Yo, Bitch! Did you hear Bill Maher using the N-word?

As you might’ve heard, comedian Bill Maher used the N-word during his HBO show. While talking to Senator Sasse, he came out with the “I’m a house nigger”. Comedians are known to push boundaries, but sometimes they just push it too far, they try too hard. We just have to think few days back to a completely distasteful photoshoot coming from Kathy Griffin.

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Given the nature of conversation at the time, Bill’s remark actually made sense – during the times of slavery, the “house nigger” was a common term to describe slaves working in and around the house, as opposed to the ones working out in the field. However, Bill is not a history professor lecturing in college on a subject of slavery. He is a comedian, and could’ve gotten his point across without offending anyone.

Having said that, I can’t put the blame entirely at Bill’s feet. Just look at movies that come out of Hollywood, at music videos, at the way people talk to each other in real life and on Social Media… The N-word is such a common thing, that one can be forgiven for thinking that’s it is an acceptable, everyday word. We often hear black people calling each other the N-word. Guys – it’s either offensive or it isn’t. If it is, STOP USING IT! Just because you use it yourselves doesn’t make it any less offensive. Lead by example, show to the rest of the world that using the racial slur is NOT OK.

While we are on a subject of respect, what is it with girls addressing each other as “bitches“? When did it become the norm?

Princess

Princess

Is it all a byproduct of “equality”? I’m pretty sure that your grandfathers would’ve gotten in a fist-fight if someone called your grandma a “bitch”. Once again, you want to be respected by men, start by respecting yourselves.

You can address each other by your real name, by a nickname, you can call each other Girlfriend, or Подруга, or Mate, or Paisano, or Homie….

just don’t call each other Bitch.

Advertisements

School Zones, Speed Zones, Confusion Zones

Last Sunday I was driving down my local street, and found myself stuck behind the car that was doing 50km/h. I couldn’t help but wonder what was the guy behind the wheel thinking. On Sunday, the speed limit there is 60 km/h, other days it’s 40 km/h. Did he think he’s in a built-up area and therefore should stick to a generic 50 km/h speed limit? Did he know that the road there has a 60km/h speed limit and he was just a Sunday Driver? Did he know it was a 40 zone and he was being a rebel, driving recklessly at 50 km/h? Who knows!

But it did got me thinking. It’s hard being a motorist in Victoria. Not only do we have to deal with “regular” speed limits changing on a same stretch of road without rhyme or reason, but we also have to keep in mind school zones.

Speed signs must be consistent

Speed zones chaos

It wouldn’t be so hard if we had some sort of uniform approach towards it, but I guess the people in charge of our roads think that it will make our driving experience too dull. Guess what? I can do “dull”. Dull trip is the opposite of Adventure trip, and when you are on a way to work, adventure is the last thing on your mind.

At the moment, we are in a middle of School term 3, and according to the Government sources, the dates of this term are from Monday, 11th of July to Friday, 16th of September.

But….. there is always that nasty “but”.

So the dates for the Term 3 are from Monday 11 July to Friday 16 September. Easy enough to remember, right? Not quite. If you happened to be driving along the Wootten Road in Tarneit, you don’t have to keep to 40 after 9th of September, as the Islamic College there finishes their term a bit earlier. Or if you were driving along the Old Melbourne Road in Chirnside Park during the first week of term, you didn’t have to drop the speed either, as the Oxley Christian College there starts a bit late. Or if you are driving past Yeshivah College in Balaclava – they start their term later as well.

These are just a few of hundreds upon hundreds of private schools in Victoria, and each of them is making rules as they go, changing term dates, adding or subtracting few here and there…

Speed zones chaos

Speed zones chaos

While I understand the reasoning behind the decision to make speed limit in school zones a low 40 km/h, I think our government, as usual, failed to think through the execution of this initiative. Let’s think about it – if you have a child that goes to your local school, you might eventually remember the dates of school terms. But what if you have to drive next to a different school, in a different part of Melbourne? How can you be sure if it is a school day, or a student-free day in a school you didn’t even know exists?

If our government is fair dinkum about safety, the solution is simple. Instead of those old style road signs advising motorists of school zones, we need electronic ones, which present correct speed limit at any given time and have an added benefit of having higher visibility level.

I will be getting in touch with a couple of people who not only have interest in this matter, but also have ability to make it happen – I’m talking about Minister for Education, The Hon. James Merlino and Minister for Roads and Road Safety, The Hon. Luke Donnellan.

And while they are out there, righting the wrongs, they might consider making our roads less “speed camera friendly”, and more “driver friendly”. Do we really need a change of speed limit every 1.5 kilometre? Because that is exactly what we have at the moment. If you travel along the North Road from about Leopold Street, South Caulfield to Blackburn Road, Clayton – a grand total of 11 kilometres, you have to go through 7 (SEVEN) different speed zones, ranging from 40 km/h to 80 km/h.

Being Somebody – My Musings During the Melbourne Cup

Yesterday Melbourne was in a grip of a racing fever. There’s been a lot said over the past few days about the Melbourne Cup all over the internet and traditional media, so I’m not going to talk about it. I’ll leave it to others to talk about the winning horses, or talented trainers, or incredible jockeys.

Zap Fitness gym

Inside one of Zap’s many locations

I want to talk about something completely different. At about the time when Race 7 was stopping the nation, I was in a middle of my own race – on a treadmill in my local gym. Coincidently, there was a lot of people around me, who cared very little about the races, but who cared a lot about deadlifts, bicep curls and reps. While running, I was listening to  Lay Me Low – a great song by an extremely talented Nick Cave. I must’ve been hearing this song for the hundreds time, but for some reason, this was the time when something about the lyrics attracted my attention. In particular, these lines:

They will interview my teachers (Lay me low)
Who’ll say I was one of God’s sorrier creatures
They’ll print informative six-page features
When I go

 

This made me think – how many of us will merit a six-page feature when we go? How about a one page? Or even a single line? Too many of us go through life without really doing anything outstanding, without caring about what’s happening around them, without being a Somebody.

Freedom of thought

Engage your mind.

I remember years ago, as a young man I was working with a cynical old-timer. He used to tell me “Never get a reputation”. I asked him once, “Don’t you mean never get a bad reputation?” “No” he said, “never get a reputation of any kind. You will be expected to live up to it”.

Now decades later, listening to Nick Cave, I remembered this conversation and thought that I would rather, in a words of a song, Make a Stand. I would rather get a reputation.

Be known for something. Be known as someone.

Melbournians fallen victims of self-absorbed and disgruntled renegades with permanent chips on their shoulders

Another day, another industrial action by Melbourne’s Public Transport workers. Once again tens of thousands of people have been left stranded, inconvenienced, made hostages of the Unions.

Yarra Trams holding Melbournians hostage

Yarra Trams holding Melbournians hostage

Yesterday, for the fifth time in two weeks Melbournians fallen victims of self-absorbed and disgruntled renegades with permanent chips on their shoulders, otherwise known as Rail, Tram and Bus Union leadership.

Workers fighting for their rights and conditions is an important and necessary part of a democratic society.  Unless, of course, this fight becomes a nasty squabble and stops being a vehicle of progress.

 

 

So what do the Unions want?

They want 6% pay raise each year for three years (18% pay increase) for Yarra Tram and Metro employees. That’s on top of already generous pay increase they’ve negotiated in the last two Enterprise Agreements:

According to a report from 3AW tram and train drivers have received pay rises of 28 per cent in the past six years after negotiating two new EBAs since 2009.

What does the Metro Train management offer?

Another day, another industrial action

Another day, another industrial action

  • 13% pay raise over three years
  • Increased maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks
  • Increased Carers leave from 1 week to 2 weeks
  • Up to 5 days of Bereavement leave
  • Trauma and Family violence leave
  • An option of when to take their five weeks annual leave

According to Yarra Trams, tram drivers, on average, currently take home $91,000, including penalties, bonuses and overtime. So we are not exactly talking about poverty-stricken segment of our society here.

 

It reminds me of when Telstra employees engaged in the rolling industrial strikes few years ago, after the Company and the Union failed to reach an agreement.

I’m sure you all remember it – tens of thousands of people lost their access to the internet, nobody could call their families overseas, people couldn’t withdraw cash from the ATMs and the entire police force went on leave, because no-one could call 000, remember? No? Because that’s not how it works when people taking industrial actions actually care about what they do and about their customers.

The problem is, the way I see it, that the Union bosses get joy from making life hard for businesses. They genuinely thrive on it, and are completely indifferent to the hardships their militant actions cause to country as a whole.

What’s even worse, they end up becoming a Labor Politicians and legislate to make it easier for their Union cronies to continue this vicious cycle!

Miss World Pageant- a Miss Universe’s Poor Cousin?

The other day I stumbled upon a Miss World Pageant show on Foxtel. Naturally, I stopped my channel surfing and decided to have a look. I was expecting to see Donald Trump’s silly hair, to hear contestants talking about world peace, while wearing a “barely there” bikinis….

Miss USSR 1990 Maria Kezha

Miss USSR 1990
Maria Kezha

Imagine my disappointment, when I realized that I’m watching the wrong show! Whose idea was it to create 2 (almost) identical shows? It’s like having NCIS and say, NCIS LA, or NCIS New Orleans; oh, hang on a minute….  Anyway, how does one decide which show to enter? If you are a bit smarter, you enter the Miss World one, but if you have more beauty than brains you try your luck in Miss Universe? Those are difficult decisions for girls to make 🙂

Also, isn’t it a bit ambitious to call it a Miss Universe? I mean, it’s OK for now, but the name would imply that the contestants from other worlds are eligible to enter. Wouldn’t it be ironic, if we get some beautiful ladies from planet Crespallion, or Acamar, or Crematoria or some other far-away place coming here and taking the pretty little crown away from us? I wonder if there is a clause in an application stipulation that a contestant has to be from Earth, or even a humanoid?

Nigerian beauty queen

Queen Celestine

Anyway, the show’s over. Now we wait for the Miss Universe to entertain us next month. Apparently, there even going to be a Nigerian Queen.

 

Gypsies, Travellers and Prejudices

Television is a great time-waster. It’s also a great source of entertainment. And occasionally, it makes us ask questions, seek more information.

This was the case when I came across the show on Foxtel called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The show is based around the lives of Travellers and Gypsies, and I was disappointed to hear that in today’s age Gypsies and Travellers are being routinely discriminated against.

I remember dealing with Gypsies back in my younger days. They used to come through our town every summer. I remember their men being very proud, independent and decent fighters. Their girls are beautiful dancers and really easy on an eye. When the men weren’t busy smoking and talking trash, they earned their living as blacksmith and horse handlers. Women used to bring money into the tents by dancing and fortune telling. Their kids were known to help themselves on occasion with stuff that wasn’t bolted down, but I don’t remember it being a big problem – it’s not like they were the only ones with sticky fingers – there was enough home-grown low-lives to cause trouble throughout the year.

So where does this animosity is coming from? Why do we treat people who live next door to us, look like us, work like us with such content?

The answer, I think, is simple…. all this is because of the lack of knowledge and understanding.

Gypsies are different, in many ways still maintaining the way of life their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. They were known as nomads, as the “descendants of Cain”.

Because of this being different, Gypsies suffered greatly during the WWII. They were sent to extermination camps together with Jews and homosexuals.

This makes the way they are treated today even more appalling. It is really sad when in a 21st century UK a grown up man is afraid to show his face on TV for fear of loosing his job, or a bride is refusing to name the place of the wedding venue till the very last moment for fear of the venue cancelling on her simply because she’s a Gypsy.

 

Law of the Jungle, Survival of the Fittest, Also Known as Suburban Driving

I have to start by saying that I like to think of myself as a reasonably safe, assertive driver. After many years on a road, I’ve seen just about everything, been in a couple of bingles, avoided few more. But today’s been interesting…. I had 2 near-misses within as many minutes.

First one was a Four-Wheel-Drive, whose driver decided that it’s a good idea for his vehicle to occupy the same point in space as my car.

4WD attempts to push me off the road

4WD driver decides to change lanes without paying attention to cars around

As you can see from my highly technical picture here, my car is on the right, with nowhere to go and the other car is to my left, attempting to get into my lane. The guy didn’t even bother to see if anyone else is around, and was really surprised to find my car only a couple of inches from his…. after I’ve used the car horn to warn him.

 

Second incident happened only about a kilometer down the road, when I was trying to negotiate a T-intersection; normally not particularly difficult task.

Bus unable to perform a right turn

A bus driver was having a bad day

Once again, I’m proud to display my significant artistic skills here. The green rectangle is my car, ready to turn right. The blue one is some other car, about to turn left, and the big brown blob is a bus, whose driver is on a mission to flatten my car.

I don’t know-maybe he was having a bad day, or forgot that he’s driving a bus and not a bicycle, but there was absolutely no way that he could turn without running me over. Yet, I had to practically beg him to stop and wait for me to reverse my car about 30 meters back, to make it safe for both of us.

What really got me, though, was that both drivers – the 4WD and the bus were Asian. Here’s the part I don’t get: Asians are arguable the hardest working people on a planet, they are also some of the most advanced academically-just go look at the Law and Medicine Faculties of any university in Australia-majority of students there are Asians.

So here’s a question to all my Asian friends out there…. please someone, explain to me: what the fuck happens to you when you get behind the wheel?