26 December, 2005

a very munkey christmas

Just dropping in to say a brief belated MERRY CHRISTMAS to all.

The night of the 22nd was the work Christmas BBQ - a much classier affair then years previous, mostly due to our wise hiring during the year of an ex-chef. The night was long and exceedingly messy, especially after one of my work-mates shared around one of his *special* cigarettes.

Madame Mu organised an evening for the gang at Sippers on Friday night, which consisted of fantastic food and wine. It was a wonderful evening with some of my favourite peoples on the planet... and was also a very good excuse for Moodles and Snazzles to show off their lovely, witty American boyfriends and make those single members of our gang green with envy.

Christmas Eve was the 50th Birthday of Mother Gomati. Happy Birthday to an incredible lady who I came to know virtually by chance (or, more accuratrely, by the clever conniving of Mme Mu). After those festivities (involving more great food and wine - are we detecting a pattern here?) I trundled off to my family home for the Festival of Christmas. We watched Ray Martin patronise his way through the Carols; I took a well-timed cigarette-break as soon as Daryl Somers walked onstage. Then we did all the Santa stuff with Ms Cait - putting out apples for the reindeer and shortbread and milk for the jolly fat man himself.

Christmas day was spent at the home of my aunt Ms Sheila. The usual gorging on food and drink ensued. The strangest occurence of the day appeared inside a Christmas cracker. My cousin Jodi received as her cracker-toy: a keyring in the shape of a love-heart. Nothing too strange about that, but the picture in the frame was of NYC's late WTC Twin Towers. Very odd, and kind of creepy.

The post-dinner evening lull was overcome by the annual tradition of giving anonymous *silly-presents*. I received a skill-game for four players, which deals out an electric shock to the person who is slowest on the button. We're talking an ACTUAL electric shock which makes you squeal and jump and leaves your hand tingling afterwards. Kind of sadistic, but strangely addictive. My secret present for Cousin Mark was a pair of those giant rubber hands/gloves that make explosive noises when you punch something. As predicted, he and his two brothers (all over 30, I might add) had a wonderful time pounding the crap out of each other. They also received four high-powered water-pistols, which led to an all out water war among the whole family. Fun fun fun. My personal favourite silly-gift was a small green plastic turtle with flashing lights, which wheeled around the floor inexplicably playing "Barbie Girl", periodically firing a small white egg from a hatch in its rear end. Bizarre and wonderful.

As the night rolled on, I drank more and more but strangely wasn't getting drunk (have I built up a resistance?). As talk turned to Mark's regular bladder-accidents when drunk, and the "ping-pong lady" show Sheila and Ian witnessed in Bangkok (yes, it is exactly what the dirtiest part of your mind is imagining), I realised it was high time for me to be in bed.

I have spent much of today cramming as much of my music collection as will fit, onto my brand-new 5Gb MP3 Player, courtesy of patermunkey. Hurrah! I shall very soon be jetting off to sunny, boozy Northern Queensland with my beloved ladies. We will be seeing in the New Year up there.

SO... Adieu to you all for this year! May the rest of your holiday-season be safe and love-filled. I shall return to the blogosphere in 2006. Looking forwartd to inflicting my ramblings on you all next year, and for many more to come.



21 December, 2005

who *wouldn't* want to help breed an army of invincible monkey-men?

You just know it's going to be an excellent day when Boing Boing is running an article including the words "monkey sperm in human volunteers".

We all knew Josef Stalin was a wacky guy. But
new documents have just come to light in Moscow, revealing his ambitions for breeding a half-monkey half-man super race. It seems 1920s Russian biologist Ilya Ivanov, under orders from Zany-Joe, was given $200,000 and packed off to West Africa. He was told to cease his work on the artificial-insemination of racehorses, and concentrate instead on breeding this race of super-primate warriors who would be "invincible ... insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

The idea was that they would replenish the severely depleted Red Army, and also be willing workers in Russia's new Five Year Plan. An army of rampaging Communist munkeys! Can you imagine anything better?!

Not-remarkably, Ivanov's efforts to impregnate human women with ape-sprog were largely unsuccessful. But hey, now we live in a world of genetic engineering, DNA synthesis and other such marvels. I've seen that cartoon bit in Jurassic Park - I know this kind of God-playing can be done, that cute animated double-helix said so. So perhaps this is an option to be explored by Señor Bush, et al. He can't keep pumping human cannon-fodder into Iraq forever. As long as we can turn these hideous monkey-man beasts into Christians instead of Communists, I think this could be right up Bush's alley.

I can see the job advertisement now...
WANTED: Freedom-loving, ultra-patriotic, Christian ladies to be knocked up with chimp jizm, for the glorious good of the United States of America.

Don't all put your hands up at at once, girls.



mindlessmunkey's spunk o'the munth

(unless she's a saucy bitch, in which case go ahead)

Yes, dear readers, it's time again for munkey's blog to indulge in some perving and soft porn. And I'm very pleased to announce that the hot piece of man meat for this "month" is acclaimed French actor:
Stéphane Rideau:

Born in 1976, Stéphane shot to the attention of the International-Cinema world at the age of just 17 in his feature debut, Wild Reeds. This tender and beautiful coming of age story co-starred his friend and future-director Gaël Morel, and saw him first tackling issues of confused sexuality, a topic he would fearlessly confront in many roles of his career. Here is Stéphane about to dunk his buddy Gaël in a river in Wild Reeds:

Despite being heterosexual, he has often played gay or bisexual characters openly, and even explicitly. Perhaps most noteworthy in the spunk-stakes is his oft-tackle-out performance in Come Undone (aka Almost Nothing). Here he is with his naughty-bits showing in a promo shot for Come Undone, by famous queer photographers Pierre et Gilles:

And here he is napping in the nuddie with his lovely co-star Jérémie Elkaïm:

Although Rideau is straight, it is rumoured director Sébastien Lifshitz insisted the actors have sex together before filming commenced, so they would be comfortable and realistic in their love scenes. Here is a picture of Stéphane pretending to get his brains fucked-out by Jérémie:

(Now personally I think the boys needed some more practice. This may be a queer-perspective overshare, but frankly it's quite clear that nothing's really happening there - the pelvic angles aren't at all right, as far as I'm concerned. But oh well, I suppose that's neither here nor there... it's still pretty hot.)

In recent times - though always being a vocal advocate of equal rights for the gay community - Rideau has moved away from queer roles. Perhaps this is due to his not wanting to be typecast. Or perhaps it's because he is now - at the ripe old age of 29 - happily married with a daughter. Awww.

Anyway, Stéphane is a great actor who has brought realism, grit and emotional depth to many roles. He's also damn hot. Thankyou for indulging me in my perve-fest.



20 December, 2005

lookie ma! we're on the compooter!

Munkey has taken another tentative step towards online infamy. Yes believe it or not, lovers and dreamers, a website has been crazy enough to make me one of their official writers!

Alternative music and culture website Halo-17 is letting me broadcast my musical opinions to the world. They have already published the sample review I submitted, and apparently I shall soon receive my first official "assignment". I will get sent promo and pre-release CDs... two or three every few weeks. Then I review them for the good people at Halo and - the best part of all - I will be getting paid in CDs and sometimes even concert tickets! Hurrah! Since I love music, and one of my favourite hobbies is accidentally discovering new obscure artists & albums I would never have heard of otherwise, this is like the perfect passtime for me. I don't need to spend all my money on records, yet I still get to sample a wide array of what the indie/alt music world has to dish-out.

One side-effect of this is that I won't be posting reviews of new-release music on this here blog anymore. (I know I know, you're all DEVASTATED, but I'm sure you'll cope.) Since I am effectively being paid for my reviews at Halo-17, they think (and I agree) it's fair that I don't publish the same material anywhere else. So future musical Munkey's-Eye-Views will be retrospective looks at classics only.


In other news, Australia has rated a mention in long-running much-loved satirical news website
The Onion. It was just a brief feature in the faux Vox-Pop section:

Oh we should all be so proud! You know you're making your mark as a nation, when you do something absurd and reprehensible enough to be mocked on The Onion.


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19 December, 2005

let's play the "what do i regret most?" game

So let's have a gander back at the time that has elapsed since last Friday, and try to determine my biggest mistake...

Was it the "date"/meeting with a guy i've known for ages, which turned into one of the most hideously depressing events of my life?
Nope. Write that down to experience and misunderstanding.

Was it the copious amounts of gin that were consumed during and after the aforementioned soul-crushing self-esteem-shredding debacle?
Nope. By that point, in my emotional state, it was an option of drinking gin or lying in front of a bus. In retrospect, I'm very glad I went with the gin.

Was it trundling round the city with my family in a half-asleep delerium, and failing completely to properly take in the Myer windows?
Nah. Actually I have no regrets at all from Saturday. Remarkable!

Was it eating enormous amounts of food at Sunday lunch, and then going back for seconds?
No way! The food, courtesy of Lady Lili, was AMAZING. And frankly I've given up on losing weight this year. Christmas and weight-loss just don't mix. I will have a good hard look at my belly, and a good hard think about how to get rid of it, in the New Year.

Was it losing it completely halfway through playing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"?
Nah. I think everyone was too drunk to notice my piano-fuck-up; they all just kept singing. Besides, I entirely blame Snazzles and Jelly, who distracted me with their primary-school-calibre hilarity ("Oh cum ye, oh cum ye" etc).

The multitudinous cigarettes?
Pish Posh. It's bad, I know, but they can be filed with the fatness issue under "things to deal with after New Years".

Thinking about my Mum and bawling my eyes out for a few minutes?
Nope. Having brilliant friends is all about having people to cuddle when you start irrationally crying while drunk. It doesn't happen often, but it's nice to know they're there if/when it does.

Pashing a straight-boy and at least one girl? (I know I snogged Mr Josh once and Mistress Corrie at least twice, but I honestly can't remember if anyone else was involved).
Hell no! Bring on the boozy pashing of friends!

Playing the "I've Never Ever" game, while shotting black vodka.
Okay the game was fine - I don't think I incriminated myself tooo badly. The black vodka was almost certainly a mistake... but it doesn't come close to the real biggie...

And the winner is... the champagne. When I was already drunker than I have been in YEARS, when there had already been a trip to the bottle-shop to get extra wine, when I had already imbibed the black vodka in the "I've Never Ever" game... it was THEN that we decided it would be a marvellous idea to open the champers. That, lovers and dreamers, is my biggest regret of the last 72 hours.

This morning I wasn't just hungover. To be hungover, you have to be alive. And human, probably. This morning, I was neither. I was some kind of groaning, hideous, red-eyed creature from the murky depths of Hell. It's not even an "I'm never drinking again" situation. It's more a "for the love of god I need to drink MORE. NOW. To kill the pain" situation. Then possibly an intravenous drip of Berocca and to sleep for about 2 months.

Oh 'tis an interesting time of year.

In the immortal words of Withnail: "I feel like a pig shat in my head".



15 December, 2005

what's so funny bout peace love & understanding?

So every blogger under the southern sun has been writing about the race-riots in Sydney. I'm not going to add, because there's too much to say, and everyone's already said it better than i could anyway.

But, in the interests of showing ourselves and the world that Australia is NOT characterised by this kind of behaviour, I think it's very important that as many people as possible attend this:




If you value our country's multi-culturalism, and believe this land is EVERYONE's to share, get along down there y'all!

What kind of Australia do you want to be living in?



the idiot-box, music and boooooze

Do you think blogs will endure? When I am old and my brain is turning to frogspawn, will I be able to log onto The Voice Of The Munkey, and find out what I was up to in December 2005? Perhaps the WWW as we know it won't even exist by then, and everyone will be sharing information via some completely as-yet-unimagined means of communication. Oh well, just in case...

Last weekend was my work Christmas shebang, held at the home of my boss and his wife (who is kind of also my boss). The event essentially involves more alcohol than can fit in a house, a very nicely catered lunch/dinner, and munkey struggling but managing not to talk about cute boys *office-closet munkey*. So there were about 11 hours of solid drinking. At 2.30am I finally lay me down to bed on the floor of my boss's study. One of my drunken workmates had decided to spend the evening on the verandah, it being a warm night. He also decided to continue playing with the jukebox which was also on the verandah. The study window (behind which I was trying to sleep) was right next to the jukebox. My workmate decided to program tacky, twangy country-&-western songs. Hundreds of them. I lay awake for quite a while, bathed in the excruciating tones of: "She's gone country! Look at them boots! / She's gone country! Back to her roots!" and other such nauseating gems. Murder was seriously contemplated, but I finally managed to snooze off. In the morning, we discovered the guy on the verandah curled up near-naked with the boss's family dog. Country music & beastiality... nuff sed.

The rest of my time has been mostly spent with my adorable friends, accompanied by alcohol and television.

We've spent some time here:

and here:

We've gone back in time to meet with these folk:

and I went to visit these shady characters:

We all hung out with these guys:

and I also got to meet this lovely guy. But he's not a TV character (as far as I know).

Meanwhile, I've been practicing playing carols on my keyboard for our annual Christmas Extravaganza next weekend. I'm sure the neighbours are highly sick of hearing me bumbling through 'We Three Kings' and 'O Holy Night'... but hey I'm sick of them screaming about drugs and how the world is full of assholes, so fair's fair. (Okay so there's only one neighbour who does that, but one-bad-apple & all that) It turns out that living without a piano for nine months has made me VERY rusty on the old ivories (or plastics, as the modern world would have it). I'm really hoping I don't let everyone down on Sunday *high-self-expectation munkey*. I find myself feeling a lot like this guy:

For those who might not remember, that is Don Music - Sesame Street's resident maestro, who would frequently get so frustrated that he bashed his head on the keys and sobbed. I can relate. (Incidentally, he was taken off the air, because apparently kids at home started following his lead and wacking themselves. Yet again, a few moronic badly-supervised kids spoil the fun for everyone.)

Bring on the drunken singing!


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14 December, 2005

"that mr hyde guy is kinda full-on"

~dream diary~

Life has become a movie! It is a horror movie. Snazzles, Moodles, Lilikens, Jelly and I are the players. We have to improvise, because there is no script. But we are great! We have flawless American accents. We assume complex, multi-dimensional characters. It becomes clear that my character and Jelly's are love-interests. We play the flirting scenes like experts.

We are going to college. There is a creepy, psycho lecturer named Mr Hyde. Oh, what a clever reference! My film-within-a-dream is postmodern! After class, I smile sheepishly at Jelly and say, "That Mr Hyde guy is kinda full-on." I am setting up Mr Hyde as the potential killer in our horror movie. It is a red-herring and an inter-textual reference at the same time! Now we are going camping...

Suddenly I am separated from the girls, and I realise that the film-plot has followed them. I am still in character, but I am not onscreen anymore. It dawns on me: I must be the killer! I have gone missing, and the girls assume I'm dead. Somewhere, they are running and being scared (and possibly getting topless and bloody, as girls in horror movies do, right?) So I realise I must prepare for the grand finalé where I suddenly reappear, reveal myself as the killer-all-along, scare the shit out of them, then probably get slaughtered in a bloodthirsty but open-ended way (to leave room for a sequel).

So I bide my time and wait for nightfall. Then I creep back towards where I know the girls are camping. On the way, I cross a park with a children's playground. In this playground, they are shooting an episode of
Rome. It is a war-camp scene. Centurion Vorenus is stoically trying to maintain order among his legionaries, while Pullo sits atop the monkey-bars, receiving a blow-job from a slave girl. (Oh Pullo, you rascal!) I pass by trying to remain unseen as, for some reason, I know it's very important that the people making Rome don't see me making our movie.

Leaving the park, I see
Tilda Swinton. She is also (inexplicably) part of the Rome production, but is currently waiting for her scene to be filmed. She is about to shoot a scene where she gets skinned alive. In her hands she holds the gruesome prop: a replica of her own disembodied skin. It is pink and warm and limp. I steal it from her and run! This will be perfect. For the climax of my horror movie, I will run up wearing Tilda Swinton's skin, and scare the living bejesus out of the girls! Oh, our horror movie is going to be GREAT!

As I approach their camp, I strip naked (it doesn't occur to me at the time that this is scarier than any horror movie could ever be) and drape Tilda's skin around me. I creep up to them and prepare my best maniacal horror-movie-villain laugh...

But they are not interested. They have got sick of being in the movie, and are cooking dinner. They know I'm not really a horror-movie slasher-guy. I'm just little-old munkey dressed in a fake human skin trying to scare some girls in a movie. And they don't even care.

What the fuck is going on in my subconscious?



10 December, 2005

of balls and braincells

Well, they went and did it. Scientists at New York's Syracuse University have conducted an extensive study of bat testicles (an idea which in itself boggles the mind) and concluded that the male body has the capacity either to develop and maintain a large intelligent brain, or large fertile testes... but not both.

Because of the high-energy demands of both brains and sperm, scientists believe males cannot generate large amounts of both. ... "Because relatively large brains are metabolically costly to develop and maintain, changes in brain size may be accompanied by compensatory changes in other expensive tissues," wrote Dr Scott Pitnick.

(Is it wrong that, upon hearing this news, I instantly began thinking about the guys I've "known" and whether their brain-ball ratio supports the theory?)

Now I'm sure this is a typically defensive male "I have a degree but my nuts ain't tiny" viewpoint - but surely it has less to do with the actual size/mass of the organ, and more to do with its productivity. I'm willing to believe there are guys out there with massive swingers who are shooting blanks, so surely large doesn't necessarly mean useful. I'm equally sure there are high-IQ doctors and philosophers out there who sport bulging gonads. However I'm more than willing to believe that high brain-cell development accompanies piss-weak sperm production, and vice versa... You only need to look at how many borderline-retarded bumpkins seem able to pump out offspring like rabbits.

Meanwhile my pop-culture-poisoned mind must pose an important question with regard to this theory: What is going on with Tom Cruise? We all know he's freakin
insane - not much going on upstairs. And we also all know there's not much going on downstairs. (Don't point to the fact that he supposedly knocked-up Katie Holmes, because frankly if you believe that relationship is real, you'll believe anything - even this.) So if the "expensive tissue" hypothesis holds up, where exactly are his tissue-efforts being expended? Are we to assume perhaps, that Tom Cruise has an incredibly developed and productive spleen?

I shall leave you to ponder, lovers and dreamers.

Don't make me choose!



06 December, 2005

scary, subversive, smutty & stupid

It's time again for Munkey's semi-regular round-up of Crazy Shit I Have Found On The Net:


First up, from the desk of Lady Lilikens, a terrifying little item:


Life too boring? Nobody paying attention? Make everyone care by ARRANGING AN ACCIDENT. The services at
By-Accident.com can fake a rape, assault, car accident or botched suicide to make your past more interesting, and manipulate your loved-ones into realising how much they really love you. By-Accident.com will provide psychological counselling to make your new memory as real as possible, and even perform surgery to create the physical "scars" of your trauma. Everything you need to create a convincing "accident" and get noticed the way you deserve. By-Accident.com can turn you from an ordinary overlooked citizen, into a unique & remarkable victim of tragedy. Because you're worth it!


Ever wished the stories and lessons of The Good Book could be simplified and presented in an easy-to-swallow colourful format? Well look no further than...


This is sheer genius: genuine (albeit abridged) quotes and narratives form the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, rendered in Lego. The scenes of graphic
sex and violence are particularly brilliant. My favourite section is The Law, illustrating the Old Testament's guidelines on when it is correct to stone your children, how a man is to make himself clean after spilling his semen, the proper time to hang somebody, and just what God thinks of people who follow their own moral compass instead of obeying His laws. Pure, subversive Gold!


Now, we all know kids love to go to Disneyland. But I think this picture from the Pirates Of the Carribean attraction, gives an inkling as to why their mothers love to take them:

Shiver me timbers.


And just for good measure, another treat from

In case you can't make out the text, it reads:
This child is my friend! Occasionally it also becomes emergency provisions.


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don we now our gay apparel

Oooh! Look at all the shiny things!

I missed out on seeing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Friday night, due to a badly-timed computer disaster and some god-awful traffic. However I managed to meet up with Ms Snazzles, Mme Moodles, Lady Lilikens, Ms Jellyfish and Televisions Kynan's Barker for (more than) a few drinks afterwards, so the evening was by no means a total loss. When our merry bunch (which by then included Mu's beau Mr Andrew) disbanded some time after 3am, I found myself wandering the streets, fruitlessly searching for a taxi that would deposit me home. None was to be found. Wandering vaguely towards Flinders St Station, I was suddenly accosted by a well-dressed but alarmingly uncouth young man who began demanding I give him spare change. He was obviously intoxicated (but hey, so was I) and actually started roughly shoving me as I walked down the street, despite my protests that I was just as poor and destitute as he. Strangely I was in no way intimdated by this show of testosterone-fueled insolence - partly, no doubt, because I was too drunk and tired and pissed-off-by-the-lack-of-taxis to care *dutch-courage munkey* and partly because this fucker looked about 17, and even though I have never so much as thrown a punch in my life, I could probably make him cry just by sitting on him.

In this dark and lonely hour, the CBD is at war with itself. You can taste the uneasy silence in the air as, on every street corner, rival factions face-off with bared teeth and brandished claws. Suddenly, the quiet is shattered as an innocent yellow taxi rounds the corner. A war-cry goes up. The opposing forces scramble, shout, rugby-tackle the opposition to the ground, hurl themselves among speeding traffic setting off flares and fireworks, desperately trying to be the first to attract the attention of the cab. As this bloodthirsty struggle unfolded at every turn, I realised my beloved city had become a remorseless world of kill or be-killed... or walk home. So I opted for the latter. I walked a long way. I was not happy. I finally managed to hail a cab, on Punt Road. I was tired when I got home.

On Saturday it was off to the house of patermunkey to "babysit" Ms Cait and ElectroBoy. Taking care of my siblings is always a relaxed affair, essentially involving watching kids' movies or TV shows, buying McDonalds, engaging in board-games, running baths, helping Ms Cait tend to the needs of her Sims (or helping to destroy them all in a terrifying inferno, depending on her mood), and saying "Stoppit, Poppit, Foppit, Nyoppit, Cloppit..." at each other ad nauseum (a tradition only my sister and I truly understand). *slightly-deranged-older-brother munkey* Oh and I think I'm developing an unhealthy crush on Spongebob Squarepants. Help me.

The Munkey Family got well into the Christmas spirit on Sunday morning, setting up the tree and hanging decorations on anything that would hold still long enough. It's nice that as life changes, as people move on and move away, some traditions still hold-up. I don't care that it's become a tacky, commercialised orgy of capitalism and cynicism. I remember what Christmas was when I was a kid, and I refuse to let it go. I don't care if I'm depressingly, irreversibly expanding in years and kilograms. At this time of year, I will flout all sense of decorum, kick my heels up and behave like a kid again (only with a much higher blood-alcohol level).

Vale for now, dear readers, and remember:
In Heaven, everything is fine. In Heaven, everything is fine. You've got your good things. And I've got mine.

Clockwise: someone I think is hot but shouldn't (coz he's too young) ; where the fuck were all of you on Friday night? ; someone else I think is hot but shouldn't (coz he's a yellow cartoon sea-sponge) ; 'tis the season to be fat and boozy! fa-la la-la laaaa la-la la laaaa!



05 December, 2005

munkey needs some silliness

Okay I think it's high time for some nonsense. I've seen this around on a couple of different blogs; it's one of those fun 'do this with Google and put it on your blog' activities that are constantly sweeping the web.

You do a search for "(your name) needs" - make sure you include the quotation marks - and blog the first ten results. So here's what I got...

Ashton needs a transfusion of immunoglobulins.
Ashton needs to find out what his friend, Roger,is up to.
Ashton needs help dealing with foam and scum.
Ashton needs to have a confrontation with a razor!
Ashton needs to lose the pimp hat.
Ashton needs a beating, and he needs a beating now.
Ashton needs to come to NYC to Smoke The finest hydro and Drink The best bottles of Cristal.
Ashton needs to re-evauate the findings of his survey!!
Ashton needs a ass whoopin'.
Ashton needs to have George Wilson and The Lone Ranger killed so he can finish the take-over of Border City.

Spooky! Now lets try my other name...

Munkey needs to get his revenge on former friend Edsel.
Munkey needs a spakning! (sic)
Munkey needs some help in the Hallmark department.
Munkey needs a lot of hay.
Munkey needs to wake up and face reality.
Munkey needs a vagina.
Munkey needs loving.
Munkey needs to Masterbate. (sic)
Munkey needs sleep badly.
Munkey needs to read more carefully.

A surprising number of these are extremly accurate. I'll leave it to your imaginations, dear readers, to determine which ones. Incidentally, I've always felt that if you can't spell 'masturbate', you shouldn't be allowed to do it.



02 December, 2005

a man dies, the tragedy continues

This morning, a 25 year-old Australian man was dropped from a platform with a noose around his throat. For his sake, one would hope that his neck was broken on impact. But it is possible he remained alive for up to ten minutes. These are details we will probably never know. All we know for sure is that Nguyen Tuong Van - who was the same age as me, and went to school with his twin brother just blocks from where I live - was hanged by the neck until he was dead, at 9am Melbourne-time today.

Nguyen Tuong Van

This man was a convicted heroin trafficer. Employed as a "drug-mule", he was arrested in Singapore with 400g of the drug strapped to his body. Apparently he was commiting this criminal act to save his twin brother Khoa, who was deeply in debt. In Singapore, heroin trafficking carries a mandatory sentence of death.

The questions raised by this whole story are too numerous and complex for me to adequately address. I am not going to condone or excuse the trafficking of a highly addictive and deadly drug, which causes misery and death to thousands the world over. But I cannot accept the words of Singapore's Prime Minister this week, when he defended his Government's bloodthirsty mandatory-execution laws. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed his country was attacking the drug problem at its source. A desperate fool who tapes drugs to his body and gets on a plane, is not the source of the drug problem.

The Nguyen Twins as children

I am also not going to get involved with the "who could have done what?" arguments. Doubtless there is much scope for examining the Governments of both Singapore and Australia in this situation. How can it be that a Government like Singapore's - which operates virtually as a draconian police-state dictatorship - is allowed to wallow in its shiny, prosperpous hypocrisy, while the rest of the world stands by? The details of whatever political wranglings went on, in trying - and failing - to prevent Nguyen's death, are largely irrelevant. It seems that the sad underlying fact is that global economic alliances (and reliances) carry more weight in this world than human rights.

What Nguyen did was wrong. Desperately, reprehensibly wrong. But this seems to be a case where the punishment is horrendously disproportionate to the crime. Personally, even in the most extreme cases, I do not feel that any court of justice has the right to end a human life. This case just illustrates the madness, futility and sheer waste of Capital Punishment.

Nguyen Tuong Van is dead. His mother, brother and friends are probably still at Changi prison as I type, mourning the folly of their son, brother and friend. Meanwhile today, countless individuals will make the personal choice to buy heroin and put it into their bodies. Some of those people's lives will be destroyed. Some of those people will overdose and die. This is an undeniable tragedy which cannot be ignored. But do we really believe that the situation will improve, simply because Nguyen Tuong Van's body lies lifeless in a prison morgue?



01 December, 2005

a treat for lovers of music

With thanks to my new friend Mr Afe, I have discovered a wonderful web site / service. If you are a freak for music, and you listen to music using any kind of media player on your computer, THIS IS FOR YOU!

It's a website called Last.fm (powered by the brilliantly-named server "audioscrobbler") and it is marvellous. You create a user profile for yourself and download a special plug-in for your media player (all of which is extremely easy). The website then automatically keeps a record of every single track you play on your computer, creating a musical profile, compiling charts of your favourite bands and songs. It shows you other users from all over the world who have the same tastes in music as you, provides forums and message-boards, and you can even listen to Last.fm Radio - which draws on other similar users' playlists to introduce you to new music you might like.

You can also use the Audioscrobbler Browser. Simply type in the name of a band or artist you're a fan of, and it will show you a big pictorial chart (see excerpt above) of other bands who are liked by the same people. This is all sheer genius as far as munkey is concerned.

Only one question remains: why the hell didn't I discover this website sooner?!