Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Speedy Solution

Been busy - shut up...

Now I have to admit when I began thinking about doing a blog I had visions of the funniest most irreverent blog in the bloggersphere... not a psuedo current affairs 'I have all the answers' type blog. Problem is I can't help myself...

I caught a bit of Australian story last night. Not sure if you did but if you didn't here's a short précis: Group of mates in car. Car speeding. Car crashes. One kid dies. Driver sent to jail. Dead kid's dad loses plot and murders driver's mum before killing himself.
An awful story. Tragic. Sad. But, unfortunately, apart from the subsequent murder not uncommon.

In this case the driver was drunk and speeding. You're never going to be able to legislate to prevent people doing stupid things. But what I don't understand is why nothing is done to stop putting in young people's hands things that are designed to break the law.

In NSW the top speed by law anywhere in the state is 110kph. Even my gutless Toyota echo has a top speed far in excess of that. Why, when we legislate that the top speed is 110kph do we allow vehicles on the roads capable of exceeding these speed limits without breaking sweat?

I am by no means advocating a nanny state. By all means I agree that people should be responsible for their own actions. BUT ONLY when those actions don't have the capacity to harm innocent people.

When a dog mauls a small kid there is outcry. When it happens a couple of times the entire breed of dog is banned. Fireworks were fun but a couple of idiots blow off their hands so they're forbidden. Yet HUNDREDS of people keep dying each year due to excessive speed yet there is no discussion about limiting the top speed of vehicles on our roads. I am sure it is possible to not inhibit the performance of the car by limiting the top speed. By all means set it 10kmph over the speed limit 'just in case', I don't care. But you want to stop a p-plater travelling at 180kph? Don't give him a car that goes 180 kph. Simple really.

If you want to speed then set up race days where people can go and speed in a controlled environment not on the roads where you put your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of other road users at risk.

Anyway - that's what I reckon.

Rant over.

p.s God I miss fireworks. How good were throw downs and jumping jacks...??? or those parachute men...

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's only a lazy half a bil.

See - look at this - back again this week...

I want to begin this by saying that I'm not really the best person when it comes to finance. Sure I get it but I don't much like it. I'm the kind of guy who holds on to petty cash receipts for a year then throws them out cause I can't shut my wallet. And sure, I've been known, sorry AM known for leaving bank statements unopened for...well...ever. However, not even I would be comfortable fronting the media as Premier of NSW and dismiss in as blithe a manner as Kristina Keneally the misuse of oh...sorry how much was that Kristina? Sorry, I'm not sure I heard that correctly - did you say $500 million dollars? (Laughs)...Oh (stops laughing). You did.

That's right, $500 million dollars. Gone in a puff of smoke with the now abandoned city metro plan. Sorry if I'm repeating myself but $500 million dollars???!!! Really?

I'm not sure what is worse, the blase attitude with which this kind of waste is explained away as being somehow necessary or the fact that there is absolutely no personal accountability for such financial mismanagement. Let's just pause for a second and think about what good could have actually been done with that money... you pausing...it hurts the brain and the heart to think about it doesn't it?

I would bet, let's say a lazy 1/2 bil, that in any other walk of life Kristina would have left that press conference and been met at her desk by two burly security staff ready to offer a helping hand to the footpath. Now I know what you're going to say - we are the security staff and can escort them all out come the next election. But I guarantee you by then everyone would have forgotten this and besides there'll more than likely be some sort of sex scandal between now and then anyway.

The issue as far as I see it is that this kind of waste has gone on and will continue to go on primarily due to the fact that there is very little personal pain that goes along with wasting other people's money. I know for a fact that I'd be more comfortable putting 100 bucks of a stranger's money in the pokies than I would my own. Why? Cause I did nothing to earn it, it's not mine and therefore I don't care if I lose it.

In business, people's financial remuneration is directly linked to performance. I'm talking about the big end of town here. Be it stock options, cash bonuses, salary increases there is a direct financial correlation to how well that person does for the business. So why can't we institute something similar for politicians?

You still with me? Good. Now don't get me wrong, for the most part I think that most pollies are trying to do the right thing, I'm willing to give them that. I'll also grant that, although they are paid well, they're not paid exorbitantly well so I'll leave their salaries alone. But how about their super?

Here's what I propose (remember I ain't no financial wizz). Parliament sets up a super scheme into which 9% of each pollie's salary is tipped each year in line with current super obligations. The fund then issues, lets call them "shares", to members of the fund in this case the politicians. Now these shares could equate to say 50% of the value of their contribution with the remaining shares only issued based on performance. In addition to this if the fund does well then further shares above and beyond the contribution can be issued for outstanding performance. The flip side being that shares can be withheld for poor performance with the board of the fund (made up of successful business people in their own right) responsible for determining which outcome is applicable.

Look, in reality it might only be 10-15k on the line each year but surely some personal financial repercussions for pissing $500 million bucks into a non-existent hole is better than nothing?

Rant. Over.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bingle Bert and Boyle

Ok Ok Ok OK. What? I've been busy. Give me a break.

Now that's sorted let's get on with the important stuff.

A quick aside before I begin though - am I the only one in awe of the plumbers looking for Bingle's engagement ring? A metal detector? Really? A plumber has one of those on hand? As I said. In. Awe. Let's hope they also find Lara's dignity. Think that might be lodged in the s-bend also.

But enough oxygen has already been spent on those two so on to matters of more import - the Logies. Yes, Australian television's night of nights. In particular the shock announcement of the host for the 2010 shindig: Bert Newton. Well blow me down and call me Shirley, I couldn't see that coming. Not since Brutus was invited to present at Caesars funeral has a more left field appointment been made (sorry cheek that's just my tongue poking you). Really? Bert? Although he is an honourable man.

Look I love the guy but love him for what he used to be. A better foil there has never been. But apart from being wheeled out to host 20 to 1 every now and again (remind me to post about this one day - in particular my genius idea of a 20 to 1 of my favourite 20 to 1s - ratings gold I tell you. Ratings gold) his career jumped the shark about the same time he called Mohammed Ali "Boy" while hosting this very event. Ali was of course in attendance on that occasion in support of his nomination in the Best New What the Fuck am I doing at the Australian Television Industry Awards Night? Category. Incidentally, up for the award this time around are John Mayer and Susan Boyle. I am secretly hoping a late push from the viewers of TV week will see Lady Gaga also nominated for this prestigious category. Gaga and Boyle singing a duet of Wild Horses with Mayer on guitar would be television history in the making. But I digress...

Having Bert host the logies is symptomatic of the state of television in this country. You see it manifest in the endless cop dramas. You see it in the same faces appearing over and over on our screens. You see it in shows like Hey Hey It's Saturday (screened on Wednesday) that have no place outside of nostalgia being given new life. You see it in Daryl being miffed at missing a Gold Logie nomination (although maybe that is a sign things are on the up...?). And what is it that you're seeing? A distinct lack of ideas. But even more worrying is it isn't due to a real lack of ideas but rather a lack of balls from commissioning editors and programmers. Cause the ideas are out there. I should know - I've just made one (yes yes - I am shit hot now back the fuck up and stop looking in my eyes).

Look it isn't Bert's fault. It's just a lack of imagination. LCD stuff. The problem is it just makes the logies feel...well...like a nostalgia trip rather than a fresh, modern awards night. But maybe that's just what has happened to all award shows. I mean apart from the red carpet does anyone even care who wins these things any more? Probably not. After all it is basically just an industry night. Kind of like the Financial Planners Association of Australia Awards night, just with better looking people. Who you kind of recognise from the tele. So Bert - if you're reading this, no hard feelings, I still love ya. And to all those programmers - I'm not really having a go. Really I'm not. Just adding colour to my blog. You know it's been so long since I've posted anything I really need to hook em back in. No hard feelings y'all...sorry is this computer on? Prank call. Prank call.

*Shameless plug alert* I ROCK coming to ABC2 soon. Of course it all changes when we get nominated for a logie. Trust me. I am shallow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Computer Says No

Melbourne cup run. Spin Around still running. Told you it was a stupid race.

Abouuuuuuuuut Face!

So yesterday's post was perhaps a tad mean spirited. I mean what harm is there really in a horse race that gets office workers on the turps from midday without using up public holidays? I blame my own work situation for my ebaneezer attitude. Don't get me wrong - I love being my own boss - but the office sweep loses something when there are only two of us. So I'll be sitting behind my desk (for yet another year) while the rest of Australia bonds at the local.

For what it is worth I'm putting my money on Spin Around for a place. Long long odds and not trained by Bart. I don't think I have ever won on the cup but the good people at RMIT in Melbourne apparently plugged all the data into their super computers, ran the race 60,000 times and came up with this nine year old roughie. Who am I to argue with the computer?

You heard it here first. (unless you listened to 702 this morning in which case...you didn't hear it here first.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baby Wants a Pony

Ok ok...for the two of you reading this I know - I have committed the biggest sin of the start-up blogger: silence. But I have an excuse...really...I do. Last week we welcomed another girl into the family, little Harper Lucy Macdonald. All I'll say is she's a peach but as my wife is far more eloquent on such matters I will defer to her for all the details.

So back to reality and something that has been bugging me recently are the seemingly incesscent plaudits being heaped on the grand daddy of horse racing, Bart Cummings. I realise that it is the Spring Racing carnival and that the "race that stops a nation" the Melbourne Cup is on tomorrow but seriously the carry-on in the press about he of the bushy eyebrows is bordering on the absurd.

Sure, the guy has trained about a gazillion winners in his time, is pushing, what 120, 130 years old, and I realise that due to the fact we seem to be losing everything else in the world of sport at the moment we are looking for a sporting hero but really - is it Bart? Let's break it down.

For starters, please can we stop calling Horse Racing a "sport". It isn't. It is gambling. No different to pokies, blackjack or buying a scratchie. It's just that horse racing gives an excuse for 18 year-olds to put on their older brother/sister's ill fitting suit/dress and drink cheap bubbly, get stone motherless drunk, pash their best friend's partner and lose their shoes.

Next, does Bart really deserve the amount of praise he gets? It's not like he runs the race himself. There's a big difference between winning 100 group ones and training the winner of 100 group ones. Isn't there? Granted, the guy has an eye for horse flesh. He is no doubt the top of his profession. But what does he really do? Get up early and watch horses run in circles. No one cares who trains Usain Bolt do they? I might be being a tad unfair but if there wasn't so much money on the line would anyone even know who he is? In the list of great Australian sporting heroes, I'm sorry - he's no Warnie.

Perhaps the last word on the matter should go to the man himself. When asked recently by a journo what his secret to winning was, Bart casually replied "Good Horses".

'nough said.

(By the way, Usain Bolt's coach is Glen Mills but who really cares? Exactly.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good

So, I began this post yesterday before I got side tracked at work and never posted it... but in the meantime my wife put me on to site meter. For those who don't know, site meter tracks the people who log on to your blog. Well, that's what the claim is. It clearly doesn't work as it seems to be telling me that the only people looking at my blog are my wife and I. While I am sure this can't be the case, in an effort to test things out I figured I would talk about some hot internet topics in an attempt to drive traffic to my site.

What better place to start than merging the two biggest trending topics on twitter (technophobe, me? Ha!). So here goes - IT IS OFFICIAL: BALLOON BOY KILLED KANYE WEST RIP. You heard it here first.

So back to my original post...

Channel 9 here in Aus ran the other night what, on the surface, may seem to be a perfectly acceptable, one might even say interesting, programming choice. 9pm: The Seinfeld Reunion show.

One problem: it wasn't. Rather it was the episode from Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry tries to do a Seinfeld Reunion special. Splitting hairs you say? Well, no. They are two very different shows. Sure, the show had all the Seinfeld players in it. Sure they talked about doing a Seinfeld reunion special. But that doesn't make it a Seinfeld Reunion Special!!! Don't get me wrong - I happen to love both shows but for very different reasons.

The frustration comes from the fact that CH 9 has never shown either show before. While the audience no doubt knows Seinfeld, as Curb has only ever been a cable show here in Australia it's audience is fairly limited. So why kill it for the masses by pretending it is something it ain't? By dropping in an episode on it's own without any understanding of who the hell the people in Curb actually are does no one any favours. So why do it?

It makes me wonder what programmers do all day. Their job is to watch television and pick the good stuff. How hard can it be? Sometimes I wonder if they actually watch any television at all. Same as sports journos on TV here. They have one job to do - watch sport - so why does it seem as though if you get outside the AFL, League or Cricket that everything else is a novelty sport played by strange people with strange, funny, unpronouncable names? It is baffling to me...

What is this? A Center for Ants? Indeed...