The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

These are a few of my favourite things

“Reflectors will be attached to captive elephants in New Delhi to ensure they are visible to drivers at night to prevent collisions, a report said yesterday.”
From The Age

‘Son of Star Wars’ too costly for phantom menace: NZ
Concerning the New Zealand Government’s entirely rational decision to not get involved in the US missile shield program.

Jeremy Paxman: And you believe American intelligence?
Tony Blair: Well I do actually believe this intelligence.
Jeremy Paxman: Because there are a lot of dead people in an aspirin factory in Sudan who don't.
Courtesy of the BBC’s Newsnight

“It's like my mother always told me, rana rana rana rana rana rana rana rana rana rana and codeine and / goddammit you little muthafucker if you ain't got nuthin' nice to say then don't say nuthin'.”
Courtesy of Eminem, ‘My Dad’s Gone Crazy’ from The Eminem Show

John Stanhope, Chief Minister of the ACT, where I happen to live. Currently attempting to push through a comprehensive law reform proposal to remove any discrimination from ACT legislation against gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Canberra is renowned in Australia for having legalised prostitution and pornography, and decriminalised marijuana for personal use. I think it would be great if it also had the most progressive laws regarding gender and sexuality. Hey Doug, do I get to be an honorary lesbian now?

Sir Ian Mckellan’s (a.k.a. Gandalf/Richard III/Magnito etc.) Homepage
Everything you ever wanted to know about The Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare on stage and screen, and gay activism. The guy just rawks.

The Lords of the Rhymes
Bombadil aka B-dil aka MC First and Fatherless has been dropping hobbit rhymes since naught but ents roamed the hills of middle-earth. That's right: sucker MCs, wargs and wildmen beware... Ol' Tom's older than your mama's mama's mama and he's got the song for you and yours.
What else can I say, except:
Elf booty got soul!
Elf girls like to rock’n’roll!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Trust me, I'm stupid

I was, to my own surprise, intrigued by Shane Warne's admission last night that he has actually taken two of the banned diuretic tablets for which he has been suspended. While I admit to knowing very little about cricket (un-Australian of me I know), the whole thing raised some interesting points for me.

First was Warne's 'plead stupidity' angle. "Whether, rightly or wrongly mate, whether you hate me, you like me, you love the way I play or whatever, the facts of the matter are that I don't read much, I don't take a lot of interest in the outside world . . . I just play cricket," he said. That may well be, but I find it hard to believe that he was so narrow-mindedly focused on the game of cricket that he failed to register the fact that taking banned substances can be bad for your career, not to mention your health (drugs are bad mmkay?). I have known some elite-level athletes, and it would be hard to find a group of people more paranoid about what they put in their bodies. Forget banned drugs, most of them I've met have highly developed food paranoia of the sort only matched by chronic anorexics. Warne also seems to have missed the point that you sound more than a little stupid complaining about the unfairness of being suspended for taking a banned substance, at the same time as you are admitting to taking it more times than you have been busted for it.

The second thing that struck me was that apart from cricket, the thing that really seems to be occupying Shane Warne's mind is his own reflection. The banned tablets were (allegedly) taken to get rid of a double chin. We have now acheived such a high level of equality in our society that it is no longer just women who are possessed of crippling body image problems. Now men are surrounded by glossy magazines telling them why their appearance is so totally inadequate. And it seems that for people like Warne, sporting skills are not enough - you have to look good too.

I was also disturbed by the estimation that a one-year ban from cricket will cost Warne in the order of 2-3 million dollars. What kind of a world is it when, by his own admission doing nothing but play cricket is valued at 3 million dollars a year, compared to what we give people who, for example, search for a cure for cancer, devote their lives to battling human rights violations, etc. I mean, I know he plays cricket very well, but bloody hell.

Finally I was startled to note Warne's claim that he has been offered a cameo in a movie. God help us all.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Next come the locusts

Really didn't want to get out of bed this morning, as I'm pretty tired after a little road trip with five friends. We spent the weekend at Jervis Bay - the first time in quite a while that I have been to the coast for more than a day. Of course, last time I went to the coast for the day, a substantial proportion of Canberra burned to the ground. This time, torrential rain and gale force winds caused havoc in NSW. Coincidence? I think not.

We drove down through the Kangaroo Valley, which was startlingly lush and green compared to much of the ACT and NSW. We went on a detour to the town of Berry, to drop in on a friend of one of the road-trippers, who runs an organic bakery. There are definately worse ways to be spending your life. I'm all in favour of having friends who do this sort of thing - it allows you to visit funky little towns and scam delicious fresh food. Anytime any of you want to try a career change and open a bakery, cafe, winery etc. I will definately be a regular visitor.

I was just glad to actually make it that far. As there were six of us we took two cars, and I was driving one of them. I didn't really know where we were going, so we agreed to go convoy-style. Somewhere past Lake George the lead car accelerated to something like 140 km/h and disappeared over the horizon. Some twenty minutes later my phone rang - "Ummm, we haven't actually seen you for a while. Are you OK?" Oh yes, just fine, chugging along somewhere in the vicinity of the speed limit. So where are we going again?

Any road trip requires good driving music - something with a good beat to keep you awake and alert. The driving music of choice this time was my rap/hip hop compilation, which starts off with the 8 Mile Sountrack before toning down and getting funky with the Black-Eyed Peas and US3. Yes, for two middle-class Australian women (one eurasian, one very white) we were probably enjoying some extremely dubious rap lyrics far too much, but it was fun anyway.

Naturally, being a rare weekend at the coast, it rained a lot. But it seems churlish in Australia's massive drought to complain about the rain. We went to Hyams Beach for a swim on Saturday anyway. According the the Guinness Book of Records it has the whitest sand in the world. The water was really warm too, barely different from the air temperature. Unfortunately the waves were really strong, so you couldn't go in too far. The good thing about a coast trip with friends though is that it needn't matter if the weather isn't cooperating - swimming; walks on the sand; frisbee on the beach; beer, fish and chips at the local pub; then back home for more alcohol and board games. A slow morning reading crappy magazines before hitting the beach again.

We got back into Canberra late yesterday afternoon, in time to go and see Tropfest. I was really glad that we made the effort to go, despite the driving-induced tiredness and the constant threat of rain, always a joy at an outdoor film festival. There was no way I was going to stay awake long enough for the judging though. Having read the announced winners this morning, I don't really agree with the judges' choice of Buried, but since I watched the films and am writing this in a tired haze, I don't really have a well formulated argument for an alternate choice. Suggestions are welcome.