Category Archives: Rant On

General rabid ranting

US election 2008

I believe it would be quite remiss of me NOT to make some kind of intimation that the US Presidential Election took place and had an absolutely bloody brilliant result, don’t you?

The US system of candidate nomination, primaries and the Grand Final, over what seems an inordinately long period of  time, seems exceedingly odd to those of us brought up with the Westminster System . . . which is really the basis of the US system of course, with the two Houses et al, but where did all that primaries stuff come from? 

It makes absolutely no sense and it’s main purpose seems to be to divide the parties [eg, Democrats into Hillary vs Barack supporters; aren’t they all on the same side?  FFSL] and bore the population to tears, with campaigning so far in advance of the Presidential Election that by the time that day in November rolls around no one no-one can be buggered to turn out to vote.

I am cringingly ashamed of my ignorance;  obviously someone needs to explain this to me.  Please be gentle. 

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ALP the new Stalinists

/rant mode on

Today’s rant is unusual as it’s not about the USA election, USAn attitudes on sex and education [lack thereof], creationists being morons, or sporting broadcasts.  Today I’m frothing at the mouth about something that’s going on here in Australia, that the population is not getting upset enough about – but that’s the berloody apathetic Aussies for ya – and is not being brought to attention what with all media focus on global financial crisis and the fact that Sarah Palin has a vagina [one presumes].

Australian Labour Party IT Minister Stephen Conroy [oops sorry, Minister For Broadband And The Digital Economy] has long been talking up his new “Plan For Cyber-Safety”, which will cost the government at least $ 125.8 million, and is a nationwide internet filtering system.  Yep just like the one China has about which Australia and other “First World” nations have been criticising and bleating stuff about “human rights abuses”. 

Apparently it’s to make the internet safe, “to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites”.  Okay, fair enough, you may say – child porn is nasty.   But let me ask you, how much of the transactions, information searches and knowledge gained on a daily basis with this marvel of modern times is done by five year olds?

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Olympics 2008

Warning:  Rant Mode ON

Okay so like just about everyone, I’ve been watching – only occasionally mind you – the Olympics coverage in Beijing and Hong Kong.  I thought the pageantry and artistry of the opening and closing ceremonies was amazing, all that beauty and symbolism;  the organisation, coordination et al of the Games was sensational.  Most people were so blown away they even forgot about things like certain promises, environmental conditions [smog, algal blooms], and human rights aberrations.  Excellent PR for the People’s Republic of China.  [The UK has a hard, hard act to follow … especially given the starting handicap of a truly crappy logo.]

But –  and it’s a BIG but – I am so pissed off by the programming, coverage of events and commentators here in Australia  I could spit.

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Of Yule and fools [and a teensy clarification]

Howdy – hope everyone had a very merry and jolly and safe Yule season.  I had a surprisingly pleasant Christmas and NYE – I say surprisingly because historically I get deeply depressed around that time. I hate the materialism and the media-driven expectations, all that crap.  In fact, you could just go ahead and call me Ebeneezer.  Neither Tux or I are into the whole Christmas thing; being very casual and relaxed about gift-buying, celebrating, so on, with a huge dose of Bah-Humbug thrown in for good measure.  And feck off New Year’s Eve and resolutions; the only resolutions I make are those that are either incredibly [i] vague or [ii] practical, so none of the traditional lose weight/get fit/quit whatever; I commit to things like trying to use less loo paper – that was 2006’s resolution AND I succeeded. 

So Christmas Day itself was good, a yummy lunch at my parents’ where I got lots of quality time with my adorable niece and nephew – my niece especially loves me and thinks I’m the most fun ever.  Okay so she’s only 10 months old, that doesn’t stop her having discerning tastes!  My mum was in a total tizz as always; I offered to have Christmas dinner at our place next year and WOW does it feel amazing to be able to say that … Christmas in our own home. 

Tux gave me a gorgeous collection of skin care and make up stuff [Ultraceuticals and MAC], plus Gordon Ramsay’s Chef, which is a beautifully designed boxed coffee table book of Ramsay’s restaurants’ recipes and anecdotes.  Continue reading

The Fourth Reich – Update

Further to this previous post, I was somewhat horrified to learn that the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and now Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, Western Australia, have both threatened, under papal order, that any (Catholic) Parliamentarian voting for, or any Catholic supporting the overturning of legislation regarding therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, will be denied communion and EXCOMMUNICATED.

A bit OTT, don’t you think?  Both have denied they meant their comments to “sound threatening”, but as a WA Parliamentarian said, they must be the only ones who think that.  I mean, how else is one supposed to take it?  It’s hardly friendly encouragement.

Australia has always kept church and state separate; it seems “un-Australian” to mix religion and politics/science – unlike the US, and countries such as Ireland with it’s long long history of religious interference in private health issues (and all facets of life), Australia has always seemed fairly even-handed and sensible in this respect.  But this attack on individual thought is of enormous concern;  that even Parliamentarians, who are voted in by “the people” who are of many different races and creeds, are not to be allowed the freedom of having an individual conscience and opinion.

Scary stuff … I do not feel that organised religion and it’s lobbying power should have any say in what goes on in national and global health and science matters; religion and science are not compatible.  There’s a Simpsons episode where a judge rules (something like, I can’t remember exactly) that a restraining order should be applied to science and religion and they should not be allowed within 500 metres of each other …  I could not agree more.

The Fourth Reich – the Catholic Church

I had a couple of other posts scheduled, but when I spotted this and my entire brain twisted itself into a little ball and exploded with supernova-like rage, I had to postpone them and have a wee rant instead.   Translation:  Jules totally lost her shit.  (I’m not even going to start on the abortion issue and the recent court ruling in the USA that takes away a woman’s right to control her own damn body.)

To sum up, Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and second-highest ranking official in the Vatican, stated (among other delightful things) that homosexuals and gay marriage were evil, perverse, and against nature (my italics).  This is just the icing on the cake after many speeches from the Vatican and the new Pope Benedict XVI denouncing homosexuality.  Before becoming Pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (what a charming name) called homosexuality a “moral evil”.  He has also recently attacked the Italian and Spanish government for introduction of legislation that would make it possible for homosexual couples to marry and have children.

This is the kind of hypocritical, judgemental, loathsome, intolerant, ignorant, thoroughly vile trash that made me give up on organised religion in utter disgust. 

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An inconvenient truth

Al Gore’s documentary (now Oscar-winning!) An Inconvenient Truth makes totally compelling viewing; it is difficult to quantify why, given it is “just” a movie of one man giving a slide show.  However, with Gore’s passionate commitment to the issue of global warming, climate change, and the challenges and opportunities we face, as well as the voice-overs narrating Gore’s personal journey that intersperse the slide-show, the viewer is drawn in and becomes deeply involved in the subject matter.  Anyone who is left un-moved – or unconvinced – by the factual account (how many reviews have I read that accuse Gore of hysteria and lack of facts?) must be made of stone.  Not to mention, being totally uncaring of what will happen to their own descendants.  

The title comes from the text of the movie, where Gore outlines the problems with marketing the changes in policy and attitude required, and why it continues to be ignored; because it is “an inconvenient truth” that those in administration, government and industry simply do not want to acknowledge.

Classic behaviour of the collective ostrich with it’s head in the sand.

The big question in my mind at the end of the movie was; WHY DO USANS HAVE SUCH A PROBLEM WITH REALITY?

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Creationists are morons

I have long since decided that the entire neo-conservative group, with it’s fundie redneck reactionary ideas, is not only a cause for amusement; it’s fucking scary.  If the religious right has it’s way we’ll be living back in pre-Renaissance times, complete with that century’s level of health care, treatment of women, rights of man (hey, Martin Luther!), war-mongering and disregard for the environment.  Come to think of it, that’s a pretty accurate description of George W and his followers right now, in 2006 – 07.  Brrrrrrr …. 

While there’s a lot to choose from for a good old rant in the above paragraph, what I’m going off about now are Creationists.  You know, those folks who believe the world was created in six days (the seventh being the day of rest, for the drinking of beer and watching of American football) and argue for this to be taught in schools; that evolution is a theory; and atheists are devil-worshippers who live empty, barren, lost lives.

First off:  No, evolution is NOT a theory.  It is scientifically proven, universally acknowledged, incontrovertible FACT.  Get a life, you literal minded fundie redneck freaks.

CREATIONISM IS A THEORY.  Actually, it’s not even that.  It’s a weird, backward myth which cannot be proven in any scientific or logical manner.  Tell me that dwarf hamsters are more intelligent/sapient than humans and show me the results of all tests and controls, all the papers, articles and peer reviews, the decades of irrefutable evidence and research, and I might come round to believing you.  Otherwise – forget it.  Remember cold fusion?  The earth is flat?  The sun revolves around the earth?  They were all theories that were proven wrong, wrong, and wrong again … I still haven’t seen any evidence which can support the creation of the Earth and all it’s creatures, and oh yeah the universe too, in seven – sorry, six – days.  The writings of a book which contradicts itself thousands of times over, of which there are many versions, and parts of which were written hundreds if not thousands of years after the events described, does not strike me as “irrefutable evidence”.

The teaching of Intelligent Design/Creationism will result in a desperate situation in regard to the sciences and scientific progress; quite possibly a successful attempt to take the “modern” Western world back to pre-Renaissance times.  Hey, here’s to heliocentrism, Galileo and Copernicus! (and look where debating that issue got them, babies). 

The merging of religion not only with politics but now education is an issue I find frightening and of great concern.  Intelligent parents – and kids – need to start fighting back NOW.  (Fortunately along with Richard Dawkins et al we have “real people” like biologist PZ Myers and his daughter Skatje leading the charge – congratulations a billion times over.)

Back to evolution.  It is not “just” a theory, as already mentioned; it is a very real science incorporating many decades of meticulous research and evidence.  It is also much more exciting, powerful, captivating, totally awesome and thrilling (I’d say sexy, which is appropriate given that sexual reproduction really sparked things off, evolutionary biologically speaking):  Imagine, that any uni- or multi-cellular creature on this planet, in the last X billion years and at this precise moment, ever existed at ALL.  Let alone that a species as insignificant and pathetic as Homo sapiens has survived long enough for me to be here, writing a blog … I’ll take that over a six-day bodge job.

Creationists have such weak arguments.  One can so easily rip huge new holes in everything they come up with – BUT they will still refuse to acknowledge the debate and slightest validity of that argument.

This is because you cannot have a rational debate with an irrational person.  To be rational and have a debate, one requires a) intelligence and b) the sharing of some basic framework of reference;  OR at least allow that the other person may at least have a point.  Creationists will never, ever, ever give ground.  EVER.  To allow the teensiest crack in their defences would definitely be the “thin edge of the wedge”.  See: house of cards, tumbling down.

Another thing that totally shits me off, how come Creationists-Christians-fundies automatically classify atheists as evil, immoral, wicked baby-killing devil-worshippers with empty, barren, unhappy lives?  That’s simply not logical: merely because I don’t believe in god or some other higher being/deity does not make me evil, immoral, a blank slate yadda yadda.  Our lives (me and millions of other happy atheists) are full of meaning thank you very much, and lack the blinkers installed by such a narrow world view; blinkers that restrict creative and conscious thought, not to mention diminish responsibility and willingness to help others where and when needed.  “An Act of God”; “God told me to do it”; “God will reward me” – see now, I call that “passing the buck”.

I don’t give a damn if someone is a Christian (Roman Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, Latter Day Saints, Amish etc etc etc inclusive), Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, or whatever. You’re all totally okay with me.  As Christ said, “All men are equal in the eyes of God”.  And he was a Jew and got crucified for it, for crying out loud. Seems to me I am not only just as moral, ethical, caring, and SPIRITUAL as any of those “Christians”, but more so – the majority of the aforementioned religious right in the good ol’ US (see: current administration) are greedy, hypocritical, lying, immoral, fascist, murdering, war-mongering dictatorial bastards, with no respect for human life, the environment, the natural world.  In short, they have less than zero concept of basic ethics.

One can be spiritual without believing in some bearded old white dude.  I believe in the rights of humans to be treated equally and well, to live peacefully; to care for and nurture the environment and our precious planet, to not start wars.  And not to murder for that matter, although I might put that in abeyance for some individuals …

While I’m on the subject of being a happy atheist, I definitely and vocally do not subscribe to what I call the Christmas Sampler Box, “pick & mix”, mode of religious support.  You cannot take bits and pieces of Catholic dogma and dismiss the bits you find unpalatable, and still call yourself a Catholic.  For example, the Bible and church teach creationism, the myth of the virgin birth, etcetera; if you find these unpalatable and hence reject those key structures of your faith, then you cannot believe in all the other bits you do happen to find desirable.  Whole package or nowt.

Personally, I like a lot of what is written in the New Testament – at least, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; you can take St Paul and shove a barbed wire wrapped piece of two by four up his — but I digress yet again.  The basic “commandments” of Jesus Christ (who I believe was a cool and groovy political animal, in the same mould of Ghandi and Martin Luther King) were 1. to treat others as you would wish to be treated and 2. that all men and women are equal in the eyes of God.  That’s really pretty socialist and harmonious.  I like it; I definitely do believe that all sexes, races and creeds of humankind are equal.  But I don’t believe in God.   As for the rest of the New Testament, well, it’s pretty much blecchhhh.  (NB:  The “un-canonical” Gospels of Thomas and Mary [Magdalene] make interesting reading, particularly when compared and contrasted with the canonical M, M, L & J. 

Take the Virgin Birth – what a load of horse apples!  There’s a whole other post brewing on the Marian myth, so I’ll leave that rant to another time.  However, I do find it excessively amusing that the Catholic church is currently “extremely embarrassed” because the actress who starred as Mary in The Nativity Story (the gorgeous Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider) is, in real life – gasp – pregnant and unmarried!  Just like Mary, right?  Who she portrays in the film?  Ahhh …. ummmmm …. ok.  Hmmm … shouldn’t unwed mothers therefore be fussed over and deified like Mary because they seek or have entered into a state that emulates her?  See?  ILLOGICAL. 

Condoms, use of.  Why the heck are they banned by the Catholic Church?  Okay okay, there’s the “every sperm is wanted/every sperm is good” line of thought, but apart from that, doesn’t the Church know how fucking difficult it is for a woman to become pregnant?  That even in a woman of normal or better-than-average fecundity there’s a tiny window of fertility wherein one teeny weeny sperm might fertilise an egg, which might eventually implant on to the wall of the uterus and not be rejected in the first 72 hours?  And that the embryo survive the first few months where as much as one in three pregnancies end in a miscarriage?   And then grow into a healthy foetus throughout the entire 38 weeks from fertilisation to the joyous birth of a baby; without a hitch? Eg cervical and placenta problems, fibroids, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, autoimmune diseases and physical trauma?  Conception and birth are indeed miraculous.  So how, please tell, does the use of a condom or little white pill that might prevent the possibility of glorious fertilisation, equate to baby-killing?   Let’s not even start on the related issues of population economics and health issues of refusing birth control and sex education (from refusing to give rape victims the morning after pill, to prevention of HIV/AIDS).

Backwards, reactionary, destructive (to individuals, the world order, the environment, you name it), insulting to women and scientists, illogical and totally fucking moronic – yep, that, my dear friends, is creationism and conservative religious thought in all it’s glory.

A-men.

A short rant about blogging

One of the things I hate about blogs, bloggers and blogging are the so-called trolls; the sick fucks who make bloggers’ lives a misery. They’re the sad, small-minded, hate-filled types who leave comments telling the blogger how much they hate them (the blogger), what vile deluded people they are, what a sick life they leave, how much they loathe their writing and their site. And yet trolls keep visiting, and leaving ever-more venomous bile, then they start with the hate mail, and even personal threats on the bloggers’ lives and that of their children.

This crazy shit happens to those bloggers who have become famous, who share very personal information and pieces of their lives. Many of them fall into the dreaded category of “mommyblogger” (rather than “parent-who-blogs-with-the- sprogs”? or just blogger? Talk about bloody stupid pigeon-holing especially when many of them cover much wider – and liberal, now there’s a hint – topics as well). I’m talking about the Amalahs, the dooces, the Robs – who I adore for the magic job he is doing raising a very unique fascinating child who happens to have a really nasty beastie of a neurological disorder. I can relate to the obstacles the family faces and especially appreciate how Rob and his wife are raising/developing their daughter to be her own person, have a definite identity … Something that didn’t happen with me – I was just “that sick kid”. Gah, sorry, garbling again.

Anyway … real sick fucks go after these people. There are sites dedicated to slamming them. And even sicker fucking perverts who stalk the parents as in threatening phone calls along the lines of “we know your address” and imparting information only someone physically staking out the family could know; and even worse go after the kids, judging and tearing them apart in a twisted paedophiliac way. Especially if the blog has pictures of the kids. More judging. Your kid is ugly / retarded / evil / a monster / should be put down. There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour, no circumstance or action a child or his/her parents could have done to warrant such excess. I mean, the fuck?

And this is why I don’t “blog” much. Its why I keep myself distanced from what I write and rarely get too personal. Even writing about my health issues, I do not give away the whole picture and all the detail. I’m naturally cagey – people I knew and hung out with for years didn’t know – were not told – I had a severe illness. I didn’t even tell my mother I was planning on getting engaged and moving to Ireland until the night we announced our engagement. I’m even cagier online.

And that is why I DO NOT WANT to become a well known blogger let alone famous. I don’t want the stats, the million hits. I am ultra thin skinned; I still have screaming night terrors (not just the average nightmare) about high school, for crying out loud. That was some seriously bad shit that went down, and I AM scarred for life, I recognise that. I’m getting better at overcoming or at least dealing with both the scars and the night terrors but I do not want to go out and put myself directly in the firing line over something essentially trivial (not surprisingly I gave my 20 year high school reunion a miss).

I don’t want the judgement from people I don’t even know. OK, so I have a site on the internets where I ramble a bit. I’m actually a very good writer and have been encouraged by many people from many walks of life to write professionally – from science/medical to fiction/autobiographical.

I don’t want the sort of treatment that Amalah and Dooce get – I don’t want the fucking adulation, either. That freaks me as much as the trolls. I’d like to get a few comments every now and then and make some email-friends but that’s it. I remember high school all too well; the mental, emotional and physical ABUSE. I am not about to put myself in that situation voluntarily. And let’s face it, the level of behaviour to which I’m referring is exactly like high school – no, junior school. Pre-school, in the sandpit. I tried my damndest to get out of school and played hooky and ran away as much as I could (never got detention though, not once – but there wasn’t any positive intervention from teachers, either, despite the school’s big focus on “pastoral care”. VOMIT).

So yeah … blogging. And sick fucks. It totally stinks that a person cannot share their lives without getting frightened for their and their children’s lives. And sheesh, if any sick fundie redneck in the US knew about my planned rants on Teen Sex In The USA, not to mention the Creationists Are Morons draft …. Phew.

Except those types of small minded freaks would find that way too cerebral.

Oh, for fuck’s sake

From The Internet Movie Database:

Brokeback Mountain actress Michelle Williams has been disowned by her former school because of her role in the controversial gay cowboy romance. Williams, who attended exclusive Santa Fe Christian School in San Diego, California, has been blasted by the school’s headmaster as “offensive” for acting the long-suffering wife of a homosexual ranch hand, played by Heath Ledger. Jim Hopson has branded the Oscar nominee a poor role model, and hopes his education establishment won’t be linked to the film’s themes. He tells the San Diego Union Tribune, “We don’t want to have anything to do with her in relation to that movie. Michelle doesn’t represent the values of this institution. Brokeback Mountain basically promotes a lifestyle we don’t promote.”

This is just so fucked up and disturbing on so many levels

Michelle Williams is an actress playing a role in a movie. It’s her job; it’s “pretend”. Also: SO FUCKING WHAT.

So what if the film depicts gay relationships? They do exist, you know. You can’t make that go away just by putting your fingers in your ears and going “LALALALALA”, Mr Fucking Stupid Moronic Dipshit Headmaster. That the majority of USAns would align themselves with you and your intolerant, bigoted, hypocritical, extreme fundamentalist, ignorant beliefs, is no reason to believe you are RIGHT. The crazy fucking Nazis thought the Final Solution was RIGHT.

Tell me why, please, why you think an ignorant, murdering, dangerously stupid bastard is the best leader you’ve ever had; yet you come off with shit like this?

To Michelle Williams I say, congratulations, I’d be fucking honoured to be disowned by a school like that. Better than an Oscar any day. I haven’t seen the movie yet but you know what? I’m going tonight.

I hope you win the Oscar, anyway.