Mehr Rechts als Linke / More Right than Left

17 April 2011

Johanne: ‘Tag Friedrich! Wie geht’s dir?

Friedrich: Es geht.

J: Ist das alles? Warum?

F: Ich finde die australische Politik ziemlich fremd. Sie sprachen nur über die gleicher Dinge, mit keine andere Ausblick. Es ist mir schade.

J: Stimmt’s. Ich glaube so auch. Frau Gillard denkt nur über ihre Karriere, und wer kennt über was Herr Abbott denkt! Parliament ist gleich egal wie ein Kindergarten.

F: Genau! Sie streiten sich immer, und sprachen nichts über das, was wichtige ist. Die “carbon tax” ist ein klassische Beispiel. Nichts benützlich gesagt ist, und Niemand will die Wahrheit sagen!

J: Ich weiß. Wir haben kein linke Partei in Australien. Die Grüne sind auch ziemlich Konservativ mit viele Dinge. Die Politiker finde es zu gefährlich, ehrlich zu sein.

F: Ja, leider sind Abstimmungen mehr wichtig als das Wohl des Leutes.

J: Ich habe oft gedacht, dass die konservative europaische Parteien sind mehr progressive als die australische linke Parteien! Genau ist Großbrittanien eine Ausnahme.

F: Ich glaube du hast richtig. In der USA gibt es auch ein überwältig konservative Geist. Es ist mir eine große Sorge. Manchmal habe ich Angst für unser Welt.

J. Ich auch. Es ist schade, und ziemlich schrecklich.


Johanne: G’day Friedrich! How are you?

Friedrich: I’m OK.

J: Is that all? How come?

F: I find Australian politics quite strange. They only talk about the same things, with no alternative viewpoint. It makes me sad.

J: Exactly. I think so too. Julia Gillard thinks of nothing but her career, and who knows what Tony Abbot thinks about! Parliament is basically just a kindergarten.

F: Precisely! They always argue, and don’t speak at all about what is important. The carbon tax is a classic example. Nothing useful is discussed, and noone dares to say the truth!

J: I know. We don’t have a left-wing party in Australia. Even the Greens are quite conservative regarding many things. Politicians think it is too dangerous to be honest.

F: Yeah, unfortunately votes are more important than the welfare of the people.

J: I have often thought, that the conservative European parties are more progressive than the Australian left-wing parties! Of course, the UK is an exception.

F: I think you are right. In America there is also an overwhelmingly conservative feel. For me it is a big worry. Sometimes I am anxious for our planet.

J: Me too. It is sad, and quite frightening.

Two Puzzles @ Stalin’s Moustache | An Open Letter to Tony Abbott


An Open Letter to the Hon. Tony Abbott, MP

17 April 2011

25 February 2011

Dear Mr Abbott,

As an interested member of the Australian public I have watched your performance as leader of the opposition since the end of 2009, and feel that I can no longer refrain from expressing to you my opinion of your leadership. Although I recognise that you are a person with feelings and passions like anyone else, and I certainly do not wish to offend you, I feel that I must be honest in addressing a number of issues that continue to concern me and many of my friends and associates.

One of my biggest objections is to your ongoing “opposition for opposition’s sake.” Although I cannot recall the exact wording, when Julia Gillard formed her government, you made a statement to the effect that “we will do everything in our power to show that this party should not be governing, and that they are a bad choice for the Australian people.” You also alluded to the fact that it was the role of the opposition to do so, and to fight the government of the day. I cannot emphasise strongly enough how objectionable I found these statements. It is absolutely not the opposition’s role to fight the government of the day, or to show that the government is a bad choice for the Australian people. It is the opposition’s role to keep the government of the day accountable, and in doing so, to support and respect the judgement of the Australian people. I know that the Gillard government was not formed with a majority of the popular vote, however given your performance in the media over the last couple of years, I doubt whether this would have affected the tone of your subsequent posturing. Since you became leader of the opposition, you have set out to oppose the government at every turn, whether their policies be good or bad, and it seems to me that you have often done so on the basis of little or no advice, or on the basis of your own personal convictions, rather than on what is truly in the interests of the Australian people.

I could list myriad examples of you engaging in “opposition for opposition’s sake,” but I will name only a few. The most recent might be considered your opposition to the flood levy. It seems absolutely clear to me that this levy is a suitable option for the Australian people. Arguments about it hitting the hip pockets of people already affected by floods and fires, by rising interest rates and costs of living seem ludicrous when one considers that the cost of the levy is absolutely minimal: someone earning $50,000 per annum will not pay anything, and someone earning $75,000 will pay less than $2.50 per week. If someone earning $75,000 per year cannot afford $2.50 a week in an extraordinary situation, this country has a much bigger problem to worry about than the flood levy. Other examples of your behaviour that I would classify as “opposition for opposition’s sake” include the myriad reversals of opinion that you have expressed over the past number of years. Here, I would mention the continued to-and-fro on your stances regarding Japanese whalers (take Japan to the international court, don’t take them, do take them, don’t) and, for example, our troop presence in Afghanistan. Of course, you have asked the Australian public to dismiss these changes in attitude and occasional(!) faux pas because we should only believe you when you are speaking from a script. At any other time, you would have us believe that opposition leadership is a free-for-all in which one can say anything they like, as long as it is intended to attack the government of the day.

Mr Abbott, I would also like to make a point about your recent statements regarding the government’s proposed carbon pricing scheme. I am by no means an expert on climate change or economics, but I do know enough to realise that climate change is an enormous challenge that we should have been facing years ago. Even now, measures such as carbon pricing continue to be put off, and people like you oppose them at all costs. Whether or not carbon pricing is the best solution, I am not here to argue. What I am here to make a point about are your vitriolic statements regarding the “betrayal” of the Australian people, and your environmental spokesperson’s assertion that the government has an “intent” to make the populace suffer. The problem with the entire climate change issue is that it must be tackled by changing our behaviours. And if the government seeks to change our behaviours using fiscal measures such as a carbon pricing scheme, then it has to hurt, otherwise it simply won’t work. Certainly, the cost of electricity bills (to borrow the favourite example) may increase under a carbon pricing scheme, but that is only if electricity usage remains the same. The intent of these measures is to change behaviour, and if the desired changes are achieved, electricity usage will decrease, and the cost of electricity bills will remain the same.

This unwillingness to admit that a response to climate change needs to hurt to be effective seems also to be the main problem with climate change policies on a global scale. Each country is so worried about the possible impact on their own economies, that none of them are willing to take a stance on the issue and take real action. Until someone does, we will only exacerbate the problems associated with climate change, and it is quite likely that before long our grandchildren, or even our children, will be living in a world that is all but uninhabitable. Governments, leaders, role models – this includes you, Mr Abbott – need to stop focusing on the almighty dollar, and start focusing on what is important. Under a capitalist system one needs money to buy food, yes, but that money is no good if the food cannot be grown, if the people who would otherwise buy it have had to move because the island they lived on has been engulfed by rising sea levels, or if they themselves are dying because of climate change-induced drought.

Mr Abbott, I am afraid that this short letter has not been able to express forcefully enough the extent to which I object to your political posturing, your changing opinions, and your expression of attitudes that are quite clearly not in the best interests of the Australian people. To be honest, I would be scared if you were successful in obtaining the role of Prime Minister. I implore you; please stop behaving like a child. Please stop fighting with Julia Gillard and her government simply for the sake of it – that is not your role. Start thinking sensibly about the Australian people – you are there for us, not for short-term political points. You and the government could get so much more done if you behaved like adults and thought and acted intelligently about the issues of the day.

Yours Sincerely,

Christian Callisen

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Laufen Sie! Die Schwuler kommen! / Run! The Gays are Coming!

12 April 2011

Vor manche Zeit habe ich ein bisschen über der idiotische Aussagen von Jason Akermanis und ein paar Anderen geschrieben. Heute haben wir mehr Scheiße zu lesen, von ein italienische Professor in Rome. Professor de Mattei, ein Chef der italienische Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, sagt auf der Welle, dass ein paar schwule Männer der ganze romische Reich gestürzt hat. Sie haben eine Epidemie entlassen, deshalb hatte der romische Reich zur Barbarianen gefallen. Wikipedia sagt, dass Professor de Mattei auch “gegenevolutionismus” unterstützt. Es ist klar, dass wir schnell von der Schwuler laufen muss!


Some time ago I wrote a little about the idiotic statements of Jason Akermanis and a number of other people. Today we have more crap to read, from an Italian professor in Rome. Professor de Mattei, a senior officer at the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, said on the radio, that a few gay men had toppled the entire Roman empire. They released an epidemic, and that’s why the Roman empire fell to Barbarians. According to Wikipedia, Professor de Mattei also supports “antievolutionism.” Clearly we need to run as fast as we can away from “the gays”!

Gays to Blame for Roman Collapse: Historian @ Slap Upside the Head


Eurovision 2011

11 April 2011

Johanne: Hi, Friedrich! Wie geht’s?

Friedrich: Sehr gut, danke Johanne! Und dir?

J: Auch sehr gut, weil der Eurovision Song Contest bald kommt!

F: Was? Der Eurovisi-was?

J: Der Eurovision Song Contest! Es ist der berühmst Song Contest Europas!

F: Wirklich? Ich habe noch nie über es gehört…

J: Bist du unter einem Stein gelebt? Der Eurovision ist toll! Super! Ganz wunderbar! Abba hat es in 1974 gewonnen. Wie kann mann das nicht wissen?

F: Entschuldig mich bitte, ich bin nur ein einfache Jungend aus dem Land.

J: Du spinnst, ja! Ich weiß, dass du aus Düsseldorf kommt! Und das macht es ganz unglaublich, dass du der Eurovision nicht kennst. Es wird in Düsseldorf dieses Jahr sein!

F: Wirklich?

J: Ja! Lena singt für Deutschland weider!

F: Ja, ja. Ich habe etwas über sie gehört. Hattet sie nicht etwas große letztes Jahr gewonnen?

J: Genau! Das war der Eurovision! Dummkopf!

F: Es tut mir sehr leid, ich muss immer mehr beachten.

J: Ganz richtig!


Johanne: Hi Friedrich, how are you?

Friedrich: Very good thanks, Johanne. And you?

J: I’m also very good, because Eurovision is here soon!

F: What? Euro-what?

J: The Eurovision Song Contest! It’s the most famous song contest in Europe!

F: Really? I’ve never heard of it…

J: Have you been living under a rock? Eurovision is great! Fantastic! Absolutely wonderful! Abba won it in 1974. How can you not know that?

F: I’m sorry, I’m just a simple boy from the country.

J: What bollocks! I know that you’re from Düsseldorf! And that makes it even more unbelievable, that you don’t know the Eurovsion. It will be in Düsseldorf this year!

F: Really?

J: Yes! Lena is singing for Germany again!

F: Yes, yes. I’ve heard something about her. Didn’t she win something big last year?

J: Exactly! That was Eurovision! Idiot!

F: I am very sorry, I must pay more attention.

J: Darn tootin’!


Knut ist tot / Knut is Dead

6 April 2011

Knut am 30. Oktober 2010. Vielleicht weißte er schon, dass das Ende in der Nähe war. (Knut on 30 October 2010. Perhaps he already knew that the end was near.)


Johanne: Guten Morgen Friedrich!

Friedrich: Hallo, Johanne! Wie geht’s?

J: Ziemlich gut, trotzdem is Knut tot.

F: Ich weiß! Es ist sehr, sehr schade! Knut war ein schöne Eisbär.

J: Ja, ich glaube auch. Manche Leute sagen, dass Knut einsam war, deshalb hat er sich gemordet.

F: Wirklich? Das hört mir ein bisschen idiotisch aus. Ich habe in der Zeitung gelesen, das er Gehirnprobleme hatte.

J: Das hört wenig mehr logisch aus! Es erklärt auch, warum ist Knut im Waßer gefallen.

F: Ja, aber hast du auch gehört, der Zoodirektor will Knut ausstopfen?

J: Nein, ich habe das nicht gehört. Es hört mir ein bisschen fremd aus.

F: Ja, mir auch. Neulich hatte die Leute vor dem Zoo protestieren gegen es.

J: Gut! Die ganze Dinge erinnert mich etwas. Magst du “The Simpsons”?

F: Ja, es ist ziemlich komisch. Warum?

J: Es gibt eine Episode, wann Homer sagt zu Marge: “Wenn ich tot sein, dann will ich ausgestopfen und auf dem Sofa gesessen sein, als ein ewige Erinnerung von unsere Heiratgelübde.”

F: Das ist ziemlich komisch! Homer macht mir lachen! Aber, ich denke nicht, dass ich Knut auf meinem Sofa will!

J: Ja, ich auch nicht!


Johanne: Good morning, Friedrich!

Friedrich: Hello, Johanne! How are you?

J: Quite good, even though Knut is dead.

F: I know! It is very, very sad! Knut was a beautiful polar bear.

J: Yes, I think so too. Some people are saying that Knut was lonely, so he killed himself.

F: Really? That sounds a bit stupid to me. I have read in the paper that he had brain problems.

J: That sounds more logical to me! It also explains why Knut fell in the water.

F: Yes, but have you also heard that the director of the zoo wants Knut stuffed?

J: No, I have not heard that. It sounds a little strange to me.

F: Yes, to me too. The other day people protested against it in front of the zoo.

J: Good! The whole thing reminds me of something. Do you like “The Simpsons”?

F: Yes, it is quite funny. Why?

J: There is an episode, when Homer says to Marge, “when I am dead, I want to be stuffed and put on the couch, as a constant reminder of our marital vows.”

F: That is quite funny! Homer makes me laugh! But I don’t think that I want Knut on my sofa!

J: Yeah, me neither!


Welcome Back to das Backofenkätszchen

5 April 2011

After rather a long hiatus (I won’t bore you with the reasons why), I am back at it with a new, hopefully somewhat consistent, theme: German. From the end of October to mid-December last year, I was lucky enough to spend my time holed up in Berlin, attending an intensive German course at the Goethe-Institut. As a result, I now have a basic command of the German language, and I need to practise! Although I do have a lovely German friend here in Australia, and have started taking one-on-one lessons for an hour a week, I thought another way that I might increase my exposure to German is to post conversations with myself here on ovenkitty. Well, not exactly with myself, but between two fictitious characters – let’s call them Friedrich and Johanne.

The aim of this little exercise is obviously for me to practise my German, but also (hopefully) to help others practise theirs. Because my German is not yet of a very high level, most of what I write ought to be reasonably easy to understand. My posts will consist of a conversation between Friedrich and Johanne in German, and then a translation in English. In lieu of a conversation, I may post some other piece of information that I find interesting (such as the riveting tidbit you are reading now). Above all, I would invite people to comment on my German, and ask questions – please point out mistakes that I have made, suggest alternative phrases, or ask me why I have translated something the way I have. Please feel free also to suggest a theme for one of Friedrich and Johanne’s upcoming conversations!

So, without any further ado, a bit of German…


Nach eine lange Zeit (ich werde nicht Sie mit der Grunden warum langweilen) bin ich zurück mit einem neue Thema: das Deutsch. [Entschuldigen Sie bitte, wenn ich ein paar Wörter von meiner Übersetzung auslassen, weil mein Deutsch nicht so gut ist.] Von das Ende Oktober bis der Mitte Dezember letzte Jahre war ich glücklich, in Berlin zu gewesen. Dort habe ich ein intensive Deutsch-Kurs mit Goethe-Institut gemacht. Deshalb habe ich ein einfache deutsche Gesprächfähigkeit, und ich muß üben! Obwohl habe ich hier in Australien eine schöne deutsche Freundin [nicht meinen Partner!] und habe auch 1-Stunde-Unterrichten jede Woche angefangen, habe ich gedacht, dass ein andere Weg, mein deutsche Erfahrungen zu besserung, ist Gespräche mit mir hier auf dem Backofenkätzschen zu schreiben. Vielleicht nicht genau mit mir, aber zwischen zwei falsche Personen – wir werden sie Friedrich und Johanne heißen.

Das Ziel diese wenige Übung ist selbstverständlich, ich meine Deutsch zu üben, trotzdem auch (hoffentlich) für andere Leute ihre Deutsch zu üben. Weil meine Deutsch nicht so gut ist, meistens, das ich schreibe, sollt ziemlich einfach zu verstehen sein. Meine Anmerkungen wird ein Gespräche zwischen Friedrich und Johanne auf Deutsch sein, danach eine Übersetzung auf Englisch. Manchmal werde ich ein anderes Info schreiben, dass ich interessant finden (zum Beispiel, das sehr interessantes Info Sie jetzt lesen). Vor all, ich möchte die Leute ihren Anmerkungen und Fragen zu schreiben einladen – bitte, zeigen Sie mir Fehler, das ich gemacht habe, angeboten Sie verschiedene Sätze, oder fragen Sie mich warum ich etwas so übergesetzt habe. Bitte, gefühlen Sie frei auch, ein Thema zum Gespräche von Friedrich und Johanne zu angeboten!

Deshalb, mit keine mehr wörter, ein bisschen Deutsch…


PhD or Baby?

25 November 2010

Over at The Least Creative Homepage in the History of Humanity, I stumbled across a great top ten list, “Why Writing a Dissertation is Harder than Having a Baby.” Here are a few samples:

* Conceiving a baby is way more fun that conceiving a topic;

* Friends and relatives don’t question the birth of a baby;

* No one will complain that your baby is too similar to another one.

You can find the full list here. I am certain that the original post was written by a man!


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