Weekly Poll

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Look, I’ve been thinking about this stuff all week and I can’t decide. So over to you. Scroll down for a Proper Scientific Poll on the Internet! What media stuff would you like me to do?

I last wrote about this in January, in Five questions and no answers about my media work. Read that before proceeding if you like, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

My regular media commitments currently stand at: a weekly column for ZDNet; a twice-a-month column for CSO Online; around one column a month for Technology Spectator; and a variable number for Crikey. Add in the occasional piece elsewhere, and it looks a little like this.

Media objects produced 2011–2013

The main problem is that the base level of material isn’t high enough, and in recent months it’s started getting a little wobbly. So, how can I build on what I’ve got? And how can I have a bit more fun?

Read the rest of this entry »

Composite photo of the nominees

Ask and it shall be done! Who is the ultimate pop princess?

In alphabetical order of first name, we have 9 nominees. As usual, if you disagree with the shortlist you can take it up in the comments.

  1. Amy Winehouse: “For the kids who don’t like ‘mainstream’ pop,” says the Snarky Platypus. “Never mind the fact Amy is probably more mainstream than Dannii Minogue.” I trust his judgement in these things.
  2. Anthony Callea: OK, OK, he’s fading fast. But it gives me a chance to make a pathetically gratuitous gay reference and waste 15 minutes looking at his photos. It was either him or Elton John, and there’s only so much my stomach can take.
  3. Björk: Yes, her music’s bizarre, but she knows how to deal with intrusive journalists.
  4. Britney Spears: Where to begin? She’s got it all! And it’d be polite to say something nice about her at the moment, she’s had a rough week.
  5. Dannii Minogue (not pictured): Since she did so well in our poll for Governor-General, she must be included. I didn’t bother with her photo, though. Just look at Kylie, squint and grimace.
  6. Kylie Minogue: Neighbours and Stock Aitken Waterman to… superstardom. Not even cancer can stop her! She even inspired our new national anthem.
  7. Madonna: I suppose there’s some life still left in the old hag.
  8. Melissa Tkautz: “She is kinda obscure to non-Australians / trash pop culture junkies / E-Street watchers,” warns the Snarky Platypus. “She’s kinda obscure to non-Australians,” warns the Snarky Platypus. “Actually, obscure to most people, except for trash pop culture junkies & E-Street watchers” However this gives us a chance to introduce Melissa to a wider audience. Read my lips! [Beware, there is rap. Sort of.]
  9. Olivia Newton-John: Another oldie, but she’s the closing act for Mardi Gras this year so presumably someone thinks she’s worth it.
  10. Someone else? Discuss!

As usual, go to the website to vote — scroll down to find the poll on the left-hand side.

Previous results: Most people reckon Australian of the Year is worth keeping, but only if they choose more relevant people. We shall return to this subject in December…

Who is the ultimate pop princess?

  • Amy Winehouse (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Anthony Callea (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Björk (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Britney Spears (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Dannii Minogue (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Kylie Minogue (26%, 23 Votes)
  • Madonna (9%, 8 Votes)
  • Melissa Tkautz (33%, 30 Votes)
  • Olivia Newton-John (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Someone else (discuss) (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 90

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The Weekly Poll about the relevance of Australian of the Year looks decidedly out of date now. I should replace it. But with what?

01 February 2008 by Stilgherrian | 6 comments

A country music singer that many (most?) Australians have never heard of is Australian of the Year. Does anyone care?

Chairman Rudd reckons:

Lee Kernaghan’s music resonates with every Australian by connecting us all to the spirit of the bush, but more importantly he gives hope and pride to those on the land when they need inspiration most.

He has rolled up his sleeves to make a real difference for those in need in rural Australia.

Pull the other one, Kevin.

OK, Kernaghan has certainly worked hard to lift morale in the drought-stricken bush. But when 98% of us live in urban areas, and 30-odd percent were born elsewhere, can we really say that nasal, droney bush ballads represent our world?

In fact, does a concept like “Australian of the Year” even matter in 21st Century Australia?

Read the rest of this entry »

Photographs of our nominations for Governor-General 2008

Over the past few days we’ve been speculating about who’ll be Australia’s next Governor-General. Some high-profile folks reckon it should be a woman. So which of these nominees would you choose, and why? Vote at the website, and add your comments.

In alphabetical order of surname…

  • Marie Bashir, well-respected Governor of NSW and tireless worker for Aboriginal mental health.
  • Liz Ellis, former captain of the Australian netball team and solicitor.
  • Edna Everage, housewife superstar, actress and ambassador for Australian culture.
  • Julie Hammer, an electronics engineer and intelligence officer who blazed the trail for women in the air force.
  • Ja’mie King, dedicated fund-raiser and self-promoter. (Personally I think Ja’mie will eventually replace Dame Edna as our leading international celebrity.)
  • Dannii Minogue, because… oh, someone will think of a reason.
  • Kylie Minogue, pop princess and actress of renown.
  • Lowitja O’Donoghue, first chairwoman of the disbanded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
  • … or someone else?

Previous results: Kevin Rudd becoming PM was the clear winner on first preferences at 52%, with The Chaser crashing APEC security a strong 2nd at 36%. The antic of footballer Ben Cousins was twice as important as Australia’s signing of the Kyoto protocol.

Which woman would make the best Governor-General of Australia?

  • Marie Bashir (11%, 4 Votes)
  • Liz Ellis (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Edna Everage (21%, 8 Votes)
  • Julie Hammer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ja’mie King (18%, 7 Votes)
  • Dannii Minogue (16%, 6 Votes)
  • Kylie Minogue (8%, 3 Votes)
  • Lowitja O’Donoghue (16%, 6 Votes)
  • someone else (discuss) (8%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

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Even though there’s still 3 days of 2007 left, I’m way behind the pace. Most media outlets issued their 2007 in Review pieces well before Christmas. That means they missed such “minor” stories as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Oops.

Still, I’m going to risk further irrelevance and ask what, for you, was the biggest event in Australia for 2007. Was it…?

Or something else? Please go to the website to vote, and add further suggestions in the comments.

Previous results: Yes, more people said Christmas was “too much effort” than any other single answer. However “a glorious celebration of Our Saviour’s birth” did score 24% in a late come-back.

What was your biggest Australian event for 2007?

  • Kevin Rudd replacing John Howard as PM (52%, 33 Votes)
  • The signing of Kyoto (3%, 2 Votes)
  • The Chaser crashing APEC security (36%, 23 Votes)
  • Interest rate rises (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ben Cousins generally (6%, 4 Votes)
  • Something else (please discuss) (3%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 64

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Photograph of Stilgherrian for Christmas

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when a celebration of the birth of social radical Joshua bar Joseph is turned into a retail extravaganza.

How do you feel about Christmas? Personally, I get annoyed with the “compulsory cheerfulness” and the pointless mob behaviour. As the old saying goes, you can’t pick your families, and Christmas forces them together regardless — though reports that the suicide rate peaks at Christmas is an urban legend.

Yes, how do you feel about Christmas? Go to the website to vote, or add your comments here.

Christmas is...

  • a glorious celebration of Our Saviours birth (24%, 4 Votes)
  • a wonderful shopping experience (6%, 1 Votes)
  • time to hit the beach! (6%, 1 Votes)
  • time for the pub! (12%, 2 Votes)
  • time for the sauna! (yes, an urban gay answer) (6%, 1 Votes)
  • too much effort (35%, 6 Votes)
  • something else (please discuss) (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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[Yes, that is me in the photograph. I made the antlers for the Snarky Platypus, who should be wearing them on Friday, and ’Pong took the photo using my Nokia N80.]

Since the Weekly Poll was clearly in favour of publishing the “disturbing image”, here’s a photograph of Artemis’ tail injury. Yes, you have to follow the link since some people thought that “appropriate”.

The basic deal is that our beautiful cat was probably hit by a car. She ran, but the car’s tyre caught the hair on her tail and scalped a 20cm section. The photo shows what it looked like after the vet had shaved it back for inspection.

Since then, Artemis “failed to re-gain tail functionality”. The tail has been amputated. So, as I explain to friends, we now have 1.95 cats. Apparently this is quite a common injury for urban cats.

Artemis is coping remarkably well, and it was a neat piece of surgery (thanks Katherine!). The main trauma was that it all happened while ’Pong and I were in Bangkok. Thanks to the Snarky Platypus and my office manager Virginia Bridger for helping out while we were away.

Ah, I love the smell of democracy in the morning! But since we’ll be overloaded with election news today, I’ll avoid politics in today’s Weekly Poll. Instead, the scalping of a cat’s tail.

The other day Artemis, one of our cats, was run over by a car. Or at least the fur on her tail was, and a 20cm section was effectively scalped, exposing the flesh beneath the skin. Yummy.

I have a photo. It’s fairly gross. A TV newsreader might preface it with “Some viewers may find this image disturbing.”

Now I have no qualms about publishing good Anglo-Saxon swear words. We can hear them any day on a bus, so I reckon being coy and writing “f*ck” and “c*nt” is stupid. I mean, we all know what these words are, so adding an asterisk doesn’t change the received meaning. But I did hesitate before posting this photo.

So, should I publish it? Go to the website to vote!

Should I publish the disturbing photo of the damaged cat's tail?

  • Definitely! (40%, 6 Votes)
  • Yes, but only with a warning and having to click through to see it. (40%, 6 Votes)
  • No. (20%, 3 Votes)
  • Don't know. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Last week’s results: After a year of phoney campaigning and a long, 6-week election campaign, it looks like most voters are indeed very glad today’s election day and we can all move on.

We’ve suffered the longest pre-election campaign in Australia’s history, and then an abnormally long 6-week “official” campaign instead of the usual 5. Finally, it’s the last week before polling day. Are you over the whole thing yet?

Or are you only now deciding to get interested? Or perhaps you’re looking forward to one final orgy of campaigning. Which is it? Go to the website to vote!

In this last weekend of election campaigning, are you...?

  • Over it. We've heard it all before and we know the result. (25%, 6 Votes)
  • Thanking the gods that there's just a few days to go. (42%, 10 Votes)
  • Thinking you should finally start paying attention. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ignoring the whole thing, politics is irrelevent. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Looking forward to one final orgy of campaigning. (29%, 7 Votes)
  • Not an Australian voter. (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Last week’s results: From the choices offered, most voters thought John Howard was the most disconnected from voters. Yes, Prime Minister, you are the problem, it seems. However a few people recognised that the Australian Democrats have had their day.

[Yes, I know the weekly poll hasn’t been weekly lately. It was a non-core promise. Deal with it.]

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