Friday, August 31, 2007

Tata For Now

Nicky and I are taking an extra long weekend to go camping.

So consider this an open thread for anyone who wants to say hello.

Take a look at the links to the right or visit Nifty Knick Knacks, if you're looking for some reading

Vodka Twister Fizz
3 parts Vodka
3 drops Pernod
top up Ginger ale
1 Egg white
1/2 teaspoon Sugar syrup
1 Lime slice
5 Ice cubes
juice of Lemon
Put the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Pour the lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white, pernod and vodka over the ice and shake. Pour into a highball glass and top up with ginger ale.
-- Nora

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Those Who Can Do, Those Who Can't Watch Californication

The comments to Andrew Bolt's column piece about David Duchovny's new show, Californication has been interesting, amusing and dismaying all at once.

Interesting because it shows a societal shift away from what is considered to be 'appropriate'. Once talking about sex or explicit public displays of sex were taboo, not necessarily because people were prudish but rather there was broad agreement that certain things were private. Not for public consumption.

However context has been sacrificed in the drive for 'edgy', 'groundbreaking' and 'controversial' - all drugs to be taken in every increasing quantities for the jaded generation.

Amusing, because none will address their secret shame - if they're getting their jollies by watching a TV show - then they're not likely enjoying the real thing.

Amusing, because all of the supporters for the show try to deflect the nakedness of their own voyeuristic desires by repeating the mantra, 'if you don't like it, don't look'.

Well, where does that stop?

Let's not be outraged by crime - if you don't like it don't look.

Let's not blink if someone drops their drawers and defaecates in the street - if that sort of thing offends you, then don't look.

And that's where the dismay comes in.

That sort of reductive logic is nilistic is the extreme. Ironically it also results in a society which is the polar opposite of tolerant. If everyone's opinion is right, then no-one's is, which means there is no common ground to build social order on.

-- Nora

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Shower Every Week Whether She Needs It Or Not

A television documentary maker swears off beauty products - including showering - and: wasn't until the fourth day of not washing that Nicky began to notice a certain odour emanating from her person. (Emphasis added)
And Nicky would be a Pommie, right?


-- Nick

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What's Behind Door Number Four?

The Sunday Telegraph delivers a broadside against Kevin Rudd today with no less than three columnists weighing in on the Labor leader's drunken visit to a New York strip joint. But it's a fourth piece unrelated to strip clubs that could sink Labor's Mr Sheen.

Glenn Milne notes feminist silence at Rudd's 'exploitation of women' and concludes:

Given the events of last week, it's hard not to conclude that when it comes to left-wing feminist condemnation of sexist behaviour in politics, only one thing counts: which side of politics the perpetrator comes from. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. One of the most hypocritical episodes of modern politics was played out in the US during the Clinton presidency, when Eva Cox's American counterparts actually came to Bill's defence during the Monica Lewinsky affair. Then again, when you think about it, Rudd's defence that he couldn't recollect nude lap dancers all around him is about as credible as Clinton saying he didn't inhale.
Matt Price also questions Rudd's credibility:

Having admitted following legendary editor Col Allan into Scores, Rudd originally pleaded abject drunkenness and insisted he couldn't recall anything about the night. But the more Rudd talked - and he agreed to countless interviews - the less convincing he sounded.
And Sandra Lee takes an aggrieved line at the spin that has apparently got Rudd out of the firing line.

However, Piers Akermann drops the real bombshell:

Kevin Rudd may be called to answer questions relating to the destruction of evidence as a police investigation into the rape of a Queensland girl 19 years ago gains new momentum. The girl... was just 14 at the time and resident at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre, in the care of the Queensland Government, when she was gang raped by other inmates.

...(The girl)'s tragic story is but one strand of this horror, the other is the Goss ALP government's attempt to ignore her plight and bury the incident without trace. investigation, directed by former magistrate Noel Heiner and launched by the Cooper National Party government, was shut down by the Goss government when it came to power. The Goss cabinet ordered the shredding of all the documents collected by Heiner...

Rudd was Premier Wayne Goss's chief of staff at the time and subsequently became the director-general of his cabinet office. It was widely held that nothing took place within cabinet without his knowledge, and he has also claimed his experience running Goss's cabinet has equipped him to be prime minister of Australia.

Though both Rudd and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie claimed as recently as last week that the shredding of the documents needed no further investigation, it has never been fully examined.

Both Rudd and Beattie also rejected the view of former chief justice of the High Court, Sir Harry Gibbs and an unprecedented plea from a former West Australian chief justice (David Malcolm), two retired NSW chief judges (Jack Lee, now deceased, and Dr Frank McGrath), two retired NSW Supreme Court justices (Roddy Meagher and Barry O'Keefe), one of Australia's foremost QCs (Alec Shand) and a legal academic and barrister (Alastair MacAdam) that an independent special prosecutor be appointed to examine the matter.

...Further, a recent two-year audit of the matter by prominent Sydney QC, David Rofe, which ran to 3000 pages contained in nine volumes, concluded there were 67 unaddressed alleged prima facie criminal charges against the cabinet and civil servants that needed to be urgently addressed.
What was in the documents that warranted their shredding?

-- Nick

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's Pouring

Hey, look at that.

It's raining.

Frosty Rain
2/3 oz. Vodka
2/3 oz. Triple Sec
2/3 oz. Parfait d'amour
Dash Creme de Banana
Add ingredients and fill up with Lemonade.

-- Nora

Softly Softly

Crime no longer warrants vigorous police attention: theft, or suspicion of it, is not in itself a serious enough offence to put the community at the increased risk caused by a pursuit... benefit of chasing an offender for traffic or driving offences would hardly ever outweigh the risks.
In future, criminals will be asked for their cooperation:

In a new scheme to be rolled out statewide, police will visit or write to repeat offenders asking them to come forward and seek help.
-- Nick

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ford Queers The Pitch

For an auto company with a lot riding on a particular vehicle, Ford Australia appears strangely suicidal when it comes to advertising the Focus small car.

The Aussie arm of the global automaker is to begin building the Focus in this country in the next couple of years, hopefully soaking up some of the workforce made redundant by the impending end of the locally-manufactured I-6 Falcon engine in favour of an imported V6.

The German-built Focus got off to a poor start in Australia, with some suggesting it was coming from behind as an unknown nameplate seeking to replace the widely-recognised Laser. Sales have picked up in the last couple of years but Ford would do well to think through some of their marketing decisions with regard to the vehicle.

They've previously suggested that only narcissistic dullards would purchase the Focus with ads that showed primped male and female airheads leaving a hangbag and a phone on the roof.

Now they continue the pitch to the self-absorbed crowd with their 'Everyone's Journey Is Different' ads bundling the Focus together with their Fiesta atop a Brisbane car park.

Don't blink or you'll miss among the 'aren't we clever we bought this car' faces the first open pitch to homosexuals by a motor manufacturer in Australia. On screen for an almost subliminal fraction of the time given to others in the adverisement are a pair of tall, neat chaps with matching lap dogs.

Well done Ford - you've cast the Focus as a gaymobile.

Not that there's anything wrong with that if you buy into the idea that homosexuals are a huge cashed-up DINK demographic just waiting to be exploited. However, it's:

...a widespread myth that gay people are economically advantaged compared to heterosexuals. U.S. Census data and other national surveys indicate the opposite. In fact, gay and bisexual men earn anywhere from 13 percent to 32 percent less than heterosexual men.
-- Nick

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Newly Relevant

The case of Graeme Stafford, the man jailed for the murder of Queensland schoolgirl Leanne Holland, just gets worse:

POLICE working on the Leanne Holland murder case in 1991 ignored a vital lead: a blood-stained man acting strangely not far from where her body was dumped. The person who saw the man was never interviewed, and no attempt was made to find him. A note on the crime investigation log two days later said the information was "no longer relevant", as Graham Stafford had been arrested for the schoolgirl's murder.
What had actually happened was that the detectives had fallen into the most basic trap awaiting all investigators - they had let the presence of an 'obvious' suspect blind them to the possibility of others, causing them to make evidence fit their theory rather than testing their theory with the evidence.

Stafford was released from jail last year and is seeking a pardon.

-- Nick

Standard Doubled


GOLLIWOGS are being sold at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and Aboriginal elders say they perpetuate racist images of black people... "This is absolutely appalling and an enormous insult . . . the people responsible for them should be sacked immediately," said Aboriginal community elder and spokesman Sam Watson... the dolls needed to be destroyed and banned... Queensland University of Technology indigenous health lecturer Dr Beryl Meiklejohn said: "This is highly offensive..."
Yes, it's just plain racist:

GEELONG Football Club officials were forced to order the removal of player Travis Varcoe's MySpace page... under Varcoe's moniker "black-flash", had an underlying theme of black superiority. "White friends are for a while. Black friends are for life," said one blog. Another boasted: "White friends will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing. Black friends will kick the whole crowd's ass that left you." ...Varcoe was recently approached to be a mentor to Aboriginal youths...
-- Nick

The I Didn't Do It Boy

News Ltd has quickly deflected its online coverage of Kevin Rudd's drunken New York strip club sojourn into commentary on the commentary.

Meanwhile, Rudd - who admitted:

...he could not recall what happened at the night spot because he had 'had too much to drink'
- has nonetheless:

...questioned a claim that he had been warned by (the strip club) management about his behaviour...
...even though:

...he could not recall what happened at the night spot because he had 'had too much to drink'
...and suggested:

...(Alexander) Downer's office could be the source of the story.
Or it could be, Kevvie, you went the grope and were asked to leave and you were too blind drunk on $12 beers and $15 shorts to remember.

It should be interesting to see the mental gymnastics all the leftie feminists have to indulge in to explain why Rudd is still an acceptable Labor candidate for PM. It should be as amusing as the knots US feminists tied themselves in over Bill Clinton's 'seduction' of a work experience intern.

-- Nick

Update: The comedy of hypocritical feminist reaction begins:

Women's groups unwilling to criticise... "If we hanged every bloke who was stupid, there wouldn't be many left," National Foundation for Australian Women spokeswoman Marie Coleman said... Women's Electoral Lobby spokeswoman and prominent feminist Eva Cox said Mr Rudd had a generally good attitude towards women. "It's not something that represents his usual behaviour," she said.
Both of these hard left feminazis would skewer anyone on the right side of politics for just thinking of going to a strip club.


One male frontbencher, who did not wish to be named, said the story could work in Mr Rudd's favour. "It might humanise him a bit. People see him as too much the bookworm and diplomat," he said.
Which comment would also normally raise calls for a burning at the stake.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Knit One, Purl One

It's said there was an exchange of graffiti on a toilet wall that began in one hand with:

My mother made me a homosexual
and was followed in another hand with:

If I gave her the wool will she make me one too?
It seems mum has been blamed too much:

"...individuals with an over-protective father tended to develop homosexuality [more] easily that those without an over-protective father"...

...The authors go on to assert that, "...paternal protection and maternal care were determined to be the main vulnerability factors in the development of homosexual males"
The authors are Taiwanese psychiatrists For-Wey Lung and Bih-Ching Shu, published this year in Comprehensive Psychiatry. They define: over-protective parent ... as over-controlling while a non-caring parent can be described as unaffectionate. Finally, the authors indicated that homosexual individuals tended to have a higher level of neurosis.
-- Nick

Every Parent's Worst Nightmare*

"It's brutal but it works," says Mary, a mother-of-three... It's a drastic solution and not one that many parents are steely enough to carry out. But many of us will recognise the desperation behind Mary's actions.
So just what horror is being discussed as a means to keep bickering children quiet during a long car journey?

The technique is to label three tubes of Smarties with each child's name. Every time one of the children misbehaves, she throws one of their Smarties out of the passenger window. They get to eat what's left in their packets at the end of the journey.
Amazing. It's 'brutal' and 'drastic' to instil discipline in a child, to teach that bad behaviour has consequences with a harmless little exploitation of their rampant self-interest.


Later in the article there's an interesting observation:

There is also the option of in-car DVDs, but, according to family therapist Jan Parker, these take away an important aspect of car journeys. "Children can find it very helpful to talk about difficult subjects in the car because it's a relaxed environment and they don't necessarily have to have eye contact with you," she says.

"You can get the most out of children when you haven't sat them down specifically to talk about something, but when it happens naturally as part of another process. Chats during car journeys can reveal a great deal."
Men have been using the in-car technique to talk about important stuff for years, along with working on things (especially cars and other things mechanical), fishing, you name it - a million male to male deep and meanfuls have begun in the safety of doing something else at the same time.

Women who suggest this somehow indicates a male inability to communicate 'properly' just don't get it.

-- Nick

*Along with the following afflicting their child: kidnapping, being born with a disability, acquiring a disability, going missing, suffering a debilitating health condition, becoming a drug addict, falling pregnant before the age of consent, joining a cult, getting an ingrown toenail, not being the most popular child at school...

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Shameless Self-Promotion Post

It's Friday and if you're looking for a little relaxing reading, the head on over to Nick and Nora's Nifty Knick Knacks where we cover important things like comic books, cigarette cards and 1960s and 1970s kitsch.

And if that's not enough to keep you entertained during a TV commercial break, then check out some of the fabulous stuff on Nick and Nora's Lovely Link List.

Stick Neil Diamond on the turntable, prepare yourself a drink and set yourself in a comfy orange and olive velour rocker recliner.

Harvey Wallbanger
1 1/2 ounces vodka
6 ounces fresh orange juice
1/2 ounce Galliano
Pour vodka and orange juice over ice in a chilled highball glass. Float Galliano on top.
-- Nora

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Those Who Have Ears To Hear

"Maybe bloggers should enjoy the freedom while it lasts, because surely it will not be long before nasty litigiousness spoils bloggers' fun and forces the blogging community to watch its Ps and Qs, like every other person who is involved in publishing."
And thus spake the 'gatekeeper' class.

Jane Fynes-Clinton, Courier-Mail journalist takes a sneering and condescending look at bloggers in her Perspective piece today and spends 766 words (not including byline and head) taking a pre-emptive strike at those who express and publish their opinions without the benefit of a journalism degree or MEAA Union Card.

How the media at large feels about blogging can be summed up by the line-art illustration found in the print edition (interestingly enough, not the online edition) which a sewage pipe expels excrement shaped as 'blogs blogs blogs'.

That is to say, 'how dare the great unwashed express opinions unfiltered by editors and moderators'.

Like most journalists Ms Fynes-Clinton appears to have only a fleeting understanding about the world of blogging, fixating on rude and rambunctious web sites without coming out and saying that the topics most likely to create immoderate posts and comments are ones to do with politics and journalism - two areas where the mainstream media feels it has a monopoly.

People blog for a number of reasons, for friends Ingo and Neto of Highland Warriors it's to share observations of life and family and for Manolo The Shoe Blogger, it's all about the shoes.

And to Ms Fynes-Clinton, that's just fine - check out the pejorative language in this paragraph:

For some, blogging is not the harmless, personal communication it once was. There is also the more serious side: in the past couple of years, it has become possible for people to make livings from blogging.
Making a living! The very idea!

That's stepping into journalists' domain of news disseminators and opinion makers and that cannot allowed to stand unchallenged.

As for Nick and myself, despite once being members of the fourth estate, our Thin Man Returns blog would likely be the type Ms Fynes-Clinton would like to take with 'the red pen of an editor'.

Mind you she doesn't make the same offer to sub the work of the intemperate Phillip Adams, but then, he's likely to still be a card carrying member of the union and thus above reproach.

The most revealing paragraph comes early in the piece:

'Some places, such as government departments, are scared of them.'
Other places afraid of bloggers are the mainstream media outlets where sharp bloggers, using distributed research and individual professional expertise holds the media to account for the very first time in history.

Amongst the high profile scalps claimed by the blogs includes the forced retirement of Dan Rather over his credulous use of faked memos in a report on George W Bush in 2004. Last year Reuters news agency was forced to sack photographers covering the Israel-Hezbollah war over widely distributed fake photographs and has recently as today it was up to the blogosphere to chip Agence France Presse on its misleading photo story about fighting in Iraq.

No wonder they're scared, no wonder they're going on the attack.

For what it's worth I've cross-posted in The Courier-Mail's comments section. I doubt it will be used - it's too long and too critical - but that's okay.

I can have my say here and so can you.

-- Nora

UPDATE: US Journalism professor discovers that more than 46% of all newspaper stories have errors of fact and less than 2% of all reported errors are corrected.

I wonder how the Australian media would fare in a similar experiment?

UPDATE II: Well there you go - the Courier-Mail moderators did publish this post on their site. I salute you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Through A Glass Darkly

Paul Syvret's Perspectives piece reveals two fundamental flaws in the writer's logic.

One comes in the fifth column where he writes:

"Some of us are quite comfortable viewing explicit non-violent erotica at home. Others are offended by topless sunbaking on the each. Each to their own. If you don't like it, don't look".
One needs to explain to Mr Syvret the fundamental difference between a public and private place. At home is private, at the beach is a public place. If a flasher takes up position outside a school what would he instruct children? If you don't like it, don't look?

The second is regarding the level of supervision Mr Syvret assumes parents can reasonably assert.

As an example, parents with a 17yo son might be quite happy for him to download 'explicit non-violent erotica' to view on the shared family computer and be less happy for their 12 year old daughter to see it as she was looking for her own downloaded files.

Would Mr Syvret bar the 12 year-old from using the computer? Or would he bar the 17yo from surfing the net without his supervision? Whose rights trump whose in his worldview?

No one, not even the Prime Minister, as Mr Syvret admits, is calling for filters to be mandatory, just made available at either the PC or server level for any one who feels the need to install them.

Perhaps Mr Syvret should take his own advice:

If you don't like it, don't look at it.

-- Nora

Monday, August 13, 2007

No News Is Good News

AFTER 28 years of over-the-top headlines, stories of Elvis sightings and insider reports that members of the US Congress were aliens, the Weekly World News tabloid is folding.

Launched in 1979, the Weekly World News modestly touted itself as "the world's only reliable newspaper"...

...But it all came grinding to a halt when WWN's publisher, American Media Inc, announced in a short statement that the tabloid, Bat Boy and all, would roll off the presses for the last time on August 27, although an online version would continue.

No reason was given for the closure of what US television network ABC described as the "magnificently trashy supermarket tabloid", although falling readership and advertising revenues are strongly suspected.

I have another theory - the Weekly World News couldn't compete with the mainstream media which has made enormous inroads into WWN's domain of trashy tabloid reporting.

-- Nora

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cock Up At La Trobe

The Australian Labor Party continues its habit of stabbings its local party members in the back and parachuting high profile types into candidacy.

Maria Hawthorne's AAP piece on 'Labor's latest star candidate in this year's federal election', Rodney Cocks, reads like a fan profile.

Cocks joined the party on the same day Labor's national executive reopened preselections for La Trobe, regarded as a key seat in the upcoming federal election. The next day the guy who'd previously got the vote was booted.

Over at Andrew Landeryou's blog, commenters are not amused, casting aspersions on various aspects of Cocks' suitability, including a prediliction for self-promotion and a willingness to stand for any party that might see him get into Parliament.

Sounds like a pretty typical Labor pick-up.

-- Nick

Tony Wilson

Sad to read last night of the death of British journalist and record label owner Tony Wilson at the age of only 57.

I met the man who would foster such acts as Joy Division/New Order and The Durutti Column when he was a young journo on Granada Reports, the evening news program of Manchester's commercial TV station, in the early or mid-1970s.

He was doing a feature piece on a family member's oft-demonstrated talent for psychometry and associated, ah, eccentric activities, and, possibly because I'd started to express an interest in journalism, I was allowed the day off school to trail around watching Wilson and the crew at work, first in our home then in some nearby countryside.

I remember a young man who was open and friendly with an engaging smile and who didn't ignore me for being 'just a kid' but found time to chat with me even though he was busy.

I also remember learning how to hide a 'mike in shot' with a leaf; that the Chinese restaurant we all went to on the Granada account afterwards was the first real restaurant I'd ever been to; and that youthfully cocky Wilson, cheerfully skeptical of his interview subject's 'powers', was a little subdued after being taken to one side for a demonstration out of microphone range.

Wilson remained in Granada's employ for most of his life, even apparently at the height of his success as a 'record mogul', impressario and promoter of the Manchester music scene.

It's perhaps an indication of the kind of guy he was that when chemotherapy for kidney cancer failed and he couldn't afford a 3500GBP a month course of drugs doctors thought might help, his friends in the music industry found the cash.

-- Nick

Postscript: Bonnie Malkin's UK Telegraph obit shows a more than passing similarity to Wilson's Wikipedia entry. Just saying.


Greens senator Kerry Nettle is a sensitive soul:

The Senate chamber was a "horrendous place to be" when the government passed legislation banning gay marriage three years ago, Senator Nettle said.

She went on to add:

Five countries had already passed laws guaranteeing people's right to marriage, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity...
Really? Oh well, right then, we should too.


-- Nick

Little Monsters Inc

Career criminal:

An alcoholic nine-year-old boy who waged a two-year crime spree has become Victoria's youngest prisoner... The boy, who began offending at the age of seven, came to police notice 35 times in two years, but he could not be charged because of his age. His crimes included car theft, stealing from cars and chroming and was also a suspect in a violent assault while on a train. The boy taunted police who arrested him, telling them he knew he could not be charged.
Victoria's Opposition community services spokeswoman plans to ask why welfare authorities didn't intervene.

However, such questions presuppose a breakdown of the system when, in fact, the system is operating entirely as a reasonable person would expect it to, not only in Australia but on a global scale, after a 40 descent into political correctness.

Other recent examples:

THERE will be no criminal charges over the multiple stabbing of a woman by a seven-year-old boy... the boy’s mother would have faced more serious action if she failed to send her son to school.
This UK Liverpool Echo story is via The Policeman's Blog where PC David Copperfield writes:

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police are seeking a man who sexually assaulted Sue Turton by pinching her on the bum while she reported on the flooding in Oxford, although to get the detection they've decided to give him an £80.00 ticket under the Public Order Act. Sue, who's clearly sane and has better things to do with her time has declined to assist the police, but a detection's still a detection, even if it's an £80.00 ticket.
From the UK Telegraph:

Social services yesterday admitted failings in the case of a four-year-old girl murdered by her mother and her boyfriend, a cannabis addict.
-- Nick

Saturday, August 11, 2007

You Are Charged With Reporting A Crime

Earlier this year, a TV documentary called Undercover Mosque exposed Muslim preachers in the UK celebrating the death of a British soldier in Afghanistan and calling for the establishment of sharia law in Britain under which women would be hit if they didn't cover up and homosexuals would be 'thrown off the mountain' or crucified.

As a result of all this, people, including, I believe, local MPs, asked the police to investigate the preachers to see if prosecutions for crimes of racial hatred could be brought against them. C4 (the broadcasting TV station) itself did not ask for these investigations, but co-operated with police inquiries.

But then, on Wednesday, without any warning to Channel 4, the CPS and the West Midlands police issued their fatwa. Not only had they investigated, and decided, as they were entitled to do, that there were no charges to bring against people featured in the programme: they also announced that they had investigated the programme itself for stirring up racial hatred.

Again, they had decided not to press charges. But, said West Midlands police smugly, they had pursued the making of the programme "with as much rigour as the extremism portrayed within the documentary itself". They had concluded that comments had been "broadcast out of context" and so they and the CPS had complained to Ofcom (the UK television regulator).
London Telegraph reporter Charles Moore asks of the West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service:

Are they fit to protect us?
The answer is kind of obvious.

-- Nick

Wrong Impression

Good news:

ISLAMIC authorities in Malaysia have freed a Muslim woman after detaining her for four months for marrying a Hindu, the couple's lawyer said.
Bad news:

The Selangor state Islamic authorities have, however, ordered the 25-year-old ethnic Indian woman to live separately from her husband, arguing that her year-old marriage was illegal under Islam.
The headline:

Woman free after Hindu marriage lock-up
Damn those oppressive Hindus...

-- Nick

Media Gullible

Claims of a man-eating shark off Britain that made front page headlines were 'a great white lie':

Kevin Keeble sparked the media feeding frenzy when he sent pictures to his local paper of a shark he photographed during a fishing trip to South Africa, jokingly claiming the photo was taken near the British surfing resort of Newquay. "I didn't expect anyone would be daft enough to take it seriously," newspapers quoted him as saying. "I can't believe the story went so big."
I can.

-- Nick

Three Men In A Boat


THREE European councillors who sailed from France to Britain on a makeshift raft as a goodwill gesture were arrested when they came ashore... the group had failed to get permission... to cross the busy shipping lane and...the raft was made from six oil drums and a sheet of wood, had out-of-date flares, a broken radio and no life-saving equipment.
But they did try to get permission, according to a member of their UK welcoming committee, Lynn Dockar, manager of the Boulogne and Shepway Co-operation Association:

They had also tried to obtain permission once they left but were unsuccessful.
So they just went on anyway.

People wonder what's wrong with the kids of today. It's their parents.

-- Nick

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Jane! Stop This Crazy Thing!


IT has taken a long time but elements of the Jetson's futuristic lifestyle are finally becoming real.

George's treadmill, which must have appeared ridiculous in 1962, is now an everyday reality.

Rosie the robot maid is not quite here yet, but the Japanese seem to be closing in.

And US company Moller International has put a flying saucer into production that looks remarkably like George's perspex topped transportation.
Test footage can be found here.

Unfortunately, it's not enough for Nick who says that as a comicbook reading kid he was promised a future in which we'd all have our own personal rocket pack.

He's still waiting.

-- Nora

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Hokey Pokey

You put your left foot in:

Lesbian bigamist who lied about marriage avoids jail
You put your left foot out:

Suzanne Mitchell, 30, a mother of five, admitted that she had lied about being single when she signed a civil partnership with Caroline Beddows, 24. She was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence for breaching the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which allows same-sex couples to “marry”.
You put your left foot in:

...(she) entered into a civil partnership with her girlfriend while still being married to her husband...
And you shake it all about:

Mitchell, from Shrewsbury, who is 12 weeks pregnant and has rekindled her relationship with her husband, Charles, was ordered to complete 100 hours’ community service.
Is that what it's all about?

-- Nora

The Dead Zone

Jesse James was 'a softly spoken 15-year-old who regularly helped his local pastor' and had the misfortune to live in Moss Side, a notorious inner-city suburb of Manchester, England, that is known as the British Bronx.

When the youngster was gunned down last year, it was suggested he might have been a member of a gang but police thought it mistaken identity and his mother vehemently insisted her “precious baby boy” was no gang member.

With the murder still unsolved, an inquest into Jesse's death has opened at which it is now suggested the youngster was accused of being a member of one gang in front of members of a rival group, sufficient enough in Moss Side to get you killed.

There's something else sufficient round there to get you killed:

Witness D, Jessie, and another teenage boy had been standing outside the West Indian Sports and Social Club in Moss Side. Witness D had wanted to “check out” a nearby party and set off on his bike. But as he did so, the other teenage boy had told Jessie that it might not be a good thing to follow his friends into the park on his bicycle... Earlier another witness, identified only as Witness A, also described the moment around 1am when Jessie was ambushed in the park.
One AM.

There's something seriously wrong when children shoot each other.

It starts when one in the morning is considered playtime.

-- Nick

Mental Giants

Reporter gets a taste of her own medicine:

Michelle Madigan, a reporter with Dateline, was apparently hoping to get one of the delegates at DefCon to confess to having committed a crime while being filmed on a hidden camera. But her cover was blown when she unwittingly confided her plans to a DefCon insider, resulting in scores of hackers and other reporters pursuing her through the conference car park armed with video cameras.
DefCon is an annual conference of computer hackers and one wouldn't normally complain about the media going after them. However, Madigan wasn't pursuing hackers:

The conference is known to be attended by federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI so that their operatives, who go undercover, can learn about the latest techniques of computer criminals... Madigan was attempting to out just such a federal agent...
Way to go, media - attend an organised crime gang conference and try to expose an undercover cop.

-- Nick

Dumb And Dumber

So poorly written that the critical stats towards the end are hard to understand and compare.

But 'staff writers and wires' managed to latch onto the important stuff:

We're fatter, unmarried and super-consumers.
And journalists are even more ignorant than they used to be.

-- Nick

Just Stop Breathing

Good news:

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated... The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes.
More environmental myth busting:

Traditional nappies are as bad as disposables... Paper bags cause more global warming than plastic... Diesel trains in rural Britain are more polluting than 4x4 vehicles... Burning wood for fuel is better for the environment than recycling it... Organic dairy cows are worse for the climate... Trees... absorb carbon (but are) major producers of methane, a much more harmful greenhouse gas.
-- Nick

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Premier Swamped

Could our dear Premier be just a tad paranoid? Beleagured? Feeling like no one loves or appreciates him?

PREMIER Peter Beattie has told opponents of the proposed superyacht marina at The Spit on the Gold Coast that the project will go ahead.

``Thinking people will support this ... it's a done deal,'' he said.

``I don't expect them (opponents) to love it but we said prior to the election that we're going ahead with superyachts and I believe we have a mandate to do so...

..."I don't want people to get caught up in propaganda.

"We want The Spit to be world class and it will be. This will be a successful, balanced development and we'll get a lot of (private) interest.

"We set the rules and the rules are the ones I have spelled out."
But let's see what the 'opponents' actually have to say about the new project:

THE State Government's revised blueprint for The Spit has been backed by the spectrum of Gold Coast groups in a rare display of consensus.

The city's lucrative marine industry believes the proposed superyacht berths will bring 'the richest people in the world' to the Coast, signalling a new era in commercial and property investment.

The Save Our Spit Alliance, which whipped up a grassroots campaign that sank plans for a cruise ship terminal, lauded the latest vision, which will ban development north of Sea World.

And environmental group GECKO was thankful private developers -- who will tender for parcels of Crown land -- would contribute to the maintenance and improvements of Doug Jennings Park and Federation Walk.

Charles Dickson, president of the Gold Coast Marine Industry Association, congratulated the State Government for promising to develop a dredging strategy.
See, was that so hard Pete?

The above exchange is clearly demonstrative of a man who is out of touch with the community. First Beattie tries to force a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast (despite having spend multi millions on building one 40 minutes up the road in Brisbane) and can't understand why people aren't swooning at his feet.

Now the Premier announces new plans for the land and belittles the people who hated the first plan.

Gee, thanks.

Whatever happened to 'Government of the people, by the people, for the people'?

Beattie has forgotten who is supposed to serve.

-- Nora

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

THE National Gallery of Victoria says its only artwork by Van Gogh is a fake.

Gallery director Gerard Vaughan said today that a specialist team in Amsterdam tested the painting Head Of A Man and concluded it was not by the Dutch Master.

However, they said it was not a forgery either.

The painting was acquired by the gallery in 1940 for £2196 and was said to be worth $25 million now.

Van Gogh's Ear
2 oz Absinthe
1 oz Grenadine
1 can(s) Grapefruit Soda
1 slice(s) Lemon(s)

Dribble Absinthe over a tall glass of ice, toss in lemon, dribble with Grenadine and serve with soda.
-- Nora

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Finger Food

Quote of the Week:

"I have never seen a truffle-hunter who uses a pig who has still got all his fingers."
-- Nick

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Conceited Affair

Jealousy is such a curse isn't it?

The latest outrage filled episode of the reality TV series A Current Affair was heavily promoted as "Australia's Richest Religions - And How They're Targeting Your Kids".

But the real agenda was revealed in the "report" and confirmed on A Current Affair's own web site - "Hillsong Expose".

For those not in the know, Hillsong is what the Americans would describe as a "megachurch" based in Sydney, filled with that most terrifying demographic - young evangelical Christians.

Worse than that, they've done the unthinkable - filled stadiums with people - when everyone knows that churches are supposed to virtually empty on Sunday because we're enlightened folk who know the real 'truth' is in Sunday trading hours and hangover recovery time.

Not only that, they've also embraced 'teh interweb' and multimedia thingie to the point they do their own TV and music stuff - including more than 30 gold and platinum album sales worldwide.

John Lennon may have famously said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus, but on the strength of those sales numbers Hillsong appears to be making Jesus more popular than The Beatles.

Awful isn't it.

And that's just the beginning of shocks as the church leadership says quite openly that it needs money to carry on its work which includes bulkbilling medical centres in poor local communities, micro-enterprise development funding, counselling services for victims of sexual assault and drug/alcohol abuse.

And why not, research has proved time and again that regular church-goers are far more generous with their time and money than the irreligious.

A Current Affair thinks all of this is a bad thing - bad religious people: how dare they do good things in the community, have fun and earn a quid?

These nutters should be more like them. You know, like Ray Martin who earns $2million a year for... well, who knows what he does for the money or maybe like the Big Brother slappers who are willing to strip for a quid.

Just like all reality TV shows, A Current Affair can't do anything original. The story concept used footage ripped off from the little watched, taxpayer funded sheltered workshop known as Andrew Denton's Enough Rope in which the ABC breaks its own taboo of spruiking commercial product in order to interview a disaffected former Hillsong member.

Gee, no agenda to see here, is there?

-- Nora