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WOOF, Australia’s peak body for domesticated dogs, today demanded an apology from humans everywhere for decades of leaving half-empty water bottles on lawns.
Dubbing the move cruel and unusual, Doctor Canine Rex, spokesdog for WOOF, said it was about time humans apologised for their long-held practice of preventing dogs from relieving themselves on lawns.
Doctor Rex claimed many of its members remained traumatized over the sight of water bottles taunting them on their morning walks and forcing many to hold on in agony before they could relieve themselves on home soil.
“Humans have long policed dog’s bodies with leads, tags and Star Wars cosplay uniforms,” said Rex. “Attempting to police our very bowel movements with plastic instruments of terror is going too far.
“Seeing one’s reflection glinting back at oneself during mid-poo is enough to put anyone off their ablutions.
“Even those who overcome their terror end up leaving strange faeces. Where do you think all that weird white poo comes from?”
While many homeowners have long since given up the practice, there still remains a stubborn segment of the population that leaves half-empty 1.2 litre bottles of soft drink and mineral water on their lawns in what Rex calls a “retrograde act of anti-canine prejudice”.
“It’s 2018,” he barked. “Surely we’re past this by now.”
Critics claim that the practice is essentially an old wives’ tale and that only the meekest of dogs would be put off over such superstition.
However, Rex says such comments stigmatise dogs and play into notions of “bow-wow body shaming”.
“Now pat me and tell me what a good boy I am,” said Rex.
In related news, the nation’s peak feline body, CATS, also demanded an apology, claiming those same bottles had prevented many of its members from spraying foul-smelling piss everywhere.

Pictured above … a dog that still remembers the half-empty VB you left on your lawn.

My new military thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook or paperback.

In the event China went to war with the United States, the Chinese military had prepared a list of American targets it called “the irreplaceables”. These “irreplaceables” were the best of the best of their enemy: brilliant men and women whose genius-level talent and brainpower could potentially sway any conflict.

Sourced from all races, colors and creeds, “the irreplaceables” had the ability to win battles, create entire industries from scratch, plan trillion-dollar economies, out-think the world’s smartest people, imagine the future and forge the technology and circumstances to bring a country there.

They were once-in-a-generation types, the flukes of nature that sprang up at random, the prodigies that even China – with its own gene pool of 1 billion-plus very smart, very hard-working people – feared. They were the Isaac Newtons of their eras, the Einsteins, the Marie Curies. They were threats to China’s future hegemony.

Their skills and abilities were so impressive that they would be impossible to replace: hence the name.

America would bleed if the irreplaceables bled.

The leader had seen some of the names of the irreplaceables.

Now he decided to act against them.

Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

Forget about season eight of Game of Thrones.
The real battle in Sydney featuring majestic flying creatures is the Game Of Bins.
And the players? The legendary “bin chickens” you see every day: on uni campuses, in public parks, on the streets of our fair city.
Only one ibis will ultimately sit on the Iron Bin.
As the Battle of the Bin Chickens heats up, we take a look at the front-running ibises that just might one day perch on the Iron Bin.
Which noble house will you support?

Lord Eddard Aark
– Stupid but honourable
– Favoured among Arts students
– On the rugby union team
– Notorious for “dad jokes”

Jon Crow
– Constantly surrounded by the hottest women on campus
– Super brave: will eat a hot chip right out of your hand
– Always watching from on top of a wall
– Went to a public school and slightly ashamed of the fact

Cersei Bannister
– Hits the “bin juice” pretty hard
– Coined the phrase “you bin or you die”
– Surrounded on all uni quads by enemies
– Her inexplicably hot brother is always hanging around

Prancer Aark
– Used to be besties with Cersei until they had a fight over a necklace
– Will have those lemon cakes or cheeky Nando’s you’re eating if you’re finished with them, ta
– Member of House Jacaranda, eternal enemy of House Flametree

Daenerys Faarkgaryen
– Queen of the Law students
– Strong sense of entitlement because she grew up on the North Shore
– First boyfriend was a “westie”
– Untrustworthy around a Webber

Littlebeak
– Creepy mature-age student who always sits up the back during lectures
– Studies economics or engineering: his answers are always cryptic
– Always running for Students’ Representative Council but never elected
– Hasn’t moved for a while

Gendry Barhoppean
– On the rowing team
– Says his dad used to be a “king” or an investment banker: “same thing”
– Never around when it’s his time to buy a round

Tyrion Bannister
– Rich dad
– The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him
– Fellow “bin juice” connoisseur
– Who you really want to sit on the Iron Bin but won’t because reasons

My new thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

Designed in new, non-phallic shapes

A quieter crunch to reduce the social awkwardness of loudly crunching in public

“Lady Doritos” polled better with groups that “Suffragettos”

Optional “sparkly unicorn” packaging

Doubles as a body scrub and exfoliant

Introduces identity politics into chips

Comes in pink

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ran their ruler over it and could see nothing wrong with the concept

“This is the best marketing decision since New Coke”

Will probably cost more than “Gentlemen Doritos”

My new thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

No one throws a sub-editor through a window, either … even when they take a red pencil to the very first line of an earth-shattering exposé

No one screams across the newsroom: “Do you have the Dalai Llama’s phone number? Or the Pope’s?”

There is no real estate lift-out featured with the headline “why it’s never been a better time to buy”

No one is asked to file 1000 words for page one and 500 “for the website”

No one is stabbed with a newspaper spike

It is journalistic tradition to ring a giant bell when you finish a story

There is no furious debate over whether to drop the Marmaduke, Hagar The Horrible or Cathy cartoons to make more room for bigger stories

Hot type and Xerox machines became obsolete in journalism at least a year ago

There is way too little smoking in the office

No one is pictured wearing a hat with a “press” card stuck in the brim

No intern is forced to do a Starbucks run for pumpkin lattes

Journalists never succumb to random monologuing

There are no car chases or action montages

Tom Hanks makes editors seem “dangerously likeable”

Bob Odenkirk is pictured using something called a “pay phone”

No one rolls up their sleeves to reveal a tattoo in an edgy German newspaper font

No one sits around trying to make puns out of the names of Thai restaurants

The latest “superfood” goes sadly unreported

In one scene, you can clearly see that someone has managed to solve the daily Sudoku

The Pentagon Papers are unveiled through cloak-and-dagger journalism rather than being discovered in a cabinet in a second-hand shop

My new thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

The concept
In the future, the human consciousness can be digitised and downloaded into new bodies – or “sleeves”.
In the future, the rich – also known as “Meths”, short for Methuselahs – can technically live forever.
In the future, morality is for the powerless and the poor.

The story

Former military officer Takeshi Kovacs is retrieved from the “stacks”, given a new body and a new assignment – to find out who killed “Meth” Laurens Bancroft.

The world
It’s cyberpunk meets detective story meets Blade Runner … but with an even darker premise.
The Singularity never happened. But AI, off-world colonisation and societies massively divided by wealth did.
The only victory the poor used to have was that the rich died along with them. Now they’ve had even that consolation taken away from them.
Death has been conquered.
But not sin.

The visuals
Primo small-screen eye candy.
“Damned if it isn’t the best-looking series Netflix has yet produced,” wrote The AV Club.

The gun show
Primo high-tech bang bang.

The source material
I’d never heard of Altered Carbon author Richard Morgan before this, but I am now bona fide HOOKED.
A staggering achievement for a first novel, Altered Carbon won a slew of prize including the Philip K. Dick award.
Read it NOW.
Actually, read it after you’ve seen the series.

The critics
“Ambitious, dense and thrilling, Netflix’s new sci-fi epic starring Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy and Martha Higareda is a binge-worthy potential blockbuster,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter.

The actors
Did we mention James “Rome” Purefoy, Joel “RoboCop” Kinnaman and Martha “El Mariarchi” Higareda?

The binge factor
Because you’ve already watching Game Of Thrones, The Sopranos, Westworld, The Wire and everything else and you’re looking for a new series.

The satisfaction
This will go some way to filling that sci-fi-shaped hole in your heart left by the disappointment of the Blade Runner sequel.

My military thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a spy?
The Australian Secret Intelligence Service is looking for a few good men and women.
Confidently dubbed “The Most Interesting Job Interview”, its online quiz will ask you a series of questions about the qualities needed to become an ASIS operative.
We reckon the interview needs a few tweaks. Here’s the questions they should be asking.

Being an intelligence officer is an exciting profession that requires a very specific skill set. What do you think the phrase “very specific skill set” means?

a) I’m good at recognising faces in a crowd
b) I can repeat overheard conversations verbatim
c) I’m a good communicator
d) I’m like Liam Neeson’s character from Taken

Did you really think we were referring to Liam Neeson’s character from Taken?

a) Yes
b) No
c) “If you let my daughter go now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.”

There was a clock on the wall when you came in. Did you see what time it was?

a) Noon
b) Zero Dark Thirty
c) Quitting Time
d) That was a trick question. In the age of the iPhone, no one uses clocks any more

As an intelligence officer most of your assignments will take place in the airport. Do you find that knowledge depressing?

a) Yes
b) No
c) Yes

We need you to persuade this flight attendant to give you an aisle seat. How will you do it?

a) Tell her you work for ASIS
b) Talk to her and read her facial reactions until she smiles at you, suggesting sympathy to your plight. Then ask her
c) Beg
d) Throw a hissy fit and threaten to put your tantrum online so it will go viral and shame the company

Now we’re on the plane. Please try to spot the terrorist on the plane. Is it?

a) Tom
b) Dick
c) Harry
d) The only person on the plane not hunched down over a smartphone. Clearly they’re an oddball

ISIS officers are good at noticing small details. Did you recognise which flight was cancelled back at the airport?

a) New York
b) London
c) Canberra
d) Bali. Totally gutted

In intelligence, it’s important to have sharp ears as well as sharp eyes. Listen to this crowded conversation and tell us what the woman on the left ordered.

a) It was too difficult to follow
b) She had linguine on Bourke Street
c) She had penne arrabiata on the Death Star
d) No need. I’ll just read her Yelp review

Can you do us a quick impression of Sean Connery as James Bond?

a) No
b) No
c) “Morning, Mish Moneypenny.”
Results
We can’t actually tell you which answers you got right or wrong (except for when you answered D – that was always right). But our overall results suggest that being a spy might be right for you. Now if you can just figure out where to send your application …

My new thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and a paperback.

Ever since the publication of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People in 1936, the business community has been obsessed with books whose olde-worlde wisdom could allegedly be used in real-life situations.
Everything from Machiavelli’s The Prince to Sun Tzu’s Art Of War, the Tao Te Ching and even the Bible have been examined ad nauseum in the belief that it would give today’s business leaders some vague edge over the competition.
And yet, perhaps for a few faint gems of wisdom (“all warfare is based on deception”) these books have had little practical wisdom to offer  a 21st-century full of office workers rather than, say, rival Chinese warlords.
With this in mind, Mark Corrigan’s first book, Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs, can best be described as “brave”.
The first warning that Corrigan’s tome might be problematic was the fact that the publisher – who we had never heard of, and whom none of our colleagues in the publishing industry had heard of, either – spelt Mark’s surname wrong on the cover (along with the word “Pharaohs”).
Nor was it a good sign that this review copy was left in the private bathroom of our main reviewer, with a note asking if we would kindly look at this “promising author’s new wrok”.
After such an inauspicious beginning, it is perhaps not surprising that Corrigan himself doubts the power of his own words, seemingly naysaying the whole enterprise with a self-negating quote on the inside front cover.
“The first thing is to acknowledge that the ancient Egyptian era is so completely different from our own that any cultural, political and business parallels that we draw between the two eras are, by their nature, almost bound to be wrong,” he writes.
Full marks, at least, for Mark’s honesty.
Sadly, Mark lacks the confidence of other blaggers in the business self-help industry, continuing to shoot down each argument with some self-effacing, hopelessly middle-class British remark.
It’s almost as if he doesn’t believe in his heart that there really are any cultural, political and business parallels to be drawn between an agrarian civilisation ruled by godkings and a modern Britain governed by EU rules.
How else to explain his assertion that Egyptian hieroglyphics are an “ancient form of emoji?” Or that business managers should be worshipped as a type of living god?
The comparison between the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Millennium Dome in the chapter entitled “Build Something Really Big To Awe The Proletariat” can only be regarded as tongue firmly in cheek.
We sense a kind of envy in Mark at the autocratic power of the pharaohs. They knew how to “get things done”, unshackled by “Brussels bureaucracy”. Certainly, there would have been no Brexit under Ramesses I. Or unions. (He also makes unflattering comparisons with the British Government and Rommel.)
The fact that the last third of the book is written in all caps – and by all indications, in some sort of frenzied state, as if chasing some self-imposed deadline – further removes any enjoyment for the reader. (One sentence is interrupted by the comment “get out of the room and leave me alone, Jez”. Was that some flawed reference to Sedge and Bee, the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt?).
We can’t also escape the impression that the book consists entirely of cheap-quality printouts.
Business Secrets Of The Pharaohs would have benefitted from a better editor – or, indeed, sign of any type of editor.
Still, despite everything, we detect a sliver of potential in Mark Corrigan’s work.

My military thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is out now as an ebook and paperback.

Set the wayback machine, Sherman, to 2006, when rising director and now Star Wars imagineer Rian Johnson dropped the compelling high school noir drama known as Brick.

I recommend you check it out. Oh, and also check out my interview with him in those heady pre-Star Wars days here.

Would be awesome too if you checked out my new thriller Game Of Killers, now available as an ebook and paperback.

 

 

Dear Premier,
How are you? Are you well? Good to hear!
I’d writing to suggest an amendment to the Companion Animals Act 1988 that prevents me from bringing my jaguar Terrence to my local pub. I feel that Australia is behind the rest of the world for not allowing Terrence and his man-skull-crushing jaws into public life.
If dogs and other companion animals are allowed into pubs and clubs – a move that is also long overdue – surely my bloodthirsty stalk-and-ambush predator that lives at the very top of the food chain should be allowed to accompany me out at night, sans leash.
He’s already a feline rock star with the public. You can just imagine their delight (and, yes, horrified surprise) when they spot Terrence lurking in the fake rainforest settings in RSLs near the pokies. Sadly, police have been called on three separate occasions to enforce the draconian Companion Animals Act. I myself have been Tasered twice (once in the buttocks – no, that is not funny).
I know of at least two countries that already allow citizens to take wolverines, honey badgers and African lions  into public eateries. So far the casualties have been in the low double digits … but the amount of joy delivered is unmeasurable.
I know Terrence suffers from my absence during the day – apart from the times he escapes through the screen door and leaves the bodies of unidentified small animals up the backyard tree – and would welcome the chance to accompany me in public.
I can’t necessarily claim that my jaguar is technically an “assistance” animal by the strict letter of the law. However, when people see Terrence out in public I find him of invaluable assistance when jumping ahead of queues/finding suddenly empty tables at fast-food venues/scoring parking spaces hastily vacated by drivers.
Jaguars and other deadly cats are a valued part of our community and enhance our lives in myriad, possibly unquantifiable ways.
Surely the next move once dogs are inevitably admitted into pubs and clubs is to broaden the range of permitted animals.
As mentioned before, wolverines – pound for pound, the most aggressive animal in the world, but quite sweet once you get to know them – are already roaming the boulevards and buffet lines of the finest eateries of the far east.
Now it is time to allow other creatures such as komodo dragons, wolves, poison dart frogs, deathstalker scorpions, birds of prey and other beloved companions into the moribund city scene, already suffering due to the Lock Out laws.
I know Terrence has no objection to other non-apex creatures such as handbag dogs and toy poodles in his vicinity – why, he lets out a low, friendly and in-no-way sinister growl when he sees them! He’s so friendly he practically salivates!
I for one would be delighted to see someone with a killer python around their neck (making new friends, ha ha) at pub trivia. Or a pokie patron “tussling” with a Kodiak bear. Fun!
And yes, I am a responsible pet owner. I always clean up after Terrence. I carry a variety of black bags of several shapes and sizes for storing Terrence’s remains (scat, antelope, dead hobo parts).
While we are talking, dear Premier, I would also like to see an “off-the-leash jaguar park” for the inner city. Our last experience at an “off-the-leash” dog park was problematic to say the least, owing to the hurtful comments of the dog owners – far more hurtful, in my mind, than Terrence’s own alleged “rampage” (currently before the courts).
So yes, Mrs Premier (or do you prefer Miss?), once we change the Companion Animals Act 1988 to accommodate dogs in pubs and cafes, it would be great if we could just go a little further and let my pet jaguar Terrence in, too. He can’t wait to join the party … he’s a party animal!

Lots of love,
Terrence’s owner

My new thriller Game Of Killers: The Spartan is now available as an ebook and paperback