I breathe
Drawing your essence
Deep into my lungs
Filtering into my blood
Pulsing through me
Streaming through my veins

My pulse increases
Pumping you harder
Swimming through my brain
Harder to think
I can only feel

The tingling in my fingers
My skin taut like a drum
The slightest touch
Banging through me

My being throbs
The world recedes
All that remains
Is you

I breathe

Take a chance on gambling

Oh dear.

So there is no legislation put forward at the moment to restrict people’s access to gambling machines, but there is talk of mandatory measures being introduced.

So, I’m going to ignore clubs Australia involvement in this issue. They are quoting stats that don’t exist and arguing against legislation that hasn’t been introduced. But I do want to look at the AFL for a second.

Andrew Demetriou, has stated publicly that he is not part of a campaign to block any reform.

Of course, he has stated that the reforms will have no effect – despite there being no detail of the proposed reforms as of yet – and he is trying to talk to Wilkie, Xenophon, and the government to help “work” on the reforms.

Jeff Kennett, the man whose greatest achievement as premier of Victoria was to introduce poker machines, and who is now head honcho of Hawthorn football club, is against the reforms.

Eddie McGuire, president of Collingwood, has also been vocally against poker machine reform. McGuire, however, is concerned about problem gambling, having been supportive of allowing problem gamblers to set betting limits and have registrations on sporting bets.

McGuire, who hosts hot seat – the show modelled on “who wants to be a millionaire” that encourages contestants to risk their winnings by placing another bet on wether or not they’ll know the answer to a question – seems to have been somewhat contrary here. However the distinction is quite clear.

McGuire makes no money from gambling on sports events. And the money that AFL supporters – his club members – lose in sports gambling is money that doesn’t go into his pokies.

So Eddie McGuire’s enlightened stance can be directly linked to his desire to take as much money as he can from the poorest sections of society.

Football clubs are built on gambling. Ignoring the sports betting itself for a moment, the number of clubs that have raised money by “chook raffles” in years past is probably close to 100%. And that’s going through every level of the game, down to the local under 12’s team.

But why is it that poker machines are being targeted?

Let’s have a quick look at the productivity reports in 1999 and 2010. The number of severe problem gamblers has remained fairly static. But back in ’99 the majority of Australians did not want to see the number of poker machines increase.

The main form of gambling that leads to problem gambling is poker machines (from both reports).

While there is a tax revenue made from poker machines, this is offset by the cost to the public purse from problem gambling.

The social impact of problem gambling is significant, which leads to follow on costs not factored into the productivity reports.

So from a purely fiscal perspective, limiting problem gambling has a positive effect on the economy. Focusing on the highest form of gambling that leads to problem gambling – poker machines – will have a positive impact.

What will these restrictions mean to clubs that use these for revenue?

Well, for a significant period poker machines, along with many other forms of gambling, was illegal in Victoria. Clubs used to gain income by serving meals, hiring out venues, being a social centre, and supporting live acts. These clubs for the most part survived without the need for poker machines.

AFL originated from VFL – which was a Victorian based league – and flourished to the point that it grew into a national league. VFL didn’t suffer from not having machines at all, and the game was central to the clubs – not the machines.

RSLs and bowling clubs – the regular venues for the older members of society – did not rely on poker machines to keep the clubs running, but instead encouraged a community within themselves. Many of these now have less community involvement, and have introduced poker machines in order to supplement their lost income.

I went to a country hotel about 6 months ago that had a meat raffle on a Friday night. The entry to the raffle was free – ticket given at the door if you got in before 6:30. There were no poker machines, and no TAB outlets.

It was probably the best feeling of community that I have ever felt within a hotel environment. Everyone was having fun, people were talking and introducing themselves to each other, and as a stranger to the town I still felt included.

Conversely, I went to a local RSL around 3 months ago. Any conversation held there was purely perfunctory, and everyone was sitting in a world of their own in front of a poker machine.

My father in law likes to meet strangers. He introduced himself to the people that we were near as they were playing on their machines. For the most part he got ignored or glared at. In one particular instance and individual looked me up and down – sizing up my capacity for physical conflict – before going back to his game.

It was the most threatening and soul destroying feeling.

I rarely get to see a live band playing at a local hotel – in fact none of my local hotels have the capacity for a live band.

I would love to see AFL becoming a sport again, and not solely a money making enterprise. If I wanted footy to thrive, I’d support bans on pokies.

Gay marriage debate from a 14 year old perspective

Okay – I have never done this before, but Max, my 14 year old step-son, wrote the below, and I feel the need to share it.

More and more people are starting to say that marriage between two people of the same gender should remain banned. The main reason for this view is religion. However there are many people in Australia who have absolutely no reason whatsoever to dislike this idea, yet they dislike it anyway. My contention on this topic is that it should be legal, no matter what religion it goes against.

Denying two people the right of marriage is not only a violation of human rights, but a form of minority discrimination. The three main forms of discrimination are; Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia. Saying that two people of the same gender, regardless of race or gender, is not only plainly unfair, but also exactly the same as saying that we won’t allow inter-racial marriages, or saying girls can’t get married. Saying that girls can’t get married is completely insane, so why should same-sex marriages be any different.

If the government will allow civil unions, why not allow marriage? It is plain stupidity! Many religious people would be against civil unions, so why should marriage be any different? In the case of partners in civil unions, it would be a bit like people’s idea of heaven and hell; Stuck outside the gates of heaven, never to be allowed in, always looking inside. It would be the same with this argument; Allowed to be in a civil union, yet never allowed to marry. It’s a cruel, tragic love story without a happy ending.

Different groups of people (religious and racial) say that allowing same-sex marriage would be de-valuing the meaning of marriage. While this makes sense in some ways and I understand what they are trying to say, it really isn’t. After all, the majority of gay or lesbian couples would still have the traditional white wedding, the same traditional honeymoon, and live the same traditional lives of any other straight couple. Also it is insulting to tell someone they can’t get married because it “devalues the meaning of marriage”.

There is absolutely no difference between a straight couple getting married, or a lesbian or gay couple getting married. They’re both vowing to forever be loving to the other, so how is that any different?

A really scientific study

Did you know that people sometimes lie on social networking sites?

My study discovered that on social networking sites 98.3% of men are 6′ or over. And 94.5% of women are a “generous C cup” or larger bust size.

I have come to the conclusion that 83.9% of statistics quoted on twitter are made up on the spot.

Conversations with a blue ball

Blue Ball

Recently I have started to have conversations with a blue ball. Some may find it odd that I have started to converse with an object, however the object itself doesn’t actually exist – it is an imaginary object.

I could be criticised saying that I have finally stepped over the edge of sanity and into the deep dark realms of insanity. Others could state that I’d gone over to the dark side years ago. However I have found that I am having more intelligent and meaningful conversations with the blue ball than I have with the majority of people that I deal with during the day.

If the blue ball could give me money and coffee, I’d be a very happy man.

POTR: Hello and welcome. I’m very glad you could join me today.

BB: Thank you. I’m happy to be here. Although being a non-existent sentience, I can’t really say that I’m anywhere. However appearing on your blog does give some credence to my existence, so with that said, being able to be interviewed here makes me happy.

POTR: Well, I guess in this instance I’m referring to here as my psyché. Which brings us neatly to the first question. Given the blue ball is obviously symbolic of something, what exactly are you?

BB: (laughs) Very direct question. And definitely pertinent based upon the fact that we have started to discuss the psyche. And in English there is generally not an accent on the last letter, despite the pronunciation.

There is a lot of writing on what makes up the mind. There are schools of thought that say that it is purely a physical being and that there is nothing beyond the physical behind it. While we won’t discount these schools of thought, they fail to explain fully things like dreams and imagination. I guess the short answer is that I am a part of your mind.

The longer answer, though is much longer, and keep in mind that I’m not a trained psychologist or neuro-chemist or anything of that ilk.

There seem to be an extraordinary number of theories relating to the mind. Edison referred to having 12 men inside his head who all contributed to his thoughts. There was also a study done at another stage saying that the mind could not think of 7 different things at the one time, suggesting there are at most only 7 elements. But for the sake of simplicity, rather than going into the depth of all this, let’s look at that link you supplied above, which gives a very broad overview of the psyche, and assume that Freud – while not giving the only viable answer – gave an answer that has enough complexity to really give us a foothold in where we are.

So, assuming PuppyOnTheRadio – you – is an extension of the ego, then that would then suggest that I, as a blue ball, am an extension of the super-ego.

POTR: If that is the case, there where is the id?

BB: I’m sure you allow enough of the id to come through to keep it satisfied. It doesn’t really need representation here.

POTR: Fair point. So, being that you’re a part of me, why is it you don’t suffer the same feelings of depression and anxiety I do?

BB: Big question. And it has a lot behind it.

Depression, as a simple definition, is feeling bad. And feelings are based upon a number of factors. To get a better understanding of why someone is depressed it makes sense to understand what feelings are in the first place.

So rather than trying to define all feelings and emotions, and what causes them, the quickest way to come to an understand of emotion is to simplify the entire gamut of emotions down into the two, what I like to call, meta-emotions. Love and fear.

The reason why I refer to these as meta emotions is that all emotional context can be boiled down into one or both of these two. Love is the emotion that draws us towards something. This can be hunger, lust, greed, enjoyment, anticipation, and so on.

Fear, on the other hand, is the emotion that draws us away from something. This could be anger, hatred, betrayal, distaste, and so on.

Of course these two meta-emotions are not like the light and dark side of the force. Jealousy can be a form of Love, as it relates to an object, person or ideal that we are drawn to. Ambition can be a form of fear, as it relates to getting away from a situation.

Bit for the moment, even if you’re a sceptic and don’t agree with the idea of two meta emotions, let’s look at love in a deeper context.

POTR: Sorry to interrupt here, but you’ve linked back to two articles I wrote for Uncyclopedia. Why is that?

BB: Well, obviously I’m letting your vanity come through in parts, but also because they use comedy as a vehicle to try and understand complex concepts.

The article on love, for instance, tries to define the indefinable. But more than that it goes over some of the most important points when looking at emotion.

Emotion affects every aspect of the human condition. Love is in part a neuro-chemical reaction. Despite the non-science in the article, you do talk about how love has chemical reactions that are linked to an OCD state, and how it also links back to SSRIs, which are often used in the treatment of depression.

Now the main point of that is although we talk about social and religious perspectives on love, we also acknowledge that although everyone’s experiences and views on love differs, there is a very basic and human element to live. In short, everyone feels emotion – and part of this is physical.

So, being that you’re in a physical body, your emotions are somewhat affected by physical things. An excess of one chemical one way, a decrease in another, and suddenly you go from singing while dancing in the flowers to slicing veins with a broken beer bottle.

POTR: I’ve never done either of those things.

BB: True, but they’re examples of extreme mood swings. So in this context although the end result may be different, you can understand the emotion that is described.

So, going on from there, we can look at significant scientific stuff relating to emotions. Sex involves the release of various chemicals throughout the body that cause intense pleasure. Chocolate apparently has a similar effect.

Alcohol and marijuana work on very different parts of the bodies chemistry, but the upshot us the same – by changing the balance of chemicals it creates an emotional reaction that can be pleasurable. Of course, the depressing effects of both of these are also well documented.

POTR: Now this all relates back to depression how?

BB: Well, you asked why I don’t get depressed. The reality of it is that I am a part of the psyche that is separate from the body, and relatively separate from the id. So I don’t have the physical reactions to chemical changes that you’re referring to.

But as to the id, or whatever we want to refer to it as, this is the untamed, uncivilised part of your psyche. It is what drives you.

Think of the id as the animal part of you. It works on reaction to stimuli. This is where the fight or flight comes from. We can also add to that the fornicate or feed impulses to this as well.

Think of your psyche as a car, for example. The id is then engine, giving the push to go forward. The ego is the steering system, and the super-ego is the driver. The steering system is what is the bit in the middle that uses the force of the id combined with the understanding of the superego to make sure the car goes the right way.

I don’t get directly affected by the id, so I don’t get caught between the animal and the intelligent within you. Hence I’m the part of the psyche that is above the pressures that are placed on you, as the ego.

I hope that also starts to explain why you become depressed.

POTR: It does, thank you. I’d love to be able to go through more of this with you, but I can’t spend my entire life talking to you. Shall we continue this later?

BB: I’d love to.

Today was… odd

4:15am Woke up. I had a schedule today that involved two things – the first was going to a meditation class, and the second was going to an appointment at a job interview provider in the afternoon. Given the first item on the agenda wasn’t until 10:00 start, and it took only 40 minutes or so to get there, waking up at this ridiculous hour was, well, ridiculous. Obviously I needed more to do with my time as a general rule, so I started looking for a job – a bit of a priority at present.
6:20am The rest of the household, who all have things to do during the day and reasons to wake up early, wake up. I continue applying for jobs.
8:03am Inspired by something that I can’t quite put my finger on, I decide to leave the house early and get a coffee on the way to my meditation. Because logic dictates that if you’re about to try and relax every part of your body and take your mind to a higher state of conciousness, you need a caffeine hit before that.
8:43am Get on tram. Have my phone with a few games on there. Decide that the games will be able to stave off the boredom for a 40 minute tram ride.
8:48am Bored with games.
8:51am Decide to go through to another job listing site that I’m aware of, despite the fact that I know that there is rarely anything on there worth applying for, and knowing that it will be a waste of my time looking on there.
9:06am Have found about 8 jobs that are worth applying for. One in particular is a previous employer that I haven’t worked for for over a decade, and I thought had shut up shop in the meantime. Figure it’s worth giving them a call, but decide to hold off on trying to sound professional on the phone until after I have had my coffee. Realise another thing I was going to do today is try and find an auto salvage place that will take my old car that is currently sitting there rusting.
9:11am Google has disappointed me in not being able to locate an auto salvage place, so decide to have a look at yellow pages. As I’m there I realise that there is an app I can download which will make yellow pages searches faster and easier. Realising this is the ideal way to locate the auto salvage places I’m after I dsecide to download the app.
9:13am Yellow pages has hardly any places worth calling, but I figure I’ll go through the list one at a time – there’s two pages worth – and see how I go.
9:15am Sorry, we only deal with 4 wheel drives
9:17am Sorry, we only deal with Nissan
9:19am Sorry, we only deal with Volkswagen
9:21am Realising this app is showing me the same 4 businesses 5 times over, decide that maybe I should go back to Google. Don’t think I’m likely to have any luck with the first place, but give them a call anyway.
9:23am Okay, they’re willing to pay me for the car. Why didn’t I try Google to begin with? Tram is at right stop. Furiously try and find the address of the place I need to take the car while walking to cafe. How many ways can you spell Eldermire Street?
9:30am Get to cafe and order. Apparently there is only one way to spell it, and it’s Edelmaier Street. Makes perfect sense.
9:33am Coffee
9:37am Caffeinated, I start walking to my meditation class. Feeling more professional and ready to take on the day, I ring up this place that I was going to apply for the job at. (I speak grammar goodly). Conversation goes well, until I have to say Wait a minute while I get past this construction site so I can hear you. I’m rarely critical about people in wheelchairs, but I wonder if guy in wheelchair should really be working in hard hat zone.
9:40am Have made appointment for Midday. I know the place used to be located about 5 minutes walk from tram stop I need to be at, and girl I make appointment with advises that they’ve only moved another 5 minutes from that address. If interview finishes at 12:30, then have half an hour to walk the maximum of 10 minutes, and then tram back to 1:00 appointment should take about 30 minutes. If I speed walk I’ll make it on time to later appointment, give or take 5 minutes. Meh, should be okay. Frantically try and write address of 12:00 interview in phone. At least I can spell Johnson.
9:47am Cigarette before meditation class, as I need the nicotine to add to the caffeine that I need to be able to relax. Notice I have voice mail. Listening to voice mail and I hear if it’s urgent then send me a text message, as I’m a courier. I think it’s the gymnasium I applied for a job at. Why does a courier recruit for a gymnasium? I’ll listen to it again after my meditation class. Battery on my phone is running low anyway, so I’ll turn it off.
10:07am I have to take my shoes off and follow an elderly French woman into the back room to be part of this meditation class. Feet are smelly. Why is this elderly French woman teaching me to become a barefoot Yogi?
11:09am Meditation class was good. Nobody levitated. Determined that of the 7 people who attended, only 4 are likely to come back, given how quickly the others ran off. Need a cigarette after all that relaxing though.
11:14am Walking past a place called The Welcome House or something like that. Figure that it might be worth going in to see what it’s about, as there’s always a possibility that they need someone to work for them. Kind of hard to tell what they’re welcoming from the signs out the front. Something to do with animals, world peace, and community involvement. Seems a very welcoming place, but I’ll wait until I’ve finished my cigarette.
11:18am Ground floor gives no more indication of who and what this place is. Decide to just wander up the stairs. Get to first landing and sign on door says House of Welcome. STRICTLY NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT BY INVITATION! Feeling less welcome, so head off in search of caffeine.
11:27am Chocolate!
11:30am Phone battery is slowly dying, but this chocolate, in fact this entire place needs celebrating. I’m feeling fantastic. Decide to tweet about it.
11:31am Hot chocolate and Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the moon. If I was being fellated life would be perfect!
11:50am Outside job interview. Realise that I’m probably about 5 minutes drive from where the place used to be. This means that I’m unlikely to get to my 1:00 appointment on time, but if I back out of interview now I’m unlikely to get the job. Bugger!
12:05pm It’s a group interview. By which I mean that I’m in a room with the team leader (who used to work there when I did 11 years ago) who tells us all about the company. Other than the change in location it’s exactly the same job. Better pay though, and now they have computers.
12:27pm Um… we’ve all just agreed to attend training on Thursday. That means we all have the job. But when are you going to actually start interviewing us? Done? Mad dash to tram stop.
12:40pm On tram. If I time this well I’ll be half an hour late. Bugger!
1:33pm Get to appointment. I’ve missed it, but explain what’s happening. Spoke to nice woman. Took a while but got done what I needed to. Realise that I actually need to get to the bank today. That’s a half hour bus trip away. Bugger!
2:13pm Done banking at three different banks. Spoke to ex-colleagues from two of them. Going home now. Finally. Battery is now all but completely dead.
2:43pm Check twitter: @PuppyOnTheRadio You never hear @velvetblaq say “If I was being fellated”. That’s because it’s “if I WERE being fellated”! #education Either way, I still think grammatical correctness would be the last thing on my mind.
3:23pm Home finally. Start charging phone. Have message from @mysskitn asking for a phone call.
3:33pm Reminded by @mysskitn that I had a doctors appointment at 3:00. Ah.
3:40pm Call doctor to cancel appointment from 40 minutes earlier. Think I might check those messages again.
3:47pm Three messages. Two asking for calls back relating to applications I’d emailed off this morning. Listen to message I had this morning. if it’s urgent then send me a text message, as I’m in Korea. Why on Earth do you put your phone number down to be contacted about a job you are advertising if you can’t answer because you’re in a completely different country? I mean when I called it would have been around 4:00am Korean time. What kind of stupid operation are you running there?
3:55pm Phone interview. Nailed it. The place that I would be working, assuming I get the job after the second round interview tomorrow morning, I walked past while on the way to Job service provider. The place is called – and I’m not joking – Cummins.
4:04pm Phone interview. Nailed it. The place that I would be working, assuming I get the job after the second round interview tomorrow morning, I walked past while on the way to Job service provider. The place is called – and I’m not joking – Cummins.
4:27pm Another Phone interview. Nailed it. The place that I would be working, assuming I get the job after the second round interview tomorrow afternoon, I also walked past while on the way to Job service provider.
4:57pm I decided to change an image I created the other day, to make a car look more like a penis.
5:17pm Realise that I’ve just spent 20 minutes playing with someone’s penis. I realise my brain has now stopped working. Crash and go to nap.
7:30pm Masterchef
8:27pm Start writing this blog entry.
10:29pm Catch up to where I am in the day. Type catch up to where I am in the day. Realise I am on the precipice of an existential crisis. Have to deliver a car tomorrow morning at 6:00, and also have two job interviews. Decide to stop writing blog entry
10:31pm Sleep

Thank God it’s Friday

I’ve been thinking a lot about how religion shapes the way we think, and mainly about the way we speak recently.

The first phrase that I’ve been thinking of is the title of this post. The classic “Thank God it’s Friday”.

The first thing that springs to mind is why we are looking to thank any Deity at all. Okay, if I assume for a minute, beyond any evidence to the contrary, that there is an interventionist God, why would I thank them for Friday?

Doesn’t time continue moving constantly? Isn’t one day followed by another? If it is, then no intervention is needed to get to Friday. You can spend the other six days of the week praying that Friday will appear, and there’s an extremely high likelihood that it will – much the same as if you spend the previous six days not praying.

And why Friday especially? I know, I know, end of the work week, yadda yadda. But Friday is still a work day. Why not Saturday? After all, if Friday is exciting because it means the last day of work for the calendar week, wouldn’t Saturday being a day of rest be more exciting?

Of course, I wonder if we don’t get excited about Saturday because once it arrives we’re disappointed. “Hooray, It’s Saturday. Now I have a day when I have to do all the cleaning that I didn’t get a chance to earlier in the week. Plus I have to mow the lawns, fix the car. Oh, and the in-laws are coming to visit… How long until Monday now?”

But, assuming that Friday is the most exciting day of the week, and assuming that we have only gotten there due to the intervention if a deity – yes, I’m asking for suspension of disbelief – then which God are we thanking?

Now many in the western world will automatically assume a Christian God. To me, this is a false assumption. Basing it on the while of the phrase, the Christian God is only assumed due to the lack of name. (After all, we don’t say “Thank Allah…”, “Thank Jehovah…” or “Thank Bhudda”.)

Now we do suggest that we are looking at a single deity, by the use of the singular. But that doesn’t automatically assume that we are looking at a mono-theistic concept. We are looking at a deity that intervenes in a direct way with mankind – otherwise why would we need to give thanks?

So the only identifier we can go by to really narrow this down us the specific in the statement – that it is Friday.

So, of all the Gods in belief systems universal, which God has the most to do with it being a Friday?

Well, in English we call it Friday from the old English frīgedæg, after the Goddess of love – Frigg (Aka Frige, Freyja, Freya, Freja, Freyia, Frøya, and Freia). In Latin we have dies veneris from Venus – likewise Goddess of Love.

And thinking further on this, Friday is often considered “date night”. We’re often encouraged to wear casual dress in the corporate world, which allows us to show ourselves in the most flattering way to our work colleagues.

This means that Friday is more related to Goddesses of Love, then it is to any other God.

Now Christian commandments suggest we shouldn’t be using the name of God in vain. Secularism suggests that we should avoid using God in places where it’s not appropriate. So I’m thinking, for the point of accuracy and causing the least offence, that the saying should be changed.

So, from here on, I’m now looking at saying “Thank Frigg it’s Friday” as the more polite version of the phrase. And I’m encouraging others to do the same.