Pages

27 June 2014

Zorin.

Because 1985.

This morning, my sister Jo was having trouble with an earworm, and she was nice enough to share her troubles with me:
"I have the
My Name Is Zoran
song stuck in my head."


I think we need some back story here.

The year was 1985. We'd gone with a bunch of giggling Duran-Duran-fangirl companions to see A View to a Kill, featuring a peroxide-blonde Christopher Walken as Max Zorin, corporate super-villain. We decided he was fabulous (Not Nick Rhodes fabulous, but still top shelf).

So we all got together and wrote a tribute song, to the tune of a long-forgotten bank advertising jingle. Because that's what 14-year-old girls do.

Here it is, pulled from the far back part of my brain (as you can see, I've maintained the same standard of lyrical wizardry for the last 30 years):

My name is Zorin
And I'm a psycho
I like blowing up people in their face.
It's so funny but
'Cause I'm so mental
I was given steroids when I was three.


Have a great Friday. 


30 May 2014

Disease, False Balance and Meryl Dorey - a Guide for Media

Because her opinion isn't news.

For the benefit of media who think it's worth consulting anti-vaccine lobbyists for "their side" when writing about the serious issue of immunisation, I'd like to suggest a few points, if I may:

1. Right now in Australia we're battling outbreaks of measles and whooping cough

2. Evidence has shown that creating false balance by providing anti-vaccine speakers (who have opinions based on opinions) a platform alongside medical experts (who have opinions based on evidence), makes people give more credence to the anti-vaccine view than if it was presented in isolation. 

3. As I see it, if you include an anti-vaccine lobbyist alongside an expert in a story about vaccination, you are hindering the success of public health initiatives and contributing to the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

4. This:

Who says having eyes to read stuff with trumps medical degrees?
Who says doctors murder babies? Yes, it’s (tut, sigh) Meryl Dorey.

Who says people who shake babies aren’t to blame for fractured ribs?
Who says death from Whooping Cough is just some mother’s made-up story?
Who says measles is a gift? That’s right, it’s (head-desk) Meryl Dorey.

Who says AIDS might not be real because she’s not seen HIV?
Who says polio’s still rife, but in a different category?
Who says vaccines cause autism? Same old (face palm) Meryl Dorey.

Who says Meryl Dorey’s incorrect? My state’s HCCC.
Who says Meryl’s claims are bulldust? People at the ABC.
Who says Meryl is misleading? Why, the Office of Fair Trading.
So don’t put her in your story, ‘less your story needs degrading.

16 May 2014

Straya

Because it's not all about cricket and prawns.

Endless beaches
Parrot screeches
Desert sands of rusty red.
Tiny cozzies
Giant mozzies
Spiders that can eat your head.
Oil refining
Big pit mining
Possums, snakes and kangaroos.
Beer for sculling
Sharks for culling
Sweaty Southern Cross tattoos.
Racing horses
Border forces
Offshore gaols for refugees.
Children stolen
Cities swollen
Wilderness devoid of trees.
Budget crunches
Coward punches
Freedom to insult a race.
Climate stalling
No point bawling
Better than another place. 

08 May 2014

How to Make a Baby

Because lady anatomy is hard.

Today, member of Victorian Parliament and self-appointed Minister For Pink Bits Geoff Shaw had something to say about abortion laws. Like so many other Proper Christian Men who are in charge of ladies' bodies, he took a very rational and scientific approach to the issue. To illustrate:

“Here in Australia we can’t kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy and it should be the safest place for a baby to be."


And so, to celebrate Shaw's impeccable grasp of the female anatomy and its role in reproduction, I give you this:

When a lady and a man who love each other very much,
Get together in a comfy place for love-cuddles and such,
All the dangly bits on one side get all hard and sort of uppy,
And the lady lies quite still, just like a well-trained little puppy.
Then the sticky-uppy sausage does an inny-outy dance
‘Til it spills some little fishies and goes back into its pants.
All the fishies have a swim (because they haven’t any legs)
Through the Cylinder of Mystery ‘til they reach the tummy eggs.
While the fishies and the tummy eggs all have a little chat,
POP! SHAZAM! A babby’s safe inside the lady, just like that.
Then the doctor takes the babby out with special babby-tweezers
And then everyone gives thanks to God and little baby Jesus.

07 May 2014

How to Prime Minister

Because sometimes I just get cross.

You don’t have to be a prick to be in politics;
You don’t have to dig up departmental dirt;
You don’t have to be a knob
To maintain the highest job;
But it sure as Tony’s scrotum doesn’t hurt.

19 March 2014

Disappeared

Because it's not your money, Meryl.

I know, I know. I don't blog for ages and then KAPOW! Two posts about the Australian Vaccination Not-Really-Skeptics Network in a row!

In the latest installment of The Great AVN Unhinging of 2014, we find the NSW Minister for Fair Trading, Mr Stuart Ayres encouraging the public not to donate money to the organisation. On 18 March he tweeted:

"Aust Vaccination Skeptics Network no longer has charitable status
& I would encourage that you don't donate to this organisation."

This has not made the AVN happy. In an interview in the Guardian, President Greg Beattie stated:
“It’s not his place to say that. If he did make those statements then I question why he’s meddling in affairs that don’t involve his ministry.”

Likewise, Public Officer Meryl Dorey has been heard whining about how the government shouldn't be allowed to make such a recommendation, and they have no basis for doing so. Leaving aside the insinuation that only the AVN is allowed to have opinions about the AVN, let's look at the basis for Ayres' recommendation.

In all the time I've been following the AVN, I have not seen a single instance of them putting any money towards any cause that doesn't also benefit themselves. They've collected nearly 2 million dollars in donations during the last seven years, but there seems to be no evidence that any donations have gone towards a stated purpose. Yet their financial statements (which are summarised capably over at diluted thinking; and were described by a chartered accountant as "the worst set of financial statements I have ever seen") indicate some rather vague "expenses" such as $39,000.00 in one year on computers, even more on "web costs", plus all-purpose "other expenses" totaling $170,000.00 in 2010. There is no mention of any outgoing money to any charitable cause (thanks for the summary Dr Rachie).

So I will ask a simple question that has been asked of the AVN many, many times before:

WHERE DID THE DONATIONS GO?

Where did your members’ donations go?
What did you spend them on?
Your website design’s worth a buck ninety-nine
So where has the money gone?

Where’s the foundation for injured kids?
Where is the legal aid?
Were you never billed any time you fulfilled
All those promises that you made?

Surely there’s something you can share
That shows your philanthropy;
An invoice or docket that proves you don’t pocket
The money you get for free. 

17 March 2014

Uncharitable

Because the AVN never wanted your stupid money anyway.

This has been an incredibly eventful couple of weeks for the Australian Anti-Vaccination Skeptics-for-a-given-value-of-Skeptics Network. You can read a recent summary of events over at Dr Rachie's place

The most delicious part of the whole name-changin', investigation-respondin', special-pleadin' shemozzle was an article in Australian Doctor which reported the AVN's surrender of their charity licence (administered by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing or OLGR). 

Most sensible people look at an organisation which has recently had its finances called into question, is currently under investigation by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (PDF) and has recently surrendered the ownership of its Facebook page to an unnamed party, and conclude that they are trying to cover their tracks, distance themselves from their previous name and deeds, and gloss over the many extravagant and ill-defined "expenses" in their financial reports. No charity licence means less publicily transparent financial reporting requirements. 

But the AVN's version of events is, unsurprisingly, different. And totally not their fault. According to the Australian Doctor article, the organisation's permanently defensive president, Greg Beattie claimed: 

"The group had wanted to get rid of its charity licence for years, having spent countless hours and resources "jumping through hoops" to comply with the NSW Charitable Fundraising Act."We no longer see ourselves as a charitable organisation," Mr Beattie said. "We just don't fit into that mould.""



Oh, mercy. Also: 

"Mr Beattie said the only reason the AVN ever had charity status in the first place was that their "vague" goals had unwittingly drawn the attention of the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing."Our objectives were so broad. They talked about educating the public and the betterment of humankind and all sort of grand ideals that [meant] we inadvertently fit the definition of a charitable organisation," Mr Beattie said."


So you see, it was all accidental. They didn't want to be in a position where they could fleece their hoodwinked followers out of wads of cash merely for the asking. It's all a big mistake - one they're thrilled to put behind them. 

Uh huh. 

This one's for you, Greggy. To show you I understand.



When we started, the things that we wanted to do
Were benevolent, pure of heart, lofty and true.
But soon we got lazy,
Our goals became hazy
And then, oopsy-daisy! Donations came through!

Donations were small and donations were big;
We took them for stuff and for thingummyjig,
For freedom and rights
And for fighting good fights
From the dizzying heights of this President’s gig.

The money rolled in and it made our purse swell;
But we suffered in this inconceivable hell,
Because people inspecting
Our books were expecting
Not only collecting, but giving as well!

But our power to help those in need would depend
Not on what we could give, but on what we could spend
On new iMacs and flying
And unbridled buying
And little-white-lying when budgets were penned.

But now it’s all over, and we can relax,
We no longer have OLGR on our backs.
All those strict regulations
Regarding donations,
Corrupt calculations and profits and tax!

We can get on with doing the things that we ought,
Like displaying our gift for irrational thought,
Celebrating the pox,
Making ill-knitted socks
And inhabiting docks in a criminal court.