Archives: July 2007

31 Jul 2007, Comments Off on Gig Guide

Gig Guide

Author: Helen

Pinched from


August 5th 2007 Sunday
The Edinburgh Castle
Cnr Sydney & Albion st Brunswick. Melbourne. Australia
Tess & the Shapiros will serve up one delicious 45 minute set
embedded in an afternoon of sonic magic with das musik mann
Starts 5 pm. NCC

August 25th 2007 Saturday
The Brunswick Green
313-315 Sydney Road. Brunswick. Melbourne. Australia
Saturday 6-8 pm Tess Mckenna & the Shapiros
preview Tess’ fourth studio album & sixth release
PLUS perennial faves from her albums make me wonder, boom bam and take me to the place
Think Patsy Cline joins the Breeders onstage to play Gillian Welch & The Band

See Also

27 Jul 2007, Comments Off on Piker


Author: Helen

Pike, v. colloq., ~ on, withdraw timidly from. [ME, perh.f.PIKE1]


While the news fairly swirls with drama– the phoney election campaign, the Mohamed Haneef disgrace, the sellout of the Tasmanian wilderness, the near-inevitability of Nukular Power and interest rate rises, and the departure of both Sheeds and Pagan in one week– you might not have noticed that something fairly important is happening down here in Victoria. To all you un-Australians, that’s the bit down the bottom- no, not that bit hanging off the bottom, that’s Tasmania, we’ve given up on that- the bottom of the mainland. Not a Turtle has noticed:

The Victorian Parliament may vote on the decriminalisation of abortion as early as next month.

The decriminalisation of abortion. Read that again, just in case you missed it.

According to article 65 of the Crimes Act (1958) – yes folks, nineteen fifty eight:

65 Abortion
Whosoever being a woman with child with intent to procure her own miscarriage unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means, and whosoever with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman whether she is or is not with child unlawfully administers to her or causes to be taken by her any poison or other noxious thing, or unlawfully uses any instrument or other means with the like intent, shall be guilty of an indictable offence, and shall be liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

Abortions are currently performed according to the Menhennitt ruling, which states that abortion is lawful “…if necessary to protect the physical or mental health of the woman, provided that the danger involved in the abortion did not outweigh the danger which the abortion was designed to prevent.” Anyone performing or having an abortion is still committing a crime, they are merely excluded from prosecution by the ruling.

Labor MP Candy Broad’s proposed private member’s bill to remove abortion from the Crimes Act is unlikely to pass, according to Health Minister Bronwyn Pike because it “basically creates abortion on demand”. Ms Pike is also unnerved by the bill as it removes abortion from the Crimes Act but “doesn’t replace it with anything”. Ms Pike has mentioned that regulations surrounding abortion could be added to the Health Act, but goes on to say that “…I don’t believe this is an improvement and I don’t believe this bill will pass. Not in its current form.”

In other words, Pike and the other mostly male members of the Victorian Labor party think that if we leave it to women to make the decision whether or not to terminate their pregnancy, we’ll have GIRLS GONE WILD, (or as Bronwyn so primly put it, “open slather“). Because number one, women are stupid, and two, abortion “on demand” will be a mere nothing, so the prospect of a medical procedure under anaesthetic involving one’s abdominal organs being mucked around with every four months or so will be an attractive prospect to every young hussy thinking woman.

In other words, as Leslie Cannold explained last week (and the US bloggers before that) the basis for the proposed bureaucratic hurdles (cooling-off periods and so on) is the idea that women just can’t be trusted to make decisions. Paul Austin’s irritatingly patronising article in the AGE opinion page today just didn’t get it.

As things stand, with abortion falling under the Crimes Act in Victoria and the Menhennit ruling providing a provisional out, every doctor who performs terminations is at risk from a “pro-life” activist. If this Bill fails due to the fact that Bronwyn Pike and the Catholic Labor right agree that women are wicked sluts who have to be protected from their own fallen ways, these doctors will be even more under the gun, both because of the media attention and the encouragement it will give to the anti abortion lobby.

By the way, the address for sending letters is here.

But first, you must read Audrey Apple to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of Letters to the Age.

Update 27/7: Fark! Well, the next likely incumbent is John Brumby, who is pretty much on the same page as Bracks, I believe: they both want the Bill scrapped in its present form to “make sure access to abortion is carefully regulated“. Saving us from Girls Gone Wild!

Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

24 Jul 2007, Comments Off on The enemy of my enemy is not my friend

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend

Author: Helen

Sad, so sad today after listening to PM last night. That’s done it for me. I can’t vote for Krudd. Annabel Crabb in the SMH nailed it:

Mark Latham got into quite a lot of trouble three years ago when he went to Tasmania and announced the Labor Party’s policy on forestry.
Yesterday, Kevin Rudd was smarter. He went to Tassie and announced the Coalition’s policy instead, which seems to have gone down rather better on the whole.

Too clever by half. And Garrett. My god. Look at him learning how to weasel like a pro. Disgusting.

I’ll hurl if I hear another reference to laying Latham’s ghost to rest, yada, yada. He was a dill on many counts, but on forest policy he tried to do the right thing. It’s a pity no-one listened to him above the noise made by timber workers and executives lying on the ground chucking a tanty, otherwise they might have realised the “disastrous policy” was nothing of the kind.

So little left of the original cool temperate rainforest cover, and we’re going to lose more of it to Gunns Limited, the forestry division of the CMFEU, and the spineless Labor politicians who lie down and let those people walk all over them. The threatened areas in the Blue Tiers, the Weld, Styx and Tarkine wilderness, will be gone. My children and your children will never see them. It’s going to be sold for a mess of woodchips. Meanwhile, 600 auto workers get the sack in Geelong, but who gives a stuff? They’re not timber workers — Australia’s cutest, cuddliest protected species.)


Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

21 Jul 2007, Comments Off on The Deathly Hush (No spoilers)

The Deathly Hush (No spoilers)

Author: Helen

At 4:30 EST today, Girlchild was up to page 486.

The silence in our house has been profound (due in part to Boychild and SO being out doing exciting stuff.) It started off loudly, with Best Friend at the front door at 8 AM screaming “deathly hallows, deathly hallows!

Deb Force, our lovely bookshop lady of Yarraville

This is the picture of our nice local bookshop owner stacking the piles of Top Secret material which appeared in the AGE yesterday. Is our suburb a cultural hotbed or what? They held a Harry Potter book launch and breakfast for a couple of hundred little Hermiones, Snapes and Voldemorts. Being fifteen, Girlchild and best friend were too up themselves to wear costumes, of course, plus Girlchild is hampered by having the Bad Mother who isn’t good at organising costumes. They didn’t care – they just wanted the book and a free pastry and then it was home to the couch.

Update 6:01: Finished.

17 Jul 2007, Comments Off on Apologies to cat bloggers

Apologies to cat bloggers

Author: Helen

In ancient and even not-so-ancient times people used to compare their political leaders to lions, or other large and magnificent beasts.

More like a fat and motheaten moggie, one of ours plays that cruel and well known game: Catching the mouse… letting him go… then pouncing again.

The object of this political theatre of cruelty has a three-week-old daughter who he hasn’t yet seen. His family is beyond angry.

So are we.


13 Jul 2007, Comments Off on A great global warming night’s entertainment

A great global warming night’s entertainment

Author: Helen

With a houseful of teenagers having a sleepover, plus two little boys doing the same (accidentally double booked), and a nasty head cold, the obvious thing to do was to slam the bedroom door on the lot of ’em– Ginger tea in hand, ignoring the various thumps, Muuuuummmm!!s, and muffled screams from the other side of the door– and watch the ABC special: The Great Global Warming Swindle, with a panel discussion afterward, audience free-for-all and grilling of Martin Durkin by Tony Jones.

Sorry about that sentence – it’s the cold.

The GGWS was entertaining enough– I mean, I thought the Sex Pistols/Malcolm McLaren reference in the title was pretty random, but apparently, not so! It was all part of the same Thatcherite cultural melange. Who’d have thought that way back then, Maggie Thatcher, because of her disaffection with both coal suppliers and coal unions, decided to make a case for nuclear power by inventing a thing called global warming? and that she gave out enough cash to get practically the whole scientific establishment onside, to this very day?! Diabolical! I forget which one of Durkin’s creatures came out with that explanation – obviously, one of the handful of scientists with enough integrity to resist Maggie and her limitless cash handouts.

While the video itself was toe-curlingly awful, I was really looking forward to the discussion afterward, which I knew would be hugely entertaining. I wasn’t disappointed. Half the audience were genu-wine, frothing, barking wingnuts of the type seldom seen in the flesh. Some highlights:

Tony Jones relentlessly slicing, dicing and julienning Martin Durkin in the after-show interview, and serving his arse up to him lightly dressed with a nice vinaigrette. Durkin was as pathetic as he was in a recent Michael Duffy (Counterpoint) interview, where he was allowed a free-form whine about the terrible treatment of his documentary by Teh Leftist media, while Duffy clucked sympathetically. Jones allowed him no such escape. Really, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

The guy in the audience with a Breughel-looking beanie, who began by saying: “I’ve studied astrophysics…
(Me: Oh, that sounds impressive, maybe he’s just a scruffy but brilliant undergraduate)
“and classical music”…
(Me: Oh dear, that sounds irrelevant, probably a crank after all)
“…with Lyndon La Rouche!”)
(Me: “…”

The two anti-environmentalist women in the audience, who I think were LaRouchies as well, who both appeared to be prepped with talking points to try to trap scientists on the panel into saying they wanted to kill all humans in the service of the environment. Global warming = eugenics. Oh, can’t you see it, people?

Arm-waving Audience guy, who spluttered something about “Carbon 14!!!!” No, none of the people commenting on it the next day understood it, either.

Ray Evans of the Lavoisier group, looking like an old Western District grazier with a furry white beard, club tie and tweeds, the dear old thing, looking increasingly miserable while taking a right pounding from the charmingly geeky Professor David Karoly. A bit like having his leg chewed off, slowly, by a terribly friendly whippet.

Michael Duffy (how did MD ever get onto a panel of “climate change experts”?) looking increasingly sulky and petulant outside the comfort zone of Counterpoint, where he can just shake his head about the monstrous dishonesty of THE LEFT and his guests will echo that and so on until they have a cup of tea and a biscuit. This time he was forced to listen to a detailed account of the many falsifications in the GGWS, instead of sitting inside the echo chamber. At one point, he waved a book –by who I don’t know– about the supposed profit motive behind environmentalism. Of course, the book would have been written without a thought for the profit motive. Sheer desperation.

Phil at LP has kindly put up a YouTube of the merriment. There is another discussion thread here. If you’re after a more serious wrap-up, don’t go past John Quiggin.

My question is: when do we all get our cheques from the Baroness Thatcher?

[Update:] Tim Sterne’s classic takedown.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

12 Jul 2007, Comments Off on Beware Pointy Land mines

Beware Pointy Land mines

Author: Helen

These images (over the fold) came in an email headed “A funny story o’ resistance as Howard’s troops move into Central Australia.”

I guess if you know resistance is useless in the Howard Government’s Push to be Seen to Be Doing Something, there is always mockery left. HT to Ben Scambary. I am confident the photographs are in the public domain, but if not, drop me an email at hsmartatiprimusdotcomdotau.


10 Jul 2007, Comments Off on I think this pretty much sums it up

I think this pretty much sums it up

Author: Helen

Image from

Image from Ms Fits, via Crazybrave.

8 Jul 2007, Comments Off on While we’re on the lame jokes

While we’re on the lame jokes

Author: Helen

I’m looking at you, Pavlov

Once there was a boy who had no arms, legs, or torso. In other words – he was a head. He used to roll to school, and roll home again. He was teased unmercifully, and the girl he had a crush on wouldn’t give him a second look.

When a fairy godmother appeared and offered the boy one wish, he asked to be turned into an orange in the girl’s lunch box. (Obviously a rather dim bulb, this one.)

So, long story short, girl forgets to eat her orange, goes off on school holidays, and at the end of the school holidays the girl discovers the mushy mouldy orange in her lunchbox, and throws it against the wall, splat!

The moral is: Quit while you’re a head.

In the US, conservative culture itself is the lame joke. As Lauren at Unsprung explains: “A janitor who watches too much 20/20 was chagrined when he learned that the bag of human fetuses he found in the girls’ locker room was actually a sack of rotted oranges. …pro-life group protesting outside sadly put down signs and went home“.

Amanda Marcotte:

Imagine you’re a junior high school janitor and inside a girl’s locker you discover a Ziploc bag full of goo and rot around some unidentifiable object. What do you assume right off the bat it must be? A discarded and rotten lunch? At worst, a bag of puke? A prank of some sort?

Try a human fetus. (H/T.)

As you imagine, the bag of goo turned out not to be the discards from some sort of young teenage sex cult, but was in fact a rotten orange, though they had to verify this through the Dallas County Medical Examiner. (Well, the medical examiner probably had quite the laugh over this, so all is not lost.) And in retrospect, it might have seemed a little unwise to assume straight off the bat that junior high students are collecting fetuses in bags, but that they might be doing what kids do and being a bit sloppy in cleaning up trash left in their lockers. But let’s cut everyone involved in this a break. We all know that females are born naturally duplicitous, craven and immoral, and that they get a rise out of having all sorts of sex so they can lie about it and avoid the consequences of forced childbirth….

…Anyway, Bush-appointed members of the FDA believe that there’s a likelihood of emergency contraception-based teenage sex cults, so why would it be such a leap to imagine that junior high girls are running around having sex with the boys and escaping the due punishment by with Sapphic abortion parties in the girls locker room? It’s not like the Bush administration would have members that had a poor grasp on reality, right? The way the war is going certainly demonstrates that. Why I bet these teenage girls today with their girl power and their Title IX are able to self-abort by playing Britney Spears records backwards. That’s how far this country has fallen, due to the feminist infiltrators.

Lends a new meaning to the word loinfruit, doesn’t it.

Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

6 Jul 2007, Comments Off on It’s not just the moustache

It’s not just the moustache

Author: Helen


It’s (gag) happened!

Elizabeth and the dweeby, creepy, moustached Anthony have finally realised that each other is their Only Trew Love, and they’re going at it like… well, as far as anyone can go at it in this agressively wholesome, goody two-shoes comic strip. I’m not the only one. There is appalledness all over the internets.

If you don’t know what I’m going on about, it’s the comic strip For Better or For Worse, or the FOOBiverse, which has been infesting the funnies page of the AGE for the last few decades. I’m drawn back to it time and again by the seeming inevitability that somehow, sometime, something interesting has to happen… and it never does. The strips ususally end with a bad pun, or a trite piece of folksy wisdom, in the final frame.

For years, young twentysomething Elizabeth has been seeing various attractive helicopter pilots and other charismatic, if one-dimensional, characters who inhabit her teaching zone in far north Canada, or wherever it is. Meanwhile, her dweeby High School boyfriend languishes in her home suburb (just around the corner from her parents), married to the evil Therese (who works full time while Anthony looks after their child – you see, he wanted a baby, she didn’t, and she acquiesced when he told her he’d be a SAHD. Well, she.. she… well, she took him at his word! Sheesh! She is the evil to end all evils.) Naturally, everything in the FBOFW plot is grinding hopelessly towards what Shaenon Garrity describes as “the plodding inevitability of the Liz-Anthony pairing”.

If indeed you haven’t seen this strip before, you also won’t know that Anthony, up to now, has sported a truly horrifying porn ‘tache. And for this strip, he’s SHAVED IT OFF! Which means I’ve won the bet I made with myself a couple of years ago: Creepy Anthony will shave off the ‘tache one day, and that will be the moment he will be … revealed … as the … prince. (Quick, the bucket!) Am I not correct? And.. he looks just like her Dad. Which, according to many veteran observers– or even the author herself— isn’t accidental.

Shaenon Garrity again:

I hate Anthony. I hate him more than I’ve ever hated a cartoon character, and, yes, I’m including both Scrappy-Doo and Ted Rall. I’m far from the only one; Anthony supporters appear to be a tiny minority among FBOFW readers, and most of them can’t muster much more enthusiasm than, “Hey, he’s not that bad.” Josh Fruhlinger, of the popular comic-strip blog The Comics Curmudgeon, rips into Anthony every time he appears. Venerable comics journalist Tom Spurgeon describes himself as “anti-Anthony, pro-anybody else, up to and including Snuffy Smith.” A woman on LiveJournal with the username ellcee writes elaborate anti-Anthony fanfics in which he appears as a murderer or the mustache-twirling villain of a Victorian romance.

The Anthony story follows the general theme that makes FBOFW so saccharine, that kids never really grow up or escape parental control.

Johnston gives the peculiar impression that she thinks everyone ought to be paired off with their first loves. Already, there have been exchanges hinting that teenage April’s forgettable boyfriend Gerald is the man with whom the youngest Patterson sibling is destined to spend her life. Since April and Gerald have known each other, if I’m remembering correctly, since preschool, this may be the ultimate FBOFW match: April will get to marry the first person outside her immediate family she ever met.

The strip has made no bones about why childhood sweethearts are preferable: the parents know them and get to oversee the courtship from beginning to end. Liz’s parents, Elly and John, haven’t shown much fondness for any of the men Liz has met outside Milborough. But they’re elated about the increasingly prominent role Anthony is playing in her life. When Liz and Anthony first ran into each other as adults, John and Elly (and their middle-aged friends) gloated about the “good news” and pushed Liz to attend a New Year’s Eve party with Anthony as her date—even though both Liz and Anthony were involved with other people. While April fretted about her sister’s infidelity (April has loved all of Liz’s non-Anthony boyfriends, which is held up as a sign of her immaturity), John and Elly exchanged a high-five in the background. Finally, a nice local boy they could keep an eye on! It’s Crossing Delancy on the comics page.

Anthony also follows the Nice Guy™ script, while demonising his wife for not following the submissive wife script.

Therese’s sins, for which she was constantly excoriated by the other characters, included having a career; continuing to work after getting married; not wanting children; agreeing to have a child but wanting her husband to take care of it; being jealous of her husband’s friendship with his ex-girlfriend (which, as it turned out, was eminently sensible of her); and a host of minor grievances such as asking for money at her baby shower. Therese’s heartless behavior is consistently linked to her status as a liberated career woman with no interest in becoming a stay-at-home mom. In some strips, her disinterest in children and possession of a career are discussed as if they were every bit as scandalous as her infidelity.

Every storyline involving Anthony during his married years included at least one scene in which characters shook their heads over his misfortune at having shackled himself to an unnatural, unfeminine woman who didn’t want to quit her job to raise his children. Before long, I came to instinctively recoil from any appearance of Anthony, bracing myself for the anti-feminist scolding that was sure to come. That instinct remains, lodged in my reptilian hindbrain, and stirs to action every time Anthony rears his moustachioed head.

… Liz has been set up to oppose her as the Good Woman in the conflict, which is why, upon learning Anthony was single again, she promptly quit her job and moved home. Forget having a life of her own; she can push her kids into whatever career she regrets not having, like Elly has done with Michael. And little Françoise still needs a mother, dammit.

Garrity’s essay is the best exposition out there on the Disaster that is Anthony. Read the whole thing.
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town