It’s been a while since I did anything like this…

…and I think it’s about time that I did again.

This, in this case, being the #Trust30 challenge. 31 days’ worth of prompts for blog posts.

It’ll be something, that’s for sure.

So starting tomorrow, the posts will be appearing here in the Blessays category. I hope you’ll come along for the ride – or better yet, join me on it.

The Lights on the Hills

Why should the ALP have all the fun? What would it look like if the other parties had their own lights and hills?

The Liberal Party privatised their Light on the Hill in 1994, forming the Light on the Hill Corporation to run it. After two years of losses, the company was merged with several similar companies to form IdealismCo, which ran the Light with greater restrictions on operating hours, reducing the 24 hour service to 8AM-8PM Monday to Saturday, and 1PM to 5PM on Sundays. In 2007, IdealismCo was acquired by the Japanese-American conglomerate Shitsu-Tonka, and restored to 24 hour service, although cuts in the maintenance budget have led to frequent outages.

The Greens‘ Light is run entirely on renewable solar and wind energy, and as such, shines only during the day and for about an hour after sunset each day, unless it’s a particularly windy night.

The National Party‘s Light is portable, and able to be affixed to the rollbar of any ute or small truck, the better for use spotlighting roos.

Bob Katter had a Light on his Hill, which he then moved down to the back shed, and often uses as a spotlight. Unfortunately, poor placement means that few people notice.

Rob Oakeshott‘s Light is actually in a valley. It is available for loan free of charge to all those Oakeshott deems needful of it.

Tony Windsor actually has a bunch of smaller Lights rather than one big one, which are arranged in a layout that makes sense to him, if presumably to few others.

Andrew Wilkie has his own Light on the Hill, which he is fond of shining in the eyes of his political opponents, a tactic which has proved reasonably effective for him.

Nick Xenophon tends to use his Light much like a combination of Katter and Wilkie.

The Democratic Labour Party claims to have a Light on its Hill, but it is apparently only visible to true believers.

The Australian Sex Party‘s Light on the Hill is red. It is also the only Light on this list to reliably make a profit.

A Guide to Recognizing the Truth in Diverse Media

Confused by the blizzard of data all around us? Having trouble telling what’s true and what’s not? Check this ready reference guide to recognizing the truth, depending on what you’re viewing/reading at the time:

In a sitcom with a voice-over narrator: stated by the narrator at the end of the episode. (Warning: if the narrator’s name is JD, the truth in question may be stated in unusually peculiar metaphors. If the narrator’s name is Earl, the truth will sound dumbed-down, but usually be deeper.)

In a horror movie: the good advice or common sense ignored by the protagonist/s. Sometimes this truth is implicit, e.g. ‘never perform scientific experiments in which you are the test subject’

In a work by Neil Gaiman: stated portentiously, pretentiously, or both, but usually also with wit and charm.

In a work by Robert Anton Wilson: disguised as a paradox, a koan or a joke. (Warning: not all jokes in Wilson’s works are truths.)

In a work by Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis: disguised as the rantings of a drug-crazed or otherwise unreliable narrator

In a work by Aaron Sorkin: disguised as naivest idealism, bitterest cynicism, or both at once.

In pornographic video: directly proportional to the trueness of breasts, on a scale ranging from very low to infinitisimal.

On cable news networks: directly proportional to the degree of disagreement with Fox News.

In a work by John Stewart: the level of truth in any statement is directly proportional the level of either incredulity or humility with which Stewart states it.

In a work by Stephen Colbert: replaced by Truthiness

In a DC Comic: stated by either Superman or Batman. Where they disagree, the truth lies with whichever one gets the last word.

In a Marvel Comic: stated by Captain America, but only if the role of Cap is currently being played by Steve Rogers. Otherwise, stated by either Spider-Man, Wolverine or Luke Cage, especially if it is the latter two in agreement.

In Greek Myth: stated by Cassandra, but never believed.

In Norse Myth: stated by Heimdall, Odin or Loki. n.b. the latter two are also notorious liars, so although they may be telling the truth, you probably won’t be sure about it until later, or in extreme cases, after Ragnarok.

In any incarnation of Star Trek: preceded by the words “Captain’s Log”, although occasionally it will be someone else’s log.

In Twin Peaks: stated by the log. Yes, really.

My WikiLeaks Wish List

Daniel Ellsberg was a military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation, when he leaked the doccuments that became known as The Pentagon Papers. They were published by the New York Times on June 13, 1971 – at the height of the Vietnam War. It was a scandal in its day, and the 7000 pages worth of documents leaked by Ellsberg represent the largest such leak in history.

Until recently, that is. No doubt you’re aware of the recent disclosure of 9000 pages of similar materials – more Pentagon documents, this time relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rather than Vietnam – by WikiLeaks.

Naturally, this led to comparisoms of Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange. And The Washington Post took the step of asking Ellsberg about it, and he contributed a wishlist of four leaks he’d like to see on WikiLeaks.
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4 Good Reasons Why You Should Vote

Let’s get one thing straight, right at the start, okay? This is not me telling how to vote, this is me telling you why you should engage in the exercise of your democratic franchise. Because there are many people out there who seem to think that not voting is somehow a better idea than voting, which is why the average American president gets elected by about 25% of the US population.

So take a deep breath, prepare yourself mentally and physically, and let’s move on.
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In reply to #utegate – Making Political Scandals Australian

Like every other fan of Australian political theatre, I’ve been following the Ozcar affair. But I really object to it being called Utegate. We’re Australians. We don’t have -gates. That’s an American shorthand for a political scandal. We have our own term for these things, or at least, we should.

So I propose that we innaugrate a new, Australian cliche: The Overboard.
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The (Alaskan) Lumberjack Song

Something new for the Daft Lyrics Database: a newly written filk piece, to the tune of Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song:

(Presented with apologies to people named Jones, people named Tomlinson and some people named Palin.)

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Cultured Spaces

I don’t doubt that you’ve all encountered what I think of as ‘Cultured Spaces.’ These are spaces that are set aside exclusively for the use of one particular group to the exclusion of all others. You often find them at universities – rooms for women, for queer and transgendered people, for members of particular religions. Often they are not rooms that serve any particular function beyond privacy (although rooms for religious groups often blur this distinction).

I’ve often found myself in two minds about this. I hate that these things are exclusionary, but then, I’m also aware that, as a wise friend of mine once put it: “maybe someone needs a space I’m not in. ” What to do, what to do…

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