Domain Tunnel


When the Domain Tunnel opened in 2000, the state government set a temporary sixty kilometre an hour speed limit. Their caution seems prudent. Who knows how much the construction firm might’ve abridged basic safety to cut costs. But the explanation they proffered insulted all of us. They explained that Victorian motorists needed time to get used to driving through a tunnel. As if they thought that, finding no sky above our heads, we might flip out and slam on the brakes in traffic.

For weeks, they had run an advertising campaign instructing us just to drive like normal in the tunnel. Don’t get out of your car or try to turn around. Continue reading

Bus Shelters


Kooi, Brandon R.  (LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2007, series: “Criminal Justice: Recent Scholarship”, ISBN 9781593321468)

One day, some transport minister may decide to give up his car for a year so he can experience the reality of relying on public transport. Unless he and all his mistresses live on a train line, he will sit in a lot of bus stops. Some of these, like the ones in Clayton, will follow the old-fashioned, comfortable design of an ass-width plank with either a straight backrest or one arched to match the human spine. Some others, like the unenclosed seats in Mt. Waverley, leave out the backrest, which does no harm. But if the minister rides out to Oakleigh, his backside will discover special pain benches that replace the backrest with a thick horizontal pole at scapula height.

The benches themselves arch downwards to stop you from trying to perch at the front edge away from the pole. They measure twenty-eight centimetres deep, but the pole overhangs them by twelve centimetres. Continue reading

Low down


My brother saw an advertisement on late night TV for an onomantic service where for fifty cents you could SMS your partner’s name to their random number generator and it would tell you whether the partner remained faithful to you. What sort of misanthrope comes up with something like this? It seems like the social equivalent of starting a fire in a movie theatre.

Declaration Of Principles

(MPAA, 4 May 2006)stealacar

I have it on good authority that the MPAA intend this commercial to discourage movie piracy, rather than, as it appears, to encourage car theft.

One marvels that such advertisements make it past their first test screening, let alone into the forefront of a multimillion-dollar crusade against copyright infringement. The average viewer must jump ship at the first premise: Continue reading



At some point we seem to have accepted that, as peasants, if a bank or other large company imposes on us a penalty fee, for instance for paying a bill slower than they’d like, that as long as the company does it following the company’s own rules, we should find it fair for them to charge it. The historian of the future must see us as sufferers of Stockholm syndrome – as forlorn hostages who’ve somehow come to feel they owe something to their captors.

Have we forgotten how we got here? While you and Daisy ran hand-in-hand in the garden, ecstatic in the rain, they set about to laying claim to all the best flowerbeds and fencing them off. Now they charge you for the flowers and have convinced Daisy’s mother that if you don’t send seven a week, you don’t respect her. The Shamshiel they’ve posted at the gate doesn’t even have a flaming sword, just a valium of meaningless apologies. Continue reading

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