Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Funny joke

Ever since I have realised Australia has, adjusting for wages, about the cheapest petrol in the world and that such a situation is ecologically absurd given the impact of each litre of petrol is unusually large in Australia, I have always said things like:

- "petrol is never too expensive"
-- one of my most vivid memories of Melbourne University is when an ice cream salesman to whom I said this replied by saying I was "a spy for the oil companies"! When I denied this, he said "a spy for the greenies", which my parents found absurd. (With hindsight, it is because greenies are concentrated right inside Melbourne University).
--- the man, who was quite rude in speech, then said "I had shares" (in the oil companies, of course)!
--- When I denied that, he said "I had shares in Mobil" and that I was "hanging around BP"!

- "petrol is never expensive, only less cheap"
-- This is a more recent one, and was based on someone saying "petrol is never cheap, only less expensive". I find my idea much closer to the truth, especially in Australia which should logically, on environmental grounds, have the least cheap petrol in the world.
-- my brother, after hearing "less cheap", said I should stop it.
--- I replied by checking to see if "less cheap" was grammatical. All forms of Microsoft Word said "less cheap" was OK.
--- However, "more expensive" is on Google about 25 times more common than "less cheap". In reality the difference is much greater because "less cheap" on Google also encompasses sentences like:

less. Cheap

The full stop cannot be searched in Google, which is odd since punctuation marks I often find like alphabetic letters in their function within written language.

Birthday today

Today was my birthday - seen by my relatives as very special thirtieth birthday. I had a party with half sister Jo on Saturday to celebrate it, and will go with her and Ruth on Monday to get a present.

As a collector of old county cricket, I was naturally pleased at my 1927 Wisden. It offers an interesting look at England’s regaining of the Ashes in a damp summer and saw Lancashire regain the County championship despite Yorkshire being unbeaten. The role of attacking bowlers like McDonald and Freeman (after whom I name myself on many websites!) can be seen in Lancashire and Kent both winning more games than Yorkshire while conceding a higher average of runs per wicket. Both McDonald and Freeman could win games simply through enterprise.

Backed up by the fact that Yorkshire’s batting even with the utterly incomparable Herbert Sutcliffe (how on earth did Sutcliffe not get one vote in the 1999 Wisden Cricketer of the Century poll?!) was often unenterprising and that county’s loss of many days to the weather, the Championship changed hand for the first time since 1921.

Apart from 1926 to 1930 when Lancashire reigned supreme, Yorkshire won eleven of thirteen County Championships between 1922 and 1939 (they were denied 1936 by a similar situation to 1926 and 1934 by Ashes calls). This era, though is in many ways the greatest age of cricket, with a probably unrivalled number of remarkable players, many of whom can be seen in the 1927 Wisden. It was a pity Roger Page did not have a 1926 edition, which I would have found still more valuable with:
  • five bowlers taking 200 wickets - a feat last achieve by “One” Tony Lock in 1957 (I put the “One” because of James Freud's 1999 song “One Tony Lockett”. Given the terrible standard of spin in England since Underwood declined, I have always felt Freud could have deleted the “ett” and redone the verses.)
  • England’s driest month of the twentieth century in June (believe it or not, many parts of England were completely rainless that month)
  • a graphic illustration of how seventeen counties fairly well-matched in bowling could produce a very uneven competition through disparity in batting strength which ranged from Test strength with sides like Yorkshire, Surrey, Lancashire or Middlesex to Minor Counties with sides like Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Derbyshire.
The down side of my birthday was losing a library book I had borrowed from Monash University’s Matheson Library, titled Sappho: A New Translation. The loss happened in a strange manner. Whilst walking from my mother's school at Park Street, Moonee Ponds to the junction, I found a loose trolley and wanted to take it back to Safeway - largely for the coin inside. I placed my bag inside the trolley but left the 1927 Wisden and Sappho: A New Translation inside. This turned out to be foolish because, though I was able to carry the trolley without loss up Buckley Street, when I was in Puckle Street close to Safeway, Sappho: A New Translation turned vertical and fell out the back of the trolley without me being able to trace it down.

At least I contacted both Monash University (who told me I would have to pay double the price of the book for a replacement or $125 if it were lost for good) and the Moonee Ponds police about it - and what's more, my mother said she would pay for a replacement copy, which should arrive soon.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Finished my work

I finished my work yesterday - a day late. My previous essay was even more overdue - I finished it on Monday when it should have been in on Friday 19 October.

Although I had done very well on my previous assignments, I will be honest that I did not work as hard on these two. I do hope I will be able not to fail them so badly that I fail the subjects after doing very well in three earlier assignment. My brother says my skill as a writer has grown greatly over recent years and my results for essays certainly seem to back him up.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

A favourite parody and a laughable reply

Ever since I first heard Mothership Connection after the brilliant Joe S. Harrington placed it as the sixth best album of all time, because of what I was reading from Sandra Bloodworth, Tess Lee Ack and other "fighters", I have parodied the opening song "P Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)" as "make our war the class war/we want no capitalism/make our war the class war/we want the system smashed".

My brother's initial response was to rename "Parliament" as "Worker's Council". I did not mind this, and we still have a few laughs about that one when I play "P Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)".

However, today, when I sang that line again, he said he would call the band "Politburo"! If you read Sandra Bloodworth et al, you will see the absurdity of a band being called "Politburo". Student radicals, even if I now know they are far too selfish to be able to make desperately overdue changes to society - like ending road building, cutting road capacity and destroying wasteful freeways - would never support any Politburo. Nor would they have back in the days of Mothership Connection, I hope.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The PIG to the Bible

I read the newest Politically Incorrect Guide, to the Bible (my brother laughably and ridiculously calls it “Bilby Bilbe” whenever I mention it or topics related to churches) recently.

It seems not unreasonable in its general tone, though the one criticism I saw on amazon is equally reasonable.

The worst thing about it though is that the boxes with a cute pig reading a book are quite ludicruously titled A Book Atheists Want to Burn. The title is laughable: the most atheistic societies of Europe, I know from personality theory, are simply too logical and unemotional to ever think of burning books. Indeed, their lack of feeling (honestly, too much) is the primary cause of their atheism.

Previous Politically Incorrect Guides has instead A Book You’re Not Supposed to Read. This actually says no more than that the “politically correct” academics would merely ignore the book. Some of the books listed under A Book You’re Not Supposed to Read I had actually read before any Politically Incorrect Guides had ever been written, notably Dore Gold's impressive Hatred’s Kingdom, about Saudi Arabia.

[Oddly, the first Book Atheists Want to Burn is one I am very familiar with after reading reviews on amazon.com, namely The Black Book of Communism, which I have always regarded as interesting even if it fails to challenge core assumptions of the most radical socialists; i.e. the Sandra Bloodworths and Tess Lee Acks. I used to call it ‘guójiā zīběn de hēishū’ in Chinese or ‘Schwarzbuch des Staatskapitalismus’ in German. Both of these actually mean ‘State Capitalism’s Black Book’ – “state capitalism” being what people like Sandra Bloodworth and Tess Lee Ack view the Soviet bloc as having been throughout its existence.]

Saturday, 13 October 2007

I still am not working as I should - even though my results have been excellent so far, there is still a major test to come with my work on the RMIT blogs and journals for reading.

The newest Politically Incorrect Guide, to the Bible (my brother crazily says "Bilby Bilb" every time its mentioned!) really does, as I see it, show some of the dangers of going so far with extremism. Proveious P.I.G.s had the reasonable A Book You're Not Supposed To Read in each chapter with a pig reading a book. The books listed were interesting. I myself had read a number of the books before I even knew about the P.I.G.s - indeed before P.I.G.s existed - and found them much more broadminded and just as firm.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible, however, has the same pig reading a book with A Book Atheists Want To Burn instead of A Book You're Not Supposed To Read.

The very heading A Book Atheists Want To Burn is ridiculous. Most extremely secular cultures do not engage in book burning, and as Arthur Brooks and personality psychology says, extremely (excessively, to be really precise) thinking-oriented cultures like Scandinavia that despise deep emotion or warmth cannot develop the emotions that would allow book burning.

A Book You're Not Supposed To Read actually implies merely that liberal professors would not recommend it.