Coked-up kitty

September 1, 2007

Sure, it’s not every day that you read about a cat high on cocaine having to go to the vets, but perhaps even more bizarre is the fact that the article reads like one of those blind items from a gossip column:

The vets and authors of the report, Dominic Barfield and Richard Malik, tried to take some blood but the party puss was in no mood to oblige.

“Party puss”???


The vets rang the owner’s wife, who admitted the cat could have licked “plates of cocaine”, which had been served at a dinner party two days earlier. A drug screen then revealed the cat also had benzodiazepines in its system.

This was not at some Hollywood soiree, mind you, nor was it at the ARIA awards, but simply in the quaint little suburb of Double Bay, Sydney.

Ah, who am I kidding? Double Bay is exactly where I’d expect to find a cocaine-fuelled feline…

Maybe my mind is in the gutter…

September 1, 2007

…but the first thought that popped into my head when looking at the graphic on this page was, “Yes, that’s certainly how you get ahead.”

The graphic is reproduced below:

CareerOne Passion

Haneef: “sorry mate, about the incarceration and international slander..”

July 27, 2007

“INDIAN doctor Mohamed Haneef has been released after a terror charge against him was dropped, with the Commonwealth prosecutor admitting a mistake was made. “

Like many Australians I’ve been following this saga of the doctor, the sim card, the cousins, and the conveniently arriving baby. With what now seems to be an astonishing bit of wide-eyed trust on my part I have been thinking that surely Govco and all its secret agencies must know something.. something Very Big that we the plebs do not. Otherwise why would they keep this man incarcerated for 25 days? The sim card arrest was obviously a legal hat trick in order to extract more truth from the prisoner and the thousands of pages of documentation seized from his computer.

Apparently no more truth is forthcoming. The doctor can not be charged with having relatives connected to the UK bombing. He has already been punished enough for leaving his sim card in their flat. I wonder if the grocer the bombers shopped at who gave them a discount on buying bananas with brown bits will also be charged with offering financial aid to terrorists.

It is impossible to know from this side of the digital curtain how much of this scrupulousness was pursued to save face once the juicy stuff wasn’t immediately revealed. Had a terrorist connection been found the AFP’s fine tooth comb would have been a gilded wonder rather than the rake that hits the doofus in the forehead when he steps on it. It will be interesting to see what if any this mistake has on future arrests and investigations.

Mohamed Haneef can be thankful his fate was kinder than that of Jean Charles de Menesez, collateral damage in the war on terrorism.


Show Un-Cancelled by Nuts!

July 7, 2007


The TV show Jericho that got put on hiatus by CBS earlier this year has just been re-signed for another seven episodes.

This is a quote from as to the plot outline of Jericho:

“After a nuclear disaster caused by several terrorist attacks destroys most of America, residents of a small Kansas town must come to terms with a new and very different reality.”

So you are probably asking yourself “Un-Cancelled by Nuts” what is this crazy cracker on about?! Well I’ll stop you right there… have you heard that over 20,000 tons of nuts have been sent to CBS? NO?! Well I guess you feel fairly ridiculous now don’t you?!

/end rant

Anyway back on track… There was a story during Jericho in which a letter was sent to someone to strongly object to something and the only thing written was “NUTS” implying of course that the person was totally crazy.

So after ton after ton of nuts arrived at CBS and many letters of objection also arrived after letter of objection to the show being canned CBS decided to give Jericho another go!

Below is the letter to fans and others from CBS regarding the “Un-Cancelling”:

To the Fans of Jericho:


Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more “Jericho,” we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that “Jericho” will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences.

This includes re-broadcasting “Jericho” on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of “Jericho” in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.


Nina Tassler
President, CBS Entertainment

P.S. Please stop sending us nuts 🙂

Kate Miller-Heidke: Little Eve

June 28, 2007

Kate Miller-Heidke: Little EveKate Miller-Heidke’s debut LP, Little Eve, is exciting not because she’s a breath of fresh air amongst young Australian female singer-songwriters — she’s far too good to be boxed-in by such a label. Miller-Heidke’s strengths transcend geographical or gender-based categorisation: here is an artist who can fairly stand alongside her international contemporaries, both male and female, and not come up short. Indeed, she’s someone to get excited about because there’s an intelligence and quirkiness present that make her stand out amongst a sea of homogeneous pabulum.

Although Milller-Heidke has released several EP’s independently (and one EP with her new label, Sony BMG), Little Eve is the release that has announced her as a force to be reckoned with: a 45-minute long player with a major label behind it. And Sony BMG are clearly putting a lot of effort into her promotion, with Sunrise, for example, spotlighting her on at least two separate occasions.

The album itself is somehow thrilling yet reassuring at the same time. It’s easy to spot the singles — “Words” has already seen a single release, and “Mama” and “Little Adam” would be on my shortlist for future candidates — but tracks that may not leap out immediately begin to reveal themselves on subsequent listens. “Shoebox” and the lyrically playful “Ducks Don’t Need Satellites” have enough kick under the surface to stay with you and make you take notice the next time around.

The bonus CD on the special edition features a remix of “Apartments” (from her Circular Breathing EP), a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and a live acoustic cut of “Ducks Don’t Need Satellites”. But the highlight is a truly inspired live cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, with Miller-Heidke displaying her operatic vocal training in a tour de force of sheer eccentricity.

It would be a shame if Kate Miller-Heidke became yet another one hit wonder. She’s far too talented for such a fate, but it’s always a danger when an artist bursts onto the scene with such hype. Kate Bush survived “Wuthering Heights”, so why can’t Miller-Heidke survive “Words”? Little Eve has alerted the public to this new talent, but it will be the next LP that will be the real test. And for that we’ll just have to be patient.

Highly recommended.

A Current Australian Affair

June 25, 2007

Studies show that the Australian news media is 54% more likely to report medical studies linking the moderate consumption of alcohol to improved cardiovascular health than the news media of the United States or Canada. In the case of the moderate consumption of red wine boosting the antioxidant level in the bloodstream Australia is 23% more likely to report this in the news media than the United States or Canada. The lower rate may in part be a result of the antioxidant connection with the moderate consumption of red wine being a relatively new development in the study of the health benefits of alcohol. If the pattern followed by the news media in these three countries in regards to improved cardiovascular health and the moderate consumption of alcohol holds true for the antioxidant connection then once this becomes an accepted factlet in society at large reporting of subsequent studies will decrease in the United States and Canada while still being reported as breaking news in Australia. Projected outcomes suggest that in 10 years Australia will be 60% more likely to report that moderate consumption of red wine boosts antioxidant levels than the United States or Canada and 83% more likely to report the link between moderate consumption of alcohol and improved cardiovascular health.

Everybody sing and sway.. “I am, you are, we are Austraaaaaaaaalia..”



Stephen’s Secret Key to the Juvenile Reader Market

June 16, 2007

Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist and Simpsons guest star, has written a children’s novel with his daughter, Lucy Hawking. The book, entitled George’s Secret Key to the Universe, is (coincidentally) about “a boy named George who befriends a scientist and the scientist’s daughter.”

Here’s a sneak-peek at this exciting release:

George approached the large table with some trepidation. “Can I sit down here?” he enquired with a twitch of his nose.

“Yes, you can,” said the Scientist as he poured himself more tea. “The question is, may you?”

“In that case then,” restated George, “may I sit down here?”

“No room!” shouted the Scientist’s daughter.

“Nonsense,” said George. “There’s at least ten places set and you’re the only two sitting here!”

“Have some wine,” said the Scientist’s daughter, shaking a teacup at George.

“Why is the age of the universe finite if it has no single starting point?” asked the Scientist.

George surveyed the table, looking for the wine — any wine — but could find none.

“Imaginary time!” cried the Scientist’s daughter.

“I beg your pardon,” said George, “but I’m afraid none of this makes any sense.”

“Have a seat,” said the Scientist in between sips from his teacup. “Imaginary time is the time you have when you have no time. All in the head, you see. Why, I just had a holiday in Bermuda in between these two sentences, and a lovely 2i weeks it was, too.”

Breeding Morons

May 9, 2007

On this comments thread over at Pharyngula, things are getting heated about the idea that stupid people breed more often than smart people, based on an idea in old science-fiction story. The debate has drifted off into nature/nurture territory – although, really, it started there – but the topic is fairly interesting. (My comment is #21.) Careful with your toes, though; many are being stepped on.

Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet

April 30, 2007

Fear of a Blank PlanetIn the late ’60s and early ’70s, bands like King Crimson, Genesis and Yes were fusing disparate genres of music to create their own unique sound. The label “progressive rock” was eventually applied to the music of these bands, and despite it being a catch-all term for multi-genre rock, it eventually came to describe music with certain qualities (e.g. epic-length tracks, symphonic and/or jazz influences, virtuosity and soloing, whimsical and/or philosophic lyrics, etc.).

When the second- and third-generation progressive rock groups formed in the ’80s and ’90s (such as Marillion and Spock’s Beard, for example), they used the sound that had previously been associated with “prog” as their starting point, but largely abandoned the progressive spirit. Porcupine Tree, however, were different: Steven Wilson (the creative force behind the band) is interested in making good, intelligent music, not “progressive” music, and because of that, ironically, Porcupine Tree are at the forefront of the genre.

Their new album, Fear of a Blank Planet, is not a quantum leap for the band or progressive rock in general. What it is, however, is an excellent encapsulation of the styles explored by Wilson & co. over their career, all delivered in the form of a 50-minute concept album.

Wilson has always been in love with the album format, and even more so than most Porcupine Tree albums, Fear… feels like a unified whole. This is both its blessing and its curse, because (initially, at least) it simultaneously feels both too long and too short. There are no three-and-a-half minute songs here — the shortest track is 5:07 and the longest, the epic “Anesthetize”, clocks-in at almost 18 minutes, so nothing’s immediately digestible. On the other hand, with only six tracks all-told, you’re left with a feeling of “Is that it?”

Upon a first listen, the album feels overwhelming, like there’s too much to take in, but further spins reveal the details of production that keep drawing you back — the string arrangements in “My Ashes” and “Sleep Together” or the psychedelic keyboard textures scattered throughout the second half of the title track, for example. There’s so much going on here that, even after the 20th play, you’ll still be discovering new dimensions.

The music itself is difficult to describe adequately, but that’s the whole point. Blending elements of pop, metal, psychedelia, industrial, ambient and symphonic rock may start to give you an idea, but it’s really much more. This is some of the most beautiful music Porcupine Tree have produced, as well as some of the harshest. Guest appearances by Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Alex Lifeson (Rush) add some interest to the mix, but the cameos never detract or distract from the album, instead giving some variety to the sound.

The lyrics, while occasionally strained and awkward, see Wilson being much more pointed and acerbic than usual, seemingly channelling Roger Waters through Tony Banks. The theme can be summed up as the apathy of the iGeneration, and while not directly critical, Wilson’s observations on a generation numb to life are nonetheless generally bleak andcynical. Whether this will win over young listeners or alienate them is difficult to say, but it’s hard not to suspect that the irony will be lost on your average 15 year old. (Apparently, he was inspired by a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, which explains a lot, really.)

It’s far too early to call Fear of a Blank Planet a classic — ask me again in ten years time — but it’s sure to be one of the best albums of the year. Anyone who cares about good music deserves to hear it at least once.

Cocktails Join The Food Pyramid

April 20, 2007

Forget grains and forget protien: a new food group has joined these unhip kids on the health-food block.

US and Thai reserachers say that fruity cocktails should be classed as a health food because adding ethanol (as found in vodka, rum, tequila and other spirits) boosts the antioxidants in strawberries and blackberries. Apparently, any coloured fruit is made more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol.

So drink big people! You’re only making yourself healthier.

Full story, read here.