Five things I learned this week

One - It's the advertisements that make TV really stupid.

I love television - it's the world's greatest form of entertainment for deadbeats and stoners and the perennially drug-fucked amongst us who can't be bothered using their useless arms to hold up a newspaper or book because they're a) too stupid, b) too stoned or c) their arms keep growing into long, waving strands of kelp. (I must remember to take the blue pills first, and then the red ones. Mama.)

But watching TV brings with it certain responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is that we must, in order for the networks to continue to provide us with free movement and colour every day, pay attention to advertisements.

Like the one where the guy ambushes a lonely housewife, follows her home and goes through the dirty laundry - on order to show her how good his laundry detergent is. Honestly!

The way I see it, the guy's either he's a psychopath (probable), a paid actor pretending to be a panty-sniffing stalker (more probable) or the TV audience is too inured to the banality of the situation to realise that he's not really an expert on stains... he's just pretending.

It makes me wonder - why don't we ever see people's underpants on these commercials. Imagine it, if you will...

[Scene one - the laundry]

Stain Expert: "Look at those stains! They're terrible! What have you been eating?"

[the housewife looks horribly embarrassed]

Stain Expert: "Here's how to fix the problem, you filthy beast. Mix a little of our product with water to make a paste, put a little on the stain, and use the rest of it to clean your arse!"

Problem solved.

Two - Anyone who votes is clearly an idiot

What is with the people of the developed world? I've watched in staggering disbelief as both Australia (my home) and the US (where all the stuff that makes my home the way it is comes from) vote in conservative governments that seem hell-bent on blowing up as much of Iraq as they can within the next four years. It's like watching two kids in a sandpit, armed with claymore mines and chewing on detonator caps.

What was Florida thinking? Surely the raft of hurricanes that threatened to move all of the retirees offshore (presumably to find their assets) was enough of a warning from God Himself that the state had better think twice before putting Bush back into the Whitehouse.

Here in Australia, we have had to endure the simpering, giggling return of the world's least-attractive Prime Minister (and that list includes Helen Clark, Ariel Sharon and - of course - Margaret Thatcher). Worse still, he got in with a landslide.

It means, in a nutshell, that the voting public appears to be happy with conservative, right-leaning governments. Governments with a penchant for destroying other countries in the name of peace. Governments who demand that their electoral processes not be interfered with, unless it's them doing the interfering.

Governments run by men with phallocentric agendas and no idea of how to plan further than a couple of months in advance, to whom every new development is a surprise (a challenge to be overcome), and to whom the ideals of compassion, fairness and equality are as foreign as Poodle Chow Mein.

It saddens me to see this developing the way that it has - a global swing to the right in developed nations means a lot to me.

Sure, I'll be more afraid at night because of global security concerns. Sure, the rich will get their tax cuts while the poor drop through the safety nets.

Sure, the fetid stench of corruption will continue to blow through the halls of power.

But it's all good news for me - it's much easier to make fun of those guys than it is to make fun of the left.

Three - Staying up all night is bad for you.

Saturday was a lost day this week. This could have something to do with Friday night. Actually, it has everything to do with Friday night. While the going out part of Friday nights is almost always fun (with the notable exception of that extra-special Friday night trip to the 24-hour dentist to have a broken tooth removed), the staying up until dawn can have serious side effects.

This week, those included a sudden urge to watch TV (see point one) and a most unfortunate incident with my housemate, Pablo Escobar (with whom some of you may already be familiar... if not, I suggest a quick leaf through some of my earlier ravings. She's in there somewhere. Anyway - more about her in point four).

The upshot of staying up all night is that the next day everyone who took part in the marathon effort of 'seeing the break of day' ends up looking, and for the most part behaving, like an extra from Shaun of the Dead. Indeed, it took a hefty blow to the back of the head with a cricket bat to get me to understand that it was time to sleep.

I miss being able to stay awake for three or four days at a time. I used to be able to do it, but as my body approaches its 32nd year on the planet, I have begun to realise that all is not as it once was.

I choose to blame the government.

Four - A vomiting cat is not a friendly cat.

Ahh, my dear, sweet Pablo. She's still a little angel of death, living safe and sound in my apartment. It was her birthday a little while ago - she turned one. I know, I know... how the time has flown.

This week, we discovered that she has an allergy to kangaroo meat.

I should probably explain that kangaroos, while they are the national emblem of Australia, are a pest in plague proportions in the bush. They are also made of an extremely tasty meat, one which I happen to love.

Pablo loves the taste of it too - however, it makes her sick. She gets like a geysers at both ends when she eats roo meat, which makes for interesting evening's entertainment, as we play games like 'Find out what's causing that terrible smell', and 'Oh God No Don't Vomit In My Lap Oh Shit Oh Shit Oh Shit Get Off Me'. While they're both great games that represent hours of fun for the family, they make Pablo a little unhappy. They also make me a little nauseous. But that's OK - it's good training for when I eventually become a parent, and have to deal with small children that are incapable of going more than three hours without soiling their trousers. Or, should I miss out on having kids, it'll prepare me for old age. Either way, it's all good.

Five - The war is coming too close to home.

I had a great weekend - a weekend blessedly free of the distractions of the internet and it's evils, excesses and humourless statistics.

I logged in this morning, to be greeted with the news that an online friend had perished at the hands of 'the enemy' in Iraq.

He was a good guy - quick-witted, intelligent and funny when the right moment arose. He also agreed with me a lot in the discussions we had... make of that what you will.

But Pete won't be sharing his mind with the world anymore. He was killed in the Babil Provence of Iraq as a result of enemy action. Consolations, such as the fact that he was there because he wanted to be, and that he died doing what he loved, don't make me feel much better. And even though he wasn't close enough to me to make me cry myself to sleep over the loss, it still burns that someone whose input into my life I truly enjoyed is now gone.

Cpl. Peter J. (Jav03) Giannopoulos, - thank you, and goodbye.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...