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"Brilliant" - Herald Sun
"Fantastically Clever" - Yawpmag.com.au
Thank you for your entry in the ‘Advance Australia Again’ competition to create a new Australian national anthem. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons we are not able to accept your entry. Thank you for taking the time to enter the competition.
Regards, Lily Braithwaite
Dear Mr Simms
In reqards to your query, the reason we were unable to accept your entry “Baron Vilnaus - Dragon Hunter” as a potential anthem were as follows:
The length of the song, at just over four hours, was outside our stated guidelines.
The content of the song, dealing mainly, as it did, with the struggles of a physically disabled 15th century knight battling evil dragons was insufficiently relevant to the stated aim of the anthem to “represent and unite the diverse history and peoples of Australia”
The sections of the song in the fictional troll language of ‘spurglish’ were largely unpronouncable.
The budget required for the animatronic dinosaurs to sing the second movement would have made the anthem prohibitive to implement at small scale events.
Thanks again for your interest.
Regards, Lily Braithwaite - Competition Administrator.
While we accept that a tale of one man’s quest to overcome being born without a torso and free his people from a race of demon lizards does have the potential to unite people in hope, your assertion that your story was ‘way better than anything that has ever happened in Australia anyway’ is unfair to the spirit of the competition. The addition of the verse in which Baron Vilnaus ‘kills the rainbow serpent and frees the aborigines’ was not sufficient to address the significant role that aboriginal people have played in the history of this country.
Please stop making submissions to the competition. It really was kind of you to change the hero of the song to a girl called Lily of Dandenong, and having her ride the rainbow serpent into battle against Captain Cook instead of killing it was a bit of an improvement, but my supervisor has insisted that I stop replying to these letters.
There really is nothing I can do at this point. We have had thousands of submissions and I don’t have time to keep replying. I’m sorry. Lily’s aria when she slays the Cane Toad king by glassing it with Bob Hawke’s yard glass was very touching, but I have to focus on the other submissions.
I’m replying to this in my lunch break. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how you managed to make each verse of the song in a different migrant language, and each chorus in a different aboriginal tongue. It’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The scene in which Shane Warne nurses the injured turk back to health at Gallipoli by feeding him Vegemite was … strangely beautiful. Unfortunately the competition has now closed.
All the best,
Sorry I haven’t heard from you for a while. Just thought I would let you know that the song ‘Spirit of Progress’ has been selected as the new national anthem. In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, it is a lifeless piece of shit with not nearly enough dragons.
Lily of Dandenong.
Thanks for your submission to the ‘History Notes’ competition to design the new 100 dollar bill for Australia. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons, your image ‘Lily of Dandenong rides the rainbow serpent’ could not be accepted.
Perhaps you would like to meet up to discuss possible improvements.
The Value of Nothing - how we got our assets handed to us in the latest financial crisis.
It is easy to identify the origins of the latest crisis. In retrospect it is clear that the seeds were sown when Gregory Southern went to work at the Standards and Poors Rating Agency. Gregory, a young economics graduate - he had come from a low socio economic background but had distinguished himself at school by working extremely hard and showing an uncanny gift for selling things that he had got for free at the highest possible price - seemed uniquely placed to discover the next big breakthrough in economics.
The breakthrough was a solution to what economists called the VTP or ‘very tough problem’, which is summarised as follows: Trickle down economics dictates that we must have continuous growth, however reality tells us that there are only so many resources in the world, which are rapidly being diminished. As such there are only so many things that can have a value placed on them. It has been calculated that the value of every physical resource on the planet adds up to about six thousand trillion dollars, and in the mid twenty teens global gross domestic product was rapidly approaching this upper limit.
Gregory Southern was responsible for delaying the effects of the VTP by developing a series of computer problems that allowed accurate pricing of less and less valuable resources that could then be bundled and resold as financial goods. He was the first man to accurately price that little round bit of brown stuff that you get in the end of an avocado. He put a price on broken shells, fingernail clippings, chips of paint. It didn’t matter that the prices were often microscopically small, just that they existed in sufficient quantities that the value could accumulate. Gregory Southern became a global celebrity with his catch phrase ‘everything is an asset’, and markets continued to swell with the help of his algorithms. Many, many people got very very rich.
And then things began to slow. The VTP had still not been solved. Again, people turned to Gregory Southern for a solution. And he was not found wanting.
Gregory had married shin model and first celebritween in space, Suri Cruise. They had a child who they called ‘Equity’. Apparently it was while he was watching the child play with its first calculator that he had the realisation - there are some things that you can’t put a price on, like the smile on the face of a newborn child. And the subsequent realisation - says who? A week of intense programming later, Gregory emerged with the solution to the Very Tough Problem, an algorithm that could tell you the monetary worth of anything, based on simple input data.
It turns out that the smile on the face of a newborn babe is worth $17 dollars. Finding one last tim tam in the packet ($3), having your indicator blink exactly in time with that of the person ahead of you at the lights ($0.50), opening a street atlas to exactly the right page on the first attempt without even looking at the index ($7.80). And once these things had a price, they could be bought and sold. Financial value was finally set free from the dead weight of physical existence.
Once he had run through all the universally accepted positive experiences, it became clear that the same process could be applied to other experiences - The vague feeling of confusion when you climb the stairs and there isn’t a step where you think there is and you sort of stumble surprisingly turned out to have a small positive value - $0.12. The slow realisation that the woman next to you on the tram was your year three english teacher was worth 2 cents.
Negative experiences had a corresponding negative value - they could be considered to represent a debt - for example, getting the belt loops on your pants caught on a door handle would set you back $5. Soon, groups of negative experiences could be bundled together and resold against future payback in a sophisticated system of derivatives.
(Interestingly - finding a dollar in the street is worth about 30 dollars and the horror of losing 10 dollars sets you back about 100. The knowledge that money is meaningless and true happiness can only be achieved when we free ourselves from its destructive influence was worth 50 dollars.)
The fact that a lot of these experiences weren’t actually transferrable had little effect on the enthusiasm with which the new financial products were embraced by a market starved of growth opportunities. Quickly, the markets expanded, blossomed, and bloomed. Babies’ smiles tripled in value overnight. A package of high quality smiles could get you a deposit on a house. Enough street atlas miracles and you could buy a car. Speculation was rife.
It couldn’t last. Soon enough cheap and cheerful babies smiles flooded in from China - despite the cries of local suppliers to tax the smiles of foreign babies to protect the local industry, the market collapsed. Quickly, babies smiles became almost worthless - from their peak they slumped to less than a dollar for one thousand. The equity in the smiles, which for months had been propping up stocks in “seeing a puppy try to go down stairs” disappeared overnight- there was a run on “the satisfaction of a good wee after a long bus ride” - the government tried to stop the rot by buying up options on “remembering that you don’t have to go to work tomorrow because it’s a long weekend”, but just when it seemed that disaster had been averted, investigators revealed that “the feeling that disaster had been averted” was being bundled by trading firms with toxic “finding a pube in your macaroon” debt and resold to their own subsidiary companies to create a false demand … and the intangible concepts market went into complete meltdown. The realisation that - good as it may be - finding a dollar in the street was ultimately only worth about a dollar - spelled the end.
Banks collapsed. Governments were toppled. Some people lost everything. Babies smiled worthless smiles. Lambs frolicked in long grass in a manner that was financially unviable. The insolvent sunrise shone cheaply onto bargain basement lovers lying on a junk bond beach.
New governments brought in regulation and bankers and brokers were brought to trial - the ones that everyone knew were to blame - not the investors themselves - who only got involved because they wanted to make a lot of money very quickly without having to do any work - nothing wrong with that - but the ones who sold the things were sent to trial and to prison and it was great. That was the greatest thing - watching the bastards swing. Gregory Southern has calculated it is worth $12,000. Demand is high.