Yulin Dog Meat Festival, Brexit, Trump… #FFS

I turned another year older recently, and in light of recent global events I have been thinking of the poignant Queen song “Is This the World We Created?” A fair question.

In no particular order, these are just a few of the random things seriously disturbing me.

Thankfully not on the Yulin menu

The “Yulin Dog Meat Festival” in China. For once, words almost fail me with this one. The name is sickeningly self-explanatory, however the word “festival” is a total misnomer. An annual event, the mind-fucking barbarity these poor animals are subjected to before the inevitable is forged from the utter bowels of depravity. It takes a hell of a lot to shock me, but the images I have encountered researching this cannot be unseen. These bastards need to be stopped. Ricky Gervais has been a champion in attacking the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, using a five letter word ending in “s” to describe the perpetrators. I couldn’t agree more.

Donald Trump.

The sick bastard in Western Australia who was jailed for a pathetic twenty-two years for raping his daughter over two years starting when she was only 11. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, he also pimped her out to six other men. There was video and bondage gear involved. How do you even begin to fathom this? As a father, you can’t even start. He told police, “I’m going to be honest, it was fun while it lasted but it went way over the line.” A bullet to the brain would be too good for this monster. Twenty-two years is nothing compared to the life sentence the girl will have to endure. I hope she is getting all the love and support she needs. I hope the father only lasts an extremely painful 3.7 seconds in prison.

Donald Trump.

That nut job in Orlando — again a wannabe zealot hijacking religion and using his twisted fucked up beliefs to justify his slaughter. The blood-soaked scene of carnage du jour was a gay nightclub, however as we have tragically seen over the years, the killing grounds have included schools, shopping centres, cinemas, concert venues, even a chocolate branded cafe in Sydney. A flow on subset of problems here. Bleedingly (literally) obvious question… How can anyone walk into a gun shop and buy a military style weapon with no questions asked? Why does anyone NEED to walk into a gun shop and buy a military style weapon? It doesn’t make sense. Those mad fuckers at the NRA bang on about the Second Amendment, but that was ratified in 1791. Back then, massacre-inducing automatic weapons would have been some gunsmith’s wet dream.

Donald Trump.

Brexit. So much anger so little time. The ignorant racism, the xenophobia. The shame-faced lies of politicians and lobbyists. Mostly, the morons who, hours after voting to leave it were Googling “what is the EU?” Google reported that the search “what happens if we leave the EU?” tripled AFTER the vote. This woman needs to get in the sea…”Even though I voted to leave, this morning I woke up and I just — the reality did actually hit me, If I’d had the opportunity to vote again, it would be to stay.” Face palm. The right to vote is one of the greatest things we have, and these people are just pissing it up against a wall. Be careful what you wish for…

<rant ends>

©Steve Williams 2016

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An open letter to cigarette smokers

Dear smokers. I know you and I don’t get along that well.

This bloke has the right idea (image: www.ecouterre.com)

I’d like to ask you some genuine questions, from someone who has never had a cigarette.

1. Why do you throw your cigarette butts on the ground? (#notallsmokers)

I know you very thoughtfully then stamp on it, grind it into the footpath / road / grass / beach
in case a random passerby treads on it and bursts into flames, thanks for that. But, pun intended, why don’t you pick it up?

Congratulations. You are adding to the several trillion cigarette butts discarded each year.

If I threw my empty bottle of whatever on the ground, trod on it and walked off, would you think that was odd? If yes, then what’s the difference?

But what am I supposed to do with it? 

Good question. That is your problem. You’re the one who is smoking. Find an ashtray, a garbage bin or preferably put it in your pocket. However, throwing it on the street / beach / pot plant / garden / drain or wherever, like everything else with your smoking – including the disgusting smell, risk of cancer etc – becomes my problem.

The street is the worst option. Street = drain = harbour or beach or river, causing untold damage to marine life for the simple fact butts are obviously not biodegradable. Surprisingly, they don’t magically evaporate in water, in fact all that lovely cadmium, lead and arsenic leaches into our environment within an hour of contact with water. They also don’t evaporate in air, evidenced by bushfires started by some moron lobbing a butt out of a car window.

2. What do you think happens to that cigarette butt you have just thrown on the ground?

A rhetorical question, because you obviously don’t know and / or care. Do you think the magical Cigarette Butt Fairy appears and spirits it away to whimsical Cigarette Butt Land?
More likely a bloke with a bastard leafblower blows it down the drain and then see above.

3. What do you do at home? Is your floor / backyard / balcony a Great Pyramid of Butts?
Hopefully you dispose of cigarette butts properly, well, as properly as one can…
so why don’t you do that when you are out?

I know, I know… you non-smokers don’t get it, it’s an addiction, smoking is not illegal,
the government makes a fortune out of us smokers… 
blah, blah, blah.

Again. I don’t care. You have no rights as a smoker. Perversely, actually you do.
You can sit outside a nice restaurant “enjoying” your cigarette, the view and the “fresh air”,
while I have to endure your recycled smoke and that stench. Why should I be forced inside?
I know Australian state governments have acted on this to their credit, but this doesn’t go
far enough. I’m talking to you, Europe.

If smoking just stayed your problem, I’d be happy. Butt it doesn’t. So I’m not.

©Steve Williams 2016

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Hide-and-seek for Olympics? Coming, ready or not

I am somewhat looking forward to the “medaling”, “podiuming” and gold medal Zika Virus avoiding at the Rio Olympics, however I am far more excited about Tokyo 2020.

A hide-and-seek gold medallist in action

The games of the 32nd Olympiad will not only be a shot in the arm (calm down Lance Armstrong) for the Japanese economy following the Fukushima nuclear f*ck up, but more than that, the Tokyo games look to be a gamechanger if one Professor Yasuo Hazaki has his way.

In case you missed it, the good professor, a graduate of Nippon Sport Science University, has been pushing to introduce competitive hide-and-seek as a demonstration sport at the Tokyo Olympics.

No, he hasn’t been sampling the sake, he is deadly serious. Professor Hazaki established the Japan Hide-and-Seek Promotion Committee back in in 2010 and claims to have over 1,000 members.
This is obviously a guestimate, a lot of members could have been hiding and / or seeking during the headcount.

Apparently baseball, softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing (whatever the hell that is) are being considered for Tokyo, so we need a concerted Olympic effort to get behind the professor and lobby for hide-and-seek, if we can find him.

Maybe he is out playing that interesting variant — “hide-and-seek by yourself” which is also known as hitori kakurenbo though that sounds a little too strange, even for the IOC, and would be awkward to commentate.

The sporting chaps of Monty Python made an official and obviously hilarious bid for hide-and-seek to be included as a Olympic sport over forty years ago, however the IOC aren’t known for their humour.

Hide-and-seek isn’t the most bizarre sport to be played / contested / laughed at in the Olympic Games, far from it — club swinging had a couple of rotations from 1904 — no, nothing to do with leaving your car keys in a bowl, this was artistically waving ten-pin bowling apparatus-like clubs around.

Live pigeon shooting (as you do) was thankfully blasted from the roster after the sole appearance
in 1900, following the invention of clay. Then there was rope climbing — what a thrilling sport for global television — that sadly thudded to the ground in 1932.

My all-time favourite however was “distance plunging” (1904) where you basically jumped in a pool and didn’t move for a minute. Not dissimilar to when you played “floating corpse” as a kid.
You didn’t?

Speaking of which, for reasons best known only to a select few, the Olympics still offer up synchronised swimming, which as we know is basically drowning to music in full makeup.

You shouldn’t laugh — as you know, in a mind-numbingly staggeringly ridiculous decision,
golf and rugby have been added to the program for the upcoming Olympics in Rio, so why not hide-and-seek in 2020?

I say bring it on… coming, ready or not…

©Steve Williams 2016

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Breast In Show – a style Guide for Daily Mail journos

I am devastated. I just came to the realisation that I will never write for the venerable Daily Mail.

I admit it. I am simply not good enough. I don’t have the necessary journalistic talent to appear
in those hallowed pages. I am not worthy. I will never be breast in show.

“Put those mammoth breasts away” how to write captions Daily Mail style

After exhaustive research of the Daily Mail’s website and its antipodean offshoot, there is obviously a comprehensive list of words and phrases that I, sadly, never use in a story.

As a community service for aspiring Daily Mail journalists from someone who has done a few laps of the media block, I offer an informal style guide.

I would strongly suggest you casually drop any or all of the following into your interview. You will either be instantly hired, slapped in the face, or both.

In no particular order:

  • “Ample assets” – this is used to describe the, er, chest region of women.
    Usually preceded by the words “displaying” or “showcasing”.
  • “Ample cleavage” – see above. The good people at the Daily Mail appear to have somewhat of a fascination with breasts. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though this obviously disregards the achievements of the owners of said breasts. In most Daily Mail stories, these achievements consist of being an ex-cast member of Geordie Shore or a Kardashian.
  • “Trim pins” – what, is this 1953? Who the hell describes “legs” as “pins”?
    I digress, this is usually preceded by “flaunts”.
  • “Pert derrière” – note: “pert” is the only adjective to be used. Even if it is not.
  • “Braless” – this is the Holy Grail for any Daily Mail journo or picture editor.
    High fives all around if it is a Kardashian “drawing attention to her (or his) cleavage”.
    Usually preceded by “Peek-a-boob!” Even elephants aren’t safe.
  • “Sheer” – always preceded by “daring”.

Other phrases that should be worked into a story include “underwear free”, “nude selfie”,
“wardrobe malfunction” (always “awkward”), “plunging gown” (extra brownie points if it has
a “soaring split”), “blatantly exhibited her choice to forego underwear” and who could forget
the rather painful adjectives “eye-popping” and “thigh-scraping”.

“Skimpy sports bra and hot pants” is compulsory for that fortuitous moment when a Z grade celeb just happens to be working out her ample cleavage and pert derrière in a park, and there just happens to be a photographer present.

©Steve Williams 2016

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Airline Seating and farting – creating a stink

The world of aviation has come a long way since Orville and Wilbur Wright burst out of the hangar on that December morning in 1903.

Rectal turbulence is no laughing matter

Or has it?

Today, airlines have a mission to cram as many passengers sorry, make optimum use of available cabin space for the ultimate comfort of their stakeholders.

We all know seats are shrinking, the already virtually non-existent legroom is decreasing before our sleep-deprived eyes, while in airline company evil laboratories, sadistic boffins are conjuring up and registering patents for truly cruel and inhumane seating configurations.

Some of these designs forged among the searing flames of hell include two rows of seats sandwiched on top of each other and “saddle seats” where passengers apparently squat,
which would require hamstrings of steel for a nice 16-hour jaunt.

Other patents include a seating configuration with passengers facing each other, standing seats, double-arse bench seats for the big-boned flyer, to the option of seating passengers inside a bubble on top of the aircraft.

They have to be taking the piss, which would not be difficult when you are sitting in that squat seat.

One aviation story caught my eye, “America’s airlines are introducing a class below economy.” Below economy? What? In the luggage hold?

The next step I assume will be a seat bolted to the wing. Imagine the breathless (literally) marketing spin, “Experience unforgettable 360 degree panoramic vistas from the comfort of your seat.”

Though I can see some benefits in this wing seat. At least it would be a fart-free zone.

I don’t have any conclusive medical evidence on the subject, and it would make
a fascinating thesis, but what is it with flying and farting?

Why is it that people become frequent flatulators at 43,000 feet?

Do they normally practice these disgusting anal acoustics in the comfort of their home, or do they kindly wait until they are in close, inescapable proximity with 400 poor unsuspecting souls before cutting the cheese – and I don’t mean the platter on the tray table. The culprits are always fat, bloated business men. You know who you are.

These are serious questions. I am not being classist about these arse-blasts.

Indeed, the wafting cloud of rectal turbulence can be experienced equally in economy and business class.

From personal experience, the methane menace is worse at the pointy end, and has woken me up like some cheek-squeak alarm clock. Makes you want to reach for the oxygen mask.

I implore airlines to implement a zero tolerance policy on backdoor belches, with ejector seats activated for passengers who play the trouser tuba, not to mention use corny fart euphemisms.

©Steve Williams 2016

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Homeless and Faceless – Mr Cellophane

Long hair, hipster beard, heavy black coat and scuffed work boots.

In another life he could be making craft beer or working in an ad agency.

This life only occupies about 200 metres.

He spends his nights in the doorway of a mobile phone shop, the garish lights of the looping commercials flogging the latest and greatest smart phones providing an interesting nightlight.

Morning. He rolls up his bedding, carefully and methodically arranges that and his life in a shopping trolley and slowly and rather purposely wheels it just up the road to his bus stop.
To the edge of his world. The buggered wheel of the trolley a metaphor.

He parks at his bus stop all day, no need / want to catch one, staring into space, occasionally wandering off somewhere – not too far in case somebody knocks his stuff off, then back to his
bus stop then the mobile phone shop. Repeat.

I don’t know his name, I see him out of my office window as he carries out his daily ritual.
And I carry out mine.

He looks about mid-forties, but who knows? It’s hard to tell. He’s probably lived a few lifetimes.

He’s homeless and harmless.

He doesn’t hassle anyone for money, doesn’t randomly yell out expletives or even quote Shakespeare like a character I encountered in the Sydney CBD years ago. He just quietly goes about his business as everyone goes about theirs, pretending he doesn’t exist.

He’s homeless and faceless.

What was that song? Mr Cellophane.

He could be you, he could be me. Depends how the cards fall.

I saw him at his bus stop the other day, I nodded and sort-of-smiled, didn’t want to freak him out. He nodded and sort-of-smiled back, didn’t want to freak me out.

Everyone avoids him, nobody sits at the bus stop — they stand — willing the bus to arrive
to take them away from him. Who knows? Maybe he prefers it that way.

We all have a story. What’s his? Why is his life just 200 metres?

He could be you, he could be me.

I made a call, not to complain, just to check if he’s doing ok. They know him, they’ve had him
in hostels, but he lives by his own rules. They keep an eye on him. That’s the main thing.

I met a man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today…

©Steve Williams 2016

To read this on a shiny Huffington Post page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/steve-williams/homeless-and-faceless-mr-cellophane_b_9255684.html?utm_hp_ref=australia

 

You’re un-Australian if…

To celebrate Australia Day, one gazillion rainforests have been slaughtered creating weighty tomes of “what it means to be Australian”. Bugger that.

As a Wattle-waving Aussie, I reckon you’re un-Australian if…

If you don’t know who this bloke is, you’re un-Australian

*You don’t use “yeah, nah” regularly in a sentence.

*You know the mysterious second verse of the Australian national anthem.

*You don’t return from a Bali holiday wearing a Bintang beer singlet and / or braided hair.

*You use the word “sheila”.

*You don’t know what Wattle is.

*You don’t know what “wanker” means.

*You don’t drown your meat pie in tomato sauce.

*You don’t eat meat pies.

*You prefer a Sauvignon Blanc with a melon and ripe gooseberry nose to a stubbie you’ve opened with your eye socket.

*You don’t know what a stubbie is.

*You don’t think Kylie is bunging on that pommie accent.

*You don’t know what “bunging on” means.

*You drink Foster’s beer.

*You call a “prawn” anything other than a “prawn”.

*You’ve never had a bindi stuck in your foot (not the Indian forehead decoration or Steve Irwin’s daughter).

*You like the song I Still Call Australia Home even with Peter Allen bunging on that crap American accent.

*You prefer to sit on the grass at the beach rather than the sand.

*You take a soccer ball to the beach.

*You call a soccer ball a “football”.

*You don’t think the lead singer of AC/DC is still “the new bloke”.

*You don’t return from overseas bitching about how everything is better / cheaper / tastier / bigger / less crowded / less smelly / less foreign than here at home.

*You don’t think Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh should be the national anthem.

*You respond when some bogan chants “Aussie!, Aussie!, Aussie!…”.

*You don’t know what a “bogan” is.

*You think it’s ok that our head of state is a member of an English family.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2016

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“The Force Awakenzzzzzzzzzzzzz” Mania Is Sending Me To Sleep

So Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in the coming days and the world
has lost its collective mind.

Darth Vader demonstrates how to kill people with a thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The insanity surrounding The Force Awakens started back in October when the trailer was released, and then reached tsunami proportions when Harrison Ford appeared on every possible Australian TV program and in the flesh at the Sydney Opera House. “I’m sure Harrison will notice me if I wear my Han Solo costume.” There were a couple of blokes dressed as Indiana Jones, who would have drawn death stares from the Jar Jar Binks types. That’s the insidious power of ‘Star Wars’ — I’ve never seen a film, but I know the bloody characters.

Ford always seems to be fairly bemused by the whole Star Wars thing and the legions of fans, which was evident during his interview with (self-confessed fan) Leigh Sales. Sure, Star Wars was his meal ticket and propelled his career at warp-factor speed (I know, wrong sci-fi term), but Ford often uses the words “work” and “a job” to describe his time seated next to his hirsute co-pilot.

The first Star Wars film was released a long time ago in a year far, far away: 1977. The same year as Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, and the Bee Gees released the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. No doubt hardcore Star Wars types have drawn some form of nerdish, non-existent, vortex-time-space-continuum-parallels between all three.

I was a young kid in 1977 and didn’t buckle to peer and advertising pressure to get on board the (Harrison Ford leg-fracturing) Millennium Falcon (see, I know that much). I was more interested in chasing girls, kicking a footy and playing cricket in the backyard than playing with Luke Skywalker figurines. Back then, being a smart arse, too-cool-for-school type of kid, I refused to see the film everyone was talking about. Thirty eight years later, nothing has changed. Each to their own.

Although, I’d much rather read about these hardcore Star Wars fans (have I used the word ‘geeks’ yet?) shooting each other in imaginary interplanetary battles at Star Wars conventions than psycho-terrorists on the streets of Paris doing the real thing, or a would be American President shooting his mouth off. Again.

Another issue I have with the whole Star Wars palaver is the concept of the money-grubbing prequel. Not a fan. They squeeze all the narrative and cash out of the several thousand sequels, and then Trevor pipes up with “I know! How about a prequel or twelve?” Sequels and prequels should be banned by the UN.

Let’s just hope reality TV shows don’t catch on. Imagine a Kardashian prequel — the pre-school years. It probably wouldn’t work because it would be before the days of selfies, belfies and lip fillers, but if you steal my idea Momager Kris Jenner, I want a cut.

I have to say my all-time favourite Star Wars scene is a stand up comedy bit by Eddie Izzard which some genius set to stop-motion Lego. The scene is set in the Death Star canteen and features the immortal line from that asthmatic bloke in black: “It’s not a game of who the f*ck are you.” The wickedly ingenious concept of killing people with trays and/or thoughts and a penne arrabiata shout out is brilliant.

If all the dialogue in the Star Wars films was as good, Eddie Izzard played every character and they were created in Lego, I’d be a lightsaber-wielding fan-boi.

As is, I’d rather be sleeping.

©Steve Williams 2016

To read this on a shiny Huffington Post page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/steve-williams/star-wars-the-force-awake_b_8780898.html?utm_hp_ref=australia

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Phil Hughes – Forever 63 n.o.

It has been twelve months since the cricketing world tragically lost Phil Hughes.
Here is my story from last year:

Phil Hughes. What a wonderful story, other than the part after Tuesday afternoon.

image

The young cricket obsessed kid from northern New South Wales, moving down to the big smoke of Sydney to further his dream. And he did just that.

Phil crammed a hell of lot into his almost 26 years, living the dream of Australian kids to one day wear that baggy green cap.

I had that same dream, racing home from school, racing even faster through homework to get out to the backyard for imaginary test matches. “I’ll be Dennis Lillee!” The kids next door alternated between the Chappells. We’d play for a few hours then our mums would call us in for dinner. Stumps.

Great times. Then playing in a junior club team, getting a Stuart Surridge bat from Santa and a Kookaburra ball I would carry everywhere, polishing it to a mirror finish.

I spent many a summer as a kid watching my heroes at the SCG. I imagined walking off the ground, acknowledging the standing ovation from the crowd after a blazing century as the shadows lengthened from the Member’s Stand. Phil Hughes did that for real, five times.

Then life got in the way, for me, but not for Phil Hughes.

I obviously never had the relentless hunger, the burning desire and freakish talent that inhabited Phil Hughes. He made it.

All that work, those endless hours in the nets and countless pitches paid off. He earned the right to wear the baggy green and did it proud. The perfect fit.

This summer of cricket will sadly have a dark shadow, though Phil Hughes will forever be 63 n.o.

Vale.

©Steve Williams 2014