F*CK ME NOT THE PLANET

Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH wonders about the propriety of the climate protest by girls from a northside private school.  citynews.com.au

MOST students attending Canberra’s Global Climate Strike rally skipped classes with their schools’ blessing. But should those in charge at one northside private, Christian school be more engaged in students attending future protests?

In a sea of provocative signs, including one featuring Scott Morrison holding a lump of coal, captioned “Old King Coal was a Merry Arsehole”, four female students from the faith-based school in full uniform proudly held a placard which took the “make-love-not-war” mantra of their grandparents’ era to a new level.

FROM an oversharing generation to a member of one who should know better comes this pre-Midwinter Ball overshare story. Former ABC breakfast TV host Virginia Trioli tweeted: “Travelling from Melbourne to Canberra with a thousand yards of tulle on a nail-bitingly tight flight for the Parliament #midwinter ball. Hair and make-up will be done in the lav: Apologies to all on board”.

Within an hour “The Australian” was reporting an in-flight tantrum, alleging one ball guest had their knickers in a bunch en route about the placement of her $5000 dress. The paper later retracted its reportage and made a personal apology to Trioli.

THERE’S a booze ban at Bruce. As the city turns greener, Raiders players got “on the wagon” from Mal Meninga Medal night onwards in order to be clear headed for Friday’s preliminary final against South Sydney.

A “Sydney Morning Herald” piece on coaches’ eccentricities: “The traits that make the NRL’S coaching kingpins a cut above”, attempts to psychoanalyse Raiders’ coach Ricky Stuart. The article, by Phil Lutton, also speculates on Wayne BennettCraig Bellamyand Des Hasler, suggesting many “are deeply eccentric. Some are superstitious, others make a point of dispensing with the mystical and building their empires on relentless work and dedication”.

According to Lutton, Stuart falls into the paranoia group: “His team v the world when Ricky Stuart, master of the siege mentality, is on deck”.

IT’S been a busy week on the hill with all manner of visitors, including a Peregrine falcon called Floyd. The bird came to the rescue of Parliament House horticulturalists who are again drowning in duck droppings and ducking dive-bombing magpies. Federal Parliament’s pristine gardens and forecourt are under attack and Floyd has been tasked with dispersing the menacing Maggies and ducks with diarrhoea.

Three days walking from Collector to protest press freedom… 77-year-old Adrienne Carpenter and her dog Phoebe. Photo: Mike Welsh

A 77-year-old Collector woman and her dog had a message for Canberra on press freedoms and walked from her home to deliver it. Adrienne Carpenter says: “When I heard about [lawyer] Bernard Collaery, I just had to do something”.

Adrienne and Phoebe pushed her “Freedom of the Press” baby pram 70 kilometres over three days, camping overnight in the snow at Lake George.

LAST September Falun Gong practitioners assembled on Parliament House lawns highlighting the widespread practice of human organ harvesting in China. But their protest was thwarted as inside, political practitioners including senators Derryn Hinch and Pauline Hanson, were slobbering over visiting superstar Olivia Newton-John.

Ditto this week, only this time starstruck pollies were fawning over the likes of Hugo Weaving and Rhys Muldoon in town, again, to lobby for more local content in the local film industry, as the Falun Gong, again, lobbied on the lawns in silence.

SEEMINGLY the country’s first human rights compliant correctional facility, the Alexander Maconochie Centre unofficially goes the extra mile on conjugal visits, with reports of male inmates penetrating the wall between them and the girls since 2017. An internal probe found a male prisoner had jumped into the women’s section in April and attempted to have sex with a female inmate but the action was scuttled after male prisoners watching became overly excited.

THE ABC journalist reporting snow blocking the Hume Highway at Goulburn didn’t put much thought into his piece to camera after Tuesday’s unseasonal weather event. The young man confidently told his audience the “spring dump caused truckies to be severely backed up”!

Share this:

CITY NEWS JUNE 7

City News

DESPITE a relatively unremarkable-to-date annual kangaroo cull, an animal rights activist is spooking Canberra motorists.

The protester sets up on Mugga Lane most afternoons between 3 and 6, complete with corflutes and a lifelike kangaroo mask, urging passersby to “stop the kangaroo massacre”, which is “cruel and catastrophic”.

Some motorists toot in approval, others give a lengthy blast to show displeasure and occasionally yell obscenities.

While our intrepid activist is cull-campaign toughened, one recent experience left the protester blindsided.

The driver of a large black, four-wheel drive pulled in after dark one night, then quickly left. The driver returned the following night armed with a portable light and a supply of batteries, “to make sure people see your sign”.

LRVs are coming and they are fast. Posters are popping up in shopping centres warning that LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles) are “approaching” and posing the question: “Are you Rail Ready?”

Canberra-metro.com.au has begun training commuters to “only cross at designated intersection crossings”, pointing out that LRVs move quickly and that “earphones and other distractions can put you at risk”.

Meantime cynics who scoffed at a 2018 Stage 1 deadline may have a glimmer of hope with the wriggle room that appears to have been applied to the latest update.

The word is that the project will be completed on schedule by the end of 2018 with the first passengers carried in the first quarter of 2019.

As for Stage 2 it appears to be way ahead of schedule, given there is no schedule. A large “light rail stops here” banner is plastered across the facade of the site of Geocon’s skyscraper, the Grand Central Towers at Woden.

IF there was a Walkley Award for weasel words Nationals’ leader Michael McCormack would already have his name engraved on one of the prized gongs.

Attempting to drown out predecessor Barnaby Joyce’s noise on decentralisation, the former journalist said: “Whilst there is always more work to do, any initiatives which enhance the government’s strategic policy focus on decentralisation – to not only grow regional communities but also decrease congestion in our cities and improve the quality of life and share economic opportunities more broadly – are always welcome.”

DESPITE the ongoing debacle surrounding Barnaby Joyce’s relocation of the APVMA to Armidale, the decentralisation sword of Damocles continues to hang over some Canberra public servants.

At a recent estimates hearing Nationals Senate leader Nigel Scullion admitted “seven agencies were being considered by cabinet for decentralisation away from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne”.

The former Deputy PM continues to mock the concept after reports of staff being moved from Sydney to Parramatta suggesting: “You can’t decentralise to the centre. You have to decentralise from the centre”.

IN 2013 Belconnen was proud that a local pizza shop was consistently topping its franchise’s nationwide chain. Florey Domino’s dominated the chain’s 550 outlets nationwide winning its 13th straight annual sales award. At the time Domino’s Florey was knocking out a pie every two minutes. Now Domino’s languishes at the bottom of the just published Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre study.

STILL on nutrition and the University of Canberra is trumpeting the appointment of health and fitness guru Michelle Bridges’ dietitian Lisa Donaldson.

Diagnosed with coeliac disease and other intestinal issues more than a decade ago, Ms Donaldson, who holds a Bachelor of Education degree from UC, returned to the institution to undertake a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics graduating in 2011. Donaldson, who has also worked with Channel 9 nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan, returns as UC’s dietitian in residence.

FORMER Ainslie transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey apparently has made giant steps in handling her “potty mouth”. The athlete who came to prominence after being banned by the AFL from playing in the AFLW recently appeared on Fox Footy’s “Open Mike” with the doyen of Melbourne AFL scribes Mike Sheahan. Mouncey tweeted that she had “recorded Open Mike without swearing… seriously, it’s a big f&*%@$g achievement”.

TOP 10 BARNABY JOYCE HEADLINES USING BEATLE SONGS

By Mike Welsh

1 WHEN I’M 64 (SHE’LL BE 47)

2 TWIST N SHOUT (JOBS AND GROWTH)

3 WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS (MY SAX WAILS)

4 JOHNNY B GOODE (BARNABY B BAD)

5 PAPERBACK WRITER (THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KERNOT)

6 I SAW HER STANDING THERE (SO I THOUGHT WTF)

7 LET IT BE ( A BOY CALLED BARNABY)

8 HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN (AND I’M FIRING REAL BULLETS)

9 THE FOOL ON THE HILL (FELL FOR A GIRL ON THE RISE)

10 HELP (I’M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE)

RODNEY DANGERFIELD

The one-liners were impeccable, unimprovable. Dangerfield spent years on them; he once told an interviewer that it took him three months to work up six minutes of material for a talk-show appearance.

CreditAllen Tannenbaum/Images Press/Getty Images.

Imagine having no talent. Imagine being no good at all at something and doing it anyway. Then, after nine years, failing at it and giving it up in disgust and moving to Englewood, N.J., and selling aluminum siding. And then, years later, trying the thing again, though it wrecks your marriage, and failing again. And eventually making a meticulous study of the thing and figuring out that, by eliminating every extraneous element, you could isolate what makes it work and just do that. And then, after becoming better at it than anyone who had ever done it, realizing that maybe you didn’t need the talent. That maybe its absence was a gift.

These were the stations on the via dolorosa of Jacob Cohen, a.k.a. Rodney Dangerfield, whose comedy I hold above all others’. At his peak — look on YouTube for any set he did between 1976 and 1990 — he was the funniest entertainer ever. That peak was long in coming; by the time he perfected his act, he was nearly 60. But everything about Dangerfield was weird. While other comedians of that era made their names in television and film, Dangerfield made his with stand-up. It was a stand-up as dated as he was: He stood on stage stock-still in a rumpled black suit and shiny red tie and told a succession of diamond-hard one-liners.

The one-liners were impeccable, unimprovable. Dangerfield spent years on them; he once told an interviewer that it took him three months to work up six minutes of material for a talk-show appearance. If there’s art about life and art about art, Dangerfield’s comedy was the latter — he was the supreme formalist. Lacking inborn ability, he studied the moving parts of a joke with an engineer’s rigor. And so Dangerfield, who told audiences that as a child he was so ugly that his mother fed him with a slingshot, became the leading semiotician of postwar American comedy. How someone can watch him with anything short of wonder is beyond me.

“To be a comedian,” he said, “you have to get onstage and find out if you’re funny.” He wasn’t. During his first career, performing as Jack Roy, he was a singing waiter, used props, tried impressions. Even after his second coming — using a stage name devised by a club owner as a gag — and becoming a regular on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” he could be miserable. In a YouTube clip of him performing on “Sullivan” in 1969, Dangerfield’s face is the unsettling bluish-pink of raw chicken. The jokes — about getting directions, his wife’s driving, their apartment — keep bombing. The setups are too long; the delivery is too slow; the punch lines are so lame that you can hear the scattered laughter of distinct individuals. Even worse, he panders. “I’ll tell you, it’s nice to hear you laugh,” he says at one point. It’s almost unseemly.

In the decade that followed, Dangerfield eliminated everything from his act but the setups and punch lines. In his determination to unlock how they worked, he devised multiple jokes around the same setup, like a composer writing variations on a theme. “When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother” might be followed with “I was an ugly kid. When I was born, after the doctor cut the cord, he hung himself.” His body of work is a codex, a “Well-Tempered Clavier” of comedy.

Most comics use the setup and punch line like a nail and hammer, but Dangerfield used them as a theremin player uses her hands, to bring forth strange, unexpected effects. Some were so masterful and odd that they transcended linear logic. My favorite joke of his — “I told my dentist my teeth were going yellow. He told me to wear a brown necktie” — barely makes sense at first. It’s a bewildering piece of misdirection. But it works as a marvel of dream logic, a joke Kafka might have liked.

With other jokes the angle between setup and punch line was so acute that it momentarily stunned the audience, requiring an extra beat to sink in and creating opportunities of timing. You can watch one at the close of a Dangerfield set on the “Tonight” show. It’s Aug. 1, 1979, and he’s at the summit of his craft. As with the very best comedians, the laughter begins before he speaks. His delivery is angry, rapid-fire, leaving the audience no time to recover. The standup portion kills, but everyone knows the better part will happen at the host’s desk, where Johnny Carson, pulling on a cigarette, will gamely set him up.

Continue reading the main story

FAKING NEWS…NEVILLE NOBODY VOTES NO. WHO KNEW?

By Mike Welsh

Neville Nobody knows nothing and nobody and anybody who knows Neville knows he never did no harm to nobody. (Like Neville those who know him didn’t receive a complete education).

Neville Nobody is so straight up and down and nigh on invisible that he’s not eligible for the colourful Aussie moniker “Nifty”. Fact is Neville doesn’t even qualify for the slightly less formal but grudgingly accepted- by most Nevilles- the abbreviation “Nev”. It’s Neville and that’s it. Nothing and no-one will ever change it or him.

IMG_0205

But that is until now. While change doesn’t sit well with Neville Nobody, one thing has seriously niggled (Neville hasn’t been niggled, seriously or otherwise since February 14 1966 on the introduction of decimal currency) and that’s being told how to to vote. Neville Nobody does vote but nobody who knows Neville knows how he votes. They accept that nobody tells Neville Nobody how to vote. Nobody!!

Nobody knows this but many who know Neville are prepared to bet a “penny to a pound of goat dropping” that Neville’s problem is he has never fully recovered the trauma he suffered as a schoolboy boarding public transport on that D day in ’66 and being given “yank” money in change for the fare he paid in pennies.

Now Neville is not your type to boycott something just because its bent out of shape.  No, Neville is not by nature or any stretch of the imagination a protester and by boycotting the poll he’d also be stepping way out of his comfort zone. So without malice or judgement, Neville Nobody,as far as anyone knows, is voting no. Not because he has an issue with same sex relationships or has any conflicting cultural or religious beliefs but simply he firmly believes there are some things which matter. Although nobody who knows Neville knows if there are any other things which “matter” to Neville.

 

IMG_9829.JPG

It’s simple, the most non-threatening- know- nothing -nong on the planet should not have to endure some loudmouth slapping him around the head with a rainbow placard and demanding he vote yes is beyond the pale for the this seriously washed out beige battler.

Telling Neville Nobody or anybody for that matter how to vote is simply un Australian. Beware the Neville Nobodys.

COMFY BEDFELLOWS, LOST APOSTROPHES AND SPUDS

BY MIKE WELSH from CANBERRA CITY NEWS FEB 8

President Donald Trump’s dressing down of our PM provoked a couple of Canberra wireless talkers into questioning his business ethics.

 the-donald 

FM 104.7’s breakfast duo Ryan and Tanya wanted to know if Trump’s travel ban on refugees from certain Muslim countries carried over to his extensive business interests.

Ryan, posing as Osama, an Iranian student visiting Washington, rang the local Trump Hotel to book a room for he and his Iranian mates. “Not a problem Sir” said the accommodating man at the D.C. end. Clearly business and politics can be comfy bedfellows.

 

The Enlightened city is set for a heightened level of enlightenment this year according to CM Andrew Barr.

In launching the 7th annual Enlighten Festival this week, Mr Barr predicted it would “easily surpass” our most famous festival Floriade.

Barr’s bold claim was backed by Singapore Airlines coming on board as a sponsor. The airline’s representative and former Canberra boy Karl Schubert says Asian visitors were keen to take advantage of the Capital Express flights to see Canberra’s buildings “in a different light”.

Enlighten 2017 takes place around national buildings and the Parliamentary Triangle from March 3 to 12.

enlighten

A worrying trend (for pedants at least) seems to have spread across the Enlightened city…The IUOTA (inappropriate use of the apostrophe). This week I spotted a very green example at the Kippax Raiders’ club promoting the special meal deal “Coastal Combo’s“. Take Away food shops often advertise Fish N Chip’s and the growing number of people who automatically apply the IUOTA to that bygone era (when the apostrophe knew its place) the 50s, 60s and 70s… might suggest the old journalistic idiom of IF IN DOUBT LEAVE IT OUT has been flipped on its head. The new norm…whack it in to be sure. Is this acceptable for an enlightened city?

pauline-dec-sketch

Still on Fish N Chips and near catastrophe has befallen the local fryers. Unseasonal weather, battering potato crops in Southern states, has created a potato famine (of sorts) causing hardship for those partial to the thin slice of pomme de terre cooked in batter and called a Potato Scallop (in Tassie it’s a Potato Cake).

The thousands of Canberra connoisseurs of the Potato Scallop are reportedly “getting by” on the frozen but vastly inferior variety.

Might be unhelpful though to suggest they…“eat (Potato) cake instead”..

abstract-art

Nice to see that abstract still makes the art grow fonder

One of Canberra’s most valuable assets is back home after a rare overseas visit.

Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, one of the world’s most recognisable pieces is safely back on the wall at the National Gallery after a trip to London.

And apparently the controversial painting, purchased by the Whitlam Government in 1973 for a ‘tad’ over $1mil was “missed”.

According to NGA’s senior curator of international art, Lucina Ward, “visitors expect to see it in Canberra… it is one of the National Gallery’s most famous paintings”.

Estimates of Blue Poles’ current worth vary widely between $20Mil and $350Mil.

Two men sitting in deck chairs on a traffic island during Monday’s peak hour viewing traffic flow through a large roundabout was indeed a rare sight. And one which runs the risk of compounding the belief in that ignorant national myth that there is nothing more exciting to do in Canberra than watch traffic.

Apparently the pair of local residents held grave safety fears after the installation of lights on the dangerous Barton Highway/William Slim Dr/Gundaroo Dr roundabout, but at last report, after a relatively smooth transition, had given it the thumbs up.

Sadly though for the reputation of the Capital the story went national.

img_6621

Marauding MAMILS (middle aged men in Lycra) and their attitude is an issue brewing to a head more powerful than an inexpertly tapped keg of the Braddon brew, and will explode soon if not approached in a cordial fashion.

The fair dinkum practitioners of the pedal in all their yellow/pink flexible splendour were targeted yet again last week in an article asking the question.. Why are Canberrans so unkind to cyclists?

Responses on social media, ranging from..”Canberrans are a loving, kindly people who delight in the social benefits of bike riding “….to..“I’m glad I have a Bullbar on my car” might suggest we have a long ride ahead.