IT'S ALL ABOUT SELECTION AND THE GURU'S CAT
Ask anyone in the Special Air Service - selection is hard because it has to be. They just can't have any namby pamby loud mouth rolling up and expect to hunt Obi Wan Laden in the deserts of Tatooistan (or is that Afghanine?).
And it's our selection process which has agrieved the Australian public and brought our hero down. Yes, rules is rules, but are those rules very smart?
AND NOW FOR SOME CLICHES:
Rules are made by humans for humans.
Like fire, rules make good servants, but poor masters.
No one is above the rules - but the rules exist to serve a purpose.
I say the rules (not laws!) are there to allow for fair play and prevent gamesmanship from interfering from true competition. Has the spirit of those laws been upheld, I ask? or are we left with the remnants of a once sensible idea, like the story of the guru's cat?
Read the article at
to see what I mean.
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
IT'S ALL ABOUT SELECTION AND THE GURU'S CAT
Posted by Stephen at 12:45 pm
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
Just been reading some of Mark Steyn's terrible Right-Wing propaganda exposing the mistakes of war in Iraq. I'll list you with the top ten naysayer's opinions of what would go wrong - and leave it up to you to read Herr Steyn's rejoinders (and yes he writes self-fulfilling prophecies, but so what?)
One year on, and Iraq's better off
1. ''Iraq's Slide Into Violent Anarchy'' (The Guardian, April 11, 2003).
2. ''The head of the World Food Program has warned that Iraq could spiral into a massive humanitarian disaster'' (The Australian, April 11, 2003).
3. ''Iraqis Now Waiting for Americans to Leave'' (Associated Press, April 10, 2003).
4. ''If Saddam is not found dead, or caught alive, it will be the worst of all possible closures for the war against Iraq'' (Roland Flamini, UPI, April 10, 2003).
5. ''Iraq was a new country cobbled together from several former Ottoman provinces, its lines drawn by the Europeans'' (Mark Mazower, The Independent, April 7, 2003).
6. ''Turkey is concerned that a Kurdish capture of Kirkuk could help bankroll moves to establish an independent Kurdistan'' (Agence France-Presse, April 9, 2003).
7. ''Rather than reforming the Muslim world, the conquest of Iraq will inflame it'' (Jeffrey Simpson, Toronto Globe and Mail, April 10, 2003).
8. ''Looting is always unsavory. Let's hope the Americans don't pilfer the oil'' (Brenda Linane, The Age of Melbourne, April 11, 2003).
9. ''Weapons of Mass Destruction. Remember them? Not a single one has yet been found'' (Bill Neely, Independent TV, April 10, 2003).
(by the way, this answer intrigued me the most. Libya? Sounds like "Dubya" to me)
10. ''America is already losing the peace!'' (Everyone.)
Posted by Stephen at 9:04 pm
IT'S GETTING A BIT BIZARRE
"With the Prime Minister wading into it, it's starting to get a little bizarre." So says our hero Ian Thorpe
Here's what the PM actually said:
JOHN HOWARD: I thought he was fantastic. I think he really said it all. He accepts that there are rules, it's a terrible disappointment, but I thought as a role model he couldn't have been better.
Time to take a few pointers from our sporting heroes, don't you think?
Posted by Father at 3:20 pm
To Ian Thorpe for winning a spot in the 200m.
THE relief was palpable as Australia's greatest swimmer Ian Thorpe finally confirmed his place in the Olympic team for Athens by dominating the 200 metres freestyle final at the national trials in Sydney last night.
Posted by Father at 3:11 pm
VOTE IN OUR ONLINE POLL
Express your feelings for Thorpie by voting in our online Poll, fresh to you today!
Posted by Father at 3:03 pm
HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THORPIE
Some interesting comments from the punters about how they feel about Thorpie's disqualification.
I think it's about 2/3rd majority in favour of allowing the Thorpedo another shot.
BRING BACK THORPE!!!!!
Posted by Stephen at 2:16 pm
Monday, March 29, 2004
BRING BACK THORPE - the T-Shirt
To further the bring back Thorpe campaign, a range of clothing and accessories have been tastefully designed to suit your lifestyle and budget.
Check them out at the Father McKenzie online store!
Posted by Stephen at 11:55 pm
SOMEBODY BETTER TELL TIM QUINN
That he's not the Lord mayoer any more - see the Brisbane City Council website
The Brisbane City Council's Lord Mayor is Councillor Tim Quinn. Councillor Quinn became Brisbane City's fourteenth Lord Mayor on 20 May 2003.
I became Lord Mayor in May 2003 and it is a great privilege and honour to have the opportunity to lead Brisbane as we face the challenges a growing city brings.
Mayor's projects and reports
The Mayor's latest projects and reports include the North South Bypass Tunnel, Green Bridge and the flood risk study. In 2004, the Mayor will appoint a new team to manage the city's major projects.
Work begins on North South
The Council is investigating the
feasibility of the North South Bypass
Tunnel that will be built under the
The first step of the feasibility study
involves drilling the rock under the
Story Bridge at Kangaroo Point.
This will determine rock levels
that will need to be drilled through
to construct the tunnel.
Find out more about the feasibility
I wonder what incumbent Campbell Newman thinks of all this?
Posted by Stephen at 11:28 pm
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Or so goes the headline at news.com.au. No, it doesn't mean that Thorpe has come out of the claoset as a homosexual, but the headline implies this.
For those not in the know, the Thorpedo has been disqualified from competing in his best event and an almost cert at getting a Gold at Athens.
This is another typical example of bloody-minded bureaucartic Australianess. It's definately in our national character. Along with incredible slackness. More on that one later.
Back to Thorpe.
Imagine the headlines overseas:
TEAM USA GOES FOR GOLD IN 400M
After last night's shock disqualification of Ian Thorpe from the 400m at the Australian OlympicS wimming trials, all systems are go for a USA clean sweep of the pool at Athens. "It's gold, gold gold for Team USA, " said Team Manger Randulph Suppusio III. "Australia, you suck. This would never happen here."
SHOCK ENTRY FROM UZBEKISTAN
After initially declining to contest any aquatic events at Athens and concentrate on women's shot put, the UOC (Uzbek Olympic Committe) have decide to enter the men's 400m freestyle. "Without Ian Thorpe, there's an outside chance that we could get actually through the first round of heats this year," team spokesperson Nahangaluk Uzbekahddum said.
JAPANESE TOUR OPERATORS OUTRAGED
Without the presence of drawcard Ian Thorpe in the men's 400m free at this year's Athens Olympics, Japan's struggling tour industry would be unable to cope. According to Hakoje Nakamore, "Ian Thorpe is the cornerstone of our Olympic package. We will go belly up without him"
People, it's NOT the Olympics, It's the TRIALS. You are only cutting off your nose to spite your face. Australia as a nation loses - and other nations win. Good on them I say.
Posted by Stephen at 8:47 am
BAPTISM OF FIRE
I just finished reading "Baptism of Fire" by Frank Collins. A really interesting read if you ever get your hands on a copy. The first half of the book is devoted to being an SAS soldier, the second half follows the author's conversion and transition from the SAS to ordination in the C of E. He strats off as a Pentecostal but eventually identifies himself as an eveangelical. Well done, that man.
Read a bit more at Amazon.
Tragically Frank killed himself, apparently soon after writing the book. It is now out of print but it is highy recommended reading - especially for thise with heads stuffed full of SAS tirvia . And finally a big hello to all those anorak-wearing SAS trainspotters out there - one day I''ll write a full review for you.
Posted by Stephen at 8:34 am
Friday, March 26, 2004
LIFE IMITATES THE ONION
Here's something weird - George W cracking jokes about himself. Curiouser and curiouser. And this man is the President of the Free World? How Bizarre! The mind boggles! The story speaks for itself. No further comment - except to note Donny Rummy's response "“To know what I would think, I would have to be there.” Try that one at your next job interview.
Bush under Fire for 'Tasteless' Weapons Jokes
By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York
US president George Bush came under fire from his election challenger John Kerry today for joking about the fruitless search for Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.
At a black-tie dinner for journalists, Mr Bush showed what he called a “White House Election-Year Album” slide show, poking fun at himself and other members of his administration.
One photograph in the slide show pictured Mr Bush leaning over to look under a piece of furniture in the Oval Office.
“Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere,” he told the gathering of 1,500 members of the media in Washington.
He showed another picture, of him peering into a corner of a room: “No – no weapons over there,” he said.
And as another picture of him leaning over appeared, he said: “Maybe under here?”
The audience – guests at the 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association – broke into laughter and applause at the well-delivered jokes.
Posted by Stephen at 10:43 pm
TIE ME ...WHAT? DOWN, SPORT
Apparently the old Rolf Harris many eons ago in the 60's man wrote some rather unacceptable and misinterpreted lyrics as part of his classic "Tie Me Kangaroo Down". The ABC of all organisations has reprinted these lyrics after Rolf himslef disowned them many years ago - oops, what a clanger!
"A controversial verse from Rolf Harris's "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" has resurfaced in an Australian children's songbook.
Verse four is to be found on early recordings of the song by Rolf Harris. But Rolf no longer sings the words. Instead, he repeats verse three or just skips over it. The verse reads: "Let me Abos go loose, Lew. Let me Abos go loose. They're of no further use, Lew. So let me Abos go loose."
612 ABC Brisbane's Spencer Howson (4-6pm) told his listeners: "I'm not the world's biggest advocate of political correctness, because in many ways it has gone too far. But there's no way I was going to sing that line to my child".
What astonished me was the indignace and outrage of some ABC listeners as they expressed their horror that such things could ever be said or written - such lyrics should be destroyed forever!
But wait a minute. If we delete every racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynist, phallocentric patriachal discources from our historical documents, on what basis will the aggrieved parties of the PRESENT have to complain about poor treatment in the PAST? You can't go around saying that you've been treated badly for x number of years when there is nothing to verify those archaic attitudes. What with Wilbur Smith in the Ministry of Truth re-writing the history books every semester, concerned minorities of the present will have NO BASIS for any claim of historical resentment. It's in their own best interest to keep an ongoing record of such outrages as they occur, and not to expunge them from their mental Inbox like so much spam.
Thus, as a service to future generations, I have preserved the lyrics in full, so the gentle reader may make up her / his own mind.
Posted by Stephen at 10:27 pm
I AM NOT AMERICAN
Remember that T-Shirt that you may have seen some traveller wearing somewhere.? The one that said "I am not American in English", in English and in Arabic?
Well, as an appropraite response to my "Don't Panic, I'm Islamic" post, check out the T-Shirt designs here.
I especially like the Canadian flag emblazoned with the slogan.
Perhaps an Australian design is in order now that Mark Latham has declared that Australian troops will be out of Iraq by Christmas if elected.
"Mark Latham has pledged to bring home Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas if Labor wins the election, describing the war as an "act of folly" that increased the risk of terrorism."
What was all the fuss about anyway?
Posted by Stephen at 10:13 pm
IT'S NOT ALL BAD
Apparently viewing "The Passion of The Christ"made an area man confess to having murdered his girlfriend.
"HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A man saw "The Passion of the Christ," talked to a spiritual adviser, then told police he had killed his girlfriend, authorities said Thursday."
This PROVES beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is something "spiritual" about Mad Mel's movie.
If only viewing it would get us all to confess our misdeeds . . .
Posted by Stephen at 10:06 pm
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
This has become a theme for me lately as the ABC have recently begun re-braodcasting the radio serial of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" on Sundays at 5:30am.
"It's the best advice I've heard all day," remarked Arthur Dent.
Earler I had read in the Courier-Mail about some local who went around wearing a T-Shirt that said, "Don't Panic - I'm Islamic" (perhaps like the one found here)
The following rejoinders for other faiths were attributed to Tim Blair
"Don't hurt me. I'm C of E"
"Don't light that wick - I'm Catholic" and my personal favourite...
"Stop that fighting. I'm Uniting"
Posted by Stephen at 1:24 pm
Friday, March 19, 2004
This week the banner ad for "The Passion" was added. This might encourage a few click throughs.
Also today joined up with St. Blog's Parish. Hopefully this will increase traffic - though nothing increases traffic like a good blog!
Posted by Father at 12:47 pm
Thursday, March 18, 2004
World's Smallest Political Quiz!
Try it - see what you are and if you like it.
I came out a "centrist":
According to your answers, your political philosophy is centrist.
Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize practical solutions to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on new issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.
Your Personal Self-Government Score is 50%.
Your Economic Self-Government Score is 30%.
Posted by Stephen at 3:53 pm
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Passion of the Christ
I just went and saw this movie recently. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and while I think I had a pretty good idea of how it would end, and there were no real plot spoilers, I didn't more than one or two reviews before I went, although I did pay attention to the "buzz" surrounding the movie. Mostly this consisted of reading about people having various weeping / crying episodes at the conclusion of the film, falling onto their knees and praying, or else people being violently ill or walking out.
So, I thought, this is definitely a movie that I have got to see.
Was I disappointed. No weeping or vomiting for me. No walking out. Yes it was extremely violent,and it did in the end all seem rather pointless. I was initially impressed by the "sweat like drops of blood" on Jesus (Jim Cavaziel's) face at the start, but the Satan character was real distraction, and that snake coming out - what was that all about? When the people in the seat next to me went "Yes!" as Jesus stomped it with his heel, I thought I was sitting next to a pair of Evangelical hooligans who would variously cheer and jeer all through the film.
Next scene - guy with ear cut off. Fairly well done I thought, and this guard obviously is impressed when Jesus heals his ear - but later Mary provokes the same response in a Roman legionairre. This diminishes the effect of the first.
When Mary first shows up she is the Italian Mary - black robes, care-lined face, everyone calls her mother etc. No points for guessing which audience Mel is appealing to here. It took me a while to figure out the accompany woman was Mary Magdalene - but with the flashback about the woman caught in adultery, the penny dropped.
Some scenes were very well done - like Peter denying Christ three times (even thought no cock crowed) in the throng of the crowd when Jesus is first arrested. Even though this is outside the biblical sources I thought it fitted quite nicely - after all, this is a movie. And Judas' presence there was also a bit of an eye-opener, although it did seem plausible. But the way Judas tops himself - so overplayed as to be beyond credibility. I don't know how you would effectively show the inner turmoils of a troubled mind - perhaps Mel could go and ask Shakespeare's Hamlet for advice. But some pesky devil kids and a dead donkey just don't cut it for me, I'm sorry. And what about the bit where Judas' guts spill open? Where's that eh? Come on, Mr Gibson, I want to see some action!
On to the Romans - Mel gives them a very sympathetic aspect. Pontius is shown pushed and pulled three ways - by Caesar, the Jewish mob and his own wife. A man cannot have two masters, Pontius. And yet he is supposed to be a governor of Judea! He may as well join the United Nations and try and sort the issue out there. More sympathetic Romans - it's a bit like a sympathetic Nazi - surely they can't have all been bad - these are the people that brought us civilization, right? At least they supplied the Roman Catholics with a location, because the marriage of Rome and Religion is affirmed when Pontius's wife hands Jesus' mum some cloths to sop us his blood. What is that all about? a) It would never happen and b) why bother soaking up the blood? Is this another obscure Catholic tradition of which I have no knowledge? Let us in to the narrative secret here Mel, I'm stumped.
Now for the gruesome bits. Jesus is punched and spit on, and cops a lurgy right in the eye at one stage. And he gets beaten with sticks by the local law enforcement agencies, Rodney King style. But the flagellation is something else. The actual cat-o-nine tails or whatever it is has huge metal shards on the ends - it looks like JC has gone a few rounds with a tiger! And the amount of lashes. I really think the poor guy would have bled to death, he had so many deep, deep cuts on him. And here's the Romans having a jolly old laughat it all -shades of Monty Python. It got so ridiculous that when they turned jesus over to beat up his front I had to laugh. Surely this guy should be dead. He's like a terminator - pump hundreds of rounds into him and he still gets up with a look of defiance on his face like payback is only a reel change away.
Just as an aside he gets a crown of thorns pushed over his noggin - a bit rough if you ask me, and they chuck a robe on him and go the biff one more time. Jesus looks like he'd rather be somewhere else at this point. He can't really suffer with any dignity here, so the scene is quite short compared with each stroke of the rod or the whip being counted out in long time on the big screen. But they take the robe of him. I wondred about this - weren't the soldiers supposed to gamble over a robe? Wasn't there a film made in the 1950's with that very title about a robe? But I read my New Testament and yes, the soldiers take it off him and give him back his original clothes.
Now for the show - in front of the crowd - more like a mob. I could almost imagine them starting to throw stones at the soldiers, although it was about 2000 years out of date, the place was thesame, and the mindset is stiill there. Pilate again looks compromised - prevaricating and wavering. Next to him the United Nations Security Council looks like a lion. And Jesus is up there dispensing advice with a composure that seems, well, supernatural, considering the beasting he received at the hands of legionairres. But here is where Mel has gotten sly and appeased those who has said his film is "Anti-Semitic". He has CUT OUT the staement but the Jews that said "We will bear responsibility - let his death fall on us and our chilren" etc or words to that effect. Obviously he has made concession to the masses and compromised the purity of his arty. No wonder Pontius Pilate receives such a sympathetic portrayal - this is the man whom Mel must have based himself on.
Ultimately Jesus get sentenced to death and is set to drag his whopping great cross up out of the city. In another concession to tradition, Jesus carries the whole cross, and the thieves just carry the crossbar. No wonder he keeps falling down on the way. And he is still being beaten. He ios being whacked so badly at one point that a Centurion says to the Other Ranks, "Give the guy an hand". I think it would be more like"Get this guy up and nailed quick smart - his sentence is crucifixion, not beating to death, and if you don't hurry up you''ll be nailed to the pole next to him". Remember, these are the very guys who would burn a soldier in his uniform if he slept on guard duty, and would kill one in ten if they had a bad day at the office and showed cowardice on the battlefield.
Enter Simon of Cyrene. Big guy, strong muscles, carries cross. Makes a speech "I am innocent - this other guy is guilty". Is he worried about a clerical error at the end of the line, perhaps, where the two are mixed up? Bloodied man, 95% beaten up, go free. Local citizen helper, dressed in smart casuals - lie down and get nailed. No chance - these Romans have just flogged one guy to death - why are they waiting while some other fella makes up his mind. Imagine what the Romans would have actually said, "That's defiance to the lawful occupiers of Palestine, sir. I'm afraid we are going to have to take you into custody and sort this out in the dungeon in between games of dominoes and betting on the cockroaches". And yet the soldiers put up with it again. Siom declares that they are beating up Jesus too much and he will NOT carry that cross A STEP FURTHER, thank you very much. The Romans back up, and the whole sorry cavalcade gets going again.
However, this does provide the opportunity for another Catholic tradition to make an appearance. Along comes Veronica with the obligatory white hand towel and takes a face print of JC's bloody face - a picture perfect imprint is taken, to be spirited away in the archives. The miraculous flannel only appears again in the Middle Ages in some obscure Monastery in a debt-ridden European backwater, on display at the back of the nave with a small fee for admission. Veronica offers Jesus a swig but this is knocled away by the evr vigilant Romans. The sight of he cup broughto mind the Holy Grail. With so many other traditions emerging from the woodwork, surely this "Holy Grail" of extra-biblical stories would make an appearance. Where was Joseph of Aramathea? When would he appear? What would be done with the blood of Christ caught in the cup? Sadly this was not to be - perhaps because any Jews of note were obviously baddies, and we can't go around confusing the audience with subleties and niceties like real life, can we Mel?
Just as an aside, poor old JC is flaking over about evry third camer a ngle cgane, and so he hits the dirt hard,, and oftem. Down for the count, I said to myslef in the cineman. Surely he is unconscious. But no, he drags himslef back up, time after time, like and old boxer intent on standing up to save his pride all the while knowing he is beaten. The funny thing about it is, just about every time he gets up, Jesus is not dirty! No dust or rocks anywhere! Strange! During these falls, the film neatly goes into flashback to tell a part of Jesus life like a sermon organised around the props of the cricifixtion rather than the heart of the message, like so:"Jesus fell, and saw a Roman sandle. This sandle reminds me of the time when Jesus was also wearing sandles etc etc." Oh yes, cutting to flashback also gives the filmakers time to reapply more gore so when we make the cut back to him, he's bloodier than ever. If that we me, I would definately make an effort to stop having those reveries.
Fianlly he's crucified - but the Romans have got it wrong. I snigger when Jesus says, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do", because those Romans are obviously incompetent! Like dodgy tradesmen, they just can't seem to get it right, and make at least two mistakes in the actual crucifxion. When they flip the cross over I almost laugh out loud. Now it is like Monty Python. How much punishment can this guy take? And don't say his divine nature is sustaining him until he chooses to shuffle off his mortal coil. Jesus agonies were inflicted on his very human body. To sustain a destroyed body with an inspiration of divine Spirit like a walking corpse or zombie is just not right.
And the crucifixion itself is another concession to tradition. What about Destot's space, where you get nailed through the wrists and you can actually hang there unaided by ropes? The Romans' got crucifixion from the Germans, and they are not going to nail anyone to a pine tree and have them fall down again. Test have done on corpses to prove that's how cricifixion was doen - bodies have been unearthed with marks in the right spot. But I suppose you have to nail Him through the hands, because that's what it says - even though it could mean his wrists. I'm no anatomist but when Jesus finally dies, and he gets poked with a spear, blood and water come SPRAYING out under PRESSURE is a big JET. Not "flowed from his side". This was weird. I definately didn't see that one coming, and neither did the Roanm soldier underneath, who seems to stand there with his mouth open and gets absolutely drenched.
OK Jesus is resurrected in the end, but how long did that scene take. What was the point of it all? I really couldn't see myseklf seeing this film again. Yes, it gets people thinking about abd speaking about Jesus and Christian issues, but the film seems to be more trouble than it's worth. I remeber hearing someone say - it's a film about some guys that beat some other guy up. And that about sums it up for me too. Divorced from any significant spiritual refernt, and with few sympathetic charaters, an over emphasis on gore to the point of the ridiculous, the film fails both as a beacon of religious insipration and as the story of a man's life / death. Like the death of Jesus as portrayed it the film, it seems to be a waste.
Posted by Stephen at 3:01 pm