27 December, 2023

“Israel does not target civilians”

I am heartily sick of hearing apologists say "Israel doesn't target civilians." 
So what? It's basically admitting, "Yes, they kill children but at least they didn't mean to." Even Hamas hasn't had the chutzpah to say, "It's their fault for living where we happened to be bombing." I am sure they would claim not to target civilians either, for all that would be worth.
And yes, Hamas is a terrorist organisation. You will not hear any rationalisation of them from me. But is being semantically better than terrorists the best we can do? Is that the standard we are willing to walk past now? 

Hamas is not Palestine any more than the Netanyahu government is Israel or Jewry as a whole.

Mossad is known to be extremely effective at counter-terrorism and surgical strikes. If the objective were to neutralise Hamas, it would be logical to deploy Mossad rather than the IDF. 
But that wouldn't look as strong to the domestic audience at a time when the prime minister, who has been in power on and off for over twenty five years, is mired in corruption scandals. 

It leads one to wonder whether the objective is to eliminate Hamas, or eliminate Palestine.

17 December, 2023

Top 5 foodstuffs which need to stop trying to improve on perfection

Tim Tams

Perhaps the ultimate example of getting it right the very first time.

First, you take a biscuit (or cookie, if you’re American) along the lines of a Malt or a Malt-O-Milk. On its own, one of the most boring biscuits this side of Milk Coffee. But glue two of them together with some chocolaty icing and dunk the whole shebang in chocolate (milk or dark – we’re ecumenical) and you’ve got one of the closest things to perfection on God’s brown Earth.

You can make it different for sure, by adding some mint oil or berry flavour, but you will never make it better. Don’t add gooey caramel. One of the many beauties of the Tim Tam is they are not gooey. Who in their right mind looked at this pinnacle of human achievement and said, “Needs to be gooier”? Evidently, many people are not in their right mind and said just this.

Double coated? Too much of a good thing. Now you’re in the realm of a slab of chocolate with a bit of biscuit hidden inside. Fair enough if you’re into that kind of thing but a Tim Tam it ain’t.

“But Bill!” you cry, “These varieties are all very popular. Explain that, smartarse!”

I can and I will with one little acronym: FOMO. You’re sure they can’t possibly be better than the original, but how can you be certain? You have to try them to prove it to yourself.

Just as the Amish build a deliberate mistake into each of their quilts because only God is perfect, the original Tim Tam remains just one step away from perfection: The regular package contains eleven pieces. Did you notice the deliberate mistake? Eleven is a prime number! The only way to evenly share a packet of Tim Tams is one each among eleven people, or eleven each among one person.

Wait a sec! Maybe they are perfect after all!


America’s favourite sandwich cookie which has taken over the world makes the same mistake Tim Tams do.

Start with two chocolate (or at least very dark brown to give the impression of chocolate) biscuits (oh, alright then, cookies) and bind them together with creamy vanilla-ish substance so close to the edge of being describable as ‘food’ that even the manufacturers are content to simply call it “stuff.” That’s it. Job done. Meet you after 5 to count our profits.

Oh no, we have to introduce varieties. Like the double stuff, which is closer to 150% than 200%, which messes up the ratio. Or the inside-out, with vanilla cookies around brown stuff. Now let’s put the brown stuff inside the brown cookies. Or we’ll do half and half, brown and white. Maybe add fruit flavours. Hell, why not go the full double-down and stick one between a couple of chicken tenders?

If any of these had been a good idea, they would have done that first. But they didn’t and we all know why.


As a Gen-X Australian, I grew up with Smarties as the default when it comes to sugar-coated pellets of chocolate. M&Ms seemed like the knock-off when they invaded in the 80s. I am willing to concede the match now.

However, M&Ms need to concede the fact there’s only so much you can do with this model.

First, they added peanuts. I guess that’s okay if you need a protein hit with your sugar rush but I never got it.

Then there came crispy M&Ms. I have to grant them this. The idea that sugar-coated chocolate could be improved by hiding a rice bubble inside sounds ridiculous. In fact, it is ridiculous. But I have to admit, they are the best.

Beyond this though, they need to stop. Coconut or honeycomb M&Ms just mean the disappointment melts in your mouth, not in your hand. And candy corn M&Ms prove that just because two things might be great on their own, doesn’t mean they ever should be combined. I love chocolate, I love vegemite. I have never wanted to taste the two together. (see below)

Smarties have never tried this. They were named well. Plus, they come in purple!


Stop this. Now!
There are many versions and shapes of cheese flavoured fried rice starch – Cheezles, Cheetos, et al. Twisties said, bugger the shape, just squeeze that shit straight into the oil and let it come out however. We’ll make the flaw the feature! And we’ll do a chicken flavour to start fights all over the country about which is better, proving we’re a national icon.

So far, so tasty. And every once in a while, they’ll do a barbecue or hot & spicy flavour which fits inside their brief.

But who said the only way to make Twisties better would be to make them taste like a strawberry doughnut? Nobody has ever been that stoned, to either think of it or consider eating them. You’re taking the piss, Twisties. Stop it!


Vegemite is another food which divides people. You either love it, or you’re wrong.

This section is not about trying to improve vegemite, but trying to improve things with vegemite.

Nobody over 5 eats vegemite directly from the jar. It is, by its nature, an additive. You can add it to toast, to sandwiches, to cheese, to crackers, to gravy, to anything you like. So, if you want to add it, you will.

We may have become so soft as a species that a 6-hour internet outage can ruin everyone’s week, but we are not yet so dependent that we can’t add our own vegemite thank you very much!

If anyone was ever high enough to want to add vegemite to chocolate, to Shapes, to a roast chicken (I am not making any of these up), then they would. And in the cold light of morning, they would then keep their shame and regret to themselves.

07 October, 2023

On The Voice

I never tell anyone how I vote. Anyone who has known me for more than a day can probably take an educated guess but I will not say if they are right or wrong because I respect the secret ballot.

Likewise, I will never tell anyone else how I think they should vote. I will share the information I have and offer my perspective on the issues but after that, I encourage you to vote whichever way you want. This is not a euphemism.

This brings us to The Voice Referendum.

It seems to me to be a simple case of

Nothing about us without us.

I think we can all agree it is fundamentally unfair to make laws affecting people without consultation and representation of the people it affects.

Our American friends had a major discussion on this topic around 250 years ago. And while the solution they came up with was a million miles from perfect, I don’t think anyone would deny they were on the right side of history. It was certainly a step in the right direction, which has since been improved upon, albeit not enough.

The question being put at this referendum is:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice [to parliament]

Do you approve of this proposed alteration?”

If passed, the new section of the Constitution will be this:

129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

   i        there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;

   ii       the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

   iii      the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.

That’s all.

It is not a third chamber of parliament.
It does not have veto power.
It cannot legislate.

It will not take your backyard away or close down your golf course. Some of us are old enough to remember when Native Title was going to take people’s back yards and kick farmers off their land. In the 30 years since then, the only groups who have succeeded in doing this have been mining and energy companies, and they didn’t use Native Title to do it.


There are some valid counter-arguments to the Voice:

One is that parliament is there to represent all Australians. By rights, the Voice should be redundant.

However, no matter how well we choose our representatives (and we never do), all they have to go on is their own experience and what they hear from their constituents.

We all laughed when Tony Abbott as prime minister appointed himself as both Minister for Women and Minister for Indigenous Affairs. His response was that there’s no reason why a man should not be able to represent women.

In the abstract, he was right. In a perfect world, any man should be able to understand women and women’s issues enough to represent them. However, we live in this world. I have always considered myself fairly right-on and understanding but it still took me until my mid-40s to realise the fact I will never have to wonder about whether the outfit I choose to wear to the pub might one day be introduced as evidence for the defence. If it took a woke bloke like me half a lifetime to work that out, what hope does a 1950s throwback like Tony Abbott have? Why not just ask a woman?

Likewise, despite my best efforts and intentions, I will never truly understand the Indigenous experience, the connection to the land, the spirituality, the intergenerational trauma. The best I can do is listen to those who know and learn from what they tell me. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Another counterpoint is that everyone has the right to make representations to parliament through their MPs. Many do already. Multinational corporations do it through spending millions of dollars on lobbyists to get to the front of the queue and make their case directly to government.

So at most, the Voice would give Indigenous communities equal ability to influence government policy as Rio Tinto, News Corp, Price Waterhouse Coopers, or Google.

If that idea scares you, I would politely ask you to reflect on why.


It is worth looking again at part ii of the proposed Section 129:

ii   the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

That’s all. The Voice may make representations should it choose to. Nothing more. If it chooses to, the government has to listen. Having listened, it may adjust policy or do exactly what it was planning to before. This is the point made by those who argue the Voice doesn’t go far enough. Plus, part iii gives the Parliament (and therefore the government of the day) the right to choose the makeup of the Voice. To me, this is the most problematic aspect. Both problems can be solved by electing better people.

Then there is the argument that having a Voice divides people by race. If that concerns you, I would direct your attention to sections 25 and 51(xxvi) which have been in place since federation.

25. Provisions as to races disqualified from voting

For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of that race resident in that State shall not be counted.

51. Legislative powers of the Parliament

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxvi) the people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State,
[underlined wording added in 1967] for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws;

I have yet to see anyone who claims the Voice is racist have any disagreement with, or even awareness of, these two sections. If they want them repealed, fair enough. If not, why not?


These are the issues as I see them. If you still don’t know, find out. This screen you’re looking at right now is the greatest source of information since the printing press. Use it. Talk to the people it affects. Ask them questions and listen to their answers.

Then, vote your conscience. 



15 September, 2023

Hunter Biden Indicted

 The most delicious thing about the indictment of Hunter Biden this week is the fact it’s under a law which the very people who have wanted him indicted for no other reason than being Joe Biden’s son, believe to be unconstitutional. 

His right to keep and bear arms is being infringed. And rightly so too! I don’t want drug addicts getting guns, do you?

While the MAGA cult is dancing in the virtual streets over this, I don’t think it’s the home run for them they think it is. 

Having found nothing even vaguely impeachable in Joe Biden’s character, they went after his, shall we say, “troubled” son. They accused him of everything from peddling influence and taking bribes to international espionage. And what did they finally get him on? GUN CONTROL! It’s perfect!

Now don’t get me wrong, if Hunter Biden lied in order to illegally obtain a firearm then he should absolutely be prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished appropriately. Do it tomorrow!

And if this is what it takes to make the lunar right understand that gun control is important, then that’s great! It’s sure as hell better than another dozen dead school kids, which we already know isn’t going isn’t going to change their minds anyway. 

If the MAGA nuts are willing to flip on their professed principles for the sake of scoring a political hit, as they always do, and support the enacting and enforcement of common sense gun control laws, then thank you Hunter Biden. Thank you for your service, however unintentional and dim witted it may have been. 

09 July, 2023

It’s the spectrum which has shifted

I’ve said for many years that it’s not just the right wing which has slid further to the right, the entire political spectrum has shifted significantly to the right over the last 30 years.

There is ample evidence of this. The fact that anyone can be taken seriously when describing the most token progressive policies of the Biden administration or the Albanese government as not only ‘left wing’ but even ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ proves the words have lost all meaning.

My favourite metric is former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Fraser went from being considered a right wing ogre (or titan, depending on your point of view) in the mid-70s, to being viewed as a bleeding-heart leftie by his own party at the time of his death in 2015. This happened without Fraser ever significantly changing his values or views. It’s just that at the time of his leadership, treating refugees like human beings had bipartisan support.

In the US, Ronald Reagan is treated as a deity of the Republican Party but even Reagan would be too liberal for today’s Republican Party – and Reagan was in no way liberal. Hell, even today’s Democratic Party would think twice, and they had the best Republican candidate of the 21st century in Hillary Clinton. Don’t believe me? She loves Wall St money, she’s never seen a war she didn’t want to join, she campaigned on a platform on manifest destiny, she’s crap with technology… Hillary Clinton is a Republican!

Let’s be absolutely clear about one thing: Mark Zuckerberg is still the socially inept moral vacuum he has always been.

And this brings us to the launch of Threads, Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter clone, this week.

There have been numerous Twitter copies, most of which were launched well before Elon Musk’s takeover but they all got quite a boost afterwards. All of them have been fairly forgettable in their own ways. The bulk of them were set up as safe spaces for the hard right, including Parler, Gab, GETTR and Trump’s Truth Social. Others such as Mastodon have no particular agenda beyond freedom from tech giants, and it’s this Fediverse model that both Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky and Zuckerberg’s Threads are based on. 

The problem with all of them is that non-famous social media users have to rebuild their networks from scratch. Zuckerberg’s masterstroke has been in tying Threads to Instagram, which still has youth appeal, instead of Facebook which, let’s be honest, is social media for your mum. Threads does not yet have all the functionality of Twitter but it surely will by the end of the year.

Musk’s destruction of Twitter has been so complete, you would almost think it was deliberate if not for the fact that Musk is not nearly as smart as he or his fanbois think he is.

Virtually every feature of Twitter, which are now considered basic functions, was added in response to how people actually wanted to use the service. It started out as simply a method of sending an SMS to the public. @-replies, hashtags, retweets, photos, videos, quote tweets and threading were all started by Twitter users. The platform responded by making them functional, and killed off third-party services like TwitPic and TwitLonger.

Musk’s biggest mistake in his management of Twitter hasn’t even been letting trolls and misinformation back on the platform in the name of a disingenuous interpretation of free speech. His biggest mistake has been in trying to mandate how members use the service. Every successful website evolves and adapts to its users’ interests. That’s why clickable hashtags have spread to every social media service (except Threads, for now) and you no longer get interminable Farmville requests on Facebook. Musk, like the bore who thinks he knows how to run the education system because he went to school, expects everyone to use Twitter the way he wants to use it.

And that brings us back to the shift of spectrum.

All the trolls and MAGA nuts who worship Musk for taking a hands-off approach to bigotry and misinformation (but an iron-fist approach to criticising him or linking to competing websites) are now acting like Zuckerberg’s Threads is going to take all the remaining sensible people away from Twitter to have their data sucked away by Big Tech.

They seem to have forgotten it was Zuckerberg and Facebook who aided and abetted foreign actors to interfere in the 2016 US Presidential election by spreading [checks notes] misinformation to help their other hero Donald Trump take the White House. Now somehow Zuckerberg has joined the “woke mob.”

Let’s be absolutely clear about one thing: Mark Zuckerberg is still the socially inept moral vacuum he has always been. It’s just that even he can read the room better than Elon Musk. And the market too. There’s no profit in incels thinking you’re cool.

Angry Aussie said it best here:

There is also the valid concern over all the spyware attached to Facebook/Meta’s services. Twitter has less and Mastodon currently has none, but Tik Tok. But if personal privacy is important to you, what are you doing on social media at all? Facebook’s advertising algorithm currently thinks I’m interested in curvy girl sportswear, diva cups, and Goop-esque crystal spoons, so I’m not too bothered that they know too much about me. As for the ads for guitars and sound equipment? Bring it on!

Musk’s biggest shift on Twitter has been to move it away from what the users want to what he would like it to be. In doing do, he has done Zuckerberg a massive favour. It has dragged Zuckerberg away from the metaverse nonsense he’s been obsessed with recently (which was turning him into a joke) and back to giving the people what they want – a microblogging platform which is free to use, you don’t have to rebuild your networks from scratch, you don’t have to wait months for an invitation, and maybe even fewer fascists.

So, I guess, Thanks Elon?


09 March, 2023

A difference of opinion

Does pineapple belong on a pizza?

That’s a difference of opinion.

But if you try to tell me the attack on the US Capitol of January 6th, 2021 was simply a peaceful protest which was reported misleadingly by the emessem, that is not a difference of opinion. That is to deny objective truth.

If you think Tucker Carlson’s bowdlerised recut of footage released exclusively to him by a new House Speaker who has already proven he cares more about his personal ambition than the good of both his country and his party, is just a different point of view, then your opinion is worthless.

Carlson himself has been outed by subpoenaed text messages as someone who would rather lie to his audience than lose that audience to even bigger psychopaths. Those of us who understand that objective truth is still a real thing knew this long ago but it’s something else to have it confirmed by the horse’s ass’s mouth. Even liars can tell the truth sometimes, but nobody should ever believe them without confirming sources.

There is an old adage that if one side says it’s raining and another side says it’s sunny, it’s not journalism’s role to report both statements equally; it’s journalisms role to open a bloody window and see who’s lying.

You can blather on about the hidden agenda of CNN, or The New York Times, or any outlet whose name doesn’t have an X at the end all you like. But if you choose to believe the one voice claiming it’s sunny outside, then why are you still dripping wet?

If you think pineapple is a valid pizza topping, then I respect your opinion. If you don’t, that’s okay too. We can all get along.

If you tell me the events at the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021 were anything less than a coup attempt, egged on by the outgoing president himself, that is not a valid opinion. I am going to tell you you’re wrong and I’m going to tell you why.

This was not a peaceful protest

Your mileage may vary

28 February, 2023

True confessions of Generation X

They say that in all the generation wars (which are phoney anyway) Generation X (1965 to 1980) are the forgotten generation.

And that’s the way it ought to be.

We were the ones who were supposed to bring in a kinder, more caring community. But five minutes in, most of us got disillusioned and gave up. And despite all our rage, we’re still just a rat in a cage.

Meanwhile, a lot of the conservatives we like to dismiss as boomers yearning for the past are in fact, Generation X.

Scott Morrison was born in 1968.
Peter Dutton, 1970.
Liz Truss, 1975.
Ron DeSantis, 1978. That’s right, the guy who is taking the Florida education system back to the 19th century isn’t even 45 yet!
Rishi Sunak, right on the cusp having been born in 1980. 

You could accuse me of cherry-picking the worst examples but who else do we have, Liam Gallagher?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but these were the go-getters of our generation and we let it happen. This is on us. WB Yeats could have been thinking about Gen-X when he wrote The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

I don’t hate boomers. I don’t hate millennials. I hate Generation X.

… which is about the most Gen-X thing you can do.