Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Season's greetings

Hope you received everything on your Christmas list. The Dude and his cousin did!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hair today

December 2005: the Dude had a mohawk. We shaved it off around his birthday in January and he has been growing it ever since. Only once in the past 12 months has a hairdresser been near it, and that was for a quick shape-up in about March or April. The result is below...

December 2006:
Pretty, or what?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Funny feet club together

On one of my favourite websites, Mrs Darcy referred to a recent article about the nineteenth century publisher John Murray's legacy of letters. At the end of the article, excerpts from some letters included this quote:

John Murray letter on Scott and Byron meeting for the first time

I can recollect having seen Ld B at Albemarle St. As far as I can remember he appeared rather a short man, hands and countenance remarkable for the fine blue veins which ran on his temples. The deformity in his leg was to me very evident as he walked down stairs, he carried a stick... Mr M first introduced Walter Scott to Lord B - on meeting, they embraced each other in the most affectionate manner and were highly delighted with each other. It was a curious sight to see the two greatest poets of the age (both club footed) stumping down stairs arm in arm...

I knew that Lord Byron had a club foot but didn't realise that Sir Walter Scott* shared the same affliction as the Dude.

* Actually, according to the Wikipedia, Scott's limp was caused by polio, not a club foot.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Freedom of speech

Another example of Christians asserting their right to express their faith symbolically is discussed over at the Bad Astronomer's blog.
To summarise, a church has erected a brightly-lit cross on a hilltop not far from Mount Palomar observatory, breaking several local ordinances in the process. They defend their right to do this using the First Amendment to the US constitution.
Once again, I think that their determination to stand up for their faith on principle is overriding natural logic here: surely they can find a way to display their faith in a positive way, without contributing unecessarily to light pollution in a sensitive area?
As His Dagginess commented to me the other day, atheists are the only really tolerant people in the world, because there's no imperative for evangelism.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bye-bye Beasley

Why didn't Julia Gillard run for leader of the Labor party, rather than deputy? Surely Australia, one of the first nations in the world to give women the vote, is ready for a female opposition leader? (Note that I don't count any Democrat senators as "opposition" leaders.) More people know who Julia is than who whatsisname is -- you know, the guy who ousted Kim Beasley -- um, Kevin Rudd. I doubt he would have won the leadership without her name on the ticket, so why not give her the job?
Kim Beasley's biggest mistake, the one that perhaps cost him his position as party leader, was of course mixing up his Roves. I mean, what Australian politician would think, on being asked if he had a message for Rove, that he was being asked to console a grieving comedian and not to address the adviser to the President of the United States? Wrong assumption, Kim... you should know that Aussies don't give a fig about international politics when one of our celebrities has recently died in tragic circumstances.
If her husband's well-being was so important that it was essential for our opposition leader to have an opinion on it, I wonder why Belinda wasn't offered a state funeral? Even Brockie had one. Crowds of mourners lined the roads of Mount Panorama to farewell the great Aussie statesman* who did so much for our country. I wonder if these were the same crowds of mourners who, two weeks later, lined the streets to mourn for the four teenagers who were killed in a single-car accident in Byron Bay. In a Commodore, the very brand of car Brockie put his signature on. Yes, he did a lot for our country.

* I suddenly see what they were thinking: somebody got their models mixed up and thought he was advertising a Holden Statesman, not a Commodore. I guess if they'd got the model right, he'd have been buried at sea with full naval honours...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blame Borat

Last week I saw the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Having just that morning read of the rumours of lawsuits Sacha Baron Cohen faces from supposedly unwilling participants in the movie, I had my sceptical hat on as I watched it.
The whole thing is staged and scripted, surely. There's a scene where Borat chases a guy down a New York street, trying to greet him in the "traditional" Kazakh manner. The chase is shot from at least three different camera angles, meaning that it had to be done in several takes, and wasn't in the least spontaneous.
Even if people were filmed under false pretenses (that is, if they really thought they were going to be appearing on a Kazakhstan documentary) it doesn't excuse their behaviour. Instead of suing Borat for exposing them to ridicule, they ought to take responsibility for themselves and look at how their own attitudes and prejudices made them ridiculous in the first place. And the less said about Pamela Anderson looking ridiculous, the better.
On the subject of another blame game, I really enjoyed reading Hemlock's Diary for Sunday, November 26. The amoral Hong Kong gwailo gives his opinion on the ubiquitous pirate DVD industry in China, in his usual acerbic style. I confess to being a pirate myself (although you already knew I was a Pastafarian, right?) having purchased a copy of the most recent Harry Potter movie in Shanghai last year, for RMB3, or approximately 50 cents, only to get it home and discover that it was dubbed in Mandarin and subtitled in Cantonese. Very strange viewing when you speak neither language -- so I gave it to our neighbour.