Monday, July 16, 2007

The Bloodhound Gang wouldn't have made it past the blue dye

According to anecdotal evidence*, STDs are on the rise. There are a multitude of reasons - most of them to do with the rise of conservatism and the religious right. This has been blogged about before by great writers than I, but there are two easy targets: shithouse sex education in schools and confusing advertising. When I went through school I had no less than two term long periods where we were taught about sex and everything surrounding it.
In primary school the wonderful Ms Safe (her real name, she assured us) told us all about why our dangly bits were doing those things and why it was wrong to point at other kids' dangly bits. We got pictures of nude children that we were allowed to draw on, a full and frank explanation about how babies were made (sex) and exactly where they came from (vaginas). And, if any of us doubted that last point, we were all sat in front of the TV in a corner of the library and shown a video of a baby coming out of a vagina, umbilical cord, placenta, maternal screaming and all.
In high school were moved on to what is known in rap circles as The Nitty-Gritty. We were given a quick refresher about how sex worked, reminded that it caused babies and then introduced to contraception, safe sex STD avoision. At no point were we told that condoms were against god or that we would be safe from STDs within the bonds of holy matrimony (like Mele was). We were even briefly divided up for a frank discussion about menstruation given by a friendly-yet-businesslike lady from a specialist government department. The girls went in first for women's business (I never found out what - maybe they told lightbulb jokes) and then the boys were allowed in to learn all about periods. But not before the Vice-Principal herself interrupted her busy day to line us all up, military parade-style, and inform us that having periods was a natural and beautiful, yet sensitive part of all young women's lives and that any mockery, joking, sly sideways glances or improper smiling during our short lesson on menses would result in
immediate suspension. We all nodded maturely and trooped in to watch the lady from the government give a straight-talking description of periods while we watched tampon slowly absorb a glass of clear blue liquid.
The thing I remember thinking at the time was that all that education about STDs was almost unnecessary, given the pre-sex-education sex education our generation had all had at the hands of one TV commercial. Talk to anyone around my age and we will all tell you of a deep-seated fear of AIDS and condomless sex at the hands of The Grim Reaper. We need to re-screen this ad. I guarantee STDs will go down again.


In other news: the winner of the inaugural Guess The Header Competition is River for her flashy science talk and the gag about the pizza (which correctly unraveled my cypher, placing the photo of weird fish alongside the blog about weird fish, or anchovies if you prefer). Sorry other OTHER Sam, you were way way way off with the China guess, and yet, so close ... How? This photo was taken in Chinatown in San Fransisco. It was the only place
in America where I actually saw fresh fish and vegetables that weren't marketed as an exclusive novelty. If you scroll down, the (as yet) blogless River will be immortalised with her leading score of one on the Writing Guess The Header Competition Glory Board. Who will guess this blog's photo? Who? Clue? Think "Bad Word Play".

*stories Mele tells me about the private school she used to work at.


  1. River will remain blogless as she is hopeless at writing, but enjoys reading and occasionally commenting. Also, Yay me! I won! But todays header is beyond me.

  2. Obviously it's a suspension bridge, but where? In a zoo somewhere? In one of the rain forest type exhibits? (Note to self, must get to the zoo this spring and see how much it's changed.)

  3. Hmmm, Bridge over the River....(not Kwai) but some kind of bad pun like that?

  4. Hmmm, bridge under a river? under a flow.......? Err...??

  5. I'm guessing this is sex related. Perhaps puberty bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood?

  6. I just want you to know that I'm playing the guessing game. It's just that I haven't got a clue!

  7. Hmmm - let me see;
    1.Thailand - the country with the highest incidence os STDs in the world
    2. Something to do with the unaBRIDGED comments of the lady from the govt.
    3. It was a blackboard JUNGLE back then...

  8. I've been googling suspension bridges till my eyes are about ready to pop out and there are several similar looking ones to your header, but I've given up and I'm off to bake a batch of brownies instead. "Neil" could be heading in the right direction though.

  9. I'm too tired to think about the brain teaser puzzle thingie, but I do need to comment on your actual post. First up, Here! Here! Second, those Grim reaper ads scared the spit out of me too. Third, my primary and high school's had great sex ed too. I was never in any doubt as to how it all worked and I thought (knew) that condoms were great and that anyone who made you feel 'bad' (as opposed to the saucy possibilities of 'naughty' I guess) in relation to sex and relationships was not a good egg. Pity the 'respect and safety' approach has been replaced by the eternally useless 'your feelings are evil and should never be acted upon - especially while using contraception' school.

  10. River..........there are three options - could you be more specific - which direction??? Help me here !!

  11. Neil, combine your options to create your fourth direction. ('cos I really haven't got a clue!)



An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32