Monday, November 25, 2013


Society has become dull and conservative.

People paint their houses grey, then put on a grey suit and get in their grey cars to some boring office with ceiling tiles. It's all very depressing.

The top selling colours for cars are white, black and silver. Even the new iPhones aren't selling because colour is so scary for most people.

For the sake of joy we need to fight back against dullness. I thought I would start this fight on a local level with an inappropriate letter to a neighbour who had painted some very dull colour swatches on their house.

Dear neighbour,

Using my Sherlock Holmes-esque powers of deduction, I’ve deduced that you are considering repainting your house and I must say I am a little disappointed by the colour options you are contemplating.

Currently your home is a very cheerful pastel green. It is the colour of a mouth-watering lime sorbet, the water in some far-flung tropical paradise and the lingerie worn by that shapely lass on page 16 of the summer ‘92 Grace Brothers catalogue. I mean really, what on earth could be better than ice cream, tropical paradise and a very hot woman wearing a very minimal amount of clothing?

Instead of this fabulous vision you appear to be considering painting it some horrifically boring shade of grey. Really, why grey? What do you recall when you think of grey? For me it conjures visions of disease-ridden pigeons, the sky in London, John Howard’s stupid eyebrows, miserable corporate slaves in business suits and ridiculously expensive luxury four wheel drives that try to run me down every time I’m on my bicycle.

Maybe you like your business suit. Maybe you like driving a grey Audi. Maybe you have a secret John Howard eyebrow fetish. I really don’t know.

Maybe all you care about is money. If that is the case, I’d encourage you to look inside your wallet. All those notes are beautifully colourful. Just choose your favourite one and paint it that colour! Of course, if the $100 note is your favourite you don’t have to do a thing. Your house is already green. What a win!

I and the rest of the neighbourhood look forward to seeing what decision you make.

Yours sincerely,

Some bloke down the road

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Investing in fucking up the economy

Australian politicians do a great job of pretending to care about the cost of living, yet each year our government spends billions of dollars to make the cost of living more expensive.

Negative gearing is mind-blowingly stupid. It basically involves us paying rich people to make poor investments. In the 2010-11 financial year negatively geared investors lost $13.25 billion dollars. These losses were claimed as tax deductions. 

As well as costing us billions each year in forgone tax revenue, negative gearing has massively inflated the cost of housing. These inflated housing costs flow through the economy. To meet the basic need of having a roof over their heads, workers require higher wages, which means businesses have greater costs, consumers pay more and Australia becomes less and less internationally competitive.

If we still wish to throw money at property investors, we should at least limit negative gearing to landlords who purchase new properties. This would increase the supply of properties and mean first time buyers have a fairer go when bidding on the run down 1970’s apartments that are actually within their price range.

If we wish to provide incentives for investment, we should be far more thoughtful about where we direct the money. Rather than artificially propping up property prices we should be encouraging investors to put their money in areas which actually improve the country.

How about incentives for investing in science and innovation? Or incentives for investing in environmental projects? Oh wait, we have Abbott for prime minister. I blocked that out. Maybe we could just have incentives for investing in more toll roads.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I went to Woolworths and discovered their new trolleys have built-in drink holders. Have there been a lot of people dropping dead of dehydration while slowly ambling down the aisles in air-conditioned comfort? I doubt it, but I do think people are scared to go more than 50 metres without a drink bottle these days.

In the eighties no one used to get dehydrated because we didn't really know what that word was. We got thirsty and sometimes we got bloody thirsty, but no one ever got dehydrated. Cars back then didn't have drink holders because car designers assumed that sitting down doesn't take much effort and that people just tootling around probably didn't really need a drink.

Somewhere in the 90's women's magazines started telling us that we needed to drink 20 glasses of water a day and soon after we started seeing a whole lot of power walkers with drink bottles poking up from their bum bags. Were they too busy flailing their arms to stop at a bubbler? I'm not sure.

Then Gatorade came along and spent a whole lot of advertising money to tell us that if we were thirsty we were already dehydrated. They did a good job of making being a bit thirsty seem scary, whilst also making people think they would like like an elite athlete if they drank their fancy cordial.

With the public shit-scared of ever being thirsty, marketers then got really clever and started selling bottled water. They realised that people were now so petrified of ever feeling a little parched that they would willingly fork over $2.50 for stuff that comes free in a tap.

Now we are encouraging consumers to consume more even at the point that they are walking around buying things. Maybe the next step will be to put in a popcorn holder next to the drink holder on the trolley. Or may be we can just have a chaff bag like horses?

High vis

I was playing golf next to a school playground yesterday and noticed all the teachers on playground duty were being forced to wear high vis vests. Why? Teachers were pretty easily identifiable when I was at school. Generally they were all about two foot taller, at least twenty years older and not dressed head to toe in grey. Are kids really getting so dumb that they need a high vis vest to work out the difference?