The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Monday, December 12, 2005

so shall you reap?

It seems you can spend 4 years painting a significant section of your communities as terrorists in waiting and a potential threat to the community without them rethinking their allegiences to that community, but you also allow other members of that community to feel they have a right to act out against that section of the community.

Of course, I may be oversimplifying things a bit, but you don't get race riots unless there's an identifiable target, and in a city like Sydney where potential targets come from all parts of the world map, something or someone needs to pick one of them out.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Grown up stuff.

My younger brother brought a house on the weekend. Its quite a nice little place, two bedroom hallway house in Brunswick. It cost him $320,000. It has been something I have been concerned with over the past 12 months, brought into particular focus by the imminent emptying of the departure lounge which our third bedroom has become. The problem is that I am quite confortable paying the amount I pay in rent... but baulk at the prospect of the amount mortgage repayments would be on a house so significantly less featured and attractive than my current abode. House prices here are ridiculous, completely out of step with their real or even relative value.

The problem is that its now gone so far that to correct it might bring the whole house of cards falling down around our ears. By allowing a massive tax loophole for investment property owners being able to offset the interest on their 2nd (or more) mortgages and the cut in capital gains taxes on the sale of those properties the economic success of this country has been built on this over inflated market and the foreign lending that has underpinned it.

Now we have the situation where so few young people can reasonably afford to buy houses (my brother is fortunate because our mother has provided a deposit out of the money made from selling the family home when she downsized). To combat this the government came up with the first home buyers scheme... $7000 towards the cost of your first home. This just about covers the reduced stamp duty the state governments are offering to first home buyers so at best it is a zero sum tax transaction, a decent benefit I guess...

Although surely, if you were interested in encouraging and enabling young people to enter the property market you would turn the incentives around. Make the payments (or at least interest payments) of the mortgage on the primary home tax deductable and reduce the tax breaks for those using property as an economic tool rather than a basic necessity.

This will also further remove one of the major disincentives to returning home to the increasingly large, educated young Australian diaspora for whom returning home means ridiculously high taxes and unaffordable housing.

It might be overly simplistic but it strikes me that these sorts of issues are a hell of a lot more important that any perceived problems with our industrial relations system and is guaranteed to affect more lives than the remote possibility of a significant terrorist incident will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The other thing we have to fear is...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The only thing we have to fear is...

Fear itself? The communal fear of terrorism is evidently something we should be very afraid of. Our fear of being next in line for the Al Qaeda world tour of atrocity has meant that we have taken steps to protect ourselves from those hidden killers who so clearly frighten the pants off most of my fellow citizens.

We are clearly so afraid now that puppet wielding peace activists are so much of a threat to our national fabric that we have to get them out of the country as soon as humanly possible.

It's quite comical really that the fears which people have held for our civil liberties have been realised by ASIO locking up such a ridiculously harmless individual. I mean, it might not be such an issue if they had used their new powers to lock up and deport someone who might actually be able to hurt someone.

Maybe there isn't much to fear after all? I don't think that is the case... but I also don't think the kind of people who are going to hurt us will be so easily available for ASIO to call up for a chat while they are sipping a latte on Brunswick Street.

I think they, much like the London bombers and most serial killers, will only stand out from the crowd after they've acted and that won't change regardless of how easy we make it for our government to arbitrarily lock people up and kick them out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I was quite amused...

when i noticed the dilbert website has more adds and pop ups for dating services than almost anywhere else I've ever been on the web. what do you think that is saying about dilbert readers?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Someone should tell the English...

... that Ketamine is a drug for horses... after all if the denizens of melbourne's revolver can work it out, anyone should be able to...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I am not sure that I should be doing this...

After all it kind of works against the serendipity that caused the phenomenon in the first place but it made me look at google in a whole new light. I've been getting a bit jack of the ubiquitous search engine of late, particularly as using it to look for any information on anything seems to continually rock up with people trying to sell me something.

Maybe I've judged it too harshly as it appears that google has enabled one of the most beautiful and inspirational collective experience I've ever heard of. It appears that a little while ago on an internet message board a person posted "I am lonely, will anyone speak to me". This is in itself a little strange, but the outcome of this one strange little act was something quite significant. It appears the particular message board had been google optimised and as a result anyone typing "I am lonely" into google would get this message thread. A lot of people are looking to google to help them with loneliness as the thread grew to over 100 pages and thousands of messages, the majority of which were sharing the same feelings as well as ways to deal with it.

Its kind of sad that people went looking on google to try and overcome their loneliness, but its kind of cool that some of them found each other in doing so.

As for me posting on it, I think that as The New Yorker and The Guardian had already done so I felt adding my limited readership to theirs would not have much affect but might let a few of you in on what for a significant length of time was one pretty special shared secret.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Its been a good couple of weeks for bigots...

As far as I am concerned the issue we have is really that the people we shouldn't allow to be citizens were born here... a prime candidate is Mr John Stone.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Listening: The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Sure big, bad warehouse chains are destroying smaller retailers, the demise last year of the Canberra institution Impact Records is an example of such, but I can’t help but be happy with the cause of this demise, JB Hifi. It was at JB I found The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike for $12. It is possibly the best $12 I’ve spent this year.

All over the shop and reminiscent of The Avalanches taking acid with the Jackson Five while receiving musical instruction from Bobby Gillespie and Thurston Moore this album is a mish-mash of hooks, samples, loops and cheerleader enthusiasm.

By using music from all the sources they possibly could they have created an album on which nothing sounds the same and yet everything fits in together. The only problem I have with the album is that it’s barely half an hour long… but the amount of different musical sounds and styles they crammed into that half hour is awesome, and it is so fun... I challenge anyone to listen to Bottle Rocket and not want to jump up and dance around like a raving lunatic, I've had the 2-4-6-8 chant stuck in my brain for three weeks and its all I want to do everytime I hear it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Song 15 Mogwai - May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door

8 minutes and 29 seconds and the only thing approaching a lyric is some random sample near the end which goes something like "please help the light". But it is exactly why I love mogwai’s second album, Come On Die Young, a dark, beautiful, complex mix of samples, music and feedback. The reason I love it is simple, it taught me that music doesn’t necessarily need words to say something.

It may reflect badly on me, but for most of my life I only had an emotive reaction to music which has a story which I could relate to, and to do that it required lyrics. I didn’t understand classical, jazz or even electronic music because of this. Mogwai I responded to, no lyrics, no story, just sound, but sound that creates a landscape in my head.

Since then I haven’t really opened my heart much to classical or jazz music… I can appreciate there is a lot of talent involved and I am much more aware of the effect that music can have, but they still don’t float my boat. I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that I encountered CODY around the turn of the century, and before I “discovered” the joys of electronic music. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed the early part of this decade anywhere near as much as I did if I hadn’t been able to connect with the music without the aid of stimulants.

I also think this has the greatest song title ever.