Friday, January 27, 2006

The Week And The Strong

The election of Hamas in the Palestinian election places the terrorist organisation in an 'interesting' position.

No longer able to hit and run against Israel while hiding behind the previously ruling Fatah Party, it must now decide whether to continue terror activities against its neighbour.

They'd do well to think long and hard about it because as ruling party any aggressive action by them can be legitmately interpreted as a declaration of open war between the countries.

And as we know, a lot can happen in just less than a week.

-- Nick

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nick And Nora Found Guilty...

...Of neglecting The Thin Man Murder Mystery!

Thank you MB for pointing out our grievous neglect. Honestly we didn't think anyone was following that closely!.

We do intend to finish the story and we promise ::hands on heart, drink in hand:: that another chapter will be posted over this coming weekend.

-- Nora

No Repeats: World Premiere Australian History

Prime Minister John Howard has used an Australia Day speech to call for 'a coalition of the willing' to help improve the knowledge of Australian history in our schools.

"Au contraire," cry leftie minded. "Students learn plenty of Australian history. Just take a look at our 'society and environment syllabus'."

Hmmm, so that's what became of the subject-formerly-known-as History.

Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and the height of computer sophistication was an Apple IIE, we were taught the First Fleet, the Early Colonisation of NSW and the Gold Rush. For students who didn't take Modern History from Year 11, Australian history may as well have stopped in 1890. No wonder no one can name Australia's early Prime Ministers.

Perhaps much has changed in the decade or two since since I was at high school. So let's take a look at SOSE (SOSEd - that sounds like how I feel after a couple of our cocktails).

In fact let's all have a look - the 52 page PDF is here.

History, history... They said I'd find something about it in here, 'Nature of the key learning area', 'Contribution of the key learning area to lifelong learning', 'Cross-curricular priorities', 'Core and discretionary learning outcomes'. Nope, nothing about history in the contents.

Let's try a search. Okay, now we're getting somewhere... Over ten years of education in Queensland your children may or may not learn:

Page 6 A range of interrelated concepts associated with particular key values and processes underpins the Studies of Society and Environment key learning area. These are drawn from disciplines including history, geography, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, law, psychology and ethics; and studies, such as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Asian, Australian, civics and citizenship, enterprise, environmental, futures, gender, global, media, rural, peace, and others.
Gee, after all that when do they actually study times, places or dates? let's look further...

Page 20 Level statement
Students understand the contributions, causes and effects, and differing perspectives about particular developments in Australia’s history and can use a range of evidence. They also understand how to organise information about these developments and can make predictions about Australia’s environmental and social futures (emphasis mine).
Core learning outcomes
TCC 3.1 Students use evidence about innovations in media and technology to
investigate how these have changed society.
TCC 3.2 Students create sequences and timelines about specific Australian changes and continuities.
TCC 3.3 Students use knowledge of people’s contributions in Australia’s past to cooperatively develop visions of preferred futures.
TCC 3.4 Students organise information about the causes and effects of specific historical events.
TCC 3.5 Students describe various perspectives based on the experiences of past and present Australians of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Discretionary learning outcomes
TCC D3.6 Students investigate family ancestors to determine cultural, political and social reasons for their life experiences.
TCC D3.7 Students create a cause and effect game for peers to match events in Australia’s past to environmental changes.
TCC D3.8 Students explain the attitudes expressed in a newspaper about a human
Huh? Howard is right on the money when he says: "You can't learn history by teaching issues. You can only learn and understand history by knowing what happened, why it happened and, of course, teaching of issues and influences is clearly part of that."

Okey, dokey, is there any more history to be had?

Page 21 TCC 4.3 Students share empathetic responses to contributions that diverse individuals and groups have made to Australian or global history.
Awww, give me a big hug Sir Lawrence Bragg.

Some of the recommended individual and groups:

Page 40(C)ontributions of diverse individuals and groups to Australian or global history Italian sugarcane farmers, Snowy Mountains Scheme, civil rights movements, Greenpeace(!!))
Now here's the truth:

Page 35 By organising the core learning outcomes of the Years 1 to 10 Studies of Society and Environment Syllabus in various ways, subjects and/or courses of study may be created. Three optional subject syllabuses — Civics, Geography and History for Years 9 and 10 — have been developed.
It's crazy, two of the most useful subjects (amongst the busy-work subjects like Futures and Dance), a person can learn, History and Civics are optional!

And you know what they say about history...

-- Nora

Is This A Great Country Or What?

Happy Australia Day to all.

Nicky and I spent the day with friends and took a cruise down Brisbane River to visit a US Aircraft Carrier (snapped by Nicky), followed by lunch at a sushi bar.

How very multicultural of us.

Enjoy our national day with a:

Green and Gold
2 oz. Galliano
2 oz. Tequila
dash Blue curacao
Pour tequila and galliano into a champange glass then very carefully add a drop of blue curacao in the middle. This will give the drink a two toned effect of green and gold.
-- Nora

Monday, January 23, 2006

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Tough words from Detective Superintendent Ken McKay the newly appointed head of the Enoggera Task Force:

"If the members of the Middle Eastern community want these people dealt with by the laws of this country, they need to stand up," he said.

"We can no longer have them put their heads in the sand and blame everyone else. It's up to them to get into it."
But I see several problems:

1. Members of Middle Eastern communities don't necessarily support the laws of this country.

2. They will protect their own to the detriment of the community at large.

3. They will continue to blame everyone else

-- Nora

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Low Kilometres, Some Off-Road Use

This embarrassing tale of a 'Highway Patrol' car bogged in mud is only the public side of the all-round stuff-up involving the purchase of several Holden Monaro V8s by the Queensland Police Service.

The bright red coupes - around $70k apiece - were purchased and paraded a few months ago in what was obviously a public relations stunt similar to the 1980s attempt to introduce a Highway Patrol with bright yellow Ford Falcons.

Those vehicles, trumpeted by the Police Minister and the Police Commissioner in a 'look at what we're doing to keep the roads safe' launch, were seen around for a few months - often on surburban roads, not the highways - and then quietly disappeared.

I predicted the same outcome for the new QPS Monaros, which I've seen out and about only three times - twice on the highway and once booking a driver in the car park of a suburban shopping centre.

But when I gave them until the end of the year I may have been being optimistic. An acquaintance in the know reports that certain sections of the QPS are furious about the poor fuel efficiency of the big V8s and the cost of servicing the cars and much criticism is being made internally about the decision to buy them in the first place.

So come the end of the financial year, there may be a few second-hand Monaros up for grabs.

Unfortunately, it looks like one or two might have some underbody damage.

-- Nick

Just Add Water

The RoP's War On Lifesaving continues:

Stunned witnesses said about 30 youths had punched and kicked staff, including a young woman, on the grass at Oak Park Aquatic Centre about 4pm yesterday.

One witness, Alex, said families had recoiled in horror at the bashings. "I've never seen anything like it," Alex said. "I thought, 'Not another Cronulla'. There seemed to be dozens of people involved, with most wading into the staff and people trying to help them.

"They all appeared to be Middle-Eastern youths."

Three male lifeguards and one female security guard had been set upon by the group. The staff, including one who suffered a smashed cheek, had been taken to hospital for treatment.
No Alex, not 'another Cronulla', just another Maroubra.

-- Nick

Care Factor Zero

'THE grieving mother of a 16-year-old girl killed in a shocking car crash in Perth on Friday morning blames police for the tragedy', reports the WA Sunday Times.

Nikkola's mother, Joanne Hayward, 41, choked back tears yesterday as she spoke of her bubbly daughter who loved socialising and playing pranks on her siblings.
It appears Nikkola also enjoyed participating in or associating with the perpetrators of bag snatching and car theft.

The drama started when police went to a Bentley house with a search warrant relating to a bag-snatch complaint.
She was killed while fleeing police in a stolen car.

While police had already called off the pursuit prior to the crash, the dead girl's mother thinks that wasn't good enough:

She said the police should have aborted the chase straight away. "There's no excuse. It shows the arrogance of the police," she said.
And this just shows the welfare/PC state-enabled arrogance of the criminal class.

Frankly, I would not have shed a bitter tear if all the occupants of the vehicle, indeed all the occupants of all stolen vehicles everywhere, died in the crash, except perhaps for the manner in which the government might use the growing road toll to further restrict the freedom of the law-abiding motoring community who actually buy their own cars with honestly earned money.

-- Nick

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bringing Men Together

One of the nicest pieces I've seen on the community building power of blogging I found in The Courier Mail this week.

It's author is Brisbane pastor and Courier Mail contributor Ruth Limkin.

Her blog (and the post) is here.

It reminds me of this quote:

Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures— in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together.
- Antoine De Saint-Exupery, "Terre des Hommes" (translated into English as "Wind, Sand, and Stars"), 1939.
-- Nora

Soft Justice

The offence is punishable by a maximum of life in jail and the magistrate, Deborah Sweeney, called it "one of the most serious [to] come before the court".

But Sweeney still granted bail to two men charged with aggravated sexual assault in company.

Why not? Australia has a history of granting bail to sex criminals and can boast of being responsible for the torture and murders of at least seven young women in the United States after freeing Christopher Wilder.

Despite Wilder's previous conviction as a teenager for involvement in a Sydney gang rape and other sex crime arrests subsequent to his migration to the US, he was nonetheless released on (an admittedly large) bail in Australia in 1982 after:

"... grabbing two fifteen-year-old girls from a beach and forcing them to pose without clothes for photographs. Cartel says that he bound them into subservient positions and masturbated over them... His parents posted his substantial bail and he was allowed to return to Florida until his trial, set five months away. Then it was postponed, and postponed again, and by the time his hearings were finally scheduled for April of 1984, he wasn't an easy man to find. Had even one of these judges understood the danger of this sexual predator, he might have been stopped before so many girls died." -

-- Nick

Sleepless In The Saddle

Wondering about the prolific blogging below?

It's a little bout of insomnia.

On a completely unrelated topic, annoying men.

No, not Nicky (who's fast asleep), he's an absolute darling. I was thinking more along the lines of Lleyton Hewitt and Heath Ledger, LH and HL.

Sore losers, media tarts, they are idiot psychological twins separated at birth.

They are complete anathema to real men and to women who prefer real men.

I really don't think whinging about a queering pitch or pitching the queer are career making moves for either of them.

Oh alright, the above raving was an excuse to theme the cocktail of the week:

Cock-sucking (CS) Cowboy
1 part Bailey's Irish cream
1 part Butterscotch schnapps
Fill a shot glass with equal amounts of each, pouring in the schnapps first, then the Baileys, so that it sits on top without mixing.

-- Nora

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

When everything old is new again...

An interesting analysis of 80s fashions and geek chic from Despot Dom over at The Attention Brick.

-- Nora

Dopiness Runs In The Family

SCHAPELLE Corby's half-brother has been directly linked by Queensland police to the drug run into Bali that led to her 20-year jail sentence.
Well surprise, surprise. Who didn't see that coming?*

From reliable sources inside Federal Customs, we were told that was the case from the beginning. the problem had been getting evidence that would stand up in court.

The story goes that Corby and her half-brother knew the dope was in the body bag and was to have been offloaded in Sydney by criminal baggage handlers before the connecting flight to Bali.

Also, keep an eye on the name Shane John Tilyard, the cousin of Corby's step brother James Kisina who is likely to be, to use the euphemism, 'known to police'.

-- Nora

UPDATE: 4.40am
*The Gold Coast Hysterical has just updated its web site with one of the most remarkable pieces of self indulgent rubbish I've ever had the misfortune to read.

It's by police reporter Tony Wilson who has spent a lot of Murdoch's money travelling to Bali and back. I knew him to be a good bloke and a straight journalist but I have to wonder what 7 years at the GCB have done to him. The story is not archived on the site and will be gone in 24 hours but I've taken a copy if anyone wishes to read the whole thing.

The 1500 word piece is, sadly, an ample demonstration of what happens when you become emotionally involved in the story and proof positive that many reporters have a paucity of understanding when it comes to the human condition.

Witness these quotes:

IT'S 3.20am on Friday and sleep won't come. The rain is relentless and so are the thoughts going through my head.

Some are selfish. I think of the people laughing behind my back at how this tough, old police reporter has been sucked in by the Corbys...
Sorry Tony, some people will be laughing to your face, or at least shake their heads and wonder at how you can be so naive.

The news about James knocked her off her feet, but to think of 20 years for Schapelle, it will gut her.

I wish I could be in Bali now to give her a hug...
Uh, you're just a reporter Tony, not her daddy.

Last year, I lost my father, who had always been my hero and my mate, and the pain of that loss was a new and terrible experience.

But it is one I had been expecting and at 87 years of age and only a shadow of the man I had known and loved, it was the right time for Dad to go.

The pain I'm feeling now is greater, even though I'm not family and have only known the Corby clan for just less than 16 months.

This pain is born from the knowledge that not only is it wrong for Schapelle to be facing 20 years which is as good as a death sentence there, but it is how that came about.
Get the man a sedative, a psychiatrist, a new job, he's lost it!

It's getting light, so the night has gone and another day dawns, but with less hope that yesterday's dawn as far Schapelle is concerned.

PS: If you a see big bloke in a 'Free Schapelle' singlet around the Coast, treat him gently ... he's backing the right team this time.
If you want to know what's wrong with much of contemporary journalism, then you've found it right here.

What Not To Think

One of my favourite guilty pleasures is watching the BBC's What Not To Wear.

Currently screening on pay-TV, the fashion makeover show takes everyday women and shows them how to dress to suit their shape. Hosts Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall happily poke, prod and occasionally yell at their subjects in order to save them from their fashion faux pas.

Superficial? It would be if it were not for the fascinating discussions Trinny and Susannah have with these women. Explorations of self-esteem, how one relates to oneself and others provide a psychological framework for the physical transformation that is to come.

These women (of all different ages and all different sizes) learn to see themselves as attractive, vital people again.

Clothes maketh the (wo)man? Perhaps, but probably only in the sense that all women have a desire to look and feel attractive and will use clothes as a barometer of how they feel about themselves.

And that is at the heart of the appeal.

Nicky and I were discussing the program on Tuesday and observed that its spot-on message was gorgeously politically incorrect: 'dress like a woman and show off the figure God gave you'.

I wondered how long it would be before some pucker-face feminist weighed in to tell us all how awful it is.

The answer is, not long at all:

Trinny and Susannah are dogged pursuers of their own agenda; glamorously, mercilessly oblivious to any one else's. Every woman has the right - no, the duty - to look sexy and up for it, any time of day, work or play. And eventually the hapless do come around. Do they have a choice?

Frankly, it says more about journalist Janice Breen Burns (who, surprisingly, has the job as The Age fashion editor) than it does about Trinny and Susannah and the women they dress.

-- Nora

Falling Banana Kills Woman, 73

Friends said it was seen as an appropriate end to a unique and fruitful life.

Their words, not ours...

-- Nora

Truce Rejected, Strength Accepted

THE Bush administration has rejected any possibility of compromise with Osama bin Laden after an audiotape was released yesterday in which the al-Qa'ida leader cites the possibility of a "long-term truce".

Well that's good to know...

Also good to know is the USS Ronald Reagan is coming to town and will be in Brisbane on Australia Day.

Nicky and I are hoping that there might be an Open Day aboard ship.

-- Nora

UPDATE: Alas, word has arrived from US Navy Public Affairs that there will be no public open day aboard the USS Ronald Reagan...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Not So Funny

In the midst of much predictable leftie posturing and self-aggrandisement from people who doodle for a living, a rather interesting piece on what happens if you draw a cartoon criticising Islam, including this:

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette of the Tallahassee Democrat, found himself blasted by a CAIR e-mail Jihad when he drew a cartoon with the caption, "What Would Muhammad Drive?" The drawing showed a man wearing Arab headdress and driving a Ryder truck (a reference to Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh). In response to an inquiry from Jyllands Posten, Doug writes, "I was used to negative reactions from religious interest groups, but not the kind of sustained violent intensity of the Islamic threats. The nihilism and culture of death of a religion that sanctions suicide bombers, and issues fatwas on people who draw funny pictures, is certainly of a different order and fanatical magnitude than the protests of our home-grown religious true believers."
Click here and scroll down to Jan 7, Cartoon Jihads, for more reactions from the RoP.

-- Nick

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

I like Serena Williams' healthy attitude:

The defending Australian Open champion yesterday insisted she was fit and ready to play, but expressed disbelief at pictures of her taken from behind.

"I saw one of me running and I was like, wow, my hamstring is that big?" Williams, 24, said. "I had no idea my muscle was like that."
I'm going to use that one.

-- Nora

Hot In The City

We've been gently chided by Leigh for not updating and we have to offer our apologies.

Nick and I have just finished our first week back at work where we:

Inducted two new staff members
Sacked another
Reported an attempt at mobile phone fraud (item three is not related to item two)
And since we have a forum here I thought I'd share our experience.

We collected the work mail after our two week break and found a phone bill which was 10 times higher than normal.

It turned out that just before Christmas someone had taken our business name and ABN (Australian Business Number), faked up some letterhead and signed on for 10 mobile phone on a $250 a month plan each.

Because our office was closed for two weeks, the telco was unable to more closely verify the bona fides of the applicant.

The applicant walked off with 10 top of the line phones.

We got the matter sorted and the fraud was reported to police. I'm sure it's quite a common scam.

The disturbing thing is what those phone might be used for - simple resale? Drug running? Terrorism?

Anyway, Nick and I promise to keep up our blogging quota. But in the mean time enjoy this on these hot, sunny, summer days:

4 oz. 7-up
1 oz. Peach schnapps
1 oz. Vodka
Pour all ingredients over ice into a tall glass.
-- Nora

End Of Winters

The death of actress Shelley Winters ends a remarkable movie career, spanning several decades and a transition from blonde bombshell to plump brass.

Her performances in Lolita (1962) and Alfie (1966) are among my personal favourites.

She was less praiseworthy in real life - near-religious in her devotion to liberal politics, she'd revel in affairs with married men then dish the dirt in her biographies.

Ah, another great role model...

-- Nick

More Multi-Culti Madness

The West Australian police are reported adopting optional 'religiously appropriate attire' to attract Muslims and Sikhs:

NAVY blue hijabs, loose-fitting shirts and turbans emblazoned with the police logo will be part of a new range of West Australian police uniforms.

...the hijab would have a velcro section so if offenders tried to pull the cloth, it would become loose rather than strangling the officer.
Perhaps the slavering dhimmis whose idea this was would like to explain how a female Muslim devout enough to require a hijab might consider joining the police under any circumstances.

First of all she'd have to get the permission of her father or husband to work outside the home. And what happens when she's required to arrest a Muslim man?

There's a reason why there are no women cops in Islamic states, you morons.

-- Nick

Sunday, January 08, 2006

10 Reasons Why Entertainers Are Bad Role Models

1. They have anger management problems.

2. They're drug addicts.

3. They're often violent criminals.

4. They can't keep a relationship together.

5. They write lyrics like this (parental advisory - explicit language).

6. They write lyrics like this (parental advisory - violent language).

7. They support murderers.

8. They support despots.

9. They create television like this.

10. They can't see anything wrong with this.

-- Nick

Glass House Rosemary

Conservatives don't read, according the Brisbane Courier-Mail's Rosemary Sorensen. This makes them intolerant and inflexible:

TOWARDS the end of last year, erstwhile publisher Michael Duffy wrote a lament for the state of publishing. Having to admit defeat and close down the operations of Duffy and Snellgrove, one of the valiant small publishing houses in Australia, he confessed that what he hadn't counted on, when he went into the business, was the fact that right-leaning people, the conservatives, don't read.

Um, yes, Michael ... that's what makes them conservatives. If you read, widely and openly, it's hard not to find yourself leaning leftwards. Reading makes you more tolerant and more flexible.

But leftwards doesn't mean what it used to and, though convenient, it's misleading in this context. It's better to use the term liberal: reading makes you liberal.
Sorensen is, to an extent, correct - wallowing in garbage gets you covered in garbage and some of it will soak in.

The Courier-Mail Arts and Books Editor, she is, of course, 'widely read' and even has a degree in French Literature. These qualifications allow her to know with great clarity that she is tolerant and flexible and anyone who doesn't think like her is bigoted and close-minded.

Sorensen, by her own words, reveals how much of an ignorant intolerant bigot she is.

It might never occur to her that people on the right are just as widely read but may have chosen to dismiss leftist analysis and thinking as ill-formed, self-contradictory and juvenile. Further, in a 7.30 Report interview, Duffy, a former journalist whose right of centre opinion columns appeared in another lift-out section of the Saturday Courier-Mail, made it clear he was talking of reading about politics and noted 'a book about a Labor subject or person will sell five to 10 times as many copies as a Liberal (Australian conservative) one'.

Given that people generally will only buy books they imagine they will enjoy, Sorensen might like to ponder the concept that people on the left constantly need to hear or read other people agreeing with them. Perhaps conservatives don't need this constant reaffirmation.

And this need not mean they are inflexible. It just means they're mature enough to make up their mind and get on with life without having to be constantly reassured that they've made the correct choice.

Sorensen's sneering and entirely superflous cheap shot at Duffy specifically and conservatives generally takes up the whole first quarter of a review of French writer Michel Houellebecq's new novel The Possibility Of An Island. The headline - Keep An Open Mind - refers to the challenging nature of the novel but is unintentionally ironic.

Sorensen's inability to keep her hostility towards those who refuse to conform to her way of thinking underscores a distinct problem among many on the left at this point in time. Enraged by a leaning towards conservatism in Australia, England and the United States, they rail against the stupid people who keep voting conservative governments into power.

Says the illiterate leftist academic Chris Sheil, recently quoted by Tim Blair:

“When it comes to Bush, we’re dealing with a cretan. The problem with cretans in a democracy is that other cretans vote for them, and the size of this demographic is not to be underestimated. The Dems need someone who can turn the cretan vote.”
(Blair noted that when it comes to Sheil, 'we’re dealing with a cretin').

But as long as the left keeps stamping its feet and calling the general population a pack of idiots for voting 'wrong', the general pop is just as likely to keep seeing the left as arrogant and out of touch.

Incidentally, it's (just) worth pointing out that Sorensen is technically wrong (or maybe just further projecting her hatred) about Duffy and Snellgrove 'closing down'. The company is still trading, though no longer publishing new titles.

-- Nick

Note: Sorensen's sorry diatribe has not been published on the Courier Mail website. It appeared in the Saturday, 8 January 2006 hard copy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Thin Man New Year's Murder Mystery, Part III

JF Beck led them back to the body. It lay face down on the neatly trimmed grass, one arm extended as if reaching for something. “This,” said Beck, holding the half-eaten sandwich gingerly by the unmolested crust, “was over there.” He pointed to a spot two or three feet in front of the corpse’s outstretched hand.

“What makes you think it’ll identify the killer, JF?” asked Nick.

“Bite mark analysis.”

“Possibly. But it could just as easily have belonged to him,” said Nick, nodding at the portly deceased. “He looks like he enjoyed a meal or three.”

“Or five,” Beck raised him. “You know, he looks vaguely familiar.”

Nick walked round the body, surveying the scene. Finally, he looked up at Beck. “Go find a bag to keep that sandwich safe, JF. And call Inspector McEnroe.”

While Beck went inside, Nick and Nora stood by the body.

Nora gazed at the unorthodoxly sculpted hedge. “Why,” she murmured languidly, “that looks just like…”

“Indeed,” said Nick.

“Oh!” said Nora.

They stood in silence, Nora blushing lightly, until JF Beck returned, the sandwich safely ensconced in a brown paper bag

“Help me lift him enough to see who he was,” said Nick.

Beck handed Nora the evidence thus far and he and the former DA strained to roll the porcine body onto its side.

“Good God,” said Beck, “is that Michael Moore? I can’t tell, the face is too purple from the post-mortem lividity.”

“His face was always nearly that colour. You can’t eat like he did and not have a blood pressure problem. And yes, it’s Moore.”

Beck couldn’t resist a smirk. “And now he’s less.”

As they held the lifeless body of the one-time colossus of calumny on its side, straining to hold his weight, Nick quickly scanned the front of the body. A fleck of tinsel adhered to the front of his distastefully loud Hawaiian shirt.

A sudden movement behind them caused the duo to lose their grip on the body and they let it slump back face down into the lawn as Asta the dog suddenly rushed by, leaping and snatching the brown bag containing the sandwich from Nora’s hand.

“Asta! Stop!” cried Nora, but it was too late. The tiny terrier rushed away to find a private spot to eat the morsel.

“Damn!” said Nick.

“Oh, you can’t blame, Asta, Nicky,” cooed Nora, “it looked just like one of his doggy bags. And peanut butter is his favourite.”

Beck groaned. “But the evidence is gone.”

“Perhaps not,” said Nick, stroking his chin. “Come with me,” he said, leading the way inside to the parlour. The guests, herded into the room earlier by Beck, sat round the room in stunned silence.

“What’s on your mind, Nick?” asked Beck.

Strolling towards the centrepiece of the Christmas decorations, Nick Charles began to hum an old German carol.

“Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum…”

Next instalment coming soon...

Peanut Butter and Jelly
1 measure Frangelico
1 measure Chambord
1 measure Cream
Shake equal parts over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail, pony or shot glass.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Know Your Enemy

"The Australian flag was used by both sides as a symbol around which to perpetrate racial violence," says George Copeland.

So now it is banned on Bondi Beach.

You can tell Mayor Mora Main and fellow Green George Copeland, deputy mayor George Newhouse, Peter Moscatt and Ingrid Strewe what you think of them here. But also put in a good word for Liberal councillor Joy Clayton who's trying to put a stop to this nonsense.

-- Nora

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Thin Man New Year’s Murder Mystery Part II

See Part I here.

A pair of electric hedge trimmers lay near-by.

It was not a pretty sight.

It was obvious that some maniac had butchered the rich green hedge.

A particularly fine specimen had been crudely clipped into a female form that looked suspiciously like Nora.

But as for the body – there was not a mark on it.

Nick glanced back to the house. It was quiet except for the screaming.

And it wasn’t from the guests who had started to mill by the French doors.

“Mr Beck, would you mind leading the guests into to the garden room for breakfast and then join Nicky and I in the garden?” Nora asked lightly.

JF Beck nodded and herded the guests away from the corpus delicti.

The screaming continued, so Nick investigated.

Over the other side of the privet was a sad sack of a woman.

Everything about her was a landslide.

Long face, sagging breasts that ended somewhere near her knees where dirty grey track pants provided an unfortunate symmetry to her lank hair.

The woman snarled and muttered something unintelligible.

“You there! What’s your name?”

Cindy Sheehan,” the deranged woman screeched before muttering something under her breath.

Nick wrinkled his nose against her fetid breath as he leaned closer.

“bushdidit, bush did it, Bush Did It, BUSH DID IT!”

Nick’s brows furrowed. “The bushes killed him?”

“Not unless our hedge has become the woods of Birnam on their way to Dunsinane,” Nora quipped.

Nick’s sarcastic retort was lost when he saw the snifter of brandy his wife cradled. He reached for it and took large swig.

The liquid burned deliciously down his throat. Nora nodded in Sheehan’s direction.

“Whatever happened to ladies first?”

“Trust me, she’s no lady.”

Both of them watched Sheehan shamble off, hitting herself on the head with a month old copy of Newsweek.

They turned at the sound of running feet. It was JF Beck holding up a half eaten peanut butter sandwich. Bite marks were clearly discernable.

“Nick, you’d better come with me, I think I can identify the killer.”

Who is the killer? Who is the victim? Stay tuned for Part III of The Thin Man New Year's Murder Mystery.

In the meantime, for your drinking pleasure:

2 oz Brandy
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Powdered Sugar
1 tsp marascino Liqueur
Garnish: Lemon Wedge

Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

The Thin Man New Year’s Murder Mystery - Part I

Nick Charles stirred.

The sliver of daylight that shone across his face had turned in the inside of his eyelids red. Now he knew how the bad guys had felt during a tough interrogation.

The former District Attorney never imagined he would end up here, in Australia, in the blazing summer heat.

This place does everything backwards, he mused. But still you have to admire the sense of humour of a country that can sing Jingle Bells in sweltering heat, where the only relief was a Long Island Iced Tea or a G&T.

Nick opened his eyes to tiny slits. It was a big mistake.

He started to notice the little things - the dry mouth, the hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach, the noisemaker feather that brushed the bottom on his noise.

He sat up gingerly and surveyed the bedroom. Nora lay sleeping.

After a second or two she swatted at the feather that was tickling her cheek. Nicky grinned.

"Happy New Year Darling," he whispered into her ear. Nora stretched languorously.

"What time is it?" she asked.

Nick glanced at the open bottle of champagne on the dresser. "About half past Clicquot."


The trip from the master suite to the entertaining floors below revealed a ruination of revelry. Silly pointed hats and streamers littered the stairs. Empty glasses on side tables and shelves had still to be cleared by the staff.

One pair of guests had been unable to make it to their rooms and snored in drunken harmony in the facing wing back chairs in the library.

Otherwise, Nick observed, no damage done.

The welcome dark aroma of strong coffee wafted toward him and a cup of the black brew appeared at his elbow. It was delivered by Butler, the Butler.

“Thank you, Richard,” said Nick.

He watched Butler recede. He still had misgivings about hiring him, what with his unfortunate history of UN weapons inspection and that debacle as GG in Tasmania. But when the agency sent him, kind-hearted Nora insisted on giving him another chance.

Nick stepped out onto the terrace. He sipped at the coffee and surveyed the view.

A dark mass lay untidily on the even plain of the manicured lawn.

Nick strolled over and looked down. It was one of the guests.

Nick didn’t have to examine them closely to know they were deceased.

A pair of electric hedge trimmers lay near-by.

It was not a pretty sight.

Part II to follow...

... In the meantime, enjoy:

Long Island Iced Tea
1 part vodka
1 part tequila
1 part rum
1 part gin
1 part triple sec
1 1/2 parts sweet and sour mix
1 splash Coca-Cola

Mix ingredients together over ice in a glass. Pour into a shaker and give one brisk shake. Pour back into the glass and make sure there is a touch of fizz at the top. Garnish with lemon.