Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The unlucky country

Ah Australia. With your alluring beaches and your desires to put arthropods upon searing metal, you should have been great. You were meant to live up to your promise of being the lucky country but for those living there this has not necessarily aligned. For me, the problem was not your beaches but the political arena and, apparently, this view is not limited to just myself. It has recently come to my attention that Australia will probably have 6 prime ministers in 6 years. From the lobotomized antics of Tony Abbot to the mismanagement of Malcom Turnbull, Australia has been in a drought.


Even though that level of turn-over is impressive in itself, they now have the unenviable task of having to vote in the next imbecile. Unsurprisingly, this has ended in a stalemate. The Australian people have spoken and they are under the resounding conclusion that there is literally no choice. It is a funny situation. At this point they need to clear house as neither party is remotely capable of coherent thought. Other aspects are that their GDP is buoyant while salaries and unemployment rates remain relatively poor. Inflation is at close to 2% (compared to the US/UK <=0.2%); even though their interest rates are at record lows and currency is significantly under-valued.

Now, outside of the numbers, this is not what irks me. It's that a country with such potential is so poorly managed. Australia has a near limitless source of core resources, beautiful beaches, deadly animals and a can-do population and yet they are hindered by a political culture whose only desires are to benefit themselves rather than make Australia great again (to paraphrase Trump). Australia is at a point where they cannot keep playing the retard card. They need a real leader with people under them who are competent. The Joe Hockey's of this world should just go back to selling used cars or working at the local chip shop.

Friday, June 10, 2016

If women were truly equal

Stay with me; I'm an equalist.

http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/
For those of you who don't know, I like tennis; in particular, playing tennis. Sometimes I even like watching tennis, but, what I don't like is watching Women's Tennis. Now, before you start blurting out words such as 'Sexist' or 'Misogynist' or 'woman-hater', the reason is because I can't stand listening to all the screeching that goes on from the top woman players. I can understand that you sometimes need to grunt/screech on a particularly hard (or poorly hit) shot but when it's done on a drop shot or slice, you have to question whether it's not just gamesmanship. Thankfully Sharapova, one of the biggest troublemakers, has been banned for two years. Unfortunately it wasn't for screeching like a harpy but I am sure the ITF is working on that (one would hope).

I also read an article recently which went on to outline the virtues of Andy Murray's forward-thinking views on Women's tennis getting equal pay / respect. While I agree on the respect part, I'm not so sure that woman should get equal pay. In all of the opens, women only have to pay the best of three sets whereas men have to play five. If they were truly equal, shouldn't there just be a 'tennis open' rather than holding 'sexist competitions' for each gender? I wonder how long it would take for the female players to complain about it being unfair when they're having to compete against the likes of Djokovic or Murray? As was proven, a 200+ ranked man beat the Williams sisters who were top seeds. Make of it what you will. But, of course, that doesn't mean a woman cannot beat a man. I've been beaten many times by women and, as the previous link shows, retired male pro players can be beaten ... maybe that puts a sleight on the win but all I know is I would be beaten by all of them.

In the end, if I don my objectivity hat, it should just come down to numbers. The correct answer to whether WTA players should earn as much as the ATP should come down to comparing WTA revenues to those of the ATP. Simply put: if the WTA earns more then they should earn more or vice-versa. Now that would be fair, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It seems so obvious

Now, unless you've been on under a rock for quite a while, you would probably know that the weather hasn't been aligning with our expectations and is trending ever-warmer as this animation shows pretty effectively. Naturally, people are getting exasperated because they're towing the line by, you know, recycling and driving a hybrid and buying locally-sourced food stuffs and cycling and using reusable shopping bags and ... But that is not enough. The smoking gun is not your living habits.

It's pretty simple because it's a just a game of numbers. If each person on average produces 200 kilos of carbon a year, if you translate that over the rest of the world, that results in 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon being generated each year. So, whether you're able to reduce your own impact to 25% of the average, as a whole, that doesn't make a lick of difference. So, that really isn't a solution as third-world countries are industrializing, our average environmental footprint is set to go up.

Then there's the projection which states that by 2050 the world's population will balloon to almost 10 billion people. Let that sink in. So, really, your altruistic desires to save the dolphins are not going to have much of an effect on the world's problems. Even David Attenborough is of the belief that we're heading towards our own demise. Simple factors like clean water, sufficient fuel, sufficient food become a much tougher balancing act when you have 10 billion people to satisfy. The other problem is that we are trending towards an aging population. How long will it be until the governments impose an age limit and start weeding out the oldies? Or possibly imposing a military mandated one-child policy? As the Aztecs can attest, at some point the land will reach the physical limit of what it can provide and result in cataclysmic famine.



The simple solution is to follow the great Doug Stanhope's message of love and acceptance (very NSFW) or make friends with the venerable Mad Max. Enjoy!

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 regions 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 na├»ve 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 meetup.com 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 in-growns 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 in-growns. 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.