31 January 2008

Ninja skirt

The level of street crime in Japan is actually declining, but the local media is fanning hysteria about muggings and assaults. It prompted designer Aya Tsukioka to create this piece of clothing for escaping from an attacker. And she's serious. It's yours for ¥80,000, with a kimono-to-vending-machine version available by special order.

30 January 2008

Belief-O-Matic™: Choosing My Religion

I was answering the 20-question Belief-O-Matic™: What Religion Am I? quiz at Beliefnet and, between questions about God, the afterlife, abortion and Satan, this ad popped up.

It's for Eli Lilly's post-Prozac cash cow, duloxetine. It's the new standard-issue seratonin reuptake inhibitor for depression. An interesting choice of target audience, I thought.

Anyway, the quiz said my number one choice of religion, with a 100% match, should be Unitarian Universalism. It's a wildly liberal 1960s outfit that's pro-gay, pro-abortion and you believe what you want, when you want, read a lot and discuss everything. Sounds very me.

My next choices, if it didn't work out with the UUs, were Secular Humanism (98%), which isn't a religion at all, Liberal Quakers (89%) and Theravada Buddhism (88%). Scientology (65%) came in at number 11, which is odd given that it's a sci-fi cult masquerading as an actual religion.

Bahá'í Faith (42%) and Hinduism (41%) were 17 and 18, with a dead heat between Islam and Orthodox Judaism (both 21%) at number 22. Coming in last, just after Jehovah's Witness (17%), was Roman Catholic (9%) at number 27.

At least I just scraped in with the Catholics. I didn't make the cut at all for Falun Gong, Jainism, Nation of Islam, Shinto or Zoroastrianism. Better luck next time around, I guess.

29 January 2008

Eye candy

Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka studies the psychology of vision at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. His work centres around visual illusion, visual completion, motion perception and stereopsis (binocular depth perception). He is a scientist but I think his work is art.

His current research is about "anomalous motion illusions": static images that look like they're moving.

Click these pictures to bring them up to full size and you'll get the drift. Literally.

28 January 2008

My summer jam

I've got the new three-CD Pacha set on high rotation. CD1 is mixed by The Potbelleez, CD2 by Vandalism (the thinking man's Sneaky Sound System), and CD3 by KC Taylor from Pacha Ibiza. And it's all rly rly good. Very tasty.

27 January 2008

The Crapworks

There used to be a waxworks in Kings Cross. It was called, brilliantly, the Kings Cross Waxworks. It closed in the late 1980s because it was kinda sad and boring.

Here, for instance, is the "Shark Attack!" exhibit. Note the rather casual pose of the now-footless bather, and the stick holding up the surface of the "sea". Terrifying.

My friends Jeffrey and Amy and I hatched a plan over cocktails to open a new waxworks and call it the Kings Cross Crapworks. Everything about it would be appalling, with all the waxworks bearing little or no resemblance to what they're supposed to be. Admission would be hideously expensive and there would be a vast emporium of souvenirs on the way out with things like T-shirts emblazoned with "That Was Crap!"

Our tourist trap can now get off to a rollicking start with some of the awful things being auctioned from Louis Tussaud’s House of Wax in Great Yarmouth, England. The owner is auctioning the heads because, he says, "some of them are too old and they do not resemble their subjects any more." Sounds absolutely perfect for our Crapworks!

Here are some examples of what's up for grabs. Nothing over £80!

Richard Burton

Adam Ant

His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales, described by its current owner as "the prize of the collection".

26 January 2008

Got a light?

High-speed digital. You've gotta love it.

25 January 2008


I was reading a pdf document and came across this:
Technically, it's a "self-refuting meta-reference". I like to think of it as a koan, a Zen puzzle to clear the mind.

Here's another one.

Cue the finger cymbals, please. Twing twing!

24 January 2008

Modern childcare

[More delicious comic goodness at Married to the Sea.]

23 January 2008

RE: Trade secrets press release

As an editor I get a shitload of email from PR companies. But why bother sending me an email press release with this disclaimer in the footer?

The information in this email is confidential. The contents may not be disclosed, forwarded, published or broadcast without the explicit written permission of [company name].
So, do you want me to write about your client or not?

22 January 2008

I’m just a mess of Body Thetans!

I can answer these questions from Scientology’s 343-question Whole Track Sec Check audit with an emphatic “Yes!”

• Have you ever tried to give sanity a bad name?
• Have you ever consistently practiced sex in some unnatural fashion?
• Have you ever been a professional critic?
• Have you given robots a bad name?
• Have you driven anyone insane?
• Have you ever warped an educational system?
• Have you ever wasted time when you ought not to have?
• Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real?
• Have you ever set a poor example?
• Have you ever made a practice of confusing people?
• Have you ever gone crazy?
• Have you ever torn out someone's tongue?
• Do you deserve to have any friends?
• Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again?
Actually, I lied about the tongue thing. Please don't tell Tom Cruise or he'll start running his TPS/SP Handling tech on me. KSW, Tom!

(If you can stand it, I've posted all 343 questions in the comments.)

21 January 2008

Drinking and dialling and dialling and dialling

There's a committal hearing underway in Sydney against a football player. Another one – yawnzies. Anyway, one piece of evidence caught my eye.

The woman said she had been drinking heavily and dancing with friends at clubs in Kings Cross the night earlier, and she had no recollection of how she came to be in the [football player's] apartment.

The court also heard the woman made 21 calls on her mobile phone, and caught several cabs, during the hours she said she could not remember.
She made 21 calls she doesn't remember making? I'm glad she doesn't have my number.

19 January 2008


Beijing's trying to turn smoke-free for the Olympics in 200 days, but it's not going very well.

Authorities wrote to 30,000 restaurants asking them to put a ban in place, and only one took up the suggestion – and it's going out of business.

The Meizhou Dongpo chain of Sichuan restaurants trained its floor staff to discourage people from lighting up only to have them locked out of private dining rooms while customers had a quick ciggy.

Diners are abandoning the restaurants in droves. Numbers have dropped to "about 80 percent of that enjoyed by other restaurants across the street" said Guo Xiaodong, deputy director of the chain.

"We figure that if we're going to die, at least we're going to die honourably," he said.

Smoking in hospitals and schools was banned in October 2007.

18 January 2008

Facebook groups about Corey Delaney: a taxonomy

As of this morning, there are 70 groups on Facebook about Corey Delaney (née Worthington). There's something for everyone! To make navigating them a little easier – it's so hard to decide! – I've classified them into this handy guide.

NEUTRAL > Discussion
✮ Corey Delaney: A genius or a complete retard?
✮ Corey Delaney: Friend or Foe?

FANS > General
✮ Corey Delaney, we salute you.
✮ Corey Delaney Fan Club
✮ Corey "Party boy" from Narre Warrin Fan Club
✮ Corey Worthington Official Fan Club
✮ Friends of Corey Delaney

FANS > Descriptive
✮ Corey Delaney > Van Wilder
✮ Corey Delaney is the partayyy GOD!!
✮ Corey Delaney... Party Legend
✮ Corey Delaney= hero
✮ Corey the Party King, My Newfound Hero
✮ Corey Worthington Delaney is FIT!!!

FANS > Descriptive > Accessories
✮ Corey Delany, His Sunglasses Are Famous

FANS > Descriptive > Endorsement
✮ Corey Delaney throws a wicked party!

FANS > Advisory > Corey
✮ Corey Delaney - Don’t take off your shades

FANS > Advisory > Corey > Employment
✮ Corey Worthington Should Throw Us A Party

FANS > Aspirational
✮ I wanna party with Corey Delaney!
✮ I Want To Party With Corey Delaney
✮ I want to party with Corey Delaney
✮ I want to party with Ben Cousins and Corey Delaney

FANS > Imitative
✮ People that party like Corey Delaney

FANS > Employment
✮ Corey Delaney - Plan My Party
✮ I want Corey Delaney to organise a party for me!
✮ I want Corey Delaney to organise my next party!!!!
✮ I want Corey Delaney to throw me a party
✮ I Want My Next Party Run By Corey Delaney

FANS > Support
✮ Free Corey Delaney!
✮ Free Corey Delaney.
✮ I support Corey Delaney
✮ Save Corey

HATERS > General
✮ Corey Delaney Non-Appreciation Society
✮ I Hate Corey Delaney

HATERS > Descriptive
✮ Corey Delaney (the kid who held the party in Melbourne) is a tool
✮ Corey Delaney from MySpace is a f**king tool!
✮ Corey Delaney is a cock jockey!
✮ Corey Delaney is a DOUCHE BAG!!!
✮ Corey Delaney is a FUCKING TWAT!
✮ Corey Delaney is a fucktard
✮ Corey Delaney is a knob
✮ Corey Delaney is a knob
✮ Corey Delaney is a wanker!
✮ Corey Delaney is an ugly wanker with NO sense of taste or style!!!!
✮ Corey Delaney is NOT a legend but a bogan idiot
✮ Corey Delaney Sucks 12"
✮ Corey Delaney....What a Fuck Wit
✮ Corey Worthington Delaney is a Wanker!
✮ Corey Worthington is a WANKER!
✮ PARTY BOY is a wanker!!!!
✮ Vote Corey Delaney - Australia's Biggest Bogan!!

HATERS > Violent
✮ Association In Favour Of Giving Corey Delaney A Clip Around The Ears
✮ Corey Delaney has definitely gone the right way for a smacked bottom
✮ WHO WANTS TO BASH Corey Worthington?

HATERS > Descriptive and violent
✮ Corey Delaney is a douchebag and I want to break his f*ckin sunnies
✮ Party Boy Corey Worthington Delaney is a tool and deserves a beating!!
✮ someone should belt corey delaney, that little stupid sunglasses idiot

HATERS > Advisory > Corey
✮ Corey Delaney, grow up mate
✮ Corey Delaney - Grow the F*CK up
✮ Corey Worthington/Delaney should go hang himself

HATERS > Advisory > Corey’s parents
✮ Corey Delaney should be put up for adoption
✮ Corey Delaney should have been a Head Job

HATERS > Advisory > Media
✮ Get corey delaney off the news

at the end of the day there were 200 groups. Sheesh.

17 January 2008

The new princes of pop: a crash course

If you are a 12-year-old girl you may skip to the next post. The rest of you, pay attention.

Meet the tween phenomenon that is the Jonas Brothers (left to right): Kevin (b. 1987), Nick (b. 1992) and Joe (b. 1989). They’re Hanson for the 21st century with an extra dollop of Disney.

They have a totally poptastic "history":
March 2007 - Performed the jingle in an ad for Baby Bottle Pops. “You can lick it, shake it and dunk it!” (You can – and must – watch it here or the “music video” version here.)
April 2007 - Recorded “Kids of the Future” (based on Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America”) for the Meet the Robinsons soundtrack and “I Wanna Be Like You” for DisneyMania 5.
June 2007 - Began a 10-week prom-themed summer tour, The Jonas Brothers' School Invasion, sponsored by Baby Bottle Pops. One high school won a competition to have them "invade" their school.
August 2007 - Released self-titled album. Jonas Brothers went to number 5 on the Billboard chart in its first week.
August 17 - Guest starred in an episode of Hannah Montana called “Me and Mr Jonas and Mr Jonas and Mr Jonas” that aired after the finale of High School Musical 2, breaking all cable ratings records. They performed “We Got the Party (With Us)” with Miley Cyrus (who plays Hannah Montana, duh) in the episode.
August 24 - Performed two songs at the same Miss Teen USA contest that spawned the famous Miss Teen South Carolina "US Americans" video.
August 25 - Performed at the closing ceremonies of the Disney Channel Games. (The what?)
August 26 - Co-presented an award with Miley Cyrus at the Teen Choice Awards.
October 18 - Opened the first of 54 dates of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Tour which finished on 9 January 2008. People were willing to pay $2000 a ticket to get their kids in to see it.
November 17 - Performed at the American Music Awards.
November 22 - Appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

You might notice a gap in their timeline between the end of August and October. Well, they weren’t on holidays. Not with a Disney contract. They were filming a TV series called J.O.N.A.S! (Junior Operatives Networking As Spies) as a trio of government-hired spies, which screens later this year. There’s also a movie called Camp Rock in the can and a concert special in the works.

And there’s still more to come. They start their own tour called When You Look Me In The Eyes on January 31, the day before the release of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Film in 3-D.

Yes, they’re everywhere.

Just to let you know what we’re dealing with, here’s some fan art.

16 January 2008

What's that word?

I've been playing with a couple of visual thesaurases – or is it thesauri? – online. They're excellent for feeling your way towards the word you're looking for in an intuitive way. The first one is the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus.

You can try it online and either subscribe to it or download it. It's extremely comprehensive and allows you to chase a word depending on nuance – if you click on one of the little circles it opens up another cluster of meanings.

The second one is the Visuwords online dictionary. It's free and, while it's not as sophisticated as the other one, it works along the same lines.

15 January 2008

The kids today

[I started writing this post on Saturday night when the ABC began reporting on the police helicopter's presence, with only a gut feeling that it would be a good media moment. I had no idea that it would become massive just 24 hours later.]

Corey Worthington’s parents went on holiday to Queensland. They left the 16-year-old at home in the outer Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren, telling him not to have any parties while they were away.

Corey immediately put an open invitation to a party at his house on MySpace: "Oh yea party at Mine Saturday 12th Jan. BYO chicks and grog. No knives, rents will cracK it at me." 500 people turned up.

So did two police cars reinforced by a helicopter, two dog squad units, a critical incident response team, the youth-related crime taskforce Operation Sarazan, transit police and divisional van crews from surrounding suburbs, and, the next morning, every TV station and newspaper in the country.

Here is the ensemble he chose to speak to the media in. Note the virtual singlet, perfectly teamed with the pink, fairy-covered doona. The yellow-framed sunglasses and kooky take on the Yankees cap are sheer styling genius.

When asked how the party started he replied, "I don't remember ... I was just off my head."

Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon held a press conference to say she is considering billing him $20,000 to pay for police costs.

Corey said he had hoped his parents would not find out what had happened.

Good luck with that, Corey.

Update: The parents are back and, of course, straight onto the telly.

"We're absolutely disgusted that he could do this, not only to us but to our neighbourhood," his mother Jo said. "Obviously Corey's gone behind our backs and decided somewhere along the line to throw a party." Yes, Jo, obviously.

"He won't speak to us and you can understand why, because I think he knows what's coming," his stepfather Stephen Delaney said.

And what is coming, I wonder? I have a strange feeling that's it's going to be a TV contract and that he'll be hosting something besides parties very soon.

Another update (yes, I’m officially obsessed): It was 43°C (110°F) in Melbourne yesterday. Corey put on his fur-trimmed hoodie and fronted up for an interview with A Current Affair’s Leila McKinnon.

You can watch the whole brilliant performance here.

Leila McKinnon: Why don't you make a grown up decision and take responsibility and take off your glasses and apologise to the community, the police … take off your glasses and apologise to us!
Corey: I'll say sorry but I'm not gonna take off my glasses.
Leila McKinnon: Why not?
Corey: Coz they're famous.
Leila McKinnon: Because your glasses are famous?
Corey: Yeah.
Leila McKinnon: Why are your glasses famous?
Corey: I don't know. Everyone likes them so I'm not taking them off.
Leila McKinnon: You are pretty happy with the way you look and the attitude you've got are you?
Corey: Yeah, my parents aren't but I am.
Leila McKinnon: OK, Corey, we've gotta wrap this up but what would you say to other kids who are thinking of partying when their parents are out of town?
Corey: Get me to do it for you.
Leila McKinnon: Get you to do it for you? Not ‘don't do it’?
Corey: Nah. Get me to do it for you. Best party ever so far. That's what everyone's been saying.
Leila McKinnon: We've gotta go but I suggest you go away and take a good long hard look at yourself.
Corey: I have. Everyone has. They love it.

13 January 2008

I’m Gonna Wash These Dishes With My Tears

I was listening to Loretta Lynn this morning while I was doing some housework and singing along like a crazy person, like you do. Listening to “You’re the Reason Our Kids are Ugly” reminded me of “I’m Gonna Wash These Dishes With My Tears”, which isn’t a country song, but it should be. These country songs, however, are real and wonderful.

Is It Cold in Here, or Is it Just You?

Are You Drinkin With Me Jesus?

I Sent Her Artifical Flowers For Her Artificial Love

I Wanna Be A Blue Light Special In The K-mart Of Your Heart

Feelin’ Single and Drinkin’ Doubles

All the Guys that Turn Me On Turn Me Down

Beauty is Only Skin Deep, but Ugly Goes Clean to the Bone

12 January 2008

Petrol and porn

I saw the National Theatre of Scotland's Black Watch last night. (It's the ninth show I've seen this year - yes, it's Sydney Festival time!) It's about the famous Black Watch Regiment and their deployment in Iraq. The play moves between their active service and their homecoming, and all the contradictions of the two.

It begins in a pub with the boys recounting stories to a journalist. When a knife comes up through the felt of the pool table, followed by a hand, followed by a soldier in full combat gear, then another, you know you're in for some gripping theatre. And it doesn't let up for almost two hours.

While it's anti-war, it respects the tradition and comraderie of the regiment, even if it's out of step with today's muddy politics. One of the characters sums it up perfectly: "It takes 300 years to build an army that's admired and respected round the world, but it only takes three years pissing about in the desert in the biggest Western-policy disaster ever to fuck it up completely."

Later, an officer tells a soldier to leave the photos of cars and centrefolds up on his wall: "It's important that we have a reminder of what we're here fighting for: porn and petrol."

11 January 2008

O'Mer? Oh, my!

I went to see La Clique in The Famous Spiegeltent last night as part of the Sydney Festival. It's mix of cabaret, burlesque, vaudeville and circus.

The highlight, for me at least, was David O'Mer, the bathtub acrobat.


10 January 2008

Have you even looked in a mirror lately?

Mr Blackwell – or Richard Sylvan Selzer, as I like to call him – has announced his Worst Dressed Women List for 2007. At the top of the list: Victoria Beckham. Oh, really?

Here is Mr Blackwell and his husband.
Here is Victoria Beckham and her husband.
I know who I'd rather look at.

09 January 2008

A (former) pop star's cry for help – and, no, it's not Britney

Marilyn, who had a hit in 1983 with "Calling Your Name", wants a computer. The 45-year-old former Blitz Kid is willing to give you "personal items" at lunch "or preferably dinner" in return for the required £850. There's more: promises of an official web site and more music. Oh, hooray. And presumably more posts like this one. Here is an edited version of his sales pitch which you can read in full, if you really must, or can, on his myspace page.

Need Your Help
Hi guys...it's yar old mate Mazda here again!! I'm sorry about the delay in doing this post (i've had an infection that just wont seem to die (it seems like it's more intent on killing ME!)

Listen guys...i've got somethin really hard to ask any/all of you...but sod it...i'm going to just 'lay my cards on the table' as they say, with a request (and BEFORE any 'clever' kunt starts makin unwanted comments...at LEAST i'm bein honest...an of that's a 'crime', then fukkin JAIL me, fuk features!!)!! Anyway, the 'deal' is...i really desperately NEED to get a computer, which i've never owned before...so that i can communicate with all business related issues/people and also get my official web site sorted out...and, well...a MILLION other reasons that i really MUST drag myself into this technological age, before it (and i!) am too late!!

The way i'd personally prefer to have it all 'pan-out' is for one/two or three people to actually donate all (or the vast majority!) of the £850 i need...for which i would personally 'put together' a 'care package/s', with personal items of mine, which i would then deliver to the individual/s at a lunch (or preferably dinner!)...though it WOULD have to be in London!!

I KNOW this probably looks really tacky and sad, me actually asking for help...but the truth is, time IS fukkin marching on, and i really DO have a load of absolutely BRILLIANT new tracks that i wanna record and release, so that the Marilyn 'story' isn't left as it presently stands,with just a few lame examples of (what i think and believe!) a talent that's barely been deployed!! I mean...it's all very well and good, being known for sellin a shit load of recordings...but that was fukkin DECADES ago...and being known as Boy Blobs bessie mate (ugh!! Jesus HELP me!) but i know there's a HELL of a lot more to me than all that and than what the present (mis!)conceptions are!! my gorgeous mother always says: "If you don't ask...you don't get!"...so here i am...ASKING!! Please help me, if you are in any way able to...i really DO need to get that Macbook, so i can do all the things that i am currently unable to do!! I mean, take THIS forum for example!! I have to walk MILES to get to this web/video shop to be able to write this for you guys...it's really just not a good way of trying to do anything seriously...

Oh well...i'd better get this finished now, as this is the fukkin SEVENTH TIME i've written this post, but my money keeps running out and fukkin WIPING everything i've written (and it ALWAYS happens when i'm almost finished too!) See...there's a PERFECT example of one of the reasons why i have just GOT to get the computer situation sorted out...!!

Well...i'm off now but keep sending in all your thoughts and comments, i DO get to read them all...eventually!! All my love (as ever!) Maz,X.      

08 January 2008

Bon appetit! [Warning: enlarge pic at own risk]

Looking for something to horrify the guests at your next dinner party? Just serve anything from the Knudsen Recipes for Greater Food Value cookbook published in 1958. It all looks dreadful.

From the top: Green Beans in Hampshire Sauce, Onion and Green Pepper Stew, and Curried Rice Casserole.

These are just three of the many culinary disasters featured at James Lileks' The Gallery of Regrettable Food.

07 January 2008

Box-office whores

Global branding consultancy Interbrand has announced the top product-placement movies of 2007. Here they are in order of product placement volume.

#1: Transformers
AAA, Apple, Aquafina, AT&T, Austin-Healey, Beretta, BMW, BOSCH, Bose, Boston Red Sox, Burger King, Cadillac, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Camaro, Cisco, CitiGroup, Daewoo, DeWALT, Dickies, Ding Dong, Dodge, eBay, Enterprise, Fila, Ford, Ford Mustang, Furby, GMC, GMC Yukon, GPX, G-Star Raw, HO HOs, HP, Hummer, Kidrobot, Lexus, Meltdown Comics, Mountain Dew, My Little Pony, NFL, Nike, Nokia, Oakley, Panasonic, PayPal, Pepsi, Pepto-Bismol, Peterbilt, Pontiac, Porsche, RadioShack, Realistic, Reebok, Roar with Gilmore, Saturn, Sennheiser, Sikorsky, Taco Bell, Technics, Toyota, USA Today, USPS, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle, Washington Redskins, Wells Fargo, Xbox, Yahoo!

#2: The Bourne Ultimatum
Apple, Audi, Avis, Belstaff, BMW, BT, Canon, Carphone Warehouse, Champion, Chevrolet, Chrysler, CNN, Comanav, CRI Communication Resources, Dali, Dasani, Duane Reade, Fiat, Ford, Foster's, Google, HP, Jansport, Lincoln, Lincoln Navigator, London Underground, Mercedes, MINI, Motorola, Movistar, MTA, Nokia, North Forth Bank, Panasonic, Peugeot, Plymouth, Poland Spring, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Red Bull, Saab, Samsung, SIG Sauer, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français, South West Trains, Staples, TAG Heuer, The Body Shop, The Guardian, The North Face, Timberland, Verizon, Vespa, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle, Washington Mutual

#3: Blades of Glory
7-Eleven, adidas, Airwalk, Arthur Murray Dance Studios, Aveeno, Budweiser, Capri-Sun, Captain Morgan, CBS, Chevrolet, Cigar Aficionado, Cool Whip, Crest, Cup Noodles, DC Shoes, Dunkin' Donuts, ESPN, Fiji, Foot Locker, Forbes, Google, Honda, Honeycomb, Johnson & Johnson, Lincoln, Mane 'n Tail, Maxim, Men's Health, Milk Duds, Money, Nationwide, Nintendo Game Boy, Orbitz, Original Penguin, Panasonic, Pepsi, Philips, Pioneer, Pop-Tarts, PUMA, Robeks, Salomon, Sealy Posturepedic, Sennheiser, Skittles, Slim Jim, SoBe, Sports Illustrated, Subway, The North Face, Time, TrimSpa, Trojan, Verizon, Volvo, VTech, Xbox, Zamboni

06 January 2008

Amazing trompe l'oeils

The works of Swiss painter Felice Varini are magical illusions. They can only be viewed from a single point in space, otherwise they make no sense. In person, the pieces appear two-dimenensional and floating. In photographs, they seem to be superimposed.

Here is a simple example. This painting appears to be a cross over a doorway.

When the point of view changes, you can see that it's painted onto the walls, floor and ceiling.

This work appears to be a set of concentric circles floating in space.

It is, however, painted on all surfaces of the corridor.

He also does huge works on buildings and even whole cites. These circles look superimposed on a photo of this castle.

Again, they are painted onto the walls.

Many more examples of Varini's extraordinary work can been seen on his website, here.

05 January 2008

Wheeee— aaaaargh!

How safe are amusement park and fairgound rides? Not very.

04 January 2008

Exploding dogs? "Oh, it happens"

This was just posted on ABC News. Any – any! – explanations are welcome.

Exploding dogs pose no threat to estate houses
The Northern Territory Government is confident it will not have any problems building a housing estate across the road from a crematorium in Darwin where a dead dog exploded on Wednesday night.
   Police were called to the crematorium because of a strong red glow coming from the chimney.
   Staff told the officers that the dog exploded because it had not been defrosted properly.
   A nearby resident says it does happen occasionally.
   Territory Planning Minister Delia Lawrie says the new houses will not be right next to the pet crematorium.

A kinder, gentler Chinese execution

Lethal injections will become the preferred death penalty in China as shootings are phased out. The reason? It's more humane, says a Chinese government official. Welcome Lucky Olympic Year 2008!

It's also a lot more efficient. Executions by lethal injection are carried out immediately once the order has been made, including in mobile "death buses".

The procedure for shootings is much more elaborate and labour-intensive. The public has to be kept away from a shooting site with three separate perimeters: at 50m by the execution team, at 200m by the armed police and at 2km by the local police.

It's a lot of business for a hollow bullet to the back of the head. Families of the condemned were routinely charged 50 yuan (about $8) as a "bullet fee".

The fleets of death buses also allow for faster organ harvesting, as transplants are in high demand.

Besides murder, rape, robbery and drug offences, the death penalty is ordered for tax fraud, corruption, embezzlement and killing a panda.

03 January 2008

Armoire amour

This cabinet is from a collection of five pieces in editions of five from the Dutch design group Studio Job. The pieces are all for the imagined residence of a robber baron and represent industrial power, wealth and corruption. It's made of polished bronze with a black patinated "crater" with gilded reliefs. It weighs a couple of tons but the doors are functional thanks to a ball-bearing mechanism. A collector bought a set of all five pieces last week for $700,000. You can see the other pieces here.

02 January 2008

2008: the year, so far, in violent crime

What the hell is going on? The year is only two days old and it has already been unbelievably violent. All this happened in Australia in the past 48 hours. So much for goodwill to all men.

New South Wales
• Police say a tomahawk was used to hack a 61-year-old man to death at Schofields in Sydney's north-west.
• A 38-year-old man was found dead from head injuries in an apartment at Forster on the mid-north coast.
• A 22-year-old man Campbelltown man ran over his 18-year-old girlfriend, killing her.
• Police shot a 33-year-old man at Tatura in the Goulburn Valley when he rushed at them with a knife after a woman called asking for help.
• A 51-year-old man waiting for a train at Bankstown Railway Station was repeatedly punched to the ground by a man while a woman stood by to take his cash and mobile phone.
• A 34-year-old Wollongong man has been charged over a home invasion on the South Coast. Police say he took the 23-year-old man from the home to an ATM machine and demanded money, then stole his car.
• A 45-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault and four counts of raping a 16-year-old girl in Fairfield.
• An 18-year-old man was taken to hospital with stab wounds after a brawl on George Street in the city. A 20-year-old and a 19-year-old from inner Sydney suburbs were charged.

• A 39-year-old man was charged with the rape and murder of his 10-year-old girl daughter at Bribie Island north of Brisbane.
• A 19-year-old woman died after being stabbed in the chest by a 30-year-old man in Bowen.
• A man was stabbed during an argument at the Mackay Base Hospital.
• A 21-year-old man is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed in a carpark in Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast.
• Another person is in hospital after being slashed from neck to chest at Nobbys Beach.
• Two men raped a woman at knifepoint at Marsden, South of Brisbane.
• In Townsville a 23-year-old man threatened residents with a sword in Railway Estate.
• A 45-year-old man was charged with torturing a 17-year-old man at Ipswich, west of Brisbane. The man had been tied up by his wrists and bashed on the head and back with a metal bar.
• A 46-year-old man Kingaroy man was charge with 35 counts of rape and indecent treatment and assault of children.
• South of Brisbane, Logan detectives are investigating the rape of a 37-year-old woman at Marsden. The woman told police two men forced their way into her home and assaulted her in front of her child.

South Australia
• The murdered body of a 22-year-old woman was found in the middle of a sports oval in the West Parklands.
• A 43-year-old man from the northern suburbs was charged with seven counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of gross indecency in regards to one female child.

• Two men from Benalla will face court today over the serious assault of a man in the town at the weekend. The 33-year-old man was hit with a baseball bat at a car wash in Bridge Street.
• A 21-year-old man at Cowes on Phillip Island was walking along the Esplanade when another man offered him a lift home before driving to a car park in Church Street and raping him.

Northern Territory
• In Tennant Creek, a man attacked two elderly men and threatened one of them with a knife before stealing his ute.

Driving and dialling

While I was having lunch today at a café in Victoria St I was amazed by the number of people driving past with a phone clamped to their ear. It was more than half of all the drivers that went past, so I counted them for 15 minutes: 32.

Last year I was almost hit on a pedestrian crossing by a woman driving while on the phone. She screeched to a stop – on the crossing – and then carried on, one hand on the horn, the other on the phone, so not only was she behaving as if it was my fault, she was also driving with no hands.

It’s illegal to drive while using a mobile phone, and the penalty is a $225 fine and 3 demerit points, yet everyone does it. Why isn’t this law being enforced? All the research says driving while on the phone increases your chances of being involved in an accident fourfold. A single cop where I was today – a relatively quiet street – could have easily issued $28,800 worth of fines in an hour, so I don’t want to hear about costs.

01 January 2008

What on earth?

Drop these coordinates into Google Earth (or Google Maps in satellite view) and zoom, zoom, zoom to see three very strange things.