Congratulations Australia… the real work has just begun.

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that Australia’s much-maligned postal vote revealed that an emphatic 61 percent of the population voted YES to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same sex couples to marry”. For many, it was a sweet relief, as their nuptials don’t have to include expensive tickets to fly friends and family overseas, for something they should, by rights, be able to do in their own country.  For others, like me, it’s a chance to see their friends finally tie the knot and have Australia recognize the union under law. Personally, I don’t believe marriage is the right thing for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for others, and I cringe whenever I hear a conservative bang on about how marriage is sacred, and ‘between a man and woman’ because I have so much evidence to the contrary: the divorce rate, for one; the level of domestic violence in our country (by March 2017, 62 women were killed by their partner,  husband or ex), for another.  Then there are the gay couples who’ve been together for years and are in happier, healthier relationships than many straight couples I know. All they want is to take the next step and make their commitment official. Now, finally, they can. Congrats, Australia – or roughly just over half the continent – for having the good sense to see that legalizing gay marriage is not going to lead to people marrying trees or teachers encouraging kids to be transgender. Honestly, some of the bullshit that has been propagated by the No Campaign is just laughable. Some of them need to attend a Safe Schools lecture themselves, just so they might have half an idea what they’re talking about.

The other point I wanted to make was about the supposed ‘religious freedoms’ that MPs such as George Christienson and Cory Bernardi are worried about being trampled on. In other words, these extreme douchenozzles want the SSM bill written with safeguards attached so that churches, celebrants and businesses that deal in weddings can refuse custom to gay couples if same-sex marriage is against their beliefs. All I have to say to that is, if the religious right to discriminate is protected, I’d like the businesses to have to state clearly, on their place of business, that they reserve this right, so that discerning shoppers (like me) also have the right to discriminate – and boycott the fuck out of the tossers.  If you think that’s hypocritical of me, consider this: currently, we are not allowed to discriminate or harass someone because of their religion, race, sexual orientation or gender. But isn’t that EXACTLY what these people want to do?!

Just an aside, thinking of becoming ordained online. Would love to officiate at some fabulous gay weddings!

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The Top Ten least attractive things about men.

wavysauce.com/10-things-that-men-find-unattractive-in-a-woman/?utm_source=post&utm_medium=org&utm_campaign=hyper

Okay… the above link, if it works, takes you, gentle reader, to a place where men have listed their top things women do that they find least attractive. Now, if you actually care, this article would probably be useful. If however, you’re like me, and you like being single, you might find it a handy tool to keep men at a safe distance. If you’re deadly serious about remaining single, that is.  I find my resting bitch face is usually enough to send them heading in the opposite direction. Kidding. But no, not really.

Trouble is, most of it attacks things that women do to try to beautify themselves in order to attract a male, ie makeup, hairstyle, perfume etc. Turns out, ladies, that you need to walk a very fine line between over and under-doing it. My advice? Don’t bother. You’ll be much happier. So here’s my list of things that men do, that turn me off/aggravate me to the edge of ritual homicide.

  1. Pissing on the toilet seat/lid and not cleaning it up. I mean, guys, come on. You’ve had years to perfect your aim. At the very least, you could employ the use of a dunny brush to clean up your mess. Or did your mother do that for you until you were 30?!
  2. Bad breath/body odour. I find these turn me off in equal measure. There’s no excuse for bad BO, guys.  It’s called deodorant. There can be a few reasons for bad breath however. An abscess, rotted tooth, infected tonsils … perhaps visit a dentist and get it checked out?!
  3. Spitting. Can’t stand it. Turns my stomach. If you really need to do it, please go elsewhere.
  4. Farting and laughing about it. Honestly, guys. Toilet humour ceased being funny, for me, after I turned 21. But we all know guys mature slower than girls, so …
  5. Fat guys who insist on not dating fat women. Pot. Kettle. Black. That’s all I’m saying.
  6. Arrogance. Pretty much speaks for itself. Goes hand-in-hand with a sexist attitude.
  7. Religious zealots. Kirk Cameron, I’m talking to you. Get your head out of your arse. It’s 2017, not the dark ages. Your wife is not your slave.
  8. Beer guts/man boobs.  It’s not a good look. Same goes for the hairy back. Hey, if we have to bust a gut to stay slim and keep you guys from straying, the least you can do is hop on a treadmill once in a while. And get a wax.
  9. Gambling. I find it roughly the same as throwing money into a paper shredder. Those who have lots of it never seem to appreciate that one day it might all be gone.  Same goes for hissy fits by spoiled, pampered tennis players.
  10. Lecherous older men leering at anything in a skirt. Actually, make that lecherous males leering at anything in a skirt/coming onto anything professing to be female online.  Especially if you happen to be married. There’s no bigger turn-off than a married man who can’t keep it in his pants.

Rant over.

 

What do Stranger Things, Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein have in common?

Answer: apparently, they’re all terribly un-PC.

I recently read an article attached to a meme about the second season of Stranger Things being released on Netflix.  The person who’d posted the meme (and wrote the article) admitted that she might be the only person in the world who HATED the show. While I doubt that, because it takes all types to make a world, I decided to read her article to find out why she objected to the show so much. What I found was one of the most cringe-worthy pieces of overblown, politically correct, extremist feminism I’ve ever read. And I consider myself a feminist.

Now, I like the show. No, actually, underline that. Three times. And add a couple of exclamation points for extra effect. I’m from the generation who grew up with Ataris and E.T, Star Wars and Masters of the Universe. We didn’t have mobile phones, the internet or Netflix. Hell, Australia didn’t even have cable back then. So the show, which is set in the early ’80’s (for those who haven’t seen it) is pretty damn nostalgic. It’s like watching a  Stephen King novel adapted for TV (rather than some of the iffy movie versions of his books).  Yes, there’s some “problematic” material in there, but only because back in the 1980’s, political correctness was not a thing, and in order to accurately reflect an era, the Duffer Brothers had to stick to the attitudes, misconceptions and stereotypes of the time. Even if that meant that the females in the show were subject to attitudes about the importance of being pretty or having a boyfriend or being sexualized. That was just how it was.  If they’d created a show that harked back to a time in the previous century but still espoused the morals and ideals of today, it wouldn’t have seemed realistic. The writer of the article didn’t seem to get that. She waffled on about how Barb was largely ignored – even by her best friend – because she wasn’t boy-crazy and dared to have a brain. She also did more than hint that she thought Barb was gay, and had a thing for Nancy, just because she was pissed that Nancy was hanging out with the cool crowd and doing things that didn’t seem like the Nancy she knew. Hell, I’ve had friends like that at school; friends who dumped me when someone more interesting came along (read: a boy) and yeah, I felt resentful like Barb, but not because I was harboring a crush on my friend.

The writer of the article mentioned that she herself was gay, and that’s okay, I’ve got nothing against that – if you’re a follower of my blog you’ll know I support Same Sex Marriage in this country – but what I objected to was her insistence that the Duffer Brothers obviously have a vagina fetish, being that the portal into the Upside Down looks like a vagina (does it? I wouldn’t know) and that men are frightened of vaginas. (Right – that’s why they’re always trying to get into them!).  Her argument makes no sense whatsoever. Unless you’re an uptight, man-hating lesbian, I suspect.  Another gripe she had concerned Eleven’s androgyny and the fact that the boys dressed her up as a very girly girl, with a blonde wig (because the lab goons were looking for a girl who looked like a boy), and dared to tell her she looked pretty.  Excuse me, but is that an offence? That poor girl was probably never told anything like that until that moment, because of being a literal lab rat, and she just lit up. It made her happy. It bolstered her self esteem. If that’s offensive or ‘problematic’ in these days of gender neutral political correctness gone mad, then I’m sorry, but I think you should remove the ginormous stick from your arse.

So that’s my rant about the worst review of Stranger Things I’ve ever read. I’ll post you the link when and if I find it again. Just had a look through Facebook and it’s vanished, so maybe she copped a lot of flak for it. In other news, Kevin Spacey has come out as gay – big surprise (NOT) but what did shock me personally was how he did it – as a response to allegations he sexually harassed a fourteen year old boy thirty years ago at an industry event, in effect equating being gay to being a sexual predator/pedophile. I’m pretty sure that if I were gay I’d be seriously offended by this. And I’d have a right to be. He’s just managed to put gay rights back fifty years.  If he were an Australian actor, with the focus on the gay marriage vote at the moment, the Vote No Campaign would be having a field day.  He would have played right into their hands, giving them yet another highly divisive argument against same sex marriage.  Not long ago we had a well-known Archbishop make the statement that gay couples shouldn’t be invited to children’s parties because it’s ‘not safe’. Inferring, of course, that either homosexuals are pedophiles or the kids ‘might catch gay’.  Both of which are of course completely untrue and categorically ridiculous (not to mention totally ironic given the amount of pedophiles in the Catholic Church). But the idea has managed to seep its wicked way into the Vote No campaign nonetheless. And believe it or not, some people are buying it.  Now I don’t profess to know much about the whole Kevin Spacey debacle apart from the fact that he hasn’t dismissed the allegations or refuted them in any way.  All I can say about it, other than what I’ve already said, is that a) I’ll never watch Seven, American Beauty or The Unusual Suspects with the same enthusiasm again, and b) Why on earth did it take thirty years for the actor (Rapp, not Spacey) to come forward?! Was it the recent allegations against former Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein from various female celebrities that encouraged him to speak out, despite the statute of limitations having well and truly expired? But then, as we know, Bill Cosby was tried and convicted on sexual assault charges from years back; as was Rolf Harris, so anything’s possible.  We all knew about the seedy side of Hollywood – the infamous ‘casting couch’ – so the Weinstein thing shouldn’t really be a shock to anyone.  As far as Kevin Spacey is concerned, however, there goes another actor I admired, plummeting from his pedestal. First it was Mel Gibson, with his anti-Semitc rant, then Johnny Depp was rumored to have bashed Amber Heard (and his career hasn’t recovered yet); and now this. I just want to be on the record here: if you’ve got anything rotten to say about Harrison Ford, that might have happened thirty or forty years ago, please keep your damn yap shut.

An incomprehensible tragedy

This morning I learned that a childhood friend of my eldest child had been killed in a hit and run incident in Winchelsea, Victoria. I remember this child well, he and my son (daughter at the time) were good mates in primary school. Don’t recall exactly how old they were when they used to hang out, maybe 8 or 9?  His name was Tyler, and he was the youngest son of a single parent family. His mother, Janelle, was a lovely lady I got along with quite well. I used to sit and have a coffee and a chat with her when i’d go and pick Alister (then Eris) up. She worked at an insurance company in town as a receptionist and Tyler was her entire world.  As a single mother for nine of my eldest’s nineteen years, I know how it is to raise children on my own, and how close you become as a result. You’re all each other has, even when there is support from the extended family.  I count my children as my best friends and most loyal supporters in anything I do.  They are, as Tyler was to his heartbroken mum, absolutely everything to me and always will be.

I cannot fathom the pain Tyler’s mother must be feeling. My heart goes out to her. I hope they throw the book at the lout who hit Tyler as he rode his motorized bike and left him for dead. It was dark and the killer didn’t have his headlights on. I’m betting the car, an SUV, was stolen. The justice system has to make this piece of shit accountable for his actions. A mother has lost a precious son; a community its innocence, yet again, after the events of 2006, when Robert Faquarson killed his three young sons in Winchelsea dam.

Tragedies like this really bring home to you just how lucky you are as a parent and how precious your children are. I can’t tell you all how relieved I was when my son told me he had no intention of getting his license anytime soon. I have friends whose children are probationary drivers and they must chew their fingernails to the quick until the car pulls up in their driveway. I know I would, every time!  As regular readers of my blog would know, I am the mother of a transgender teen. My son came out to me just over two years ago, informing me that he’d always felt like he was in the wrong body and that he fully intended to live as a male and change his name. We have gone through several counselling sessions together at the Royal Children’s hospital in Melbourne, as it is the only gender clinic of its type in Victoria, as well as numerous doctor’s visits and, for the past year, Al has been receiving testosterone injections every three months. I recently began seeing a psychologist for my depression and low self esteem, and to do that I had to get my doctor to agree to a mental health plan. Imagine my disgust when my doctor, close to retirement age and a Catholic to boot, insinuated that my depression must be because of the fact that I had a daughter, and now I have a son. I was speechless at the time, and I wish I could have that moment back because I’d definitely tell him what I think of his assumptions. My son is NOT the cause of my long-standing depression. He doesn’t even factor into it. I’ve accepted his transition, largely because I’ve always felt, and said, that I didn’t need to have a son, I had Eris (his birth name). That’s how much he felt like a son to me, even before he came out and began living as a male. The idea that I’d “lost” a daughter is ludicrous to me. Especially now, hearing about Tyler. My child is still living, breathing, existing, gender notwithstanding. It’s not as if I’ve actually suffered the worst loss a parent can imagine. It’s not even slightly the same thing at all.

Rest in peace, Tyler. xo

 

 

An unpopular Opinion … brace yourselves.

Someone has recently started a petition to convince Australia’s Channel 7 not to broadcast Liar, starring Ioan Gruffudd and Joanne Froggatt. His reasoning is that the drama discourages rape victims from reporting their sexual assault, as the female protagonist in the show is not believed by police.  Fair enough, right?

Well, here’s where it gets murky, at least for me. I’m all for reporting sexual assault if it’s a genuine sexual assault. Not a case of, ‘oh, I think he might have raped me’ (unless of course you were drugged and came to with him on top of you) or ‘I did everything but yank his dick and then told him no because I changed my mind.’   I may receive death threats for saying this, but if you go on a first date with someone – male or female – and invite them back to your place, into your room, onto your bed, start kissing, fondling, get naked etc, WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK THEY’RE LIKELY TO EXPECT?!!!! This is exactly what the female character does in Liar. Sure, SVU and other crime shows enforce the politically correct notion that no means no, and that it doesn’t matter what the situation, you can change your mind at any time, but at what point is it being a cock-tease? Why make a guy feel like a complete arsehole, and contrive to ruin his life, because he got the wrong end of the stick? Sure, if told no the person instigating sex should stop. That’s a given. But if you’ve given him all the right signals, and he thinks you’re good to go, and right before he’s about to do the deed you say ‘oops, changed my mind’ … is it just me or is that poor form?  I’m all for women being progressive and open about liking sex, and being just as free as men when it comes to having one night stands.  It’s the 21st century. The sexual revolution was in the ’60s and ’70s.  You go, girl. What I don’t like is the recent attitude that you can do everything bar jump a guy’s bones and then shut up shop.  If he then turns around and misconstrues your intentions, then you only have yourself to blame.

Aarrrghh… Tired of bigots.

Unless you live in Australia,  you haven’t been subjected to the deluge of ads on TV relating to the Same Sex Marriage postal plebiscite. Now, I’ve heard some pretty prejudiced, and downright idiotic statements coming from the right-wing conservatives in the US on matters pertaining to the LGBT community, and I didn’t think that Australia could outdo America when it came to blatant stupidity, but boy, was I wrong!

The latest offering from the Vote No campaign involves an ad where three women talk about how they’re frightened that once ‘the gays’ win the right to marry, they’re going to infiltrate schools and tell kids it’s all right to be gay / transgender. This line of thinking really grates my cheese. First of all, the Safe Schools policy is all about educating children about differences in the hope that bullying can be eradicated. It has nothing to do with the same sex marriage debate WHATSOEVER.  The LGBT community does NOT have an secret agenda to try to turn kids gay, or convince them that they were born in the wrong body. Nobody can tell a person who they are inside.  And they’re not trying to do that. All they’re trying to do is win the right to marry the person they love with all their heart and have it recognized legally in Australia.  That’s it.  Why that’s anyone’s business but theirs is beyond me, but our government, in their limited wisdom, has decided that it should be up to all Australians to decide whether gay couples should be allowed to marry.  I won’t bore you with my opinion on this, as I’ve already had my say in a previous post. The horse has well and truly bolted on that one. Nothing we can do as a nation but have our say, such as it is.

I’m just truly tired of listening to people who clearly have no fucking clue what they’re on about argue against marriage equality, because none of their arguments have any basis in reality.  I personally know of at least three couples who’ve been together, happily, for years, some much longer than most heterosexual couples I know. Why they’re not allowed the same legal protection under the law simply because of their gender is beyond me.  Love is love. And it seems to me that a great many of the Vote No brigade think that way because they’re coming from a religious/moral perspective. One thing Christians need to realise right now is this: CHRISTIANITY HAS NO MONOPOLY ON MARRIAGE. Pagans were marrying people – called handfasting – before Jesus was a twinkle in the eye of the bloke who wrote the Bible. Then Christians came along and said, thank you, heretics … we’ll take your Sabbats and your special rituals, holy days etc for our own, give them a new name, and you all can burn in hell for not letting Jesus into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour.  Then they named them as witches and burned them at the stake.  Lovely lot, those Christians. Full of compassion for their fellow man.  Or woman, as the case may be.

Speaking of which, as the parent of a transgender man I am used to people continually confusing gender with sexuality. As I’ve said, the Safe Schools program, in which children are taught about homosexuality and transgenderism, has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage equality.  What it does is educate people about differences such as gender and sexuality. It seems to me that a good many people who are complaining about Safe Schools would have benefited greatly from participating in such programs themselves.  Or at the very least, attended a PFLAG meeting or two. Let me break it down for you, in case you’re one of the above-mentioned. Gender is whether you’re male or female, regardless of which set of genitals you’re born with. Recent scientific evidence suggests that transgender people have similar brains to the gender they identify with. They may also have chromosomal differences (I say “differences” rather than “abnormalities” because, let’s face it, ladies and germs, we’re all abnormal, and if you’re not, why not?!).  Sexuality, on the other hand, is whether you’re attracted to males or females, or both.  You can be both transgender and gay, which basically means that once you transition to male or female, you still date people of the same gender. Or you can be transgender and bisexual, showing interest in both men and women. Gender and sexuality are two completely separate states. Which is why it makes me so angry when I read or hear people say they don’t want their children sharing a public toilet /restroom with a transgender male or female. They’re not perverts, pedophiles or rapists. They were simply born in the wrong body. (And just on that, what does it matter what genitals they have, if they’re sitting in a private cubicle?!). Speaking from my own experience, my son, who spent the first fifteen years of his life as a girl, has always felt like a son rather than a daughter to me. He’s always been interested in gaming, computers, sci-fi and superheroes.  He never played with dolls unless they were the only available option.  And he would absolutely refuse to wear school dresses or kilts. Two years ago he told us he wanted to change his name and live life as a male.  It didn’t happen all at once – there were little hints and clues along the way. Some members of our family didn’t react well to the news at all. But on the whole, everyone seems to have accepted it and moved past it. We’re all using his preferred name, as well as the correct pronouns, and to be honest, whenever somebody calls him a lady or girl, either by accident or intentionally, it just feels and sounds wrong.

But I digress. In short, it’s a great big wide world out there and despite the fact that we all come in different sizes, shapes, nationalities etc, we’re all human, and we all want to be loved. The LGBT community are a wonderfully giving, caring, positive group of people who just want to be treated like everyone else, and have the same rights as everyone else.   And why shouldn’t they? After all, as the religious among us keep saying, “God makes no mistakes.”

 

 

Love is Love

Okay so even if you’re not from Australia you’ve possibly heard about how much of an extreme piss-ant our current PM, Malcolm Turnbull is. A gutless, whiny turd with absolutely no backbone to speak of. And before you say ‘but you voted for him’, no, I didn’t. The ludicrously named Liberal Party paid their way back into power as soon as they realised they were about to be overrun by the people’s party, Labor. But that’s another story of corruption and greed, altogether.

Today is about love, and how the government has gone out of its way to stall a decision on marriage equality.  You see, the people who run Australia (and I use the term ‘people’ very loosely, when I describe this bunch) have decided, in their limited wisdom, to run a postal plebiscite since the ‘real’ one was voted down in the Senate. So now, even though they didn’t have the opportunity to get on their conservative Christian soapbox and tell us how marriage equality was going to promote bestiality and paedophilia, they’re still going to be able to launch an assault on the LGBT community with the use of brochures (I believe the US calls them fliers) and ads bemoaning the evils of gay marriage. At least until sometime in November, when we’ve all got to send in our votes.

The problem with this is, nobody wanted this plebiscite, postal or electoral, except the bigots who believe everyone deserves a say on whether gay people can have the same legal rights as other human beings. Personally, straight female or not, I find it offensive that one group of humans wants EVERYONE to be able to decide if another group is equal in the eyes of the law. The government should have had a free vote in parliament and this would have been done and dusted. The way all – or most – laws are created. But no – the dishonorable Johnny Howard snuck into the rule book and changed the definition of the Marriage Act while he was our esteemed leader. Now it says ‘man and woman’. Before, it simply stated ‘two consenting adults.’  Why the current mob can’t go and just change it back is beyond me, but I digress.

So now we’ve got this postal vote to contend with. Doesn’t bother me, my vote is an overwhelming YES either way. I don’t even think I have the right to vote on such an issue, but as that argument is now moot, I’ll move on. The thing that alarms me is, there are so many people getting on social media saying that they’re either not going to vote at all or they’re going to vote no simply because they don’t like the idea of the plebiscite. Or, a third option, they’re going to put glitter in their envelope. Don’t they realise that this kind of thing is playing right into the hands of our not-so-liberal Liberal government?!  Even if the vote counters do open the envelope, they’re likely to count it as a donkey vote which means it’s completely wasted.  So I say this to whoever is planning on any such tactics: please don’t. If you believe in true equality across the board; if you believe that EVERYONE has the right to marry their soulmate and enjoy the same protections under the law that marriage gives the next of kin, vote YES.  Who gives a fuck whether you think we should be having a postal vote or not?  Like it or not, it’s happening. It’s a phenomenal waste of 122 million dollars, but hey, apparently we’ve got it to splash around, despite the high unemployment, high homeless rate, high power bills, and low average income. To say nothing of the fact that welfare benefits haven’t increased since 1994, but that’s another story, again …

So just before I go, I’ll say it again: for marriage equality in Australia, or to at least show the LNP that the majority of Australia wants marriage equality (not that the pricks have to do anything about it, as it’s essentially a non-binding opinion poll), vote YES.

Without glitter.

R.I.P Chester

I may anger some with my opinion here, but I’ve read a lot of comments about the passing of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, accusing him of being a coward for killing himself and leaving his family (including six children from two wives) behind. And one thing that occurred to me was, why is it selfish or cowardly to want the pain to end when you’ve suffered from depression your entire life?!  Who says he never sought help or tried his hardest to conquer feelings of hopelessness or self-loathing?!  The first reaction people invariably have when someone kills themselves is anger. But if you’ve ever suffered depression yourself or know someone who has; or known someone who has committed suicide (or attempted it) you know that they’re not in their right minds. They’re in such a state of pain and hopelessness that they just want it to end. They’re not thinking of their families or friends. That’s not selfishness, that’s legitimate mental illness. And how is it selfish to want to die? Isn’t it selfish of a sufferer’s family to want them to continue on in that state? To know that they’ve felt like this for long time, perhaps years or decades, and despite help, they haven’t managed to keep their head above water?  Personally I think it’s more selfish to expect that person to keep going in a world they can’t understand or take, just because you’d be in pain if they left. Just my opinion, sue me.

I was a Linkin Park fan during the ’90’s and still occasionally listen to their two best albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora.  I think many of their songs speak to what may have been going on in Chester’s head. It’s all so much more poignant now when you listen to their songs because so many are about pain, despair, mental illness, relationship breakdown, paranoia etc.  I’ve heard that he was friends with Chris Cornell and that the Soundgarden vocalist’s death affected him deeply – so much so that Chester ended his life on what would have been Chris’s 53rd birthday.  Two deeply scarred souls; two incredible talents lost to this shit-stain of a world. All I can say is, at times, I can’t really blame them.

Procrastination… and a little objectification.

Hi y’all,

Haven’t written in a while, just thought I’d drop in and let my few followers know what’s going on re my writing etc. A couple of weeks ago I was informed that one of the stories on this site was accepted to be published by a literary journal and today I got the structural edit back. Imagine my surprise when there were very few changes to be made.  In fact there was only one real suggestion for improvement, involving adding a sentence to strengthen an action. Surely I’m not that good at formatting a story?!  Apparently I am. Woo-hoo, go me. Looking forward to seeing Behind Closed Doors in print. Hopefully won’t be too long now. Pretty sure the next issue of Verandah is out in September.

In other news, I’ve joined the rest of the waking world in getting Netflix and I have to say, I can’t believe it took me so long. Not only can I binge-watch Orange is the New Black and How to get away with Murder but I can also watch some of the true crime stuff I missed when downgrading my Foxtel package.  Thinking about ditching it altogether if you want to know the truth. I mean, fuck Rupert Murdoch, right?! (not literally, obviously. I’ll happily leave that nasty business to Jerry Hall). But that won’t be until after the current season of Game of Thrones is finished. I know where my priorities lie …

Speaking of priorities, I was looking at a few Youtube vids the other day – mostly Top 10 countdowns of this or that by watchmojo.com – you know, the kind of thing you do when you’re totally putting off doing something you should be doing. Like studying, or writing. Anyway, I came across a countdown of top ten sexiest actors of all time, and I completely disagreed with almost the entire list. It got me thinking: is my taste in my arse or should everyone else have gone to Specsavers?!   I mean, I must be the only woman alive who DOESN’T think Channing Tatum is hot.  The guy looks like a spud. Good body, sure, if you’re into the uber-buff look. He just doesn’t do it for me. Neither does Chris Hemsworth, as I’m not into blondes. Especially blondes with abundant facial hair. Although his voice alone could almost put him on my personal list. I’m not big on Brad Pitt, although Fight Club and Twelve Monkeys, among others, show he can definitely act. But I had to completely disagree with the site’s inclusion of Tom Cruise, Ryan Gosling and Leo DiCaprio. Don’t get me wrong – I like Leo, I really do – I just don’t want to sleep with him. I’m sure that if he met me, the feeling would be mutual.

Now, I know I’m only one person, but I have to ask: who did they poll to come up with these countdowns?

So here are mine. First, the top 10 hottest actors since 2000, then of all time. Some you may not know of, but that’s just because I don’t necessarily go for the most obvious choice in a TV show or movie.

SINCE 2000:

10. Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, The X-Men Franchise, UK Skins)

9. Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, Big Little Lies, the latest installment of Tarzan)

8. Kit Harington (Game of Thrones)

7. James McAvoy (X-Men franchise, Split, Atonement)

6. Raul Esparza (Law and Order SVU, Hannibal, Pushing up Daisies)

5. Tom Hardy (The Revenant, Lawless, Mad Max: Fury Road)

4. Ricky Whittle (The 100, American Gods)

3. Bob Morley (The 100, Home and Away)

2. Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black, How to get away with Murder)

  1. Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, North & South, BBC’s Robin Hood)

 

OF ALL TIME: Most of these need no introduction, but just in case, I’ve included roles I most associate them with).

10. River Phoenix (My Own Private Idaho, Sneakers, I Love you to Death)

9. Jared Padalecki (Supernatural, Gilmore Girls)

8. Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes)

7. Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Robin Hood)

6. Johnny Depp (if he needs an intro, you’ve been living under a rock)

5. Harrison Ford (same as above, but I adore Han Solo)

4. Hugh Jackman (Wolverine)

3. Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road)

2. Carey Elwes (Westley from The Princess Bride)

  1. Keanu Reeves (Who else but Neo?! And if you’ve seen him lately, he’s barely aged a day since the early 2000’s. How DOES he do it?!).

Time for Change

Australian sport lovers: what superlatives come to mind when you think of Nathan Buckley? Champion captain of one of the most famous sporting clubs, not only in Australia, but the world? Six-time Copeland Trophy winner and only the third player in history to win a Norm Smith medal in a losing Grand Final?!  Brownlow medal winner? Or untried coach who was so loved by his club that they sacrificed a premiership-winning coach on the altar of nepotism?

Let me just say that I’m not a fan of Mick Malthouse.  Never have been, never will be. It used to bug the absolute shit out of me when he’d persevere with an on-field match-up that just was not working, either to teach the player a lesson in humility, or … well, I honestly can’t think of another reason why a coach would allow one of his own players to suffer like that. It’s beyond me. Another one of MM’s idiosyncrasies was his boundary-riding game plan. I was happier than a pig in shit when Bucks took over and declared that my beloved Pies would be using the corridor more often. Mick was fond of saying that we just didn’t have the cattle for such a bold move, but if that were true, why did both his former clubs – West Coast Eagles and Western Bulldogs – both hug the boundary like Mick’s daughter Christi when she worked for Channel 10?!   All jokes aside, when Mick Malthouse took the reins in 2000 it was after favorite son Tony Shaw coached the club to a wooden spoon in 1999. Two years later – TWO YEARS later – Collingwood played off in a Grand Final against the might of the Brisbane Lions, and came within 9 points of glory. I could go on about how we were robbed in that particular game, about how there were three specific incidents that lost us that game in unpaid free kicks, but I won’t. That’s another story.

After that painful day, it took MM another four years to get the Pies back into the finals. That first year, 2006, we were coming off the back of a couple of injury-ridden seasons that saw Mick have to play our B-team, and sometimes even our C-team, just to put players on the field. Those were lean years. But 2006 signaled something: a change in fortune. Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas joined the club. Heath Shaw began to make a name for himself. The Pies would play finals every season from 2006-2011 under Malthouse, of course winning that well-deserved flag in 2010.

During this successful period, Nathan Buckley’s accomplished playing career came to an abrupt end. Hampered by hamstring injuries, he called it a day after the narrow, heartbreaking 2007 Preliminary Final loss to Geelong.  First working as a commentator for Channel 7, he had his eye on bigger things. While travelling to the US to study coaching, and then working as an assistant coach at Collingwood under Malthouse from 2009-2011, Maguire and the board appeared panicked that their beloved champion would wind up coaching against us, and conceived the now infamous succession plan, in 2009.  Malthouse would step down as senior coach and take on the as-yet undefined role of ‘adviser’ while Buckley would coach his former team-mates: a feat rarely pulled off by players of their own clubs. Voss, Hird and of course Tony Shaw are all examples of champion players who failed as coaches of their own clubs. Why would Maguire et.al. think Buckley would be any different?!

Meanwhile, Mick Malthouse went from a much-loved coach in 2010 to a pariah, after announcing his departure from the club toward the end of the 2011 season, breaking his contract and the terms of the succession plan, which stated that he relinquish his role to Buckley in 2012. He’d just coached the Pies to a flag that was 11 years in the making and was on his way to a second successive Grand Final. ‘His boys’ were on track to a potential dynasty.  The news broke Pie hearts all over the land. It also destabilized the team going into the 2011 finals series.  To add insult to injury, he remarked later that he’d never coach against “his boys” and then promptly signed on as the coach of Collingwood’s most hated rival, Carlton.

And that’s where Mick Malthouse leaves this story.  Six years later, Nathan Buckley’s coaching career is, if not in immediate peril, then definitely at a crossroads. He’s taken a club that was at the top of it’s game in 2011 to a near cellar-dweller in 2017. Beset by a long injury list only a couple of years into his term, you could hardly blame him for early losses, but when star players returned and the Pies continued their slide down the ladder, the media microscope was turned on Nathan Buckley and his confusing game plan. People questioned whether he had the full backing and faith of his players. They also questioned some of his off-field decisions. Despite a bevy of expected retirements of veterans such as Simon Prestigiacomo, Chris Tarrant, Tarkyn Lockyer, Leon Davis and Shane O’Bree, there were rumblings that other senior players weren’t happy with the new coach and the feeling was most definitely mutual. In a move that I’m sure still has many fans baffled, Alan Didak was forced into retirement when he was de-listed, and another fan-favorite, Heath Shaw, was off-loaded to the newest team in the league, the GWS Giants. On-field spats with his captain Nick Maxwell, as well as an attitude problem, were blamed. I still call it the worst decision Buckley ever made, and I, as a longtime fan of Heath Shaw, will never forgive him for it.

But as they say, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Over the intervening years we also lost premiership players to forced retirement through injury. I and many others like me shed a tear when the players gave Luke Ball a guard of honor during his last game, as he and Darren Jolly were a huge part of the reason why we won the flag in 2010. Then we lost Alan Toovey (and the much-loved chant of TOOOOOVES), Brent Macaffer, premiership captain Nick Maxwell, Ben Johnson, Leigh Brown and worst of all, Brownlow medal winner and all-round character, Dane Swan, due to a career-ending injury in 2016.

The new culture was blamed for moves to other clubs by premiership players like Dale Thomas, who was seduced by his former coach Mick Malthouse into playing for Carlton; Chris Dawes and Heritier LaMumba  to Melbourne and arguably, Sharrod Wellingham to the West Coast Eagles, although I think he just wanted to go home. More recently, Dayne Beams defected to the Brisbane Lions to play alongside his twin brother and be close to his father, who was sick with cancer. That I understand and don’t blame him for, although others undoubtedly do, for reasons I won’t go into here.  The last two premiership players to leave the nest were Travis Cloke (Bulldogs) and Nathan Brown (St Kilda).  The jury is still out on whether those decisions were made with the club’s best interests at heart.

So of the 2010 premiership team, a mere seven years later, we have: Captain Scott Pendlebury, hard-nut and swing-man Tyson Goldsack, courageous but physically fragile defender Ben Reid, perhaps the shortest man in the league in Jarryd Blair, and future captain Steele Sidebottom.  We have recruited a group of older players from other clubs to address our lack of experience on field and while some of these decisions have proven fruitful and even inspired – Travis Varcoe, for example – there are some who would say we’ve been wasteful, even short-sighted, at the recruitment table.  Jesse White has been patchy, Levi Greenwood serviceable in his role left by Brent Macaffer but not much more, and the Chris Mayne experiment has been an utter failure.  Of course not all of this can be laid at Buckley’s feet. It’s down to the entire board and recruitment staff.  But there are other questions being asked by supporters on bulletin boards and social media; questions about why certain players keep getting games ahead of youngsters like Matthew Scharenberg and Rupert Wills, despite consistent good form in the VFL.  Why the game plan seems to be an utter mystery not only to those watching it but those trying to implement it. Why the quality of our goal-kicking has never really improved despite numerous attempts to address the problem, and why, oh why, the constant ball movement backward and sideways under pressure?!  We are now into July and the finals are just under two months away. Collingwood now have no chance whatsoever of playing finals for the third or fourth year in a row, having only won FIVE GAMES, and Buckley’s contract is up at the end of the year.

Would I be universally hated for suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the succession plan was a bad idea?!