Monday, October 28, 2013

The Bird has flown

The Bunyipmobile has not been in the garage for 10 days or so, and it has been a lonely road paved with quite some regret. Some time ago, as visitors may recall, there came a parting of the ways with the Rufous Bird, who had been a fixture at the Billabong and was rather keen to see those extended visits become permanent. Being a fool, the Professor demurred, one thing led to another, and while there were odd dinners in the name of old times' sake and irregular drinks (for who needs a reason to get out the corkscrew?), the old passion was kept very much in back pocket and handbag. But it was there all the same, stymied by a very stupid Bunyip's wariness of launching into another live-in relationship that might -- but probably wouldn't have, in retrospect -- ended in the acrimony that saw the former Mrs Bunyip depart to her friendly family law practioner.

They say those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, and that is certainly true. But what they should also  say is that not all histories are templates and that drawing iron-bound lessons from one unpleasant experience can be as fraught with folly as not drawing any lessons at all.

The other day an SMS arrived to announce that the Bird's new companion will be lugging her suitcase on an extended holiday, just the pair of them. The likelihood is that this jaunt will be a prelude to joint residency, so all half-formed plans to resurrect the union are now moot. Probably forever.

One of the things about blogging is the opportunity it presents to cast stones at others' idiocy. Were the topic love, this Bunyip's projectiles would not land beyond the front fence.

NOTE:  The above is this blog's 1000th post. Would that it have been a happier topic.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Age readers riot

You won't read about this in the Age, allowing that you actually read the Age, rather than look to it as the distilled essence of feral opinion and the latest trends in groupthink, but the East-West Tunnel isn't anywhere near so unpopular as the newspaper's writers insist. While the paper has been filled with screeds underscored by the foundation belief that public transport is morally uplifting and should therefore be obligatory, genuine public meetings with real residents and bona fide officials have been taking place throughout Fitzroy, Collingwood and Kensington. For some reason the Age chooses not to report these gatherings, prefering as it does today, to focus on the ferals for whom the tunnel project must serve as a catalyst for mayhem until the next G20 confab or Right to Life rally. It might cost Age editors dinner party invitations were they to mention that those public meetings have generally accepted the view that property values and quality of life will each be improved if vehicular traffic moves beneath the inner city rather than through it.

Just up on the Age website is this report and picture, one of several from today's protest. Unmentioned is that the the "injured" woman, Kat Gallea,is a professional ratbag and mainstay of the Socialist Party, specialising in movie reviews and Marxist critiques of Fifty Shades of Grey.

No mention of the protesters' associations and sympathies figures in the Age report, which is hardly a surprise. After all, why would the paper wish to insult the soap-free demographic, the last market segment in which it exerts any influence whatsoever.

Several weeks Fairfax closed its slick consumer monthlies, Sydney and Melbourne magazines, which formerly paid the rent by carrying ads for flash watches, four-figure handbags and ridiculously expensive ladies shoes. Is it it any wonder those mags folded? Would anyone but an Age executive want anything to do with these dingleberries? If they entered your shop the first call would be to turn out the store detectives.

UPDATE: How ridiculous is the Age these days? This ridiculous.

"Doctor" Demento

How easy is it to get a PhD from James Cook University these days?

Read this CV-builder, otherwise known as a dissertation. from Grace Smallwood, blacktivist and raving nut job.

Has James Cook introduced new sub-categories -- Doctor of Rants, for instance -- or is it simply that a black woman with a big mouth and a larger chip on her shoulder is as immune to critique as she is distant from logic and originality?

No doubt serious minds are to be found on the James Cook campus, even allowing for a heavy infestation of climate "scientists" and enviro grant gobblers. If  the academic clean skins don't wish their own reputations besmirched by association with Smallwood's spillage of deranged piffle, then this is the moment to raise a stink.

A good good place to start might be here or here

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Too poor to be entirely original

A former Silly journalist, who asked not to be quoted directly, writes that Julia Baird should re-consider her disdain for the rich, as they don't have to borrow quite as much as she.

Not that the Silly would deem today's column plagiarism, mind you. The bar was set pretty high when Ross Gittins was cleared after penning a column that boasted 90 per cent of other people's unattributed words, and Ms Baird has actually invested the effort to re-write and paraphrase.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First they came for the bikies....

Sometimes, when the social urge takes charge, the Professor sallies forth to break bread with like-minded types. Such dinner gatherings often represent a critical mass of antisocial attitudes, as judged by contemporary Victorian standards, there being much levity at the expense of hooked-up, nicely remunerated members of the Mordy-Litijus tribe, social workers, the notion that underpaid teachers spend their four months’ of holiday time preparing lesson plans and, inevitably, the sort of women who represent compelling arguments for male sodomy. Given what happened in Andrew Bolt v Self-Identifiers and the fact that cigarette butts are sometimes carelessly discarded beneath an al fresco table, a case could perhaps be made that a peaceful Bunyip and companions are law-breakers and undesirable elements liable to prosecution under a variety of new measures being introduced in the Garden State and other jurisdictions. In Victoria, the latest novelty is a ban on what are being described as domestic “fortifications”, which police have been given an authority to tear down. They are embracing that option with relish.

The new law is aimed specifically at bikies, as is Victoria Police’s stated intention to give anyone riding in club colours a hard time, even if they are within the speed limit and perhaps on the way to refurbish grandma’s spouting.  In other states similar measures have been introduced, the common thread being that Australia’s various police forces need something more muscular than  existing laws to make outlaw motorcyclists behave themselves. This seems a peculiar view, as dealing drugs, manufacturing them, stockpiling arsenals and shooting fellow citizens are already against the law and have been for some time.

Now it is true that bikies elicit little sympathy and deserve less. Certainly, no decent parent would be pleased to find a child had decorated himself with a “1%” tattoo. Plus, given the way that Harleys handle, there would be reason to doubt the young one’s sanity, as agile Italian and Japanese crotch rockets are cheaper, faster and a lot more fun. But being stupid and illuminating your bicep with a tatt are not illegal activities – not yet, anyway. What should worry the rule of law’s supporters is just where this business of nominating particular groups for selectively harsh treatment might end.

The Billabong just happens to be surrounded by a rather high and private fence, which by the new legislation’s loose definition might be construed as one of those "fortifications".  The possibility that police might come knocking is, while unlikely in the near term, a possibility down the road, for if there is a tendency amongst those who pass and enforce laws it is the lure of “mission creep”.

"Step away from the  Anne Summers jokes, put down the list of Arts Victoria grants recipients and throw yourself face-down in the dirt....." Fanciful, yes, but not unthinkable -- not in a land where a former ABC media critic is consumed with regret that the Finko and Ricketty review was unable to impose the threat of jail time on troublesome newspaper editors.

Today it is bikies on the short end of the battering ram. Tomorrow, who knows which sub-demographic of undesirables might be in for a bit of official attention?

Why Jacky can't read

How Victoria's Education Department encourages Aboriginal students to master language, mathematics, chemistry and all the other subjects that save teachers from the ignominy of careers as social workers:

Click and the image will get bigger, as the Indigenous actress said to the Rainbow Serpent bishop.

And don't forget, no physics lesson is complete without a Welcome to Country ceremony, about which Education Victoria has formulated some helpful guidelines. Notice that the department's normal abhorrence of sexism and gender stereotyping has been suspended...

... but cash payments haven't been:


Correction: MWF put its Johnson on display

Several commenters on the post dealing with the Melbourne Writers' Festival and the $250,000+ it receives from the Victorian government have accused the Professor of bias in failing to mention that not every guest at this year's conclave was a grant-fed luvvie leftoid. "You are a lying @#$%," noted one aggrieved visitor, whose salty language precluded his thoughts being posted on what is a civilised blog. "Why don't you mention that Tory @#$% Boris Johnson or does he spoil your bull^&*( thesis?"

Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.

Boris was indeed on hand, and as he represents the sum total of the organisers' efforts to present someone other than owners of biodegradable bicycles and sustainable Lit Board grants, he most certainly should have been given a guernsey.

The full guest list can be found here, each participant's CV available via a handy link. As an exercise, see if you can find a conservative.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Robert Doyle's collapsing kingdom

While poking about in the shed last month in hope of finding the perfect nut, bolt and spring washer to repair a broken scissors, a receipt from 1978 came to light amidst the cobwebs. It was for a Victa motor mower, the sum a quite staggering  $379, purchased by the machine’s original owner from McEwan’s in Bourke Street, the hardware emporium that was a Melbourne institution until it went out of business in 1993, when the chain and its flagship were purchased by Bunnings.  Passed to the Professor via a Springvale garage sale for a much more reasonable $30 in 2006, the mower came with the original receipt, which the elderly former owner had taped to the handle. Thirty five years after being unpacked, the lusty four-stroke still does a fine job of cutting the grass.

What brings this to mind is a story in today’s Age recounting the travails of the developers who purchased the McEwan’s building, just up the Bourke street hill from the Mall outside Myer. Their tenants went broke for want of passing traffic and the former emporium, which was supposed to become a chic, three-storey bazaar, is empty and covered with graffiti. Reporter Chris Vedelago also quotes a 2010 judgment in a case brought against the then-landlord by a disenchanted tenant: “‘There was virtually no pedestrian activity, either by reason of customers coming to deal with businesses in the Foundry,’ as it was re-named, ‘or by reason of the so-called 'ant trail' [a new retail thoroughfare created between Bourke and Little Collins streets],' the judge found.”

While the Age report goes on to note that the site’s future is in doubt, the opportunity to suggest a fresh use was missed, despite an obvious and compelling alternative.

Why not re-christen it The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle Institute For Really Stuffing The CBD?
For those not blessed to live in Victoria, know that Doyle was the former leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party while Labor premiers Bracks and Brumby were feather-bedding union mates in projects that ranged from the still-unused $12 billion desalination plant to the re-development of the MCG. A preposterous figure, he would rise in the Legislative Assembly to make a point, be dismissed as a pompous featherhead by the governments of the day and melt meekly back into his seat, a gelatinous pool of spineless irrelevance topped by an empty skull and an inflated sense of self-worth. If he showed any life at all it was when there was a bit of a sort in the public gallery and he craned his neck to take in the spectacle. Doyle was such a lousy leader of the Opposition that his replacement, the hapless and hopeless Ted Baillieu, constituted an actual improvement.

After failing in Spring Street he found his niche at the Town Hall, much as the more problematic lumps sometimes lodge in the S-bend, where his only worthwhile achievement has been to turn loose police on the Occupists in the City Square, and even that took him four weeks to authorise. Other than that, he has been a very good Labor/Greens mayor, which is certainly not what voters had a right to expect when they voted for a Liberal.

LaTrobe Street has been converted under his leadership from a broad and free-flowing thoroughfare to a single lane of cars. The rest has been given to bicycles, as you would expect to happen with a CINO (conservative in name only) mayor at the city’s helm. Worse than that, parking fees have been hiked, hiked again and then hiked some more. Once upon a time, all of Melbourne looked to the CBD for its first-order shopping needs. Now only an idiot ventures into the CBD if there is alternative source of the desired good or service – the former McEwan’s building being the  proof of that. For decades the store thrived. Now it is empty and ugly, with no hope of ever again hearing the tinkle of money in a merchant’s till.

It should take a lot to ruin a city, but Doyle demonstrates -- and the CBD's plethora of empty shops prove it -- that even a man of the most meagre talents can achieve that end.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The carbon-cuttingroom floor

Amongst Young Master Bunyip's many talents, the capacity to read cyberglyphics is one of the more surprising and unsettling, as it suggests a relatively recent insertion of back-door genes in the Bunyip line's DNA. There was, however, scarce time to wonder how the former Mrs Bunyip might have amused herself while the Professor was down at the mooring because the young fellow's discovery in what he calls "the sauce code" for Tim Flannery's new Climate Council website is very amusing. Here is part of the code, which goes on for pages.

YMB explains that the various bits of cuneiform mystery and their associated exclamation marks mean that sections are "comment out" -- erased from public view, in other words --  presumably when someone at the Climate Council realised that the original video link would not do much to advance the cause of separating the gullible and indignantly self-righteous from their cash. Indeed, it would have been a powerful disincentive to heep hands well out of pockets

Here is the video, according to YMB, which the Climate Commission originally intended to present.

As can be seen, there were some very rash predictions tumbling from Flannery's lips in 2010, none of which has come true or is likely to. (No need to endure the full clip;the funny bits about polar bears, massive rises in sea levels and the certainties of experts are near the start). Much safer, on the whole, to have Flannery talking about "the science" and his cause's need for cash, as he does in the substitute video.

Sadly, Flannery does not address the climatic imperatives that persuaded him to leave Mrs Flannery to fill the sandbags at the waterfront home he formerly shared with her and seek higher ground with a prostitute-turned-author. Donations to the Climate Council should be placed beneath the big pink dildo on the night table (the black one is reserved for solstice celebrations).

UPDATE: YMB wishes to make it clear that he did not discover the hidden code. Rather, he was alerted to it via an email now doing the rounds.



"Be consumed" (and washed down with a nice red?)

With Tim Blair still chucking down vin rouge ordinaires and pitching his beret at a jaunty angle someone has to keep an eye on South Australia. Fortunately the state's tourism authority has put together a strange little ad which makes that rather easy, as it is replete with reminders of the locals' peculiar little ways. Blogger won't allow the video to be embedded, but you can go here and marvel at the things South Australians value and which they hope will persuade potential visitors to share thei odd delights.

There are bugs, lots of them, dead rabbits and a man with a gun in Wolf Creek mode. A chicken is sensously plucked. There are cuts of mystery meat hanging on hooks, which must have been easier to photograph than barrelled bodies in an abandoned bank.

The highlight comes at about the 1.18 mark in the clip, where a young woman in a white dress and holed stockings writhes for not apparent reason in the dirt.

Is she dying? Has she been ravaged? Is she feeling about for Sarah Hanson-Young's brain?

Nobody but the director can answer those questions. But with an election coming up, those South Australian voters capable of living elsewhere, given sufficient rehab and the attentions of caring medical practitioners, should bear this promotional effort in mind when they cast their votes. If they are not hung on a meat hook first, that is.

Quolls, Beware

The Bunyipmobile ate up Victoria over the past few days, pausing for a spell in the Grampians, where a Bunyip's efforts to save the newly rediscovered tiger quoll came to nought. The appealing little creatures had been believed extinct in the region for well over a century, until one was recorded padding past a hidden video camera some weeks ago. They are in big trouble now. If foxes and ferals were not enough to worry about, the quolls will now have environmental bureaucrats crawling over their turf, setting live-catch traps, installing radio transmitters and all the other things grant-fed academic greenies like to play with when not scaring Age reporters with tall tales of global watming.

One hundred and forty years those quolls have survived since the last sighting. If they heed the Professor's advice, written on carrots and personalised notepaper and stuffed into hollows and fallen logs, they will survive another 140 years.

What they must do is avoid the experts who will shortly descend in droves -- once the grants are approved, that is.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Arts Minister Heidi Victoria wants to hear from you

Let us just imagine for a moment that there are more pressing matters than a pleasant nine holes, a little fishing and an idle hour or two enjoying what for the moment remains the inchoate bafflement that has held many Labor and Greens supporters in its thrall since that glorious Saturday a few weeks back. Allowing for the existence of a spare moment, we might -- should, actually, being responsible adults -- unleash a little anger that the closest thing we have in Victoria to a conservative force is the government of Premier Napthine, one of whose ministers has spent the past week announcing grants to an arts community that will always take the money and, just as predictably, do whatever it can to assist its patron's ouster. To Overland, $50,000 worth of Guy Rundle-and-worse. To the Melbourne Writers' Festival, a quarter of a million. And to the chap who slithers about in a box of smoke, a very welcome $15,000. Apolitical he might seem, but which way do you reckon the human filter tip's audience will lean come the casting of the ballots in November 2014?

One could try calling the office of the Arts Minister Heidi Victoria and register a protest, but she holds her seat of Bayswater by a very comfortable 21 per cent, so the odd whiner is unlikely to be blessed with more than the cooing voice of sympathetic electoral officer and the sound of telephone going dead.

But just imagine that Ms Victoria received a message from her office -- the news that callers had been promising to contact schools, clubs, civic organisations and alert them to the fact that their MLA had just given $50,000 to a St Kilda gallery that was closed by the police after an exhibiting artist was charged with producing child pornography. Unlikely to go down well, you would think.

Or what about getting even more serious, starting from the position that a conservative government which isn't conservative doesn't deserve to be a government either. So just suppose Napthine was given to understand that candidates in just one or two of his most marginal seats were to be portrayed as supporting the public funding of really nasty stuff. It wouldn't be entirely fair, true. But then neither is the $250,000 lavished on the MWF celebration of lefties talking about how smart they are and everyone else isn't. If the minister is too busy or too lazy to call the organisers aside and request a little balance, then she might as well send her dog to administer the portfolio.

Here is the minister doing what politicians do and ingratiating herself with those on whom her future depends, in this members of the Pirate-Australian community from the local cricket club.

And here is where you can send an email to Ms Victoria. Readers should feel free to copy and paste their remarks into the comments thread. One message will be ignored, but a bunch of them might actually prompt a reaction.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Next, rabbits will be funding myxo

Readers will perhaps forgive the Professor for going on at the length of quite a few recent posts about Arts Victoria and the money it is lavishing on people and institutions a reasonable soul might regard as antithetical to the priorities and philosophy of a conservative state government.

Well here is just one more entry in the list of aid and comforts bestowed upon the enemy:

Melbourne Writers Festival, MELBOURNE $259,000
Melbourne Writers Festival is Melbourne's annual two-week event for writers, readers and thinkers. The Festival engages over 350 international, national and local writers at over 300 events each year.

And here is the MWF's 2013 guest list:

Gay Alcorn, Cathy Alexander, Dennis Altman, Wendy Bacon, The Bedroom Philosopher, Eric Beecher, Larissa Behrendt, Sophie Black, Julian Burnside, Jennifer Byrne, Fiona Capp, Jane Caro, Michael Cathcart, Alison Croggon, Mary Crooks, Sushi Das, Catherine Deveny, Anne Deveson, Charles Firth, Morag Fraser, Anna Goldsworthy, Jonathan Green, Libbi Gorr, Wendy Harmer, Joan Kirner, Ramona Koval, Mark Latham, Benjamin Law, Antony Loewenstein, Amanda Lohrey, Miriam Lyons, Father Bob Maguire, Anne Manne, David McKnight, Peter McPhee, George Megalogenis, Tony Moore, Terry Moran, Denis Muller, Ben Pobje, Henry Reynolds, Peter Rose, Julianne Schultz, Margaret Simons, Peter Singer, Tim Soutphommasane, Jeff Sparrow, Fiona Stanley, Anne Summers, Magda Szubanski, Arnold Zable.

Go through the list. Every single one of those names is a lefty, most moving from one publicly funded trough to the next and calling that a career.

Who is handing this money out? How much is going to mates? What steps has Premier Napthine taken to reform arts funding in the Garden State?

If Napthine won't act, why should he expect decent people to vote for him in 2014?

Boy crazy at Arts Victoria

The things those artists get up to! Remember Paul Yore, the artist whose works saw the Linden Centre shut down for a number of days following a police raid back in June? Yore is edgy and hip, as they say, as is the Linden for showcasing his work, like the two examples (below) removed by those philistine wallopers.

The Linden has just been gifted with $50,000 to keep pushing the boundaries of art (and Squaresville's sensitivities)

Linden Board of Management Inc, ST KILDA $50,000
Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts is a contemporary art gallery dedicated to exhibiting new work by contemporary artists and supporting artistic development.

There has been a lot of chatter lately about a re-ignited "culture war", but that is just silly talk.

How can you have a culture war when one side's elected champions refuse to take the field?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The art of football's new rules

And one last example of what Victorians are getting for their artsy dollar:
Gabreille de Vietri: Development and presentation of "Three teams", a performance installation, interactive sculpture and documentary video involving three Horsham Australian Rules football teams.
Translated, that means  Gabrielle is going to put 54 opposing footballers on the field at the same time and film them running around according to the artist's instruction.

Tom Wills invented a whole sport for the cost of a few beers, a pencil and a seat in a pub near where the MCG now stands. Now, a lot more than that gets you an interactive sculpture and an approving interview  on the ABC.

One thing that is not readily apparent at Arts Victoria's website: the names of those on the selection panels who are rolling out suck* largesse. It would be very interesting to trace their relationships with recipients.

* originally a typo, but so unintentionally appropriate it must remain

Blowing smoke up their arts

This list of Arts Victoria's latest happy recipients really does make fascinating reading.

On page one, just dipping and browsing, we come across Ashley Dyer, who scores for this project:

"Ashley Dyer:Received $15,000 for: the development of "Life Support", a cross-disciplinary work that uses smoke to create images, vignettes, kinetic sculptures and immersive spaces.
What all that means is filling a box with smoke and crawling around in it (below), or sitting in a chair while a machine blows smoke rings past your ear. (Apologies. No idea how to embed Vimeo clips)

On page 2, and still just picking random entries, we find Bonny Cassidy, who gets $8000 for
the development of Final theory, the final draft of a narrative poem that explores the theme of climate change.
And by page 3,there is Declan Greene, who trousered $20,000 for
Presentation of "The Sovereign Wife", a new theatrical investigation into cinematic narrative and cultural identity.
If you missed The Sovereign Wife, know that opinions of its merits varied. The Melbourne Theatre Company was pretty keen because, well, why wouldn't they be? After all, the taxpayer was footing the bill for what one of its own theatrical types rated not very good:  "One MTC staff member whose time with the company was finishing up contacted the Sisters' producer to tell them what they'd just witnessed was the most juvenile thing they'd ever seen, and that they were thankful they wouldn't be there to see it staged." Nevertheless, the Fairfax reviewer was in awe, as you might expect of a production "so queer and far from the mainstream [it] would surely seem like kryptonite to MTC subscribers."

Those bourgeois lowbrows! Serves them right if they bought tickets with their own money and didn't like what arts bureaucrats choose to give them. Just who do paying patrons think they are anyway!

If you missed the show, a little taste of the genius behind it:

Crumbs for Sparrow

Frederick McCubbin is best known for his Pioneer triptych, which wouldn’t be acceptable today, not at all. There are no slaughtered Aborigines strewn about the canvas’ periphery and it is quite clear by the third panel that trees have been murdered in the name of mankind’s hegemonic oppression of all things natural and ferny. If Fred were to try and bag a  grant for such an obscene work these days he would pretty soon get a very solid education in what the taxpayers’ representatives demand for someone else’s dollar, and it sure ain’t his sort of stuff – not even in Victoria, where an allegedly conservative government sometimes makes squeaky noises about fiscal rectitude.

Instead, from Arts Victoria, we get a long list of things a Liberal government is happy to support, one recipient leaping from the ledger being noted communist Jeff Sparrow, whose little-read but much-funded Overland quarterly has just picked up another $50,000, presumably for its courage in publishing insights like Rowan Cahill’s rumination on the militarism at the heart of the Australian soul. Yes, militarism, as in jackboots and overseas jaunts to slaughter Japanese, Germans, North Koreans and many other varieties of the despised Other. Sometimes Guy Rundle also pens a little thought for Overland, so at least it can be said of Cahill that he is coherent, relatively speaking, and not at all out of step with Sparrow, who has been clambering about on the barricades since Labor’s defeat, breast bared and the flag of revolution in his worker’s hand.

Culture wars work the same fashion, except the gun the Left possesses is the possibility for mass action. We can save the climate only if we turn the environment into an issue in which everyday Australian feel they have a stake. That’s the escalation we need – and if we can manage it, the culture war rhetoric will become risible

Fellow Victorians, isn’t it re-assuring to have a Coalition government that knows what it stands for? In this case raising $50,000 in speed-camera fines and giving the lot to Sparrow of the Proletariat.

Footnote: Sparrow’s contributions to the sum of human knowledge also command respect at the federal level, as does his magazine, most recently to the tune of $183,000 (plus another $15,000 for a state of the art website).