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Showing posts from March, 2007

Join The Far Queue

We used to queue in Australia. So much so that the title for this blog entry is actually the punch-line for an Aussie joke. Its where the shop assistant tells you to go when it’s really busy and he or she can’t possibly help you.

These days we’re American so we get in line, but indulge me for the duration of this blog (like you usually do). It will always be referred to as queuing on these pages.

I went to the supermarket this afternoon to gather supplies for La Weekend. Just across the road we have a brand new and poorly designed shopping area, where the queues curl around the aisles and everyone gets in the way of everyone else.

I waited patiently in the multi-checkout 10 Items or Fewer* queue. There were three possible checker-outerers; it was a spin of the roulette wheel. I had no control over who I would get.

So, would it be Tess, the smart-aleck Emo chick with a tiny metallic skull on the choker around her neck; like a cat’s bell? She would process my groceries quickly. Or would …

New Toaster! New Toaster!

Hi Bostwickians,

Barry Bostwick*, Hollywood Legend here. A little tired of all this coyness on behalf of Mr Trivia about whether I am him or he is me. As my old buddy Pete Fonda used to say, “Just swallow the damn thing and we’ll work it out as we go along.”

What’s got the Bost-meister so jazzed this a.m.? Why my new toaster. Its part of the Sunbeam CafĂ© series – it’s a two slot TA9200 – and it even has a high lift lever for those times that muffins or crumpets break off in the toaster body. No more scrabbling, no more reaching for that fork and wondering if you can be bothered switching off the power or will you play “voltage chicken” just one more time?

This toaster is built of stainless steel and has simple controls, but solid press-able buttons and switches. It reminds me of the kind of heavy duty kitchen equipment my Uncle Harry used to have in his diner. We used to visit Harry and Aunty Nell in Boston back in the early 1960s. I used to watch him polishing all that chrome, glass …

Making A List

Zeitgeisters,

I’ve embarked on yet another verbal quest. This time, I’m focussing on lists. Have you noticed that when asked to give a report on the variety and number of ‘things’ that we have seen or experienced and these are greater in number than we can accurately relate, then we usually attempt to give highlights and then fall back on a vague statement of multiplicity.

For example:

Q. How many different items do Mitre 10 hardware stores stock?
A. Well, there’s roofing nails, fuse wire, rubbish bins, house paint – and so on.

Or perhaps:

Q. How many times have you been disappointed by the Australian Labor Party?

A. Well, they started the HECS scheme, there’s their bulldust uranium policy, their privatisation of formerly public owned utilities, Keating’s hubris, Beazley’s passivity and now Kevin Rudd’s crap about my taxes continuing to go to private schools. You name it.

The set up is always similar. An attempt to enumerate the range of items and then the statement suggesting there is so mu…

In My Day...

Yes Zeitgeisters,

Be wary of any old geezer who starts a sentence with those dread words: “In my day…” If you are younger than the In-My-Dayer, then you may feel a little resentful, as Your Day – also known as The Present – is not yours by choice. Its difficult to feel that what comes after those three dangerous words is anything but a thinly-disguised attempt to elevate The Past at the expense of The Present.

And so it is with my next piece of rant-age. Youngsters, feel free to leave the room or at least turn your backs in disgust. I’m Mr Trivia and I will be your Old Geezer this evening.

One has accepted that popular music, the charts, the Billboard Top 100 and what-have-you are indicators of very little other than the most promoted acts and artists the record companies want to push. It was ever thus.

So where are headed with this Mr Triv?, I hear you ask. Well, Peaches in is the country apparently, and she is programming tonight’s edition of RAGE (free to air music videos on Austral…

Celebrating The Brother AX-10

Zeitgeisters,

Many moons ago, I used to write on a Brother AX-10 typewriter that my parents bought for me for on one of my birthdays. This goes into my Top Five List of Greatest Gifts That I Ever Received (Childhood/Adolescent Division).

The Brother AX-10 was awesome because it could - get this - erase about a sentence and a half with this miracle dry 'white-out' ribbon. For those of you raised exclusively on computers, this meant 'no cut and paste'. I know. It was scary. Writing that one hardcopy while sabre-toothed tigers prowled outside the cave, was quite the ordeal.

My AX-10 was grey, I think the photo above is the American model. Anyhow, I'd like to Celebrate this old piece o' tech from a bygone era, because I thought it was great at the time and I wrote a lot of stuff on the one I owned.

Thanks Mum and Dad

Mr Trivia

P.S. Tech-Geeks if the above is not an AX-10. Let me know, please.

Mash Up

Zeitgeisters,

Here's a pic of the DYNASTY cast reunion from April 2006. I believe they reunited for this photograph, but didn't tape a special - DYNASTY RELOADED or somesuch.

For those of you who might not remember the show, it was set in the Korean War and focussed on the activities of a moblie army surgical hospital. The series followed the lives of the medical staff who used humour to help them through their grim task - patching up young soldiers who were injured on the front-line. This tragic-comic half-hour broke new ground in American network television and the final episode - "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" in which the characters of Krystle and Alexis played by Linda Evans and Joan Collins respectively, fought and fell into a swimming pool, remains the highest rated episode of a night-time soap opera in US television history.

Some confuse this show with MASH, a vapid hour-long sitcom which detailed the lives of the super rich Colby and Carrington families. The f…

For Your Consideration #1

Zeitgesiters,
Oscar Buzz doesn't just happen. As Peter Biskind was keen to tell us in his book Down and Dirty Pictures, often-times one, or one's studio has to manufacture it.

We here at Mr Trivia's Tract, would like to get the ball rolling to see if we can influence The Zeitgeist enough, so that a candidate of our choosing can nab Oscar gold in 2008.

We will go over some names with you in the coming weeks to see if any one of them sounds - or more importantly feels - like a winner. We don't want to disperse our chi on this one, so we would like to propose concentrating on the Best Actress or Best Actor award.

This year these awards went to Hellen Mirren (The Queen) and Forest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland) respectively. Next year? Who knows? (See our 2007 Oscar recap)

For your consideration today is Seann William Scott (he of the superfluous letter 'n'), Seann is best known for playing the rather one-note and frankly unfunny role of Stifler in the Amer…

Lift The Ban!

Zeitgeisters,

Ban ki-Moon is the UN Secretary General. Did you know that? Award yourself 10 points if you did. If you didn’t, then you’re not alone. Mr Ban’s current profile is pathetic. Ban’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, worked the room, internationally speaking, like an absolute champ.

To be fair, Ban has only been in the Big Chair for the last two months, but time’s a-wasting. Ban ki-Moon The Brand is in crisis. It’s time for some solid thinking about a possible re-launch or at least a re-positioning of the Ban Man.

Look here and here for some Ban-data. Then look into your hearts to help make Ban a household name.

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

Is It Just Me #5

Is it just me, Zeitgeisters?

Or do some people spend an amazing amount of time at the drive-thru at McDonalds? (No need to get all Morgan Spurlock on me here, I am aware of the glaring flaw in my premise). I refer to the elapsed time between arriving at the window and looking at the menu until one makes one's order to the pissed-off adolescent in that charming glass booth.

What are people up to when they take seemingly two minutes to order? Maccas has a very brief menu. Isn't it more like a back-lit autocue, an illuminated palm card, a fluorescent aid to memory, rather than an actual menu? Are the members of the Two Minute Club looking at a wine list that I have overlooked? Or as one of my friends has suggested, Are they looking for something that SIMPLY ISN'T THERE?

Or Is it just me?

Elevate the Insignificant

Mr Trivia

Rental Accomodation Tip

Zeitgeisters,

My brother and I were geeking out to HEROES a couple of nights back. I hadn’t watched the series at all (we’re up to ep. 7 in Oz) and I was enjoying watching it unfold. It’s clearly a post-LOST series; an ensemble drama with a large cast that all have major plotlines and back-story, but to counter the major criticism of LOST, it pays out information more rapidly.

The thing that occurred to me was very minor, so naturally I will have to share. There was the obligatory scene where one of the good guys, Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), brings the cops back to an apartment that has a lot of suspicious stuff in it, that could help put them on the trail of his murdered father. And of course, by the time the police get there, the apartment has been cleaned out completely. Not a stick of furniture, not a filament of hair.

Thing is, in Australia, when you have to clean out the place you’ve rented, even if you have, say, a week to do it, and even if you’re really diligent bec…

Still The One

Zeitgeisters, When I see Eddie McGuire, I want to paraphrase SEINFELD and say, “Eddie You Magnificent Bastard!” For those who don’t know, Eddie is the sportcaster-turned-quiz-master,turned-Network-CEO, turned-quiz-master and still-CEO-of-Nine.

When he was anointed as Nine CEO thirteen months ago, it was a left-of-centre decision. A little like the way CJ Cregg went from Press Secretary to Chief of Staff on the WEST WING. (Yes, it all comes back to the WEST WING and CJ).

People in the know and many ordinary punters like ourselves, heaped derision on this way-out appointment. Were we expressing a secret communal wish? Were we really saying that we wanted Eddie to continue hosting WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, THE FOOTY SHOW and commentate Channel Nine’s AFL broadcasts? Perhaps.

Surprisingly, there were those who didn’t love the ubiquitous McGuire. “Eddie Everywhere” they dubbed him and it wasn’t a compliment. Others, churls to a man, suggested that McGuire couldn’t possibly commentate…

Whiskers On Kittens

Zeitgeisters,

As you know, we are nothing if not deep at Mr Trivia’s tract. When I am not pretending to be Barry Bostwick or playing Cat Stevens' hit Father and Son on my work computer to impress people with my sensitivity, I am making up lists of my favourite things.

Currently, these are my few of my Favourite Things…

1.Coffee
2.The Internet
3.My iPod
4.My digital camera
5.Democracy

Co-incidentally this turns out to be the same list as controversial ex-Western Australian Premier and lobbyist Brian Burke. Okay, democracy wasn’t on his list and his Motorola* phone was, but apart from that, the similarity is striking and merely fictional.

What, friend, would currently make it on your favourite things list?

Elevate The Insignificant

Mr Trivia

* Who knows what Burkie’s actual mobi of choice is?

Groovy Kind of Love

Hi Zeitgeisters,

You may recall "The Non-Ironic Use of Groovy" post. Responses were varied, but I think its an idea whose time has come. Again. And that's groovy not "groovy".



Here are some of the responses:

When I say groovy I have taken to saying it in earnest, so there's one for the records.
Steve


I think groovy is eligible for a resurgence... after all .... did 'cool' ever leave? I don't think so, or at least not in my time, cool has been happening since it happened.

Bring on the groovy I say - it's one of those nice sounding words like Google, Yahoo, Pay Pal, YouTube. In fact, I think Groovy will make a huge comeback to the point of being appropriated for use as the name of a multinational behemoth internet startup come world domination force. Then, alas, groovy will once again become about as cool as 'ibm'.
Evan


It’s a situational thing, it’s a personality thing.

You can get away with groovy on a face value level – I could actually …

Killer Trailer

Zeitgeisters,

Because I don’t know one game console from the other, and am not that interested in finding out the differences, the gaming world just passes me by. Sure, I know what a Nintendo Wii is, but I’m sure that even George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, knows one when hii sees it by now.

So even though this video trailer has been out for six months or more, I just saw the Gears of War, Xbox ad on the telly. Yep, it’s the Gary Jules’ cover of Tear for Fears’ Mad World brilliantly cut to game images. Not a single sound effect. It all rests on juxtaposing the delicateness of the song with the imminent violence of the pictures. Very clever

Sure, I could embed the YouTube video right here. But like I said above , Mr Trivia is old skool. So go here.

Elevate The Insignificant

Mr Trivia

Wonders In Wool

Shatner - "Stand A Little Less Between Me...And...The Sun".


Zeitgeisters,

We all love Aussie Wool. It makes fine sweaters, cardigans and jumpers as well as suits and other apparel that I have not bothered to research at this juncture. However, how many of us ever think of using it as a medium for art?

Witness William Shatner from Star Trek - The Wrath of Khan; Julie"The Bishop"Bishop MP, Federal Minsister for Education, Science and Training - as you've never seen them before; runner-up portraits in this weekend's Archibald Prize? They wish.

These two pictures may appear, at first glance, to be nothing more than photographic images altered with the Photoshop filter "dry brush". And yet, when I tell you that each of these is a hand-woven image using tens of thousands of strands of 100% Australian Wool, you might not believe me.

You might even call me a down-right liar, when I tell you that I made these in 2006, during the hundreds of hours that I tirele…

This Just In....

Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Julie Bishop calls him fine, but we think he's "dreamy".

Zeitgeisters, according to ABC on-line:
The Federal Government has appointed Ziggy Switkowski as the chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Mr Switkowski was appointed to the board of ANSTO in 2006 and headed up Prime Minister John Howard's task force into nuclear energy last year. The federal Science Minister, Julie Bishop*, has told Channel Nine that Cabinet approved the appointment on Friday. "He is a very fine Australian," she said. "He brings a great intellect and commitment to his work and I believe he will be an ideal choice to head up ANSTO as we move into this period of seriously discussing nuclear power as an alternative to coal." (emphasis added.)I dunno. Is there any alternative to coal that doesn't have the potential of dangerous side effects? Isn't this the kind of DUMB-ARSE THINKING that got us in this MESS…

Hell No, We Won't Glow

Zeitgeisters,

I may have given the impression on one or two occasions that this blog is something of a love letter to that d*cksnap John Howard, the current Prime Minister of Australia (aka Terra Australis, the Wide Brown Land, Down Under et al.) And if so, I really haven’t been doing my job.

However, because having a go at the pollies is really the job of crikey.com.au I am usually content to concentrate on celeb’s hairstyles and reminding people that Barry Bostwick is awesome. Sometimes, Howard’s attitude to the electorate is so insulting that I gotta exercise my democratic right to have a go.

John Howard is being quite obtuse. That’s if you’re generous and not prone to conspiracy theories. Apparently he thinks using nuclear power is the answer to the nation’s ‘energy needs’ as well as the answer to global warming.

Climate-change-wise – Howard’s idea is a little like being trapped in a garage with a car engine running and pinning your hopes on a battery-powered electric fan to save you…

Shank's Pony

The South Perth Foreshore
Zeitgeisters,

I'm walking these days. Apparently it's healthy or something. Because I live in South Perth, I mostly walk along the Swan River foreshore. I'm enjoying it now. At first it was slightly humiliating being overtaken by octagenarian Chinese men who fought alongside Chiang Kai-Shek. But it's not about pride, is it?

I saw this sign as I tore through Sir James Mitchell Park at 2 ks per hour. I'm not a big fan of graffiti, but this entertained me. Polemical? Satirical? It says a lot more than a mere tag - and I appreciate anyone who can get my brain ticking over.


If you can't quite read it: "Once you've been with woman there is no going back!"