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I’m reading Noam Chomsky’s Failed States.

Its a great book, in the vein of that sort of thing. But it does leave one feeling tremendously frustrated, angry and very ineffectual.  In fact, I could summarise a good portion of my angst as a mind numbing lethargy as I can’t see a way to win.  And by win I mean not some overarching scheme to rule the world, though that of course is an option, but to somehow see my way through this life without helping destroy the world.

I won’t reguritate Chomsky, you can read the book or there are a good many blogs out there who are far more outraged than me, but suffice it to say that, essentially, the worlds greatest military power, is, in many respects, one of the ‘Failed States’ that it so violently and virtously claims to oppose.  Which is obviously to those with some degree of sanity, not really a teneable or desirable position to be in.
So we have the United States actively trying to destablise the world, and ironically providing the perfect training ground for new terrorists in Iraq, Australia is following with our head up the US’s arse – putting back the ideas of democracy with lovely new laws curtailing civil liberties (and we, Australia are particularly vulnerable to this as the only democratic country without a national bill of rights, instead relying on the good sense of the parlimentary process. And we all know how well that is working), both the US and Australia ignoring global warming its all looking really quite bleak.

The insidious rise of religious bollocks such as Intelligent Design being a science and the fact that our education minister actually considered it as a viable thing to be taught in Australian Schools as science.  Sure, lets chuck out rational thought, in fact, we can do as the US and redefine science so that ID can be taught.

The environment – So we’ve decided carbon is bad.  Fossil fuel is bad.  But then solar is ineffecient, requiring highly toxic chemicals to manufacture and regular replacement.  Hydro isn’t bad, but then it requires damming of rivers which leads to tremendous environmental damage – see Lake Pedder and the 3 Gorges in China.  Nuclear is quite a good option, but will take 10 – 20 years to save the carbon it took to create the bleeding thing, plus all the associated risks with it.  Wind isn’t consistent enough, meaning we have to run coal as backup (and coal is very ineffecient unless its running full pelt) and other studies have shown that building wind farms on peat bogs (common enough) releases a stupid amount of carbon trapped in the peat bog.  Carbon Capture and Sequestration, touted by Al Gore just seems stupid to me.  A large, costly exercise in burying your head in the sand.  But please inform me more on this matter.
Biofuels – given a big boost by everyones favourite billionaire, Richard Branson.  But then, where are we going to plant the vast quantities of grain to make our biofuels? And doesnt it seem slightly daft to plant hideous amounts of crop (in the processes likely destroying rainforests and useful things like that) and then mashing it into fuel when so much of the world goes hungry?
We’re arsed.

In my on-going spew about Art – I find this very difficult to reconcile, most artists I know are incredibly concerned with the environment. Its kind of our thing as loud opinionated sorts.  But ask most any artist what they want to do, and more than likely it is to travel – to take their show international, to see international shows/galleriers.  Galleries are swapping their collections around the world, shows fly around the world. But then this is all, of course a tremendous cost of resources.  What are we going to do about it? How to reconcile the politic regarding the environment and our practice?  I mean, I can’t help but feel excited that the Paris Opera Ballet is coming. But thats an entire plane load of performers, support and scenery. Ok its probably a more worthwhile cause than idiots who fly from london to new york for a spot of shopping because the pound is so monstrously overvalued, but still…

Pitifully ineffectual…

Acronyms you never knew about

HNWI- high net worth individuals. Defined as those with assets in excess of 1million, not including primary residence.

Ultra HNWI – Ultra high net worth individuals. 30million +

CLWEI – the Cost of Living Extremely Well Index

Well, this being Christmas time, I thought I would spare a thought for those whom the media routinely ignores in favour of refugees, the poverty stricken, victims of natural or man made disasters, the war. I am of course, speaking about the HNWI. The High Net Worth Individuals.
According to the World Weath Report (well worth a read) by Capgemini, US HNWI growth slowed, and despite “Strong real GDP growth and robust corporate
profits were offset by a string of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and the post-hurricane devastation in the Gulf Coast
states. HNWIs felt the sting. ”

Mon Dieu, and here I was mislead that the real story was homeless African Americans, but no, the rich also suffered. But all is not doom and gloom for our poor millionaires. On page 9 of the WWR, Capgemini reports that the costs of Living Extremely Well is becoming more affordable, as measured by the difference in growth of cost of the stuff that ordinary people buy and that of the extraordinarily well off. So a silver lining in the diamond studded cloud of our HNWI.

Keeping the christmas spirit alive.

The International Herald Tribune, 13/12/06

Sao Paulo is removing all bilboard advertising above eye level. Quite a move, as Roberto Pompeu de Toledo writes, it is “a rare victory of the public interest over private, of order over disorder, austhetics over ugliness, of cleanliness over trash…For once in life, all that is accustomed to coming out on top in Brazil has lost”

Of course advertising and business  is most displeased  saying this damages the rules of market economy and respect for the rule of law, the essence of capilatlism being the availability of information about products.  The sole dissenting vote bemoaned the loss of advertising, saying “Advertising is both an art form and, whhen you’re in your car or alone on foot, a form of entertainment that relieve solitude and boredom”.

How incredibly awesome! I sincerely hope that the law makes it through the ineveitable flood of challenges in court. It would be quite something that a city reclaims its visual space from the onslaught of advertising and relieve the visual clutter and overload of modern megalopolises.

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So, I made it back. By a stroke of luck, apparently it seems that there weren’t any economy class seats left so I got to fly business class which really is the way to travel.

I am pissed off and want to kick somethings arse. Badly.  Preferably without me wheezing and gasping like Mr Burns.

Argh.

The first in what may become a series of pointless conversations

So, Ive been having these heart palpitations and assorted fun light nausea, tachycardia, lightheadedness; fatigue blah blah blah. soI decide to see a doctor about it. Its not comfortable and like I said in the previous post, having to have a wee sit after a flight of stairs is a rather serious downgrade for a usually godlike being such as myself.

The following is an abridged but true transcript

Me: Hi, Ive been getting these palpitations, racing heart beats etc at rest and also with very moderate exertion
Dr: Blah blah, lets do an echocardiogram and Holter monitor

620 euro later, 5 days later

Dr: Ah, it appears your heart is beating too fast sometimes.
Me: Yes. Why?
Dr: Why? I dont know. Pfft

So that was that. He actually did the pfft thing, which is very french but i took particular offence in this occasion.

Rest assured the baby penguin hasn’t been abandoned or clubbed to death, just been preoccupied.

So, I’ve finally managed to make it to Anger. I’m really really fucked off. After recovering quite nicely from the whole collapsed lung thing, my heart decides to join in the fun and starts going funny, racing for no good reason and nausea to go with it. Buckets of fun. I was dealing ok with it until I went to the hospital and had my tests taken in the company of incredibly fat, old American men who’ve enjoyed a few thousand too many hamburgers in their corpulent lives. It was just so damn frustrating, I mean I would consider myself rather fit, and being reduced to having a sit after a flight of stairs is rather humiliating. (On the plus side, the nurses were considerably more attractive this time around)
I know I should be making the most of staying in Paris, and it is great and I’m trying, but when those darn squishy organs start packing it in, it arses up the fun quotient.

On the plus side, Unfed has done very well, showings around Europe, and also will, all going to plan, be shown on ABC early next year!

The folks at Noise seemed to like my photography and I managed to be Artist of the day, which is not all that exciting as most everyone gets to be artist of the day at some point. But in anycase check it and there is a vote and I’d much appreciate it if you would oblige and do that. Means I might win some money, which is good considering the whole lack of job and career thing.

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