Thursday, 30 August 2012

Weekly Wombat (27/08/12)

In the news this week!!!

1) Avril Lavinge and Chad Kroeger are getting married... well maybe this wasn't new this week but I found out about it and therefor new news to me this week... this is abominable... it's like a nightmare that lost parts of my childhood are now getting hitched and potentially going to reproduce. Chad Kroeger, best known for producing drony music that had no soul to it through Nickelback and also an equally souless solo effort for Spiderman 3 is now marrying a girl who sang about men being complicated and boys who prefered to skate, or sk8 as the kids put it these days, over doing something towards a better world. I wish them all the best in their marriage and hope that married life becomes so overwhelming that they forget they once tried to sing. My greatest fear is that now they are potentially breeding we could see children be brought into the world from this union... please god may they not try to sing or come into the public light... The results - well if it was a solo effort it could be along the lines of Peter Andre or Rick Astley and if it was a group... dare I mention Creed?

2) Blizzard, the company behind the life denying World of Warcraft (WOW), has banned all support for the game in Iran. This is due to the sanctions in place by the US and Blizzard also want to 'do their bit'. How are the people of Iran meant to pretend to be orcs and use magic now?! I have no doubt that where all other sanctions have failed to deter the hierarchy of Iran to cease their Nuclear Enrichment program this may strike where they have not. It is indeed a well unknown non-fact that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a massive fan of the game and has already been seen suffering the withdrawal symptoms of dressing like a wizard and screaming terms from the Harry Potter series. WOW fans are famous for their violent behavior when denied access to the game so Tehran should soon be expecting several complaints via the internet and possibly on blogs. Get with it Blizzard for fucks sake.

3) And finally ... in India a company in India has released a cream/gel that... 'tightens the vagina to become virginal again' - The tastefully named '18 again' has produced an advert that see's a man a woman dancing and singing about feeling like virgins again. So I suppose that means that it's tighter for him and more painful for her... The best quote was to be found was on the BBC who referenced someone talking about the gel being already available in the USA and it was "merely filling a gap in the market".. please BBC, tell me this was an intentional joke? If not you have one of the worlds finest accidental comedians on your books. This cream is quite frankly a disgrace... it opens women (or closes women) up to a whole new level of abuse. In the grand scheme of things it really damages women's rights and the people who invented it are either misogynistic wankers or just plain pricks (possibly quite small pricks judging by the nature of the cream).... I'm sure that it has it's benefits for people who have gone through traumatic childbirth, but at the end of the day should a woman really feel the need to use this cream cause the man demands or expects it? By implying that women are not perfect it can go towards giving them an inferiority complex and encourages women in particular the desire of men that they marry a virgin... In India and indeed in many other countries such as Turkey a woman's virginity is seen as a prize and prevents many from seeking healthy pre-marital relations... it's fine for a man to have sex, but just not woman...and who says we still live in an unfair world?

Roy Woodhouse - Twitter 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Lance Armstrong walked on the moon!

This week saw Lance Armstrong have his life changed from being the bloke who won a record 7 Tour de Frances in a row to holding exactly the same number of titles as me... I particularly loved the "banned for life from cycling" part. Does this not imply that now for Lance to get on a bike is tantamount to a federal offece? Do all bikes in the world have a restraining order against him. After checking out his twatter the other day he tweeted that he would be grabbing his bike and heading for a ride in the woods... will this man never stop? The fact he grabbed a bike could be percieved as some sort of hostage situation, but I shouldn't bother calling the Police just yet.

Armstrong has been accused of being a drugs cheat... it happens to many of the top professionals in the world... in fact only the other week Carl Lewis (yes the ex-drug cheat) accused Usain Bolt of taking drugs to which Mr Bolt told the former to politely fuck off. One of the accusers of Armstrong, Floyd Landis, was found guilty of defaruding his charities' supporters ironically in the same day as Armstrong was stripped of his lifes work. To his credit Lance has maintained his innocence to the end and stated his lack of wish to destroy the rest of his life fighting the charges was his reason for throwing in the towel. Does this make it one of the dirtiest sports since snookers bad boys were 'outed'?

The problem with being labelled a drugs cheat is that it has the connotations of some kind of junkie. No matter what people say I still head in my mind to some trainspotting fueled evening of fun that ruined the sportsmans careers. Was Lance so high on drugs that he managed to convince the world he not only won those titles, but did it on the moon while playing a trumpet and singing about it being a wonderful world. Apparantly there is still one of Lance's bikes on the moon to this day! This seems to be the opinions and knowledge of some ignorant bastards on the internet who can't differentiate one great Armstrong from another. The truth is Lance himself is not a junkie, but rather is accused of having used some medicines to improve his performance in the races.

Whether or not Lance cheated I couldn't give a shit - if he is innocent then I truly hope he is exhonerated and his titles restored. My main concern is that his potential cheating is all this man will be remembered for. In my opinion he deserves to make the group of those great Armstongs including Louis, Neil and Stretch and not because he was good on a bike with or without an extra bit of something.

Why? This man battled back from cancer... ok so many people do and many people deserve to be recognised for what they went through, but this man came back from the disease and went on to claim 7 titles. He could have stopped there but he founded a charity. He used his fame to try and do a little bit of good in the world. He gained the sponserships of companies like Nike and tried to help other people. While there was a witchhunt trying to strip him of everything he had he managed to change some peoples lives. I am not usually a fan of big corporations, but Nike to their credit have stood by him and continued their funding citing Lance's un-wavering declaration of innocence as their reason. Kudos, however, to a company who gains little recognition for this act and continues to do the right thing.

I hope that in time people see that what he did, whether or not he cheated, was to try and do something good and used his influence to gain the attention of companies that people outside of the headlines could never have got.

Roy Woodhouse - Twitter

Friday, 24 August 2012

Rick Astley Vs Bill Hicks Vs Denis Leary

 The greatest grudge matches often go down in the annals of history and are the very thing that legends are made of...

 In the Bible we had Jesus vs The Devil and David vs Goliath, in later we had Harry Potter vs Voldemort and in life we have had Mohammed Ali fighting like a bee and stinging like a butterfly, or something like that, against Joe Frazier... but nothing stays in my mind quite like Rick Astley and Bill Hicks...

I included Denis Leary cause when mentioning people who pissed Hicks off it's very hard to not mention Leary's name... Bill once told an interviewer about Leary - "I have a scoop for you. I stole his act. I camouflaged it with punchlines, and to really throw people off, I did it before he did"  

The two were once close friends but plagiarism saw an end to that... After Hicks died it was refreshing to see that Denis could indeed survive without copying his work... it was clear some felt that he wasn't limited to Bill after Louis C K found there were some similarities between a routine of his and a hit song released by Leary.

That said plagiarism doesn't run at the core of this post... it is instead a different special guest who I will remember as the truest adversary of Hicks... a one Mr Rick Astley... Astley represented everything Hicks stood for... Bill loved pure rock, or music with soul as some would call it. Many of his routines focused on the decline of great bands like Led Zep and The Beatles and being replaced with people with thought were, for lack of a better phrase, talentless twats. Bill once said of Astley - 

  "Rick Astley? Have you seen this banal incubus at work? Boy, if this guy isn’t heralding Satan’s imminent approach to Earth, huh. “Don’t ever wanna make you cry, never wanna make you sigh … never gonna break your heart” … oh, I wouldn’t worry about that without a dick, buddy. You got a corn nut! You got a clit! You’re not even a guy! You’re an AIDS germ that got off a slide! They’re puttin’ music to AIDS germs, they’re puttin’ a drum machine behind them in a metronome beat"

However in 1993 Astley retired from performing 'music' in 1993, one year before Hicks passed, and there this story should have ended... but no... someone brought Astley back... He became an internet phenomenon in a 'harmless' prank known as Rickrolling where people would lead you astray to watch videos when unsuspectingly out of nowehere.. POW... the video cut to Astley singing "never going to make you ... blah blah fucking blah"... what were you thinking? Why this dire tripe? You should have let him be! After the 'success' of his Internet hits Astley decided the time was right to make a comeback...he is performing again...he is touring the world singing his filth like some bile filled prophet of bad music... and what does this serve? It only highlights even more how empty the world is without a man like Hicks... We have no one to protect us now, he has no opponent and Astley is free to run amok...

As Sgt Apone said in "Aliens" - "Somebody wake up Hicks"

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Breaking News: Governments to ban education

A recent hypothetical study by a group of hypothetical scientists has confirmed what Governments have feared for some time...


This discovery has sent shockwaves of panic through the Governments of the world... "Apparantely educated people feel they have a right to form and express an opinion when we fuck up - this is the one thing we don't want" said one politician. "How can we be truly corrupt and incompetant if people are there to criticise us?" said another.

But fear not, as the Governments of the world have come up with a solution... they will simply ban education and replace it with more soap operas on television and papers will be filled with subjective news that is pro-government in nature. We spoke to one politician who helped clarify the new move.

"I think education can be quite scary for people... I mean imagine thinking your leaders were imcompetant and without direction! That could be terrified and then you've got the stress or the politicians and government - I mean imagine feeling that you had to act in the peoples needs all the time and constantly worrying about recriminations for mistakes! By irradicating education we are simply removing simple stress from peoples everyday lives"

For anyone not versed in the satirical nature of this blog I would like to now clarify what the fuck I am ranting on about. Education is vital to the growth and development of our civilization. Everyone should be entitled to a free and exceptional education, but in our world this is not always the case. Aside from totalitarian states there are still other countries with shocking educations around the globe. I have lived in Brazil for the last 6 months and my eyes have opened to such a gross inequality that I could never have imagined before I arrived. The privalaged people who can afford to pay for a private education are graced with the knowledge they need to get a good job and really steam ahead, but the people forced by lack of money to enter the public/state system are being left behind. From several reports the teachers are paid a deirsory salary and sometimes don't even bother to turn up. They are forced to pass their students whether or not they could pass a test so that the schools can move them into society. I won't go into more details as this blog will turn into Wikepedia length essay... but safe to say even with my cynical nature I was surprised. Brazil is far from alone.

A fine example of this is my first language English. Brazil puts a heavy emphasis on speaking English and people who can find themselves in better jobs with better salaries and therefore can buy themselves better lives (that's capitalism baby). Lets look a receptionist in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They earn between 1000 - 2000 R$ a month before tax (just under $500 - $1000 a month at the time of writing this blog) and we will continue to work in Reais (R$) for the sake of this as it is all relative. Most English teachers charge around 60 - 100 R$ per hour for private lessons and school charge 250 - 350R$ per month for classes. This model is simply unsustainable and combined with costs of travel, living, food etc your average person on this wage cannot afford to study English and therefore stays at one level for most of their working life. Some universities charge 3000R$ a month for a degree! How the fuck are people meant to get out of poverty or base level jobs and become educated? Quite simply they aren't!

Therefore I feel a moral obligation to do what I can. When I return to England next month I intend to start a new blog and site the accompanies this one and delivers free English lessons both in text and video. Anyone wishing to help with either filming or lesson ideas will be greatly recieved - I do not want money.  I am a trained English teacher and I feel it is my duty as a human being to give as much as I can to people who cannot afford to buy themselves a better life.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Who is the real Che Guevara?

People often ask why this blog is called Citizen Wombat and indeed why a picture of a wombat's face has replaced that of a famous revolutionary in possibly one of the most iconic images of the 20th century...

Many moons ago I produced a twenty minute performance on Ernesto 'Che' Guevara... it was a one man show talking not about the man himself but indeed this image. The image itself was taken by a Cuban man called Alberto Korda who for the record never recieved a single penny in rights, not cause he was robbed, but because he didn't want to - he wanted the world to have a free image of a hero and little did he know what it would become...

So who was Mr Guevara - well the facts are these... he was a cigar smoking, asthmatic Argentine physician. He was an intellectual and scholar as well as a medical student and humanitarian... I have no doubt he was an asshole at times and equally a top bloke.. so with all this knowledge at our fingertips why did someone come and ask me why was I talking about the lead singer of Rage Against the Machine? Is this what our society has come to? That no-one knows who he was? He is a man now more popuraly refered to as 'Che' than his real name (because people don't know it)! Che in itself is slang in the south of Brasil and Argentina for 'friend' and, unlike someone once pointed out that he was called Che because he was a friend to the whole world, he was called this because he used it a lot in every sentence... and people were merely making fun of him. People have forgotten what he truly stood for and now I see this image egreciously replaced with everything from the monkey from "Planet of the Apes" to Ricky Gervais. Ernesto and Korda would turn in their graves.

When Guevara was executed by CIA-assisted forces in Bolivia America feared they had created a martyr... that this mans ideologies would spring up all over America and indeed the world... The image began to circulate the globe and quickly became associated not with Revolution, with Freedom or with Communism - but rather with teenage angst! This mans face has been on posters and t-shirts, wallets and badges of kids and teenagers who have not the slightest fucking idea who he is... I have several times to owners of these posters what they know about the man... and the bad answers have far outwayed the good... whoever killed him in 1968 merely took his body, but the slurge of tacky merchandise that followed has attempted to murder his beliefs and every single thing he stood for...

To every reader that has got this far in this post I welcome your comments. If you already know much of his politics or indeed are curious to learn more (I urge you to buy a book or use wikepedia for starters (it's free)) then I embrace you. When Hitler died the world rejoiced - not only cause a monster had fallen but because when he died people became interested not in his ideologies, but in who he was - in fact one of the best selling books on the 1950's was a Hitler inspired vegetarian cook book with all his favourite recipes... Thank God or Stephen Hawkings for this.... but we did the same to Che... a man who deserved to be heard.
So why a wombat? Apparantly in Austrailia they call a man who sleeps with a lot of women a wombat... simply because in the dictionary it says Wombat - eats roots and leaves. (roots in Australia being adapted as a verb for having sex). This is not my reason. It's simply because I find wombats funny. I sometimes ask if you were in Top Gun what would your call-sign be? I always say Wombat. I replaced the face to commomorate not the loss of the man, but of the loss of everything he was. When Mr Guevara died we changed him from a hope for freedom and expression into a trendy poster. May his beliefs and hopes rest in peace and one day may peace and love embrace world... and may the people who have murdered these ideals one day realise the crime they have commited and repent for their sins by reading and spreading ideals for a better world. Do not fight wars... fight oppression... Kill in-equality, not your brothers and sisters and please try and remember the people who stood up and fought for others freedoms.

I thank you all for reading.

Roy Woodhouse - Twitter

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A feminist speaks - Todd Akin

Words cannot describe the sudden wave of emotion that engulfed the world when Todd Akin, want to be senator for Missouri, gave his advice to female victims of rape.

Todd is one of the true feminists of our time and his words will only make his wife and mother more proud of him. Mr Akin was talking on the subject of anti-abortion... not something to be broached after dinner... when one  journalist asked him the age old question of "what happens in case of a rape?"

The wise move here is - if you have nothing good or productive to say - shut your fucking mouth... however unlike me, Mr Akin did have some advice for all to share... 

"Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, 
how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand 
from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that 
whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should 
be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

It is clear to see that Todd and his reputable and educated doctors clearly have an insight on the female body that has been eluding the rest of us for years... It's good that he has such an 'understanding' of what happens but he does state that it's in the case of a 'legitimate rape'. What the fuck is an 'illegitamate rape'? Does this imply that anyone becoming pregnant after rape vetoed the legitimacy of the rape? He does go on to say  " let’s assume that maybe that didn't work or something" which shows that even in this sagely advice he has room for making a little error... or indeed completely moronic statements that have no place in the modern world... 

The fallout from this led his own party to distance themselves from him and The President to call for his head (not literally as I feel some wish) and for him to stand down... If I may Mr Obama - may a give a piece of advice. I know I am not as good at advice as Mr Akin, but I like to try... I feel that the damage to his election chances may have already been done... I feel that a far more constructive idea would be to go and speak to some feminist groups without the aid of any security and he can see just how well a woman's body can shut down after hearing this advice.. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

I predict a Pussy Riot

Just a few days ago three members of the punk rock group Pussy Riot were jailed for two years on account of their ad-hoc performance in a church in Russia of a song that was anti-Putin in content and according to the courts blasphemous in nature...

People around the world cried out at the injustice that had been served.... the lack of free-speech that was 'now' found on the streets of Russia. I even read a quote that said with this movement Russia is moving closer towards the totalitarian states of China and North Korea.

This is alarming news, for Russia has long been known for it's Netherlands-like tolerance and freedom of speech. Putin himself has welcomed peoples open honesty about his rule and even in the past Trotsky lived a long and happy life until his accident with an ice pick in Mexico City after his loss to Stalin.

The news encouraged me to head to Youtube and  listen to the Pussy Riot girls themselves... and after hearing the dulcet tones I can honestly say I'm not sure what all the fuss is about partially motivated by the fact that I have no knowledge of Russian and the lyrics sounded a little shouty, all be it with a real Sham 69 and 70's British Punk feel. This experience prompted me to ask two questions...

1) Is this what Rage Against the Machine (a band I hold very dear to me) sounds like to people from Russia who don't speak English or indeed any non-English speakers? Also is it what all 'modern' music sounds like to my father when he complains that it's just noise?... Has anyone considered this could be Putin's problem? I know for one my father would love to put some of the bands I listen to in jail for crimes against his ears.

2) At what point did people become surprised that this would happen? That these people, who decided to speak out against a man who had been in control in one way or another for the last 13 years, would not walk away from this easily.

When the verdict was given there were strong resentment among the crowd outside leading to several arrests  outside the court including that of Gary Kasparov - the ex-world chess champion. It is clear chess will also no longer be tolerated. In other news Moscow's council has decided to uphold a ban on the streets of the city prevented Gay Pride marches for taking place for the next 100 years, so this will be something to look forward to in 2113.

From all I can see Russia is not acting like China or North Korea... it is merely acting like Russia. People who choose to speak out are usually punished and censored. The sentences were indeed harsh but for some in the religious community it apparantly seemed too lenient. Freedom of speech has always come at a price and the three girls from Pussy Riot paid dearly for doing what the felt was right. Martyrs are created every day but it is up to those of us left free to carry on their message. I feel the judges felt they had avoided martyrdom by giving a more 'lenient' sentence of 2 years than that of the maximum 7 years... but you could see from the girls bitter smiles they knew what they had become... 

If you live in Russia at the moment perhaps you should avoid setting up a band, or speaking out or apparantly even being proud to be gay... oh and playing chess... these four seem very big taboos at the moment... on the other hand... Freedom of Speech comes at a price... but it also buys you something...

Roy Woodhouse - Twitter

Monday, 13 August 2012

Anti-Social Media!

As is written in the title we live in a world where people like Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin hold more appeal for the public than the leader of Buddhism... I don't think I can actually articulate just how fucking disappointed this makes me! I don't know why I care... I don't even know why I'm surprised... but then to be fair Ricky did have some pretty catchy tunes in the early 90s and when was the last time the Dalai Lama got to number one...

Ok... so Bill Hicks would probably turn in his grave but apart from crimes against my ears Ricky Martin hasn't actually done that much wrong... he makes shit tunes and collects money, kudos to him on the grounds that he never really has to consider taking a bollocks sales job to make the ends meet! In fact Ricky is nigh on my hero compared to some people on Twitter... or twatters as they should be known as!

I happened to stumble across the supportive words of Kenneth Tong who took it upon himself to make quips at the expense of the tragedy of Gary Barlows stillborn child Poppy. I make bad jokes, some too close to the wire that even I wince... but never would I delve to this level... I try and leave a little bit of soul in my jokes... or integrity... take what you will...

Men down the pub on a saturday evening wouldn't make these jokes... and the justiification... he wants to create a re-action and get famous again... cause he can't live without the fame levels of a Big Brother season 74 celebrity! The ironic thing is by scribbling this blog I'm helping him... so why is there no campaign for people to stop following and his number of followers are now nearing 180k?...

I have a funny suspicion that if Hitler were alive today he wouldn't bother writing Mein Kampf, no fuck it he'd just tweet his bile or how about instead of an ice pick through the head Trotsky and Stalin might have a twitter row... this fantastic platform allows two things... people to write more mundane shit I don't want to know and also allow dickheads to get famous... (please follow me on twitter) - we live in a world where people write their number of followers on their CV to impress new employers...

If the trend keeps going then pretty sure Mr Tong will soon have more followers than the Dalai Lama... why does this depress me? Because if you have a soul it should... please if have the time... follow the Dalai Lama... or Ricky Martin... they have equally interesting messages...