"Prevention is better than curie."
What's up, Duck? The word quack comes from the Dutch word quacksalver, which translates literally as chatter salve; someone who skites about the effectiveness of their cures.
Such quacky bombast accompanied the introduction of Radithor, a medicinal version of Radium much favoured as a miracle cure-all in the early part of the 20th century. It was said to cure cancer, baldness, impotence, eczema, constipation, you name it. William Bailey, Radithor's inventor, employed no degree of sarcasm (initially, anyway) when he promoted his wonder elixir as "a cure for the living dead".
Naturally, as is the way of these things, disturbing reports started to surface. Possibly the most well known was the watchmaker ladies who would straighten brush tips on their lips as they applied luminous, but radium filled, paint to watch faces. In the mid-twenties these gals began reporting symptoms such as bone decay, jaw abscesses and their teeth were falling out. The upside, though, was luminous snot. Quite the party trick, apparently. "Turn the lights orf, someone. Dotty's going to blow a shiny wad! Huzzah!"
Then there was rakish millionaire Eben Byers who between 1927 and 1930, drank 1,400 bottles of Radithor; ostensibly because he had a sore arm. He died in 1932 not long after his jaw fell off and he had spent his last months sucking apple-sauce through straws.
Thus Radithor went the way of other great medical breakthrou ... downs. Phrenology used the shape of your head to supposedly determined your character; you know, whether or not you'd be able to grasp the difference between calculus and a spoon. Radionics claimed that radio waves could diagnose any disease from a single drop of blood. And Metallic Tractors - no, not what Pop Larkin jumps on when it's time to get the cider in - was a process whereby people were hooked up to electricity and given shocks to cure asthma, cataracts, mumps, cancer and ... well, pretty much everything. As it happens, I'm an expert in electrickery, so if you want to give metallic traction a whirl, pop around here and I'll hook you up to my car battery. For a fee.
There is a school of thought, though, that suggests the application of small doses fo radium isn't entirely bogus.
A 30-year follow-up of 1,155 low-dose radium dial painters showing that they had significantly fewer cancers than the general population and also lived much longer. Most people are also unaware of long-term studies showing that Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors with a low exposure to nuclear radiation are now healthier and living longer than controls who resided in unaffected Japanese cities. About a million patients are treated annually with low-dose radiation at Russian hospitals and this is now also officially endorsed in Japan, presumably because it is cost effective as well as safe. Radiation hormesis may have a tough road to hoe in the United States, but it has strong and growing scientific support.
Incidentally, Marie Curie was the one who discovered Radium. When she died of leukaemia in 1934, she had great chunks of several fingers missing.
Musicians, well, so-called musicians anyway, murder music all the time. It's the only way to explain sick crimes such as Jimmy Barnes duet with John Farnham, or Cher's vicious -- maybe viscous -- throttling of Believe. But every now and then, music and the Big M are more literally linked.
Didn't Naomi Robson lash Rove for swearing? Sanctimonious bag. Hoist on her own f------ petard!
Today Tonight host Naomi Robson has apologised after being caught on tape off air delivering an explosive expletive-laden exchange over her autocue. During the conversation Ms Robson says:
"F------ drop it in at the last minute ... You should be able to read every f------ word, every comma, it should be very specific because if we've seen it before we've got a chance in our mind to go 'oh look they've f----- up this, they've f----- up that.'" She goes on to say: "You're the f------ who wasn't able to, you know, sort of, work it out as you were going along. "Well f------ you sit up here and you read the bloody autocue."
The uncovering of the Naomi Robson tape comes as Channel Seven prepares to broadcast All Time Greatest Aussie Bloopers tonight, a show about Australian stars making fools of themselves on tape.
Via f------ Russell.
Update! Thanks to DonnyC, we have sound. It must be noted, though, that the so-called "explosive expletive-laden exchange" seemed much worse in print. But here it is anyway, ladies and gentlemen and bald-headed fashion accessories, Naomi f------ Robson. To be perfectly honest, it sounds like ... well ... me, you f---ing f---ers!
Boynton was trolling the internet looking for action films -- she's like that, the hellcat -- and came across this Channel 4 list of Top 100 War Films.
My first thought was: are there even 100 war fillums? It turns out there are. My tally had been thrown by the large number of forgettable ones I'd, well, forgotten. My second thought was: what a crappy list! Glad I forgot them!
As I see it, the C4 list is made up of about 25 good films, 25 Ok films and 50 stone duds. Some of the goodies would be Platoon, Zulu, Das Boot, The Thin Red Line, Master And Commander, Cross of Iron (flawed but good), Empire Of The Sun and The Big Red One. The Oks; Saving Private Ryan, Enemy At The Gates, Patton, Catch 22, The Caine Mutiny, Black Hawk Down and MASH. And the duds, Braveheart, Where Eagles Dare, Good Morning Vietnam, The Deer Hunter, The Guns Of Navarone, The Killing Fields and Memphis Belle. And how A Bridge Too Far got into the top ten is beyond me.
Crucially, though, there are plenty of excellent films not included.
And two that, even though they aren't my faves, probably ought to be there.
There is also a French film I saw on SBS; about partisans in Yugoslavia during WWI. It's a cracking film, but I'll be buggered if I can remember it's title. Any ideas?
And one film I've been meaning to see for ages; A Midnight Clear, which is directed by long time favourite, Keith Gordon.
Update! Just remembered the poll Norm was on about last week, was the same poll.
Commentators who use gratuitous Americanisms burn me up. My pet hate is "the dish", which derives from a basketball hand-off* and which has no actual parallel in Australian Rules, but there are plenty of others clumsily shoe-horned into the commentary. Most of them, it seems to me, are used primarily to show the listener what a hip and savy pundit the speaker happens to be. Of course, Dwayne "kicking from the paint" Russell is the worst. Russell is one of those commentators who assumes the commentary is all about HIM and his pre-prepared second-hand one-liners, rather than the oh-so-insignificant game. So excuse me for jeering when he uses yet another silly simile and gets it wrong; just as he did in yesterday's Pinks / Dogs game. I paraphrase ...
"It's as if he has full house, and they only have four of a kind.
* "Dish" the ball in Aussie Rules, in other words, just hand it to your team-mate in the same way a waiter places a plate on your table, and the umpire will blow a throw quicker than Andrew Maher can say "Welcome, great man".
Onomatopoeia is that vowelly word where the meaning sounds like what it is. You know, where bubble sounds bubbly, fart farty and Minogue cancerous. But what about the reverse? I've just seen a phrase that doesn't sound like what it is - wooly mammoth. To me wooly mammoth sounds all warm and cuddly. Big, mind you, but big like a very big friendly dog; a Great Great Dane, as it were. Pat your boilerplate mammoth, though, and it wouldn't lick your hand and beg for snacky treats, it would bite your hand off, spear you with a tusk and stomp you into the snow.
And where did I see said wooly mammoth? Right here.
Update! Is there a book out there that indicates the derivation of words? I've an inkling Shakespeare invented bubble, but like to find these things out from book type resourses, not the interweb of garble.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
[ ... puking, mewling, shining, unwilling, pard ... ]
Seeking the bubble reputation
-- Jaques, As You Like It - Act 2, scene VII
Danny Peary, then.
A friend once told me "Most film critics talk shit, so instead of trolling through reams of crap, just find one critic you like and stick with him." Sounds fair, I thought, I'll give that a crack; and picked Rob Lowing. Just kidding. No, I didn't need to pick one because I already had one. One I've stuck with ever since. The trouble is, though, he hasn't stuck with me. As far as I know. Is Danny Peary still reviewing films?
I first came across Peary in about 1983 when I read his book Cult Movies. A list of 100 films, about 20 of which had been my favourites up to that point.
Then there was Invasion Of The Body Snatchers which I hadn't seen, but whose 1978 remake was in my top ten favourite films; a very creepy affair. And The Rocky Horror Picture Show which I didn't like, but which I'd seen on a double bill with another long-time favourite, The Phantom Of The Paradise -- "Carburettors, man ... that's what life's all about" -- which coincidentally turned up in Cult Movies 2. This time there were only 50 fillums, but once again, many were big favourites.
CM1 and CM2 came out pretty close to one another so I made it my business to see every film in the two books. A goal that's been achieved with the exception of Andy Warhol's Bad, King Of Hearts and The Scarlett Empress. (For some reason I thought Chimes At Midnight was in the books. I haven't seen it, either.)
Yet that was nearly 15 years ago and still Peary's influence resonates. So much so that upon seeing a film these days, I nearly always ask myself "Wonder what Peary thinks?" But unfortunately I can't find out.
Anyhoo, if you're sick of being swamped by the hype, spin and bullshit that accompanies any fillum release these days, you should check out Peary's recommendations in the three cult books and the Alternate Oscars.
You know, I just had a thought. Maybe, Peary, like me, just doesn't like films any more. I used to watch two a day, now I watch barely one a week. Movies now are, by and large, rubbish. What's more they are rubbish with attitude. Used to be that films unfolded in front of you, politely inviting you to savour their characters, look and sounds. Now, though, Christ! The look is all high-gloss, with a generic soundtrack, one dimensional storyline and total lack of interesting characters. Cardboard cut-outs. But I rant. Just check out Peary's lists and enjoy the ride.
Oh. Right. And what made me think of Peary? Well, it was this link from The Wog who points out Jeff Goldstein's blog. Jeff has a list of movies from the 1970s (my favourite film decade) in which he asks "How many have you seen?" Well, Wog has seen most of them, and applying a great, fat, greasy smear of finest look-at-me, I've seen them all! But while I was reading through it I thought "I bet they both love Danny Peary." These two, like my brother, my best friend and Nabakov are my kind of filmy peoples. Tick. VG.
There is one thing that annoys me, though. The term "cult movies" implies some sort of freaky factor when, in fact, the great majority of Peary's films are not culty of bizarre or weird in any way, they are super movies. Just. Good. Films.
Update! Jeff's latest twenty includes a slab of Blaxploitation films. They're not strictly my cup of tea, so I haven't seen all his movies anymore. But he makes up for it by including the excellent Winter Kills.
Ump-Ire? No matter. The point is, there's nowhere near enough of this kind of high class entertainment.
A VETERAN umpire who sprinted off the ground to hit a heckler is at the centre of an amateur football investigation.
VAFA umpire Anthony Damen was in control of a D2 division game between Old Geelong and Salesian on Saturday when he became enraged by a spectator. The game, at Como Park, South Yarra, was thrown into disarray when he left the field and flattened the person raising his ire.
"Every once in a long while, he actually shuts his cakehole, but basically he is insane," writes Barry Dickens about one of the better Richmond supporters. "I dreamt he was dead."
Collingwood supporters cop the most criticism, and not without reason. I know one Magpie imbecile who has Fish n Chips tattooed on his forehead. But although he's mad, he's harmless, and the whole Collingwood thing overplayed. For me, it's the Richmond supporters that are the worst; the most feral. It's just that they've been rat-shit for 25 years and people have forgotten how bad they were back then. I haven't; it's etched in my synapses. Tiger fans were unbearable then and they will be again this year. Heaven help us if they manage to win a premiership. Christ, what an appalling thought! So here's hoping there's a drug bust at Punt Road, or a sex scandal. Something, ANYTHING, to derail their year - Toey Tigers Tell: "No Means Yes". That's the ticket.
Anyhoo, Dickens doesn't pull any punches. "I hate him, and his sons," he goes on to write. "I loathed him" and "he is worse than cancer."
Barry's on the right track here, but surely he needn't have shown such restraint and should have got properly stuck in. Given it both barrels, as it were.
PS: What is wrong with this paragraph?
"We saw Matthew Richardson take a fantastic mark just before he went to the toilet again, and my son yelled out, though only I could hear his happy cry of joy, "Good on you, Matthew!"
We have a hole in one of our classroom walls into which the students often stuff rubbish.
Tony Teacher: "OK, then, who squished the banana into the hole in the wall?"
The Class: " ... "
TT: "Right, then. We sit here through lunch until someone cleans it up."
TC: "Aww, Tonyyyyyyyyyy."
TT: " ... "
TC: "C'mon, Argy, just clean it up."
Argentina: "Dobbers! Did you know it was me, Tony?"
TT: "I do now."
Arg: "What if no one owned up?"
TT: "Someone always breaks."
Lebanon: "What are you going to do to him, Tony?"
TT: "Nothing. IF. He passes the subject."
Arg: "Will I pass, Tony?"
TT: "Yes. IF. You work hard."
Arg: "And if I don't?"
TT: "You won't."
Arg: "I don't think I will pass, Tony."
TT: "Neither do I."
Serbia: "Do you care, Tony?"
Greece: "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, you know."
TT: "I didn't know that."
Arg: "What is wit?"
TT: "That's a very good question, Arg."
Only fuckwits go to nightclubs. Nightclubs are the worst places on earth. Filled, as they are, with migraine lighting, mortgage drinks and awful music so loud it makes your head explode. And anyone, ANYONE, who lines up to get into ANYWHERE, let alone some hideous grotto, must have something wrong with their brain.
Then there are the bouncers; everyone hates door-bitches and bouncers, don't they. Reading the ripping Clublife, though, I'm all ready to be turned around.
"Yo, why can't I get in wearin' no bandana?!?" he shouted in my ear, apropos to nothing. I hadn't seen his exchange with Frank, nor was I even aware of his presence until his grating tones inflicted themselves on my virgin eardrums.
"What?!? Dude, step the fuck back if you want to talk to me, and stop fucking screaming in my ear!"
"Yo, da other bouncer won't lemme in wit no bandana!"
"Why would you want to wear a bandana in the first place? You look like a fuckin' retard."
"Why you gots to say dat?"
Via Mike at Yorkshire Soul. By the way, Mike follows the cricket so it might be worth checking him out during the Ashes. Don't do it if England are winning -- something I predict -- because like all English swine, he would become unbearably smug. Chris, too. Bring. It. On.
BALLS to Port Adelaide!
Port Adelaide is compiling a dossier of tribunal cases to present as a challenge to the AFL's new tribunal system. The two-match penalty handed out to Melbourne's Brad Miller compared with the six matches incurred by Byron Pickett pre-season will feature prominently in the presentation.
"I wonder how Port Adelaide are feeling," gaawwped Mike Sheehan during On The Couch. What? Can Sheehan really think the Miller/McGregor and Pickett/Begley incidents comparable? The blockhead. And he wasn't the only one. Many of the so-called pundits were even-more-than-usually unable to judge this incident on it's merits. Because Byron Pickett's lining up of James Begley from around 20 metres away was, by a very large margin, a more serious transgression that Brad Miller's clumsy bump on Ken McGregor.
Meet Grave Danger.
Me used ... [gulp] ... saarrrrcasm: well that's alright, then. Sor'id.
WEST Australian underworld figure John Kizon last night declared he was not mates with West Coast leaders Ben Cousins and Michael Gardiner.
"I know both of them, but they never ring me, I don't ring them," Kizon said.
"Oh," wrote Edgar at the NLA. "And I think there is a good deal of cultural value to your blog."
Naturelle. Mont. An exquisite judge of material, is Edgar. He's picked the AGB along with other blogs such as Troppo, Margo, Timbo and ... err ... Spinno to be archived deep within the bowels of the National Library of Straya. So this is a quick note to say that if you comment here, you too will be archived for perpetuity within our nation's capital. Even comments from utter idiots such as ... well, you know who you are. I have been assured only minimal pain is involved although you will feel a little prick.
Another mystery message left on my phone: "Listen, mate ... it's easy and quick money ... but it's just not worth it ... don't even think about it."
No idea. But this week I won't be putting that ten dollars on the Footy Bet. Just to play things safe, you understand.
Did anyone see I Am Not An Animal last night? If you did you might have noticed the clever touch where the cat accused the rat of regurgitating other people's opinions. Don't you hate it when people do that? I know I do.
It happens all the time at dinner parties when you find yourself cornered by some hipster wearing his tee-shirt over his shirt. "Well, Tony, you know, House Of Wax's first-time director Jaume Collet-Serra* lingers over the victims at lengths discomfortingly gratuitous even by slasher standards. But he also demonstrates a droll touch, particularly in the opening scene of a morbid family at breakfast, and in the best set piece, where the killer stalks his prey in a movie theater as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Don't you think so?"
No. No I don't, you duplicitous swine. And if you don't tell me what YOU think instead of what some critic thinks, I will squash this sorbet in your face.
A few weeks ago, Mark Fine on radio SEN was doing a list. They love their lists there and the one Finey was doing was The Ten Worst Sports Movies. He mentioned a few of the usual suspects (I mentioned The Natural which I used to love but now think an embarrassment) and then came to Knute Rockne: All American. There followed a passionate and extended riff on how Ronald Reagan was a hopeless goose as the eponymous Knute Rockne. Lots of sneering and giggles culminated with a derisive; "Urk. It was teeerrrrible!" Words to that effect, anyway.
Well, Reagan never played Rockne. He played George "Win one for the Gipper!" Gipp. Fine had obviously never seen the film, or if he had, it was many moons ago and he barely remembered it. Naturally, I displayed my usual equanimity; throwing household objects at the radio while screaming "You haven't f~~king well seen it, you bulls~~t artist!"
A couple of Fridays back he did another list; The Top Ten Sporting Moments. One was Ned Zelic's goal in Barcelona and another was Shane Warne's Gatting ball. But one, possibly included to indicate what a savvy internationalist he is, was The Immaculate Reception where-upon Fine launched into the story of 1972's famous Steelers/Raiders playoff incident featuring Frenchy Fuqua, Jack Tatum and Terry Bradshaw. Now, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here, but you'd think ANY mention of TIR must surely include Franco Harris who was the guy who actually caught the rebound and ran in for the touch-down. But Fine has form, so I suspect he gleaned his gear from someone else's list in the interweb of infirm-ation.
* Pronounced, of course, with a f~~k-I'm-so-clever French accent.
Last week I took a call from Western Australia. "Ooh hiiii, Mr Teee, it's Girly Poppet heeere; from Killerbeeee Wiiiine Club." It has, in fact, been seven or eight years since I was a member of Killerby and I haven't heard from them in about five. Come to think of it, I thought I'd cancelled my membership, but there you go. I'm nothing if not polite, though, so I listened to her pitch, a spiel which seemed to drag on for ever, and eventually told her I didn't drink anymore. Oddly enough, the fact she was trying to sell wine to a non-drinker didn't seem to throw her out of stride; quite the reverse. "Really," she chirrupped enthusiastically, "that's great news." Which made me think she was, perhaps, in the wrong line of work. Especially as I'd suggested "Well, not for you it isn't," to which she'd again bubbled "No it really is, people drink too much."
Well, I didn't give up the football, yet. Why would I? Why the f~~k would I? There's nothing quite as enjoyable as watching your team lose and becoming so upset you don't sleep properly. It is grate, and I recommend it without hesitation. Bastards!
That doesn't mean I closed off the alternatives, though, what with choices to be made. Reading a book, learning Russian or doing the hedges. Surprising even myself I bought and read a book. Or rather, am reading a book. A long one.
"Never mind my soul, Tuohy. Just get my tie right."
-- James Joyce to artist Patrick Tuohy
Ulysses seems to cop plenty of criticism, but this quote struck me as a goody; emphasising, as it does, my core philosophy that it's better to be well dressed than, well, a babbling pinhead. And to think I'm only halfway through the LXXX page introduction. There's just the X page History Of The Text to follow and before you know it I'll be into the story proper. Everyone I know who's read it says you've just got to plug away at Ulysses, so in keeping with best sporting practice, I've decided to take it one page at a time. Maybe even one page a day; make it into my own odyssey. That ought to see me wrap things up sometime in 2008.
The Russian option was considered, but guided by precendent, was postponed until the spring.
And I DID the hedges! Sadly I didn't realise it would be such an arduous task and still have achey arms. It might have been worse, too, but fortunately my 78 year old father showed up to do the heavy lifting. He was inclined to drag the chain, though, and needed the occasional chiak, "Come on, dad! It was ONLY a four-way by-pass! Put your back into it!"