Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas - Bah humbug!

Christmas muzak in the stores
Days of childhood slip away
Many places caught in war
Our world seems to decay

A focus on all being so "perfect" 
What is consuming all about
Social excess all tinsel bedecked
Causes hold their hands out

Be grateful for who I am
Excessive rumination is a buzz kill
Focus on the bigger meaning or dam
Myself to never fulfill
Good things about Christmas - um
Gratitude for others being near
Christmas pudding with a plum
Which won't be around for another year

Break free from the past
Make Christmas your own
The world is so vast
Let your home be your zone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Savage Art Cuts - the Bastards!

The link - Savage Queensland Arts Cuts! This is the source of text!
 Tamara Winikoff - Executive Director, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)'

'The Queensland arts sector is reeling following the announcement by the Arts Minister of the complete defunding of 15 arts organisations and cuts to a number of others estimated at 30%.
Conversely, the major performing arts organisation have had a substantial boost, with the Queensland Ballet being able to double its budget in just two years and funding increases to La Boite, CIRCA and Camerata of St John’s (Brisbane).

The small to medium visual arts organisations have been particularly hard hit. For fear of becoming a further target, organisational representatives are loath to make any on the record comments, but one said to me, 'This Newman Government simply supports the kind of arts that provide diversionary entertainment activity.

Perversely, some organisations which have lost operational support have received project grants. As one director commented wryly,  'I’m going to extract your skeleton. Now go and dance for me!' Another said, 'It doesn’t make Queensland look progressive, creative or diverse. People with any vision or ambition will be leaving, taking their enterprise out of this state.'

It is estimated that at least 10 staff across the visual arts may be lost to the sector altogether. There is perhaps too cavalier an attitude in government to this kind of loss for a state that had only recently succeeded in building its cultural profile.

With the triennial funding being announced as a lump sum, precise annual figures are not yet available. However, given the statement in the Arts Minister’s release that, 'The organisations …will use government investment to leverage other funding and grow their business,' it is likely that the cuts will increase over the next three years with the view that alternative financial sources must be developed or responsibility transferred.

Queensland has for some time been complaining that the Australia Council, does not distribute funding equitably and Queensland is missing out.  For a conspiracy theorist the cuts could be seen as calculated to force the Australia Council to pick up sole responsibility for supporting the newly defunded organisations.

Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP), Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) and Feral Arts are three which have completely lost their triennial operational support.  A number of other existing triennial clients such as Artisan, the Institute of Modern Art (IMA), and the two regional organisations, KickArts and Umbrella Studios have received cuts of around 25 %. Others like Eyeline magazine, Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) and Umi Arts have had approximately 10% shaved off while Flying Arts with a regional remit have stayed about even.

Knowing that regional organisations KickArts and Umbrella Studios have experienced sizeable cuts of around 25% (which will mean sacking staff and cutting programs), one has to view with some skepticism what the Arts Minister has said in his media release that, 'Regional Queensland is a big winner, with organisations to be funded including…. KickArts.'

Kick Arts has been focusing considerable energy on trying to generate income through retail sales in their Cairns CoCA shop and through the sales of Djumbunji Press prints. The Government itself acknowledges that Cairns has been hit by a downturn in tourism and KickArts will be feeling this pressure on their business alongside most other tourist related programs in the city. The timing of the funding cut therefore, couldn’t be worse.

Some other decisions also seem counterintuitive. An organisation like Media Art Asia Pacific (MAAP) which has just recently won the prestigious Australian Arts in Asia Award having been nominated in five categories, is one which has lost all its funding. Entirely congruent with the ambition of the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ policy, over its 15 year history it has produced 7 international media art festivals across Brisbane, Beijing and Singapore, with representation from 14 countries.

MAAP director Kim Machen says that though they have been given $40,000 for the Land, Sea, Sky project, they have lost their core funding of $100,000 and without it, they’ll lose the $50K they get through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) managed by the Australia Council. What will now become of their travelling exhibition planned in 2014 for Korea and China?

Queensland Centre for Photography QCP has worked diligently over the last 10 years to build not only a credible organisations but one which flies the flag for Queensland and Australian photographers interstate and overseas. They, like MAAP have been one of the few modestly resourced small to medium organisations which is actually exporting artworks by Queensland artists overseas rather than importing  work for local audiences. Perhaps Edmund Capon in his TV series ‘The Art of Australia’ was wrong in his estimation that Australia has outgrown its cultural cringe.

According to the economist Professor Mark H Moore, who spoke recently at a Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) forum on how arts organisations can measure and articulate the public value of what they do, 'one of the things to consider is how the producing and consuming of art would create a civil and political culture in which one might like to live.’ This must now more than ever become a pressing question for Queenslanders.

With Tony Abbot in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane -OMG!

Tony Abbott does not want diversity of funding to support emerging, challenging and progressive art styles and seems to be taking Australia backwards to a bygone era.

‘What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…’ 
 ”I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
“If you want to know who to vote for, I’m the guy with the not bad looking daughters”.

Asylum seekers:
 ”Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
“I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to come in by the back door rather than the front door,”

Climate Change:
“Climate change is absolute crap”.

 “The existing definition of marriage,”  “I probably feel a bit threatened (by homosexuality), as so many people do.”

Indigenous Australians:
 “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”

“If I don’t speak they can’t see me and it will all go away”

The WWW:
 Slow, filtered internet.

International Aid:
Planned $4.5-billion cut to the aid budget would hurt some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, particularly in Africa.

Arts and entertainment:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Macaroni and Beef - The Internet Classic- Author unknown

"A couple of weeks ago we decided to cruise out to Ryan's Steakhouse for dinner. It was a Wednesday night which meansthat macaroni and beef was on the hot bar, indeed the only night of the week that it is served. Wednesday night is also kid's night at Ryan's, complete with Dizzy the Clown wandering from table to table entertaining the little bastards.  It may seem that the events about to be told have little connection to those two circumstances, but all will be clear in a moment.  We went through the line and placed our orders for the all-youcan- eat hot bar then sat down as far away from the front of the restaurant as possible in order to keep the density of kids down a bit. Then I started my move to the hot bar. Plate after plate of macaroni and beef were consumed that evening, I tell you in all, four heaping plates of the pseudo-Italian ambrosia were shoved into my belly. I was sated.  Perhaps a bit too much, however.  I had not really been feeling well all day, what with a bit of gas and such. By the time I had eaten four overwhelmed plates of food, I was in real trouble. There was so much pressure on my diaphragm that I was having trouble breathing. At the same time, the downward pressure was building. At first, I thought it was only gas which could have been passed in batches right at the table without too much concern.  Unfortunately, that was not to be. After a minute or so it was clear that I was dealing with explosive diarrhea. It's amazing how Macaroni and Beef  grease can make its way through your intestines far faster than the food which spawned the grease to begin with, but I digress.  Entering, I saw two sinks immediately inside the door, two urinals just to the right of the sinks, and two toilet stalls against the back wall. One of them was a handicapped bathroom. Now, normally I would have gone to the handicapped stall since I like to stretch out a bit when I take a good poop, but in this case, the door lock was broken and the only thing I hate worse than my wife telling me to stop cutting my toenails with a pair of diagonal wire cutters is having someone walk in on me while I am taking a poop. I went to the normal stall. In retrospect, I probably should have gone to the large, handicapped stall even though the door would not lock because that bit of time lost in making the stall switch proved to be a bit too long under the circumstances. By the time I had walked into the regular stall, the pressure on my rear was reaching Biblical proportions. I began "The Move."  For those women who may be reading this, let me take a moment to explain "The Move." Men know exactly what their bowels are up to at any given second. And when the time comes to empty the cache, a sequence of physiological events occur that can not be stopped under any circumstances. There is a move men make that involves simultaneously approaching the toilet, beginning the body turn to position ones rear toward said toilet, hooking ones fingers into ones waistline, and pulling down the pants while beginning the squat at the same time. It is a very fluid motion that, when performed properly, results in the flawless expulsion of poop at the exact same second that ones rear is properly placed on the toilet seat. Done properly, it even assures that the choad is properly inserted into the front rim of the toilet in the event that the wee stream lets loose at the same time; it is truly a picture of coordination rivaling that of a ballet dancer.  I was about half-way into "The Move" when I looked down at the floor and saw a pile of vomit that had been previously expelled by one of those little bastards attending kids night; it was mounded up in the corner so I did not notice it when I had first walked into the stall. Normally, I would not have been bothered by such a thing, but I had eaten so much and the pressure upward was so intense, that I hit a rarely experienced gag reflex. And once that reflex started, combined with the intense pressure upward caused by the bloated stomach, four plates of macaroni and beef started coming up for a rematch. What happened next was so quick that the exact sequence of events are a bit fuzzy, but I will try to reconstruct them as best I can. In that moment of impending projectile vomiting, my attention was diverted from the goings-on at the other end. To put a freeze frame on the situation, I was half crouched down to the toilet, pants pulled down to my knees, with a load of vomit coming up my esophagus. Now, most of you know that vomiting takes precedence over poop no matter what is about to come slamming out of your rear. It is apparently an evolutionary thing since pooping will not kill you, but vomiting takes a presence of mind to accomplish so that you do not aspirate any food into the bronchial tubes and perhaps choke to death. My attention was thus diverted. At that very split second, my rear exploded in what can only be described as a wake ... you know, as in a newspaper headline along the lines of "30,000 Killed in Wake of Typhoon Fifi" or something similar. In what seemed to be most suitably measured in cubic feet, an enormous plug of poop the consistency of thick mud with embedded pockets of greasy liquid came flying out of my rear.  But remember, I was only half-way down on the toilet at that moment. The poop wave was of such force and of just such an angle in relation to the back curve of the toilet seat that it ricocheted off the back of the seat and slammed into the wall at an angle of incidence equal to the angle at which it initially hit the toilet seat. Then I sat down. Recall that when that event occurred, I was already half-way to sitting anyway and had actually reached the point of no return. I have always considered myself as relatively stable gravitationally, but when you get beyond a certain point, you're going down no matter how limber you may be.  Needless to say, the poop wave, though of considerable force, was not so sufficient so as to completely glance off the toilet seat and deposit itself on the walls, unlike what you would see when hitting a puddle with a high-pressure water hose; even though you throw water at the puddle, the puddle gets moved and no water is left to re-form a puddle. There was a significant amount of poop remaining on about one third of the seat rim which I had now just collapsed upon. Now, back to the vomit... While all the pooping was going on, the vomit was still on its way up. By the time I had actually collapsed on the toilet, my mouth had filled up with a goodly portion of the macaroni and beef I had just consumed. OK, so what does the human body instinctively do when vomiting? One bends over. So I bent over. I was still sitting on the toilet, though. Therefore, bending over resulted in me placing my head above my now slightly opened legs, positioned in between my knees and waist. Also directly above my pants which were now pulled down to a point just midway between my knees and my ankles. Oh, did I mention that I was wearing not just pants, but sweat pants with elastic on the ankles. In one mighty push, some three pounds of macaroni and beef, two or three cokes, and a couple of Big, Fat Yeast Rolls were deposited in my pants...on the inside...with no ready exit at the bottom down by my feet.  In the next several seconds, there were a handful of farts, a couple of turds, and the event ended, yet I was now sitting there with my pants full of vomit, my back covered in poop that had bounced off the toilet, spattered on three ceramic tiled walls to a height of about five feet, and still had enough force to come back at me, covering the back of my shirt with droplets of liquid poop. All while thick poop was spread all over my ass in a ring curiously in the shape of a toilet seat. And there was no fucking toilet paper. What could I do but laugh. I must have sounded like a complete maniac to the guy who then wandered into the bathroom. He actually asked if I was OK since I was laughing so hard I must have sounded like I was crying hysterically. I calmed down just enough to ask him if he would get the manager. And told him to have the manager bring some toilet paper. When the manager walked in, he brought the toilet paper with him, but in no way was prepared for what happened next. I simply told him that there was no way I was going to explain what was happening in the stall, but that I needed several wet towels and I needed him to go ask my wife to come help me. I told him where we were sitting and he left. At that point, I think he was probably assuming that I had wet just a bit in my pants or something similarly benign.  About two minutes later, my wife came into the bathroom not knowing what was wrong and with a certain amount of worry in her voice. I explained to her (still laughing and having trouble getting out words) that I had a slight accident and needed her help. Knowing that I had experienced some close calls in the past, she probably assumed that I had laid down a small turd or something and just needed to bring the car around so we could bolt immediately. Until I asked her, I'm sure she had no idea that she was about to go across the street and purchase me new underwear, new socks, new pants, a new shirt, and (by that time due to considerable leakage around the elastic ankles thingies) new sneakers. And she then started to laugh herself since I was still laughing. She began to ask for an explanation as to what had happened when I promised her that I would tell her later, but that I just needed to handle damage control for the time being. She left.  The manager then came back in with a half dozen wet towels and a few dry ones. I asked him to also bring a mop and bucket upon which he assured me that they would clean up anything that needed to be cleaned. Without giving him specific details, I explained that what was going on in that stall that night was far in excess of what I would expect anyone to deal with, what with most of the folks working at Ryan's making minimum wage of just slightly above.  At that moment, I think it dawned on him exactly the gravity of the situation. Then that manager went so far above the call of duty that I will be eternally grateful for his actions. He hooked up a hose. Fortunately, commercial bathrooms are constructed with tile walls and tile floors and have a drain in the middle of the room in order to make clean up easy. Fortunately, I was in a commercial bathroom. He hooked up the hose to the spigot located under the sink as I began cleaning myself up with the wet towels. Just as I was finishing, my wife got back with the new clothes and passed them into the stall, whereupon I stuffed the previously worn clothing into the plastic bag that came from the store, handing the bag to my wife. I finished cleaning myself off and carefully put on my new clothes, still stuck in the stall since I figured that it would be in bad taste to go out of the stall to get redressed in the event I happened to be standing there naked and some little bastard kid walked in. At that point, I had only made a mess; I had not yet committed a felony and intended to keep it that way.  When I finished getting dressed, I picked up the hose and cleaned up the entire stall, washing down the remains toward the drain in the center of the room. I put down the hose and walked out of the bathroom. I had intended to go to the manager and thank him for all he had done, but when I walked out, three of the management staff were there to greet me with a standing ovation. I started laughing so hard that I thought I was going to throw up again, but managed to scurry out to the car where my wife was now waiting to pick me up by the front door. The upshot of all this is that I strongly recommend eating dinner at Ryan's Steak House. They have, by far, the nicest management staff of any restaurant in which I have eaten."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mainstream Media Bias! Julia Gillard - Tony Abbott

Why is Abbott still a total misogynist- why does the media ignore the amazingly strong speech Gillard gave in parliemnt on 9 October 2012 in response to a motion of no confidence in Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House.  Julia Gillard's words were strong and full of passion - watching the full speech on You-Tube shows a different Gillard who shows she cares about this topic. 
On the tape Abbott, appears weak and he looks more and more guilty as her speech goes on!

The media failed in its reporting of this speech and mostly was was well off the point.  

Why was mainstream media analyses of the Prime Minister’s speech was so off the mark? In her speech she condemned text messages from Peter Slipper, and expressed concern for turning Parliament into a kangaroo court BUT then the remainder of her speech is about the underhanded tactics of a total misogynist - Abbott.  The media must come from an alternate universe as their reporting of what occurred was totally biased and focused on Peter Slipper what they saw as a diatribe - would they have reported in the same way if a male politician was so strong in a speech?

At the time Tony Abbott was saying how he was ‘woman friendly’ with his wife saying what a nice man he is (throw up) while at the same time directing totally uncalled for comments at Gillard referencing her dead father and calling shame on Peter Slipper - pot calling the kettle black!

Finally Gillard got sick and tired of the gutter politics and stood up and said that's enough! Good on her!  Yet no one in the media raises the sexism shown against our elected Prime Minister.  Though politics is a dirty business some attacks on Gillard are cowardly.  The bullying is accepted.

Come on media – open your eyes and report what is going on!

March 2011 a motion was moved at the party's Federal Divisional Council "that this Council notes the actions of the Member for Fisher in accepting nomination by the Labor Party for the position of Deputy Speaker and competing for this position in opposition to Mr Bruce Scott MP nominated for this position by the coalition parties and expresses its concern over the ongoing negative publicity directed at the Member for Fisher and the resulting damage to the Liberal National Party and requests the Applicant Review Committee to take note and take action as deemed appropriate".  Matter was deferred without discussion to the party's state director.   

So now the Liberals aren't liking Peter Fisher so much!

September 2011, Slipper raised concerns of alleged branch stacking by Brough.  There was growing pressure over how the LNP would determine preselection of candidates for the seat of Fisher with Slipper threatening to resign from the party if not re-endorsed.

November 2011, Harry Jenkins, a member of the Australian Labor Party, unexpectedly resigned as 26th Speaker of the House of Representatives.

24 November 2011, Slipper was nominated unopposed and installed as Speaker.  Slipper's acceptance of Labor's nomination as Speaker was considered a "renegade" action and opposition leader Tony Abbott threatened to expel him from the Liberal caucus for his action. Slipper resigned from the Liberal National Party on taking the Speaker's seat and continues in parliament as an independent representative.

So now the Liberals aren't liking Peter Fisher even more so and behind the scenes are looking for ways to undermine him! 

20 April 2012, Slipper was accused of misusing Cabcharge vouchers—an allegation acknowledged as being investigated by the Federal Police. Also accused of sexually harassing a member of staff, James Ashby. Ashby, a 33-year-old gay man, alleged that Slipper sexually harassed him on a number of occasions, via mobile phone text messages and in private conversations.

22 April 2012, Slipper stepped aside from the speakership, meaning he would not take the Speaker's Chair, while investigations into the alleged travel-related misconduct were conducted. The Coalition, as well as Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie and Tony Windsor, called on Slipper to continue to stand aside pending a resolution of the sexual harassment claims.  The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, as well as other senior Opposition figures such as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Eric Abetz, called for Slipper to resign until Ashby's claims were investigated. The Government said it was a legal matter and that they would not be asking for Slipper's resignation.

27 April 2012, Slipper released copies of Cabcharge documents for at least two of the dates in question (a third group of documents contained illegible dates) along with a written statement saying they were clearly in his handwriting, therefore disproving the allegation he handed over blanks. The Government initially agreed, but various questions about the documents, including whether the payments were inflated and even whether Slipper signed them all, were raised in the media.

29 April 2012, Julia Gillard announced that she had spoken to Slipper and he had agreed to stay away from the House.

8 May 2012, Slipper resumed the chair as Speaker and read out a statement denying the allegations against him. He then formally requested that the Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, take the chair in his absence.

9 October 2012, a motion of no confidence in Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House was narrowly defeated by one vote. Julia Gillards speech was in response tho this motion. 

9 October 2012 Peter Slipper later entered Parliament and announced his resignation, saying: "I leave this position without rancour, with a great deal of sadness and, more importantly, with a great deal of regret because I believe that, given the controversy which has occurred in recent times, that it is in the interests of the Parliament that I should take the course of action that I have personally chosen to take."  He moved to crossbench as an independent member of the House of Representatives after his resignation.

12 December 2012, Federal Court Justice Steven Rares dismissed the sexual harassment charges against Slipper saying that he had "reached the firm conclusion that Mr Ashby's predominant purpose for bringing these proceedings was to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper and not to vindicate any legal claim he may have for which the right to bring proceedings exists." 
8 January 2013 the Federal Police summonsed Slipper alleging three offences in relation to allegations concerning the use of Cabcharge vouchers.

January 2013, Slipper was summonsed to appear before court facing charges of dishonesty relating to alleged use of Cabcharge vouchers during 2010.  According to documents released by the court, Slipper is alleged to have used Cabcharge to pay for hire cars to visit a number of wineries in the Canberra region in January, April and June 2010.

February 2013 Slipper's lawyer has described the Cabcharge fraud case against his client as "mystifying" and questioned whether the matter would have been handled differently if it did not involve the former parliamentary Speaker.  “In my experience matters of this amount aren't dealt with through the court system,” he said.   Mr Russo said he did not understand the political process, but said there was no precedent for this type of prosecution.

Ongoing - ??
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