Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Rough Justice Continues

by Pamela Curr In May I wrote about three young men who were subject to arbitrary detention as a result of new legislation brought in May 2011 by Minister Bowen. [Rough justice for asylum seekers] I wrote about Babak (not … Continue reading

Pool brouhaha splashes at the shallow end

Olympic Rant #8 Dopey blasts dwarf win

‘YOU’RE a drug cheat.’
‘No you’re a drug cheat.’
‘You’re a druggie.’
Nah, you’re a druggie; nah, nah, nah.’
Back and forth across the Olympic the pool, the accusations fly like shuttlecocks; it is water badminton.
The latest design in shuttlecocks for water badminton
expected to be an Olympic sport in 2020 

Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye was the catalyst for the first of a barrage of snide remarks when she won the 400m individual medley. It should have been a fairy tale result as Ye easily swam her personal best and snatched a world record. But it turned into a fairy tale directed by Tim Burton as the dark news unfolded that the Chinese schoolgirl had swum a faster final 50m than Ryan Lochte who had won the men’s equivalent and relegated super swimmer Michael Phelps to a medal-less  fourth in the process.
At first no one quite yelled out Ye was a drug cheat: that would be against the Olympic spirit of these carping back-biting Games.
Lochte served up just a hint of suspicion as he told journos the American camp discussed it over dinner. ‘She’s fast,’ he told reporters, just in case any of the scribes had not noticed.
It was wise to help out the world’s media with an indisputable piece of copy. It was not only the swim which had the world’s media declaring there were two Shiwen.  Yes. I am not sure about the exact proportion but let’s say half the world’s media believe her name is Ye Shiwen. I am with the “Shiwen Ye” half because that is all she writes in the official Games website. For those wishing to argue the toss at your own dinner party, Ye is the family name.
Australian swimming commentator and former Olympic medallist Susie O’Neill was known as Madam Butterfly in her heyday. She was more Madam Math as she gave her opinion of the swim of Mademoiselle Ye. ‘Every time we see a good Chinese swimmer….there’s just that .0001 per cent at the back of mind.’
It might have been at the back of Madam Butterfly’s mind but it butterflew to the front of her lips.
The coyness of such remarks failed to impress a former Chinese swimming official who did not confucius with maths or dinner-party banter in returning the water shuttlecock.
Shanghai Chen was the head of the Chinese Olympic medical team in Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona. ‘America’s (Michael) Phelps broke seven world records! Is he normal?’ Dr Chen asked.
Before a journo could ask the sensible question ‘what’s your definition of normal’, Chen made it clear drug cheating was abnormal.
‘I suspect Phelps, but without evidence,’ he said. This sounded like the distillation of a conversation at a tea, rather than dinner, party. ‘I have to recognise that we should be grounded in facts,’
Dr Chen said.
That is how you engage in war of drug cheating without either side making an outright accusation against the other.
‘The Americans are very bad; they do a lot of evil,’ Dr Chen said  
Swimming pools are central to geopolitics: with the medico’s unsophisticated diagnosis, all became clear.
Congratulations Azerbaijan
Valentin Hristov, 18, won Olympic bronze for Azerbaijan in the clean and jerk 56-kg weight class) event.
In another upset, North Korea’s Om Yun Chol won the gold ahead of Chinese world champion Jingbiao Wu (or Wu Jingbiao, take your pick).
Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, watched the success of Bulgarian-born Hristov.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised the nation’s record on human rights: especially its treatment of homosexuals and the media.
All may not be forgiven but this journalist is glad to see a nation which is not a household name in the West take home a medal. We applaud you in the traditional manner.
Bernie Dowling July 31, 2012
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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

[Aboriginal News] Did you know that next week we will celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples? The day occurs on Thursday, 9 August, each year. I am trying to organise an event in Australia on that day … Continue reading

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A Map of the World that includes Utopia

Self Management Group Without idealism none of this would have happened. The strength of the SMG is that it confronted authority where it lies – face to face with the boss in the workplace and with teachers in schools. It … Continue reading

The Maltese Falcon

MANY of those familiar with the title The Maltese Falcon may be acquainted with the 1941 film noir rather than Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel published by Alfred A. Knopf.

There is a remarkable synergy between novel and film, perhaps without parallel in such translations.

Writer/ director John Huston wrote the script to closely follow the order of the novel, retained much of the dialogue and then filmed it in sequence.

He even persuaded the censors to let him keep the recurring motif of hard liquor. No objection was raised to the continual prop of hand-rolled cigarettes.

Huston self-censored to remove most of the key homosexual references in the novel but the character of Joel Cairo (played by Peter Lorre) would have left sophisticated viewers to clearly see the elephant in the room.

Many readers are disconsolate when a favourite novel is translated onto the screen.

In this case, seeing the film enhances the novel as the reader can have the authentic dialogue being voiced in their mind by actors Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Lorre, Mary Astor, Gladys George and Elisha Cook Jnr.

Although neither was a prolific writer, Hammett and Raymond Chandler, after him, were the fathers of the hard-boiled detective novels translated into 1940 film noir.

It may surprise some that both authors have been recognised as great writers, not just as doyens of their genre. I do not believe any of the current crop of superstars of the detective thriller will garner such recognition in the future. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Maltese Falcon 56th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Hammett and Chandler had similar histories which could partly explain their emergence as writers of edgy fiction. As young men in World War 1, both suffered debilitating injuries, the effects of which remained with them for the rest of their lives. They reached the peaks of their writing careers during the Great Depression of the 1930s which followed the decade of post-war licence hailed as the Roaring 20s.

The plot of The Maltese Falcon evolves from the murder of private detective Miles Archer, the business partner of the novel’s protagonist Samuel Spade. The story is written in the third person with virtually no interior monologues yet the reader identifies with the subjectivity of the flawed character of Sam Spade.

What makes this novel good are the spare style and the clipped dialogue – tougher than Chandler’s though not as funny.
What makes the novel great is the extraordinary way the author uses detailed character descriptions and dialogue to render the story without any back-up of interior reflection or self-justification. Spade’s moral ambiguity is a magnificent theme and device upon which to pin suspense.

The reader learns early on that Spade has been having an emotionless sexual affair with his dead partner’s wife, Iva. The shamus grumbles to his loyal secretary, Effie Perine, ‘I never know what to do or say to women except that way.’

Don’t go retro-reading that as some kind of prescient observation by Hammett on the male inability to commit. The author is merely laying the ground to prove Gutman’s assessment of Spade that we never know what he is going to do or say next.

Homosexuality is central to the novel though it does not have as many echoes of homophobia as it often does with Chandler.
Let’s start with the least clear-cut example of secretary, Effie Perine, who lives at home with her mother. Effie appears to have a woman crush on femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy, who, in the manner of the genre, has to be Spade’s love interest. As I say, the hint at lesbianism is subtle and possibly unintended, but look for the fascinating reactions of Perine in the last pages of the novel.

Joel Cairo is obviously homosexual as delightfully rendered in an exchange with the perhaps promiscuous O’Shaughnessy. (Cairo) ’Exactly, and shall we add the boy outside?’

‘Yes,’ she agreed and laughed. ‘Yes, unless he’s the one you had in Constantinople.’

Sudden blood mottled Cairo’s face. In a shrill enraged voice he cried: ’The one you couldn’t make.’…
The sinister urbane Casper Gutman has a daughter but he appears to be bi-sexual.

In the lengthy and wonderful denouement, at midnight, Spade unwillingly hosts Gutman, Cairo, O’Shaughnessy and the seemingly psychotic young gunman, Wilmer Cook, mostly referred to in the novel as “the boy”..

…’That daughter of yours (Gutman’s) has a nice belly,’ he (Spade) said, ‘too nice to be scratched up with pins.’ Gutman’s smile was affable if a bit oily.

The boy in the doorway took a short step forward, raising his pistol as far as his hip. Everybody in the room looked at him. In the dissimilar eyes with which Brigid O’Shaughnessy and Joel Cairo there was, oddly, something identically reproving. The boy blushed…

Hammett tells us, purely though actions and facial expressions, that O’Shaughnessy, Cairo and probably Gutman are jealous of the boy’s infatuation with Gutman’s daughter Rhea.

Besides killing people, that boy has been busy and mental derangement has not impaired his youthful sexual attractiveness.
If there is one flaw in this almost faultless novel it is the characterysation of Brigid O’Shaughnessy. While this has much to do with the structural imperative of mystery and suspense, O’Shaughnessy lacks the sensuality of Vivian Sternwood in Chandler’s The Big Sleep.

That quibble aside, The Maltese Falcon dispels the ignorant snobbish and vicious myth that a genre novel cannot be counted as great literature.

– Review by Bernie Dowling

Gooseberry Lays and Gunzels
CENSORS and censorship are often good for a laugh.
The Maltese Falcon first appeared serialised in the pulp fiction mag Black Mask.

Magazine editor Joseph Shaw was offended by vulgarity and he took exception to the term “goose-berry lay’’ in The Maltese Falcon.
…Then Spade asked (the boy) pleasantly: ‘How long have you been off the goose-berry lay, son?’

You could hardly blame puritanical editor Shaw; the phrase sounds scatological. However, it was a slang term for stealing clothes from a line to sell them with the culprit perhaps lying among gooseberry bushes before the theft.

One word Shaw had no objection to was gunzel. In fact the editor loved its use in the novel.

…’Keep that gunzel (the boy, again) away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him. I don’t like him. He makes me nervous.’

Shaw thought gunzel meant hired gun and a host of Hammett imitators used it in that sense.

Gunzel actually meant a boy or young man paid or kept for sex, a rent boy.

Both expressions gunzel and goose-berry lay survive in the latest editions of The Maltese Falcon.

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7 Shouts Google

http://books.google.com.au/books/about/7_Shouts.html?id=Hhc8bMEEzJIC&redir_esc=y
7 Shouts Amazon

 

How the West has lost

              Olympic Rant #7 More surprises than at a Tea Party Geography Quiz

UPSETS are the order of the first daze of the 2012 Games.
Super swimmer  Michael Phelps set the tone when he was unplaced in his first final, the 400m individual motley.
Some thought Michael Phelps swam in a dinner suit

Phelps made amends, of sorts when he able to rub his 17thOlympic medal, but it was only a silver  when the Americans were swum down by the French  in the freestyle relay.   The French? Sure we know they can speak incomprehensible philosophy under water but who knew they could move so fast on top of it. The favourites, the Aussies, came an unimpressive fourth.
In the sabre version of poking-holes-in-people, Hungarian Aron  Szilagyi, ranked only sixth in the world,won the gold.
The victory took those of us with long memories or fertile imaginations back to the glorious 1912 Summer Olympics  in Stockholm.
The 1912 Hungarian poking-holes-in-people team.

The final eight in the sabre poking-holes-in-people were seven Hungarians and one Italian.
Nedo Nadi really took it to the Hungarians and the plucky Italian finished sixth. Jeno Fuchs overcame ridicule, in primary school because of his name, to take the gold.
Jeno and his fellow six finalists as well as Aron, we salute you, although we leave  our sabres in their scabbard.

If these upsets keep up, they will feed the families of sundry academics for generations. Psychologists, social scientists, sports medicos, politico types  and economists will argue whether the upsets mean the decline of the West.
The Tea Party will blame Barack Obama who fixed the Games  to support an African nation. Most Tea Party members know where the country is because they saw a doco on Hungary Africa.
Bernie Dowling July 30, 2012
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How did these crooks get an ASIO Clearance?

“Lend Lease hit with $54m fine for fraud By Caroline Cummins Lend Lease has been penalised $US56 million ($A54.3 million) after admitting to fraud over a 10-year period, including over-billing and ignoring minority hiring mandates at New York landmarks, such … Continue reading

Shoot and Poke at the Olympics

Olympic rant *6 Asia tops the West 
They like to start the killing sports early at the Olympics.
China’s Siling Yi took gold in the 1om women’s air-rifle shooting-at-things and South Korean Jongoh Jin won the men’s 10m air-pistol shooting-at-things.
Jin wins shooting-at-things
Italian Elisa Di Francisca won gold in the women’s poking-holes-in-people individual foil.
A foil used in the sport of poking-holes-in-people

Italy was also successful in the team shooting-arrows-at-things. Michele Frangilli, Marco Galiazzo and Mauro Nespoli hugged and raised their hands in celebration after the final arrow from Frangilli beat the Americans 219-218 at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Frangilli shot the last arrow of the final for the Italians to win.
Not for profit broadcaster NPR proved it could mix it with all for profit jingoists such as Fox in Olympic coverage with this headline.

 Team USA Wins First Medals Of London 2012 Games
Of course, that is ITS first medals of the games not THE first. This misleading banner will not win the jingo gold but it put NPR on the early leader board.
The Australian team took the gold medal in the women’s 4X100m freestyle relay. NPR did not list the Aussie team or the Dutch who came second.  It did list the U.S. team which came third.
We need to play the Aussie National 2012 Games Anthem. This should not be confused with Advance Australia Fair.

The Aussies were Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger with Libby Trickett, Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla also winning gold after they swam in the heats.
China’s Yang Sun set an Olympic record in winning the 400m freestyle and Shiwen Ye won the 400m individual medley. English, American and Australian media are inverting the names to have, for example, Ye Shiwen winning gold, despite their accepted names being readily available on the Games website. As a journalist, I am no expert on the world’s nomenclature, buy would you noi go with the official Games website and blame them if it is wrong? WTF, they are only Chinese.
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the men’s cycling road race, with the favourite Mark Cavendish of the UK well beaten.
Alex puts a spoke in the UK wheel

The 38-year-old Vinokourov had a wonderful if unexpected triumph in his last year of racing. He survived a bad crash in last year’s Tour de France, breaking and broke his right femur.  The best he could do at this year’s your was a third in one stage.
Vinokourov began cycling in 1984 as an 11 year-old, competing within the former Soviet Union. He turned professional there in 1998.
Well done, that man on the bike.

Bernie Dowling July 29, 2012

Shoot off the mouth for gold

Olympic Rant #5 Barkingly mad start to the games
IT was a weird start to Games e competition with American super-swimmer Michael Phelps missing a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley won by teammate Ryan Lochte.
Lochte one, Phelps nil
Phelps described it as a “crappy race’’, presumably reflecting on his own performance rather than the collective effort of the finalists. Still, Phelps missed a medal in eloquence as well as in the pool.
It was hard to know what to make of the performance of senior sports scribe Barney Ronay after the first gold medal of the Games went to China’s Siling  Yi in the sport of shooting-at-things.  The sub-category was the 10m air rifle. Thank Mao; the 10m was not the calibre of the rifle but the distance from which you shoot at things.
On behalf of the guardian .co.uk, journo Ronay wrote, ‘China’s parpingly jaunty anthem was the first to be heard in triumph at London 2012.’ Parpingly? Really, Barney.
The obscure word “parping” seems to mean the sound made by a car horn.
Whether parpingly can be used successfully to modify “jaunty”, I just do not know. What I do know is the word appeared in the online guardian in Andrew Sparrow’s blog on June 16, 2012.
Boris Johnson has arrived in Cape Town to fly the flag for England’s 2018 World Cup bid (and) did give his views on the controversial vuvuzela, the horn blasted deafeningly by fans during every game of the South African World Cup.
Johnson said: ’Certainly the vuvuzela is a very very interesting device…..It’s a great way of expressing yourself in a loud, vehement, parping kind of way. … I think maybe that’s not the effect we’re going to want to see in 2012 [at the London Olympics].’
             
Was it coincidence that Barney Ronay revived the word parping(ly) or was it some sort of tribute to the barkingly mad Boris Johnson?  BTW, Johnson brought little to the lingual table in stating a horn had the sound of a horn and that sound is rarely jaunty.
Enough of this nonsense bring on that jaunty sound.

That anthem could have been written for a Chinese victory in the international sport of shooting at things. The lyric about China facing its greatest danger is a bit dodgy though.  This anthem is likely to be around for centuries so the message for the generations is be on a constant war footing. Grab your air rifle and be prepared.
 I am not sure tourists will flock to that new Great Wall if it is made of flesh and blood; could be a bit slippery. Perhaps I am being too literal.
It is heartening to see the Chinese lyrics pay homage to the French anthem La Marseillaise. The Chinese version has the good taste to ditch that French stuff about fearsome soldiers coming into our midst to cut the throats of your sons and consorts. It is something of a surprise France does not do better in shooting-at-things. I believe the reason is the French athletes try to sell their arms during the competition, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage during the shoot-offs for medals.
During shooting-at-things, athletes are encouraged to only fire at inert objects. Live pigeon shooting had its only appearance at the 1900 Paris Games. It did not take off.
Neither did the 21 pigeons Belgian Leon de Linden shot to win the gold. They do not call them pigeons for nothing, but even the IOC could see the ineffable killing the unflappable was a trifle off.
Crap is the word
CRAP is quick off the blocks in the competition for the golden word of the 2012 London Olympics.
Swim champ Michael Phelps missed a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley and described his performance as a crappy race. Tory MP Aidan Burley took to Twitter to describe the Opening ceremony as “leftie multicultural crap”.
You would have thought that phrase has few shades of meaning, far fewer than 50, but Burley said he was misunderstood. Unfortunately for public figures, the nature of Twitter makes it difficult to bleat the old stand-by of being taken out of context.  The MP then went on to make the bizarre claim the rappers did his head in.
‘We had all these rappers – that is what got me to the point about multiculturalism.’
Burley received little support from his Conservative colleagues. The Mad Mayor of London said it was nonsense, a subject on which Boris Johnson is an authority.
‘People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray,’ Johnson said. Why he had to tie-in Murray’s tears after losing the Wimbledon tennis final was anybody’s guess, if anybody wants to bother interpreting thoughts from the addled Mayoral mind.
Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself
Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!
The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?
It was left up to online readers to stick up for Burley.
This is from a reader of the Independent
johngoode  
Burley was right.
This was not an opening ceremony but an excuse by the liberal elite to pour more of their absurd and defeatist multi-cultural propaganda into the Olympics. Why Danny Boyle, for crying out loud.
Look, next time, why not just have an opening ceremony full of addicts and ravers at a disco and cut the attempts to present the distorted history lessons. Why bother with the athletes at all? This country has lost it.
Most Independent readers took the opposite view: 
Hilarious! An opening ceremony for an event featuring athletes from more than 200 nations, hosted by one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities on the planet branded “leftie multicultural crap”! Where does the Tory party get such prize turnips from? I know they don’t like their MPs to be too clever, but he really takes the gold for ignorance and boorish stupidity. Cameron should promote him to the Cabinet immediately- at least he’s honest about his racism, xenophobia and fascistic tendencies!
Bernie Dowling July 29, 2912
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Olympics in song

Olympic rant #4  OIC bans Bond

WHAT were they thinking. giving mad Irish film maker  Danny Boyle $42 million to stage the Opening Ceremony of the London? When the Big End of London goes for the cutting edge, it ends up bleeding badly.
Danny Boy, the Pistols are calling

The Scots bung on the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, and, of course, they are going to put on a Fringe Festival for comedians to ridicule the High and Mighty. Among the English.
(Do not  go down to the comments column to tell me I am an idiot because Boyle is English. You will lose the thread of my dissertation . I have no time to explain why Boyle is Irish so just take my word for it and we will move on.)
But the English should not have fringes, even on their foreheads. Yet Boris Johnson is the Official Games Madman and Boyle is the Fringe Games Madman.
Of course Boyle was going to include the Sex-Pistols’ God Save the Queen in the ceremony. It was only a snippet but Boyle knew we would all usain-bolt to our computers to play the whole damn thing.
The Queen was a good sport in allowing Boyle to put together the great-looking hokum with Her Maj, the Royal Corgis and James Bond. I believe Boyle has offered Elizabeth II a role in the sequel to Trainspotting. I was going to show the You Tube vid but the IOC spolsports tracked it down and banned it. You know how it goes.
This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright groundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube, Yair, we are too.
That vid brought out the republicans and the jingoes among the Youtubers who saw it before the IOC swooped.
good2btheking  commented ‘Thats (sic, commas and Capital Letters are optional for good2b) not fair, she had a parachute on! What a waste of my time.’
I guess the implication is, if China had Danny Boyle, Mao Tse-tung would have opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 
If we cannot watch the Queen/ Bondy/ corgi thing we will make do with another classic which Danny Boyle’s mob covered.
This is 4u, IOC



Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude, a song the former Beatle wrote though it was credited as being by Lennon-McCartney. I have no idea why Boyle did not have John Lennon performing beside McCartney. Hey Jude is a sweet song but not overly inspiring.

McCartney, could have chosen one of his songs which more reflected on modern Britain. You might correctly guess Lennon’s fingerprints are on some of the lyrics of the song McCartney should have sung.

Six young athletes lit the cauldron from a flame carried by five-time gold medallist, rower Steve Redgrave. In a thoughtful gesture, Redgrave’s guard of honour consisted of 500 men and women who built the Olympic Park, specifically for the London Olympics and Paralympics. After the Games are finished, it will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be used as a playground for her corgis.
The Arctic Monkeys covered the Beatles Come Together but the IOC says we are not allowed to watch the replay.  You know the drill:

oundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube.


Yes, it is a bit of a shame as we will not see a song with the title Come Together at the fiscally responsible Ayn Rand Olympics. (Read my previous blog. Or not.) The Arctic Monkeys did a version most faithful to the original. You can catch the sound of Youtube but, what the heck, we will play a cover  from a trio who should have been invited to perform at the London Games.
You cannot finish on a more inspirational note than that.
Enjoy the Games.!
Olympic shorts
Ducking for glory
THE archive of Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce was the top selling lot at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale held on July 25 in London. (See My Olympic rant #1)
The collection included the rower’s two Olympic Gold Medals, letters, photographs and posters.
It sold for £49,250 to an Australian buyer.  The winning bid was at the top end of Bonhham’s expectations
He buyer will be able to tell the story of Pearce’s heat at the 1928  Amsterdam Olympics. He stopped rowing during his heat to allow a group of ducks to cross the course. Pearce went  on to win by 20 lengths.
It would be good if the modern IOC could realise how fireworks terrorise wildlife and domestic parts. I know I am in the minority on this one but I would like to see fireworks replaced by laser light shows synchronised with popular music.
BIGGEST representation
The Cook Islands has the biggest number of national representatives.
Its eight athletes represent the nation at the rate of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants. The greedy nation the United Kingdom (England and those countries yet to win independence) has  a rate of  under 1 for every 100,000 people.
Half the nations  have fewer than 10 competitors, while six nations –  the US, UK, Russia, China, Germany and Australia. –   have  2,720 athletes or  a quarter of all the athletes in the games.


Meet you in Burkina Faso
A HUMBLING experience for Olympic spectators is the realisation that there are countries we have never heard. Be honest: how many of these countries  do you know something about: Andorra, Aruba, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mauritania, Myanmar, Suriname, Tuvalu.
Over the next fortnight, Olympic Rants will feature some of the athletes from these countries. The Olympics is a better way for countries such as these to make the headlines for reasons other than war and famine.
Bernie Dowling June 28, 2012
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Foco Nuevo in August

This gallery contains 7 photos.

DONNA SHEPHERD *** STOCKADE *** JUMPING FENCES Friday August 3 8.00 p.m. Kurilpa Hall 174 Boundary Street West End It has been great to have such a warm vibe at Foco this Winter, and this month should be no exception! … Continue reading

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QCU COMBINED UNIONS DELEGATES MEETING

This gallery contains 1 photos.

QCU COMBINED UNIONS DELEGATES MEETING Wednesday August 1 Level 2, TLC Building 16 Peel St South Brisbane 5.15pm for 5.30pm start – 6.15pm OR Live Webcast to your PC/ Smartphone/Tablet To join the webcast, go to the link below. http://stagingconnections.org/qcu-combined-delegatesContinue reading

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What does Sovereignty mean to you?

Intro for part 1: This is a Q&A that ANTAR, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, held on Monday July 16th on the topic of sovereignty. Maroochy Barambah welcomes the forum to country. The speakers are Lilla Watson, Sam Watson … Continue reading

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Celebrate Community by Resisting War – Peter Cosgrove in Brisbane

Last Monday night a group of about 15 Catholic workers and friends continued the resistance to General Peter Cosgrove’s appointment as Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. On the day of his appointment in 2010, we held vigils at St … Continue reading

Rand and rand the Olympic track

Olympic Ayn Rant # 3: The American Anthem

I AM a big fan of political and corporate leaders aligning themselves with arts and literature to the merriment of the general public.
London Louie B. Mayor Boris Johnson did a fine job of commissioning a modern version of the Olympic victory ode. In the spirit of the great producer-performers of the past, Johnson even recited the piece of doggerel himself. A world-wide audience laughed at the ode and its inevitable spoofs.
These delicious moments are far too rare, usually because of an over-educated junior, on the public or private patrol, who objects, ‘You can’t do that.’ Fortuitously, it is from one of these spoiler interventions that we are able to bring the American Games Anthem, as fresh as fresh as Daisy Duck, as thematic of the London 2012 international extravaganza.
American president-elect Ronald Reagan wanted this song performed at his 1981 inauguration. A junior fun-killer declared, ‘You can’t do that.’
Before the launch of the American National Anthem, we need to introduce the patron of the US team. It has to be Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand in training for the Mind Games

The Russian emigrant is a sublime example, of the United States immigrant made good, which has inspired generations of achievers on and off the sporting field.
Like many a heroic role model, dripping fame and wealth, Rand had to overcome adversity hiding beneath the rungs of the ladder of success. Indeed, her first visit to the US almost robbed that nation of the privilege of hosting one of the great philosophical minds of the 20the century.
In the autumn of 1925, Rand first stepped on American soil. Overcome by the splendour of the Manhattan skyline, she burst into tears. A New Yorker, thinking she was distressed, put a gentle hand on her shoulder and asked what was the matter.
Rand was a committed pacifist but she was confused and she kneed the stranger, Al Trooism, in the groin. Police interviews with the two parties would determine the future of Rand and the intellectual life of the United States.
The budding philosopher told the authorities Trooism’s interference dismayed her. ‘I did not want him trying to help me; his attempt at help made me nauseous,’ the police notebook read. For his part, Altrooism declined to lay charges.
Today, no one knows anything about Al Trooism, while many New Yorkers greatly admire the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
On a more practical note, I believe her patronage will give America a head start at the inaugural Ayn Rand Olympic Games, set to come in after the next Global Financial Crisis.
At the fiscally responsible Rand Olympics, all team sports will be eliminated. There will be no relay events and no such things and doubles and triples in the rowing. The atavistic Opening Ceremony, with its sickening coming together of previously noble individuals, will be canned.
Of course, the glorious closing ceremony will be spared but it will be much shortened. Before the gates are open to the public, all the athletes will have gathered in the centre of the stadium. In the unforgettable ceremony, the rabble will disperse into a line of heroic individual athletes. A blonde blue-eyed javelin throw will recite explanations of Rand’s political philosophy, known as fuckupal. The banjo, moonshine jig, chainsaw, rifle and Bible-bashing Tea Party Symphony orchestra will play excerpts from Wagner’s The Ring Cycle.
It will be the best Olympics the modern world has known.
After discussion of this future opus, it seems almost prosaic to introduce the American National London Olympics 2012 Anthem. Nonetheless be ready to upload this classic every time an American athlete wins a medal.

Little known Olympic fact number 2

Philip Morris Atlas was a judge in track and field at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Injury prone British athlete Derek Redmond looked in good shape for the 400m at the Spanish Games.
He posted the fastest time of the first heats and won his quarter-final.
In the semi-final, Redmond was going well until he hit the back straight and did a hamstring.
He fell to the ground in agony but struggled to his feet when he saw stretcher bearers comingfor him.
 The finish line was 250m down the track and Redmond hobbled towards it. 
His father Jim Redmond burst from the stands to help his son. Derek Redmond leaned on his father’s shoulder and they made it the line, the cheers and applause of 65,000 spectators, ringing in their ears.
Chief judge Philip Morris Atlas turned to his junior and said, ‘That’s incredible.’ Wiping away a tear, the junior judge agreed. 
Atlas went on. ‘How dare that man try to set back the spirit and rules of the Olympic Games by helping that athlete across the line? Mark Derek Redmond down as DNF.
The junior judge could not believe it. ‘You are going to reward an inspirational act of altruism with a did not finish.’
Atlas shrugged.

Barbaric threat to modern civilisation

Bernie Dowling, July 27, 2012.

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Olympic Rant #2: The London Games Anthem

WE all might worry about the London Lord Mayor’s insistence on an Olympic anthem in the style of an ancient Greek ode if we did not know Boris Johnson is a total loop-de-loop.

Johnson delivered his first over-the-top serving of a  of a Pindaric Ode for the London Games  — in ancient Greek, no less — at an Olympic shebang at the Royal Opera House  in Covent Garden on Monday night.

Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet who dished out Olympic victory odes.

An early Pindaric effort set the theme: ‘Let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia. From there glorious song enfolds the wisdom of poets.’

Conservative Johnson and I have little in common but we do make a living through the use of words.

The Mayor moonlights as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. I am moonlighting, after my day job as a reporter, on these election rants from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.

In a July 2009 interview Johnson referred to his Tele salary as “chicken-feed’’. His poultry payment each year was 250,000 GBP. That is 320,000 euro, 387, 000 USD and 376, 000 AUD.

In 2009, in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, Boris Johnson, future Olympic Hero, declared such sums chicken feed.

For these rants I receive 0 GBP, 0 euro, 0 ISD and 0 AUD and I have a retired racing pigeon to feed. Several months back, the pigeon landed on our back veranda, with indecipherable plastic identification tags on its lower legs and sought asylum from competitive sports. Racing pigeons – even retired ones – do not live on chicken feed. Compounding the expense, the bird, having shunned competition, now allows, without any fuss, wild birds to share its food, my food, actually.

At first I thought the pigeon – which we named Pigeon, with Birdie as its nickname – had turned Buddhist. I was quickly disabused of this notion when I brought home a copy of one of the two newspapers from which I earn my living. I started to read the paper when Pigeon viciously clawed the open pages with both feet. I looked down to see Birdie’s food bowl was empty. Pigeon has done a similar thing on other occasions when I read one of our papers. It is official: I am working for pigeon feed.

I am not saying I am as good a journo as Boris Johnson but I wish I had lucked into his lark of Pindaric verse rather than sharing his unruly hairstyle.

What I have in common with Johnson are  journalism and unruly hair.

The Opera House punters broke into rapturous applause when Johnson spruiked in ancient Greek accompanied by English translation on computerised screens. The neo-ode starts

This new Olympic flame behold,
that once burned bright in Greece of old;
with happy hearts receive once more
these Games revived on London's shore.

Who knew you could garner kudos from doggerel if you tied it to the classics. Me, I am more into the Clash than the classics and every daughter and son of Heroic London must join me there. The Clash provides the English National Games Anthem.

Whenever an English athlete wins a medal, the anthem must be played. Tech-heads will synchronise it with their internet coverage of the Games. I am hoping the most sophisticated will be able to tap into that other British antthem and replace it after a couple of bars. God Save the Queen is fine for hundreds of other occasions but the London Olympics 2012 deserve something special.

London becomes the first city to host three Olympic Games. I am hoping the head of the IOC will introduce London 2012 as the Greedy Games in honour of the thousands of cities which have never hosted one. I suspect it will not happen so I will have to be content with the special games anthem.

 Little Known Olympic Fact #1

The first Asian Summer Olympic Games were to be held in Tokyo in 1940.

They were called off because the world was at war.

Norwegian athlete William Risterspyd and his supporters declared the Tokyo Games should go ahead with the neutral countries competing.

The authorities quickly decided this proposal was absurd but the stubborn. Risterspyd, a discus thrower, was adamant. He and his supporters set up a tent in Helsinki’s Market Square for the entire period the Tokyo Summer Games were scheduled for. It did not matter that it was winter in Norway.

Every few hours, Risterspyd supporters cleared people from the centre of the squares so the athlete could show off his discus prowess.

A jubilant Risterspyd linked his protest to the Summer Games when he gave a press conference to international reporters who flocked to the square on the third day of the protest.

‘Now is the winter of our discustent made glorious summer,’ he said.

Bernie Dowling, July 24, 2012.

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Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012


Olympic Rant  #1 The Patron
THESE Olympic reports are written from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.
The city in question is Brisbane where, as in all fair cities of Australia, good drug and  alcohol-fuelled citizens are regularly bashing one another senseless, and occasionally lifeless.  Friday and Saturday nights are the preferred times for  such mayhem but any warm or cool enchanted evening will do.
I am confident the industrious denizens of the western world’s capital cities are similar indulging in random violence to share the terror of life in war zones.
This is why these reports on the noble Olympic games are writ from the jaws of hell. Our patron for the Capital-G Games  is Thomas Hobbes.
London Games Patron

Before we introduce our patron to the enthusiastic international audience we should satisfy ourselves that we indeed live in violent times. Over a long period in journalism I have seen the reality of falling crime rates go hand-in-hand with public perceptions of their increase . Some politicians and sections of the media love to play the crime card: a fearful population are an impressionable lot.
I believe  the perception of violent crime today matches the reality. For a long time, I have toyed with the notion that times of war and lauded militarism create parallel violence in civilian populations.  My days of meandering through the halls of higher learning are long gone but I would like a phD student test my  theory in a thesis.  What the civilian ‘Libyan “liberators”, of the  National Transitional Council, the Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012.

WARNING: This video has been identified as potentially offensive or inappropriate by some viewers.

Most of the assailants appear to be unarmed civilians watched by gun toters in military-style dress.

This was an inauspicious start for Libyan democracy.
Meet our patron
Thomas  Hobbes  is a 17th century English philosopher. I say “is’’ as Tough Tom  is alive in many people’s heads.
Hobbes wrote that you should bash people long and hard before they have a chance to fuck you over. Hobbes went on that, in a sophisticated society, the State could do  the pre-emptive bashing on your behalf. He wrote these things  in my version of his book Leviathan. My version only exists in my head but you can download  another edition here http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3207
The Religious Right owe a great debt to Hobbes. This is why they like to shooy at things while they spread the a-Hobbesian gospel of the free market.
You can see why Thomas Hobbes is an excellent patron for the London Olympics 2012. 
In rant #2, we introduce the Games national anthems of England, the United States and Australia.

Olympic shorts
GREATER London 16-year-old Mahamed Awale recently tweeted: USAIN BOLT IZ A V GD FRIEND OF MINE HIM BCOMIN A RUNNA WOZ MA IDEA.
I don’t know that time line and geographic distance pans out to validate Awale’s contention.
But Mahamed was kicked off one of those reality TV shows in the first round. Being booted first-up from the BBC Series2 of  Young Apprentice gives the lad a lot of cred in my book.
THIS reminds me of when I covered the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001.
American Ted Turner began the Goodwill Games in Moscow  in 1986 in response to the politicisation of the Olympics after the 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
The games were bought from Ted Turner by Time Warner when Turner’s company merged with TW in 1986. TW promised to keep the Goodwill Games alive
The corporation descended from Warner Bros which brought the world, hungry for justice, John Wayne movies. That lineage was interested in namby-pamby sports détente and they canned the games when ratings tanked in America.
At the final Brisbane Games I interviewed reigning  Olympic 100m champion American Maurice Greene who broke down in Goodwill Games preparation and did not compete.
It was at the Goodwill Games that I suggested Greene become a runner. No, wait, that cannot be right. I suggested, as he wasn’t competing at the Games, we go to Brisbane’s best Chinese restaurant and do a runner before the bill came. Maurice declined.
THE Olympic Gold medals and memorabilia of  Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce (1905-1976), will be auctioned at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale on 25 July 2012. The Olympic Games sale will be held at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London, saleroom in case you  wish to pop down. that way.
Rower Pearce went to the Amsterdam 1928 Games and won the Gold from American entrant Kenneth Myers who was said to be so disgusted that he smashed his boat.
 Pearce won skulls gold again at the Los Angeles Olympiad in 1932.
Pearce’s Olympic Gold stuff is expected to fetch  £30,000 – 50,000 ($44,000 – $73,000 AUD and much the same in US dollars). I have Maurice Greene’s autograph on an Goodwill Games cap if the under-bidder is interested.
If you enjoyed the first of this Gonzoid Games coverage please re-blog or a share a link to this blog.
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Bernie Dowling, July 23, 2012.
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The Maltese Falcon: classic book review

The Maltese Falcon: classic book review
Falcon strikes magnificently
The large print version from GALE CENGAGE Learning which has a better cover than the other version is not listed on the publisher’s current catalogue.
MANY of those familiar with the title The Maltese Falcon may be acquainted with the 1941 film noir rather than Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel published by Alfred A. Knopf.
There is a remarkable synergy between novel and film, perhaps without parallel in such translations.
Writer/ director John Huston wrote the script to closely follow the order of the novel, retained much of the dialogue and then filmed it in sequence.
He even persuaded the censors to let him keep the recurring motif of hard liquor. No objection was raised to the continual prop of hand-rolled cigarettes.
Huston self-censored to remove most of the key homosexual references in the novel but the character of Joel Cairo (played by Peter Lorre) would have left sophisticated viewers to clearly see the elephant in the room.
Many readers are disconsolate when a favourite novel is translated onto the screen.
In this case, seeing the film enhances the novel as the reader can have the authentic dialogue being voiced in their mind by actors Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Lorre, Mary Astor, Gladys George and Elisha Cook Jnr.
Although neither was a prolific writer, Hammett and Raymond Chandler, after him, were the fathers of the hard-boiled detective novels translated into 1940 film noir.
It may surprise some that both authors have been recognised as great writers, not just as doyens of their genre. I do not believe any of the current crop of superstars of the detective thriller will garner such recognition in the future. In1998, the Modern Library ranked The Maltese Falcon 56th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Hammett and Chandler had similar histories which could partly explain their emergence as writers of edgy fiction. As young men in World War 1, both suffered debilitating injuries, the effects of which remained with them for the rest of their lives. They reached the peaks of their writing careers during the Great Depression of the 1930s which followed the decade of post-war licence hailed as the Roaring 20s.
The plot of The Maltese Falcon evolves from the murder of private detective Miles Archer, the business partner of the novel’s protagonist Samuel Spade. The story is written in the third person with virtually no interior monologues yet the reader identifies with the subjectivity of the flawed character of Sam Spade.
What makes this novel good are the spare style and the clipped dialogue – tougher than Chandler’s though not as funny.
What makes the novel great is the extraordinary way the author uses detailed character descriptions and dialogue to render the story without any back-up of interior reflection or self-justification. Spade’s moral ambiguity is a magnificent theme and device upon which to pin suspense.
The reader learns early on that Spade has been having an emotionless sexual affair with his dead partner’s wife, Iva. The shamus grumbles to his loyal secretary, Effie Perine, ‘I never know what to do or say to women except that way.’
Don’t go retro-reading that as some kind of prescient observation by Hammett on the male inability to commit. The author is merely laying the ground to prove Gutman’s assessment of Spade that we never know what he is going to do or say next.
Homosexuality is central to the novel though it does not have as many echoes of homophobia as it often does with Chandler.
Let’s start with the least clear-cut example of secretary, Effie Perine, who lives at home with her mother. Effie appears to have a woman crush on femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy, who, in the manner of the genre, has to be Spade’s love interest. As I say, the hint at lesbianism is subtle and possibly unintended, but look for the fascinating reactions of Perine in the last pages of the novel.
Joel Cairo is obviously homosexual as delightfully rendered in an exchange with the perhaps promiscuous O’Shaughnessy. (Cairo) ’Exactly, and shall we add the boy outside?’
‘Yes,’ she agreed and laughed. ‘Yes, unless he’s the one you had in Constantinople.’
Sudden blood mottled Cairo’s face. In a shrill enraged voice he cried: ’The one you couldn’t make.’…
The sinister urbane Casper Gutman has a daughter but he appears to be bi-sexual.
In the lengthy and wonderful denouement, at midnight, Spade unwillingly hosts Gutman, Cairo, O’Shaughnessy and the seemingly psychotic young gunman, Wilmer Cook, mostly referred to in the novel as “the boy”..
…’That daughter of yours (Gutman’s) has a nice belly,’ he (Spade) said, ‘too nice to be scratched up with pins.’ Gutman’s smile was affable if a bit oily
The boy in the doorway took a short step forward, raising his pistol as far as his hip. Everybody in the room looked at him. In the dissimilar eyes with which Brigid O’Shaughnessy and Joel Cairo there was, oddly, something identically reproving. The boy blushed…
Hammett tells us, purely though actions and facial expressions, that O’Shaughnessy, Cairo and probably Gutman are jealous of the boy’s infatuation with Gutman’s daughter Rhea.
Besides killing people, that boy has been busy and mental derangement has not impaired his youthful sexual attractiveness.
If there is one flaw in this almost faultless novel it is the characterysation of Brigid O’Shaughnessy. While this has much to do with the structural imperative of mystery and suspense, O’Shaughnessy lacks the sensuality of  Vivian Sternwood in Chandler’s The Big Sleep.
That quibble aside, The Maltese Falcon dispels the ignorant snobbish and vicious myth that a genre novel cannot be counted as great literature.
-Review by Bernie Dowling
Gooseberry Lays and Gunzels
CENSORS and censorship are often good for a laugh.
The Maltese Falconfirst appeared serialised in the pulp fiction mag Black Mask.
Magazine editor Joseph Shaw was offended by vulgarity and he took exception to the term “goose-berry lay’’ in The Maltese Falcon.
…Then Spade asked (the boy) pleasantly: ‘How long have you been off the goose-berry lay, son?’
You could hardly blame puritanical editor Shaw; the phrase sounds scatological. However, it was a slang term for stealing clothes from a line to sell them with the culprit perhaps lying among gooseberry bushes before the theft.
One word Shaw had no objection to was gunzel. In fact the editor loved its use in the novel.
…’Keep that gunzel (the boy, again) away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him. I don’t like him. He makes me nervous.’
Shaw thought gunzel meant hired gun and a host of Hammett imitators used it in that sense.
Gunzel actually meant a boy or young man paid or kept for sex, a rent boy.
Both expressions gunzel and goose-berry lay survive in the latest editions of The Maltese Falcon.
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