15 May, 2016

Thinking of linking

This week I have been mostly reading...

Australians crave change. But this election won't deliver it

Q&A recap: Audience member delivers an early campaign reminder to all politicians

‘Jobs and growth’ and deja vu: reprising a failed American experiment

Malcolm Turnbull named in Panama Papers

How Bunnings turns the screws on customers

Dutton calls medical evacuation a 'racket.'

Vengeful micro parties go after Barnaby Joyce's scalp

Farmer was deeply depressed when he killed environmental officer, court hears

George Christensen tries to put pressure on Labor over Syrian refugee settlement

The reason why Malcolm Turnbull opted for such a long campaign is because he has to build his campaign team from scratch

Coalition corruption: They are not even embarrassed about it

Why the amount of tax Duncan Storrar pays doesn't actually matter

How negative gearing replaced the great Australian dream and distorted the economy

Preference deals are driven by pure politics

Donald Trump Announces Debt Plan That Would Collapse Entire Global Economy

A Hacker Put Marco Rubio Porn Memes on Two Billboards in Alabama

Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private

Why does New Orleans have more murders than similar cities? Experts search for answers

'70s High School Art Project Mistakenly Valued At $50K On 'Antiques Roadshow'

Reconciling with president-elect Duterte

Roger Waters on why his fellow musicians are terrified to speak out against Israel 

Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?

Online threats are not free speech

Literary magazine Meanjin may close after losing Australia Council funding

Literary magazine Meanjin to have funding cut

The ‘Australian’ Tried To Go After Duncan From #QandA And It’s Backfiring Spectacularly

Malcolm Turnbull and the Panama Papers. It just doesn't seem fair
It’s Not About Duncan

Is everybody happy now?

Why Movie Stars Still Exist Despite Their Lack of Box Office Appeal

Facebook's news saga reminds us humans are biased by design - Preferencing credible sources is not political bias, mmmkay?

Millennials have allies in the emerging grey vote

Six Divisive Regional Slang Terms Likely To Result In An Australian Civil War

Conversations in contrast

Remo Belli, Who Developed Synthetic Drumhead and Changed Music, Dies at 88

The poignant story of Jimmie Nicol: The guy who replaced Ringo Star and lived as a Beatle for two weeks

Bowie in Melbourne, 1987

Why I Deleted Your Band's Promo Email

Global sea-level expert John Church made to walk the plank by CSIRO - The barbarians are at the gate, and they're not waving ISIS flags. 

From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Tuyu the buffalo, the future of protein is not meat

A generation of artists were wiped out by Aids and we barely talk about it

Winona Ryder's turning point

Humour and satire:
Which idiot?

Clickbait of the week:
6 Signs You’re An Outgoing Introvert, Because Yes, Those Exist - closest thing to me I've found

I got stupid on me and I need to wipe if off on you:
Cash can’t beat genetics in class - starts off by comparing Labor tax policy to Hitler (seriously!) and finishes by suggesting academic achievement is decided by genetics. 

The least boring photo on my camera roll:

13 May, 2016

How to sell newspapers

In case you needed further evidence that The Hun is more a political propaganda outlet than a news organisation, today’s new low should leave you in no doubt.

The News Ltd stable has launched a crusade this week against the suburban father who dared to question the government’s tax policy on live television. What made it even worse was that it was on the ABC, which News Corp considers unfair competition.

The Murdoch media has been the loudest to complain about how hard it is for them to make a dollar in the digital age. It’s a fair point, which is why it’s so odd that they would turn again someone like Duncan Storrar.

I am no businessman, and I’m not much of a demographer either, but it seems to me that a lot more people like Mr Storrar would buy and read the Herald Sun than people like Innes Willox, Kelly O’Dwyer or Rupert Murdoch. That’s simple law-of-averages stuff really. There are more Duncans out there than Ruperts.

So why denigrate your main market? Well, the wealthy know there are more poor people than rich people, so they need to convince enough of the poor that the rich are on their side and it’s the really poor who are holding them back. Sounds nonsensical? Yes it does. But why else would the most powerful media outlet in the country, which is already overtly campaigning for the sitting government, sic their editors onto a disabled father?

You know what else people who buy newspapers like? Intellectual and moral consistency. So if you’re going to dedicate the front page to being all sanctimonious about one man’s criminal record, don’t plug an interview with a notorious gangland figure, referred to by his son’s first name, on the same damn page! That just makes you look stupid.
That would be notorious gangland murderer Carl Williams, whose drug trafficking father George died recently.


10 May, 2016

Thinking of linking

What I've been reading lately...

It's on us: The real world consequences of our politics

Writers and publishers voice opposition to new copyright proposals

Australia Post's $9 pick-up service enough to make me go postal

Refugee fighting for life in Nauru hospital after setting herself alight

Infographic: the size of Australia’s government

Peter Dutton hit a low today

Budget 2016: Winners and losers

Budget 2016: Tony Abbott's 'zombies' add billions to Malcolm Turnbull's first budget

Federal budget 2016: The more you look at it, the better it gets

Why The Government’s New Internship Program For Young People Is A Terrible Idea

Don't be cynical: Malcolm Turnbull defends new 'slave trade' internships

Scott Morrison's budget is unusual – but not for the reason he thinks it is

Abbott (still) says the darndest things!

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been saved, but George Brandis can still refuse to give up his metadata - Hypocrisy, thy IP address is...

Cuts force online archive Trove to stop adding to collection - Philistines! 

Windsor: ‘I have never owned or sold a coalmine to anyone’

Bronwyn Bishop gives final speech as MP, blaming Tony Abbott for downfall

Dutton risked safety of asylum seeker sent to PNG for abortion, court finds

Liberal Rising Star Copied His Tough Family History From A Fake US Congressman

Q&A recap: questions about trickle-down economics open the floodgates

An alternative to offshore detention

Australia’s Oldest Man, Who Knitted Jumpers For Penguins, Has Died At 110

Ormond College woodman kept the fires burning

The single best joke told by every president, from Obama to Washington

Trickle-Down Economics Has Ruined the Kansas Economy

Republicans in uncharted territory

Republicans Burn Their Voter Registration Cards After Trump Becomes Likely Nominee

City provides sinkhole driving map for motorists; translation requested

Sinkhole de Mayo party on Canal St: When life hands you sinkholes, make margaritas

Watch Republicans Come To Grips With Accepting Donald Trump

President Obama: The TPP would let America, not China, lead the way on global trade

Hillary Clinton turns her attention to Donald Trump

Few stand in Trump’s way as he piles up the Four-Pinocchio whoppers

Trump's New Finance Chair Led a Bank That Made Millions Off Taxpayer Bailouts

Tory child abuse whistleblower: 'Margaret Thatcher knew all about underage sex ring among ministers'

Imam accused of being an ‘Isis supporter’ demands apology from David Cameron

Italian court rules food theft 'not a crime' if hungry - This is the difference between law and justice

Millennials for Martial Law - Those who don't learn from history...

Save The Children video shows what life would be like if British refugees were fleeing a UK civil war

Paul McCartney Meets Women Who Inspired Beatles' 'Blackbird' - I'm not sure about this. It's only recently that he's begun describing Blackbird this way.

Pink Floyd to reissue catalogue on vinyl

Everything wrong with the new Ghostbusters trailer that justifies the hate for it

ABC Radio staff told to put people with 'difficult' accents on air

'Priceless' Mamamia internship sold at a charity auction for $10,000

Logies 2016: Waleed Aly and Noni Hazlehurst ride a glacier into the 21st century

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile - this is just wrong

Study reveals ‘global sleep crisis’ is threat to our health

Hanging With Al Jaffee, MAD Magazine's 95-Year-Old Journeyman Cartoonist

Why wind turbines have three blades

The train goes up, the train goes down: a simple new way to store energy

Flying boats or flying dreams: Could futuristic seaplanes revolutionise air travel?

Perception is its own reality when you’re eating

A 10-Year-Old Hacked Instagram - And Facebook paid him a bounty for it.

Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously. 

No, Apple Music is not deleting tracks off your hard drive — unless you tell it to

Feinstein-Burr: The Bill That Bans Your Browser

Bono Called Out Christian Musicians For a Lack of Honesty. He Didn’t Go Far Enough.

Mother duck and ducklings waddle through school halls in Michigan

Why is ‘w’ pronounced ‘double u’ rather than ‘double v’?

The least boring photo on my camera roll:

01 May, 2016

Thinking of linking

This week, I have been mostly reading....

Public service's lolly underground protests against treatment of Gillian Triggs

Budget 2016: Tim Pallas rides high while Scott Morrison dithers

Punitive, immoral and now illegal: the verdict on Manus Island

Turnbull’s negative gearing circus rolls on

Far from being silenced, the conservative voice is amplified and disproportionately powerful - "There’s a vast difference between being a victim of discrimination and the reality of fewer people agreeing with you than you’re used to."

The Project's Waleed Aly is in no mood to attend Malcolm Turnbull's negative gearing party

Penetrating insight into John Howard's sex life - you're welcome!

What are the submarines really protecting: Australia or federal seats?

Nauru refugee sets himself on fire in protest, man in critical condition, Peter Dutton says

Nauru refugee who set himself on fire dies in Brisbane hospital

An open letter from Jackie French (AM) in response to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Australia’s intellectual property arrangements

13 Times Australia Was Able To “Live Within Our Means” (Buzzfeed warning)

Goldman Sachs Admits It Defrauded Investors, Receives $5 Billion Fine — But Will Pay Much Less Than That

Spreading hate has backfired on right-wing media: How Fox News unwittingly destroyed the Republican Party

Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

Garry Kasparov: Donald Trump And His Enablers Are Killing Democracy

9/11 report: Obama administration 'set to release' secret 28 pages 

Guy's Po-Boys open again after getting clobbered by truck

Pseudoscience in the Witness Box, The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science.

The West Wing's Allison Janney gives White House press briefing ahead of Correspondents Dinner

Government 'phenomenally complacent' over VW scandal, say MPs

How the Sun's 'truth' about Hillsborough unravelled

London without old people is just a factory floor, with no past and no future - The capital is a cruel city for the elderly if they are not in the moneyed 1%.

Patrick Stewart sketch: what has the ECHR ever done for us?

Hillsborough inquests: Jury reaches decision on unlawful killing question

Sir Bernard Ingham: The disgraceful letter Margaret Thatcher's aide sent to Hillsborough campaigners

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry respond to Obamas' Invictus Games challenge

10 High Street stores of 1976 that have disappeared

An Israeli Brewery Recreated a 2,000-Year-Old Beer

How being banned can be a blessing

Prince Recognized That ‘if There Ain’t No Justice, Then There Ain’t No Peace’

RECORD COLLECTOR: David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down album from 1987

Miles Ahead and the Wilful Explosion of the Biopic

How 'ugly' comments remind women of the beauty tax we owe to be in public

60 Minutes’ Beirut saga is unlikely to inspire would-be journalists
You know you're stuffed when even the Oz can't defend your ethics. But Planet Janet is wrong - it's not the final severance of 60 Minutes from what it once was. That happened years ago. This just made it impossible to ignore.

The irrelevant face of CNN: What’s behind the empty gravitas of Wolf Blitzer?

Why the Original Darth Vader Is Now ‘Persona Non Grata’ at Star Wars Events

60 Minutes wanted reporter Tara Brown to be ‘involved at critical moments’ of child snatch

When men talk about feminism on television - Nobody books Latham hoping for reason and perspective. The book him hoping for a shitstorm that people will talk about later.

Screen overlay malware on the rise as bot scum battle for dominance

Bodyhackers are all around you, they’re called women

T-shirts with Myra Hindley on them? Modern art has forgotten how to care

A no-strings basic income? If it works for the royal family, it can work for us all

On Forgiveness


Clickbait of the week:
Only in Louisiana! The doughnut po-boy

I got stupid on me and now I'm wiping it off on you:
18 Reasons You Should Ditch Your Bra For A Bralette - Is it part of Buzzfeed's style guide to write about yourself in the second person?

The least boring photo on my camera roll:

25 April, 2016

Thinking of linking

What I've been reading lately:

Refugee on Nauru convicted of attempted suicide to 'deter' others - It's official, we are atrocious.

Why the federal budget is not like a household budget

Labor calls for banking and financial services royal commission

Turnbull might have to ditch the double dissolution

Germaine Greer comes under fire for controversial transgender comments

Next Generation of Banknotes: $5 Banknote Design Revealed

Geelong Council, including mayor Darryn Lyons, set to be sacked

Indigenous Actor Jack Charles Has Been Refused A Cab. Again.

Coal collapse turns 50 as Peabody fails, “clean coal” exposed as myth

This might not be the last act for ousted MP Bronwyn Bishop - oh, I think it will.

Turnbull picks a move on truck drivers, not banks

Fundraiser for Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer to be sponsored by NAB amid banking firestorm

Tumbleweeds roll across the Senate chamber as a double dissolution election looms

In defence of Abbott: for the 'delcons', electoral victory doesn't matter

Labor refers Sophie Mirabella's claims to auditor general over $10m ‘political retribution’

PM out-manoeuvred by Labor

Former member for Indi Sophie Mirabella in spat with current member Cathy McGowan

Mirabella's grubby deal is unacceptable

Palace Theatre to be demolished: VCAT - Vandals!

River on fire in Greens MP's video is natural, not fracking, says CSIRO

Founder of private training empire accused of writing lewd messages on toilet walls

The word most often used to describe the conditions that lead to gun mishaps is nearly always the same: “somehow.”

Five Panama Papers takeaways

Trump Is The Weakest GOP Front-Runner In The Modern Era

Clinton Is Winning The States That Look Like The Democratic Party

NOPD: Fully loaded handgun found inside former Saints player Will Smith's car

LSP responds to attorney's request to take over Will Smith shooting death investigation

Ted Cruz’s college days as a widely hated masturbator have come back to haunt him

Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20

Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill papers over racism

Jack Mehoff Endorses Donald Trump - Still chasing Wayne Kerr's vote.

Learning to Talk About Class

No one would listen to Stephen Fry if he was poor

A ban on state-funded academics using their work to question government policy is to begin on 1 May. It’s either a cock-up or a conspiracy - Want to talk about free speech?

This terrifying Rupert Murdoch quote is possibly the best reason to stay in the EU yet

Meet the snooker superfan who flies 11,000 miles to spend 17 days in Sheffield every year

Email from Victoria Wood

Why DID Paul McCartney marry such a lying money grabber?

Furious French wine makers hijack Spanish tankers, pouring 90,000 bottles down the drain

Artists in Pakistan target drones with giant posters of child victims

Chernobyl’s Silent Exclusion Zone (Except for the Logging)

Remember That Time Prince Kicked Kim Kardashian Off The Stage?

Prince went to small Australian venue Bennetts Lane and asked 'can I have a gig here?'

Brian May Blasts Sacha Baron Cohen Over Freddie Mercury Biopic

David Bowie interview from 1996: 'I have done just about everything that it’s possible to do'

The truth behind that remix of Macca’s ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five’

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Dickheads

12 of the best vinyl test records

'I'm in trouble': Messages show 60 Minutes may have rejected fallback escape plan after child snatching

The Fight for the Future of NPR

60 Minutes: Child recovery team 'very upset' Channel Nine left them in Beirut prison, lawyer says - Gee, what's the world coming to when mercenary people smugglers can't trust the media cowboys who bankrolled them?

Is it organic? When lifestyle choices have gone too far

The age of loneliness is killing us

The film making us face the idea disabled people have sex

Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there's no one right way to be a man

Using a Dyson hand dryer is like setting off a viral bomb in a bathroom

Coffee Workers' Concerns Brew Over Chemical's Link To Lung Disease

SQL injection vuln found at Panama Papers firm Mossack Fonseca

Windows 10 system overheating and CPU Core Parking

The Kindle Oasis. A strategic review

The Dismissal: the 'what-could-have-been-live' blog

Dogs in Space, 30 years on – a once maligned film comes of age (contains spoilers)

Jock Scot, performance poet – obituary

Mental health:
People Are Using The Hashtag #WhatYouDontSee To Show What Depression Is Really Like

No, Beyondblue, we do not need more awareness about mental health - This link is not an endorsement.

TfL has made a Shakespearean tube map to mark 400 years since his death
Shakespeare's deleted scenes

I got stupid on me and now I'm wiping it off on you:
Flash of credentials can’t disguise self-interest in taxes letter - Yeah Gerard, because your thinktank doesn't have any conflicts on interests, does it? tl;dr: What makes people think they know so much just because they're experts?

The least boring photo on my camera roll:

23 April, 2016

Seven days of Bowie - bonus tracks

Yes, I've already done the seven-day challenge and I've already cheated by choosing two for the last day, but when I first started this 'blog way back in 1899, the point of it was to do things my way. So here are three choices that almost made it and why:

Tin Machine
As with Never Let Me Down, I am not for one moment suggesting Tin Machine is a work of misunderstood genius. What's great about it is that it was such a breakout!

As mentioned and linked in the previous post, Bowie's plan in the mid-80s was to make as much money as he could and then retire to a tropical island somewhere. But he noticed it wasn't making him happy and Reeves Gabrels suggested to him that maybe he should do what makes him happy.

So yes, Tin Machine was rough and somewhat contrived, although probably no more or less contrived than any of Bowie's other adopted styles. It was as if all the raucous he'd been holding back for almost ten years came blurted out in two albums. These days you'd call it a reboot. And to push the analogy a little too far, rebooting can be messy.

Oh, and they rocked harder than a lot of the poodle metal acts around at the time.

I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday
It wasn't unusual for Bowie to do covers. In fact over half his albums have at least one cover version on them. Obviously being a Morrissey fan, this one is going to interest me but there's a cute circularity to the way this one came about.

Mick Ronson had produced Morrissey's Your Arsenal album, from which the song was taken, the year before. In one of the few insights into the creative process provided in Morrissey's Autobiography, it reveals that it was Ronson's idea to have the outtro of I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday follow the same chromatic run featured in the climax of Rock'n'Roll Suicide. Morrissey and his band were worried that Bowie would sue. Mick gave them a nod and a wink and assured them it wouldn't happen. The subtext? Ronson had written that part all along.

Bowie returned the compliment the following year saying, "It's me doing Morrissey doing me." None of this is to suggest that Bowie wasn't completely taking the piss on this version.

Ashes to Ashes
For the most part, I have tried to avoid obvious classics, but the one really is unavoidable. However, I am going to tell you something about it that you probably haven't heard before.

Bowie wasn't just a magpie in terms of musical styles; he would pinch lyrics and musical phrases from everywhere - not quite going as far as plagiarism but certainly going beyond a passing similarity.

One of the most obvious examples is in All the Madmen and the line, "Here I stand, foot in hand, talking to my wall," which can easily be sung to The Beatles' You've Got to Hide Your Love Away.

For Ashes to Ashes, Bowie dug back even further to another 'sequel' song by none other than Buddy Holly. Peggy Sue Got Married features the lines
You recall a girl that's been in nearly every song
This is what I heard, of course the story could be wrong
Compare to the opening lines of Ashes to Ashes:
Do you remember a guy that's been
In such an early song?
I've heard a rumor from Ground Control
Oh no, don't say it's true
Coincidence? Nup! And there's nothing wrong with that.

Another little bit I love about Ashes to Ashes is for a tragic song, there's still a bit of humour in there. The background voice in the second verse repeats every line including a deadly earnest, "Whoa ooh whoa hoo." It could be Bowie's most perfect song.

That really is all for now - apart from all the others.
Remember, you're not alone!

21 April, 2016

Seven Days of Bowie - Part the Last

Never Let Me Down/Shining Star (Makin' My Love)

For most of the 80s, Bowie was more a craftsman than an artist. I'm not saying that's a good or a bad thing, just that that's how it was. He had quite understandably decided it was time he had some seriously big hits. He did so with his own flair of course, but it's clear that commercial considerations were much more to the fore than the were in the 70s.

The reality is that when Never Let Me Down came out, Bowie was taking the money and getting ready to run. That was until Reeves Gabrels shook him and said, 'You're better than this!'

I'm not here to say Never Let Me Down is a work of misunderstood genius. It's not. It's some well-polished pop that is never going to stack up well beside Hunky Dory or Diamond Dogs. And as 80s pop went, it was a bloody sight better than Huey Lewis.

I've chosen these two songs (I couldn't separate them) because they're just... well, joyous! And we all need some joy. I listen to a lot of dark and cynical music but I balance it with some gorgeous pop. And the joy means more when it comes from someone who knows the dark side. Bowie had been through the terrible times and come out okay. Maybe we can too.

And then there's the star motif again.