Lying at the meat shop, hemp oil dosing & another fast rail ‘vision’ for Hardworking Australians

I lied at the meat shop today and it felt real good. My favorite place for sausages and dead flesh is Donato’s in Carlton, a fancy, pancy meat shop that plays opera as a soundtrack for slicing and chopping. I’m a regular – if you count maybe 20 visits over the last 20 years as such. They know me there, I’m the lady with funny hands who needs assistance with the door, and so a bit of chit chat is always in order, today, from one of the lovely familiar-faced butchers (as he passed me my minimally plastic-wrapped brats)…

“You got the day off?”

“Yes,” I lied.

“Lovely day for it, you picked a good one for it.”

“Yes,” I smiled, bundling my meat awkwardly into my impractical bag.

“We got the holidays coming up, got anything planned?”

“Yes,” I lied, “Going down the coast…Anglesea,” I embellished, “What about you?” I asked as he handed over change.

“Haven’t been back to Italy since 1989;” he said, “My wife doesn’t even know where it is,” he joked.

As I caught my tram home I felt well pleased. For lying to the nice Donato man. For suddenly realising there’s no need to reveal the truth. To answer his friendly question with an all too worrying phrase…

“I don’t work,” I could have said. “Don’t want to either,” I might have added. But then things would just get awkward. Because it’s just not on to say such things. To admit to being a person left out of the budget, as I sit here now listening to Frydenburg on TV, announcing plans for another fast-rail ‘vision,’ and a great big lump of yummy yummy surplus for HARDWORKING AUSTRALIANS, and HARDWORKING AUSTRALIANS, oh yeah…and those HARDWORKING AUSTRALIANS as well. In the Gillard years it was all WORKING FAMILIES and WORKING FAMILIES and WORKING FAMILIES, so that’s double not me, being family-free (neither husband nor sprogs) and a bludger to boot.

My fibbing today I could blame on hemp oil dosing, the lovely buzz I’ve recently  discovered that’s not supposed to get you high, but then hey Stanley Brothers of Charlotte’s Web fame, why did my ham sandwich seem so damned interesting? The butter a hyper-nutty yellow and the sun on my face an utter delight…it’s not supposed to give you a buzz, just relax your max and damp out inflammation…hmm. I confess I digress yes yes…

Anyhoo…I don’t know exactly why I lied in the sausage shop today, but by golly I’ll do it again! I’ll be one of you, oh working Australian crew! But maybe this time I’ll go somewhere more interesting, the south of France maybe, not just plain ‘ole Anglesea…😊

Truth warriors : Over-active skeptic glands and the lure of flat-earthing

When a friend of mine told me she knew people who believe the earth is flat, I assumed it was a symptom of her particular geography – living in a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne where quirky people go to live their lives freely.

But no. Flat-earthers are a growing breed. They’re OUT THERE, multiplying in fact, coming to us via Netflix documentary and social media platform. They believe the world is a disc, not an orb with a heart of red-hot lava. They believe we’ve all been hoodwinked en masse, been made to believe lies, lies concocted by malevolent authorities.

And flat-earthers (and other overly skeptic folk) are great believers in their selves, and what I mean by that is they trust what they hear, feel and see above everything else, especially what’s been shoved down their throat by authorities that can’t be trusted.

If there were such a thing as gravity then wouldn’t we feel it’s great weight? and if the world was spinning at a million miles an hour then we’d be flung from our homes into deep, dark, space. You can’t smell carbon dioxide so it can’t really be toxic, and the photo of our blue planet is a just a photoshopped fake, or, as some flat-earthers believe – just a very clever painting.

What motivates climate denial is clear. It serves the purpose of dirty energy profiteering, but why would THEY want US to believe the earth is a particular shape? What purpose does it serve? What benefit is it to THEM that the world continue as a globe rather than the (cough) truth: a flat plate illuminated by two stage lights known colloquially as ‘moon’ and ‘sun’.

A certain amount questioning is indeed a healthy thing, but an over-active skeptic gland creates belief systems gone haywire – states fuelled by the great chasm of THEM and US – and the temptation to be a ‘warrior for the truth,’ a born-again fervor cradled in a delicious, righteous, halo.


Girls who DO are attractive TOO – a very important message from inside the Terrace House

I’ve just consumed the latest installment of Terrace House, a very nice two-night binge thank you Netflix. Terrace House (for those of you in the non-know) is a fly-on-the-wall style Japanese reality show that documents (supposedly without the aid of scripts or story-line nudging) the lives of 6 young people (ages 19 to 32 ish) as they go about their daily lives.

The focus of the show is, of course, who likes who and the budding romances that invariably develop, but the inhabitants also discuss career goals, or, for the younger ones, the lack of them. To make things more interesting, the reality-action is punctuated by  a chorus of observers, official voyeurs who (for the most part) serve up witty quips and intelligent observations about human behaviour.

As with all reality TV shows, the casting is predictable – all inhabitants are good-looking and one or two of them usually work as models, and there is also usually a amateur/professional sports person in the mix – a skater or snowboarder, and generally male, but, in the last season, this role was filled by Tsubasa, a female ice-hockey player who is faced with the dilemma of choosing between her old team, or joining a new one with better prospects.

Tsubasa, (not your average girly girl but altogether very lovely) is thoroughly engrossed in her training throughout the show. She trains till late in the evening and often misses the healthy sit-down meals lovingly prepared at the house. She is a shy but cheerful young woman, and she catches the eye of Shion, a very sweet being (and male model) who asks her on a date.

Their friendship grows slowly and we don’t know…will it morph into something more? It does. Eventually. But in the meantime he supports her dreams and goals. Is thoughtful. Kind. Goes to watch her compete (at the mostly empty stadium) Watches her zoom around the ice with a look of undisguised awe. He stands and claps and cheers her on – he doesn’t feel inferior or exhibit signs of emasculation, no Tsubasa’s great skill makes her attractive to him.

It’s great to see this on TV – a guy feeling comfortable in the role of admirer and supporter instead of the admired and supported, and we need more of it. Guys cheering girls on – and women (young and old) need to do less watching and admiring and find something they like to DO, and DO it. That’s what guys do. They DO things, whether it’s snowboarding or gaming, they DO stuff.

Of course the aim is the same for boys and girls (in hetro terms) Both strive to be attractive to get themselves a mate, but in their pursuit of sex/love, boys get to learn something that’s a satisfaction in itself – regardless of whether it gets them a girl or not. They play guitar, they pull out a skateboard…but a girl thinks that what makes her most attractive to boys is the very passive activity of looking good, and looking good per se does not sustain the soul. And despite being taught that there are no limits these days, I think girls still worry that being too smart or good at something will turn the boys off.

Which is why the delightful love story of Shion and Tsubasa is so important. It shows that girls that DO are attractive too, and that boys cheering them on is just part of the deal.

Design, built-in failure & the case of the annoying bandaid

When you’ve got able, fully-functioning hands you don’t spend all that much time getting angry at packaging. But, for whatever reason your hands don’t grasp objects easily, a simple task like getting a bandaid out of its protective wrapping can be a complicated undertaking, and far more complicated than it need be.

Because of bad design. Because of the teeny, tiny flap so ungenerously provided to open the inner covering (not the outer covering covering the covering otherwise known as the box). There’s no way in hell my fingers are nimble enough to get a strong hold on that miserly 2mm strip, so, I employ a mouth-based maneuver I’ve developed lately – I grip the flapette with my teeth and pull oh-so-very-smoothly with the tips of my two index fingers (taking care to exert even pressure without veering off to the side) until the ubiquitous bandage is open for consumption.

But my studied technique doesn’t always reap rewards, and the high degree of difficulty makes me suspicious – makes me wonder if the teeny, tiny flap was designed to be close to useless – and not just for people with differently-abled hands but for the population in general, after all, bad design makes good business sense.

I keep my failed attempts in their own special box, a rag-tag collection of unused strips trapped beneath jagged half-opened covers, patiently awaiting liberation via a pair of scissors. But can I really be bothered with all the edge-snipping I’ll have to perform in order to release them? Wouldn’t it be easier to say…just chuck’em in the bin and buy another pack?

It’s ironic that a product supposedly designed to soothe and provide peace of mind has such a glaring and annoying fault. I’m giving this one a big thumbs down.



Mind-blowing innovation ‘changes the way we drink water’

There’s a new ad campaign invading our screens that’s so incredibly stupid, it really deserves to be called out for what it is – a load of utter bullshit.

Apparently Twinings the tea company has invented a product that will change the way we drink water. Wow now that’s quite a big call, and the mind boggles with possible scenarios – what on earth could this new ‘way’ be? What is this revolutionary product now available for consumption?

Now let me think…is it some sort of skin patch? A slow-release system metering out precise doses adding up to the prescribed 8 glasses a day? Do we drink the liquid through our noses instead of our mouths? Or has Twinings discovered a new orifice somewhere on the human body? A specialised water inlet perhaps?

No. Hold on to your hats everyone, because Twinings has invented…A tea bag!

But Infuse is not your ordinary baggie, it comes in a screw- top jar, not a cardboard box. And the great revelation is, the bag is designed to release its natural fruity flavours into…cold water! Gasp! Who woud’a thunk it! Cold water! Wow! Surely this amounts to nothing short of a total revolution in the way we drink water.

And it’s good for the planet too. Saves you from buying all those nasty plastic bottles filled with flavoured waters. Now you can just pop a mango or strawberry baggie into your own body of water…and that’s why Twinings has released its own branded plastic container, the Infuse reusable bottle, designed especially for the retaining of cold H2O, and placement of said revolutionary baggie.

Let’s break this down to see the error in their message. Adding an ingredient to water does not change how we drink it, it changes the water itself. If we accepted Twinings’ logic, then the same claim could be made by just about every beverage made from water, and that means, ALL of them. Beer changes the way we drink water, coffee changes the way we drink water, cows change the way we drink water (they make it into milk) etc etc etc.

But the wonderful world of marketing isn’t concerned with logic, its aim is to prey on desire, the human longing for health and betterment, for innovation and progess. Well here’s an idea for you. If you really want to change the way you drink water – stop sucking down liquids from plastic retainers full stop. Get your hands on a pre-existing ‘cup’ and use that instead. Or stick your head under a tap and have an occasional slurp on that.

Shampoo, toxic pyjamas & the stinky fragrance loophole

I’ve just watched the recently added Netflix documentary, Stink (2015), about the current regulation, or rather, lack of current regulation of chemical ingredients in consumer products in the USA.

After releasing some very chemically-smelling pyjamas from their packaging (clothing bought for his two young daughters), the host of the documentary, Jon Whelan, embarks on a mission to identify the chemicals responsible for the stench, and, more importantly, to find out if the chemicals are harmful to the human organism.

Mr Whelan gets on the phone and starts dialing. He gets the run-around of course, is politely shunted from person to person until he decides the only solution is to get the offending pyjamas tested himself. He then takes the disturbing results and confronts an executive from the clothing company responsible for the toxic PJs, he demands an explanation – why use a fire retardant (banned in the EU because of its toxicity) in the production of children’s clothing? Especially as the chemical has been shown to interfere with hormone regulation in females.

The executive squirms, avoids the question with a pathetic worming that stinks suspiciously of complicity. And when Mr Whelan takes his concerns to a higher level – hunts down a lobbyist for the chemical industry in unknown corridor x – we get to witness denial in its more professional form – artfully cloaked in doublespeak and delivered without the slightest whiff of shame.

Companies are not required by law in the USA to disclose every chemical used in the production of their products. For example, chemical concoctions can be grouped under one very handy umbrella and simply listed as ‘fragrance.’ As it stands now, chemicals don’t have to be proven safe before they’re launched onto the market for human consumption, it’s the other way around – we’re the guinea pigs in this back-to-front system.  It’s the same situation in Australia, and this sneaky, stinky, loop-hole is of particular interest to me – you see, I have a personal aversion to many of these manufactured, toxic pongs.

It started back in 1988 when I worked night-shift, packing supermarket shelves (back when shops weren’t open 24/7 and young people were paid half-decent wages). I was the only woman in our small team, and, presumably, due to my status as a human with a vagina, I was alotted the task of stacking and ‘facing up’ the personal care isle, all the long-bodied bottles filled with stink designed to prevent and/or disguise our very own natural animal stink. And it was a difficult isle to manage I might add – due to the unstable design of the phallic, long-bodied containers, prone to tumbling like 10-pin bowls.

As I unpacked soaps and powders I would sneeze. Even now I feel my nose begin to tickle as I rush past the laundry section, the evil stenching boxes of OMO or triple-action Vanish. And in my mid 20s I suddenly developed an aversion to a perfume from The Body Shop called ‘Oceana’. It seemed odd that a smell I’d found delicious enough to purchase suddenly became repulsive to me. And the same visceral reaction began to happen around other stinky things as well – shampoos, new carpet, freshly unwrapped item A, B or C, new cars, the general plastic smell of Kmart itself, fresh paint, other people’s perfumes and OMO-infused clothes – and lately, pretty much all items of brand-new clothing (presumably sprayed with something unpleasant before being packaged for export in odor-trapping plastic).

For myself and many others, these unidentified chemicals trigger unsettling bodily sensations. For me, a light-headedness combined with slight nausea, and a general feeling that is best described as something’s not quite right. It’s my body’s own way of waving a red flag, a stand-in for the warnings currently missing from packages – THIS  PRODUCT MOST LIKELY CONTAINS CHEMICALS HAZARDOUS TO HUMAN HEALTH.


Tweaking Natural Features: the Very Sad State of Plasticated Faces

As a close watcher of the ever-changing state of spotlighted faces, and as an avid watcher of lowbrow delights such as the current series of the Aussie Bachelorette, I am frequently dismayed by the choices of young, beautiful women who think that butchering themselves into puffy, chip-monk-cheeked, frozen-faced aliens is an absolute and inalienable right.

Of course it is their right to chop off bits and pieces of themselves, or re-distribute globules of fat from their gut to their (suddenly) disgracefully flat arses any time they like. Who am I to dictate, and what is the reason I object so much to this practice of self-actualization via mutilation? It’s like a kind of freak show that keeps getting weirder. Weirder because now I’m beginning to accept that it’s just ‘what is’ nowadays – the outward manifestation of an inner lack, a lack fed by the self-replicating ideal of beauty flooding our screens and media.

My friends will attest to my long-held fascination with facial transformations. My intense desire to confirm or deny if well-known face A B or C has undergone procedure D, F or even G. And having been an expert in the field for so long, my eye and instinct are sharply honed to detect the slightest whiff of manufactured face. My specialty is the nose – the sad destruction of this most delicate and individual structure, beaten and scraped with shocking barbarity into a to a blunt-ended snub. And the more we see of this altered state of face the more we conclude it is just what we do these days – hammer our faces into long-term deformity, or slice off our skin and pump it full of loathing.

What a wonderful world we live in. Peace out man…