Friday, September 23, 2016

Without a hint of irony

Instead of writing about popular music that baby boomers grew up with, today I'd like to write about a band from my late adolescence. In 1993 the Crash Test Dummies achieved worldwide chart success with their album, God Shuffled His Feet.

I remember seeing television advertisements for this album at the time, which featured the chorus of their hit single, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. I can't find it online, but I thought it was amusing that in these advertisements quotes from music critics appeared on the screen, praising the band for their "intelligent lyrics."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Vale Ken Sparkes

I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of legendary Australian radio presenter, Ken Sparkes. I don't remember hearing any of his radio work, but in recent years I regularly watched his cable television program, Jukebox Saturday Night, which he hosted. It screened classic hits music video clips from the 1950s to the 1980s.

He seemed to be a warm and decent man. At time of writing, nothing has been announced about the show continuing with a new host. Commercial radio stations seem to be playing less music from that era, so shows like Jukebox Saturday Night kept it alive, and remind younger generations of a time when music was written on manuscript paper, and played using instruments.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Two wrongs

Comedian Amy Schumer has forged a successful career from cultivating a sexually explicit comic persona on stage, television, and movies.

Last week she had a heckler thrown out of a show in Stockholm. Don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely not saying she brought it on herself. The heckler's comments were appalling. I am saying that there's blame on both sides.

A substantial body of literature shows that male sexual desire is triggered by visual cues, or visual cues from spoken words. I won't be watching any more episodes of Schumer's television series, because I don't want to fill my head with her crude material. It degrades her, and women as a whole. I don't want any part of it. I don't know anything about this heckler's background, but I wish he'd do the same.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Breaking the cycle

Today is Father's Day in Australia. As I was driving home from church, I was listening to Harry Chapin's 1974 hit, Cat's in the Cradle. The song tells the story of a father who is always too busy with work to spend time with his son. Years later when his son has grown up and moved away, he regrets that he never spent time with him, and now it's too late. His son has a family of his own, and is too busy to see his father.

The song profoundly observes that sons of absent fathers often turn out to be absent fathers to their own children. Things can be changed if they take deliberate action to break the cycle.

Fathers matter. Fathers and mothers aren't interchangeable. Each plays a complimentary, and equally important role in raising children. Whether by circumstances of life, or deliberate actions by adults, I feel for any son who has to grow up or transition to adulthood without a father.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

National importance

As I write this, Australian politicians are debating the question of whether or not to hold a non-binding plebiscite on same-sex marriage. The alternative is to deal with it through a parliamentary vote.

Michael Cook at Mercator puts forward a good case for the plebiscite option, which I also support. I will be affected by such a radical change, so I deserve to have a say in the issue. It will have implications for my religious freedom, possible future job prospects, and impact how any children I may have are educated. The plebiscite must go ahead.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Your taxes at work (again)

As a taxpayer, a portion of my taxes are directed towards funding the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). As I mentioned on this blog on July 31st, I regularly watch Planet America, ABC News 24's weekly review of American politics.

One regular segment of the program is "United Stats of America." On average, due to gun violence and road deaths, male life expectancy in the United States is on average 2.2 years less than in comparable countries. The third cause of this lower life expectancy is drug poisonings. Rather unfortunately, I noticed that the word poisonings was misspelt as poisinings in this graphic.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

When movies and technology intersect

Overnight Tesla Motors announced that its new battery will enable one of its new cars to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.5 seconds. They're calling this "ludicrous mode." Perhaps they were thinking of the movie Spaceballs, Mel Brooks' 1987 science fiction parody.