Friday, 16 February 2018

Why Valentine’s Day Is Our Favourite Love-Hate Relationship And It Kills You Not To Be A Part Of It!

Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but it definitely eats you up a little inside if you’re single, even if you never admit it to yourself or others.  It’s the reason February 14th a.k.a “Valentine’s Day” is the day of the year where single people basically turn into bears; either they go quietly into hibernation, or they venture out attacking couples happily picnicking.  Single people seem to hate Valentine’s Day so much, I’m waiting for the next date change campaign after the Australia Day one to be a campaign led to change the leap year rules so we keep February 29th but scrap February 14th.  In case you still haven’t quite grasped the spirit of Valentine’s Day, you know that uncomfortable 10 seconds right before midnight on New Year’s Eve when you realise you’re the only person counting down who’s not going to have anyone to kiss when the counter ticks to zero?  Yeah well, Valentine’s Day is basically a day built around that feeling.  I say all of this as a single person myself and it’s why I’m going to try to make you understand why Valentine’s Day deserves to be taken out of the “friend zone”.

Which side of the speed-dating table do you sit on?

So it’s Valentine’s Day.  A day to celebrate those in a relationship and to encourage those who aren’t to find someone to be in one with.  A day that lovers of comedy will appreciate this year appropriately fell on a “hump day”.  It’s arguably the greatest example of a day where couples are assisted in getting together since Noah loaded up his ark two by two.  Now before you climb-up alone on your high horse, let me just say this – if you don’t believe that February 14th is a day meant exclusively for couples, how’s this for a fun fact; George Washington Gale Ferris, inventor of the Ferris Wheel, an activity that is designed specifically with the intention of seating two people next to each other for a good time was born on Valentine’s Day!  Added to that, Alexander Graham Bell filed his patent of invention of the telephone on Valentine’s Day as well.  The telephone!  Something based around communication with another human being.  So accept the day for what it is and open-up a box of Roses chocolates while you keep reading and hear me out.

The only reason I’ll accept for truly hating Valentine’s Day is the fact that it’s not a public holiday.  If you’re expected to celebrate love, you should at least be given the time to put in some groundwork.  There are only two reasons you have to possibly hate Valentine’s Day – either you’re excluded by it or you feel too much pressure to be included in it.  Either you have no one to spend it with or have to spend too much on someone.  Basically, either you’re single or you’re cynical.  If it’s that you’re single, so what!?  So you’re single.  So you feel a little left out for one day of the year.  You know how envious you are of your friends in relationships on Valentine’s Day?  Well that’s probably how they feel about you at Bucks Party or Hens Night!  Stop taking it out on Valentine’s Day because you feel lonely for one more day.  If diabetics are keeping a lid on it while the rest of us celebrate World Nutella Day, you can do the same today.  Shout-out to red heads as well who’ve never once campaigned to change the name of “Sunday”.

Valentine's day is linked to some serious achievements of human kind... including reproduction.

Not to say there aren’t the singles that make the effort.  In a study I made-up for the purpose of this point, the level of denial in the air increases 1700% on Valentine’s Day.  If you’re single, either you’re hating on this 24hrs you’re a part of or not a part of, or you’re going out of your way to express how you’re totally happy with where you’re at and are actually totally enjoying being single.  Just remember; canning Valentine’s Day just because you’re single and other people aren’t is a lot like bagging out an awesome party just because you weren’t invited to it.  Sure it sucks not having someone to share Valentine’s Day with, but heaps of stuff sucks when you don’t have anyone to do it with; playing tennis, synchronized swimming, rap battling, watching Married At First Sight.  Suck it up, stop blaming Feb 14th and go buy yourself ‘Totem Tennis’ kit.

One way or another, you're going to need to get some game.

On the other hand, you could be in a relationship but adhere to the belief that Valentine’s Day is a made-up “corporate holiday” created by Hallmark.  And so what if it is!?  They’re a family-owned company based in Missouri that also owns Crayola.  Even if the worst thing they’ve done is create crayons and a day for people to get together, that’s arguably better than anything your family has ever created.  You can’t even organise an argument-free family picnic!  Meanwhile these guys have been responsible for more unions and pregnancies than alcohol.  Even it’s a manufactured holiday, enjoy the awesome absurdity of it.  It’s a day based around a misrepresentation of what the human heart actually looks like and a chubby male baby with wings shooting arrows and helping people get together, which now that I think about it is probably where the term “wingman” come from.  Quote me on that.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, when you moan about it and when you say things like “well I try to show my love every day of the year not just on that day”, it’s the equivalent of seeing photos of barbecues on Australia Day and then posting on Facebook how you “eat a snag, smash a beer and selectively ignore the way Australia was colonised every day of the year, not just January 26th!”

Sentence 1, Page 1 in the "Valentine's Day Denial Guide".

With all of this in mind, let’s take a moment to recognise all the good things Valentine’s Day gives us while asking for nothing it return.  For starters, it helps support the dying industry of “snail mail” and it gives everyone two free lines of poetry to finish how we see fit.  Thankyou red roses and blue violets!  Most admirably though, it’s a day where every creepy stalker for one day gets to break out of their restraining order cocoon and transform into a “secret Valentine”, only until midnight though when their ankle monitor turns back on like some seedy Cinderella.  It’s also a day that provides girls with the opportunity to get beautiful bouquets of flowers without having to fight over just the one bouquet against a big group of other girls at a wedding reception.

Public displays of affection are tough to take unless you’re a participant rather than just a witness, and Valentine’s Day is basically “PDA Day”.  To quote Ron Burgundy, “it’s just science”.  So instead of being bitter, be sweet.  If that doesn’t work, maybe make your own holiday based solely around celebrating being single and just enjoying the company of an alcoholic beverage and call it “Ballantine’s Day” if you have to.

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!  Fact:  We all want someone who looks at us the way Marty Crane looks at a Ballantine.

Now, if you’re single and still not likely to change your tune on Valentine’s Day, here are 7 jabs that aim straight for the love heart of any of your attached friends whose romance is like one of Cupid’s arrows flying right into your eye and help you convince yourself you’re better off being single on this big day:

1.    “I’m able to enjoy a large serving platter for two as an awesome main course for 1!”

2.    “The only unwanted letter I have to worry about getting in the mail today is from a guy called “bill” and I have the option of paying some money within a month to make him go away.”

3.    “You get overpriced flowers cut out of a supermarket bucket.  I get free vegetables dug out of my migrant parents’ garden.  Mine are delicious just with a bit of olive oil.  Good luck eating yours with a bit of fetta cheese crumbled on top.”

4.    “I can listen to an Adele song without reading too much into it.”

5.    “I can watch 'The Notebook' on my own on this day of strong emotions and you will never know how I was affected by it.”

6.    “If you find a piece of jewellery in your glass of champagne at a restaurant on Feb 14th, it’s a sign you’ll soon be dividing your assets.  If I find any jewellery in my alcohol on Feb 14th it’s cause for a massive payout lawsuit.”

7.    “You’re spending the day in the city buying up Belgian chocolates.  I’m spending the night at home in my bonds pyjama shorts scoffing down Belgian waffles.”

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

AirPain! : A Tale of Airline Travel & Why (for most of us) it Sucks!

Unless you’re a toddler who’s packed all of their toys to take on a trip, or if the only other option of transport was a Greek ferry, no one enjoys economy.  The only reason you do it is because it’s the quickest way to get from where you are to where you want to be, like standing in a crowded lift or sleeping with your boss.  And much like both of those experiences, it’ll leave you uncomfortable and disappointed.  So before you next take-off, I’ve made a few “frequent flyer points” for you to share with your friends or whichever Uber driver is unlucky enough to be picking you up at your destination.

If my travel experiences were turned into a feature film.

I’ll start by addressing the struggle of all tall people, particularly because I’ve been a member of the ‘2-metre high club’ for several years now.  The struggle being that it seems only in the case of airline travel that tall people are treated like social pariahs.  Like we’re Dorothy rocking-up to Munchkinland and no one’s quite sure how they’re going to deal with us.  At any other point in life it’s an advantage to be tall; you’re the go-to guy for reaching things off high shelves, you’re the first person picked in sports teams at recess, you can date tall girls who like to also wear high heels.  Only airlines seem to think being tall is a lifestyle choice we should have to pay extra to find leg room to cater for.  Then, as I’m considering getting a “Tall Lives Matter” t-shirt printed, the guy next to me who looks like a before photo from Subway has his love handle pouring over my arm rest, still doesn’t have to kick in extra to pay for the portion of my seat he’s occupying.  It’s not like I told my parents to conceive me during an excursion to Chernobyl.  It’s not like I just splurged on good nutrition as a child and let my height get out of hand.  I bet this is why there are so few survivors in plane crashes.  It’s because we’ve got cashed-up members of the ‘Lollipop Guild’ sitting in the exit row with their feet swinging 10cms off the ground, meanwhile I’m stuck back here between ‘Captain Coughs’ and the ‘Michelin Man’ with so little leg room I’m using my ears as noise cancelling ear muffs.

I’m not even comfortable with the fact that to get an exit seat, us “vertically endowed” individuals have to answer “yes” when a flight attendant asks “are you willing & able to assist in the unlikely event of an emergency”?  I feel like, “No!  If I’m paying for leg room, I’d like it without a side serving of overwhelming responsibility, and if having that leg room comes with extra responsibility served standard, then refund my money”.  I’m trying to pay extra to purchase some blood circulation for my legs, not for a portion of the cabin crew’s workload.  Let me put it this way; I’m not tipping a restaurant waiter to seat me at a good table, only to then have him tell me that because I have more room than other diners to slide my chair out quickly, in the event of a fire I’m going to grab a fire extinguisher and unhinge a door so others can flee the inferno.

If I had a lollipop for every time I missed out on exit seats because they were already occupied by hobbits or munchkins, I'd have both types of diabetes.

On the plus side, all this has inspired me to write a book called the “Qatarma Sutra”.  It’s going to be a book with illustrations of uncomfortable seating positions you can somehow sleep in on planes.  It’s going to a real page turner for those who are used to sitting in positions too tight for them to be able to turn the pages of their books.

Turn to page 28 for instructions on the cover art positions: (From left) "The Limbo" when travelling alone with a row to yourself, "The Detention" when travelling alone with a row full of strangers, and "The Centipede" when travelling with very close friends with whom you're sharing a row.

Even if you’re so short that you don’t worry about leg room but you get an altitude nosebleed when you have to stand on the aisle seat to put your items in the overhead locker, the in-flight experience isn’t a great one.  This is because whether your life is constantly in leg room surplus or leg room deficit, I think we can all agree that planes have become ‘high altitude hospitals’.

Now as my Arts degree reminds me constantly, I’m not a doctor.  But as far as I can tell, the main symptom of people suffering from a contagious, coughing-dominated illness is the apparently uncontrollable desire to travel.  ‘Captain Coughs’ is just another member of a select group of sick travellers we’ve all encountered on-board any flight.  A contagious platoon of unhealthy individuals whose sole mission is to make sure the horror of your flight stays with you after you land.  I call them ‘The Really Dirty Dozen’.  You’ve probably also met and flown with ‘Sergeant Sniffles’, ‘Lieutenant Loogie’, ‘Major Malady’ even ‘Deputy Disease’.  On my most recent flight, the lady next to me coughed non-stop through an episode and a half of ‘Game of Thrones’.  She coughed so hard, I’m convinced that the two characters killed off in that space of time died because they caught whatever she had.  I think if we’re confined to a room surrounded by sick people, crying children and oxygen masks where we have to share a toilet, get served bad food on small plastic trays and watch limited entertainment on a small TV screen, we should at least be able to claim it on our healthcare package.  To stop that happening, maybe airports could start replacing the security scanners with anti-bacterial showers so we can stop people bringing viruses and infections onto flights as much as we’re trying to stop them bringing on nail clippers and foreign fruits.

You will never look at another in-flight safety demonstration the same way again, especially if you leave your earphones in and only see the flight attendant's hand gestures and mouth moving while you listen to your iPod.

I think it all started to go wrong for airlines when flying became more affordable.  Remember the old movies where people would be wearing formal wear and smoking on a flight?  Most airlines early on didn’t even have a class system.  It was like every commercial aeroplane was basically a combination of socialism meets Mad Men (an idea I would be all for bringing back by the way).  Sure tickets were more expensive but that just made sure you flew with a better class of passengers.  Tullamarine Airport didn’t look like Dandenong plaza.  “Karley” and “Jaysen” from Frankston’s dream of travelling to Europe wasn’t a chance of becoming a reality and Europe would remain free of Bintang singlets.  If you look at the evolutionary chart of airline passengers, you’ll see that somehow we went from suits and summer dresses to people wearing Pikachu onesies.  Also, if you’re one of those people who seem unaware that their neck cushions can be removed at some point between customs checkpoints at departure and arrival, you are a greater threat to your own safety than any neck cramp or act of terrorism.

A theory of evolution that Darwin himself would admire.

What we need to do is change the name of each of the class sections.  I’m happy to leave 'first class' as 'first class', but 'business class' needs to be changed.  If you’re so interested in business, why do you have a TV screen, lounge chair and a glass of alcohol in your hand at midday on a Tuesday?  What is your business, full-time dole payment collector?  It should be called “leisure” class.  You want to really get some business work done, let’s swap seats.  You’ll have a seat that only reclines to a 95 degree angle, ensuring you won’t fall asleep doing that important work of yours, a toilet with a wetter seat than bowl that’ll ensure you cut down on all of those unproductive toilet breaks.  Oh, you’ve also got completely unhelpful and unfriendly flight attendants at your beck and call to ensure you rely solely on your own abilities to get your work done.

You either have so much room for activities or no room for appendages.  There is no in-between.

After all of this, how do the airlines reward us for the way we somehow muster up the resilience and muffle our dignity to put up with this treatment?  They flick us a few frequent flyer points to keep us quiet for a while like the cheap mistress we are.  “Here, take this, go by yourself something shitty”.  I say “shitty” instead of “pretty” because as we all know, frequent flyer points are brilliant… until you need to use them.  Frequent flyer points are basically the Indonesian Rupiah of airline currency - just because you see a lot of zeros before the decimal point, doesn’t mean you’re wealthy.  When you understand that, you’ll understand why your frequent flyer points are more likely to see you walking away with a key ring and rubber ball than with a flight to the Maldives.

Pretty much the only thing making us look past all of the stuff that sucks about airline travel is the altitude.  For some reason the higher the altitude, the more likely we are to glorify everything that takes place there.  I imagine it’s why everything tends to be more expensive in rooftop bars than in underground pubs, why Heaven is up and Hell is down, why Santa is from the North Pole, why the rest of Australia sits separated above Tasmania.  In the air, a TV in the back of the seat is “in-flight entertainment” but on the ground, it’s just a sign you’re sitting in the backseat of a Toyota Rav4 and neither the driver nor front seat passenger has any interest in engaging you in conversation.  In the air, they’re “flight attendants”, but on the ground they’re just “McDonald’s staff on the nightshift”.  The ‘Mile High Club’ is probably the perfect example though.  In the air, it’s the “Mile High Club”, on the ground it would just be the “Public Toilet Group”.  Think about it, anywhere between the 1960s and 1990s, if you performed a sexual act in a toilet on a plane, you were cool and a lifetime 'Mile High Club' member.  You do the exact same thing on the ground and minus the turbulence, you’re George Michael and you spend 80hrs doing community service.  That’s really the greatest achievement of airline travel; it’s convinced generations of people that the 'Mile High Club' is something they should want to become members of.  Which is brilliant considering the membership application process combines all the relaxation of sex in a public place with all the joy of sharing a small toilet cubicle with another person.

Literally the only difference between these two photos is a few thousand feet, believe it or not.

So this is for those of you who are reading this as you’re thinking about booking your next flight, for those of you using the over-priced economy WiFi on board your current flight or those of you who are up at 2:30am reading this thanks to the jet lag from a flight you just endured.  Or maybe you’re where I would most probably be, somewhere in between all of these scenarios waiting to board a flight.  Every few seconds looking-up intermittently only to see the way dozens of people are pushing through to board first, in what I can only assume is a mass synchronised moment of amnesia, where they all seem to have forgotten that it’s allocated seating!  Wherever you’re reading, hopefully you’ve laughed so much your ears popped and you were hunched over in the brace position.  Most importantly though, I hope that at least some of the CEOs of major airlines are reading this and maybe, just maybe, considering making a few changes on our behalf.  And if they decide not to, I hope they’re somewhere sitting back reading this at an uncomfortable angle, grabbing themselves a thin plastic cup as someone pours them a room temperature undersized can of anything.  Oh, and that the next time they fly, upon landing they happen to share an Uber with a Frenchman named “Peter”.

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Friday, 10 February 2017

How to Be a Post-Modern Humanitarian… for Dummies.

There’s always been this key aspect of the whole “being a humanitarian” thing that seemed to stop many people getting on board the “humani-train” if I may.  The key problem’s always been to do with the fact that you can’t simply pick and choose when you want to be a humanitarian.  It’s not like a gym membership, which draws money from your account automatically each week and then you just decide when you want to appear to be a health-conscious human being in front of your friends so you go hit your once-monthly yoga class.  Nor is it like private health cover you can choose to suspend for a while when you feel like living dangerously.  For many though, that’s always been kind of the cool thing about being a humanitarian, it’s pretty much saying that you’re signing-up for compulsory compassion.  Basically that’s the low tolerance of douche-baggery and high-standard of decency that it demands.  It’s kind of a lifelong vow you take of not being a total wanker.  Kind of a bit too rigid though, right!?

So following on from that, and in the rich tradition of vegetarians who justify to themselves and others that it’s okay for them to hold that title while still regularly eating a Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s, so to has evolved what I’ve come to call (and should it generate royalties, trademark) “The Post-Modern Humanitarian.”  It’s not an easy process of evolution and Darwin (both Charles and the Australian town) would be impressed at the sight of the evolutionary chart.  The post-modern humanitarian is a complex beast, who in a more local context until yesterday had no issue with supporting the destruction of its neighbour’s home but will today scold anyone not offering accommodation to said neighbour when they're left homeless.  It’s important to note that I must refer to the post-modern humanitarian as “it” and “they” because the post-modern humanitarian also becomes easily aggravated when a gender is assumed.  So without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide on how one can take steps towards joining this elite club of elitists.

I don't think it's too early to start building the "best-seller" hype around my new book.

Well the first step involves accepting that transition into the life of a post-modern humanitarian is a difficult one.  Sure it makes it easier that post-modern humanitarianism is to classic humanitarianism what the “bro code” is to your classic codes of ethics.  The post-modern humanitarian has to preach peace, love and tolerance like it’s Woodstock ‘69 after most of their previous geopolitical philosophy has been based around every “boys’ trip” in history.  A philosophy based on the credo (and this needs to be read in the voice of a drunk American frat member) “hey bro, what happens in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc, stays in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc!”  It’s a particularly big transition for my Australian readers because burying one’s head in the sand is a massive of part of Aussie culture.  So much so that we have an emu representing half of our coat of arms.

The next important step is to make sure you’re easily offended.  To use a sporting metaphor, here’s the "game plan"; the best offense is finding everything offensive to the point where you make everyone else defensive.  That means taking every opposing viewpoint to heart.  It may also require regularly changing all of your profile pictures on social media and though you may feel super emotional about any given issue, don’t let your lack of fundamental understanding of the issue stop you from writing about it.  Sure, you can’t put together a well-constructed article based on research and examination, but a solid Facebook post or tweet will suit you perfectly.  Then you can tell people “hey, it wasn’t my lack of understanding that kept me from writing more, it was the 140 character limit!”  Also, not essential, but it’s going to really help if you hold deep anti-Russian sentiments.  Not necessarily based on anything, maybe you just watched one too many 'Bond' films or tripped on a babushka doll when you were a child.

If these guys are in are in 'The Hangover 4' then you know we're all getting a part as extras in 'World War 3'.

Cool fringe benefit by the way; you’re going to find that you get through a lot more of your newspaper than ever before because you’re going to save yourself a bundle of time by only reading the headlines rather than all that pesky body text.  Ignore that body text like you do that one friend’s annoying child.  Oh and for the "millennials" out there, a “newspaper” is basically a printed out version of the Ninemsn website that is either thrown at your home daily by a child for pocket money or sold to you at a “newsagency” by a middle-aged man/woman who appears to still live with their parents and dreads the idea of selling you a winning scratchie ticket.

Next, I want you to find the section in your vocabulary where the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is listed and I want you to scribble it out til it looks like a declassified FBI document.  You need to get to the point where harsh words affect you so much that you have no issue with a government that uses deadly weapons and chemicals abroad but the sight and sound of particular adjectives and exclamation points cuts you to your core.  There’s no room for thick skin here, just thick heads.

If I could, I would make memes of Kermit to explain everything.

Once you get to this point, you’ll know you’re joining the proud history of people whose protests got the name of candy cigarettes changed to ‘Fads’ with just the exchange of a single consonant, the people who protested the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” before reading it thinking it was a how-to guide for shooting anything with wings, or even the people who got worked up over the prejudicial and stereotypical headline of the film “White Men Can’t Jump” before even watching the film and finding out in the end, hey, we actually can!  Albeit at the right moment and with the right pass from Wesley Snipes.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself, “but why are so many people choosing to become post-modern humanitarians?”  Well firstly – stop talking to yourself because it’s weird and secondly, it’s pretty simple; much like wet-look gel, cargo pants and the films of Mike Myers before it, it’s something that's really quite a popular choice.  And it’s easy to see why.  Unlike the classic challenges faced by humanitarians, post-modern humanitarianism really involves more “getting worked-up” than actually “getting up and getting to work”, so it’s more “keyboard warrior” than “rainbow warrior”.  Now that’s a pretty great sales pitch to a society made-up mainly of people who love to feel like they’re doing things more than they like actually doing things.  It’s why people post short life quotes from books they’ll never read about lives they don’t live.  It’s why Instagram has filters that literally only serve the purpose of making things look better than they actually are… and sometimes just more orange than they really are.  It’s why certain people on our Facebook friend lists are still somehow fat despite 12 months of incessant gym snaps, selfies and check-ins.

Not all heroes wear capes.  Some use keyboards.

The vibe I’m going for is along the lines of how I listened to my neighbour for 20 minutes while washing the car telling me that borders need to be opened to all refugees.  Which is great, however this is the same woman that I’ve seen threaten Mormons and salespeople if they try to set foot in her driveway.  If that’s what she’s going to do to a couple of white guys in suits, I can’t imagine she’s going to be too accommodating to a swarthy group of middle-easterners looking for long-term housing.

In the context of the Trump “border wall” plan, I’ll also take the time to highlight that as a next-level post-modern humanitarian it’s going to be important you become really “anti-wall”.  Like to the point where if it seems as if you’re going too far, just keep going because stopping now might mean you’ve hit some kind of metaphorical wall and you won’t stand for that kind of oppression.  That being said, if you’ve reached the point where you’re suggesting prison walls just be replaced with “sidelines”, then maybe pull back a bit because you probably think playing in traffic is a good idea too.  Maybe just start by making very broad statements like “no walls are good walls”.  Stuff it; retaining walls, firewalls, that broken one in Berlin, that great one in China, the one you saw made-up of players during a free-kick at the football, the one that ended the life of Humpty Dumpty.  Then being anti border wall just seems like a given.  I mean sure the borders exist, you’re not “anti-border”, you’re just anti “border-visibility from a distance.”  Your issue isn’t with the borders so much as it is with the height of the borders.  You’re not necessarily in favour of illegal-immigration but you're certainly in favour of giving illegal immigrants a fighting chance of breaking through.  Aaaand I think I just came-up with a brilliant idea for a new reality show – “Big Border!”

Residential fences are just wooden prison bars.  Let's end the segregation and intolerance.

Now almost 50% of Americans support Trump’s travel ban on certain countries.  So if my Grade 2 mathematics skills serve me correctly, that means about 50% of Americans don’t support the travel ban.  So it’s really a philosophical question; is America half inhumane or half humane?  Whichever side of the moral ‘Mexican border wall’ you stand on, it’s important to remember that short-term memory is the next key aspect of becoming a post-modern humanitarian.  Just look at the anti-Trump backlash from Americans based on this key migration issue.  I say this because it’s super admirable and mighty forgiving of Americans to take such a compassionate view of migrants seeking refuge in the U.S… seeing as the United States was kind of built on the Native Americans making exactly that mistake.  Too soon?

I’d also recommend focusing on the operative word “wall” because if you find out that five European countries (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Hungary) already built border fences over a year and a half ago to keep out refugees and you stayed quiet while all that went on then the post-modern humanitarianism you’re fighting so passively for takes a bit of a hit.  If you can look past this, then it’ll really help you overlook facts like how the previous U.S president already implemented equally rigid immigration (and far more aggressive foreign) policies.  Oh by the by, it’s important that remember; every post-modern humanitarian is a self-proclaimed feminist too.  Don't ask me why, it just seems to be the case.

You either get demolished quickly enough to become a memory or you last long enough to become a tourist attraction.

Now if you’re worried about this all being a little difficult, well in the words of every cleaning products TV salesman ever, “worry no more!”  This is because the post-modern humanitarian focuses on leader likability above all else.  Hoorah!  Sucks to be you Donald!  You’re already painted as unlikeable, now you’re taking the job of the guy who (despite all the horrible crap he did on the side) was the most popular guy in the office.  And at the same time, you’ve forced him and his family out of his home?  You’re basically assuming the role of stepdad after one of the most amicable break-ups in history and taking sole custody somehow.  America played ‘catch’ with that dad… he was good at basketball… he was funny!  Sure he was at war for the duration of his presidency, but he always had time for America.  Sure he killed civilians abroad and allegedly supported terrorists in Turkey, but he cared about American civilians and he pardoned Turkeys at Thanksgiving.  Now ‘Donald the stepdad’ comes along, where even if he tells the same jokes as Barack, even if he says things that are totally reasonable like “hey Timmy, maybe stop flicking toothpicks at your sister and playing with matches”, Timmy’s still going to shout back “shut-up Craig… you’re not my dad!”  And Timmy’s right… but Timmy’s also a dick.  I changed Donald’s name to “Craig” for effect but you get this gist.

The gist being; the post-modern humanitarian doesn’t focus on the details.  The post-modern humanitarian knows deep down that homebrand “Wheat Biscuits” are exactly the same as regular “Weet-Bix” but it still always buy the latter because they’ve been marketed better and the packaging’s prettier.  Also, there’s my foreword for the book “U.S Presidency for Dummies” sorted!

I stand by all of the memes I create, especially this 'Liar Liar' based commentary on world politics.  Claw or no claw, it seems they're tough shoes to fill.

So whether you’re an aspiring post-modern humanitarian or you just know someone really annoying and were looking for an explanation as to why they are that way, I hope you’ve found this piece more amusing than informative.  I spend so much time writing tongue-in-cheek that it looks like I’m sitting at my computer with an everlasting gobstopper in my mouth.  And if you’re a post-modern humanitarian reading this, well I’m sure you’ve already stopped reading several paragraphs earlier before you realised this was just a piece of satire and you’re already leaving me a 700-word comment in the ‘feedback’ area.  Wherever you stand, I don’t mind one bit.  Because if “love trumps hate”, I’m pretty sure laughs cure everything.

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

8 Times Geelong Proved It's Actually a Town based on 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'

Geelong.  My hometown.  Referred to by some as "the 'Danni Minogue' to Melbourne's 'Kylie'" and referred to by others as "that place the ring road now allows you to bypass on the way to the beach."  If Hong Kong can be labelled 'The Pearl of the Orient', Geelong could at least lay claim to being 'The high-end nipple ring of the Continent'.  But it's so much more than that!  Well, I mean... it's at least a little bit more than that!  We're a wonderous townfolk with a museum that's dedicated to wool, a jail with no inmates and a stadium that's home to cats.  Added to that, (and allow me to explain myself below) I've made a possibly earth-shattering discovery - [wait for it.... wait for it] - it appears that this quaint little city/town/settlement is actually based on the 1971 film 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'!


You'll notice how I've now changed paragraphs, both for dramatic effect and to allow your freshly blown minds to absorb what they've just been dealt.  That's right, parallels between the 'City of Greater Geelong' and the film that gives you diabetes just by watching it.  Like an American version of 'The Ring'; you watch it and then you get fat.  So I want you to prepare yourselves because I'm about to drop some properly amusing Wonka-related similarities on you.  And I mean proper similarities, not just "six degrees of separation" type stuff.  That means I'm even overlooking the fact that a popular nickname for Geelong is "Sleepy Hollow", which was also the title of a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, and both men respectively directed and starred in the film 'Charlie & the Chocolate Factory', which was a remake of 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'!

Therefore, to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the film's release (yep I can hear some of you groaning about how old you just realised you are) and to give you all a reason to visit this fine place of ours, here are 8 times Geelong proved it's actually a town based on 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'.

1.  Our most recent mayor, Darryn Lyons' appearance.

Wonka and Lyons.  Lyons' wardrobe shows they share a fondness for flare, his physique shows they share a fondness for chocolate.  It's really just missing Jade Jagger jumping up and proclaiming though her scrumdiddlyumptious gap teeth, "get the Wonka look!"

2.  Both men had 'tickets on themselves'.

Willy And Darryn. Both men in charge.  Both men with double-consonants in the middle of their first names.  Both men who ran highly popular campaigns based around issuing citizens a limited number of tickets.

3.  We have a river of chocolate.

What else can I say execpt this; it's our Barwon river, it's never claimed the life of an obnoxious chubby German and as you can see, it's our own personal 'chocolate river'.

4.  The busiest 'factory' in the city.

On the left; the brown brick factory and smoke stack that captured the imagination of an unnamed town.  On the right; the brown brick factory and smoke stack that's captured the attention of a nicknamed town.  Its gates were also shut for years only to reopen to much fanfare.  The one on the left is home to little orange Oompa Loompas and the one on the right is also literally home to "Little Creatures".  Sound and look familiar?

5.  And what goes on inside that factory?

Well just like in 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory'' as you can see from the photos above, inside this factory you can also find the young and the elderly getting stuck into the consumption of "Fizzy Lifting Drinks".

6.  The appearance of the factory workers.

Inside this and many of our big factories (as you can see above) you'll also find little orange workers.  The only difference being that the main threat to the ones on the left is a combination of "Wangdoodles, Hornswogglers, Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids", while the main threat to the ones on the right is cheap off-shore labour and OH&S officers.

7.  What brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard.

The most popular event in the town's social calendar is a place where children over-indulge in chocolates and lollies, before going on rides that are both nauseating and traumatic.  'The Geelong Show': basically a Wonka factory tour that can be cancelled due to bad weather and is less selective about admission.

8.  Waterslides or just fat kid catchers?

Finally, we're home to a sealed tube system built in the 1970s where overweight children run the risk of getting stuck when passing through them.  The only difference is that if you see brown liquid coming down it behind you, it's not chocolate, someone's had a horrible accident and you should pray you don't get stuck before it gets to you.

So with summer holidays drawing closer, why wouldn't pay this place a visit!?  A trip to Geelong's going to be cheaper than a trip to Disneyland, it's easier to get to than Gumbuya Park, it's still in operation unlike Wobbie's World and unlike Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, it's non-fictional!  I don't recommend you lick the walls, eat the giant mushrooms growing in the park or take lollies from a stranger, but I do recommend you hop in your "glass elevator" coupe, get the family down here, stop in for a pint of 'fizzy lifting drink' and wander along our chocolate water system.

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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Electile Dysfunction: A 'Trump VS Clinton' Voter’s Guide

'U.S election 2016'.  Or as it’s also known; 'the weirdest custody battle in world history'.  Where two crappy parents are fighting for custody of a fat child that doesn’t want to live with either of them.  I’m not going to take either side but I will say this, I know at least four people who are talking about the dangers of choosing Trump, yet I know for a fact that even after seeing the TV commercials, those four people opted to go with Coles insurance as their main insurance provider.  I say this because I think it’s important to establish where some people’s decision making abilities are at.  This year’s presidential election has basically been like watching a season of ‘X Factor’ in reverse; we started out with a pool of talent but ended-up with some unfavourable competitors whose families gave them an unwarranted amount of self-confidence.  So given that, here’s a pre-election voter's guide to take with you into the polling booth… or at the very least, into the toilet cubicle at work when you need reading material.

Longest. Cinematic run. Ever.

First things first; we need to stop expecting someone sane and normal to be elected U.S president.  Here’s why (and this goes for both candidates)  the job of U.S president pays $500,000 a year. Hillary’s already spent almost $1 billion on her campaign and Donald’s spent almost $500 million trying to get the job.  Now to put that into perspective, if you were going to a job interview for a managerial position at McDonald’s that paid $50,000 a year, but to get it you had to spend $100 million trying to persuade the interviewer to give you the job, how quickly would you be folding the application form into a paper plane instead of submitting it?  And on the off chance that you were still considering applying for the job, I can assure you that your family would already be fitting you for a "special jacket", throwing out all the metal cutlery in the house and padding your room.  When you understand that, you understand Hillary’s fashion sense and Donald’s hairstyle.

The U.S Presidency - when you're even too crazy for certain lines at Centrelink.


Secondly  dear ‘Murica, no offence and I know you might not want to admit it, but Trump pretty accurately represents the majority of you.  He’s the selfie you take without make-up and decide not to post on social media.  Hillary’s just the selfie you take after you let Maybelline special forces perform a bombing campaign on your face and then put it through several Instagram filters before posting to social media.

Thirdly, voters need to decide what they’d prefer; a president they like or a president they can trust?  Sure Trump’s been accused of doing things that are inappropriate but Clinton’s been subpoenaed for doing things that are illegal.  It’s like this; metaphorically speaking in a social scenario, Clinton’s the person that urinates in public while Trump’s the person that uses the public bathroom but doesn’t wash their hands.  As distasteful as both of them are, one’s getting arrested and the other’s just getting a fist bump instead of a handshake when you greet them for dinner.  In a local context for my Australian readers  by ignoring the actions of Clinton and only focusing on the comments of Trump, essentially you’re suggesting that you’d rather be alone in a room with Ivan Milat than Nick Kyrgios.  Yes, both are pretty shitty individuals, but you’d still have to admit that one is distinctly more shitty than the other.

Mary Anne reminds us that not all heroes wear capes.

The real difficulty in making a decision between the two lies in the fact that he’s seen as a buffoon and she’s seen as evil.  And anyone that’s on the fence about whether Hillary’s evil should go watch the interview where she’s laughing like a sociopath in heat about how she helped orchestrate the killing of Gaddafi.  Regardless of your stance on Gaddafi, I point this out because if your mum cackled that hard after killing a spider in your kitchen, you’d have her committed before you considered getting her elected.  The other problem is that good decision-making is a massive part of the presidential gig, and it’s kind of hard to have faith in the decision-making ability of someone who not only married Bill Clinton but also stayed married to Bill Clinton.  With that in mind, women shouldn’t assume that just because Hillary’s a woman, she'll be better for women either. If anything, that could be worse because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from hearing women gossip over the years, it's that some of the biggest grievances women have, are in fact with other women! She'll probably want to invade North Korea just because she thinks their leader's name 'Kim' is short for 'Kimberley'.

For when your march into battle begins on a catwalk.

The other problem is that the whole situation's so confusing. On one hand, Trump’s being accused of indiscretions without evidence and it’s being presented as fact.  On the other hand, Hillary isn’t being charged with crimes despite the fact there’s evidence.  That being said, Donald’s been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women while Hillary’s been involved in discrediting women who make such accusations.  Looking at it objectively, if they weren’t rivals it could be a great common ground for them to find and might even be a presidential and vice-presidential match made in heaven!  That’s obviously not going to happen so perhaps the solution is that there be no election.  The third debate should just be the decider.  And it shouldn’t be a debate, it should be a rap battle.  If both candidates are going to keep berating each other and trying to discredit one another, it should at least have to rhyme.  If it’s done to a beat and a melody, it’s not slander!  *Don’t quote me on that.

Alternatively, seeing as I already compared this to essentially a job that two individuals are applying for and given that the American public are the ones hiring their boss, it seems only fair that we weigh-up the two applicants based on a number of criteria and questions that I’ve put together, which one might be judged against on the most basic of job application forms.

So here’s the thing ‘Murica, it’s time to face facts.  The facts are, of the last three presidents you’ve elected, the first cheated on his wife literally while inside the White House, the second started a war abroad in a quest to look for weapons that didn’t exist and the most recent got a Nobel Peace Prize while he had your country involved in two wars simultaneously and was spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defence.  The characters in ‘Sex & the City’ have a less volatile history with men, and at least they had a chance of ending-up with Mr. Big.

There are a lot of us who have relatives that were made refugees because of the presidents you've selected and the fact that you're generally so pro-war would be tolerable, if only you'd agree to host one at your place for once.

Most departing U.S presidents'resumes read like a 'How-to Guide' for how to make foreign people hate you.

Therefore maybe the issue then isn’t who you’ll elect president, maybe it’s that you shouldn’t be allowed to elect your president.  Like when your dysfunctional friend Karen keeps dating a string of losers and you decide to take over control of her love life and set her up with a nice guy from your office… who’s possibly more interested in weekend antiquing than foreign invasion.  Someone who’s not going to hide their emails from you and someone who’s going to grab your hand rather than grabbing your… "pet cat".  Well that’s what I think you need to let the rest of the world do for you from now on.  Maybe that way we can finally help find you someone who's going to stop trying to make a move on the rest of us and is instead just genuinely into “YOU…..S.A.”

So if it's okay with you, I'd like to give your number to two people I think you'll be really happy with. Here they are...

They're really great guys.

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