98 entries categorized "Current Affairs"

Man In A Box

Maninbox-celeb_promo_image-968beeedacf90cbd-300x250 In an exercise of endurance, solitary confinement and - perhaps - insanity, UK TV personality Tim Shaw will be locked in a 3 x 4 x 8 foot metal box for 30 days.

He could be released earlier if any viewers can figure out exactly where he is (and the viewer wins around $50,000) or will insanity set in first?

Either way, there'll be a lot of people watch him live on line starting tomorrow.


When jokes are no longer funny

Over the last year, in a bid to save money, the idiot Brumby government has reduced a lot of Police Stations from 24 hour operations, to closing from 11pm to 7am.

Back in 1959 this sort of idea was considered so outrageous it was used as a practical joke:

In 1959 the Kokomo Tribune, based in Indiana, announced that the city police had devised a plan to cut costs and save money. According to this plan, the police station would close each night from 6 pm to 6 am An answering machine would record all calls made to the station during this time, and these calls would be screened by an officer in the morning. The police reportedly anticipated that the screening process would save the city a great deal of money, since many of the calls would be old by the morning and would not need to be answered. A spokesman for the police admitted that "there will be a problem on what to do in the case of a woman who calls in and says her husband has threatened to shoot her or some member of the family." But in such a situation, the spokesman explained, "We will check the hospitals and the coroner, and if they don't have any record of any trouble, then we will know that nothing happened."

Here's another...

In 1999 the Savings Bank of Rockville placed an ad in the Connecticut Journal-Inquirer announcing that it would soon begin charging a $5 fee to customers who visited a live teller. The ad, which appeared on March 31, claimed that the fee was necessary in order to provide, "professional, caring and superior customer service." Although the ad was a joke, many customers failed to recognize it as such. One woman reportedly closed her account because of it. The bank then ran a second ad revealing that the initial ad was a joke. The bank manager commented that the first ad ironically "commits us to not charging such fees."

Houdini - 100 years ago

March 18, 1910, Harry Houdini flew his Voisin Biplane at Digger's Rest, near Melbourne.

March 18, 2010, and celebrations will be held to celebrate Australia's centenary of flight.

Most of the celebrations centre around aviation with not much emphasis on Houdini as a magician, but for more information go to http://www.houdini.diggersrest.com 

The Jackson Jive

The success of 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' last night has been overshadowed by controversy with one of the acts on the 'Red Faces' talent segment being accused of racism.

The act was 'The Jackson Jive' - a group of friends doing a parody of 'The Jackson Five'.

In my opinion, it's still too soon after Michael Jackson's death, but their stupid dance moves and slapstick silliness was in keeping with the usual intentionally low standard of 'Red Faces'.

However, the criticism against the act had nothing to do with them parodying the Jacksons. It was because they painted black make up on their faces and had afro wigs.


Harry Connick Jr, who was judging the act, said "We've spent years trying to stop making African Americans look like buffoons."

But were The Jackson Jive trying to make African Americans in general look silly, or specifically The Jackson Five who they were parodying?


And without the make up and wigs - would we even know who they were supposed to be?

Was the act racist? Do the critics even understand the definition of racism?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, racism is a belief or ideology that all members of each racial group possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or racial groups. The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular racial group, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief. The Macquarie Dictionary defines racism as: "the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others."

As one commentator on The Herald Sun website wrote this morning. "My kids blacked up to play Aboriginals in a school play last week. Should they be decried as being racist?"

Does this mean it's "off limits" for non African Americans to parody the Jacksons? Or is it okay as long as they don't do it in make-up (like Weird Al Yankovic). 

Yank7769m 41Michael_jackson_bad_cd_cover_1987_cdda 

Though you'll note that Weird Al didn't need make up to parody 'Bad'

Eat_It_-_Comp_Weird_Al Thriller-michael-jackson 

But did for 'Eat It'...

And what about the other side of the coin? A few nights ago Channel Nine screened the atrocious Eddie Murphy movie 'Norbit' where Eddie dressed as an elderly Asian man


He's also worn "white face" to play caucasian characters, 


but with the exception of Robert Downey Jr in 'Tropic Thunder', 


white actors playing black are often accused of racism but rarely do we see the accusation leveled at black actors.

Yes, I agree that making fun of an entire race just because of the colour of their skin, the way they walk, the way they dress, the customs that they hold, or any other generalisation is very wrong. But if someone does an act where they want the audience to recognise the character they are parodying... surely we can allow them to alter their appearance to look like them without assuming they are trying to belittle an entire race.

Time for zero tolerance


Less than two weeks ago the government gave the AFL $132,000 for a campaign to discourage fans from irresponsible drinking.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has thanked the Australian Football League (AFL) for launching its Just Think advertising campaign during the September footy finals.

The campaign, solidly backed by the Southern Courier and the AFL Players’ Association, was designed to encourage young people to act responsibly while drinking alcohol, Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd gave the AFL $132,000 to support its work in taking a zero-tolerance approach to booze-related violence, particularly among young Australians. “It’s fantastic that you as professional footballers are out there getting behind this,” Mr Rudd said. “So many people look up to you - you know that - therefore establishing in Australia a view that . . . it’s fine to go out and have a drink so long as you know where to draw the line.”

At the Brownlow Medal Awards on Monday night, two high profile AFL players gave great examples of irresponsible drinking. Was it all part of the campaign?

Jason Akermanis got so drunk before the awards night, he simply couldn't attend. His wife said:

"I picked him up and we were on our way to (Brad) Johnson’s – I had his suit with me – and he was just not in a state to be seen in public at all," she said.

"He was a little sleepy. We were in the car and he said ‘I can’t go’ and I said ‘you shouldn’t go’. So we turned the car around and went home."

Brendan Fevola, already drunk when he arrived, made national headlines for his behaviour and was fined $10,000 (his annual salary is $750,000) by his club.

But the part of the story that fascinates me is Crown Casino's take on the responsible serving of alcohol. Everyone could see Fevola was off his face, but Crown kept the drinks coming.

"He's not the smallest bloke in the room and you don't want to necessarily confront him," Mr O'Neill said.

"We did what we are required to do and we tried to contain the situation. Finally, with the help of his mates from the football club, we were able to convince him that the better course of action was to leave.

"I can understand people are concerned about people like Brendan Fevola turning up drunk. We've been in business for a long time, we treat this very seriously, we meet our requirements as we are required to do.""He didn't scuffle (with security guards). He was clearly not going to co-operate with the security people alone. He wasn't being the nicest person you'd ever want to meet in your whole life."

So one reason Crown security didn't confront him was "he's not the smallest bloke in the room"? Were they afraid of him? Or do you get a free pass if you're a big, intimidating drunk?

Not surprising really when you look at past responses by Crown Security... like this one where a gang randonly attacked a tourist in the casino.

According to Ms Loorham, a security guard said: "What do you want us to do about it? There's too many of them."

Now they face a probe over the irresponsible serving of alcohol but, just like bullies intimidate Crown security, Crown itself is probably very intimidating to the Liquor Licensing Authority.

Meanwhile Melbourne continues it's descent as alcohol-fueled violence becomes the recreational choice of a generation.  

And the banned plays on...


Wow! At well over 10,000 views the BANNED FROM BLACKPOOL thread on the Genii Forum must be the most read magic thread of all time... and it shows no sign of stopping!

The last half of page three will be of interest to Australian viewers as Australian Society of Magicians President Nick Morton addresses the issue of him banning me from the club and all of its affiliated events. (Still waiting on Nick's reply to my email as to whether Sue-Anne is banned as well).

The most recent twist in the saga is that comments made by Paul Daniels in this thread about staging FISM at Blackpool were picked up by the mainstream media in the UK and Derek Lever, who had remained silent on the banning issue, chose to respond to the press calling Paul a 'c-list celebrity' and, while pointing out that no-one is banned from Blackpool FISM, said Paul is not invited to attend.

The Blackpool Gazette has also picked up the story, and if you look through the comments section you'll see residents and past-residents debating as to whether the town of Blackpool really is as "rough, tasteless, bawdy and scruffy" as Paul said.