Tag Archives: Monty Python

Fair dinkum great Australian Inventions

Australia. Where women glow and men plunder or chunder, depending on the verse.

To butcher the Monty Python line, “What has Australia ever done for us?”
Glad you asked. Here are just a handful of some fair dinkum great Australian inventions.


A great Australian invention

In no particular order:

• Kylie Minogue – From spanner-wielding soap opera mechanic to global chanteuse.

• Google Maps – Okay, there were also a couple of Danish blokes in the team, but we’re claiming it.

• Spray-on skin – developed by Professor Fiona Wood in 1999 to treat second-degree burns. Incredible.

• The stump-jump plough. I’m not actually sure what this is, but as officially decreed in the Australian Constitution, it must be included in every list of Australian inventions.

• Ultrasound – so you can see baby Trevor before you meet him.

• Cathy Freeman – rather quick.

• Powered flight – In 1894, Lawrence Hargraves whacked a couple of box kites together
and strapped on a compressed air engine. He wasn’t to know about dickhead seat-recliners.

• AC/DC – I still can’t get used to that new lead singer.

• The fridge – In 1855, James Harrison was granted a patent for an ether vapour-compression refrigeration system to keep his cans of Foster’s Lager* cold. (*nobody in Australia drinks Foster’s)

• Nicole Kidman – I know she was born in Hawaii, but we’re claiming her.

• The electronic pacemaker – Mark Lidwill and Edgar Booth burst out of the shed brandishing
the world’s first artificial pacemaker in the 1920s. Heart emoji to them.

• Home and Away – introduced “flamin’” to the universe.

• Don Bradman – rather handy with a cricket bat.

• The power board – say g’day the next time you plug something in.

• Feature film – The Story of the Kelly Gang was released in 1906, and it’s all been downhill
to Fifty Shades Darker.

• The Splayd – you know, that spoon / fork / knife cutlery thing. Some heathens call it a “spork”.

• Albert Namatjira – To see the real Australia, immerse yourself in his paintings.

• Black box flight recorder – I hope you will never be featured in one.

• Barry Humphries – Thrust gladiolas on an unsuspecting world stage.

• Cask wine – aka goon, space bag or Chateau Cardboard.

• Wi-Fi – CSIRO researcher John O’Sullivan apparently stumbled across Wi-Fi in 1977 while hunting exploding black holes. As one does.

• Dual flush toilet – To differentiate your number ones from your number twos.

• Hugh Jackman – Talented bastard.

 

PS, There are a few Australian inventions we are not proud of – Rolf Harris and the Aussie Flu.

©Steve Williams 2018

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No Thanks Donald Trump, Keep Your Snake Oil

Over the years I’ve worked with a hell of a lot of sales people.

I don’t want one of your f*****g steaks, either

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some good, some psychotic, which of course you could say for any “profession”,
but a psychotic salesperson is something to behold, and not in a good way.

Sales people are a certain breed.

President-elect Donald Trump… I can’t believe I just wrote that… this is a very f****d up Twilight Zone / Black Mirror episode… but I digress. Donald J. Trump is a sales person. The ultimate.
Reported guestimates of his bank balance range between $150, $3 billion or $10 billion, give or take.

With Trump, it’s all about closing the deal, he wrote THAT book which thankfully I have avoided. Trump closed the deal early Wednesday morning – the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC.

So where to now? During the campaign Trump made a litany of very well documented promises to his faithful (we all saw them as outrageous threats), but will he follow through? Or in true snake oil salesman mode, was all that ranting simply BS, means to an end of winning the Presidency?
Who knows? With Trump, you get the impression that he is constantly making it up as he goes along, to borrow that line from Monty Python. We’re all in very murky unchartered waters,
heading straight for the Bermuda Triangle.

No doubt many of his hard core supporters would have been simultaneously disappointed and disillusioned with his victory speech. It was extremely un-Trumplike, none of the vitriol, no locking up of “Crooked Hillary”, no wall-building threats, no pussies were grabbed, nobody was threatened with deportation. I laughed when it was reported as “being Presidential”, I put it down to the fact he’s an old man and it was waaaay past his bedtime.

Is Trump serious about making America great again? What does that very shallow four-word slogan even mean? Define “great”. Trump was following the old adage of tell ‘em what they want to hear and closed the deal.

Let’s pick one of his campaign “policies”. Did he / does he have any intention of building that wall? Again, who knows how any of this will play out. He’ll no doubt wheel out that hoary old chestnut (which is itself a hoary old chestnut),“Well you know I wanted to <insert bizarre promise> I really did. I promised you I would. But I was blocked. They’re weak. Cowards… etc etc”. The faithful will chug down some more Kool-Aid.

Trump’s meeting with President Obama in the White House on Thursday was surreal to say the least. Trump used the words “great respect” which is laughable, considering the whole birther thing, and the blowtorch he continually took to Obama during the election campaign. But did he really mean any of that? Neither of them looked like they wanted to be there. The body language experts had a field day.

So I suppose it is a matter of watching this space, to see what President steak salesman and beauty pageant owner does. I find it highly amusing / terrifying that his campaign team barred him from Twitter during the final days of the campaign, and now he has the nuclear codes. You seriously couldn’t make this stuff up.

Millions across the planet are proclaiming that the Trump presidency will be the end of the world… and to quote the classic R.E.M. song, Trump will respond with “and I feel fine.”

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia:
No Thanks, Donald Trump, Keep Your Snake Oil

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FFS World, It’s Zoolander, Lighten Up

Sadly, I have suspected for quite a few years that the world has entirely lost its sense of humour, and it was confirmed this week.

An apparent non-non-binary Benedict Cumberbatch

I was reading one of the furious flood of online news articles screaming in outrage about a scene in the new Zoolander 2 movie.

No, correct that, a scene in the trailer of the new Zoolander 2 movie. So people are taking umbrage at a movie that hasn’t even been released yet.

FFS world, lighten up.

Apparently some (and our emphasise some) of our LGBT friends and outraged kindred spirits supposedly acting on their behalf are frothing at the mouth that the new film is sexist and transphobic. Really? The pitchforks and flaming torches are being aimed at a ten second scene involving Benedict Cumberbatch playing an apparent androgynous-looking model being asked if he has a hot dog or a bun.

That’s it. You’re losing your mind and clambering to the moral high ground over that? Seriously?

In another article, some earnest and no doubt well-meaning type was rabbiting on that a non-binary model should have been cast to play the Cumberbatch role. I have no idea what “non-binary” means. Is it algebra? (I was probably in the sick bay feigning death when they taught that bit at school)

As I said, all this is over a ten second scene in a movie nobody has seen. The Champagne corks would be popping in the Paramount Pictures marketing towers thanks to the gazillion dollars in free publicity. There are even petitions to ban the film. Now that’s hilarious.

It’s been a fairly shit year. The heartbreaking plight of refugees fleeing the Middle East and Africa resulting in dead children washing up on beaches, commercial planes being blown out of the sky, ISIS goons throwing people off buildings because of their sexual preference, a Sydney police accountant being shot in the back of the head by a fifteen year old as he left work, not to mention the recent events in Paris that killed 130 people whose only crime was going out on a Friday night.

We could do with a laugh. If Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Benedict Cumberbatch can provide a few in a light comedy, offending a few easily-offended in the process, then so be it.

As a kid, I was brought up on a healthy diet of comedy — English imports like Monty Python, Dave Allen, The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, Derek and Clive, and brilliant Australian productions including The Naked Vicar Show, Paul Hogan, Blankety Blanks, The D-Generation, Doug Mulray, Andrew Denton etc, etc. Yes a lot of it was crass, immature, challenging, totally politically incorrect and simultaneously f*cking hilarious. Maybe they have all affected my moral compass Bermuda Triangle style, but I doubt it.

What happened? When did we lose our sense of humour? When was a jihad waged on satire and comedy?

Today people want to be outraged. They want to be angry and vent on Twitter and Facebook and violently hammer the keyboard creating cranky online petitions.

All of this is totally fine. You just need to make sure you’re angry and outraged over the important stuff, not a ten second bit in a movie trailer.

©Steve Williams 2015

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MH17 — Collateral Damage?

I’m lucky enough to travel quite a lot.
As a matter of fact, I’m writing this on an overnight international flight.

As I clicked my seatbelt in, my thoughts turned to the passengers and crew of MH17.

Like me, they would have settled in to their seats, had a drink or a coffee, watched a movie,
or caught up on some sleep. The crew going about their well-practiced routine of feeding and watering.

Some passengers would have been reliving memories of their holiday or business trip, thinking about what needed to be done once they got home. Those mundane things like the washing,
or back-to-back meetings. The kids looking forward to telling their friends all about their adventures, showing them the selfies they hadn’t posted on Facebook.

Then they were blown out of the sky by some lunatic bastards.

There but the grace of whichever mystical sky person of choice go I.

Was it the sick work of some random rebel nutjobs playing with a deadly new toy (“what does this button do?”) Hardly. The lives of 293 people obliterated in a war that had nothing to do with them and in a split second ripping apart those of friends and families on the ground, scattered around the globe.

The stories emerged of MH17, as they do, of the passengers, the chaos of the scene and reports of looting and bodies shown no respect, left for days in the sun.

Will the murder of all those on board make one iota of difference in Ukraine? Of course not.
It will be murder as usual. The victims of MH17 will merely be collateral damage.

To the passengers and crew of MH17, a Monty Python quote:
“What a senseless waste of human life.”

©Steve Williams 2014

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