Monday, August 28, 2006

Floor Show Enjoyed

It was biffo between bouncers and bikies in a typical night out on the Gold Coast. Onlookers were impressed:

"It was mad, there was blood everywhere. It was one of the best fights I have ever seen."
The kind of thing that makes the Coast such a top drawer tourist attraction.

-- Nick

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Savage Nobles

Journalists report history:

Aztecs butchered and ate captured invaders

SKELETONS found at an unearthed site in Mexico show Aztecs captured, ritually sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people travelling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.
because, well, its news to them.

Experts try to reframe history:

... say the discovery proves some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors led by explorer Hernan Cortes, even though history books say most welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning Aztec gods.

“This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest,” said archeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.

“It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight.”
despite the history of there being one hell of a fight being very well known indeed:

Despite some early battles between the two, CortĂ©s allied himself with the Aztecs’ long-time enemy, the confederacy of Tlaxcallan, and arrived at the gates of Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519, guests of the Aztecs.

However, the Spaniards and their Tlaxcalan allies became increasingly dangerous and unwelcome guests in capital city. In June, 1520, hostilities broke out, culminating in the massacre in the Main Temple and the death of Moctezuma. The Spaniards fled the town on July 1, an episode later characterized as La Noche Triste. They and their native allies returned in the spring of 1521 to lay siege to Tenochtitlan, a battle that ended that August 13 with the destruction of the city.
And it looks like cultural equivalence is nothing new:

In the writings of Bernardino de SahagĂșn(1499-1590), Aztec "anonymous informants" defended the practice of human sacrifice by asserting that it was not very different from the European way of waging warfare: Europeans killed the warriors in battle, Aztecs killed the warriors after the battle.
-- Nick

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I've Just Seen A Face

And here I though webcams were pointless since Jennifer Ringley shut down her site:

An American helped foil a burglary in northern England whilst watching a Beatles-related webcam over the Internet, police say.
-- Nick

Tea For Two

It would seem that the British were right all along:

Tea not only rehydrates but also protects against heart disease and cancer - as well as cutting tooth decay and possibly improving bone strength.
I wonder if that counts for this tea?

Long Island Iced Tea
1/2 ounce Vodka
1/2 ounce Gin
1/2 ounce White Rum
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Lemon Juice
Top with Cola
Build all ingredients in an ice tea glass, then top with cola and garnish with a lemon wedge.
I do believe this requires rigorous and comprehensive research.

-- Nora

UPDATE: One of my upmarket friends, Incog, posts weekly recipes and this one for coleslaw is just the ticket for long leisurely lunch with a glass or two of the refreshing iced tea above.

I'm Sorry Too

Muslim terrorists win again:

THE Dutch ambassador to India had expressed regret for the arrest of 12 passengers whose India-bound airliner was diverted to Amsterdam after their behaviour triggered fears of a hijacking, a government minister said today.

The 12 men, all Muslims... were arrested on Wednesday from a US Northwest Airlines flight that was turned back to Amsterdam after they apparently behaved suspiciously...

"It's an incident which is not only unfortunate, it should have never happened," junior foreign minister Anand Sharma said.

Their families said they were victims of racial discrimination...

"... Our children are terrorists? We are terrorists because we are Muslims?" asked Abdul Kadir Kolsiwala, father of Ayub Kolsiwala, one of those arrested.

"These are times of suspicion and distrust and we Muslims have to bear the brunt," he said.
The 12 men were:

...exchanging seats and fidgeting with their mobile phones. "I think the men raised the crew's suspicion because they were not listening to them and changing their seats," said Nitin Dalal, a passenger on the detained flight.
Meanwhile, other Muslims are not terrorists news in the last 24 hours.

-- Nick

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Le Chat Chat Spat

A SYDNEY man lost his job after an argument about domestic cats in a web chat room drew a vicious response from an incensed lawyer.
News Limited reports that a Queensland lawyer by the name of Tony Smith tracked the IP address of the Sydney cat lover's PC to his workplace and dobbed him in to his employer.

Funnily enough he didn't much like it when he was tracked down by the reporter:

The Sunday Telegraph e-mailed Mr Smith for comment. Mr Smith replied that if the reporter made good on "his apparent threat" to track him down, he would "give him, and his employers, a guided tour of the Queensland anti-stalking legislation".

-- Nora

UOPDATE: The broken link above has been repaired.

Gillard's Hard Cell

Labor's health spokesperson Julia Gillard says Health Minister Tony Abbott is:

... deliberately misinforming the public to skew the debate about stem cell research, Labor has said.
Actually it's Gillard and other embryonic stem cell research supporters who are misinforming the public.

Embryonic stem cells are already available to scientists throughout the world. Have been for years. In Australia, scientists can go their hardest with unwanted IVF embryos.

However, not a single therapeutic advance has ever been achieved using embryonic cells. All the breakthroughs have been from using adult stem cells.

The irony is that the scientists Gillard is championing all belong to, work for or are seeking grants from an industry group that is usually regarded as evil by those on the Left - you might call it 'Big Pharmaceutical'.

And they want access to an endless supply of embryos not so much out of altruism and the dream of easing suffering as out of the idea that if they keep banging away at embryonic cells, they might just ultimately stumble over something and make a motza.

-- Nick

No Bias Here

The unbiased media is in election mode in Queensland.

The headline:

Lib leader kicked out of shopping centre
The intro:

QUEENSLAND Liberal leader Bruce Flegg has been turned away from a Brisbane shopping centre while campaigning for the state election.
Paragraphs 2 and 3:

A spokeswoman for the Peninsula Fair shopping centre near Redcliffe, in Brisbane's north, said today Dr Flegg was asked to leave the complex because he did not ask permission to campaign there.

“We just don't allow campaigning in the centre and he hadn't organised it with us beforehand,” the spokeswoman said.
However, in paragraphs 4, 5 and 6:

But a spokesman for Dr Flegg denied he had been asked to leave.

“No one actually spoke to Bruce and we were already on our way out,” the spokesman said.

“We were just popping in for coffee and a quick chat ... we certainly weren't escorted off the premises. They didn't speak to Bruce, they spoke to me, and he wasn't aware there was a problem.
-- Nick

Counter(feit) Culture

Tempted by those spam e-mails for fake Rolexes? Bought a Louis Vuitton knock-off down the local market?

Consumers are being warned that the innocent purchases of counterfeit products from Internet sites and markets are funding terrorist and criminal organizations...

"It does not have to involve the sale of anything sinister," said Spencer Burgess, director of Carratu International's Intellectual Property Investigations division. "It's easy to make money from something as bland as a T-shirt. The perception many people have that counterfeiting is run by small groups that are just trying to make a few dollars on the side is completely misplaced. It is very much more organized and malicious."

Extensive inquiries by Carratu International have unearthed links between counterfeiting and Al Qaeda, Hisbollah, the IRA, ETA, the Mafia, Chinese Triad gangs, the Japanese Yakuza crime syndicate, the Russian Mafia, and drug cartels. Indeed, the recovery of Al Qaeda training manuals shows that the organization recommends the sale of counterfeit products to raise funds.

"The bogus clothes people are buying of the Internet might be helping to prop up terrorist or criminal gangs. Every major terrorist group in the world is into counterfeiting on way or another. It is a fairly straightforward way to raise funds." said Spencer Burgess.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah is handing out free money.

-- Nick

Political Parties

There's been an election called in Queensland for September 9. Anyone who visits here will quickly realise that we do not want the incumbent to win, even though there is a more than even chance that they will.

However to take the stress out of the election we invite you to join us on election night for our drinking game.

Take a sip of your favourite libation (non-alcoholic for the under 18s) each time you hear the political commentator say a nominated word or phrase. For example:

-- Lineball
-- Landslide
-- Bellwether Electorate
-- Too Close To Call
-- Two Party Preferred
It counts as a double if those words are mentioned in conjunction with your electorate and a triple if your preferred candidate wins.

If you are outside our fair state and still wish to participate, here is a link to the state's electoral map - pick a region (hint the south east Queensland, Sunshine, Gold Coasts and Brisbane offer more choices), choose an interesting name and have some fun.

The (political) party begins 6pm local time with a double shot if the newsreading talking head says a variation of the following phrase: "The polls have just closed in Queensland."

We're happy to take recommendations on additional key phrases, requests for additional drinks and suitable nibbles and whether anyone would be interested in Nick and I live blogging on the night.

In the meantime enjoy:
The Landslide
1/2 Shot(s) Creme de Banane
1/2 Shot(s) Amaretto
1/2 Shot(s) Bailey's Irish Cream
-- Nora

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing Like The Truth

Filmmakers seem to have so much trouble with the truth:

MURALI Thalluri should be the toast of the Australian film industry today. The 22-year-old's first feature film 2.37 is unspooling in local cinemas this weekend after debuting as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Yet controversy swirls around Thalluri after he used a teenage girl's suicide to sell his film, a suicide that no one can corroborate.

Another director, Daniel Krige - whose brother committed suicide two years ago - has told The Weekend Australian he heard 2.37's producer, Nick Matthews, boast in a Sydney bar two months ago that they fabricated the story of Thalluri's friend's suicide, the dedication of the film and Thalluri's own depression and suicide attempt, to give Thalluri and the film more credibility.
Australian cinema is no stranger to fictionalising details to make a story 'better':

Phillip Noyce claims his new film, Rabbit-Proof Fence, is a true story. The Hollywood director's publicity blurb repeats the boast: ``A true story.'' Even the first spoken words in the hyped film, which opens next week, are: ``This is a true story.''

Wrong. Crucial parts of this ``true story'' about a ``stolen generations'' child called Molly Craig are false or misleading. And shamefully so.

No wonder that when Craig saw Rabbit-Proof Fence at a special screening in her bush settlement last month, she seem surprised.

``That's not my story,'' she said as the credits rolled.
or to fit the filmmaker and audience's biases:

(Age newspaper interviewer Chris) Beck: When you see a fictional film based on fact do you believe it is all true?

(ABC movie critic Margaret) Pomeranz: Yeah. I’m gullible.

Beck: The reason you two work is that you both work on an emotional level.

Pomeranz: You see, I am actively against the war in Iraq. So anything that feeds that anti-war sentiment, yeah, I’m much more likely to believe it because it fits in with my existing political beliefs.
-- Nick

Monday, August 14, 2006

That's Why I Hate The French...

The French admit an uncomfortable truth:

"French hospitality doesn't always have a good reputation," says tour guide Dalanda Diallo, leading a group on a "bateau mouche" tourist boat on the river Seine in Paris.

"We get some feedback from tourists who have visited us before, and in general they tell us that the French are cold and not very welcoming – and sometimes it is true," she said.
But they claim there are exceptions:

" is a generalisation. There are also French people who are very welcoming."
I suppose there are.

-- Nick

Vocabulary Exercise defines fascism as:

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
Oppressive, dictatorial control.
Stephen Morris is a bit more long-winded but makes the point equally well.

-- Nick

Hat-tip: Tim Blair

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Poor Bastards...


Studies show that adults who begin adulthood poor are 66 percent less likely to remain in poverty if they get and stay married.
-- Nick

Bats and Cats

Our good friend Nilknarf highlights the fact that most people are stupid.

And she also has the best photo of pussy I've ever seen.

-- Nick

Boo Hiss For Pallywood

Think you know what's going on between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbours?

If you've got 18 minutes, this will be the best time you ever invested on the Internet.

-- Nick

Straight and Narrow

Guess who's not being straight with us?

EMBATTLED judge Marcus Einfeld has reneged on a promise to identify who was behind the wheel of his speeding car - and blamed police inaction for the silence.

Despite earlier claiming the announcement of the "actual driver" was imminent, Mr Einfeld's legal team yesterday refused to reveal that person's identity.

The silence comes after Mr Einfeld gave three different versions as to who was driving the 67-year-old's silver Lexus when it was clocked at 60km/h in a 50km/h zone at Mosman on January 8 this year.
Surely it would have been easier to have paid the fine and have done with it.

Here's to you Judge Marcus Einfeld and your barristers, clocking up surely what must be the world's most expensive traffic court hearing:

Straight Law Cocktail recipe
1 1/2 oz dry sherry
3/4 oz gin
Stir ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

The Horse Has Bolted

The Security Council's failure to act more quickly to end the bloodshed in Lebanon had "badly shaken" the world's faith in the United Nations, laments UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

I'd have thought the widespread corruption and sexual misconduct of UN officials would have done that already.

-- Nora

The Shell Game

Refreshing candour about the gullibility of journalists from Boston Herald City Editor Jules Crittenden:

The lesson of the Reuters photo fakery scandal is nothing any hapless once-bitten carnival mark couldn’t have warned them about. Discredited photographer Adnan Hajj was employing the oldest and worst-kept secret in any con artist’s bag of tricks: People will see what they want to see. They will believe what they want to believe...

Everyone in the news business gets taken for a ride sooner or later. It’s an occupational hazard. What is surprising is the scale of it in Lebanon. And what is tragic about this is, as a Boston Herald photo editor noted, editors everywhere can no longer trust the pictures from Lebanon. The public cannot know what is staged and what is real. They cannot know the true scope of the devastation that Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel and its cynical tactics have brought on the Lebanese people. The con artists have shafted themselves and their own people with their cheap tricks.
-- Nick

Friday, August 11, 2006

Meat For Vegetarians

I much prefer mushrooms in a nice sauce on steak:

AN American tourist who ran naked through a peaceful Swiss town, vandalised a church and escaped from police clutches by jumping into a lake could have been on hallucinogenic mushrooms, a magistrate has said...

...He started babbling incoherently in the hotel lobby, stripped and ran naked along the quayside, broke a stained glass in the nearby protestant temple with a stool and set a precious 1898 bible alight, police in Morges said.
Or perhaps fresh, in a salad.

-- Nora

Connection Made

In the immediate aftermath of the Muslim terrorist arrests in London:

"I know five of the men very well and they are really respectable young Muslim men," Qadir added.
Tells us everything we need to know really...

-- Nick and Nora

A Good Result

Good news from Britain:

Oil fell to below $US76 a barrel on fears the security threat might slow growth worldwide and cut oil demand.
Oh, and:

BRITISH police arrested 24 people and ordered tough security measures that brought chaos to airports, saying they had foiled a plot to blow up several aircraft flying over the Atlantic Ocean.
-- Nick

Worse Conditions For All!

Boxer Anthony Mundine is to run for the NSW Parliament to help keep a ghetto:

The former rugby league player said his move was to secure Redfern's Aboriginal housing area The Block. Redfern's Aboriginal community has reacted angrily to proposed changes to planning controls by the Redfern Waterloo Authority and the Minister for Redfern Waterloo Mr Sartor, which they say would halve the amount of housing allowed on The Block.
Mundine's intention to move into politics would be laughable if he wasn't of such a fashionable background and popular views.

-- Nick

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Reuters Rooted

And the fall out continues from the weekend of Reuters' Really Rotten Reporting:

New fake photos emerge

The Bridge Too Far

Reuters forced to pull all Hajj's pix

Cox and Forkum get to the point

-- Nora

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

From the like d'uh files:

TEENAGERS whose iPods are full of music with sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study has found.
But it's nice to know that there is scientific backup to what parents already knew or suspected.

-- Nora

The Dull Shall Inherit The Vote

John Howard - Global Superstar:

Mr Howard is the very personification of dullness. He could easily pass for an elderly country solicitor, with neither a designer trainer nor an iPod to be seen anywhere near his conventionally suited person.
But that's not all:

In short, Mr Howard embodies the characteristics of true leadership — and these have little to do with charisma, with which it is often confused. With a record punctuated by fierce controversy, he is nevertheless trusted and admired as a result of sticking to his guns — and staying faithful to clearly understood, bedrock conservative principles and not trimming them or ditching them altogether in favour of the fashions of the day.
Hat tip: AlphaMikeFoxtrot

-- Nick and Nora

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We Don't Pssst Here, Starker!

It ain't Rotary:

AL-QAEDA second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri announced overnight that Egypt's Jamaa Islamiya militant group was joining the global terror network... the Egyptian-born Zawahiri welcomed the Jamaa Islamiya's leadership "under the al-Qaeda banner."
You remember how it turned out last time?

-- Nick

Michelle Looked At Me!

Sorry for getting all schoolgirlish but it's not every day you get your 'work' published by one of the US Right's best-known blogger-commentators.

I just had to get a screen grab.

I've Been Malkined!

Click here for full size.

How come Right Girls look so good and Left Chicks don't?

-- Nick

The Last of the Old Time Commie Frauds

From Friday's Australian, Luis M. Garcia debunks a few myths about the communist paradise of Cuba and the once charismatic, now dying or possibly even dead Fidel Castro who took power in January 1959:

(Myth) The standard of living in Cuba was abysmal before Castro.

In fact, during the late 1950s, Cuba had a relatively large and growing middle class, heavily unionised workforce, and farmhand wages that were higher on average than for similar workers in France, Belgium and even West Germany, according to the International Labor Organisation. There were huge economic and social inequalities, of course, but these were no different to the inequalities found in much of Europe at the time and in the rest of Latin America.
-- Nick

In Days Of Old...

Following last year's carbeque jihad in Paris, some asked why France couldn't become more like old Andalusia.

Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald explained why not:

...we are left with a myth of Al-Andaluz that requires ignorance of the facts to survive, and many ... are happy to oblige. Yet even these romanticizers who write of Al-Andaluz as the great exemplar of tolerance also consider it to be, at best, a unique example in the long 1400-year history of Islam -- which already is a way of admitting that the treatment of non-Muslims under Islam in general was not a paradise of "tolerance" and fruitful mutual accommodation...

No wonder it is not only non-Muslims who like to imagine such a world, but also those Muslims who feel they must stick with Islam, they cannot jettison that belief-system with which their entire civilization, their ancestors, and they themselves are so identified. These believers must create, or must believe in, a mythical world of past tolerance that is now being "ruined" by these Bin Ladens and the others who have "hijacked a great religion."
-- Nick

A Quiet Night In

Planning anything for August 22? Why not just stay home and watch it on television?

-- Nick

Fake But True

This week's cocktail celebrates the fakery of Reuter's photographers. (See Nick's post below):

Fake Mountain Dew
2 oz vodka
4 oz 7-Up lemonade
4 oz margarita mix
1 handful ice

Add all ingredients into a big glass and stir. A big stir.

-- Nora

Fat Fake Fotos

Much comment going on right now on Little Green Footballs about an obviously faked up photo released by Reuters. Here's a screengrab.


Click here to see the screengrab at full size.

The image in question contains areas that have been rather obviously added using a PhotoShop tool called Clone.

This enables a touch-up artist to copy patches of an original shot and paste them quickly onto other areas of the picture. It's a useful tool for dabbing away dust and scratches from scanned hard copy pics or touching up digital photos.

For instance, you might have a good pic of a car spoiled by mud on a tyre sidewall. You simply select an area of clean sidewall and clone it over the mud spatter. Or you might have had a pimple on your chin when you had your wedding photos taken. One clone and it's gone!

Of course, the artist has to be careful not to make the edges of the cloned area too obvious and not repeatedly clone areas that are already somewhat repetitive in nature. In the Reuters photo, it is clear that the upper left edge of the smoke cloud is the originating element.

And whoever did the work on the Reuters shot either didn't know what they were doing or, as I suggest in the LGF comments, was sending a (smoke) signal that suggests they were working under duress. Difficult as it may be to believe, not all journalists and photographers appreciate being instructed by their editors to lie.

Nora suggests the beat up merchant may actually be the photographer, Adrian Hajj, seeking to file a more spectacular image than was the truth in order to guarantee its use and his paycheck. If this is the case, Hajj should stick to pressing the shutter button and leave PhotoShop to the experts.

It took a mere 20 seconds while leaning over Nora's shoulder to add a little more 'impact' to the photo to demonstrate how the inept use of the clone tool created that obvious 'step and repeat' pattern in the Reuters image.


It actually took longer to upload my further faked photo to Flickr and obtain its URL for linking than it did to doctor the image to this amateurish standard.

The big question, of course, is why on Earth would Reuters want to make a picture of Beirut buildings burning after an Israeli airstrike look worse than it was?

Silly question.

File it under another example of 'fake but true'. After all, the photo would really have looked like this if the Israelis has fired one of their secret PhotoShop tipped missiles.

-- Nick

UPDATE: Game, set and match.

UPDATE II: From photo manipulation to media manipulation.

UPDATE III: Fame at last. Michelle Malkin gets a chuckle out of my pic above.

Things You Should Have Learned At School

If you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it:

When I used to read about the 1930s — the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Italy, Spain, and Germany, the appeasement in France and Britain, the murderous duplicity of the Soviet Union, and the racist Japanese murdering in China — I never could quite figure out why, during those bleak years, Western Europeans and those in the United States did not speak out and condemn the growing madness... is still surreal to reread the fantasies of Chamberlain, Daladier, and Pope Pius, or the stump speeches by Charles Lindbergh (“Their [the Jews’] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government”) or Father Coughlin (“Many people are beginning to wonder whom they should fear most — the Roosevelt-Churchill combination or the Hitler-Mussolini combination.”) — and baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.

(Hat tip: Tim Blair).

Hanson also has an interesting vocabulary primer that might help you decode stories like this.

-- Nick