When I Am King…….

Do you ever wish you could be the world’s benevolent dictator? We’re actually all better off than we think. We’re living longer, we’re more educated, richer and believe it or not, more peaceful as a species than we’ve ever been (thanks to Jeroen for that link).

That’s not to say we’re over the screw-ups, though. That’s not to say we couldn’t all benefit from an omnipotent kick in our collective pants.

I wouldn’t mind getting in on the whole dictator thing and of course, I have a few people and things I’d get out of the way so that we can all get on living in peace and harmony. (Or my version of it, at least, which would be compulsory of course. Being King has its privileges.)

So……. When I am king, these will be first against the metaphorical wall…..

Religious Fundamentalists

I don’t care what religion you are. You’re free to believe and free to practice what you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else in that religion’s name.

We were chosen by God!
We were chosen by God!
For centuries, civilisations that sprang up around the place had a couple of basic things in common. One of them was a localised belief system that sought something outside of their own humanity to give them purpose in this life and keep them preserved after death. Many had gods in nature, worshipping the sun, the moon or the stars. Some made sacrifices to keep their god(s) happy, fearing for both their present and their future if they didn’t.

The desire to hope for something else after we’re gone is not unusual. Whether it be the Romans, the Greeks, the Norsemen, the Aztecs, the Moors or the Whoeverelses, they all did it, most of them developed their beliefs independently and they all thought they were 100% correct. Amazing, isn’t it?

If you feel the need to fill your god-shaped hole with a god, that’s fine. Please feel free to fill that space however you like. Talk to your friends about it, if you wish. Gather with like minded people and enjoy it together. Whether you’re Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or Pastafarian, it doesn’t matter to me.

Just don’t push it down anyone’s throat and do not commit violence in the name of your religion.

The law of Swade will subject you to a year of being tickled, non-stop.

Doof Doof music

One of the things I’ve learned while living in Sweden is that there hasn’t been a song written through all of history that can’t be re-jigged and set to shitty doof-doof dance music. They love it here.

Hey, baby.
Hey, baby.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something and that might – might – be true of learning a musical instrument. I suspect it takes longer for most. I still marvel at those guitarists for whom an instrument seems to be a natural extension of their body. Those who know what to play and when, and those who (crucially) know when NOT to play.

Music is supposed to be an art form. A thing of true beauty. Its magic lies in a unique skill; an artist’s ability to draw on their emotions, paint pictures with sound and/or words and to generate energy from it. A true artist can capture both pleasure and pain and balance them on the head of a pin. They can fire you up for a fight or inspire you to fall in love. The soundtracks of our lives are based in sensory expression, which is why music is one of the emotional triggers that sticks so well in our memory.

Doof doof might do it for you but it doesn’t do anything for me. And I’m King here, remember.

OK, so there is artistry in true showmanship, in engaging a crowd and bringing them along with you. There are enough people going to big dance venues and having a good time listening to the stuff to suggest that some of the best doof doof DJ’s obviously have something. But it’s not for me. And let’s face it, there’s a reason all these festival goers are popping pills, right?

Doof Doof adherents will be beaten lightly with a Gibson Les Paul, then forced to listen to actual rock-n-roll for 2 years. Call it gentle re-education.

The guy in the photo is actually a work colleague who I love dearly and is an in-demand DJ here in Sweden. I love this picture. I wish I could tamper with his playlist, though 🙂

Tony Abbott’s Political Career

If you’re reading this and thinking “Who is Tony Abbott?”, count yourself as one of the lucky ones and move on.

Say goodbye, Tony.  There's a good lad.
Say goodbye, Tony. There’s a good lad.
Our former Prime Minister is a fool and Australia is better off without him. He should now be confined to a post-political career of letter writing and ribbon cutting but sadly, it looks as if he’s going to stand for parliament again in 2016. Some say he still has designs on the leadership.

One of the defining characteristics of a cult is the steadfast belief that their way is the only way. Tony Abbott is his own cult. He truly believes that he is the saviour of conservatism, that it doesn’t stand a chance without him. Sadly, there are enough blue-rinsers out there willing to write him emails and egg him on.

Perhaps Australia should be thankful that Abbott had his chance at the top job. It was embarrassing, soul-destroying and the source of multiple double facepalms, but it only lasted a short time and we can, and will, recover. The people got to see what a prejudiced, bigoted, selfish, fear-mongering, privileged, entitled, misogynistic, backwards government looked like without getting too messed up. Now we know. Now we can move on.

This boil needs to be lanced, however, and King Swade is up for the job. Tony Abbott will be sentenced to five years of ironing Anthony Albanese’s shirts in the basement of old parliament house, while listening to the ABC 24/7.

Donald Trump’s Presidential Bid

Do I even need to explain this one? No, I don’t.

Breaking wind....
Breaking wind….
Donald Trump says what he thinks and a lot of people are buying into that. Some are buying into it because they want to give the Republican establishment a bit of a shake. Some are buying into it because they’re genuinely dull xenophobes and habitual cheerleaders.

The problem, of course, is that this is a Presidential bid with real consequences. The winner will be in charge of one of the most important countries in the world, with nuclear codes and stuff. It’s not reality TV. There has to be a point where it turns from entertainment to serious business. A nominee actually has to have well thought-out policies and a strategy for communication that brings out the verbal sledge hammer only when absolutely necessary.

There are 194 countries in the world that are not the United States. If you really want to be seen as a world-leading country, elect a man who is worthy of the title to run the place. Donald Trump is a performer. A clown. A blustering windbag who is preying on fear. What’s worse is that his inflammatory statements steal all the oxygen from people who could actually be responsible and presentable Presidential candidates. The people of the United States need to hear from these candidates.

Sentence: Donald J Trump will do 10 years hard labour giving piggyback rides over the border to Mexican immigrants.

Continued Stupidity in Classic Car Prices

The Porsche 911, just a few years ago, was the car that most keen drivers could aspire to with some realistic hope of actually buying one. Yes, the old ones were about the price of a new family sedan but that was reasonable. It meant that the serious helmsmith had a choice to make and in making that choice, they would forego the sensible nature of the modern sedan. Their reward – a wonderful driving experience to offset the shouty stuff coming from the other side of the bed.

Acceptable collecting
Acceptable collecting

Thanks to a recovering world economy (what GFC?!), there’s a bunch of cashed-up tossers in the classic car market and they’re being egged on by the belief that their cars will continue to rise at 50% a year like 911 prices have for the last two or three years. It has to stop.

Classic cars are for the people have paid their dues, done their time and had these cars in their hearts since they were a little kid. They’re for the people who LOVE TO DRIVE, not for some Johnny-come-lately who scored some stock options or a profit share and is looking to, quite literally, park their money in a good investment.

Anyone buying a classic car without having owned a series of worthy, aspirational sub-classics (including at least one Alfa Romeo) will be made to drive a 1993 Toyota Camry. Forever.

Stu, you get a pass as you’ve already done your penance 🙂

Debate over Gun Control

Jim Jeffries can take this issue, in two parts.

Warning – there is a LOT of foul language in these two videos. A lot of good argument, too, and it’s all very, very funny. But again, a LOT of foul language.

Persistent gun control advocates will also be sentenced to a year’s tickling. If you’re a religious fundamentalist who also loves guns and you’re unwilling to tighten up gun control laws, you get double the tickles.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Hawthorn Football Club

Hawthorn has won 12 of their 13 AFL premierships in my lifetime. That’s nearly one every four years, on average.

I’m pleased to have been such a good luck charm for somebody, but……. give it a rest, Hawks. Seriously.

The penalty: every Hawthorn premiership since the 1980’s is erased and links to all Hawthorn highlights online divert to this:

Debate over Climate Change

One of the interesting sideshows during Australia’s recent political history was the fiscal argument about ‘inter-generational theft’. Those on the right were arguing that because those on the left are soooooooo financially irresponsible, the country would be leaving more and more debt that our kids and grandkids would have to pay. That might be a fair call, too, if those on the right hadn’t made the national debt so much worse since taking office, but I digress…..

There was no call from the right for any sort of real, actual solution to this most egregious problem. No-one asked for people to put their hands in their pockets and make a one-off contribution at X-dollars per head in order to save our kids from this burden. Why? Because it’s the accusation that wins votes, not the solution. All people have to do is agree with you and you’re golden.

Discuss, people!  Discus!
Discuss, people! Discus!
Climate change is somewhat different but just as polarising for some. This, despite the evidence being so clear and the scientific community being as close to agreement as it can responsibly be.

And yet you still get people making arguments against taking action. Most of the arguments are economic: We can’t afford to change. It’ll put us at a competitive disadvantage. Blah Blah Blah. We can’t afford to NOT change direction on this and thankfully, it looks like the world is coming together.

Why not look at it as a long-term economic opportunity? That’s exactly what it is, after all. The only difference is that it involves investments that may not see a pay-off in time for you to go to Tahiti any time soon. Clean energy and increased efficiency are keys to the future. It’s just that they’re most likely keys to someone else’s future, not yours.

If we want to talk about inter-generational theft, by the way, climate change is about as bad as it gets. Debts can be repaid in relatively short time if we all put our mind to it. A wrecked environment could take generations to recover, if it ever does. Extinction is permanent.

Climate deniers will spend an hour each day in a small pool with the water just 1mm below their nostrils (with head extended up/back). They then have to hope it doesn’t rain. Rescuers will be on standby and will assist if they deem it to be fiscally responsible to do so.

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7 Comments

  1. I’d agree with everything you say, Swade. If I weren’t a republican and thus unable to accept your monarchical prerogative, that it!

    Cheers,

    Alastair

    1. Agree with you on all points except the sport you refer to as football. (Sorry, it’s 22 guys and 100 yards and that is that.)

  2. Loving the Jim Jeffries links, Steven…not heard of him before, bloody excellent way to annihilate the stupid arguments for continued gun ownership in the US!

  3. The sentence for Trump is brilliant.

    Regretfully, he is only mid-pack nutty in the collection of wannabe Republican nominees.

  4. “What GFC?”
    Spoke with an auto-guru-alfisti a while back and the topic of conversation was along the same lines. Money IS there for the classic cars, particularly those with chrome, and always has been it seems. And those with lots of it then snap up the bargains to increase their portfolio value. Certain classic cars are coming close to being a currency in their own right. ’80’s whale tailed air-cooled Porsche’ seems to be nominally equivalent to ‘print your own money’…