31 January, 2007


Do you remember when the arrival of a little baby panda was an amazing thing? It was the 70s and we thought they were cute and when we were asked to name them we invented nonsensical pseudo Chinese names like Lingling, because we were westerners and the world was ours and now we had our own damn pandas! Take that you commie bastards! Well, now pandas are breeding like root rats and the little buggers are everywhere. Fancy inventing stupid western names for a whole batch more of the evil communist bears? Here's how.

Harry Potter and the Verecundia of Equitatus

Parents are up in arms about Harry Potter again.
Well, aren't they always, unrepresentative swill the lot of 'em I say.

However this is a little bit more understandable, because Harry Potter has taken to loving horses in that special way that only very lonely cowboys (who haven't seen Brokeback Mountain) really can.
However this is not the newest plot twist from JK in an attempt to lure all of your children to Satanic Rituals. It is in fact young Daniel Radcliffe trying to show us that (unlike what he's done so far) he can act.
I'm afraid I can't tell you if he proves his point because his horse loving antics are on stage in a London production of Equus.
"Oh Equus, I am on you, in you" That is the only line I remember from the play, and only then because some mates and I had a thing for trying to use stupid quotes in our essays. (From Henry IV part 1, we used "come let me taste my horse").

Oh, and for any of you out there who find the thought of Harry sans robe panty wettingly exciting. Don't get too comfortable, the play co-stars Uncle Vernon.

29 January, 2007

Bloody Poms

Both CW and Tom have posts deriding Australia day. And fair enough too, it's a bloody joke. According to the website It is "...the biggest day of celebration in the country... On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian."
What a crock of shite, celebrating what is great about Australia is bloody unaustralian. Although saying that is dangerous because there is nothing more unaustralian than saying something is unaustralian.
Australia day was once a nice excuse for a day off work at the right time of year to duck down to the beach or a convenient river for a BBQ with some mates. When did it all change? Probably in 1988 things started to go bad, since then the jingoistic bullshit has increased and increased and the laid back Aussie Australia day is dying. Or at least in the popular press it is. In fact I think that the laid back, public holiday in summer attitude is still the prevailing one but somehow government web pages and the like are trying to make us patriotic and the press is following along.

But on with the Nationalism, a group of total plonkers calling themselves British People Against Racial Discrimination are trying to get the use of the word Pom banned. What a pile of old horseshit! Firstly this is in no way racial discrimination because racially the Poms are the same as many if not most Aussies. There are much better ways of dealing with this, the Wogs decided to take control of the word and we got Wogs out of Work, The Wogboy and a whole host of fantastic TV, film and stage productions which made fun of the cultural clash of Aussies and Mediterranean immigrants (skips and wogs).
Now, I'm not bashing the Poms here, most British immigrants are more than able to accept a little light hearted ribbing and give it back. Usually giving it back along the lines of 'your mother was a convict' or 'we won the world cup'.
So to David Thomason, spokesperson from British People Against Racial Discrimination I say. "Stop your bloody whingeing. It's Poms like you who keep the image alive. This is Australia and you'll get a bit of ribbing about where you come from be it New Zealand, Pommyland, France or Queensland and if you think that this is some sort of racist attack then you're a dickhead.
Oh and as for the moral high ground, just live here a few more years then hop back on a plane to the old dart. You'll soon find that you're neither fish nor fowl as your new Aussie accent makes you the but of all the convict jokes.

26 January, 2007


Mparntwe Gruntled will not get to be part of the fun on info island this Australia day, more is the pity.
I have unfortunately exceeded my bandwidth quite early in the month and trying to play SL on dialup speeds just sucks too much for me to care.
So, if there are any library related SL dates coming up in early Feb, please let me know and I'll drop in before I start downloading QI season four on emule.

25 January, 2007

And introducing John as the ADHD librarian

G'day (as we say here in Austria) I've hit a bit of a peak in my visitor numbers (up from non-existent to some), thanks largely, I think, to Jessamyn West pointing librarians to my come together post (thanks).
But this sudden popularity is a two edged sword, so I figured I have ADHD and a two edged sword. Lets see what I can do!

Firstly I thought I'd introduce myself a little bit, I'm a librarian, I have ADHD, I blog.

And now onto the rest of the show...

Jessamyn picked the wrong moment to start pointing librarians to my site, because I've stopped blogging about libraries and started blogging anti-Semitism and race hate. Or at least that is what a couple of emails I have received tonight suggest. Let me clear things up, I was laughing at a few individuals who had written stupid comments on another web page. While I may have said 'Jews are Stupid' I do believe I back-peddled quickly enough that anyone should have been able to see that I was employing a fairly high level of irony or at least sarcasm in a pitiful attempt to catch your attention with a shocking headline. So, please don't email me about how evil I am (and more importantly, please don't email me if you happen to think that Jews are stupid - and yes I have one email of 'support' so far). Please, if you feel like reading my blog, try to understand the concept of saying things you don't believe because if I have to resort to using smiley faces to indicate I am joking, well I might have to kill someone every time I use one in order to demonstrate my displeasure. ;-)

Hell, at least the comments and emails I got about the Baha'i showed some sense of humour about the whole thing. And I should hope so too, seeing as they stole our bloody opera house and turned it into some sort of temple.

See, stupid joke again.

So for new visitors, check my back catalogue I have some posts about libraries and librarians in there. But beware, I don't employ such techniques as reading my posts back to myself to see if I make sense. Nor do I conform to common ideas about sentence structure. I write like I think but I think faster than I type, so before I'm finished getting one idea down I have started onto the next. This leads to a whole lot of fun for me but it could make your understanding, gentle reader, somewhat confused.

Still, I like to think I'm worth a read and if you are offended by my lackadaisical approach to things you find important (be it the importance of your personal invisible friend or MARC records) feel free to go stick your head in a pig.

Oh, and one way or another I'm happy to get feedback on my personal brand of full contact blogging on ice (or crystal methamphetamine).
So post me a comment, send me an email or perhaps even a p-mail.

24 January, 2007

Jews are stupid

So are Catholics, Aboriginal Canadians and Pagans but most emphatically Christians.
Or more accurately, the November and December mailbags of Landover Baptist show us that stupidity in human society is at record levels and amongst those demonstrating their stupidity were people who identified themselves as members of these groups). Perhaps it is because we live in a society which is rapidly inventing things for us to be confused by. The internet in particular is a fantastic source of the stupid.
And if I may stand on my professional soapbox for a moment, this is why society still needs librarians. Otherwise people are setting out to do their science homework and discovering the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide or they are searching for faith and finding the above mentioned Landover Baptist Church. A quick look at their page will show you that there should be no doubt that this is parody. Yet their letters page is full of people railing against the teachings of the fictional Pastor Fred. I can understand the complaints of the pagans, jews, catholics and minority groups whose faiths are derided wholesale by this fictional congregation, but the Christians once again take the cake. Because you see on a site which calls for Christians to assault Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and tells us that vegans are modern day witches (and should therefore be killed). Or any one of a million other appalling (if they were true) similar things. On this site we have Christians writing in because they are offended that the site sells Christian underwear.

... you are infact discracing the church by the rediculous things that you have on it. Thongs for christ?? are you kidding me?? How is it that you think that thats ok?? i mean is this a joke?? if not then i feel very sad for you.. and not just sad for you but for everyone that you are sending the WRONG message to!!!
I will pray for you and I hope that you will take down that web site!!
~Tristen Kent

Yes Tristen you are correct, thong underwear is of the Devil. I'm glad you spotted that obvious failing in this pages' theology. Does this mean you are with them in their hatred of Catholics or did that seem less important than underwear?

but she isn't alone

...Then to sell Jesus underwear, what is wrong with you people. There are other ways to rememeber him then on underwear. The Devils got you working wonders for him but you need pray, lots of pray and guidance of what the holy spirit actually wants and what you actually want. Tonight we have a pray meeting and i will ask my church to pray for your website - or the horrific excuse for one. You give American Christians a bad name, yet you should be seting and example for all Christians.
Bedford, UK
Samantha Braich

The site is worth a visit, and while you're there try some of the bible quizzes. Or better yet (for any Christians reading) print them off and offend your friends. I used the sex quizzes as the topic for a Bible study, lots of fun as people's faces hit the floor.

I am often not surprised by the fact that few Christians can quote Ezekiel 23.


Cocktail was a crap movie with Brian Brown and some Scientologist moron. It was basically about shagging women, but in order to get produced in America movies have to pretend to be about something else. In this case they pretended it was about 'flaring' or, to put it in simple terms, throwing shit around in a fancy pants way while you pull me a beer.
I mention this, not because I want you to go and rent that crap film on DVD, but because I am setting up a 'library flaring' world championships.
No bottles and ice shakers being whipped around, no this is about the style with which you slide the books over or under the barcode readers. The fancy way you flick the wrist to send the DVDs sailing through the air as you unlock the security system.

So, start practicing. The first world championships will be in Australia in 2008.
Waddaya say?

23 January, 2007

Crikey, she's a cutey

Being a Children's (and youth services) Librarian and father of three, I get to see children in their natural habitat on a regular basis. Some of them are stupid smell little gits, others are precocious little turds most fall somewhere in the middle ground. So I am appalled by the attention that is being thrown at Bindi Irwin a girl younger than my eldest daughter who has been thrown into the spotlight since her father's death in a way which would make Lady Diana Spencer consider herself rather fortunate that she was comparatively anonymous.
It has gone beyond the WTF stage of things into the realm of the sick, twisted and bizarre. If Terry and her associated hangeroners are willing to hang onto the coattails of a prepubescent girl in order to maintain their high level of media attention, well then fair enough I can accept that there are all sorts of parasites in the world. But somehow you average schmo off the streets seems to think this is quite a normal state of affairs. I remember how long it took my own daughter to grieve when her step-great grandfather died and quite frankly I would be insulted if it turned out that girls found it easier to deal with the deaths of step-great grandfathers than of parents.
If I were to suffer a workplace accident tomorrow, struck down by the sting of a heavy encyclopaedia, I would not expect my wife to force my daughter to replace me in the library. I would not expect my daughter to do anything much for a while.
And if anyone else felt like trying to get my daughter to replace me I would expect my wife to snap out of her grief long enough to attack them with a spork until they went away. Moreover, if my wife were grief addled enough to think this seemed like a good idea I would expect our friends to tell her to wake up to herself. And in this, I wouldn't care what my daughter said she wanted because she'd be a grieving child and a child who is grieving is not in the best position to make life decisions.

I think Iggy Pop said it best...

Its a sunny afternoon
In 2006
Your father dies, surprised he survived 44 years-
Bindi-you were so young

Exploited exploited
Girl from the bush
You touched their heart
A little too much
You had a dream that no one else could see
You were allowed to be free

Bindi, bindi , bindi press won't let you go
All your life ahead of you
Has become a show

Crikey, crikey, crikey I just wish you'd go
Life is crazy
Bindi baby

Yeah, must 'a hurt you real bad when dad died
I wish you'd get out
Just be you
You've had a hole in your heart
For so long
Must have learned to fake it
With crocmen and song

Down in the zoo
Those folk are all the same
They want a star
A name
A name

Bindi, bindi, bindi I just wish you'd go
Becides which you're annoying me
Isn't that so
Bindi, crikey, crikey I just wish you'd go
Life is crazy
You're a baby
Bindi baby

Bindi, bindi, bindi they won't let you go
All your life you're merchandise
It's just so

Bindi bindi bindi
Life is crazy
Just a baby

Bindi baby,
Bindi, bindi

22 January, 2007

The Debra LaFave of the library world

Sick of seeing all those teachers getting their fifteen minutes of fame, Jennifer Carte-Priestley, a school librarian in St. Albans has decided to get a little bit of that underage action herself.
Now in my opinion, librarians are never going to break the stereotype of bun wearing shushers until we get some seriously bad publicity. I'm not promoting the idea of sleeping with the patrons, although If they're over the legal age wherever you are then it's your lookout. Sleeping with students is for Teachers, they've got that whole gig sewn up, we need to find our own particular kink and I think Jennifer may have it.
Charleston Daily Mail reports that school board investigations found she had an inappropriate relationship with male students.

Now, before you start to think of Debra LaFave or Mary Kay Letourneu, remember this is a librarian. Her crime? The language she used when she communicated with them via MySpace. Quite tame, but then we get to the sharing of Xanax and Maryjane with teenage boys.
Now, she's a school librarian, so she's managing to kind of combine the teaching and library gigs. My recommendation therefore (for non-school librarians) is to ignore the under age sex option and go for the drugs.
Hell, once the teenagers find out that I'm their go to guy for a bit of hydroponic I bet I can increase the usage rates for 13-21 year olds.
I think I'll have to work this into the new year's plan for the library. I'll need a budget increase in order to convert the store room into a hydroponic garden.
Of course I'm writing this from the point of view of a public librarian, but I bet this could also increase the figures on your people counter for academic libraries. As for special libraries, well, perhaps it's not the way to go if you're say a law librarian. Although the publicity you get for the profession will go a long way to changing stereotypes. After all, who thinks of librarians sitting back and sharing a joint with the chief justice of the supreme court.
that'll shake your bun loose.

19 January, 2007

Men, just like children - only taller

Scott Adams, author of Dilbert posted on his blog a question about love and romance.

...what romantic gesture have you made in the past week that was not based on a birthday or anniversary and was a surprise to your partner?

So I thought I'd look in and see what people answered (and what with him being a famous 'toonist he gets lots of answers). I was hoping to get a few unique ideas which I could steal and pass off as all my own work. The trouble was that I was appalled by most of the replies. I immediately put fingers to qwerty and pecked off a mini diatribe.

Scott, it turns out that a large number of your male readers have no idea what romance is but luckily for them your female readers have very low standards.
The most common 'romantic' gesture most of the men are claiming they made is housework and sadly it seems most of them are not using irony when they say this.
"I cleaned up, before I started off to get my own stuff done"
What? So you don't live there, it wasn't any of your crap, all the dishes in the sink were hers and all the washing in the laundry was bras and frocks? You live there too buddy, cleaning up IS getting your own stuff done.
And the same is true of so many. "I did the dishes" "I made dinner" So you're a breatharian and as such wouldn't have been eating or using plates if it wasn't for her?
See, romance is the guy who said "I gave my wife a dozen roses for no particular reason" nice work. But it doesn't count if you still have a pair of your dirty socks dropped on the floor in every room in the house. It's like putting whipped cream and strawberries on top of a cowpat. To quote a female perspective "I really don't give a flying crap about some flowers. Do the DAMNED dishes".
The same for "I told my wife to stay in bed while I cleaned up my daughter's puke" Here's the clue to look for in that, whose daughter was it? MY daughter, so buddy if you want an equal share in the daughter then you get an equal share in the puke.
So, onto the women whose standards are so low as to accept this crap. "My husband cleared the pile of clothes he always has on the floor" For the sake of all that is holy woman, (and think about this men) this is NOT romance. What this is, is temporarily being less of a slob. They are his fucking clothes, you might as well say "My husband took a piss and got most of it in the toilet" or "My husband took a dump and wiped his own arse". We are talking about adult men here, not children. With children you can accept having to pretend they are doing a good job, grown men, not so much.
I do remember a friend complaining to me that he'd done the laundry and his wife hadn't thanked him for it. Now these were two people, no kids, they both worked and 51 weeks that year she had done the laundry. Once he put stuff into the machine and hung it out, he didn't iron it, fold it or put it away and yet he thinks he deserves either a medal or a blowjob. Was I surprised when she left him? Hell no.
So, if he washes the dishes it may be a surprise but perhaps a better word would be a shock. It certainly isn't romance.
For myself. Often enough I am as useless as some of the men I've been tearing strips off, but at least I'm not delusional about it. I know that after thirteen years of marriage there is a real risk of me taking her for granted and I'm working on making sure I make more than an occasional token effort. Firstly in ensuring that I pull my own weight at home and secondly once I've done that in making romantic gestures. Not just flowers or chocolates, there is no personal touch in that.
But on the plus side Scott, the reader who sent in the story of the icicle, well that's a guy who understands the thinking about her part of romance (I just hope his dirty jocks aren't sitting on the bathroom floor).

My skeptical past. pt 3

The Life of Brian is perhaps the piece of British comedy which has had the most influence on actual theology (as Theologed by Theologians). Firstly with the debate and cinema picketing by those who though the idea that someone could have been born on the same day a Jesus was blasphemous. Indeed, the Not the Nine O'Clock News team did a fantastic sketch The General Synod's Life of Christ in which followers of Our Lord Cleese (Pythonists) protest against the new film General Synod's Life of Christ, which they accuse of being "a thinly disguised and blasphemous attack on the members of Monty Python. Men who are today, still revered throughout the western world" which parodied nicely the stupidity of the Christian attack on the film.

Before getting to the film itself, Cleese has always maintained that the Pythons won the debates about the merits of the film by behaving better than the Christians. An example of this would be an oft quoted televised exchange between Malcolm Muggeridge (Christian author) and a Bishop in a nice purple cassock on one side with Cleese and Palin on the other. This was probably the inspiration for the Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch and it contained classic lines such as...
Muggeridge: I came on this programme, before seeing the film, to say that it was morally without merit and undeniably reprehensible.
Michael Palin: You started with an open mind, I admire that.

The strange thing is that in Christian circles there still exists a divide. Perhaps a divide deeper than Catholic/Protestant, that is the divide between those who love the film and what it is trying to say and those who still scream blasphemy and avert their eyes.

So, being as I am a member of the Gin Drinkingest, Cigar Smokengest bible study group this side of heaven, I decided to lead a study on the film in order to find out if it is in fact about "closed systems of thought, be they are political, theological, religious or whatever. Systems by which whatever evidence is given to a person, he merely adapts it, fits it into his ideology" as Cleese claims or if perhaps it is spawn of Satan's bottom after a night on the curry.

My skeptical past. pt 2

The other comedic inspiration for some of my questions of faith (questions I wouldn't have known I needed to ask if it were not for British comedy of the 70s and 80s) was All Things Dull and Ugly from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album. (and if you are reading this Scott Lawlor, I know you still have my copy and quite frankly 17 years is much to long for it to still be considered a loan. The fact that we are no longer in contact is no excuse, you could google my name and find out where to return it. After all if you are reading this you have obviously been googling your own name and someone with an engineering degree can afford the postage). But I digress,

All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid--
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.


You know, there are a lot of Christians who would never to consider looking at the world around them in this sort of detail. Sure we have Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People and other works of that ilk (as Rowan Atkinson (playing a Catholic Bishop on Not the nine o'clock..) said
Where was God when I cut my finger
but those pop-christian pseudo self help books don't deal with real questions of the origins of sin/evil or the nature of Biblical history/mythology about creation and the interaction and conflicts between science and religion.
So hearing this was one of the first times I actually started considering the nature of the world I lived in and why the putrid, foul and gangrenous needed to exist.

A blogpost of great writ

Having just written what, if memory serves, is my first political post (gee I'm diversifying) I was reminded that Shakespeare himself, although he died 63 years before it was codified, understood the principle of no imprisonment without trial. Indeed he expressed these principles with an eloquence that modern authors lack, as is evidenced by this quote from the play MacLearlet (Act V scene I). Written around 1603 the play (one of the lesser performed tragedies) follows the trials of Eustache MacLearlet, a pauper imprisoned without trial because of his resemblance to the crown prince. Often disregarded by critics as derivative of his earlier work, it none the less has influenced other artists. Perhaps most notably Leonardo DeCaprio whose The Man in the Iron Mask plagiarizes this work unashamedly. It is also credited with being the inspiration for Samuel Clemens' seminal American novel The Prince and the Bogshite.

In this scene MacLearlet, having been released from his cell by traitors, stands before the full bench of the Privy Council, blinded by unaccustomed daylight he cries out for them to tell him for what crime he has been detained.

Alas poor habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, I knew it Lords of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council. A principle of great writ, of most excellent history. It hath borne evidence of its need ten thousand times. And now how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here stood those words I had needed, thank God never. Where be its quiddits now, its quillets, its cases, its tenures, that were wont to set the courts on a roar? No one now will mock your nation's short falling? Quite chopfallen? Now get you to the Prince's chamber, and tell him, let him lie the war over, but this act history must remember. Would he care about that?

18 January, 2007

Schrodinger's Mental Illness

Here is an interesting experiment that you can do at home.
1. Take a disenfranchised loner who may have committed illegal acts during a war.
2. Lock him in a box for five years.
3. Now (without looking in the box) tell me what is his mental state?

Australia's foreign minister can do this, he has assured me (via SBS News) the there is no evidence that David Hick is suffering from any mental illness, despite claims by his defence lawyer.
See, you can not prove he is depressed or suicidal, so he exists in a mentally ill free state (unless you open the box) and can you prove that he was ill before? Hah, perhaps it's your fault, you caused his stress by opening his box. But because he is aware that we can't just take his word for it, Mr Downer has proof. He tells us that 'someone' visited Hicks and Hicks is fine. Downer however informs us he is unable to divulge any information about the visitor other than to say they are a foreign national. Well, that's all settled then. If an unnamed foreign national tells us he's fine then that's got to be good enough for any court of law.
Although, aren't Americans foreigners (you know technically speaking, either that or we are. There are some fools in the world who think we both are). And Hicks is in Guantanamo Bay, so really all we are being told is that the person isn't Cuban. So, we know he's coping fine because a non-Cuban who may or may not have any psychological training told us. Hell it could have been John Travolta flying in Tom Cruise with an e-meter, after all neither of them are Cuban.

Now, I'm no fan of Hicks. He was undoubtedly involved in nasty stuff because even if you assume him innocent of belonging to al-Qaeda (he is yet to be proven guilty), he has admitted to being involved with the Taliban and they were a nasty group of fundamentalist bastards. The treatment of women under that regime was appalling at best and bestial at most likely. Their treatment of giant stone Buddas was also markedly different from that of sane people and I'm not a fan of execution at the best of times but doing it in stadiums for public entertainment. Well that sort of stuff should have gone out of fashion at about the same time we realised that a witch does not weigh the same as a duck.
So, charge the bastard. Get him out of the box. Prove that he is NOT mentally ill and find some evidence of a crime he has committed. Evidence of a crime being substantially different from providing evidence that he's been a twat. Because as I see it three weeks without charge in a foreign goal is too fucking long and no one should be sitting in a cell waiting for a country to make up its mind about what the law actually is. When did being sane become a justification for locking someone away, was that about the same time we started letting the inmates run the asylum?
Besides which, as I see the law (disclaimer – I am about to do a Business Law subject at uni and that is the extent of my legal training).
As I see the law, an Australian in Afghanistan can be charged with crimes against Australian Law, crimes against Afghani Law, crimes against international law and war crimes. Crimes against American law are bullshit in this situation.
We didn't lock up every German or Japanese soldier, sailor or airman who had served during WWII on the off-chance they were planning a Fourth Reich. Most got sent home when the war was declared over. So if Hicks was with the Taliban, that war is officially over, all is forgiven, get on with your life and here have a shit load of money to rebuild your economy so that you can make our cars, TVs and robots for us.

Anyone remember the fuss the Americans made about POWs being held in Vietnam after the war ended? Nor do I, because I was just a bitty baby. But if I paid attention in history then I know they were pissed off about it and shouted about international law and then they got so fed up they just sent Sylvester Stallone in there to negotiate with Ho Chi Minh (or something like that). And if B.J. Honeycutt taught me anything (other than how to make a martini) it was that dehumanising prisoners was not acceptable.

Anyway, another deadline (for Hicks to be charged) has passed and America has failed to charge the man. So what does the Australian government think the word deadline means? If it is a deadline, and it has been crossed, then there are consequences. Show me a fucking consequence! Can the American Administration just do whatever the hell they please? If our government wasn't going to do anything, if the American government wasn't going to do anything, then why the hell set up deadlines?
For the love of etymology people if these dates are suggestions, call them suggestions or proposals or random numbers we pulled out of our arse.
And for those of you who enjoy both etymology and irony try this out for size. The word deadline derives from a line in American Civil War prisons which prisoners could not cross.
Seventeen feet from the inner stockade was the 'dead-line,' over which no man could pass and live.
(Lossing, Benson J. (1868). Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.)
So when the US and Australian governments set a deadline, they were in fact telling us that it'd really be much easier for them if he'd be shot in an escape attempt?

my skeptical past pt1

Despite having just laughed at the skeptics, they are an organisation I appreciate. With my childhood lacking in all things spiritual (unless you consider spending time with horses can be a spiritual experience) and full of all things British Comedy I came to the Christian Church with (what I consider) a healthy dose of skepticism, which I have managed to maintain. I probably suppressed it a bit during my AOG years (after all when did you ever hear anything about whether faith is divinely-inspired or self-generated? The difference between 'God helps those who help themselves' and undeserved grace? Debates on things like theistic evolution vs long earth or short earth creationism. Or any big theological questions to excite the imagination and inspire further study.1)

My skepticism was aided and abetted by an ignorance of the creeds and forms of religion, which became obvious to me when I started attending churches and often ended up singing the wrong lyrics to the hymns or reciting the wrong creeds. My favorites amongst these religious mondogreens, I will now quote here...

Firstly there is The New Creed
(just called Creed on Not the Nine O'Clock News' Hedgehog Sandwich LP but also known as Creed (The New Revised Version) on a later (American?) release).

I have been unable to find the text for this, which was a reworking of the Apostle's Creed and I think was inspired by the modernising of the creeds within the Church Of England. How much this affected me, will be seen by the fact that now (25 or so years after I first heard it and at least 15 years since I last heard it) I am able to remember this much of it.

I believe in God the father almighty
maker of heaven and earth
and in Jesus Christ his son our lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary.
No Don't laugh, it could happen.
After all they can do it in a test tube these days,
can't they
and that proves it,
doesn't it.
I believe in...
[my memory will fill in this gap with time, but it then went on to include]
extra terrestrials
water divining
there must be something in astrology
copper bracelets for rheumatism

1 part of that paragraph was stolen from a post by Lance on Signposts.org.au

Skeptic? I don't believe you

The next in my ongoing series of articles poking fun at people's beliefs...
OK, I know I promised that it'd be a one off not a series, but I'm ignoring that.
...next is skepticism.

You see it turns out that skeptics, in fact aren't (skeptical that is).
Or more specifically the ones who publish eskeptic their email newsletter aren't particularly skeptical. that is to say, if you came in and told them that Christians (and the Bush administration) have prevented Park Rangers at the Grand Canyon from telling people about the geological age of the canyon. Well, if you told them that they'd believe you and they'd publish it online.
The only trouble is, they got the information from a press release issued by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility who are not skeptics but are anti-religion nutjobs (although they're anti Bush, so they can't be all bad) with an axe to grind in relation to American domestic policy.
You see, not all the dickheads are believers. Some are just as nutty in their disbelief, because regardless whether or what you believe, doubt or disbelieve you're a dickhead if you don't reassess your position occasionally and examine why you hold your position.

Oh and the skeptics have apologised for just accepting the press release on faith.

16 January, 2007

Scott Adams is watching me

Scott is watching me
Scott is watching me
Scott is watching meeeee

from a distance

I'm not providing you with a link to the original, because if you don't know where I got it then - for shame.

13 January, 2007

Mparntwe Gruntled

curious because of posts by other Aussie bloggers (CW and Kathryn to name two), I decided to log into second life.
And while I am not a fan (yet) I did just have fun. I wandered (lonely as a cloud) to info island, where I decided that I would sit at the reference desk (force of habit).
I then got a bloody reference question.
"are there any other self-governing groups like Neufreistadt"
well, being the kind of guy I am, I went onto google and managed to find the poor unsuspecting n00b the information he wanted. Well that is to say he seemed happy with the bullshit sandwich I fed him (and I was out of bread).
Bloody librarians eh?
I can even do reference work in other dimensions!

So if you see Mparntwe Gruntled around, say G'day
(it is pronounced mbarn-twa in case that helps)

12 January, 2007

Come together @ your library

The 'merkin library association has announced that "Come together @ your library" is the 2007 National Library Week theme.

I was so impressed by this that I decided to write a song to commemorate.
So following on from my 'footloose' triumph, I decided to make this one a bit more Baby Boomer, after all they're going to be the only ones impressed by "Come together @ your library".

And am I the only one who worries that this sounds a bit like some sort of theme based internet porn site? (as it turns out, I was not the only person to think this and as evidence I give you the attached image which was stolen from Jessamyn)

Here comes ol' library
She come walkin' round slowly
She's got watchin' you' eyeballs
She one scary lady
She got hair buned on her head
Got to be librarian you just do what she said
She wear no shoeheels
She's got catalogue thinking
She's got shushin finger
She shoot silent glare
She say "I know you, you know me"
One thing I can tell you book got to be free
Come together right now @ your library
She bag your checkouts
She got date due printing
She got overdue warning
She one fine collector
She got feet down through her stocking
Reading in an armchair
You can feel her watching
Come together right now @ your library
She reading poster
She's got reading fiction
She's got int'net access
She got Porno filter
She say "One and one and one is ontology"
Got to be smart thinking 'cause she's got library degree
Come together right now @ your library

11 January, 2007

Download the it's the ADHD librarian Show

The audio of my first attempt as a conference speaker is now online.
A few things to note:

I sound a lot less confident to myself now, than I thought I sounded in my own head then.
I have to work on my slide transition, because I hear a lot of pauses as I play with the technology.
I want to do it again.
I enjoyed the experience and like to think that (despite the levity) I had something relevant to say.
Once I got into my stride, I sure powered along. there were some things i said that were not in my notes (or even in my thinking until I said them).
But to counter that there were things in my notes which I didn't say.
And as a final point - spoons!!

Help! My chakra fell into my chai tea

Just to show I'm not biased, I shall now make fun of other people's faiths. Strange isn't it, but for most people making fun of the faith of others would show they were biased.
I know I said that was it for religion, but this has a library tie in.
I have just been out to the circ desk at the library to help someone with some computer difficulties, not an uncommon thing as despite being the children's librarian I am one of the few computer literate people in this library.
So the patron having difficulties proceeded to explain the specifics of this computer problem to me.

Gremlins (or greys, perhaps even 'fallen angels' depending on your understanding of the universal order) are intent on preventing people spreading the information which is required for us all to transcend this stage of human evolution and take control of energy directly (rather than via these fleshy antennas which are our current forms). people are becoming aware of the time when the universe will rotate and if we are able to understand this (and align our chakras to make use of this vast energy source) we will become aware. Whereas the negative forces are trying to prevent us from hearing the scientists who have proven this. This is why he always has computer problems, because he has become aware and they want to prevent him accessing the facts which will enable him to share this with others.

Now, he could have used the shorter version of that story. "I've put the document onto 175% and can't figure how to turn it off so I can read this matrix inspired, new age horseshit.

Still I did well (I'd taken my meds today) so I stood and listened politely and went um and ah and tried in vain to see someone eating in the library or running ore something so I could excuse myself.

Then, I went online to a library blog which told me that the third Sunday in January is World Religion Day (according to the Baha'i).
Now, if you think I can rave on like a nut job about my own religion, you should hear me on the Baha'i.
you see, I can accept that you have a religious belief (even if it is just Turtles all the way down).
I can see something praiseworthy in someone having gone through all of the ceremonies and rituals of an organised religion for theological reasons, or even for societal reasons.
I much prefer spending time with people who argue there is no God from a rational and logical standpoint to those who call themselves Christian by default, while not taking time to understand what the hell that means, or even without believing any of the teachings.
But where the hell does the idea come from that all religions are right. Because lets face it there are a hell of a lot of contradictory things.
If Islam is right then there is one God (and Mohammed is his prophet)
If Christianity is right then there is one God (and the Pentecostals want his profit) - no ignore this line.

I'll start again after that appalling joke
Saying all religions are right is like saying wet is dry or black is white.
You can say it all you like but it won't make it happen. If there is only one God (whomever his prophets might be) then you'd probably have to agree that there can't be a pantheon. Conversely, if there is a pantheon, then we must accept that anyone making a claim for monotheism is in disagreement.
So, to my mind, the Baha'i are like some sort of soppy kindergarten teacher (lets call her Miss Honneysweet) standing up in front of the class and settling the arguments by saying "you're all right" and "lets all be friends".
it's nice and you'd feel bad making fun of her, but in any argument we can't all be right.
Although - and this is important folks,
we can all be wrong.

where God Cares

sweat shop productions, I don't know a damn thing about them, but I love this T-shirt.

And as an afterward to my theological detour today,
For my Christian brothers and sisters, turn your fucking brains on and question things if they make you uncomfortable (like why your pastor wants you to tithe your single parent allowance, but he owns a dozen investment properties)
or like why Jesus never said anything good about money.
or like how come you get instant access to the front row and all the good things just because you have a fantastic singing voice and nice tits.
or whatever it is in your church.

And if you're not a Christian, don't dismiss it just because there are so many dickheads. Dismiss it because you thought about it rationally, because dickheads are everywhere.

Moma, Don't let your babies grow up to be Christians?

This blog tends to be about Library stuff and ADHD stuff but of late I have been talking a lot about Christianity and in an effort to understand what the hell I think, I have decided to put a few things on paper.
Probably just this once, so don't feel you have to take me off your blogroll.

So the title of this post,
Well I have been very worried of late that taking my children to church is brainwashing them to a certain level of unthinking acceptance of my religious experiences. The church I attend at present is not particularly hard line, in fact it is damn liberal in a lot of ways, but still there is that simplicity in the way children are taught which teaches all sorts of things theologians would call debatable as if they were fact. Now I tend to teach my kids to question what they are being taught, "why do you think they said that", "ah but do you believe that?", "what if that is not correct" and so on
But basically the title is just the hook to get you interested (to be controversial if you like).
Some time ago I started writing a book, being ADHD I am fully aware that chances are I will never complete it, but I tentatively titled it Why are Christians all Idiots*
Same theory, get a bit of controversy.
Yet to a degree that is how I feel. I am constantly asking myself how the hell can people be such morons about this religion. Now I know Christians don't have a monopoly on idiocy but the fact that I have to deal with idiot Christians so often just because I happen to believe a couple of the same things as them is quite painful.

Now, before I actually start saying anything, let me assure you that I have no answers. Were I to be made Supreme Overbeing of all Christendom tomorrow, I would not be in a very good position to solve the problems. This is in part because the Christians are all idiots theory is just a subset of the People are all Morons theory to which I also subscribe.

Background (go go Gadget dotpoints)
  • parents atheist - but bible literate
  • first time I went to church - 10 or 11 years old
  • next time I went to church - 15
  • started attending a (Sydney Diocese) Anglican church from 16-18
  • first book of the bible I read - Isaiah
  • switched to AOG at 18 (because my mates went there)
  • did some bible study through AOG (under hills auspices) it was a complete joke,
  • did some theology as an undergrad (St Marks in Canberra) and the difference was several orders of magnitude
  • switched to Baptists at 31

So where do I get off with the idiot stuff?
Well, I am constantly meeting people who have been completely screwed over by organised religion. I am bombarded by people who use their Christianity to justify all sorts of social and societal practices which have nothing at all to do with anything Jesus is ever reported to have said.
For example, I was having a discussion on Christianity and the political sphere and I happened to mention that Democracy is not a biblical principle. There were shocked looks of realisation from a few people, but I had one person argue with me.
The argument isn't the problem as such (as I see it) the problem is that people just accept the current socio-political norms and assume that they are Christian. They don't think about the realities of things, in Australia we get force fed enough American bullshit that it just becomes part of the air you breathe and fluffy thinking (republican = God, Democrat = soul eating sodomites) eases its way into our minds and bypasses critical thinking.

So, onto critical thinking, for a start there are lots of places within Christianity where thinking critically is seen as being tantamount to denying the existence of God. Moreover, in the Pentecostal church as it exists at the moment (mega-church style, as demonstrated in Australia by Hills, Paradise, CCC) there is a determined and deliberate attempt by the leaders to suppress critical thinking. Teaching such as; follow the man of God and let him decide what's right and wrong or the social aspect where those who think critically are not given opportunities to lead small groups let alone to speak from the pulpit.
While Australia doesn't seem to be breeding Christians as thick as many of those in American mega churches, we are following hot on their heels copying all of their marketing and brand positioning.
Think about it folks, brand identity, billboards, Pastors (not theologians) who have certificates in Biblical Leadership, rather than Degrees in Theology. Morons who act more like motivational speakers than ministers, with Doctorates that they bought from fourth rate American online Bible Colleges. And Christians are flocking to that mindless bullshit because it is 'relevant' and 'meets me where I'm at'.
lets try and fit that into this little pearl
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim 4: 3-4.

People want to have Brian Houston tell them that they too will be able to afford $2000 silk ties, $8000 racing bikes and a Harley for when they feel like cutting loose. Why, because it is a church that meets them where they're at by not making them feel bad about their consumerist overindulged western lifestyle and beyond that, it celebrates this and promises supernatural intervention to increase your wealth if you follow the magic formula.
Because the alternative would be listening to Tim Costello telling you that you are part of a society which is raping the world and that your excess is not God's gift. Some good people are poor, some evil men are rich and that there is no God Given get rich quick scheme and there is on earth no God given method to even the playing field. After all even Solomon (covered in fine silks and sitting in his palace didn't believe he had done anything to deserve his position) If I may paraphrase Ecclesiastes. All is vanity, we're all going to die, shit happens, enjoy what you eat and drink, enjoy being young - because being old sucks, God isn't going to fix all your problems.

this post is proof of my hypothesis because it sure makes me look like an idiot, so with my point proven to that degree I shall shut up.

*idiots was not the original word I used in this post, it has been edited as my confrontational language has offended some people and I would hate to have people miss the underlying point just because I was being deliberately provocative.

10 January, 2007


I mentioned I was going to be going canyoning, so now I might give a bit of a Trip Report. It was the Bluies in December and there was no where else I would rather be, so i got a (small) group together. Snail, The Brother In-law (T-bil) and myself and we set off for Bowen's Creek North Branch. (For Snail's post about our canyoning adventure, go to OZ Canyons).
Last time I did this canyon it took forever in part because of a navigation error early in the piece. this time however I knew where I had gone wrong and as such I wasn't going to make that mistake again.
It turned out I didn't need to make that mistake again, because the correct direction was just as difficult to travel on as the wrong way I went last time.
As such we ended up doing an 11 hour bushwalk in wetsuits and carrying 50 mtrs of rope. Not that I'm complaining, but damn I was buggered by the end of the trip.

But as we set out we were thinking 9 hours at most was what it would take us (or I was thinking that and snail and t-bil believed me).
We parked one car at the exit gate and drove back to our start point. t-bil hadn't canyoned much so he was putting his kit together on the side of the road with advice from snail and myself. We then hoofed off following the compass bearing of downhill. It was only a short while before my new white volleys became an old pair of stained volleys, but that meant we had hit the start off the creek.
We followed it down (ever down) chatting idly about something (I don't remember what). It was slow going because there was not much in the way of defined track (just how I like it, it make you feel like an adventurer). Every so often the creek would drop away from us and we'd scramble down to it (no need for ropes [or wetsuits] yet). The first section of the trip (often called the upper section) is a quite pleasant walk along a creek bed with cliffs rising above you on your left and a few (shortish) sections of actual canyon.
But then we got to the lower section and it started to get interesting. It would have been nice to show you some pictures, but my camera dry bag sprang a small leak and my camera stopped working about thirty seconds after we put our wetsuits on. Still Snail might have a few up on his flicker page soon (and they'll be better than the ones I took because they'll have me in them).
This section is a very nice day's travel all by itself (and we'd met a group in the car park who were only doing the lower section - smart people). There are a couple of abseils into deep water and a few long swims, although not as many or as long as there once were. There is something fantastic about being shivering cold in the middlee of an Aussie Summer. that said, last time I did this I was in a spring suit, so I was happy in my full suit this time. Snail had a nice new thick canyoning wetsuit and said he didn't feel cold at all, while poor t-bol was wearing snail's cast off suit with the 'special' ventilation to prevent your man parts overheating. As such you always knew when the water had reached groin hight because of the (high pitched) squeal of surprise.
We reached the end point of the canyon about an hour after we had planned to be back at the cars and were wondering how much light we had left for the climb out, but we were back at the car just as the sun sank quietly behind the mountains, bloody tired, damn sore but giggling like husky schoolgirls and muttering incomprehensible expressions of both delight and some other emotion which I can't name but it involved the feeling of wanting to scream, lay down, run around, sit quietly and eat a lot of very fatty food.
All in all a fantastic day

you too can have a Libraries Australia Search

I've just worked out that if i embed a Libraries Australia Search in my blog, then if i am caught blogging at work I can claim I was just searching for marc records.
Perhaps that isn't what it was designed for, but I don't mind.

if you want one in your blog (or even in your library [or non-library] web page) then go to libraries australia (or pinch it from my html)

02 January, 2007

bold new year

I'm back in the land of the working man. Damn but having time off is fun, I'll have to do it again sometime soon.