Friday, November 28, 2008

Distaster. Disaster. Disaster Narrowly Averted

Bad things come in threes, people with attention deficit disorder often say before they move on...


Firstly. With Mumbai under attack, Bombay Burning, two of my friends have had to cancel business trips at the last minute. Erectile pilosity of their napes, sensations of dissociation, unreality. Freaking scary, move that attack back one week and they would have been there, right amongst it. Matt particularly; he's had his share of disasters, thank you - he's a tsunami survivor.


Secondly. My trip to Thailand in 10 days is also in doubt now as BOTH airports are shut down.


And the third great story which was about to rock Singapore to its foundation was that the VOI was at a record low for a while there at E@LGHQ. A quick scan of two nearby Cold Storage facilities failed to uncover any of the yeasty delight. Bad. Why is the amount of Vegemite in my house exponentially proportional to the number of jars on the supermarket shelves?

Luckily Iz found some at that Expat food place under Orchard Towers. Where all the tastiest purchases are made.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lost On A Winding Road

The rest of the year is penciled in except for the exact details concerning the hours around New Years Eve. I'll be in Singapore is as much as I know at this point. If you want to see me in Singapore that's about the best chance of it.

I'm off to Chicago this Saturday and I'm back Sunday week. Monday after that I've got another conference at Hua Hin in Thailand (NTS: bring golf clubs) and I'm there until Saturday 13th. That means I might get back in time for Zouk-Out, the Singapore beach party slash dance-fest slash concert on Sentosa! Should I survive that, I fly down to Melbourne Sunday 14th, evening (the upgrade certificate just came through, excellent!) and I'm there until the 28th.

Yep, four days in Singapore in December.

There was only one week in Singapore for each of October and November, two weeks in September. No wonder I have no exercise and diet routine. Anyone want to rent my apartment?


I'm in the Dubai Emirates Terminal again running down the laptop's battery typing this as I listen to Powderfinger, the dreamy rock of Dream Days At The Hotel Existence which I haven't listened to for a few months, hence the blog post title - what a great album for romantic ruminating (caught up with an ex-gf while I was in Geelong last time and was just looking over her pictures in Facebook…)

Nobody knows how it feels today
Nobody sees how our hearts break

Sometime you do see it. Nuff said.


BTW, it was much less of a hassle tonight to find an empty cubicle in the toilets in the Emirates Lounge. Tuesday night is obviously not peak hour.


Had a great deal of fun destroying my shoulder tendons today. I was back at the Vets - I obliquely mentioned it in my Facebook comments. Horsey stuff.

There is an Arabian horse stud outside Kuwait city that is just starting to pick up its breeding program again after Saddam and his Iraqi soldiers killed all the horses that were there. Two Dutch vets have been working for just on a year and are getting the place back on track. Today they wanted to see if it was possible to do 3D of the foals in utero! Just for the heck of it.

We brought a machine in and, while the groom shaved some mares' bellies for us, I tried to set the expectations to an appropriate level - nice and low. I had to scan up under the mare: it was bloody tough to keep pushing the probe into the belly to keep contact. My rotator cuff is killing me.

Suffice to say the images were pretty crap, making the effort moot. It's hard enough to get good images reliably on a gravid human let alone a gramnivorous quadruped that wants to kick me in the balls first chance she gets (did I mention the ex-gf?). The first one was too pregnant - 7 months (gestation is 11 months) and the foal was too big to fit on the screen. The second I struggled with for ages only to find out she wasn't even pregnant.

Here's me scanning the third of the Arabian show ponies, only 4 months pregnant - not sure what the horse version of the niqab is for.

And here's the closest to what I could get of the foal's face with the 3D. This may be one of the first 3D pictures of a horse in the world, by the way… certainly it is the first I've ever done.

Yep, that's the eye. The side of the face is sort of coming towards us, on a bit of an angle but the tip of the snout is off screen in the front... trust me.

Battery terribly low. I'll explain the image further when I catch you later…


Friday, November 21, 2008

High Pressure

No, not my job, which is a cakewalk (for someone with my exceptional skills, charming personality and world-beating humility) but the tin of shaving cream they give you in the Business Class personal care-kit on Emirates.

Now if I had tried to BOARD the plane in Singapore with 50ml can of pressurized soap/foam, they would have had me shot, caned and shaved at dawn. But because THEY (Emirates) brought it on and distributed it, a pressurized can in the cabin is somehow magically OK?

What gives with the double standards?


Meanwhile I am the U-FECK meeting (I kid you not) in Kuwait, which is not to be confused with many of the FUCK-YOU meeting I've been to in the past.

BTW, that's the Update in Fetal Echo Conference, Kuwait. U-FECK.

There is a definitely a place for a training school for medical sonography somewhere here in the Middle East - the obstetricians and radiologists are generally very keen to learn how to improve their diagnostic techniques. In Kuwait they appear exceptionally keen. Why not here? It wouldn't takes that much to get enough enthusiastic students to get something going for a few years.

One of the Doctors I met here during the conference trained in Ultrasound in Melbourne and he knows all my buddies and colleagues and he has nothing but heaps of praise for the quality of these Australian sonographers as both scanners and as educators.

He even knows a good buddy in Australia who does this sort of School of Ultrasound thing and is struggling to get students (Australia is just too small). A step across the Indian Ocean and he might do very well, but of course he'd need someone to help him...

Someone who knows the area. Knows the local Doctors.

Of course a change to such a career would be an enormous step up in resposibility and workload, not necessarily for a huge amount of money. It really would be a high pressure job, and I have no formal educational experience other than giving a few (dozen) lectures and assessing some students for the DMU.

Mmm. Just vaguely thinking of a possible permutation of the life-agenda... (There's an agenda?)

Got to keep the options open.

As for the novel-writing by the beach option, despite a week in Hua Hin at a conference the week after I return from Chicago, I'm obviously not going to write a best-seller any time soon.


Been reading quite a bit about Borderline Personality Disorder. I think almost everyone I have ever met has got a touch of this. Some deal with it better than others. Some deal with pressure like me, calmly and with critical (pre-frontal cortical) rationality, some go totally fucking (limbic) weird.

One of my friends, a married lady who doted on me, said she thought I was fantastic, who praised me overly and embarrassingly, etc... had a contagiously sick maid (with TB - scrofula to be exact). Her immediate inital response was to say, "I want her out of here. She was never a friend. I want her gone!"

I was a bit shocked by this and I said I was rather disappointed in her attitude, said I thought she was more "enlightened".

But the time she had received my email, she had calmed down a lot and was treating the maid with great care and respect and giving her every assistance in her recuperation.

But when she replied to my email she blasted me, told me "to get off [my] high horse" and that she didn't want to talk to me ever again. Nevertheless I replied, and I tried to explain that I was only referring to her initial comments and that I thought she had done a great job after that - but it was too late. She IGNORED THE EXISTENCE of her first comments, the ones which had disturbed me, the words which had actually 'incriminated' her - and she continued on about the great things she was doing for the maid in recent weeks.

Ever since then I have been totally confused about her strange bipolar behaviour. Her other friends just shrugged when I told them, said that was "just the way she is." She had switched from thinking I was great to thinking I was a total arsehole while she, for all intents, denied having said the things which had caused me to question her in the first place. All she could think is that I was now the enemy.

Mood and opinion switch from Love to Hate, Denial of Evidence Obvious Error (Hitler would SCREAM if someone pointed out that he contradicted something he had earlier stated, "ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR?")

What do you call that?

Borderline Personality Disorder.


Another person who seem to be in total denial of the facts is Market Deregulator Supremo, Phil Gramm [no grelation]. In the recent NYT article he just shrugged off the blame for the current worldwide financial fuck-up.

In two recent interviews, Mr. Gramm described the current turmoil as “an incredible trauma,” but said he was proud of his record.

He blamed others for the crisis: Democrats who dropped barriers to borrowing in order to promote homeownership; what he once termed “predatory borrowers” who took out mortgages they could not afford; banks that took on too much risk; and large financial institutions that did not set aside enough capital to cover their bad bets.
But looser regulation played virtually no role, he argued, saying that is simply an emerging myth.

“There is this idea afloat that if you had more regulation you would have fewer mistakes,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence in our history or anybody else’s to substantiate it.” He added, “The markets have worked better than you might have thought.” (My emphasis)

No, of course you don't see any evidence because you are in the total self-defence, in the purely limbic mode of emotional denial of a Machiavallian narcissist!

Don't guess, let me tell you.

Borderline Personality Disorder.

Stalin, Hilter, Mao - BPD. Those fuckers at Enron - BPD. The idiots in the major banks - BPD. My English teacher at high school - BPD. Most of my family - BPD.

Me - did you say ME? I'm perfectly fucking NORMAL, arsehole!


(My god, the PRESSURE!)

You're all right off my Christmas Card List, muthafuckas...


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emirates Stumbles, E@L Falls

Several things about Emirates Business Class.

Their new "lie flat"(ish) seats are WAY too freaking narrow. I was on the aisle on the far side, seat J. The separation between the seats is so total you'd need a visa to get to the window seat beside me. It must be 8-10 inches thick. A great lumpy electronic control thing sticks up where your right elbow would like to rest. In fact there is nowhere to put your inner arm, all that dividing thing does is take up the space where you arm should be. The guy beside me (Window seat? Visa please!) had the same trouble. Like me, he kept fidgeting, putting his elbow first up on the electronic thing, then down across his chest. You'd think in Business Class you wouldn't have to sit with your arms crossed.

Now the Singapore Airlines Business Class seat is something else, right! It's a marvel, so wide there is nowhere to REST you arm. So you stuff an extra pillow there as a cushion. Now, THAT is no problem, but to cramp you up like you were in Economy defeats the purpose of paying for BC, doesn't it? [Addendum: just thinking further. Every guy in the Middle East is huge, right? like MAMMOTH, and yet the Emirates business class seats are so freaking small, whereas you could fit three Singaporean guys into one seat on SIA and still have room for a char kway teoh stall.]

The Emirates seat does lie pretty flat, or seems to, as the foot-rest comes up higher than the old SIA or Cathay "flat" seats, which made you slide inexorably to the floor. I slept well, but it had to be on my side. My shoulders wouldn’t fit in if I was flat on my back, no way. Things jabbed into my arms. Plus I snore when I'm on my back.

Food? No idea. Slept through it.

And why do people insist on bringing on-board their obviously over-size bags? It fucking pisses me off to watch the stewards shuffling my bag around to fit some lazy bastard's SUITCASE into the overhead lockers. Everyone is looking around for places and spaces: they came on late, of course there's nowhere left! Check 'em in, you dicks!


Several things at Dubai Airport, the new Terminal 3, exclusive to Emirates.

There are too many people flying Emirates, either that or this new terminal is too small. It was 6:30am and it was freaking packed solid. People coming at you from every which way - as bad as the Carrefour at Plaza Singapura, as Causeway Bay shopping district in HK, like Burke St (as we used to say in Melbourne). The opposite of that vast empty cavern at Changi's Terminal 3. The size is OK, it is built to human dimensions, unlike Changi which was designed for a race of giants, but it is just too crowded.

Even the Business Class Lounge was full! Chock-a-blok! You had to queue to get in. No seats. There are four sets of toilets at the extreme corners of the very large lounge. In each of the Mens are two urinals and three cubicles. All four toilets areas had queues for the cubicles. Everyone guy in the queue was complaining, they had all walked the loop and checked the other three toilets already as I had also done, but they didn't all have aching fucking feet like me.

Food looked good as I walked past the bain-maries, but after 30 minutes to get into a toilet, and there being nowhere to sit, I had no time left to sample anything. I went down and took a Starbucks Frapaccino and a muffin onto the plane with me.


Several things at Kuwait Airport.

Firstly, after I had waited 50mins in another queue to get a Visa on Arrival, the guy at the visa control said "6 D". Six Dinar. I gave him USD$40 and received KWD2 from a battered square blue tin at his side as change. Can you do the math? One Dinar is worth USD$5. He passed my passport and visa form to some other guy and motioned me to follow it along the counter. No problem yet.

"Did I give you receipt?" he asked.

Maybe because I had already started to move on to the end of the counter to watch the other guy place the 3 stamps (adhesive, like postage stamps) on my papers and then stamp them twice (with an ink-stamp) and my passport once, maybe he figured I wasn't too bright. (This idiot moved off without his receipt, hor hor! He's ripe for a little subtle baksheesh!)

He wrote out a receipt, and I picked it up as I walked away. It said: 3 Dinar. Three.

HEY! WTF! I just got ripped off $15 bucks! Fuck that, MY COMPANY just got ripped off USD$15, because I'm putting in a claim for $30!

Secondly, still fuming, I came to the Baggage area and …

No bag.


No. Freaking. Bag.

Two guys with the last of the bags from Dubai on trolleys pointed me towards the Lost Luggage counter.

"Ah, Mr Expat! Your bag, thir. Have call from Dubai. Ees still in Dubai airport, thir, no have time for the change flight, thir," said the tiny lady behind the counter in a lilting Philippino accent.

All my meds. All my pool and beach clothes! Today is the only free day I've got to sample the delights of the deep blue, unpolluted (I hope) waters of the Arabian Gulf. Conference starts tomorrow. I've never swum in this sea before - it's one of my secret list things, to swim in as many differently named oceans and seas as I can. Shit.


"The nexth flight is 4 o'clock, thir. We will send you hotel, no problem, thir."

Hell, yes there's a problem, Ascenciona or whatever your name is, I'm gonna have to sit around in these fart bloated clothes for another eight hours and blog and whinge about everything I can think of, instead of going for a swim in the fucking Arabian Gulf!

Oh, how I wish I'd brought my luggage on board with me! What a dick!


[p.s. Here in Kuwait the line across the top of the Blogger page is in Arabic, so I had to use trial and error to work out how to log-in!]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Quiting My Day Job

...despite them sending me to Kuwait for a week. OK, so it's a BusinessClass flight on Emirates, not going to complain about that! But a) the flight leaves at 2:50AM - in the freaking morning! - and b) the schedule promises a tough 9am till 8pm most days, not counting pick-up, drive time etc... And then there's all that wide-ranging Kuwati food, which may or may not involve ten of tonnes of overcooked goat and/or lamb (who cares after day 3?) without any sauce, gravy or jus. Or even Nanna's Christmas Pickles [reminder to self - sneak in some Vegemite, for the breakfast toast].

And in my spare time, I'll work on my novel.

Actually in my spare time, I think I'll lie by the hotel pool and read about how to write a novel, as I normally do.


Two days after I come back, I'm off to RSNA in Chicago again. Jazz, blues, great food and freezing cold weather. No time to work on the novel there either.

So, no, I'm not thinking of giving up my day job any time at all.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Old Man Pisses Himself, Blames Meds

The combination of Cymbalta and Tramadol, while not making me as crazy as the Effexor did with Tramadol, still have a similar strangling and numbing effect on my prostate. I have been back on the Tramadol at the insistence of my neurologist, who thinks I was mistaken about the Serotonin Syndrome. The prostate issue is a bloody nuisance. I really cannot judge the sensation of pissing. It is quite weird. And embarrassing.

I was in the loo for a "quick" slash while everyone was waiting for me at the lift to go for lunch. Dum-de dum dum… Waiting, listening for a tinkle, eventually getting one, letting it gravity feed away… Slowly, no power, pushing doesn't help. Just waiting, as it dribbles away. This is terrible! Only one more month on this drug, I swear that's all, that's enough.…

Thinking I'd finished, I gave the shrunken python a shake or two. Then once more just in case. Then I let hang to drain a bit more. Pause. Then another shake-shake. Pause. Then, confident it was all over with, I zipped up… just a fraction early it seemed. As I turned away from the urinal I caught my reflection in the large mirror - the inner part right leg of my trousers was soaked with a salami-sized stain, nearly down to my knee.


I tried to sneak back to the office but everyone caught me - "Hey, where you going?" I was half turned away, crouching over to try and hide the immense wet-spot, sneaking off like some kypho-scoliotic bell-ringer. "Trouble!" I cried back. "Catch you later…"

"Don’t worry," said the cute new girl who managed to espy my problem, "is very raining, people cannot tell."

"Ha, ha, it's raining all right. Down my leg. It's OK, you guys go…" I said.




My wet thigh.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dunkeln Und Licht

Further on the Darkness and Light motif in

Image of The White Tiger

-- the often elipsed last verse of Mac The Knife


Denn die einen sind im Dunkeln
Und die andern sind im Licht
Und man siehet die im Lichte
Die im Dunkeln sieht man nicht

English translation:

There are some who are in darkness
And the others are in light
And you see the ones in brightness
Those in darkness drop from sight

(from Mystic Bourgeoisie)


On a related note, Danny Boyle's new movie Slumdog Millionaire seems to want to put forward the rosy side of having to shit on the street along with 750 million others.


Believe Me When I tell You...

O my god, find out what Americans believe. Angels, up 6 points. Heaven, up 5 points.

Then go here for some humanity/sanity.


Queensland Police To Get Instruction In Suspect Control From Victorian Police

After a "slightly built" (only slightly? what if she had been completely built?) 16 year old girl was held down by Brisbane police and tasered on the thigh (the UPPER thigh?), sources close to E@LGHQ have posited that the Queensland Commissioner will be seeking opinions from the Victorian Police in the correct method of dealing with suspects and those whose mere presence is inimical to the carrying out of their Policical duties.

Victorian Cops have long eschewed the taser as a means of suspect control. As Constable 'Dog' Brutforz said, "Taser's are fun, but if you want to make an impression on a recalcitrant or upset child or criminal caught in the act, there's nothing like a few rounds from a semi-automatic pistol.

"Man, the re-coil from a semi-auto, it makes me semi-rigid..." on the phone to E@L about a sudden death in the family, 'Dog' over-elaborated. "Not even tasering young girls on the upper thigh does it for me anymore, fun as that can be at the Christmas party. We in the VP have a terrific history of getting the message across to organized crime, to the mentally unstable and to pretty damn near anyone walking or loitering nearby to a copper, such as your nephew was at that kindergarten school crossing, a message that such suspicious or anti-social behaviour won't be tolerated," 'Dog' continued.

"You know, in the last 20 years we have killed more people than all of the other State Police combined. Even Neddy Smiff was scared of us, mate. The Queensland force needs to talk to us. So cheer up cobber, me and lads is having a whip round for what-is-name, your nephew. Oh and would you mind telling you sister-in-law about this cock-up for me, would ya? I'm a wuss when it comes to emotional women. It's you tell her, or I shoot you, too. Cheers."


(No actual relatives were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back Online - White Tiger

The iMac has been reformatted and lots of stuff reloaded. iPhoto still crashes, but what the fuck. I'll BitTorrent Aperture at some stage.

Sort of missed today. Was it nice outside? Loading stuff, downloading movies - watched Cloverfield (good idea, Godzilla meets Before Sunset), Tropic Thunder (hilarious!) - and I finished "White Tiger", Aravand Ariga'a Booker Prize winner.

Hands up if you think this is another magic-realism Merchant-Ivory-Rushdie romance? WRONG!


Think of this shoe shop...

Then think of one of the guys under the table working to make those shoes.

I'm going to ask you to stretch your imagination - to Aravind Adiga's lengths. Imagine that one of these shoemakers has written a novel about how he extricates himself from such an impossibly exploitative situation and made it as "an entrepreneur" in Bangalore.

White Tiger is not about a shoemaker of course, I just happen to have these pics, but rather, it 'written' by a tea-maker, a clever young boy in "the Darkness" of the slum world of northern India. Balram Halwai (called Munna, "boy", until a name is needed at school) eventually eavesdrops his way of this, using information he picks up by being practically invisible to the other wealthier classes, to become the driver for a rich family. Here in "the Light" of the rich world, his sense of injustice grows until he commits a horrific crime in order "not to end up in a mound of indistinguishable bodies that will rot in the black mud of Mother Ganga." It is the only way he can see to get out - a line of poetry echoes in his mind, ironically it is the only poem he knows: ""you were looking for the key for years, but the door was always open."

The conversational tone (I say it is 'written' not narrated, because the format is that of an extended letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiaboa!) is captivating and easy to read but the themes and the reality depicted are extremely hard-hitting (or least would be if you thought India was all shagging the sadhus at the 5-star ashram, lovely colored saris and smoking good pot in Goa).

This is about the India that flashes past the tinted window of your Mercedes limousine, it's about the India I see in the clinics and hospitals. Desperately poor people chronically trapped by corruption that runs so deep it has become the supportive skeleton of the country. All I have seen improve in 10 years that I have been going there is the quality of the rich people's cars.

" drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality..."

But it does have entrepreneurs... and democracy!

And murderers.

And great novelists.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Techno-Death at E@L-GHQ

Yep, I've killed the iMac!

Back in town for 3 hours, with the computer 6 days out of warranty [Addendum: sorry that was tech support - warranty is still OK], E@L decided to network his laptop and desktop and the iMac.

He had just got the laptop to read the iMac's USB disk's folders - sharing the parent disk wasn't enough of course - when the whirling rainbow "WAIT" thingie came up.

And it stayed up, whirling.

And up it stayed. Still whirling, still rainbow.

So, fuck it, E@L presses the OFF button at the back of the monitor for five seconds.

Reboot: Now the mothafucka is stuck on the grey apple logo with the whirling grey flower-petal thing. It's still whirling. E@L powers off. Goes to dinner. Goes shopping for groceries*, comes home and boots up. Still whirling.

He's back onto the old PC - running flawlessly after a rest of several weeks - writing up yet another technological gadgetry failure in Chez E@L. Sigh. It is so fucking predictable.

Yes, I tried putting in the MacOS-X install disk; no luck. So much for sorting it out at home, delving into the innards (the PC still lacks one sidepanel and four screws on the other panel), elbow-deep in ribbon cables and ROM chips...

He will try the traditional Apple way of fixing computer crashes: taking it back to the dealer.

Looks like you'll catch E@L in Wheelock Place tomorrow, cadging for a refund...


* You'd think the flat-mate, a grown woman, could buy some essentials while he was away, like replacement for the chocolate she keeps thieving at least! (Yes, cracks starting to appear in this otherwise blissful relationship! Just kidding - one more session in the sauna and I'll be dropping the rent...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Attack Of The Killer Lounge Bands

Aiyah, my ears!

Made the big mistake of trying to sit and read my book in the bar-lounge of the Sheraton here in Subang Jaya (satellite town of Kuala Lumpur) this evening after dinner. They had a band... Merve and The MagicTones have nothing on this crew.

Yoodermeeahebratheen! Dasweedersowdedakasi, orbey! Orbey!

Is there some special school where they go to learn to slur like that? To pitch it all up their sinuses? To change the vowels sounds around randomly so that "A" become "O", "E" becomes "Aiyah!". To drop the last syllable of every word?

The skinny, toneless, but cute-because-she-IS-skinny girl had nearly finished some song or other before I recognised it as "Complicated" - the song, not the arrangment. Eo cal' ni' ennirsto' or wer'. I thought it was a Gaelic call to arms sung through an amplified pile of dirty laundry.

And hey, you, the muthafucka on the all-instruments-in-one "organ"! Turn the fucking volume volume down, the feedback is crystalizing the alcohol out of my brain!

I'm so outta here!


The book, by the way is The Other God - a history of dualism in ancient religions. You know, the Devil as an equal to God rather than merely a fallen angel, or as duelling twins, Demiurge and Absent God, Osiris and Seth, etc... It is a tad dry, like most non-fiction from 15 or so years ago, but still fascinating.

There is one myth that is was Jesus who got Eve pregnant and was the father of Cain! Another where God and the Devil were black ducks flying over the waters, diving into the depths to bring up sand and so create the dry land.

Amazingly deep learning is evident. I won't remember a word once I close the last page I am sure, but it is really has me for the moment.


There is no anti-Catholic like an ex-Catholic, as they say. Or was that 'smoker'?


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Social Demon

Please do not go here (4th Oct Halloween Party) and scroll through a few pages expecting to see elegant photos of E@L and Izzy and a really tall dude in a hat partying at a recent SOL beer function at Velvet Underground.

Well OK see if I care if you do. Certainly not elegant anyway. Keep looking, there's another few later on. BTW, I get no money for this.

Not sponsored as it says on the right there.

This was the place where they refused to let me in because I was wearing a) 3/4 shorts and b) CLOSED TOE sandals. I had to buy $5 socks from the surly lady at the coat-check counter to cover the peekie-boo bits of my feet, and let my strides hang a little bit lower.

Aiyah, that's right, whatever, it was free beer lah!


p.s. three cheers for President Elect Obama! Anyone but McCain and Palin!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Chocolate & The GFC

Discussion on the general nature of the financial crisis in the course of a dinner in celebration of E@L's mother's birthday was diverted by the mention of The Coogee Bay Hotel incident.

E@L might have missed this, as might you, our eyes turned t'ward things of higher import but for the diligence of No1 son who mentioned it in passing as the dessert was served.

The chef apparently got pissed off at some customers and, in an inspired comment on the role of critics in society, took a dump on the plate of their ice-cream.

Discussion on this disgusting and hilariously anti-epicurian episode then devolved back into further evaluation of what had been actually been happening on Wall St.

Sooo..... There was this pile of shit on someone's dessert plate when they had ordered the Belgian chocolate.

Then there were these companies which sold genuine Belgian chocolate. They had made historically reliable fortunes, bringing solid money to discerning investors.

Smart people in these companies decided that there was a profit that could be made if they could sell the shit onto some other table before anyone tasted it. They estimated that they could make a quick profit if they could move the shit into someone else's dessert plate and then run off quickly, and that they new customer would, or could, indeed should, do the same. Sort of like a game of hot potato.

They bought the shit and repackaged it.

They thought they could make even more money in a deregulated restaurant environment. No taste checks, just sell, sell, sell. Cut and run, greed is good, profit motive, and that core philosophical dictum that guides the deep essence of true capitalism, Barnum's Dictum: There's a shit-sucker born every minute.

These smart money-makers started mixing small pieces of shit into some of the Belgian chocolate and they got away with it. No-one tasted it before they sold it on. Thanks to Alan Greenshit there were no regulations anymore, they could do what they wanted. They mixed in more amounts of shit into more types of Belgian chocolate. They sold it on again. They employed contractors to mix the chocolate and the shit and they had no way to keep track of the mix and which chocolates were clean… Soon all was various mixes of shit and chocolate. Prices and risks were stratified according to the presumed ratio of Belgian Chocolate and shit. It was a brilliant idea, fortunes were made left and right...

But you know what? Belgian chocolate mixed with even the teeniest, eensiest, weensiest little bit of shit still tastes a lot more like shit than it does chocolate...

So when someone thought they'd try a taste of that expensive Belgian chocolate...

It was... Erghhh… Caarckk!... Ptoowie! ...

The world of suckers and their shit for chocolate schemes imploded, taking both scat lovers and Belgian chocolate lovers down with it.

And we are a wiser world for this, just as we were after the Crash of '29.


Luckily, there was one man who stood alone, one man who had converted his [meagre] investments into cash (but into Aussie dollars , do'h!)… that man was...


Feet Update

Still sore, not quite as bad for a while there, but they hit me (as it were) on the plane home last night. New meds, new shoes, new orthotics. Which is helping, which is hindering?

I am skipping the Tramadol while I take the Cymbalta to avoid Serotonin Syndrome, which I am sure is what I suffered last time. This means I actually am currently taking nothing for pain relief as such, which makes evaluation of the Cymbalta hard to gauge objectively. Would they be hurting even less one wonders... well fucking obviously they would, that's why they're called painkillers!

Oh well brunch-time, then to the Singapore Cricket 7s. Maybe beer can be used as an anaesthetic...


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