Thursday, November 22, 2007

Here, have my goat

I really don't have much use for it.

I know it's been a little quiet chez hack for a while, but don't worry. I'm still pissed off at the world. So, without further ado and certainly without further adont, here are some of the things that are annoying me this week:

Hyperactive flacks
PR is a thankless job. I've done it and I know, OK? But I also know that no-one ever got a story in any paper by being relentlessly obnoxious. Your story gets in if it's a good story or you've got a good picture or it's a slow news day and the journo is desperate. Hassling someone about when your story is going to get a run is not a good idea. I get up to 200 emails a day. Believe me, if you piss me off with your whiny-ass antics, I will block your email address and you will go straight to spam for the rest of your natural life. Or for the life of your email address, anyway.

Christmas decorations
I'm torn between thinking, "Aww, fake snowflakes! Perty!" and "The blinking LEDs in that faux bloody pine hall-decking twaddle look like the eyes of malignant gnomes!" But that could just be the time of day that I see them. The faux pine with the little flashy things is in the train station and I see it about 8am when I'm really not ready to deal with the world. I have no real problem with mornings per se. I just wish they started later in the day.

People who can't make their tenses agree
I'm not sure what happened to the education system between the time I got grammared up and when Gen Y was taught English, but it can't have been anything good. I imagine it was something like Vanilla Ice trying to rap. Tip number one: when you start a sentence, it should all be in the same tense. For example, "Mary said she wanted to decapitate Tony Abbott with a blunt spoon", not "Mary said she wants to decapitate Tony Abbott with a blunt spoon". I know she probably still wants to do it now and will continue to want to do it tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, but grammar doesn't make that much of a commitment. Grammar lets you change your mind. At the time she said it, she wanted to do it. That's enough.

I feel the same way about people who have no idea where to put apostrophes, people who think 'alternate' and 'alternative' are interchangeable and people who think that 'enormity' is interchangeable with 'hugeness'. And do not even get me started on people who think that "audience", "team", "group", "staff" and "couple" are plural. It's "the team is", not "the team are", m'kay?

That said, I think I am reasonably lenient with your average Joe. I don't bail up green grocers and berate them for their "tomatoe's". Nor do I tell the guy in the train station that it's not "raison toast" or that a "bacons" sandwich isn't quite the go. This is because secretly, I think they are both rather gorgeous. But if you write for a living, I expect you to know these things and I reserve the right to be put off by your mistakes or to proof-read you into oblivion. That is, of course, if death by red pen is possible.

Heather Mills-McCartney
There aren't too many new jokes left where this bird is concerned. I read a hilarious Crikey story about her a few weeks ago that used pretty much all of them - you know, don't have a leg to stand on, etc., etc. But then she had to go and suggest we all have rat-milk lattes and kitty-milk custards. And that pissed me off all over again, because you know and I know that that's just dirty.

But I think there might be one joke that hasn't yet been used for the evil witch, so I'm going for it like Luke Skywalker about to blow up the Death Star. For someone so darned unpopular, she really does seem to be getting around to a lot of talk shows and speaking engagements. In fact, I'd venture to say that she's been busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest. Ba-dum-tish. Thankyouveramuch.

Discuss: Heather Milles is more toxic than Yoko Ono. (Big call, I know.)

James Reyne
It's almost sacrilegious of me to put the J-man and the unholy queen bitch together, isn't it? I used to love James Reyne. I thought the sun shone out from under his salt-bleached mullet. I even interviewed him when I was a green hack because he was one of my '80s heroes and I could. And he was a twat, which rather ruined my crush. But nevertheless, I saw him live on Saturday night for the second time. And he was... still a twat. For a die-hard Crawl fan, this is a terrible admission. Come on - I've got Crawl albums on vinyl, people! He was double-billing with Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors fame. And Mr Seymour was incredible. As usual. I've seen him three times now and he's never disappointed me. He's got the energy, he's got the rage (does that equal angergy?) and a cracking stage presence to boot. Mr Seymour can leave his boots under my bed any old time he likes. (Unless Clive Owen has left his there first, of course. There's a pecking order in my crumpet list.)

James Reyne, on the other hand, was bored dumb. He looked like he hated the audience, hated the old Crawl songs and hated his life. But for Ford's sake - he was only drinking water! That would have been enough to push me over the edge too. He's leaning in a bit of a country direction these days and obviously he can't understand why everyone else is stuck in the past. Oh, I dunno - maybe because country is crap? His backing band was rubbish, y'all. He was glued to the spot and he just didn't even try to sing louder than the fans who drowned him out with "Reckless" and "Erroll". Le sigh. What a disapointment. His biceps are still looking pretty damned good, though.

Girly drinks
What is it with bloody ready-mix drinks? I'm sure there'd be a great market for ready-to-drink mixers that weren't 80 per cent sugar. Vodka and soda with fresh lime? Delightful. Gin and tonic? Not my cup of plonk because I don't care for gin or tonic, but plenty of other people like it. A nice tart/tarty cosmopolitan? Dandy. Yes, I realise that most of these little alcopops (aka "bitch-piss", aka "poofter drinks" if you're in Port Augusta) are actually designed for 13-year-olds. I know that. Booze manufacturers have to make their money at Schoolies somehow, right? But sometimes when you go somewhere, the wine is all cardonnay and the only vaguely drinkable thing on offer is ready-mix. For example, last night I dragged poor old Hungry Hungry Hypocrite off to see some hot lesbian circus girls as part of Feast. What was the ready-mix vodka drink? Allegedly, it was pomegranate and citrus. Unless "pomegranate" and "citrus" are both code for "sugar", I'm really not convinced.

This election campaign
I cannot tell you how bored with this campaign I am. Thank Ford it will all be over this time two days from now. First we had the Clayton's election campaign that didn't even get you mildy tipsy and then we had the real election campaign that was even less alcoholic because there wasn't even the suspense of wondering when the election would be called. If I didn't hate John Howard and the Liberal Party to death, I wouldn't consider voting for Kevin. Let's face it, the man's boring as batshit! If only Julia Gillard had been elected party leader. Sure, her voice makes Missy Higgins sound like a Swiss finishing school girl, but who cares? She's not vanilla-flavoured Tin-Tin.

My one great consolation is that I don't have to work on election night. Last year's state election was one of the least pleasant days of my life. Let's see:

  • started off hung over;
  • sustained third-degree burns to the roof of my mouth from a snatched pie at lunchtime;
  • pissed off the chief of staff by my mere existence;
  • wrote stories in my car on paper because I didn't have a laptop;
  • phoned said stories in to people who had no idea of how to punctuate a sentence;
  • forced to use pub toilets all day;
  • put my money on the wrong horse in what was a rather close count;
  • because of that managed to lose the winning candidate with half an hour to go before deadline; and
  • nearly had a nervous breakdown;
  • ended up working a 14-hour day for free.
So yay for last year's election! But will I be happily treating Election 07 as the Hack Grand Final and be watching it from the comfort of my couch (with access to my own toilet, my own fridge and my own pantry) on Saturday night? Pffft - does the Pope shit in the woods?

There's no two ways about it: porn moustaches just shit me. You are heeeeere to cleeeeeen ze pooooool? What? I don't have a sodding pool! Bugger off! Either grow an eight-layered, waxed muttonchop extravaganza, lose your teeth and learn to girn or just do not bother me. You're a mob of lightweights, all of you Movember tragics. How the hell did Movember become fashionable? And once people started raising money, it just turned into the bloody 40-Hour-Famine-Thon-Day. Naff off and jam some barley sugar up your nostrils. It will complement your stupid facial hair. You mark my words - next it's going to be Old Man Eyebrow March and then who'll be laughing, hmm?

Parking stations
Adelaide used to be the City of Churches. Then it was the City of Serial Killers. Now, since we haven't had a gruesome serial killer on the rampage since Snowtown, it's become the City of Parking Stations, which is far less entertaining. Boo, hiss. I decided to bring the car to work a couple of weeks back because I was going to the theatre in the evening and didn't want to train it home at 11 o'clock. So I parked in one station near me with an "early bird" all day rate. My $13 proved to be well spent, as the station was comedy gold, Old Gen Trek style. Every level was named for a planet and the lift had this clunky retro spaceship voice: "You are now arriving on Saturn", or "You are now arriving on Mars". For some reason, nobody wanted to park on level eight: "You are now arriving on Uranus" ~snort~ (Of course, the station has been around since before Pluto was declared to be a dwarf planet and therefore Not Worthy.)

But the real imposition came when I moved to another parking station. Station Star Trek closed early, so I had to shift to one on the other side of the city mile. Where it cost me $20 for three and a half hours. Bloody outrageous - those are Shitney prices. For once in my life it would have been cheaper to have gone home by cab.

Melbourne Cup Day
I know this was a few weeks ago, but it's still ticking me off. I don't understand Cup Day. I went to a Cup Day lunch a few years ago at the invitation of the lovely dad of a lovely pal, but I have to say I still don't get it. I bought a $200 frock for the occasion, had scrawny old rich tarts looking me up and down and comparing their kit with mine, lost my money at the TAB and ended up absolutely rotten drunk. While the rotten drunk part was just dandy, I don't get the rest. Gambling: no interest. Frocks: no interest. Old scrawny tarts: saw some in the Traumatiser this year and was truly repulsed by their anoerexic legs, painted toenails and bigger-than-Texas hats ~shudder~ I love a boozy lunch, but Ladies Who Lunch make me want to do feed them into a mulcher, Fargo-style. And I hate the Cohen Brothers.

The thing that really annoys me about Cup Day is that people who don't give a scrap of earwax for horses or horse racing the rest of the year feel that they absolutely must get frocked up and go out to lunch, darling. The hypocrisy just kills me. I have no problem with race-horse owners enjoying the day, or people who go to the races regularly - my great granddad was a trainer and my granddad was a bookie, for heaven's sake. But people like that are few and far betwee these days. Melbourne Cup is just another excuse to get sozzled and pass out behind the portaloos Kath and Kim-style and you know, I just can't see the point. Why not get messy at your favourite pub without having to buy a frock-shoes-hat package that cost the equivalent of a week's support for a dumped Liberal Minister? For just $3000, you can keep Christopher Pyne or Malcolm Turnbull for a week in the style to which they've become accustomed. But really - why would you when you could just buy a mulcher instead?



At 1:47 am, November 23, 2007, Anonymous MikeFitz said...

Oh Red, I really enjoy your Rants! They're inspirational. If ever I feel Down, I know that Red, in Odelaide, can feel Downer. That's where our Foreign Minister comes from, n'est pas? (Oh I thought about backspacing over that horrible image, but it's too late at night.)

On a completely different topic, Mrs Fitz & I met a lovely lady on a tour bus in Washington earlier this year and when she visited Australia a few months later, we were pleased to show her around our part of the planet. Her name is Jo DeBruycker. She is quoted in this excerpt from an article in British publication, The Independent: "The hounding of Heather"

But those who really know Heather say there is another, largely hidden side to her. People such as Jo DeBruycker, the mother of Meghan, a 19-year-old American college kid diagnosed in 2000 with bone cancer so severe that she faced an operation to amputate at the hip. She says: "A family friend emailed Heather's website for advice. The next thing I know, Heather had found us in Willmar, Minnesota, called, and made herself available 24 hours a day. She even gave Meghan her personal cell phone and told her to call any time. She gave her very accurate counselling, and, after the operation, when Paul was touring the US in 2002, she got her to the concert and spent a lot of time with her. She talked to Meghan about girl things, about boys and clothes, and made her feel like a normal girl again."

Meghan died in 2003. Heather sent flowers and also tracked down a video so her mother could hear her daughter's voice again. Ms DeBruycker added: "It was the darkest time of our lives and this person gave us hope. She saved this drowning girl and mother. Meghan never forgot it. It breaks my heart to read what's been written about Heather. She is a remarkable person."

Brought a lump to my throat, that did. I guess there's always two sides to every story; in this case Heather's and Paul's.

Anyhow, sorry to be such a Downer. Keep up the rants... :)

At 11:19 am, November 23, 2007, Blogger Harriet said...

Love the rant, Red. :)
Here are some things that have been pissing ME off lately - maybe you feel the same?

-- The *beep* and *buzzer* TV ad for the ALP. You know the one - Kevin Rudd will stay the full term *beep* and Howard won't *buzzer*. Frankly, I want to *beep* the *beeping* *buzzer* who came up with that bloody ad.

-- Parents who allow their children to hold up the queue at the drive-thru by getting the poor Maccas girl to hold up every possible Happy Meal toy to the car window so the annoying little brat can choose.

-- People who don't know what a noun is, which planet has rings or what the first line of the Australian national anthem is. In short, contestants on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader".

At 12:12 pm, November 23, 2007, Blogger The Man at the Pub said...

I sense hirsute envy.

At 4:21 pm, November 23, 2007, Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Jeez! You're pissed about a lot of stuff.

Where does the expression, "That gets my goat" come from?

I'd look it up, but I'm lazy.

At 4:40 pm, November 23, 2007, Blogger River said...

Great rant.
Grammar - people who write "then" instead of "than". That gets my goat. Also people who can't spell definitely. THERE IS NO "A" IN DEFINITELY!!
Election - still undecided, but definitley NOT J.H.
Cup Day - pfft. Here's a tip, keep your money in your pocket.

At 4:41 pm, November 23, 2007, Blogger River said...

Oops, just misspelled definitely.......

At 10:19 pm, November 23, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

Again a truly inspired rant (claps). I friggin can't stand Heather Mills god she shits me, I swear she is totally unhinged.

At 8:30 am, November 24, 2007, Blogger The Blakkat said...

Some top quality ranting there, Red. You set the bar high as a bong in the rant stakes.

Thank ford this election campaign will be over, over, over by tonight. And may vanilla tin tin reigh over us from this day forth.

Shitney prices - yes, I admit I didn't flinch when you said $20 for 3 1/2 hours. Seemed even reasonable to me.

At 3:07 pm, November 24, 2007, Blogger phishez_rule said...

How about they're, there and their. Or where and we're. Or you're or your. Its or it's. I hate 'u' instead of 'you', same with 'b' instead of 'be'. Seriously, its a few fucking letters!!!!

Because they shit me senseless.

Or is that a rant all to itself.

At 4:09 pm, November 24, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

mike, feel Downer? One would require asbestos gloves. ~shudder~ Oh and I still don't like Heather Mills. She probably only did it so people would say, "Look, she's not an evil witch after all!"

harriet, that bing and buzzer ad was the most popular ad of the campaign, would you believe? And people who don't know what a noun is should be put out of their misery.

Mr Pub, no - I just hate Movember and porn moustaches. No objections to facial hair in general. Bloke even has some that I can ruffle whenever the fancy takes me.

dr noisewater, I think, therefore I seeth. Dunno where the expression came from - Google suggested a couple of things, but none of them sounded very likely to me.

river, and people who think it's "torturous" not "tortuous"!

sakura, I wonder what would happen if you locked Heather Mills, Lindsay Lohan, Jordan, Angelina and Britney Spears in a room together? It would be like a little hingeless picnic!

blakkat, yes, fingers crossed for the vanilla Tin Tin camp. Though I have to admit to having voted Green because we need a variety of voices.

phish, God yes. It's really not that hard to get your and you're right. Or it's and its and their, they're and there. Bloody education system's gone to pot.

At 11:09 pm, November 24, 2007, Blogger non-Blondie said...

Lets start with a disclaimer: I'm not on team Heather Mills, but the papers have rally twisted what she said. She was trying to make a joke, like why drink cows milk, why not rats or dogs milk instead? She was advocating veganism, shes not about to tell everyone to actually consume animal products after all that. Of course, British tabloids hate her, so they twisted that to be 'she wants us to drink dirty pest milk'. So anyway, it's a beat-up. She is insane though.
ps: hi, and I like your blog!

At 9:10 am, November 25, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

Ooh yeah, that's a good one, with plenty to agree with. Grammar - yes. Apostrophes - DOUBLE YES.

Heather Mills is worse than Yoko, even if she was too late to have broken up The Beatles.

Melbourne Cup - I hate it too. Woo-hoo! This year I decided not to be a hypocrite and just stayed on the couch and read a book while The Husband went to his dad's house to drink and watch the Cup. Even the drinking I'm happy to give a big fat miss when said drinking has to revolve around a sporting event I don't give a fuck about (read: this also applies to AFL Grand Final). I told people this year that I didn't do anything because I'm against gambling and they all laughed at me. In my former life as PR flack, I did a big government project on problem gambling and I have to tell you, I wasn't joking. So, being a Melbournite, there is one good thing left about it - public holiday!

At 11:18 pm, November 25, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

i went to high school with James Rein's son

conclusion. dumber and bigger wanker

At 5:36 am, November 26, 2007, Blogger EmmaK said...

Great rants!!

re a joke about Heather:

Paul McCartney was asked if after his divorce he would ever go down on one knee again.

He replied: I prefer to call her Heather.

Seriously, Heather Mills is not worse than Yoko. Mills is the injured party in all this (sorry no pun intended). She is being hounded by the press just because people generally like paul mccartney more. But like she says, many many lies have been made up about her. I don't believe she is the money grabbing bitch she is portrayed as in the English press. Also her and her daughter deserve a bit of privacy and respect.

At 9:49 pm, November 26, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

non-blondie, awww, come on! Beat-ups are fun! ;)

ariel, I ended up spending Melbourne Cup in bed in an attempt to get rid of an icky cold. It was great - I didn't have to deal with any of the wank!

kiki, nothing like having a famous parent to give you a high chance of being obnoxious. I went to uni with the daughter of a well-known children's author and she was such a bloody princess! I came across her last year and she was still a princess, albeit a princess who was running for Parliament.

emmak, ba ha ha! That's a good one! Her child is, of course, blameless, the poor little thing, and should be left well alone. But I think if the mother wanted privacy, she shouldn't be appearing on every talk show and speaking at the opening of every envelo in town that will have her. Like the Crikey story said, the two minutes' hate is just so much fun when it's directed at her! Sorry, I'm just nasty. I admit there's no hope for me.

At 10:54 pm, November 26, 2007, Blogger Sakura said...

Speaking of goats, the G-man and I just bought a goat from Oxfam as a 25th wedding anniversary ehehehehehe how cool is that

At 10:51 am, November 27, 2007, Blogger Milly Moo said...

Your rants are brilliant, they really are. I blushed when I read about the 'tenses' though... me very guiltiest of that

At 6:07 am, November 30, 2007, Blogger tonypark said...

He said he would agree with your rant on tenses. And he did.

Thank you, God, that I am not alone.

I freelance for a couple of PR companies that employ small armies of young women to get get on the phone and say "did you get my press release about..." and, try as I might, I (as a former journo) am unable to convince them that this is counter-productive.

As to the alco-pops - the funniest thing here in efrica is that they seem to be very popular with young Afrikaner men.

Must remember the term "bitch piss" - and my running shoes - next time I see some future springbok forward sipping his Breezer in the pool.

At 11:11 am, November 30, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

sakura, I love those Oxfam presents. They're great :)

milly, la la la! Not listening!

tony, that's one of the reasons I like your books - you understand proper sentence structure! I like me a good thriller, but some of the people who write them can barely string two words together. Re the alcopops, there are some great alcoholic juices you can get in South Africa called Brutal Fruit. Yum.

At 4:58 pm, December 01, 2007, Blogger Steph said...

Wow. You hate a LOT.

*backs out of the blog*

At 6:22 pm, December 05, 2007, Anonymous ali g said...

Thanks for making me're a very funny your stuff


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