'THE MEANING OF EXISTENCE (AND OTHER SHORT STORIES)' is available for purchase! Just follow the link for an on-line shopping experience that will surely blow your mind.  Upon request, Stuart will sign your copy, either with his name or that of somebody else selected by you.  The book was launched on 28 November 2011 at the Wheeler Centre and is now orbiting the third sun of Jupiter.   In doing so, it has become the first collection of short stories to reach a major cellestial body since Max Walker's 'How to Puzzle a Python' was smuggled on board the Soyuz TM-4 Mir Space Station by one of the cosmonauts.  Also, the first chapter of Stuart's upcoming novel 'GOODSIR' is available in a newly released anthology.  It can be downloaded for free from Amazon by using the following address: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Novel-Anthology-2012-ebook/dp/B009YNMPPW  Frankly, it would be cheap at half the price.

International Economics Explained: Greece is the word

Spare a thought for Greece. Sadly, it seems there’s a very real chance they may soon be tapped on the shoulder and politely asked to gather their things before exiting the Eurozone. It prompts the question, where are they supposed to go? There are plenty of zones out there, not all of them suitable for a sovereign nation. It’ll be no good if, after leaving the Eurozone, Greece enters the Twilight Zone. Worse still would be if they got stuck with professional beardo Kenny Loggins on his ‘Highway to the Dangerzone’. That’s about as appealing as the thought of a jump-suited Maverick man-spreading in the cockpit of an Air Force fighter jet, mumbling under his breath about ‘the need for speed’. Thanks but no thanks.

Heavy Metal and the Art of Happiness

It’s official: listening to heavy metal music makes you happy. Upon hearing the news I raced home and destroyed every album in the house by Angus and Julia Stone, Jack Johnson and every other surfing hippie that isn’t Jack Johnson but sounds exactly like him. I’ll admit that, for a moment, I felt fantastic. However, none of these albums were mine and their destruction – even if in the name of science – was somewhat controversial and so my sense of euphoria was short lived. Until now, I’d always thought the reason those guys in Metallica were so happy was because they’d just had a money fight in which they’d tossed wads of cash at each other, but it turns out it’s the music rather than the financial recompense that’s the cause of all this joy.

The Great Public Holiday Fiasco

This madness must end. Once upon a time, public holidays meant something. Now they’re being handed out with all the sense of occasion and grandeur as third prize in a pub-raffle. Why, just the other week, we were forced to sit at home to wait out another one of these time-wasters. Don’t get me wrong; I like Bohemian Rhapsody as much as the next person, but telling everyone they can take the day off work to commemorate it seems a trifle over the top.

Rebel Wilson Without A Cause

How dare you. Frankly, you should take all the money you’ve earned from those big Hollywood movies and buy yourself a large quantity of shame because it’s clear that you have none at present. Now that your lies have been exposed, I find myself questioning every truth I once held dear. Is the sky really blue? Are puppies truly adorable or is it just a ruse to mask an evil heart of darkness? Does Taylor Swift exist or was she invented by the Toshiba Corporation and originally given away in a box of cereal? I can’t believe in anything anymore. Thanks a lot Rebel Wilson.

Great Boy-Band Bust-Ups of History

All good things and the World Cup Cricket Tournament must, eventually, come to an end. In much the same way, it is inevitable that a pre-fabricated boy band must ultimately start to unravel with the speed of a homemade jumper. So it was that Craig bailed out on Bros, Robbie forsook Take That and now Zayn has decided to part company with One Direction. These things are never easy and almost always messy. And whilst news of Zayn’s departure apparently caused Twitter to pretty much soil itself, I can only say for myself that I greeted it with not so much a gnashing of teeth as a gentle shrug of the shoulders and a careless, ‘Meh’. Until, of course, I realised how it might impact my life for the better. That is, if I was quick enough.

Dogs Are the Best People

It was bound to happen eventually. Frankly, it’s amazing that I managed to last this long without someone putting the hard word on me. It’s not as though I’ve been avoiding the subject. More that circumstances have rendered the question if not wholly impractical then, at the very least, hardly worth considering. But now that we’re moving to a house that has a yard, it’s a question that demands an answer and can no longer be avoided. Put simply: what kind of dog would I like?

Why Democracy Should Be Served With Onions

Democracy was, for a time, quite a useful thing. But much like last year’s milk, it has gone seriously off and to catch the merest whiff is a startling affront to the senses. It pains me to say it, but democracy as we knew and loved it is ruined. I speak, of course, of the Victorian State election. In declaring that the democratic process has pretty much run its course, I’m not complaining about who beat who either on an individual or overall basis. Rather, I’m talking about something far more fundamental and important. It’s the very residue that binds communities together, the glue that is at the heart of our social cohesion. I speak, of course, of sausages.

A Nod and a Wink

Is it ever too late to reinvent yourself? Like week-old bread or the pair of unwashed socks that fall behind the back of the couch and are discovered only upon moving out, I have become stale. It’s time to jazz things up a little. By ‘jazz things up’ I don’t mean speaking in an odd time signature before undertaking a twelve-minute solo that sends people to sleep, growing a goatee whilst wearing a black skivvy or even donning a beret indoors, but some mild kind of metamorphosis that makes life a little more interesting. They options are many and varied. I could always try and alter my physical appearance; lose a little weight, perhaps even up the exercise quotient in the faint hope that my t-shirts will soon struggle to contain bulging muscles rather than wobble like a plate full of trifle. But all that sounds like a lot of effort. There must be a simpler option.

Deconstructing Degustation

When it comes to the culinary arts, I can put up with just about anything. I can tolerate ‘jus’ even though my heart longs to leap out through my chest and scream ‘pretentious!’. I can even put up with a wanton use of the term ‘reduction’. Heavens above, I can even turn a blind eye to things that have been ‘caramelized’ beyond recognition. When it comes to food, I can endure all sorts of chicanery. Anything, that is, except a dish that has been ‘deconstructed’.

Come Back Dexter, All Is Forgiven

Is nothing sacred? As it turns out, reality television is not the most reliable means by which to find the love of your life. Who’d have thunk that a process involving televised dates and horticultural beneficence might be anything other than failsafe? Let me frank (which, at this point, is a lot better than being Blake), I have never watched an episode of The Bachelor. As best I can tell, it’s an awkward mix of Survivor and team selection for the lunch hour cricket match in primary school. Even though the series ended with a marriage proposal, it was impossible not to suspect that, in fact, the whole thing would end in tears.

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