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Wedded to the idea of marriage equality

Wedding MemeI THINK I’m broken. So many people are convinced that they’re essential, but I just don’t get weddings.

My mum’s advice? “Just elope. Whatever money we were going to give you for the wedding, spend it on the honeymoon. Actually, do whatever you want. By the time you finally get married, we’ll be lucky if we have any money left. Ha ha ha.”

A few of my friends have done their weddings well. A tent on the family farm, an uncle cooking a spit roast, serve yourself beer and wine, drive home or pitch a tent – it’s your choice – and the oldies get a bed in the house.

I wouldn’t even go that far. Yet most of my friends and family have gone completely out of control.

You know that round-the-world trip you’ve always dreamt about? That home deposit? Those kids you wanted to have in the next five years? Forget all that. Instead, why not blow all that money on extended family you rarely see, workmates you barely tolerate and friends you’ll hardly see again after the ceremony?

Then there’s the preparation. People stressing for months about making everything perfect.

It’s the weddings where things go wrong that are the most memorable. The band plays the wrong song for the bridal waltz, two family factions get into an ineffectual brawl, or the dessert never arrives. (Nobody ever eats dessert at a wedding so if you get out of paying for it, that’s actually a big win.)

Next there’s all that thought and effort that goes into making your wedding special. From countless options you need to select the flowers, invitations, suits, dresses, your spouse, napkin rings and on and on.

If you really want to make your wedding memorable, you need to get creative. Instead of formal, semi-formal or full-on formal, make it fancy dress. Everyone comes as their favourite cartoon character, something to do with the first letter of their name, or their own interpretation of a porn star robot from the future.

Better yet, tie the knot while skydiving, in a shark tank, or while on fire. Or fire the bride out of a cannon and into the groom. Nobody would forget that. Anything but walking down the aisle and just standing there.

For the reception, instead of holding your own with all that cost, why not just crash another party? Who’s going to knock back a newly married couple? Better yet, just arrive at a bowling alley, restaurant, or football game. The drinks and food would be cheaper and it wouldn’t matter if you wrecked the place.

Or how about we ban weddings entirely? Still have a party sure, but no ceremony and no more marriage. I support gay marriage and in Australia we’re moving so slowly on that one that I think we should take marriage away from everyone.

It’s that old schoolyard rule – if you don’t let everybody play, then nobody is allowed to play and I’m taking that ball and locking it in a cupboard. Not the closet, the cupboard.

There are obviously some legal issues with all this, but I’ll leave those to the legal people. I’m an ideas man, I can’t do everything.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-wedded-to-idea-of-marriage-equality/story-fnihsr9v-1226991421213?nk=e82d8ef708f0d3fdb5cd6f41292573e1

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

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You can’t call your baby “Ahmiracle” – it’s not a real name

Baby Meme northwestA SCHOOLTEACHER friend of mine had a student named Kylie. In an effort to be original, the parents had spelt it Kyleigh.

In an act of defiance, my friend made a point of spelling her name Kylie on the young girl’s report card.

At the parent-teacher evening, the girl’s parents walked up to my friend, shoved the report card in his face and said, “Look here! It says Kylie. That’s not how you spell our daughter’s name.”

He stared back at them and said, “I think you’ll find that it is.”

Misspelling your child’s name does not make them original, special or destined for greatness. All they become destined for is a life full of correcting people who try to spell their name the accepted way.

A person’s name is an arbitrary tag attached to them before anyone knows anything about them.

Perhaps in order to pick more appropriate names, a person’s 21st birthday should be celebrated with a “name day”, where a name is bestowed based on what sort of person they are.

It’d force people to lead a more productive childhood, for fear of ending up with a name like Idiot, Moron or Fabian.

A “different” name does not make a person special or different. Those are qualities earned through hard work and dedication, and it makes no difference if that person is named Mary, Seven or Rysk.

If you wish to invent a new name, there should be a board that adjudicates whether or not to put that name into the name dictionary.

If it’s a “no” then you need to pick another name. If you refuse, one will be chosen for you.

In Texas, a child was called “Messiah”. This went to court and the judge said “No. Your child is now called Martin. (Slams down gavel.) Done. Next.”

There should definitely be a lot more of this.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where these are all the official names of actual humans: Lucifer, Anal, V8, #16 Bus Shelter, Chardonnay, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, Ahmiracle, Shady, Younique, Burger, Thin & Taco BM Monster.

More popular than ever seem to be the names that are just regular words.

Celebrities seem to be mad for this. Recently we’ve had Apple, North West, Blue Ivy and Brooklyn.

That last one apparently came about because that’s where Posh and Becks conceived the kid. Even if that’s true, well that’s information you shouldn’t share with anyone ever.

It’s also horrifying to contemplate what would happen if that trend caught on. The world would be flooded with names such as Back Alley, Spare Bedroom and Disabled Toilet.

Apparently, Brisbane came close to being called Edinglassie. There’s speculation that came from an old Scots word or it was a combination of the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Either way people thought it was a shocker, which forced the authorities to pick another name and so it was named after the then governor of Sydney, Thomas Brisbane.

That’s a cracking idea. If someone chooses to give their child an awful name, we as a society could just decide we’re not using it.

“Sorry mate, that’s not a people name. Try again.”

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-some-parents-are-awful-with-names/story-fnihsr9v-1226960332052

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

 

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I feel bad, but I just don’t care about the FIFA World Cup. Here’s why…

World Cup Meme_3I FEEL terrible and I want to care, but when it comes to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, I just don’t.

It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, billions worldwide will be watching, and it only happens every four years. I know all this.

Still, I’d rather watch a replay of the Collingwood versus Carlton game from 1972.

Don’t bother looking it up, that’s not a particularly special game. It’s not a final, and I don’t even like either of those teams.

Other things I’d rather do include watching MasterChef after being told who’s won, selling child sponsorships on the street and watching a blank screen. Seriously.

During a final of the 2010 World Cup, my television stopped working, and while staring at the blank screen and contemplating what pizza I was going order for home delivery, I realised I was enjoying myself more than watching the actual game.World Cup Meme_4

It’s not that I haven’t had a go. Last World Cup I actually set my alarm, woke up at stupid o’clock, went around to a friend’s house and tried to watch one of Australia’s games in a room full of rowdy and drunk soccer fans. I fell asleep.

In 2006 my Dad and I watched most of the games. For seldom longer than five minutes, before changing the channel to reruns of M*A*S*H.

So many people I know are so very excited about the World Cup, and I understand why. Every moment on the morning and nightly news, I’m being told that the whole world is very excited and it’s all very exciting.

It seems that with soccer, all the excitement comes in the form of anticipation, and nobody seems that bothered about the actual games. Because they’re not at all exciting.

Worst of all, I really want to be excited. I was picked on for years at high school, so I know what it feels like to be on the outer, but I just can’t stand it.

Far less than not caring, I actively dislike soccer. I think it’s after so many round ball disappointments, I’ve developed some sort of programmed response, so whenever I hear ‘World Cup’ I just feel repulsed.

Phrases with the same effect on me include: ‘Lara Bingle’, ‘we’re out of fried chicken’, ‘insufficient funds’, ‘no more drinks’ and ‘Ben Affleck will be the next Batman’.

Also, don’t forget that FIFA is a corrupt organisation, full of self-important wankers.

‘No, we did not take any bribes,’ the FIFA officials told the world, and promptly awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Then got into their brand new gold-plated cars, to drive off to their diamond encrusted castles in the sky, where they whiled away the afternoon throwing sapphire sticks for their ruby dogs.

World Cup Meme_1Then there is just so much to dislike about the game itself.

I mean, use your hands. Opposable thumbs were one of the main reasons we evolved into humans, along with our brains, so how can a game be called skilful and beautiful if the players refuse to use either?

I’ve been reared on AFL and NRL. Where blokes routinely get their heads knocked off, only to calmly put them back on and continue.

Okay maybe not, but players are often concussed, and refuse to leave the field. They break bones and wreck knees, then limp to the bench. While soccer players are hit in the cheek by a particularly strong breeze, and fall to the ground like they’ve been shot. With an elephant gun.

World Cup play is often extremely defensive, as everyone is terrified of losing, thus rendering it even more unwatchable.

f I wanted to witness a bunch of overpaid airheads obsessed with themselves nonchalantly kicking around a ball for 90 minutes, I’d give the Real Housewives of Melbourne a tennis ball, and tell them there was a diamond inside.

Also, it’s the referee who decides when the game ends using his wristwatch. Yep. The biggest sporting event in the world, and nobody can afford to pay a separate timekeeper.

One thing I dislike even more than soccer are people who complain about something without offering a solution.

So here’s how to make the World Cup more watchable: get rid of the offside rule, allow tackling with arms, and let everyone use their hands. Done.

Okay, now to fix the Winter Olympics. Tip one: make every event ice hockey and replace the puck with Joe Hockey.

This article first appeared on news.com.au:

http://www.news.com.au/sport/football/fifa-world-cup-2014-in-brazil-is-very-exciting-for-many-but-not-for-this-grumpy-australian/story-fndkzvnd-1226952572498

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

Performing in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club Tue June 17 & Wed June 18 at 8pm.

http://www.thebutterflyclub.com/show/xavier-toby-mining-my-own-business

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

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Poor, unemployed? It’s time to hit the panic button

Panic Button Meme_3As a society, should be ignoring the plight of the poor? If so, then this budget is for you.

If you don’t, you need to do everything you can to stop it going through.

If you are poor, hit the panic button.

If you can’t find a panic button to hit, since it’s just a throwaway expression with no real world application, then just plain panic should suffice.

I don’t believe in throwing endless amounts of money at the needy, and I think working for the dole is a concept worth putting into action. As long as those involved still have time to search for work, why shouldn’t they be working for their benefits, the way the rest of us work for a wage?

What I also believe is that every person in Australia deserves an opportunity to succeed, and it’s up to them whether or not they take it – the same as every person who goes to the football has the right to view a decent game. It’s just a pity that some of them get a cold pie, and support Richmond.

I’m nowhere near as interested in politics as I am in football. Colin Sylvia has been picked to play for Fremantle this week, and that’s way more interesting to me than the government’s proposal to take welfare payments away from unemployed people under 30 for six months of each year.Panic Button Meme_1

Some of those under 30 might be able to move home, or are already there. Others will have an extra incentive to find work, which might be the push that they need.

But many won’t find a job, or have a place to stay, and without the benefits, they’ll be forced onto the street.

These are the most vulnerable people in society.

And here I was thinking that society was meant to look after its most vulnerable.

Hubert Humphrey - What a champ!

Hubert Humphrey – What a champ!

American Politician Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

I’ve been to the US, and they provide far less benefits to their poor, and as a result have a lot more poor people.

The last time I was there, I was asked for money far more often, and instead of cash, I often offered food. Which was always accepted. In Australia, not so much.

When someone asks me for money at home, I know that it’s highly likely that they’ll use the money for drugs.

So the real question here is, what sort of society do you want to live in? One that looks after the downtrodden? Or one that walks all over them?

I’ve been lucky enough to have never needed to apply for benefits.

If I need a job, I go and get one, and if I haven’t got anywhere to live, I’ll live with my parents.

However, just because I was handed a winning ticket in the birth lottery, I don’t think that gives me the right to penalise people who weren’t.

Panic Button Meme_2There are so many reasons why someone ends up unemployed and is unable to find work for a long period, and very rarely is it a happy story.

Just because there are a few bludgers that take advantage of the system, that doesn’t mean everyone who is struggling should suffer even more.

What I’m not suggesting is that we just throw money at the disadvantaged. There has to be a limit, and where society draws that line on who to help and by how much is one of the biggest challenges for any society.Panic Button Confucius

Confucius said, “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”

Right now, with this budget, a lot of the proposed money-saving measures will never affect me, but I still feel ashamed that they’ve even been suggested.

This article first appeared on WA Today:
Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/poor-unemployed-its-time-to-hit-the-panic-button-20140613-zs6xj.html#ixzz34a79tw78

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

Performing in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club Tue June 17 & Wed June 18 at 8pm.

http://www.thebutterflyclub.com/show/xavier-toby-mining-my-own-business

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

 

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Education should be available to all not just the wealthy

Budget Uni Image_1SHOULD university be for smart people or rich people?

If the changes proposed by the Federal Government as part of the 2014 Budget go through, that decision will have been made for all of us. It will only be rich people – just like wearing your collar up, grand final tickets with a decent view, any dog that’s crossed with a poodle, owning a property outright, drinking French champagne and dating Lara Bingle.

Now I’m happy to let the wealthy pick up the poop of their hypo-allergenic dogs, wear salmon pink polo shirts with starched up collars and pretend to know the difference between cheap bubbly and expensive champagne. However, I’m not at all comfortable with the winners of the birth lottery getting increased access to higher education.

The Government wants to cut the amount they give to universities, deregulate course costs and charge higher interest rates on student loans. Evidence, logic and even Clive Palmer are all screaming that this is a horrible idea.

Liberals are claiming that prices may drop under this system. ThBudget Uni Image_5at’s rubbish. How do you cut funding to something and expect that same thing to be cheaper?

If you go to the supermarket and pay less for bananas, you’re going to end up with fewer or poorer-quality bananas and I don’t want either of those things. I live on bananas, and beer.

What will happen is that the more expensive courses will only be for those who can afford them.

Admittance used to be based on merit, not on cash. So instead of having the most-intelligent young people studying the most-expensive courses, we’ll have the wealthiest. Which is terrifying.

Who do you want building your bridges? The person who understands maths and complex design principles? Or the bloke in the salmon pink shirt?

Or, in court, do Budget Uni Image_4you want a lawyer who scored top marks and knows the legal system back to front? Or one who goes to the top tailor and only knows the wine list back to front?

Do you want the best surgeon, or the surgeon who has the best jewellery?

Once upon a time, back before beards were a fashion statement, when tattoos were only for criminals and sailors, and cardigans weren’t available second-hand, university used to be free for everyone.

Since then, the university system in Australia has become increasingly unfair, with dedicated places for full fee paying students, the erosion of student unions and increasing course costs.Budget Uni Image_3

Under the latest proposed system, even if one of the less wealthy manage to sneak in, they’ll be lumbered with so much debt they’ll be dead before they manage to pay it off and it’d be several lifetimes before they can even contemplate a home, a spoodle or asking Lara Bingle out for a champagne.

One core Australian value used to be a fair go for all. That if you work hard, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’re just as likely to succeed.

In modern-day Australia, that value is very quickly becoming a myth.

This article first appeared on The Brisbane Courier Mail:

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-education-should-be-available-to-all-not-just-the-wealthy/story-fnihsr9v-1226951111110

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

Performing in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club Tue June 17 & Wed June 18 at 8pm.

http://www.thebutterflyclub.com/show/xavier-toby-mining-my-own-business

His debut non-fiction book, ‘Mining My Own Business’ is available now.

http://uwap.uwa.edu.au/books-and-authors/book/mining-my-own-business/

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