Barry O’Farrell – when good manners attack

So. Australian political leader — NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has resigned in what has become known as #GrangeGate.

The resignation was not over the gift of a $3,000 bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange Hermitage, no, what brought Barry unstuck were his good manners.

Hi Ho Silver! Away…

On Tuesday, the then Premier fronted the Independent Commission Against Corruption, denying under oath he had received the bottle of wine in question.

His downfall was his handwritten thank you note, which miraculously arose today (well it is nearly Easter).

Bad blue Barry. You shouldn’t have listened to the enclave of etiquette experts that tsk “obviously every gift requires a thank-you note.”

The heady topic has been covered by Oprah, and Jimmy Fallon writes out his thank you notes each week. Thankfully he is taking the proverbial.

Barry even religiously followed the suggested format for his thank you note — addressing the giver, expressing gratitude, and how much the gesture means to him.

All very proper — now he’s out of a job. For a simple scrawl about a bottle of red that was allegedly on the nose.

This all happened the very day The Duke, Duchess and Prince of Cambridge (Kate’n'Will’n'George to us Aussies) arrived in Sydney for the start of their Australian wave-a-thon.

Barry was supposed to host Mr & Mrs C. at a galah Sydney Opera House knees-up, though was an obvious no-show. Bugger.

I hope Mrs O’Farrell kept the receipt for the frock she was going to wear.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Abbott: There is nothing like a Dame (or Sir)

So. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is heading back to the future by dusting off the titles of knights and dames, which were last seen down the back of a lounge in Government House nearly thirty years ago.

Greg Chappell knights a streaker


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tugging his forelock while facing Buckingham Palace, Mr Abbott said the honour would be extended to Australians of “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit”.

There have been howls of protest from the left-wing-socialist-climate-change-is-real types,
but I for one, am all for it.

My dear Prime Minister, may I be so bold to offer a few suggestions? From the realm of entertainment, Dame Kylie Minogue is a given — for “services” to music and hot pants and Dame Dorothy The Dinosaur (one for the kiddies and / or Wiggles fans) for services to alliteration.

Sir George Lazenby is long overdue — Australia’s only James Bond (and fellow Goulburn boy) would take his rightful place among the other martini shaking and stirring knights Sirs Connery and Moore. What about Dame Lara Bingle for services to… um… there’s gotta be something…

Us Aussies love our sport (and not constructing sentences properly). Dame Evonne Goolagong Cawley is as easy a pick as a simple forehand volley, Sir Newk should get the nod purely for that moustache, and Sir Pat Rafter for services to “sorry mate”.

Cricket tosses up a few juicy full toss choices — Sir Warnie for services to texting and servicing super models, “arise, Sir Boof Lehman” (on bended knee in batting pads) definitely has a ring to it, and Sir Greg Chappell should be rewarded for circumcising streakers with a cricket bat.

Prime Minister, please take my advice rather than anointing the likes of Dame Gina Rinehart
and Sir Alan Jones. Though that would do wonders for the Australian Republic push…

©Steve Williams 2014

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How many Hollywood stars can a koala bear?

A speech from today’s (very) heated meeting of the Token Australian Animals Association.

A striking koala

“Dear Comrades,

I have called this emergency meeting as a result of today’s Katy Perry patting. Enough is enough! We must rise up against our blatant exploitation by affectionate actors and massaging musicians.

It is time we scratch a line in the tree and say a resounding NO!! to being manhandled for a clichéd photo opportunity while a visiting celebrity smiles into the camera and says “Geeday mate, I love Australia” minutes after arriving from the airport.

It was bad enough when they invaded our territory in zoos and wildlife parks with a fawning media pack, now we are expected to be shunted around hotels, TV studios and entertainment centres like some real life cuddly toy. “OMG, so cuuuute! Can I take it home?” NO!!!

With the royal visit of William, Kate and George imminent we urgently need to form an action plan, because rest assured, there will be koalas, there will be kangaroos!

Our trial Pissing-On Program failed, so we are on strike as of now!

As your president Kev Koala — that’s my stage name — I call on my marsupial and monotreme mates, snake sisters and Blue-tongue lizard brothers to follow our cause with your claws.

Today, I have been in contact with the Australian Funnel Web Spiders, Box Jellyfish and Other Really Deadly Aussie Animals Union, who strongly sympathise with us. Our courageous comrades will allow their members to be used for public appearances. These will the only Australian animals permitted for such wanton exploitation.

In closing, we will no longer be seen as a furry jingoistic souvenir that merely eats, roots and leaves. I ask you, “how much can a koala bear?”

©Steve Williams 2014

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Spa Anxiety – When Sandalwood Attacks

My spa anxiety kicked in while filling in the form — I was handed a cup of hibiscus unicorn tears tea or something. I shouldn’t drink it because I’ll have to sprint to the toilet halfway through.

I felt nothing like this after my spa treatment

Then the change room. What do I need to take off? Everything? Just for a back massage?
So why are those useless disposable undies there? Am I supposed to wear them?
If yes, which way do they go? And why are they so see-through?

Which way does the robe go on?
Remember that time it had to go on backwards Hannibal Lecter style?

Do I have to wear these thongs? (Australian footwear usage)
Who wore them before? What if they had tinea / leprosy / the Black Death?

Ok, so far so good, I’m face down with my head poking through that furry toilet seat thing.

I’m only having a back massage, so why have my undies been simultaneously rolled down and aside to give me a pseudo Sumo / Bondi lifesaver style wedgie?

What if the therapist cracks something and I now have the communication skills of an artichoke?

Shit! I need to go to the toilet again. Bloody hibiscus unicorn tears tea.

Why are they pressing so hard on my kidneys?
Feels like they’re going to burst through my scrotum.

Why am I oiled up like the last meal Elvis Presley ate?

What are you doing near my arse?

“How is the pressure?” I want to scream “You’re f*cking killing me!”, but don’t want to sound weak.

It’s over. “Yes that was wonderful, thanks.” I lied.

A massage in a spa is like a physiotherapy session at a demented dentist — accompanied by mystical rainforest music.

Great. Now I have post spa anxiety stress disorder.

Think I need a massage…

©Steve Williams 2014

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Cash For Corby — Schapelle It Out

Unless you have been living on the far side of the Sun, you would know that Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been released after serving nine years in Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

The beauty school dropout (had to use that) went from cell to sell, allegedly signing a contract with the Seven Network rumoured to be around $2 million. There has been a lot of anger and moral navel gazing about rewarding a convicted criminal, including outraged comments from one of the network’s biggest stars, David Koch.

Schapelle auditions for Downton Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the criticism is extremely harsh, considering the enormous benefit Schapelle can bring to the network and the viewers of Australia. The sit-down “tell-all” interview with a weeping bonus may be on hold, but she could be better utilised across Seven’s other programs.

For starters, Deal Or No Deal, Smugglers, The Price Is Right, An Idiot Abroad, Reef Wranglers and Border Patrol are far too obvious — I’m thinking Schapelle could bust a few Balinese Barong moves or a boogie on Dancing With The Stars, then there’s Home Shopping and Pawn Stars.

Other programming options include My Kitchen Rules — I’m sure Schapelle could plate up a nice caramelised onion tart — with some added greenery, and what about Million Dollar Minute
Apparently that would only take her about two.

Surf Patrol is a no-brainer given Schapelle’s experience with aquatic equipment and Better Homes and Gardens given her apparent green thumb. With her reported experience with mules, she’d be a natural for RSPCA Animal Rescue. I can also picture Schapelle’s mum on Cougar Town or World’s Strictest Parents, and the entire klan method-acting on Swamp People — Keeping Up With The Korbys. 

On second thoughts, I shouldn’t give them any ideas…

©Steve Williams 2014

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Robot Rugby League – No Dramas

Hugh Jackman got me thinking. Well, he is the “thinking man’s sex symbol.”

You won’t find this fullback doing a thing in Schlossy’s shoe

Remember Real SteelHugh’s futuristic movie featuring robot boxing? With the rugby league season about to kick off, I believe Australia’s National Rugby League should run with this concept immediately — simply do away with human players and replace them with robots. Think about it. No more alcohol-fuelled 4am Kings Cross incidents. It really will solve all the off-field dramas,
as there will be no off-field, you just hit the off switch.

How good will it be? No more nightclub groin-groping and flashing, no shady betting scandals,
no delightful alliteration of “I just shat in Schlossy’s shoe”, no mid-season inter-club or other code defections, and an end to on-field proctology examinations, which apparently have even spread to the netball court.

For once, the only rugby league stories on the back and front pages of the newspaper will be solely about what happened on the field — the skill, the drama, the match-winning sideline conversion as the full-time siren sounds, the edge-of-the-seat 90 metre intercept try — with no mention of steroids, peptides, sports scientists, gazelles, or moron players scrawling sexually offensive aliases in a school visitors’ book.

Okay, you may be concerned the play could become a little bit, er, robotic — I am across that — occasionally you could program a bit of rogue robot action, just like when Yul Brynner went all random in that classic film West World. It would be quite easy to ramp up the “bring back the biff” setting for State of Origin, or fire up the “traditional softening up period” program for Grand Finals.

The league and TV bosses would love it, Kings Cross police would love it, and Schlossy’s shoe would forever be empty.

Thanks Hugh.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Recorders — the sound of satan

There is little doubt the recorder is an instrument of Satan.
“Yea, Lucifer forged a musical abomination in the scorching pits of hell with his cloven hooves.”

The Prince of Darkness was working double-time

Harsh? Not at all. This was inspired a few days ago by enduring the tormented tones of a recorder being “played” by a kid in a nearby apartment. I was tempted to call a SWAT team to neutralise the noise. The splintering of doors, then”PUTTHERECORDERDOWNANDGETONTHEGROUNDNOW!!!” then blissful silence. Dream on.

It’s always kids playing the recorder. I’ve never been to a concert hall to witness an acclaimed recordist, recorderer recorder player performing a stirring virtuoso rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 666… for recorder.

Likewise, I’ve never seen a massive arena show with a leather-panted megastar out front of a wall of Marshalls wailing out a nine-minute scorching riff… on his recorder.

Why is it compulsory for every kid on the planet to learn the recorder?
I’m all for a musical education, but why this sonic assassin?

I did it — I remember in my first year of high school we had a rather highly strung music teacher. Let’s call him, for arguments sake, “Mr Heaney”. He would make you perform a recorder solo in front of the class. To this day, it’s the most terrifying experience of my life. Not the playing part — but his ranting reaction.

I would gingerly stand up, shaking, all trembling fingers and asthmatic breaths attempting to play my reworking of Smoke on the Water (it was 1977) while waiting for the inevitable catastrophic critique. If you weren’t up to the maestro’s exceptionally high standards (which was always),
he would scream at you — not in said arena concert fan style, but seriously full-on, somewhat psychotic screaming.

No wonder I f*cking hate the recorder… where’s that psychiatrists’ couch?

©Steve Williams 2014

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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, no” 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 think Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke is still some “up himself wanker” (even though he returned the Ashes, won the one day series and numerous backyard matches).

*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.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2014

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WTF is a phablet? When stupid words attack

Yes. I do know that a “phablet” is a frankensteined hybrid of a phone and a tablet, but I am assuming whoever came up with that name had obviously taken a handful of them.

A stupid word, and they are everywhere — I was reading about a “wriblet” today — with the advent of wearable technology, a wrist-bound tablet will become a thing — Dick Tracy style.
That name definitely puts the dick in it.

Try wearing that on your wrist, geekboy

It is not just new technology that was on the receiving end of clunky nomenclature, take shoelaces — that metal bit on the end is called an “aglet”. You’re welcome.

An affliction. Stupid words are like a rather nasty rash — they are spreading and are extremely painful — one can only hope they’ll scab over and drop off. Here a few off the top of my head: “cronut”, “crowdsourced”, “bromance”, “thought leader” and anything with the prefix “man” i.e. “manscaping”, “mancave”, “manorexia” and “manflu”. Stupid.

Social media has a hell of a lot to answer for. I’m an avid 140 character writer on Twitter (@randomswill), but can’t bring myself to use the word “tweet”. I may have inadvertently used “twitterverse”, but never again. I can guarantee I have never travelled to the dark edges of the “twittersphere”.

“Selfie” is also a very stupid word — I always assumed it had something to do with masturbation, which in a sense it is. Sadly, you can’t escape the scourge of the selfie, it was even a political tool much loved by a not so much-loved former Australian prime minister — see previous sentence.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Foodporn — It’s already been shot, just eat it

When Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce shot the world’s first photograph in 1826, it was of the view out of his window, thankfully not of his coq au vin.

A restaurateur’s deterrent against food photography

Speaking of such meaty subjects, I’d like to discuss foodporn — amateur photographers recording their food for posterity instead of merely eating it. Today, if your phone isn’t equipped with a camera, you’re using iTroglodyte. That means basically everyone is a photographer — and this isn’t a good thing, especially when you’re trying to eat.

Amateur restaurant food photographers should be skewered, basted and lightly roasted. Instagram and Twitter have a lot to answer for. Why do you need to photograph your food before you eat it? Who are you going to show these badly composed, badly shot and badly shit photos to? Is the plan to bore your Facebook friends into a coma?

It is always a dining delight when the couple at the next table is photographing their fettuccine or shooting their shark fin soup. This is often undertaken with a ginormous SLR, emitting strobe flashes that illuminates the food and everyone in the vicinity like an atomic bomb has just detonated. If I wanted to book a table for two in an epileptic-fit-inducing lighthouse I would.

That’s just the entree — for main you get to sit back and marvel at the elaborate production of the couple photographing each other eating said food. Are we talking foreplay to some 9½ Weeks inspired erotic food-feeding-frenzy? Hope the shark fin comes to life in the bedroom.

There was a hallelujah moment last year when New York restaurants started banning food photography. The usual “freedom of everything” suspects choked on their amuse-bouche in predictable outrage, but f. them — they should be skewered as well.

I’d take a photo of that.

©Steve Williams 2014

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