"Humor is a funny way of being serious"
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Copyright© 2001-2010, Renato Obeid
"Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.”
-Jane Perrone, The Guardian
Saturday, April 21, 2001
Prime Minister John Howard announced today the appointment of the new Governor General of Australia, or should that be the new Ayatollah of Australia?
For the new GG designate, who will take up the post in June, is the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth.
It's the first appointment of a churchman as Australia's head of state and the Queens representative but Mr. Howard was at pains to point out that the current GG is a devout Roman Catholic and that his predecessor was a self-declared atheist.
So much for separation of church and state.
Unelected right-wing senior cleric as head of state sounds like an Ayatollah to me.
But maybe this country does need an Ayatollah, Ayatollah Hollingworth – there's an ad running on MMM, one of the country's major FM radio networks, advertising for prostitutes!
Another safe smoke – the government health warning on this packet says "your smoking can harm others".
F--- them, who cares?
As long as those "others'' aren’t smoking cigarettes with a similar warning - that could harm me (being an "other" in that particular context).
To counter my smoker's cough and smoker's rasp, I've been smoking more – a hair of the dog.
Seriously though, none of this should be in any way construed as my endorsing smoking – smoking is a vile deadly habit that kills one in two of its adherents!
Half of all long-term smokers die of smoking-related illnesses.*
What more disincentive do you need than that!?! – If there are two of you in a room smoking, statistically, one of you is guaranteed to die from it!
You're safer off playing Russian roulette!
Russian roulette is safer! – Out of six people in a room playing Russian roulette, only one is guaranteed to die! (That's not factoring in the participants chickening out and deciding to play dominoes instead)!
So next time you're having a smoke with your fellow death rowers, look around and know that half of them (including possibly yourself) are going to die of it!
The best way to give up smoking is to not take it up in the first place.
That I feel should be emphasized and worked on in anti-smoking campaigns (smokers are a different category entirely).
Prevention is vital – after all, all smokers where once non-smokers!
Even if you only smoke socially or occasionally, you should stop before smoking becomes the punctuation in your life.
You wake up you have a smoke
You get out of the shower you have a smoke
You have a meal you have a smoke
You have a break you have smoke
Before you leave home you have a smoke
You get home you have a smoke
Before you go to sleep you have a smoke etc etc etc
*Then again, all nonsmokers (still) die (anyway) of nonsmoking-related illnesses so smoking is arguably safer than not smoking according to my calculations.
I’ve assured my young cousins that they can smoke as much as they like when they’re older and it won’t kill them – I will.
I happened to find myself at the casualty section of the Westmead Hospital in Parramatta at 2.00am on Saturday morning.
Somebody I was out with apparently got slipped a Mickey in their drink.
Alls well that ends well – they weren’t "cured" by a medical professional but recovered during our endless wait in the aptly named waiting room.
Our wait was understandable, amongst the distinguished personages in the waiting room ahead of us in the que were a druggie who claimed to be hearing voices and some sort of criminal who was handcuffed and escorted by two police officers.I was half expecting a Hollywood movie type situation, a la Diehard, where the criminal escapes and takes everybody hostage or something or other.
Ansett Airlines, who have a considerable chunk of their fleet grounded at the moment due to insolvency issues, are claiming that they have a perfect safety record.
Maybe that's because they never fly.
Pauline Hanson is up in arms after learning of a leaked memo from one of her favorite fashion outlets, Que, instructing staff to not sell her any of their wares because they apparently feel that she can do their image harm.
Never mind, she'll always have Kmart which suits her and her demographic better.
There's just not enough sport on Australian TV, there ought to be more.
The US/China spy plane standoff is over and I quite miss it actually.It wasn’t any Cuban Missile Crisis but it was the closest thing that this generation's had to it.
They say that Australia is a classless society and they're right.
People are a lot more easygoing here, down-to-earth, good natured, no airs and graces.
It's also just a lot easier to interact with people, to get on with people – people here have a lot less chips on their shoulders and baggage and are less guarded and less complexed, a lot more natural.
Although I'm staying in a mansion on a multi-acre property, outside the natives are getting restless - I do occasionally go into Campbelltown and it's a pretty rough area.
Single mothers, welfare dynasties (family's who have had three generations on welfare – grandparents, parents and kids) and, just down the road from here, there's an occasional Westie intifada – youths throwing stones at passing cars.
At night I always here police sirens.
Those old enough to remember other times tell me that Campbelltown wasn’t always like this – that it used to be a quite, peaceful close-knit community until the dreaded three words that no Australian community wants to hear HOUSING COMISION FLATS came along and there went the neighborhood.
About a month and a half ago I went to Katoomba (in the Blue Mountains) with Maha and Matt.
On the sidelines, there was a quintessential Aborigine - a middle-aged man wearing a loincloth and face paint, sitting down playing a didgeridoo.
Tourists where gathering around watching and yuppie Wasps were bringing their children up to him like he was Santa Claus or something.
The kids weren’t fooled by this black bearded Santa though – they were quite scared actually, despite him playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for them on his didgeridoo.
Who's going to apologize to them for that trauma!?!
I even heard one mother telling her child, as she led her away from the "audience" with the Abo, "that was special wasn’t it"
And I decided that I wanted an Aborigine – take him back to Lebanon for my little cousins, they've already got a Sri Lankan domestic to play with and this would make it quite a party.
We then had lunch at some friend’s of Matt – a gay yuppie couple who had quit the big smoke to live in a caravan in the middle of nowhere.
We had bought a roast chicken with us from the closest shops, which posed a problem as such delicacies in Australia are practically dipped in tar and there was no running water in this bush idyll (they had eschewed all modernity).
There were no tissues or serviettes either (unthinkable for Lebanese!) and I had quickly used up the emergency tissue that I always carry with me.
To make matters worse, they had two huge unruly dogs who jumped and slobbered all over me as their “parents” did nothing to stop them (there’s an argument against same-sex parents).
My clothes were soon covered in dust and dog slobber (I couldn’t wipe my hands there) so I decided to kill two birds with one stone – clean my hands and get back at the dogs.
I proceeded to wipe my greasy hands on the dogs when nobody was looking (they were cleaner than I was by that stage) – “washing” them by wiping them on one dog and “drying” them by wiping them on the other dog.It was a very pleasant afternoon and they were lovely people but I couldn’t wait to get back to Sydney and running water and a very placid lapdog that does a perfect statue imitation (the Boo Boo dog).
Last time I was in Australia I visited a household where the dog was not as welcoming.
The little terrier/terror ‘’greeted’’ me with barks and growls but eventually settled down, accepting my presence as a fait accompli, until I had the impertinence to call his name later on
That reopened old wounds – every time I called his name he’d erupt in protest, barking something to the extent of ‘’I reluctantly accepted your presence but don’t need to be reminded of it and I certainly don’t need your impertinent calling me by name, now let sleeping dogs lie and shut up!’’.
I arrived in Sydney on Friday 2nd March - I fled Melbourne as a refugee on the eve of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix that was brewing in the gentile lakeside suburb of Albert Park where I was staying.
How can I sleep in the day with the din of bloody fighter jets showing off!?! - "practicing" for Sunday's festivities.
If our air force needs to "practice" for a couple of laps over a race track then what chance do they have in actual combat!?!
Out of the frying pan and into the fire – in Sydney it was the eve of "Sydney Day" as I call it, The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras!
One of the topics of the hour in Australia is still the GST (Global Suffering Tax).
How it works is a bit of a mystery to everyone, including the government – it's talked about a lot but nobody quite understands it but it is all pervasive, it's everywhere!
And that in my opinion is the essence of the GST – unhappy with a taxation rate that was already one of the highest in the world, the tax grubbing government just decided to tax EVERYBODY for EVERYTHING ALL OF THE TIME!
Voila, the GST.
And that's something bilateral, something that all political parties can agree to – there's a consensus on tax.
Meet Joe Black; meet John Howard and Kim Beazley.
Whilst it's true that you can't fool all of the people all of the time, you can indeed tax all of the people all of the time for everything!
That the Liberal government campaigned on the GST and won the last election on the strength of that is testimony to the dearth of talent in Australian politics (probably the first and last time in history that a party gets reelected by promising new taxes! – "read my lips, yes new taxes!").
The government announced a five hundred and forty seven million dollar "sports development program" yesterday.
Apart from being outrageously wasteful (over half a billion dollars on sport!), it's a huge misnomer – I thought that sports were already pretty well developed in this country.
A "sports development program" in Australia is like coals to Newcastle, Muslims to Mecca and single mothers to Campbelltown etc.
Charity drives are getting more and more "creative", the most recent being a "shave your head for childhood cancer" charity drive.
I can imagine them getting even more "creative" and outrageous.
Is this a charity drive of the future?
HAVE A WANK FOR CHARITY
Don't be a wanker, have a wank for charity on Red Knob Day
Go on, do it for the kids!
Red Knob Day – look stupid, feel great!
I think that developed countries suffer from information overload.
E.g. on the milk carton it says "for further information call…"!
What further information do you need!?! – It's milk, it comes from a cow and not a giraffe, drink it!
And to make matters worse, it's a free telephone call!
I think that people who are that stupid should have to pay for their telephone call to the 24 hour milk emergency hotline!
I went to my hairdresser in Liverpool today.
I'm pretty much used to him now, but there are three things that you don't want to hear from a hairdresser and I heard them all when I had my first and last haircut there (about a month and a half ago).
"Things aren’t going too well in my business, house painting (1), at the moment so I'm helping my wife here (2)" – but in my country, I'm an Iraqi Kurd (3), I'm a hairdresser" (paraphrasing).
Now who on earth gets their hair cut by an Iraqi Kurd!?! (Other than other Iraqi Kurds who seem to be his main clientele).
My pointing out on these pages that Kurds aren’t exactly renowned for their taste is not going to be an exclusive world first.
How many famous Kurd fashion designers or coiffeurs are there?
Which is understandable and excusable I guess when you're too busy ducking Turks, Saddam Hussein and treacherous Americans*.
I don't get my hair cut there (not since that first and last time), I just go there for grooming because Arabs (and they are Arabs although they pretend not to be) understand and have empathy with hair that isn’t on your head (i.e. on your face, neck etc and anywhere else that non-Aryans have hair).
Although he has the mandatory magazines, with pictures of various hairstyles you're never going to see, on display and goes through the pretence of asking you how you want your hair cut, he seems to come from the "one haircut fits all" school and that haircut is the "Saddam Hussein" for older men and the "Oudai Hussein" for younger men (I had to go around looking like Oudai Hussein for the two weeks they say is the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut).
And he has a moustache.
What is it about Iraqi's and moustaches? - All Iraq's have moustaches (and the men have them too)!
When I go there to have my beard lopped off, he always asks me if I want the moustache off too (rhetorical question I'm sure - he can't imagine that anyone would actually answer yes) and when I answer in the affirmative, as I always do, he seems stunned and repeats the question as we get closer to that moment of doom.
I practically have to sign a release for him to shave off my moustache – one day he'll probably regale the folks back home with the story about the crazy white Leb* who shaves his moustache off!
Apart from its wonderfully diverse and multicultural inhabitants, Iraqi Kurd housepainters/hairdressers and all, the only other interesting thing in Liverpool is the train station – the recently upgraded twenty five million dollar Frank Lloyd Wright-esque (to my inexpert eyes) train station is a wonderful work of architecture that you only really see properly when you're entering it to leave Liverpool (at least you get a good last impression).
Off course one (not me one, some other one) could argue that any place that facilitates leaving Liverpool is wonderful, regardless of its architecture.
Note: Liverpool, Sydney, Australia should not be confused with Liverpool in the UK because they have one too – it's amazing how many English places are named after Australian places!
* Like George Bush Sr. – "rise up against Saddam and we'll help you…help you get visas to America and Australia (Liverpool specifically, where you can be housepainters/hairdressers) after masses of you have been slaughtered".
** He didn’t believe me at first when I told him that I was Lebanese – saying, in Arabic, "It's impossible for someone so white to be a son of Arabs"
Vietnamese are also on my hairdresser veto list.
It’s not racist but merely aesthetic – have you seen some of the hairstyles on some of them (mainly the men)?
Seeing that there are a lot of Vietnamese hairdressers around these days, this has led to a bit of an etiquette dilemma as to how to tactfully avoid getting my haircut by one of them.
I told my cousin Sam about this and he advised me to “just point to someone (non-Vietnamese) and say ‘I want her to cut my hair’”.
Sounds logical and straightforward enough but how would you explain it to them?Pointing to an assortment of women and saying “I want her” might sound okay at a whorehouse but I can’t quite see how I can pull that off at a hairdresser’s salon.
A dentist I went to in Melbourne asked me how many cigarettes I smoked a day.
When I replied that I was on about ten a day he said that, whilst in Lebanon that may not be much, in Australia it is a big deal.I told him that in Lebanon, ten cigarettes is breakfast!
Although Australia's next Governor General is to be a churchman, the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth, there isn't much religiosity in this country.
I think that Australia, like many other developed countries, feels that it doesn't need God.
There's a bit of hubris involved there.
I think that most Australians are oblivious to God, the church etc – I was in town yesterday and this morning, Saturday night out in Sydney, and I saw an apparently intoxicated young man pissing on a church, literally pissing on a church in the middle of town!
Whilst we're used to drunks relieving themselves whenever and wherever they get the urge, this was above and beyond that!
Shades of Sodom and Gomorra there – one can just imagine Roman revelers pissing on their houses of worship sometime just before the fall of Rome.
I can't' understand the international hue and cry over the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan – I really don't think it's the end of the world.
The Taliban are the authorities in Afghanistan and they fell that the statues are idolatrous (which they are) – that's fair enough, unto each his own.
Where was the outcry during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?
And if the Dalai Lama doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack!
The Dalai Lama is a theocratic feudalistic dynastic dictator – the only difference between the Dalai Lama and Ayatollah Khomeini is that the Dalai Lama is not in power thus has to cover up his true nature so he can return to power just like the Ayatollah once did.
During his years in exile in France, Khomeini was revered as some sort of spiritual peaceful Mahatma Gandhi-like figure by the same loony liberal left-wingers who are now courting the Dalai Lama.
The only difference now is that the Dalai Lama has his own press agency – Hollywood (the likes of Richard Gere).
Something must be done to counter the insidious encroachment of the tentacles of Buddhism into the morally and spiritually hungry West.
Buddhism appeals to more and more of these "bankrupt" Westerners because it's novel, exotic, easy and trendy.
Supermarket religion - "I'll have a bit of Buddhism; throw in a bit Feng Shui and give me some of that New Age spirituality (sic)".
Their own religion isn’t good enough – it's too commonplace, too hard so they just cherry-pick parts of other religions that suit them and they can live with.
Apart from using these lost souls to further his political agenda, the Dalai Lama also benefits from them financially.
Make no mistake about it; the Dalai Lama is a multinational corporation just like McDonalds or Microsoft.
And a very astute corporation at that – he doesn’t go after the mass market like McDonald's do, but tailors his product to rich Westerners ("he's going for second and third homeowners" as my friend Noel Stovell* put it").
*Noel’s official title is “Noel Me Mate”.
I spent most of yesterday, Sunday, going through the Sunday trees – that is the Sunday newspapers which seem like entire forest loads of paper.
And I say "going through" because just turning all the pages can take a whole day let alone reading them (which I don't on account that most of what's in them is nonsense).
An American millionaire has just become the world's first space tourist – paying the Russians forty million dollars for that distinction.
At that price you'd want to shop around!
If I went into a travel agency and got quoted forty million dollars, I'd want to shop around – maybe the Americans, the French, other Europeans or the Chinese perhaps.
I can just imagine this bloke coming back to earth and telling his friends "it's a great place to visit but you couldn’t (literally) live there (oxygen issues etc)".
But he may not be the world's first space tourist after all, gays have beaten him to it – they go to Uranus all the time (a variation of the oldest pun in the world).
Wednesday, April 18, 2001
I'm here at Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour where the temperature is a sweltering 27° Celsius.
Just across from me is a female street performer who is just standing absolutely still ? doing nothing and saying nothing.
One could argue that she is the perfect woman.
What better a place to get random ravings on Australia than at Writers Walk at Circular Quay? ? A series of plaques on the pavement containing excerpts from various writers on Australia, Sydney and Sydney Harbor.
This is good to see in a country and, more specifically, a city more interested in sports than culture.
Still, I'd question the appropriateness of putting your greatest writing on the pavement for most people to just walk over (I seem to be the only person reading them and taking care not to step on them - It reminds me of that Baghdad hotel that used to have a mosaic of George H Bush on the lobby floor for people to trample over) but it can be argued that this is the only way to get most Australians to read ? put it outside! (and to get Sydneysiders to read, you not only have to put it outside but outside at the harbor - if a tree falls in Sydney anywhere other than at the harbor than it didn't happen).
This Sydney harbour and bridge worship is a bridge too far – bridges are a means not an end.
Here's one from Rudyard Kipling,
"Sydney was populated by leisured multitudes, all in their shirtsleeves and all picnicking all the day.
They volunteered that they were new and young but would do wonderful things someday."
(Rudyard Kipling," Something of Myself", 1937).
Looking around Sydney Harbor, the first part of that would appear to still hold true today and the promise has certainly been fulfilled.
"In Melbourne all views are equally depressing so there's no point in having one.
No one in Sydney ever wastes time debating the meaning of life ? it's getting yourself a water frontage, people devote a lifetime to the quest"
(David Williamson", "Emerald City", 1987).
"It's grand to be an unemployed and lie in the Domain, wake up every second day and got to sleep again"
(A .B. Banjo Patterson, "It's Grand", 1902)
"The sun came up through the heads and stole its way to the Quay.
Far over the bay each of the tiny waves turned to flame and, as the sun rose higher, it left pearly tracks across the water.
A month would not be long enough to imbibe such beauty"
(Miles Franklin, "My Career Goes Bung", 1946)
""It's a funny thing' Gene said, 'you go to a new country and you expect everything to be different and then you find there's such a lot that stays the same'"
(Neville Shutte, "A Town Like Alice", 1950).
"It 'appened this way, I 'ad just come down, after long years, to look at Sydney town and, struth, was I knocked endways, there surprised, I never dreamed, that arch that cuts the skies, the Bridge!"
(C.J. Denis, "I Dips Me Lid", 1936)
"This is really a wonderful colony, ancient Rome, in her imperial grandeur, would not be ashamed of such an offspring"
(Charles Darwin, letter, 1836).
"There is material for a dozen buccaneering stories to be picked up in the hotels at Circular Quay"
(Robert Louis Stevenson)
"Australia is a big blank map and the whole people is constantly sitting over it like a committee trying to work out the best way to fill it in"
(C.E.W. Bean, "The Dreadnaught of the Darling", 1911)
"Australia is still revealing itself to us, we oughtn't to close off possibilities by declaring too early what we have already become"
(David Malouf, Lugarno Postscript Notes and Furphies", 1979)
"Australia is not only at the Antipodes she is far away from everything, sometimes even herself"
(Umberto Eco," L'Espresso Magazine", 1982)
"Sydney is a city of light and wind more than of architecture, the majesties of nature and the monstrosities of man have a cheek by jowl evidence in Sydney more insistent I think than in any other city in the world".
(George Johnson, "Clean Straw for Nothing", 1969)
"Australia is my birth place but I can not call it my own as well as my native land for I have no right to live there.
Until a treaty is agreed with the original inhabitants I shall be homeless in the world"
(Germaine Greer, "Journal of the Plague Year", 1988)
"Sydney Harbor, one of the most beautiful, vast and safe bays the sun had ever shone upon"
(Joseph Conrad, "Mirror of the Sea", 1806)
And finally, this last one I've chosen is neither by an Australian nor about Australia but universal,
I would rather be ashes than dust, a spark burnt out in a brilliant blaze then be stifled in dry rot for man's chief purpose is to live not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them, I shall use my time"
And with that it's farewell, for now, to the Writers Walk, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbor, The Opera House and "the arch* that cuts the skies".
*"Archie" is Melbourne's arch-rival
Friday, April 13, 2001
Just got back from a visit to the Irish Mafia – the Australian Catholic Church* – I attended a Good Friday service in Campbelltown.
While they were lamenting the Crucifixion, I felt like saying "it's all right, he'll be back, it'll al be cool in two days max" but I didn’t want to spoil it for them by giving away the ending.
At lunch today I was telling someone that, diet wise, my family are small h healthy as opposed to hardcore big H Healthy.
Also on a religious note, various groups are unhappy with the appointment of the allegedly hardline Doctor George Pell as the new Catholic Archbishop of Sydney to the extent of a headline in the gay newspaper calling him "Pell Pot".
*This is just a good-natured joke (like every "witticism" on this site); I'm a proud Catholic myself.
If you're easily offended, prone to misunderstandings or politically correct then I predict that you're going to have a very rough time reading this site.
I recommend that you read the description at the top of the page that says "satire" and bear that in mind.
Besides, I claim satirical immunity and satirical license
God bless you.
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Played Trivial Pursuit with Anthony.
Strongly objected to his tactic of asking questions in a misleading manner.
Example: “which Australian confectioner is based in Claremont Tasmania?”
I knew the answer to that (Cadbury) but his emphasizing “Australian” threw me off
As Cadbury isn’t Australian per se, I answered something else.
Only to be told that the answer was indeed Cadbury.
Anthony laughed at my vehement remonstration: “I know how your simple mind works”.
Simple indeed, I never learn – I feel for it again later when he asked “which country’s oil tankers did United States warships protect during the Iran-Iraq War?”
Followed by an ad-libbed “hello irony”.I knew that the answer to that was Kuwait but his comment once again led me astray and I answered Iraq, which, of course, it wasn’t (it was Kuwait).
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Although I'd toyed with satire before (including a column in a Beirut magazine) it was Anthony Mir (a constant source of inspiration and encouragement) who really pushed me in that direction.
"You're made for it, it would be so easy for you" he told me "just go on as you are – reading, listening to the radio and watching the news…"
"And watching porn?" I interrupted.
"And watching porn" he laughingly assured me "just write down your observations".
So I did and here they are...
WARNING – PEDESTRIAN AHEAD
The following are my pedestrian (possibly even boring I'm willing to concede) observations on everything from Kurdish hairdressers in Liverpool Sydney to world affairs.
I don't claim them to be interesting but I do claim them to be one hundred percent my very own (who else would think let alone write this sort of thing?) and you can't have them!
If you think that reading this is boring, spare a thought for how boring it was to actually write.
THE BEGINNING (?)
This is the beginning of what later evolved into renatoobeidsworld – the first of the dictaphone recordings I made that were to eventually coalesce into renatoobeidsworld
The actual site was started on Friday 9th May 2003 when I was at an internet café with a female friend of mine and, thus unable to go to the sites I usually go to, I decided to check out Blogger (following a link to a writer's blog that I'd cut out of the newspaper) .
Whether today or May 9th 2003 was the start of renatoobeidsworld is not for me to decide but for future historians and the people who set public holidays.
Suffice to say, if you're one of those who commemorate today as the actual beginning, then I extend my warmest welcome to you (May 9'ers need not get upset and schismatic – I have also included a welcome to you on your special day).
I have left the title "Random Ravings" in the first entry (below) as homage and link to that first concerted collection of writing that I ever undertook and also because the tapes originally started off as a continuation of the handwritten RR.
- Renato Obeid, Harissa, 10.00pm Friday 24th September 2004 (when I actually got to transcribe the first tape – I work backwards).
Beep…testing one two three, testing one two three.
Random Ravings Down Under – Down but not out.
It's Tuesday 10th April 2001, 4.45pm, I'm here in Australialand – the poor little rich country, the country that has everything but nothing.
I haven’t seen any kangaroos yet – I think that they've been privatized.
Yesterday evening I was in Darlinghurst*, the "capital" as I call it – being the gay quarter of Sydney, it is thus the capital of the Pooftocracy of Sydney, bandit country (work it out – it has something to do with an uncomplimentary slang term for a homosexual).
Went to a Balkan restaurant there, surprisingly called "The Balkan", with Matt.
We had a killer mixed grill – basically a huge plate load of a huge amount of meat.
That was my Balkan Crisis.
I can now see how the Balkans are such a volatile area, how so many wars have begun there – it's the indigestion!
Afterwards, Matt and I were trying to work out whether Greece was a Balkan state – I wasn’t sure about that but I knew the Balkan state that I was in!
*The vibrant cultural and intellectual bohemian part of downtown Sydney, full of restaurants, cafes, clubs, bookshops, galleries, etc, it's populace and appeal isn’t limited to just homosexuals but they find a natural home in that more liberal part of the city.
The cultural and intellectual aspect of it explains why I spent so much time there (just so you don't get the wrong idea about me).
It also appealed to me because it's the only part of the Sydney CBD where you don't get walked over and jostled by rude fascistic business people who are too important to look where they're going or bumped into by tourists who are too busy looking up (the two main species found in Sydney).
SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD TO SAY
- What do George W Bush and John Howard have in common?Neither of them can say sorry.
An American warplane and its crew continue to be held in China* after allegedly entering Chinese airspace.
The stand-off continues as the Chinese government demands an apology for the intrusion and the death of a Chinese fighter pilot in the subsequent chase.
Regarding the China crisis and the Bush administration's inability to say sorry, rather than just the regret that they've so far expressed, I think that the perfect solution, the perfect compromise between regret and sorry is "spewin'**".
This could be Australia's contribution to international diplomacy.
I can also envision this term being used in other fields too – court cases perhaps, somewhere in-between "guilty" and "not guilty", one can plead "spewin'"
The Chinese are apparently concerned about saving face.
Have you seen some of those faces!?!
Are they worth saving!?!
*With a population of around one and a quarter billion people, China is the world's most popular country.
**Literally meaning to vomit, in colloquial Australian it means to be upset by something to the extent of vomiting.
Sydney Harbor, the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge etc are just so underrated – nobody ever mentions them, harps on about them.
Somebody ought to take a picture of them because I don’t think anybody ever has, I haven’t seen any – we really do have to preserve them for posterity.
But seriously, Sydney Harbor and its surrounds are proof that God exists.
After a hot hard grueling journey train journey from the provinces, pulling into Circular Quay railway station and seeing the harbor, the Opera House, the Harbor Bridge is like an epiphany!
Call me idolatrous, but no Jerusalem, no Vatican, no Mecca, Medina or any other manmade site can compare to this!
This is the shrine of the future, of today!
What greater testament to God can there be than this – the manifestation of His glory, the beauty of His Creation and people who know how to develop, accentuate and appreciate it instead of mouthing empty religious dogma, judging people and throwing rocks at one another!?!
Went to Kings Cross (the prostitution/vice quarter* of Sydney) the other night - the women are so friendly there!
We caught a taxi back to Matt's place.
Shortly before we caught it, it had had an altercation with a biker – apparently nearly running him over.
At the lights (after we'd got in), the biker was remonstrating with the taxi driver, rightly so
The taxi driver, an Asian man (not renowned for their driving skills), who could hardly speak English, responded rather inappropriately and irrelevantly, telling the biker, who had Victorian license plates, to "go back to Victoria and (wait for it - big finish now) drive there!".
Smooth, particularly the last part.
Them are fighting words where I come from (Victoria).
How's that for reverses discrimination!?!
Only then did the biker descend into racial slurs, calling the taxi driver a "slope head" etc.
That's road rage – a departure from the usual rail rage that consumes me as I travel from Campbelltown to Sydney and back again everyday as I've been doing (it's about an hour each way!).
I'd stay over in Sydney with friends or kinfolk but my demon, insomnia, won't let me.
Being dropped off by some friends at the train station the other night I asked for a cigarette for the long trip home but nobody had one so I thought "it doesn’t matter, I'll just ask an aborigine".
That's reconciliation for you – how's that for a reversal?
Only when we put ourselves in other peoples shoes/single thongs will we be able to coexist.
Speaking of reverse discrimination is it just me or is there a disproportionate amount of black people on television?
Talk about regression – in the old days we had black and white TV now we only have black TV (it's not color TV, it's colored TV).
*Disclaimer: As with my forays into Darlinghurst, my trip there was for honorable purposes in no way related to their staple industry.
I've got a bit of a smokers cough going – the Arab anthem.
These Australian cigarettes are killing me – not cigarettes in general but Australian cigarettes.
I'm not a tobacconist but I have noticed that there is a difference between Lebanese and Australian cigarettes* and that's what's apparently making me cough and the fact that the Australian government has jinxed me with their bloody health warnings on cigarette packets!.
Not to worry, I'm smoking the safe ones – "smoking when pregnant harms your baby".
Seriously, psychologically, I feel safer smoking cigarettes from packets whose warnings are inapplicable to me and even try to get those particular ones .
Also, Id' like to have a cigarette in peace without the government threatening me.
State sponsored terrorism!
Duh, tell me something I don't know.
Actually, why don't they tell us something we don't know?
Everybody knows that smoking is bad for you so why don’t they put useful information that we don’t know on the packets?
E.g. "Gerald Ford is the only man to be both Vice-President and President (respectively) of the United States without being elected to either post"**.
*Australian cigarettes apparently have more chemicals and additives and thus aren't as "pure" as their foreign equivalent.
**"The capital of Tajikistan is Dushanbe" and "The average cat sleeps eighteen hours a day" are two more cigarette packet non-warnings that I'm donating to the government.
Homosexuals, with their narcissism, vanity and self-involvement, are essentially
sleeping with themselves.
I think that that's the definition of and lure of homosexuality – essentially it is narcissism taken its absolute extreme! (Coupling with someone as close in physical likeness to yourself as possible).
Australia's first legal "safe heroin injecting room" (sic) is set to open in Kings Cross Sydney.
"Legal, safe" and "heroin injecting room" are contradictions in terms.
It's like having legal safe murder rooms, legal safe rape rooms, legal safe robbery rooms etc.
Said legal "safe heroin injecting room" is encountering stiff opposition from locals, including from brothels – there is honor amongst thieves after all.
Behind this crazy scheme is none other than a church group! – they've certainly come a long way!
Re: safe houses, in Darlinghurst there are "pink houses" marked by pink triangles, on the pattern of the traditional yellow logo Safety Houses that offer refuge to children who encounter trouble whilst on the street, that are meant to offer asylum to homosexuals if they encounter harassment.
How would theses gay militias react anyway – give fashion advice to the offenders?
The sheer Australianess of Australia is overwhelming – there are flags, jingles and slogans all over the place.
The first thing you'll notice about Australia is that it's everywhere!
It's all around you, you can't escape it!
Especially in advertising and marketing – practically every retail establishment or product seems to be Aussie Something or Other.
There's even an old pop song from the eighties, which you hear every now and then on the radio, whose chorus proclaims "this is Australia" (just in case your lost and don't know where you are).
Australia – it's everywhere!
Australia - now with 20% more Australia!
Went to a pub in Sydney with Anthony the other night to watch the final one day cricket match between Australia and India.
I think this pub was the Australianmost point on earth!
You look up "Australianmost point on earth!" in an atlas and you'll find this pub.
A lot of shouting going on – you can say almost anything you want to an Australian as long as you shout it out and say "mate" as well.
"SORRY MATE, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO KILL YOU!"
"THAT'S ALLRIGHT MATE - YOU DID SAY 'MATE' AND YOU DID SHOUT IT OUT!"
"Sorry, I'm going to have to kill you".
"NOPE, YOU CAN'T - YOU DIDN’T SAY 'MATE' AND YOU DIDN’T SHOUT IT OUT AND DON'T TAKE THAT TONE OF VOICE WITH ME!"
An Antipodean version of Simon Says.
A couple of years ago, Les Murray, the unofficial Poet Laureate no less, wanted to include "mateship" in a preamble to a proposed new constitution.
THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR HAS DROPPED BELOW THE PSYCHOLOGICALLY IMPORTANT 50 US CENT MARK MATE! (Putting it this way makes it more palatable to Australians)
Except at the foreign exchange booths – those evil moneychangers are practically still on the pre-floatation 1.30 USD rate.
Such is the precarious state of the Aussie dollar, that in a recent kidnapping, the kidnappers demanded a ransom in US dollars (though I'm not sure if this had anything to do with developments on the bourse).
Nonetheless, I have the plummeting Aussie dollar to thank for my extended stay here.
I'm seeing double – every US dollars is worth two Australian.
Double your dollars - visit Australia.
TWO BE OR NOT TWO BE
Noah's Ark didn’t land on Mount Ararat, it landed in Australia – there's two of everything here!
This place is dodgy duopoly (colluding in concert as a monopoly) heaven!
Two airlines, two major political parties, two cable television networks, two telephone companies, two main newspaper groups, two cinema chains etc and, to top it all off, almost every place has two names – an indigenous name and an Anglo name!
I'm seeing double – or duplicity really!
One of the most obvious changes I noticed when I got back to Australia was that the mental health of furniture shop owners had greatly improved.This is welcome relief for people like me who grew up during the furniture wars of the late 1980's – who can ever forget "The Fussy Furniture Fella"? (the man who started all of this).
During the eighties they were all GOING CRAZY! To the extent that they were GIVING IT AWAY!A friend of mine, who's an ex-policeman, told me an anecdote about how an unsuspecting rookie policewoman on patrol received an emergency radio call from the station in the middle of the night, telling her to attend to an address in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne as "John Smith (can't remember actual name) has gone completely and utterly crazy".When she arrived at the scene she found a closed darkened furniture shop that advertises itself with that slogan.