Monday, March 26, 2007


First, let me note that His Dagginess finally has a new pseudonym and will henceforth be known as Lucky Mark. I can't begin to explain how this came about; suffice it to say that the label was first applied during dinner with several friends on Saturday night, while imbibing sufficient quantities of alcohol to console ourselves that the democratic process is still worth pursuing. Never was the saying so true: "It doesn't matter who you vote for, you always end up with a politician."

Anyway, on the subject of neology, Lucky Mark has a new word he uses when he wants to describe a vast quantity of something, and that word is "shedloads". It's along the same lines as calling someone an "armpit" or an "icehole" when they cut you off in traffic, if ya know what I mean.
But imagine my shock when the absolutely proper Ramona Koval, on a recent episode of Radio National's Book Show, used the term to describe the incomes of certain British authors.

For more neologisms see my earlier entry.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Super Model

15 minutes of fame? Hey, this poster's been up for a week now!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with His Dagginess about whether he is an agnostic or an atheist. Strangely enough, I had always assumed he was an atheist but he sees himself as agnostic: that is, he believes that it is not possible to know whether there is a metaphysical being/force because our knowledge is limited to the physical universe.
Then, a couple of days ago I was listening to an ABC radio podcast of the Philosopher's Zone in which Pascal's Wager was briefly discussed. In brief (and perhaps not completely accurate) summary, the wager says that, logically, if you believe there is a small chance that there is a god -- no matter how infinitesimally small that chance is -- you really have no choice but to believe in God, because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I rushed home to tell Ms Nominative Determinism about it, so she could add it to her arsenal of weapons to try to convert her father. Naturally, she immediately tried to use it on me, but I told her there was no point, because I have decided that the probability of god existing is zero.
We both turned the new weapon on His Dagginess that evening, each hoping to convert him to our own side: Ms ND to her beliefs and me to my unbeliefs. Unfortunately, the Dagster also had a good argument. "I concede your point," he said, "but I think there is an equal probability of all forms of god existing, so now you have to convince me which one I should choose."
Sigh. Back to the drawing board. And I thought I had him there....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Lives of Others

The image above is a new piece of graffiti in Regent Street, Redfern. I like to think of it as the brother of the sad girl I featured a couple of weeks ago, who has since been painted over. I am not sure why I think the first one is a girl and this one is a boy, just as I am not sure why these sad graffiti children appeal to me so much (although this one looks more pensive than sad, I think). I'll be on the lookout for other members of the family.

On to the subject of today's blog. Ms Nominative Determinism and I went to see The Lives of Others last night. A German movie set in the early 80s, before glasnost and the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was very bleak and confronting in parts, but a beautiful and hopeful story nonetheless about the struggle of artists to express the truth in ths face of the repressive regime and under the watchful eye of the Stasi.
It reminded me of the story that some friends of ours tell of their escape from East Germany around that time: two elite ballet dancers, with a small son, they had applied to emigrate to Australia. After months of waiting for visas, they were finally given permission to leave, on the proviso that they left within 48 hours, with only a certain amount of cash (I think it was around $1000) and one suitcase each. Manuela tells how they packed one suitcase with clothes for herself, Till and baby Felix and one full of pointe shoes because they knew that teaching ballet was the only way they could make a living in Australia. Then they opened their home to all their friends and family, telling everyone to take anything they wanted as it would all be gone if they left it behind. They never expected to see many of their friends and family again. More than 20 years later -- post glasnost -- Manuela returned to visit her mother and was pleased to recover some family photographs she had thought never to see again.
I'm not sure whether the movie meant more to me because I could relate it to someone I know who lived through that era, but I think it is a well-told story with very evocative cinematography and great acting. See it if you get a chance -- it's opening at the Dendy soon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happy Mardi Gras!

His Dagginess and the Aforementioned Engineer in the NSW Fire Brigade contingent at Mardi Gras. Yes, that is a fluffy halo he is wearing. More evidence of dagginess...
He went to ten different female parade officials and tried to swap a fire brigade hat for a halo, with no success. Then the lightbulb came on, and he approached a male parade official: bingo! When will he learn that girls at Mardi Gras just aren't interested in him?
Another funny halo story...
Ms Nominative Determinism to new acquaintance watching the parade: My dad is in the fire brigade float.
New Acquaintance: Really? When did he come out?
Ms ND: Oh no, he's not gay, he's just marching to show support for the community.
NA: Which one is your dad?
Ms ND (sheepishly): The one wearing the fluffy halo and body glitter...
More mardi gras photos at my flickr site.

Friday, March 02, 2007

What not to wear

Today's newspaper includes a Call to stay alert after iPod assault. Police investigating an attempted sexual assault in the city have warned women of yet another thing they must not do if they don't want to be raped.
So now we have to add "listening to an iPod while walking to work" to the list of things we can't do, along with wearing short skirts, not hiding the fact that we have breasts, sending out mixed signals (because no men do that, ever), drinking socially, going out alone after dark, going to a house with a friend that may or may not have a person in it you don't know, etcetera.
The thing that annoys me about this story is that, once again, it is implied that it is the responsibility of the victim to avoid the situation. The attacker is hardly mentioned at all, and neither are the hundreds or thousands of people who witnessed the guy following her from Town Hall station to Castlereagh Street. I mean, if I was walking along a Sydney street in peak hour, iPodless, I would be unlikely to notice a man following me. It's hardly fair to blame the victim for listening to an iPod -- unless you blame everyone else on the street at the time who were too busy listening to their own iPods or minding their own business to spot the fact that she was being followed and alert her to the danger.
Can't we get the message? It's never the victim's fault, no matter what she was doing, saying or wearing at the time. Rape is a crime, committed by a criminal and it is ALWAYS the assailant's choice to commit the crime and NEVER the victim's choice to be assaulted.
In defiance, I will listen to my iPod whenever I like.