Can women sell speakers?

On one level I can see these are attractive women, engagingly posed and yet, on another, they have no place in this ad except to provide an excuse for derogatory puns about being "easy to mount" and "plastic" - which can mean superficial.

I'm left with the opinion that the company thinks their consumers want superficial things like attractive women rather than high fidelity speakers.

Maybe I'm the only feminist who reads audio magazines.

The beetles are a hit!

Observers of politics and agriculture within the Murrumbidgee catchment may have been entertained to receive an invitation to an information session on dung beetles to be hosted by Junee farmer and Senator, The Hon. Bill Heffernan on Monday, 11th May 2009. The Senator has been accused of maintaining dirt files in the past and, in addition to his unfounded slur against former High Court Justice Michael Kirby in 2002, was linked to the spectacular demise of former NSW Liberal leader John Brogden in 2006.

It was a surprise for this observer that the invitation arrived via email, as Heffernan claimed in 2007 during the announcement of Labor’s broadband plan, that he had never sent an email in his life.

However, what is most interesting about this information session is that it follows Heffernan’s colourful criticism of fertiliser giant Incitec Pivot during a 2008 Senate inquiry. As Chair of the Senate Select Committee’s inquiry into the Australian and global fertiliser market, Heffernan is recorded in Hansard as saying:
"You realise that we who have an interest to declare, like your shareholders, think that you are well and truly giving us one up the back passage? We really feel aggrieved about this.”

While the scatological language favoured by Heffernan might be compared to various fertilizers, it is truly an example of how challenges, such as the rise in the prices of Incitec Pivot products, can be met with alternative methods. Perhaps the Senator is not as conservative as he makes out?

Number one by the pallet

Bernard Zuel has an interesting discussion of the role of charts in popular music today.

Just to further confuse the picture, keep in mind that platinum and gold awards are wonky measures as they are record-company driven, based on what the record company sent to or sold in to stores, whether they've sold to the public or not, while the chart positions represent actual sales.

He neglects to mention that these actual sales are from a sample of stores and doesn't include some of the most popular retailers. Perhaps it's not surprising, I heard a story from Stuart Coupe once that a journalist attempted to write an expose of how the ARIA charts are compiled and was met with closed doors. It would be a shame if this happened to Zuel.

Another good quote that explains a little of the creative accounting practices in the entertainment industry:

ARIA's chief executive, Stephen Peach, told the Herald five years ago: "If it sits on the retailer's shelf for six months, it's still a sale as far as the record company is concerned."

Pyromania returns

Unlike last Sunday, this morning was hazy for a different reason.

There had been a warning about air pollution and the smoke was thick. Almost as thick as during the recent bushfires in Victoria and also deliberately lit.

Not to harp on but it infuriates me that this health hazard is the result of farmers sticking to archaic methods rather than adopting the benefits of "100% groundcover, 100% of the time" or using less damaging methods like crushing stubble.

Stubble burning should be banned. These pyromaniacs obviously have no regard for the safety of their communities.

Clone Trooper feedback

My son has been very happy with the Star Wars Clone Trooper helmet bought for his upcoming birthday. His only complaint is that he has to take it off to eat and drink. He says it would be better if he could fit a straw into the helmet.

Thought crimes is a fascinating blog because it presents a somewhat paranoid and challenging view of the issues facing the world. It's great for a bit of balance considering that most of the media we encounter is rarely more than a beat-up to sell advertising.

The giant corporations that are stripping the earth bare and dispossessing local subsistence economies the world over can’t function without two things: computers and electricity. Those two things are like the central nervous system and the blood flow of corporate power. And that’s where they’re vulnerable. These networks could be disrupted manually or through computer hacking. But anyone who wanted to attempt this would have to approach it like a war, like a serious resistance movement.

The post on there today could probably be argued to be an incitement to terrorism but the underlying theme that a food shortage could happen is the real message and it's one worth considering. I was surprised when I was at the park with the kids that an old Italian lady we talked to said we should ensure our kids learn to grow their own food because she had lived through shortages in her life.


Graham gave me this CD the other day, given to him by a mate of a mate. I'm enjoying it and feel somehow obligated to spread the good word, like in the old days when I'd review CDs for BMA and sometimes get to keep one.

One of the cool ideas I've learned from reading-up on Brian Eno is that, at the outset of any project, you should look at your constraints or create some to adopt as boundaries for creative work. Like it helps contain focus and shape ideas.

Blair Joscelyne's "1978" is sort of a concept album. He's chosen the year of his birth and relates in the booklet how it's also the year a Realistic keyboard (designed by Moog) was produced and this led him to settle on seeking instruments, mastering limiters and even a graphic designer (from, well, 1977) as part of the constraint to shape his album.

It's a very funky album, I can hear Ramsey Lewis' influence (like "Sun Goddess" from 1974) in the 'ooh aah'-style backings vocals of the second track 'Mothers milk'. It's also '70s funk in featuring the odd sincere ballad in the form of 'Drawn to you' but it's 1978 by way of 1998, particularly Kruder and Dorfmeister's breakthrough album "The K&D Sessions".

This is smooth funk in the down-tempo, dub-influenced style of contemporary electronica and it's hella good fun and a cohesive album to boot.