Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A reverse-swing in-seam

Well, it's official: The former Top Gear team now have a name for their Top Gear 2.0, namely: The Grand Tour. Maybe a little underwhelming as a name choice, yes ... but, if you break it down, it makes sense. 

A lot of cars have 'GT' on the end of their names, there's a Grand Touring race which usually involves a relatively long cross-country drive, GT is the reverse of TG (or Top Gear) ... and, for most people, the most entertaining parts of Top Gear are usually the Grand Tours through various parts of the world.

Personally, I think the move to Amazon was the right one. Considering the incessant censorship and back-pedaling they needed to do to remain on the air (mostly due to Clarkson), it only seems right that they move over to the Wild, Wild West of streaming. What was once restrictive is now seemingly free of the shackles of government-regulated content. I think this is brilliant. There is no longer a need to replace bleeps for their blasts and, quite possibly, we are in for even more unruly views on the goings on of past wars ... and I can't wait. As long as hate speeches don't become de rigeur, I don't mind a little tasteless humour to go with my affinity for Doug Stanhope and other gutter-dwellers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

... by any other name

On my quest to play racquet-based sports, I made the resolution to join a league so that I could hone my skills and maybe get a little more exercise as well. And all was well; I registered with the USTA and then went on with my naïve quest to join a league. This should be easy. Now, either I am living in the most affluent part of America (nope) or they are expecting the average pleb to fork out mucho dinero to become a member of their Scooby Doo Club. So, irrespective of whether I use any of the other facilities, this equated to $2500 for the membership and an ongoing $2500 per-year to use the facilities ... which also includes Tennis, thankfully. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.

Back in the days of living in Australia, a six-month season of Tennis would be less than $200 (with balls) and a season of Football (RE:Soccer) would be even less. Apparently in America you need to take out a second mortgage on your house to play - in comparison to the rest of the world which somehow feel less interested in 'gentrifying' all the sports. I don't understand the mindset that exclusivifying sports is somehow a good thing. Yes, private lessons will still cost but the actual cost to play should be open to all those who have any desire to compete. So this might just be one more reason why the BMI of the average teen is moving skywards.

However, I did find a work-around. Thanks to which provided a willing troupe of players to bunk the system of exorbitant fees and actually play some Tennis rather than weigh up whether they would be eating a meal this week. Thank goodness for alternatives.

Friday, April 22, 2016

What once was old

I am noticing a trend. It has come to my attention that some of the traditions and technologies of yore are making a come-back. I have recently started buying milk from a local dairy that comes in glass bottles. Naturally, the milk tastes better and is more expensive but is nicely offset by a reimbursement upon returning the bottle. The end result is you're supporting local business and also helping the environment.

The same thing happened with my choice of razor. I have now reverted to my grand dad's double-edged safety razor ... and I'm loving it. I wouldn't say I've got the most illustrious of stubbles but it seemed that with the modern razors I wouldn't even get through a single shave before noticing the blade has dulled and clogged up. I would also get horrible shaving rash and ingrowns from the faulty concept of multiple blades. In contrast, the safety blade have fewer issues; easy to clean, stays sharp for longer and avoids many of the issues around shaving rash or ingrowns. The one catch is you need to be a little more careful to avoid nicks ... but that's fine. It's also, coincidentally, significantly cheaper. I bought a shaver + 20 blades for less than $15 shipped. That's enough to keep my appearance dapper for a whole year. I'm also using olive oil in an atomizer for shaving cream. It works better and results in a smooth shave and with no need for application of moisturizers post-shave. 

Side note: most moisturizers actually dry out your skin due to the prevalent use of alcohol as a core ingredient. 

And so, in conclusion, just because something is no longer new, doesn't mean we should set it aside. A lot of old technology (like vinegar / baking soda for cleaning) are making a come-back. Not because it's cheaper but because it's simply just better.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Something something dark side

So, it has come to my attention that Australia (where I formerly lived) is doing their best little brother impression of the US. It has got to the point where they are not content in simply replicating American culture or implementing favourable US sanctions. They have now turned their attention to raising the price of education and privatising health care. In the words of my favourite meme:

But, really, it is. For those who have read 1984, you would know that the best way to control the general public is by ensuring that they are permanently in debt. Having a mandatory private healthcare system and an overbearingly expensive education system (which was once free just a few decades back) would ensure that the average 20-something would have a prohibitive debt right out of university. They would be paying that debt for at least the next 10 years (on average) and would basically result in more taxes against the average Australian. All I can say is I'm happy I'm no longer in Australia.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Them's fighting words

Now that super-hero movies are no longer enough, movie-makers are now drawing on the hero v hero as the latest carrot. I will now break down the obvious outcomes for each of these versus movies.

For Batman v Superman:

Why/how Batman would win

He probably wouldn't ... but he would have a fighting chance if he:
  1. Built himself a suit made out of Kryptonite
  2. Surrounded himself in an atomised cloud of Kryptonite gas
  3. Only fired Kryptonite-laced bullets
  4. Infused Kryptonite into all food stuffs and slowly weakened Superman
  5. ... and in his weakened state, injected him with concentrated Kryptonite into Superman's blood stream (using a Kryptonite syringe)

Why Superman would win

He would easily win if he:
  1. Used super speed to fly through Bruce Wayne
  2. Used super speed to go back in time to kill Bruce Wayne as a kid
  3. Used his laser eyes to burn him to a crisp when he's out playing Bruce Wayne
  4. Went into outer space and threw an asteroid directly at Wayne manor
  5. Split the earth in half
  6. Threw Batman into outer space
  7. Froze Batman with his super breath
  8. Punched Batman into smithereens with a 'half-gauge' punch

For Civil War:

Why Iron Man would win

He would easily win if he:
  • Threw a few nukes at Captain America
  • Remote controlled his suits to chest blast from many directions at once
  • Remote controlled his suits to take cap underwater / outer space
  • Poisoned him
  • Shot him
  • Broke his neck
  • Gave him a nasty paper cut whereupon he exsanguinated 
  • Made his brain explode by intentionally smoking a joint made from a doobie-sized American flag while having sex with a woman, spruiking the virtues of the Quran and expressing the belief that the Communists were right

Why Captain America would win

You be dead. There ain't no coming back from a nuke to the face.

Monday, February 29, 2016

What were they thinking?

I woke up to news of The Oscars winners. Finally, old boy Leo wins one of his own, George Miller wins a slew of awards for his Graphic Novel opus: Mad Max ... and Sam Smith wins best Original Song?

HANG ON: that unhummable ball-twisting rendition of something loosely resembling music which was then forcibly impaled into the torso of the Bond franchise has somehow been presented with something more than a wooden spoon? In what world does that even make sense?

To think that Sam's biggest hit 'Stay with Me' is basically just a pitch-shifted rendition of a song by Tom Petty explains a lot (and now has the songwriting credits to prove it). Having said that, the result is a little uninspired; I would like to think it's more the fault of Sam Smith failing to interpret a decent track rather than Tom Petty providing the foundation for mediocrity. Although, if you break it down, it is a very simple melody to begin with - kind of along the lines of Frère Jacques / LOL Smiley Face or Baa Baa Black Sheep / Somebody I used to know so it might just have been a coincidence.

But could it be that Sam Smith is nothing more than an another Darren Hayes? That is, his songs aren't any good unless he's copying (or had someone else compose) his music and so, in a fit of not-so-quiet desperation, resorted to high-pitched wailings to hide the lack of musical coherence? All signs point would point to yes. It would explain a lot. At the point that Darren separated from Savage Garden was the point that his musical career took a nose dive. I guess it would be the same thing for Mr Smith, at the point where he's not stealing music from (at least my) musical luminaries.

I can only assume that the shambling corporate presence was somehow behind the push to incite interest in James Bond / Sam's career prior to the inevitable downward spiral into irrelevance. Kind of along the lines of Ryan Reynolds getting the accolade of Sexiest Man alive; it's just a puff piece to rally the mobs' interest in the elements surrounding the artist (in that case: Dead Pool). I have already known for a long time that The Oscars were nothing more than a ceremony with an agenda. I'm not sure it means anything any more to win an Oscar. Still, congratulations, Leo. It's been a long time coming.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's all getting a bit silly, really

Ah Jeremy. With your bouffant hair and deluded desires to expound your every whim upon the world, it is no surprise that at certain times you overstep your abilities (I am noticing a theme). I am, of course, talking about the furor (not that Führer) elicited from your 'grand dad view' on transgenders. However, if you are familiar with my blog, you will probably see that I'm not averse to sticking my neck out on occasion. And on that bombshell, to follow the Top Gear formula, I am going to defend Clarkson's right to have an opinion - heck, I might even support his view a little.

So 'the storm within the thimble-full of tea' is that Jeremy stated that transgenders only existed in Bangkok and were generally used as part of an allegory to your buck's night rather than actually existing. Now, if anyone understands humour, that was obviously just that. No one in their right mind should think that he was being serious. He then goes on to admonish a transgendered man's desires to have a child. And I would have to agree. That 'man' who had a child and then went on Oprah should be ashamed of herself. I have no issues with her desires to be a man but I do have issue with her still wanting to have a child. That's a women's rights; not a man's. At the point you decide to be a man is the point that you give up your right to have a child yourself. You can't sidle the fence and state that you like having stubble and playing 'Ken' (or Thomas in her case) but you also like to have the luxury of being able to procreate. You basically shat upon your desires to be treated or perceived as a man. Congratulations. You will always be a hairy masculine woman in my eyes from now on.

... not necessarily a horrible result

Clarkson also derides a parent's support of their son having a sex change prior to adulthood. And I would have to agree. At the age of 10 I was far from the grounded (some would still say childish) man I am today. My ideals and convictions have certainly changed over time and for his parents to make such a serious modification to his (and now her) remaining life is 100% insane. Even if their son's views were not to change, I would want him to be the one signing the consent form. Just as you are not allowed to smoke, drink, vote and drive prior to a certain age, you should not be allowed to make life-altering surgery just because 'this week' (note the hyperbole) you desire to be a girl. Even if you are a very pretty looking girl doesn't make your parent's current actions correct ... for now.

Now I am sure I have alienated some people with my views but, really, that is the point. I have a right to have a view that is not your own. That is what makes us human. For picketers to already be calling for Jeremy's unnamed show to be cancelled is ridiculous. If you truly want to make him ineffectual, *don't watch his show* and *don't respond in your own hyperbole*. It really is that simple. All you are doing is providing him an even greater platform and influence over public media. Similar to the call to ban Alice Cooper's 'School's out for Summer' (which made his album go platinum), all you're doing is putting money in his pocket. Genius. Well played, Jeremy.