Saint Shenanigans


I was born a Protestant. I will more than likely die one, too. Intense excavation into family history has shown me that my genes are Protestant for at least 8 generations on both sides. Baptised and confirmed a Lutheran, I was taught a thing or two about the most successful (not the first) split from the Catholic Church by Martin Luther.

During public school mandated “religious education”, I was taught by the local Catholic Priest. He seemed nice enough; kindly taking us through the New Testament book Romans. It took many years for me to realise that this was an attempt at turning me from my heretic ways to the true canon. If I recall, he didn’t even use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Yes, Peter and Paul: the fathers of the catholic church.

After travelling to Europe in 1997 and 2004, I saw enough Saints’ relics: shrunken heads, fingers, toenails and shrouds to last me a lifetime. Large cathedrals raised in the name of the Virgin or some Saint across the cities of Europe show the folly of man, attempting to reach for terrestrial god status. The veneration of Saints and other popery not only rubs me the wrong way: I am sure my ancestors turn in their collective graves.

So as Mary MacKillop has moved through the man-made process of canonisation within the Catholic Church, my genes quiver.

We hear that the church wants old and young to travel to Rome to witness the canonisation ceremony. That will fill the coffers of the Romans.

I also heard many discussions on the “brand” of Mary MacKillop being valuable. Like a product. Even our ABC both on radio and TV seems to have caught the “Mary MacKillop” fever. So much for editorial independence.

And that is exactly what this canonisation is about. Money. Never get in the way of a large corporation and money.

Luckily the Catholics re-admitted her to the church. Otherwise they would have missed out on their cash.

This tradition and hunger for money is not new. Sainthood and pilgrimages have created many a city in the world as supplicant masses crawl on their knees to assuage their mortal sins. Paying money for Indulgences, as done in the Middle Ages, and more recently with special visits to random virgin sightings.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not anti-personal faith.

But please separate Mammon from Mary. She was, and I highlight was, just a notable Australian woman who did more for the downtrodden than any group of Cardinals, Abbotts or Bishops ever did. And I would argue, ever will.

Dear Norris Carter, Pierric Beckert



Dear Norris Carter (General Manager, Loyalty Programs, Qantas) and Pierric Beckert (Managing Director, American Express)

Note with interest that you have sent me a fake/promotional credit card in the mail. Obviously as a direct mail campaign to attempt to get me to use your products: Qantas and AMEX respectively.

How many trees did you kill to send this piece of direct mail out? Not to say the environmental damage in the plastics in the fake card.

Yes, I have said it is OK to send me direct mail when I signed up for AMEX some years ago – but recalling having said “no more direct mail” with either of your organisations in the recent 2 years. (see previous post on this matter)

I am expecting someone to call me at home, on my unlisted phone number, between the hours of 6pm and 8pm sometime during the week commencing 1st May telling me the additional benefits of the card and why I should spend AU$395 for an AU$100,000 (subject to credit approval criteria). I will politely point them to this blog post.

Again I repeat: I use your products often. But now you are just pestering me for no reason. Your databases will show I have been “sold up” or “cross sold” to exactly zero AMEX products. Zero. I am now costing you more than you make from me.

Time to move on in your marketing campaigns, guys. Direct mail is old school.


20th Century Charging kills 21st Communication

Twitter to/from SMS suspended for Australia:

I’m with Leslie: the mobile phone networks in Australia suk0Rz. Big time. The devices are like bricks in pretty colours and think the world revolves around some backend that locks you in via your goolies.

There is all this talk about open source software, open source protocols, open source content, open source file formats – yet we have no alternative and freedom in the airwaves. Ham radio isn’t going to cut it.

TCP/IP is going to be everywhere one day. It isn’t going to matter what device you have. You’ll be online streaming up and down “stuff”

Oh well, thanks to Twitteresce, It’s not so bad. (ooh, 0.6. Time to upgrade)


Dear American Express Marketing

I use your products daily. A Corporate Charge Card, a personal Gold Card and your travel services are excellent. I pay my bills on time, and use the online services to reduce the load on your call centre staff. Where I have called your staff, they’ve been helpful and solved my problem.

The online services help me correctly calculate the forex charges, and the ability to use my Amex points as Qantas Frequent Flyer is good too.

But for the love of god, please stop sending me junk mail attempting to sell me another “financial product”. And please stop calling me, on my unlisted phone number, attempting to cross sell me a product from this junk mail your latest tie-in. “I’d like to ensure you understand the information we’ve just sent you.”. Guess what. I chucked it out before reading it. Have been for 5 years.

And those people at shopping malls and airports who are pushing your credit card (For the 20th time, I do know the difference) on me is starting to tarnish your name. In fact, because of this pushiness, I refuse: repeat refuse to ever own one. Sometimes backing off might actually sell more.