Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Austria is different

Geese in flight - Hungary
Sometime I look around me and think that the world is completely mad. After a moment's reflection I realize that in fact it is.
There is a forum called Virtual Vienna Net where expatriates exchange ideas and information and general banter. 
A week or so a go someone posted - saying that they had some friends coming to Vienna and were there places they could go that were smoke free. 
This prompted a few rational responses before the Smoking Fascists arrived and I watched in fascination as the usual diatribe ensued from the wingnuts:
Smokers have rights; A Big Mac can kill you too; why don't you ban guns in America; car exhausts are just as bad; if you don’t like it here then go back to where you came from etc etc.
It is a strange country. You just cannot have a sensible conversation about smoking. Even non-smoking Austrians will go to the barricades to maintain the rights of smokers to pollute every corner of the country.
I used to think that it was because Austrians just don’t want to be told what to do, wanted to be independent, and demand the right to make their own decisions.
Nowadays I just think they are Fuckwits. 
Anybody who demands the right to be poisoned does not deserve the right to be able to make their own decisions. 
But things are looking up marginally. 
I July is the date that smaller establishments have to decided whether to be smoking or non-smoking - and larger ones have to have a separate smoke free area. 
Well the first will work just fine and our favorite cafe, Cafe Diglas in the Wollzeile has gone entirely smoke free. Bliss - you will see me there a lot from now on.
Having a smoke free area in most restaurants is like having a pee-free area in a pool. It does not work.
But that’s Vienna. Austria is different.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Well I didn’t think of this one

Vienna sunset today
Annie has pointed out that the first salvo fired at Julia is because she is in a de facto relationship and this may encourage other women to do the same. Then they will be trapped without children when they discover that their partner does not want to have children. So she is a bad role model. WTF?
The entire article is complete rubbish - but the writer Bettina Arndt is not noted for her brain power in matters of practicality. Of course she has been battered senseless by letter writers who have taken the time and trouble to point out that is is a steaming twit.
The more unfortunate thing is that the Sydney Morning Herald would publish such ill thought through antediluvian rubbish.  
I am now waiting for the Church Brigade to march in the streets about an unmarried couple occupying the prime minister’s Lodge and fornicating in there! 
And incidentally - if there are any problems with Julia - we can use the excuse that she was in fact born in Wales. No - not Kenya like President Obama - Wales. 
It is a small plot of land located somewhere in the British Isles and where the people play Rugby and talk an incomprehensible dialect. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

I love the smell of napalm in the morning

It smells of.........England being crushed by Germany. But there is no need for me to stick the boot into England. They eat their own over there and they have done so in spades since the hammering. If you want to see what infanticide looks like - just check any British newspaper online. 
Of course the referee who made one of the worst blunders in history gets a caning too - but if you want to play a game like this and not have a video referee this is what you get - there is no point whinging about it. I have said my piece but I for one know that Sepp Blatter has his head too far up his bum to hear anything at all except his heart beating so you can all just witter on about how unfair it is and if we had got this goal it would have made all the difference. Diddums!

Germany was just far too good. I wonder if Germany can win this damn thing? I am practically - German - I can bask in the reflected glow. 
This morning  I was up shortly after dawn and went for a ride. I was up early because Muffin had a restless night. When Muffin has a restless night we all have a restless night. 
In this case it was just me because Cate was in Chicago. Today she is back in Peoria. 
The appropriate solution to this would have been to swing Muffin by her tail against the wall and dash her brains out but I refrained from this and got up extremely early (for me) - 5:30 AM in fact  - and rode for 1.5 hours. It was glorious out there today. 

At the present time we are having the Donau Insel Fest.  
The island looks like someone built a vast shanty town out of old bits of wood and cardboard and then bombarded it with 6 millions tonnes of garbage. It looks like a gigantic Spar in which 10 drunken elephants have stampeded for hours.  
I have never in my life seen so much rubbish in one place.  Apparently on Saturday they had 1,000,000 visitors - and it looks like every one of them dropped a kilo of rubbish and 40 cigarette butts on the ground. 
 And all this crap is blowing into the Danube. Very disappointing. Where are the cleaners? They were beetling about in other parts of Vienna when I was riding. 
On a happier note - from the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘JULIA GILLARD'S rise to power has catapulted Labor back into a crushing election-winning lead over the Coalition.
Herald/Nielsen poll conducted after the political execution of Kevin Rudd shows the voters who abandoned Labor in recent months have swarmed back and Ms Gillard has a thumping 21-percentage-point lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister.’
Love it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What will they say about Julia?

I have been thinking about the things that people - and women in particular - will say about Julia Gillard as Prime Minister - that they would never say about a man. 
I cannot possibly think of all of these things myself but have put down some dead certainties. Perhaps you can help me with others. 
Firstly, we will hear endlessly about how Julia assassinated Kevin Rudd. The callous, ambitious, self-serving bitch. How dare she do what has been done in political parties since time began. But - she is a - gasp splutter - girl!
Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition has been banging on about this traitorous act - blithely ignoring the fact that he did precisely this to the former Leader of the Opposition just some months ago.  
It is a long tradition in the Federal Parliament that the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition spend a lot of time verbally tearing each other to shreds. 
It used to be verbal jousting - but now it is both vicious and visceral. 
It is particularly so with Tony Abbott who is a bible bashing, tub thumping Catholic and is a nasty, lying, pious, poisonous prick who does a remarkably good job of hiding any signs of his ‘christianity’ -whatever that is. 
He is the the type of man who, had I not abandoned the catholic faith a long time ago, would prompt me to tear up my membership card, burn it, piss on the ashes and post them to the vatican. 
Julia is a particularly robust debater and will tear Abbott to shreds in Parliament.  When she now does this as Prime Minister she will be accused of being aggressive or non feminine or - a particularly good epithet developed for Hillary Clinton - shrill. 
This was extended to ‘Shrillary” and used extensively by Hillary’s opponents - on both sides of the political fence. 
We have had some snappy dressers as Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition. Paul Keating was dressed by Ermenegildo Zegna and always looked the part. John Howard always look like a dropped pie - that was just the way his suit clung to him. Alexander Downer looked like a Walrus that had been lying in the sun for too long without using moisturizer. 
None of these attracted any comment at any stage on their appearance or dress. 
There will be endless commentary on Julia’s clothing, hair styles, make up and every other damn thing they can think of. I can see the headlines now 
‘Julia’s fashion faux pas’, 
‘Julia shouldn't wear grey’. 
‘Oh Julia - what were you thinking?’ 
‘Bad Hair day for Julia’
The tragedy is that it will be mainly women who write this tripe - and they have done hatchet jobs on every female leader we have had in Australia.
We have had Prime Ministers who looked like garden gnomes, cockatoos, chimney sweeps and Italian pimps. We have had Prime Ministers who were barely literate - who were myopic troglodytes - marginally rising above pond life - but chosen by the system to lead. 
But they were men and this was expected. 
New benchmarks will be designed for Julia - as they are for most women leaders 
Ms Thatcher being a rare exception because she always was ahead of the game - (in a sort of terrifying ‘I am trapped on this spaceship with a big hairy fangy slobbering Conservative Alien who is going to wrap me in a cocoon and suck me as dry as a corn husk’ type of way). 
Julia is very well educated, intelligent, erudite, witty, passionate, committed, dedicated, focused - and it will not be enough. 
‘A man would do this better’ they will say.
‘Julia is too emotional’ they will say - or even better - if she is not - ‘Why doesn’t Julia display emotion?
And the killers - to be discussed endlessly
Why isn’t Julia married?
‘It’s just not right, I don’t understand it, a woman that age - not married - it’s not natural’
‘And she has never had children. How can she possibly understand the needs of a family if she has never had children. You cannot trust a woman who has not had children she is just not - you know - complete.’
‘Oh - and she doesn’t even go to church. How can you trust someone who doesn’t go to church. I mean - who does she pray to?'
‘You know she was a union lawyer. You can’t trust those union people they are out to ruin the country’.
‘Did you know that Julia helped make St Petersburg a sister city to Melbourne. That’s in Russia you know. They are communists there and they don’t believe in god either’. 
‘My Auntie Enid knows someone who knows a friend of a friend  of Julia’s and she says that Julia is pagan who sacrifices goats in her lounge room. No dear - I don’t really know what a pagan is - I think it is some type of football supporter. No I am not sure what type of goats dear - they may have been sheep’
It’s enough to make you vomit. But she will call an election soon and I for one will go the Australian Embassy to vote for her. 
The though of that verminous little crucifix-sucking crud-busting toe-rag Tony Abbott leading Australia makes me break out in a rash.

I know I promised - but

I promised I was done with football - but I just had to share this. From the Sydney Morning Herald. 
Disastrous news for England fans ahead of the crunch last-16 match with Germany Sunday: an octopus in Germany with a perfect track record of predicting World Cup matches has plumped for a German win.
Two plastic boxes containing tasty morsels, one with a German flag and one with an England flag, were lowered into the tank that houses Paul the octopus at his home in Sea Life in Oberhausen, western Germany.
Paul immediately climbed into the German box to a huge roar of approval from the crowd.
A two year-old octopus "Paul", the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Germany's victory in their World Cup last 16 clash against England.
A two year-old octopus "Paul", the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Germany's victory in their World Cup last 16 clash against England. Photo: Reuters
Earlier in the tournament, the mollusc medium correctly predicted Germany would beat Ghana and Australia in their group D matches and was also right to predict they would lose to Serbia.
And the eight-legged oracle is also coming off a run of good form at major championships. He had an 80-percent record for Germany games at the European Championships.
England fans have reason to feel somewhat betrayed by his latest prediction. Paul should by rights be an England supporter, having been born at Sea Life in Weymouth, on the south English coast.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beware the Badger's Curse (and Friday Quiz)

OK just to get this out of the way (and this is the last post that will refer to football)

Beware of the Badger’s curse!
I told you I had put  curse on the Azzurri - and they did not get out of the first round of the World Cup. 
I have never seen so many crying Italians. Bliss!
And Karma!  
France got to the world cuo courstesy of a handball by Thierry Henry. Result: Out in the first round. I don't believe in Karma - but WTF.

And now for something completely different. Some photos. Eight have music in common. One is Austrian.

All of them are on my iPod. If you like you can tell me who they are. If you don't like then don't!

You can cheat by looking at the pic properties.But do you really want to cheat?

Australia has a new Prime Minister and she’s a woman!

The Milky Bar Kid, the Ruddster and Julia Gillard.

This is what happens when you fail to qualify for the quarter finals in the World Cup - regime change. Australians are ruthless about sport. 
I remember on election night a couple of years I had a glass too many of the terrific red wine we had cellared to farewell John Howard. At one stage - late - when the results were almost all in I went out into the back garden and professed my love of Julia to the stars. I think she is terrific. 
We were all disappointed in Kevin Rudd (the Ruddster) as he turned out to be an erudite Boffin rather than the more visceral action man we had hoped for. 
The fact that he looked liked the Milky Bar Kid never helped. Hs approval ratings as PM tanked so totally and so fast that he just had to go and - after Germany trounced Australia - the game was up. 
Well - the players and coach did what they could - who else could we blame?
Julia Gillard will be an excellent PM. She is smarter and tougher than Kevin Rudd and much more practical (she is a woman). She has been through the tough schools of the Labor movement - and there are none tougher.
Because she is single Julia has of course already been subject to a hate campaign from the right - and they will step this up now. 
No she is not a Lesbian (and this matters only to the right wing). 

She has a boyfriend - but she has been vilified for - amongst many other things - not having children (‘she is deliberately barren!’ shrieked one of the loonier right wing Senators) and having a kitchen that is too tidy (I kid you not).
And - as far as I can tell - she does not pray to an invisible man in the sky or do any of that mumbo jumbo stuff. How cool is that!
Just love it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is this the worst (best) dive in history?

A slow motion replay has revealed that Daniele de Rossi in fact collided with a Butterfly which brought him crashing to the ground clutching his leg in agony. No one had warned the Italian team about the vicious South African Killer Butterflies.

This is the same man who took a dive and cost New Zealand a win.

He is the 'most valuable' player in the Italian side. Why? Apparently because he is the best diver.

The whole thing is a complete farce - and the Italians are the most farcical.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The worst film I have ever seen

I have been racking my brains to remember the worst films I have ever seen. This is very subjective of course and the films that I hate may be - in fact almost certainly are - adored by other people - but I am film critic of some renown and know rubbish when I see it.

There are films that Cate and I have walked out of. One I can remember distinctly was Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. I quite liked the first Bridget Jones movie - and really should have known better than to see a sequel. We lasted only ten minutes.

Another was Hoodlum with Laurence Fishburne and it had Tim Roth - so I expected more. It was ghastly. crass, gross, vile, disgusting.

One that I wanted to walk out on was Swordfish with Hugh Jackman - but I was with some people who really needed to see as much of Hugh Jackman as they could - so I was trapped.

This is the one where he is a computer whiz and under duress is required to perform miracles deciphering code or debugging things at maniacal speed - fingers flashing across the keyboard.

He never gets messages saying “Internet Explorer has stopped working - please wait while we look for a solution” (don’t bother - there isn’t one!)

A recent one was Australia. We were in a hotel somewhere and paid an extraordinary amount of money to watch this on the crappy TV in the hotel room. Strangely - no matter that Cate stays in 4 and 5 star hotels when she travels on business - the TVs are often crappy - and they all have really terrible reception. It is like watching the screen through a bed sheet.

After 15 minutes of Australia we agreed that it was not worth watching so turned it off.

I think (and I am guessing) that because it is a Baz Luhrmann movie it was probably a caricature of Australia and some Australians and was not supposed to represent them as they are in real life. Just as we are presented in movies like Crocodile Dundee and that sort of stuff. Knuckleheads with funny accents who drink a lot of beer.

Anyway - it was a pile of steaming nonsense and not worth the effort. We would have been better off watching Mammary Lane which was on the Adult Channel. This featured Tyfanee Starr and Stud Burrell who are two of my favorite actors.

I can remember some others - but it might be like what they say about childbirth - the longer ago it was - the less you remember about the bad bits.

One that will never leave me. One that was so excruciatingly and cloyingly awful - one that has left an indelible stain on my mind which will never be erased - is Pearl Harbor.

This for me was the worst film ever I have ever seen for so many, many reasons.

It is a pretty simple story - told very well in fact in Tora, Tora, Tora. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and catch part of the American fleet at anchor. Many die. America enters the war. can we make that TARFU?

I know - let’s make it a love story with - wait for it - Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett (groan).

Let’s turn a simple plot into something so implausible that it will make people gasp with disbelief.

let’s give them some totally risible dialogue and retch inducing moments so that people Laugh out Loud during the film. i.e.

RAF Squadron Leader speaking to American pilot back from shooting down Jerry.

Some people frown on the Yanks for not being in this war. I'd just like to say that if there are any more back home like you, God help anyone who goes to war with America.”

Well - we cannot have the movie ending with a defeat for the Americans so we have to extend it to cover Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo.

Yes I know this has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. Oh - and let’s have the fighter pilots fly the bombers - well they are airplanes aren’t they? Engines and wings - what’s the difference?

Let’s take a film with really terrific potential and fuck it up so badly it becomes unwatchable except to the hammered, stoned and mentally impaired and really old people in nursing homes who are propped up in front of the TV by nurse and left there for the duration whimpering silently and trying to commit self-euthanasia through will power alone.

I will never see another film this bad again - simply because I will refuse to watch it. When I saw this I was trapped with a group of people and had to content myself with some discrete groans and sighs - theirs and mine.

The best part about the film is the enormous number of hilarious derogatory reviews it generated on IMDB.

It won many awards - and - except for one - all for sound, music, editing and special effects. Strangely it won the award in China for Outstanding Translated Foreign Film.

I think that perhaps the translators took a local view of the dialogue and made some changes. i.e.

RAF Squadron Leader speaking to American pilot back from shooting down Jerry.

“You have proved your bravery against the fascist hordes but are still an Imperialist Running Dog and and not worthy to lick our boots . Grovel before the proletariat you American swine.”

Oh - and this film capped Ben Affleck’s nomination by the Razzies for “Worst Actor of the Decade”. A title he so richly deserved.

It Sucks!

This is the type of news I like to read:

“Hollywood actress Amanda Bynes has retired - at the ripe old age of 24. The Hairspray star and Forbes young rich-lister used Twitter to announce she had quit the film industry because "being an actress isn't as much fun as it may seem."

Now this is the type of actor I really like. One who retires before I have heard of them. If only some others would follow this example.

A cynic would say that Amanda is retiring because she cannot get any work - but I am not that type of person.

Although I am reminded of the ‘retirement’ a few years ago of the woman in Australia who stood in front of the Lotto machine (or whatever it is) and read the number off the balls as they landed.

She was sacked and later issued a statement that she had retired to spend more time with her family.

One cynic suggested that her family would really value the extra 7 minutes per week she could spend with them. Cruel world.

And no I have not yet worked out what Joe Lieberman is trying to do. It has me foxed completely - this is bizarre even by US standards - but I will keep thinking.

It would almost be worth watching the frothing, apoplectic, eye popping, vein expanding, ear steaming performance this will bring forth from Glenn Beck - but not quite. All the best bits end up on YouTube and I shall be patient.

The Kiwis have put Australia to shame - holding the Azzurri to a draw. The Italians did their customary diving to get a penalty - and succeeded - but this is the way the operate - and indeed are expected to operate.

An English newspaper I read said that it was ‘cunning play’ by the Italian player who took the dive.

Honestly - who would want to watch a game where cheating is an integral and accepted part of it.

Football is one of the few games where you can do this - which is why it is now an art form - because it is not about playing the game - it is only about winning.

It sucks!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Housewife burned in rissoles incident


The post headline is indeed a story in the Austrian Independent. I shall not elaborate because anyone who cannot cook a rissole without creating chaos needs no publicity from me.

Because it has been a particularly grueling weekend in terms of World Cup matches - and because Maalie made some particularly pertinent and hurtful remarks in response to my friendly post about English football - I am not going to attempt to do anything except regale you with a couple of stories.

We know by now that people who live in Arizona are different. This from CNN a week or so ago:

“RENO, Nev. -- Voters dressed in chicken costumes won't be allowed inside Nevada polling places this year.

State election officials on Friday added chicken suits to the list of banned items after weeks of ridicule directed at Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden.

The millionaire casino executive and former beauty queen recently suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when "our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor."

Democrats responded by setting up a website, "Chickens for Checkups," and by sending volunteers in chicken suits to her campaign events”.

When a State adds chicken suits to a lost of things banned at polling booths - I think we are in trouble.

The people from Louisiana are also different: This from CNN:

“Louisiana's state senate has designated today a statewide day of prayer in response to the Gulf oil spill.

"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."

Well that should do the job. Look at the Crackerjack job prayer has done for all our previous problems. Hmmm....let me count the ways.

And just to prove that life is stranger than fiction.

Independent US Senator Joe Lieberman has (apparently seriously) proposed that the President have the power to shut down the Internet in cases of emergency.

Titled "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act", the bill stipulates any internet firms and providers must "immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by a new section of the US Department of Homeland Security, dubbed the "National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications".

I am not quite sure what Joe has in mind. he obviously does not know how the Internet works - and so is in good company with the Australian Minister for Communications.

But - I can envisage a big double-handled switch in the President’s coat cupboard. You know the handles I mean - they use them whenever they are electrocuting baddies (or goodies) in black and white films. The warden stands there with his left hand on the big handle - staring at the clock on the wall. The seconds tick down - agonizingly - we wait for the last 60 seconds as the second hand sweeps around the clock. The convicted man squirms in the chair - seat drips from the brow of the priest in the front row of the glass walled viewing chamber - the convicted man’s mother sobs quietly being comforted by the murdered man’s wife. 5 seconds to go - the phone jangles

"Hello my name's Jason from Telstra we are having a special offer this week on iPhone plans - can you spare me five minutes to talk about this?"

"Sure Jason I would love an iPhone, just give me sixty seconds - hold the line"

Zap, Pop, Fizzle.

I am sure Joe is just having a lend of us - I mean look at the picture.

Gotcha with this one. If this does not make Glenn Beck's brain explode nothing will.

This is such a bizarre concept that I am simply at a loss to respond. I will have to think about it.