Wednesday, November 30, 2022

'Is Clyde an existential threat to human civilisation?' and your other questions answered

Since the release of mg 44 44y short-yet-informative documentary Granville: A Tourists Guide -- funded by the Granville Municipal Council -- I have been indundated with correspondence centred on one topic: Clyde.

My film featured much useful information for tourists seeking to vi5sit Granville, part of the Cumberland Local Council in Greater Western Sydney, yet it was my attempt to infilitrate the neighbouring suburb of Clyde that has so clearly captured the public imagination. 

And fair enough! Clyde is baffling and terrifying in equal measure! A suburb with an official population of 9 yet with its own train station??? You  arebg6 by 5 RIGHT to demand answers!

I have already "bloggeduu uh" (as the kids say) on the matter of Clyde before, here and here. But this is a big topic, arguably the most important issue facing humanity, so I will do my best to answer your questions below:


Why does Clyde exist?

That's one for the philosophers. But at a guess, I'd say because God hates us and wants us to suffer.

What is the true population of Clyde?

That depends if you believe the official ABS stats:

This is their serious claim from the 2021 Census! That there are 9 people living in Clyde who are ALL MALE (what is this place, Jordanpeterstan???) YET there are 15 private dwellings??? That's 0.6 MEN per dwelling!

The official story makes zero sense. They must think we're fools!

So how many people REALLY live in Clyde?

That I cannot answer. All I can say is I have seen with my own eyes MANY people get on and off trains at Clyde Station. I can safely say that NO ONE who resides in Granville and is EVERY DAY delayed by 2 or 3 minutes on their train trip home from work believes the official story. It's called "lived experience".

What do you think they are really doing in Clyde then?

I have no idea and it would be wholly irresponsible to speculate. But my guess is there's a secret underground suburb, hidden away from prying eyes, doing GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT EVIL.

What should be done about Clyde?

I have said it before and I'll say it again. We MUST invade and occupy Clyde. The UN Security Council must stop sitting on its hands and immediately authorise a multi-national military force to take control. Clyde is an existential threat to human civilisation on a scale that makes climate change seem like a collective stubbed toe. Future generations will not forgive inaction.


Thanks to everyone who got in touch!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Man Who Did No Work

Nathan Harris was 33 when he discovered he could do no work. 

Nathan, of course, did do some things. Everyone does things even if they merely breathe.

Nathan did many things more than breathe, but what he didn’t do was work. Not, at least, if you define work as “engaging in productive activities”. And none of the many things Nathan did could, in honesty, be described as productive. 

For his lack of work, Nathan took home a healthy salary for a man with no major expenses. Far healthier than earned from jobs he took in the naivety of youth at which he did, in fact, do actual work.

It was a discovery born of many mis-spent hours in the organisational services departments of various minor government agencies and large corporations. Both feature obtuse bureaucracies in which a man who does not wish to work can happily ply his trade.

It goes broadly like this. The first thing any department or “team”, depending on the language preferred, needs is a work plan. Nothing ensures that nothing productive ever happens quicker than starting a work plan.

For one, you can’t develop a work plan without a meeting. You can’t plan the work unless you bring the team together. Meetings were gold to Nathan and meetings to develop work plans were the shining jewel in his golden crown.

The best thing about these meetings is there’s never just one. The first meeting is filled with misunderstandings and confusions over the point of the meeting, the content of the work plan, the definition of work plans themselves and even, in the best cases, the very nature of the work they are supposed to carry out in the first place. 

So, having run over time, a new meeting will be scheduled.

This process can continue for a surprisingly long time, and Nathan found he didn’t have to do any work to ensure it happened. It happened naturally.

Eventually the natural cycle of meetings to develop a work plan runs its course, but thankfully that doesn’t end the matter. Soon there’s new meetings to discuss the progress of the work plan and the cycle begins anew.

Nathan’s next trick was to ensure he was only assigned non-productive tasks in any work plan. He never found a shortage.

For example, Nathan always volunteered to re-organise online filing systems. He drafted many proposals for new file-naming protocols involving shifting to, or from, the US date system of MM/DD/YYYY. These proposals always led to meetings.

Occasionally assigned a task that seemed dangerously useful, Nathan quickly discovered that introducing the smallest errors can bring large scale operations to a halt.

Asked to create an online form, Nathan would ensure one box was a little smaller than needed to function. Nothing so noticeable it would be picked up by those assigned to double check before green-lighting the form, but wrong enough to bring down the entire system the form was intended to serve. 

And entire systems crashing down always leads to meetings.

Or, if working in accounts, Nathan learned to raise an invoice with an error in the company name or address so minor only someone very specifically paid to notice would ever see it. 

Those paid to notice were, of course, his counterparts in accounts at the company being invoiced. And by the time they see the invoice, a whole bunch of meetings will have happened at both ends just to get to the point that an invoice could be issued. All so accounts can bring the process to a shuddering halt over a spelling error.

This isn't even the fault of accounts. They have specially designed computer programs to automate the process that will not work if the specific data provided is wrong. A whole host of people spent many hours not working to create these programs.

Emails will then ping back and forth to get the problem fixed. Ideally, meetings are held. Yet the issue will remain unresolved, because the different specially designed computer programs to automate the process that Nathan used were always incapable of formatting the invoice in the specific way required by his counterparts. 

The back-and-forth might never end. In his nine months in accounts at one job, Nathan failed to either successfully issue or pay a single invoice until the start-up finally went broke.

Nathan uncovered endless tasks to avoid work, but few are better than those involving task management software. These software programs seem like glorified to-do-lists but they take up much more time. In between entering all the tasks to do, giving them deadlines, filling in the detail, assigning the tasks where required, answering the querying comments and scheduling meetings to clarify the querying comments, many a week flew by. 

In fact, Nathan once held a job where he couldn’t have done actual work if he tried. The job was a content systems specialist at a company producing task management software that sold themselves as helping increase productivity. That start-up folded too.

Now as much as Nathan may have wished, you can’t actually hold meetings for every minute of every work hour. That’s where emails come in.

In breaks between meetings, Nathan always checked his emails. He even set it as a task in the task management software titled “check emails”. 

Emails were another gold mine. They frequently come from other sections of the organisation and would include a stream of tasks involving changing email signatures or filling in questionnaires for some organisational issue that would be filed in the wrong place in the badly organised online filing system and never seen again. 

When Nathan ran out of emails to read, he’d write his own. He liked to make these as vague and confusing as possible so recipients have no choice but to respond. This gave him even more emails to read and more to write in response. With a bit of luck, the ensuing confusion might even lead to a meeting.

Nathan found entire years could be filled this way. Of course, he knew there were those better off than him. He still had to show up at a set time for a set period of hours each day to take home an adequate salary. It was a long way from that entire class of people who did nothing yet were worth so much that the very concept of money as a means to any end was incomprehensible. The world was simply there to take as their birthright. 

No, Nathan was not one of the 1% of non-workers, not even the top 50%. Yet Nathan was happy. Because if nothing he did mattered then nothing was at stake. 

Feeling no pressure helped Nathan do his job extremely well. Frequently, he was Employee of the Month and rose up the chain of organisations until the roles offered looked dangerously like they involved responsibility for something actually productive. At which point, searching through job ads for the many positions requiring no work, he’d move on.

Nathan wondered if he could spend the rest of his work life doing no work. He couldn’t see why not.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Wow! The Demons-Pies clash was a classic and you can relive the commentary highlights here!


Wow-ee! Melbourne versus Collingwood last night, 2 v 3 on the ladder, was a blinder, played with finals-like ferocity! If you missed it, don't fret. I've compiled quarter-by-quarter highlights from Channel 7's widely lauded commentary team. 

The main reason to watch Friday night footy is to hear legends of the commentary box like JB and BT -- their immaculate use of language marred only by Daisey Pearce's petty interruptions to offer insightful analysis of the actual play. No wonder Rex Hunt is so pissed off.

Commentating AFL is a very tought job. I only ever tried it once and Channel 7 called security, I was banned from the MCG and BT took out a restraining order (so there was one bright spot). My respect for the JBs and BTs could not be higher.

Now you could watch a highlights package of the match, or you can just cut straight to the chase and read these collection of random comments culled from the game. If you don't know the result, I won't spoil it for you (your're day wil be spoiled enough when you find out).

Of course, the talking point before the game was Demon player Ed Langdon publicly declaring Collingwood were "All duck, no dinner" -- will BT, and ex-Pies player, make any mention of this? Find out below.


-The bounce gets us underway

- "They come straight after him!" "Looking for the duck, JB. There's his duck dinner right there! They have got him and they have given him chopped duck!"

- He's in for a torrid night'

- Now he knows there's a target in his back, he's going to be looking over his shoulder.

- Big thump!

- It's the start they would have planned!

- Exactly what the dr ordered for the Pies!


- What about that from both ends?

- Gives him the 'dont argue'

- Caught cold!

- We find out a lot about these two teams come the final series tonight

- His hands were incredibly clean

- What a start!

- Wow, you thought Collingwood were pumped up! The last couple of minutes have showed we've got two of those tonight!

- Jeez he had a good piece too

- The kick's a wobbler

- Ran out of tarmac  

- They just need a little bit of control here, the pies. To feel the footy a little bit, toss it around safely.

- It shows how amazing the drainage is at this ground

- The boos will come for Langdon all night 

- "The heat is on!" "Ohoho it's REALLY on JB! It's on in alright! Encouraging for everyone watching."

- Dribbling ball 

- Directly in front, obviously 

- Four straight plays two straight. And that's good! For both clubs!

- He wastes no time, he knows forwards like it in there quick 

- I think I said four in a row to Melbourne, I meant four straight 

- Oh, got a good piece!

- "Just for a moment I think he thought he was a genuine midfielder, Maxxy." "Not just for a moment BT, I think that's a permanent mindset for Big Max!"

- He can get wobbly with these, Big Max... and there's an example of it.

- If they could get him they would, but they can't!

- Wow! He says 'give me more,crowd!'

- And the big man stands up!

- You can hear. The crowd. BUZZING.

- Big grab!

- This just LOOKS like 2 v 3.

- The best candy seller in the business!

- Wow! He just carressed that!

- Finals feel about it.

- Ah, got to love it!

- Hot start!

- He's got ground level issues here

- Jeez BT, this is a precurser to what we're going to be seeing in September. Bring it on!

- What a game of footy!

- The little things matter 

- Do they reload and go? Time will run out here. What a… A 50 METER PENALTY! A 50 METRE PENTY WITH ONE SECOND TO GO IN THE QUARTER!

- Wow! What a mistake to make in the last 20, 15 seconds of the game … even if it is the first quarter.


- Little dribbler by Gawn.

- Sizzle everywhere!

- Not going to make the trip

- Real finals feel about it

- Viney's been instrument in this game… is he pinged here? No prior …

- So relaible in the air 

- Bit of a let-off there

- Good grab!

- They are dominating!

- They just got to start getting their hands on it, Daisy. 

- Absolutely no prior there!

- Straight into the guts of Jeremy Howe

- He can go all the way!

- Pulsating game!

- Salem's hands, always brilliant

- It was a wobbler!

- Wow!

- Loves it! Absolutely loves it!

- Looking for Gawn, nailed him!

- How good are those hands?

- High scoring affair

- Wow!

- What a half of footy, it's had everything it really has!


- He's got to remember in that situation the boundary line is his friend!

- Can Craig McRae conjure another miracle?

- What a goal this would be! Missed.

- Half messed this up

- That guy there Clayton Oliver, he's just untackenable…. he's so good at getting 

miraculouslous handballs out of the action zone if you like.

- They poked, they prodded, they teased, and they eventually found a way through!

- Look out! Gone! Macrae is a pressure animal!

- Colingwood just mounting a nice little mini campaign here.

- Journey shouldn't be a problem here.

- The pressure is really mounting .

- He's going to run out of room – GONE!

- His hands weren't up to it!

- Everytime Collingwood go in they score, that's the issue for Simon Goodwin.

- They're right under the hot poker here, Melbourne 

- Didn't they soak it up, Melbourne? They were RIGHT under the pump!

- Gee, almost a 50!

- The efficiency inside 50 for Collingwood tonight has been ridiculous!

- And deliberate, and fair enough too!

- They are CHARGING!

- Oh boy, Maxxy's had a bad night by foot!

- He'll have a crack for sure from here 

- What a final term we've got ahead of us!


- Not a great bounce.

- Had it and lost it.

- Gone!

- Now they have to grimly defend.

- I wonder if that's a throw, SURELY that's a throw!

- Very hard to see how that's going to be overturned, that's a mark!

- "Can't overturn that BT". "Oh gee there is a little bobble there Hodgey!" "No bobble." "No bobble, BT." "I must have been imagining it!"

- He could NOT have made a bigger mess of it!

- What a last 15 minutes we have got!

- Collingwood will not be denied!

- "Little bobble." "Yes, little bobble Daisey, thank you."

- How clean at the feet was Daicos?

- Neal-Bullen pounded by Maynard!

- How are they going to view this? Insufficient!

- Through to Daicos….YES PLEASE!

- it's a full on frenzy here in the last quarter!

- It looks every bit of 2 v 3!

- Gee, offence is king! It wasn't that long ago, JB, that defence was king!

- Pressure is really mounting 

- Big, big, big moment

- Time being chewed up

- Daicos with a little one

- Can you believe it, Collingwood are going to win again! In another thriller!

(Tragically, the Collingwood club songs starts playing and I black out)

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Why We Must Declare Full-Scale War On The Suburb of Clyde

There's only so much provocation the civilised world can stand. Only so many insults to decency and humanity that those guided by such values can be expected to tolerate before they stand up and declare: ENOUGH!

This is why we must invade Clyde.

In regards to that disgraceful suburb in the Greater Western Sydney region, 21 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, the time for talking is past. We must act or regret our inaction for eternity.

Some may ask: why? Surely whatever Clyde has done there's more important issues. Runaway climate change, war crimes from Ukraine to Yemen, the despairing state of the Western Sydney Wanderers. Why Clyde?

Those who ask such questions do not live in Granville, next door to Clyde. They do not have the lived experience of being Clyde's neighbour. Such voices should check their privilege and create space for those of us who do!

Some of us actually have to live with the consequences of Clyde. Allow me to educate you.

Clyde is a suburb with it's own train station. Yes, you say, it serves as a junction for the Western and Inner West train lines with the Carlingford line, taking commuters northward through Rosehill all the way to Calingford itself. 

Such an observation merely displays your ignorance! The Carlingford line closed in January 2020.

Now, we can all agree that fact is symbolic of the criminal neglect of Sydney's public transport infrastructure by successive state governments. Yet it remains a fact that Clyde is no longer a junction to anywhere!

No matter, you say, there must be heaps of people living in Clyde who depend on the station. What has this station got to do with your calls to bomb the place into oblivion then occupy it indefinitely with a large-scale multinational ground force?

How little you know! The residential population of Clyde is zero.

No one, according to the official statistics, actually lives there. Not a soul! Yet it has it's own train station.

And yes, it is an industrial area. Probably some people get trains to work and back. But enough to warrant a station at which almost all trains heading to Granville see fit to stop?

I think not.

Yet every evening the good citizens of Granville are being delayed by up to 2 or even 3 minutes on their trips home from work. This affects many dozens of people. Hundreds! After a 35-minute train ride from Central, the final leg is prolonged unnecessarily by a stop at a station in a suburb in which no one fucking lives.

OK, you say, that sounds a bit annoying for Granville, but surely a UN Security Council-sanctioned full-scale war to wipe the place off the face of the Earth is an over-reaction.

But here's the thing. No one lives in Clyde, and yet each evening people get off at the stop. I see them each night! They can't all be going to work in one of the industrial complexes at 6 in the evening, so where are they going?

I will tell you what all Granville knows. There is a secret suburb in Clyde set up underground, away from society's prying eyes. It is the only logical explanation and an open secret in Sydney planning departments, despite their official silence.

So what are the furtive residents of Clyde doing down there?

No one knows. Or if they do, they aren't talking. 

There have been several expeditionary forces from Granville seeking to infiltrate Clyde's hidden bases, yet none have succeeded. The few who made it back alive refuse to talk. What can be said is each one returned changed and not for the better.

Whatever it is these Clyde people are up to, it is clearly unspeakable. Otherwise why the secrecy and heavy defences? 

Anyone who has looked into the eyes of a traumatised survivor of an attempted Clyde raid knows this fundamental truth: Clyde must be stopped by the civilised world, or the civilised world has no right to call itself such.

There is always a human cost to war and there will be lives lost. But history's cruel accounting will record that the costs of doing nothing are far higher.

We must act! For Granville, for the world, for our children and for the future of human civilisation and for basic common decency! Members of the UN Security Council must put aside their differences and offer united support for immediate military action. 

We must prepare the carpet bombing campaign and mass the troops on the Granville border in preparation for a military occupation to break Clyde's resistance so that we can finally put an end to this madness! ENOUGH!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

A night on the Granville tiles

If there's one thing you need in a pub, it's to be left alone while you doom scroll your phone. That's a dream harder in the pokies dens with an obligatory bar tacked on that dominate Sydney's sprawling suburbia.

Living in Granville, you have a choice of three such places and last Wednesday evening I hit the Granville Hotel for a beer before doing some shopping. In the small box that serves as a smoking area, my in-depth investigation of the multitude of views on offer on the matter of Russia's on Ukraine in my algorithm-driven Facebook feed was interrupted by an old heavily tattooed bloke who wanted to talk about his various pokies wins and losses. 

He was quite sanguine about some eye-watering highs and lows, and appreciative that after winning big and shouting an entire pub in Fairfield one time, the next time he saw anyone there, they shouted him back. 

Human solidarity is a wonderful thing, but I really just wanted to solve the Ukraine crisis in my head before picking up some cat food from the supermarket, so I finished my beer and left. Not before world-famous filmmaker Zeb messaged that he was coming back from work and did I want a beer.

So after shopping, I headed across the rail lines (noting the train timetable screens, which were showing no trains and no times, as is now the Sydney norm) to the Royal Hotel. 

Attempts to not engage with anyone immediately hit a rock when the enthusiastic athletic looking bloke who poured my beer declared, after seeing my details when I swiped my members card, said "oh you're the guy whose signed up for the footy tipping!"

This was unfortunately true. I'd even paid $20 to do it. This came about due to a misunderstanding a week earlier when I wanted to become a member for the cheaper beer. But as I was using Zeb's membership card, the bartender thought as I was already a member and was asking to join the tipping comp. Being too awkward to stop what was happening, I just paid the $20 then had to ask to become a member anyway as you need your members number to take part in the comp.

I grew up in Perth and follow AFL. NRL barely enters my conciousnes. But the bar tender who'd just discovered I'd signed up was extremely keen and made sure I swipe my card on the thing you have to do you can enter your tips. Anyway, I got 7 our of 8 tips right in round 1, denied the full sweep only by the West Tigers upset over Melbourne Storm. (We'll not discuss round 2.)

Having swiped the magic thing that let me enter tips, we retreated to what they call their beeer garden, a narrow enclosed strip about twice the size of the Granville Hotel's smoking area without any of the plant life that usually goes along with things with "garden" in their name.

And there we minded out own business, probably did what anyone whose spent too long on the left does and complained about the left while solving the Ukraine situation (not that we'll get any credit).

Until we were interrupted by a young bloke asking to borrow a light who was clearly affected by more than the beer in his hand. He was all "hepped up", as the kids say, on unsteady but hyper and throwing a few punches in the air like oxygen offended him. An older guy he was drinking with came up too. Lex, as he found out his name was, was a retired truckie filled with unnerving stories about all the speed he snorted so he could drive a semitrailer from Sydney to Darwin in 60 hours straight.

Lex, hopefully, was only on beer. seeing as he was turning 70 the next day and had survived three heart attacks. The only shocking thing, listening to his stories, was that he'd survived at all. Lex went off to get him and his young friend another beer and the young guy wandered off looking semi-steady.

The young guy came back before long totell us he thought something was gonna kick off and what would we do if it did? I suggested we'd probably stay right here in our corner and he gave a laugh in a "fair enough" kinda way.

Now I should point out that this young guy, Lex, myself and Zeb are all white. Granville, however, is not a very white place. The last census, for instance, found one on in five households spoke English at home. Most people who drink at the Royal are not white but from the subcontinent.

And nothing was said that night to make it explicit there was any racial element to what followed but ...well nothing was said to say it wasn't either. You spend enough time in pubs in largely non-wtie areas as white guy and you soon learn from other white guys exact what they think about the racial composition of the particular locality. Not. of course. all white guys (don't send me death threats).

Before long, a group of 7 or 8 men of subcontinent bsckground came out to the "beer garden" and this guy went straight up them, joined their group and at first seemed to be cracking mutually appreciated jokes. It looked jovial, they were laughing and he was smiling and then, out of nowhere, they went for him.

Siddenly, bodies were flying across the "beer garden". The brawl was brutally one-sided asthree or four of these guys just pummeled the instigator. They got him up against a wall as he desperately tried to fight his corner, then onto the ground as they whacked and kicked. Whatever he said to trigger the fight definitely did the trick.

The bouncer came out to break it up, while the guy lay there getting hit with this grin on his face like he'd got what he wanted and was enjoying it. The bouncer looked down at him wearily, as if to say "again? why are you like this?" He was picked up and ejected, while the group who were hammering him went inside -- the bouncer didn't seem to bothered by them but I'm not sure if they had to leave too. 

As this was happening, Lex had re-emerged with a schooner in each hand, and stooed watching the scene with a bemused look. As the guy were taken out, Lex came up to ask what the fuck just happened? I said we didn't really know but, pointing to one ofhis  two schooners, said at least he'd got another beer to drink.

Lex look forlornly at the extra schooner and said: "But I don't drink New!"

Well to cut the story short, Lex told more horror stories about his days as a trucker, like the time he nearly died when he rolled his semitrailer while off his face. Then finishing his beer, he reluctantly picked up the schooner of New, took a sip, grimaced but decided he could stomach it after all.

Then we went left and I went home -- a place where the threat of violence comes from the cat and at least he doesn't talk much.

The source of backyard violence.

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

The Carlo and Leslie Dialogues: On the matter of the vibe shift

Well I am sure with all that is going on in the world, the greatest issue all humanity faces is whether we are indeed in the midst of yet another vibe shift. This crucial issue of whether trends in popular culture were changing was bravely broached in a much-discussed New York magazine's The Cut, where the question was bluntly posted: will any of us survive the vibe shift?

Mysteriously in this regard, I have received, out of the blue, a new "Carlo and Leslie Dialogue" transcription from sources unknown that confronts these very questions. I don't know who sent or why, but obviously the world remembers vividly the first round of "dialogues" drawn from my ASIO files that I posted in 2015. Or possible the widely-lauded autobiographical account I published, The Tale of the Rollerskating Archaeologists. Could it be the CIA or Russian intelligence seeking to make an as-yet- unclear point?

I do not know. But there must be a reason so I provide it below. Shockingly, it's in a pub.


(10.08am. Carlo is at a table alone in an empty pub with a pint and a whisky in front of him, looking  quietly furious about something. Leslie walks up with a pint.)


LESLIE: (sitting down) Just recovered from the plague.

CARLO: AGAIN?!? How many plagues can one man get? (Looks closer) Where are your buboes?

LESLIE: Not that plague. I haven't caught that one for centuries. I mean the latest one.

(Carlo looks blank)

LESLIE: You know, Covid.

(Carlo looks blank)

LESLIE: The pandemic that's been wreaking havok over the world for the past two years?

(Carlo looks blank)

LESLIE: The one that closed the pubs for extended periods.

CARLO: Oh is THAT what that was? I thought I was stuck in a recurring nightmare where each day I'd stumble to the pub only to find it shut and have to stumble back home. I thought maybe I was being punished by the Gods for cheating death again and was condemned to push my alcohol withdrawal-ravaged body up the hill only to go straight back down again every time. Like that other time with the rock.

LESLIE: No it was a public health measure. Though you could say that about anything that denies you entry to a licensed establishment. (Looks at Carlo) What are you so furious about anyway?

CARLO: (slams fist on table) THE FUCKING VIBE SHIFT!

LESLIE: Another one?

CARLO: Some hack journalist at the New York magazine wrote some piece about how they didn't realise a vibe shift was coming and they're terrified they won't survive and WHY THE FUCK DO THEY NEVER ASK ME ABOUT VIBE SHIFTS?

LESLIE: You have definitely survived quite a few.

CARLO: I can help! If only people would listen!

LESLIE: Reminds me of that time in mid-17th century England when you tried to warn King Charles I about the coming vibe shift.

CARLO: Exactly! He just told me to spend less time on Instagram obsessing about the latest fad in close cut hairstyles. No wonder he didn't survive!

LESLIE: He came round on the hair cuts in the end tho.

CARLO: Oh sure, as he was being led to the scaffolds he looked around and "You were right Carlo, just check out these roundhead styles, they're everywhere now". It was all too late!

LESLIE: Still you have to admit he had a point with his final words predicting the whole long curly hair look would be restored before long.


LESLIE: Still I'm not sure anyone will survive this latest vibe shift. It's got a very "armaggedon" vibe.


LESLIE: Yeah but that's me, and only because of that ancient curse I've never been able to get lifted, and the bar tender who just pretends to listen while begging you to pay your tab.

CARLO: Speaking of which, the bastard's cut me off again! (Points at his empty glasses). Your round.

LESLIE: There's a vibe that hasn't shifted for millenia.


LESLIE: (sighing as he gets up) I really wish there were some sort of public advice on how to lift a druid's curse. But no, it's all "wear a mask" and "try not to die in the latest extreme weather event".

(heads off to the bar)

CARLO: (yelling after him) PINT WITH A DOUBLE WHISKEY! (to himself) Plague-ridden cad.


Other less crucial matters:

Global anti-war day of action

Student Strike for Climate March 25

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Courtney Marie Andrews: a threat to Community Standards?

The notorious Courtney Marie Andrews

It is easy to assume the doomsayers are wrong about the dangers we face from unaccountable multinationals controlling huge chunks of our lives. That they need to chill with their weird conspiracies about corporations "cynicaly weilding power for their own malign ends" or "not paying taxes".

And then you get with a 3-day ban for posting a song and some lyrics from Grammy-nominated country folk singer Courtney Marie Andrews (who is touring Australia in March) and you realise dystopia's not just here, it's got a long-term lease and hasn't even forked out for the bond!

For context, my 3-day ban was on the heels of a 1-day ban for some equally harmless comment misunderstood by whatever AI systems Facebook employs. This presumably caused its robots to then scour other recent comments and the phrase "ugly Americans" tripped it's "UNACCEPTABLE!" wire.

I appealed both bans -- my heart filled with hope that my cry for justice would be heard! My pleas of innocence were cruelly denied.

I faced a choice. 

For myself, I'm not bothered. I've been banned before and no doubt will face the censor's wrath once more. I'll cope without Facebook for three days, I've got plenty of beer.

But... Courtney Marie Andrews?

I mean.... Courtney Marie Andrews? 

Courtney Marie Andrews violated community guidelines???

What the fuck?

Courtney Marie Andrews of Phoenix, Arizona may be known for many things (mostly tender lyrics over sweet-yet-melancholic folky tunes), but "violating community guidelines" via hate speech is not usually considered one of them.

A line must be drawn. If we have no freedom to get drunk and post sad country songs on Facebook for our so-called friends to politiely ignore, then what have we become?

So I took it to the highest court available: Facebook's Oversight Board.

This secretive body, to which you can request taken-down content be restored, gives you 2 weeks to issue an appeal that will be considered final. Also, they explain they probably won't even see it as only "a small number" of appeals are even looked at.

It's like Mark Zuckerberg looked around for the world's most absurd appeals processes and settled on the Australian immigration system.

Yet I made my case with the passion and self-belief of a man convinced that appeals to the ways quality songwriting in the country-folk tradition profoundly advance humanity cannot fail!

Asked to explain my appeal, I exposed the ridiculous falsehood and slander directed towards Courtney Marie Andrews' 2018 track "How Quickly Your Heart Mends".

Yes the Community Standards say hate speech includes speech directed at groups of people based on "Physical appearance, including, but not limited to: ugly, hideous."

And yes, Courtney Marie Andrews sings:
The jukebox is playin' a sad country song
For all the ugly Americans
Now I feel like one of them
Dancin' alone and broken by the freedom
But it is obvious this is not about all Americans, just those the character in whose voice she is singing views as ugly in a metaphorical sense. And that the character explicitly includes themselves in that category! Do Facebook AI programs not even understand what metaphorical means?

I did not hold back! Asked to explain the social significance of the content I wished restored, I quoted no less an authority than Tom Waits himself (who's "Downtown Train" Courtney Marie Andrews has so beautifully covered):
“The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”

It is an objective fact that surely even the Oversight Board must recognise that Courtney Marie Andrews does the opposite!

The ball is now in their court. I do not wish to prejudice judicial procedings so I will simply state: if justice is not rendered in ths case then all honest-hearted global citizens must reluctantly conclude that, despite it's public statements, Facebook does not indeed have our best interests at heart.

Finally, because I believe people should make up their own minds, I remind you that Courtney Marie Andrews is touring Australia in March. For now, here is a playlist of her songs, starting with her most offensive ever. TRIGGER WARNING: Some are heartfelt.