, and the United States must play Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Superstar statistician Nate Silver, recently of the New York Times and now employed at ESPN, is already on the job and he’s come up with a matrix that plots each team’s probability of advancing beyond the group stage. It doesn’t look good for Australia, but Nate gives England and the USA a fighting chance, which is a jolly decent thing to do.


Note: When Britain’s rule in Aden ended on 30 November 1967, the Secretary of State for Defence, Denis Healey, shared a nostalgic drink with Sir Charles Hepburn Johnston, the last Governor of the colony. As the two looked out across the Arabian Sea, with the sun setting for the final time on the British Empire east of Suez, Healey asked Johnston how he thought the British Empire would be remembered. Johnston replied that it would be remembered for only two things: “the game of soccer and the expression ‘fuck off'”.

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.

The Saints remembered

Saturday, 18 May, 2013 0 Comments

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed a song titled Just Like Fire Would on 14 March in Brisbane during the opening show of the Australian leg on their Wrecking Ball Tour. “I go to work and I earn my pay load / And the sweat, it falls to the ground” is a couplet that fits perfectly into the Springsteen narrative of the blue-collar hero, and then there’s the anthemic chorus plus the guitar riffs. What’s not to like about this cinematic Guthrie-style composition? The song, however, was written far from the industrial heartland of Ohio. A seminal Australian rock band called The Saints, which formed in Brisbane in 1974, included Just Like Fire Would on their 1986 album, “All Fools Day”, and it became part of the canon of Down Under music, much of which is covered by dust, sadly, given Queensland’s remoteness from the rest of the world. And then along came The Boss. Not a sparrow falls from the lyrical sky without his noticing and so The Saints were elevated, for a brief moment in March, onto the musical plane where dwell the likes of Born to Run and Glory Days.

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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