Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rolling Stone Succumbs To Gravity

A NEW Zealand newspaper has reported that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was airlifted to an Auckland hospital with a head injury after falling out of a palm tree in Fiji.
Keith up a coconut tree?

He's nuts.

Falling Star
3/4 oz sambuca
top with whisky or bourbon

Pour white sambuca into shot glass 3/4 of the way full. Slowly pour a little whiskey on top almost dripping it into glass. This will cause the appearance of a "Falling Star".
-- Nora

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Monty Python Moment

A California woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise has been awarded $AUD2.25 million.

Hell, for two and a half million bucks, they can spank me next.

-- Nick

Does Not Compute

Bikers United Against Child Abuse?

Oh, bikers. Yes, those organised criminals trafficking in illegal firearms and running extortion, prostitution and drug rings...

-- Nick

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Too Stupid To Be Allowed To Live

One wonders how someone has enough brain power to walk and chew gum, let alone drive when their 4WD sports a decal on the tailgate reading:

I Heart Kiddie Porn
It's an old grey Toyota Hilux Surf SST getting around the Gold Coast. If you see it, don't forget to give the driver a wave.

-- Nick

Sunday, April 23, 2006

V For Vomit

Two great reviews; one bad movie.

-- Nick

The Mix Master

The tragically mundane death of an Australian soldier in Iraq, apparently accidentally shooting himself in the head while cleaning a gun, isn't dramatic enough for journalist Glenn Milne.

Under the headline 'Digger died while cleaning gun' (story link | archived screenshot), Milne first writes:

THE accidental death of a young Australian soldier in Baghdad who died while cleaning his gun will be the subject of a full military inquiry.
Then confusion enters Milne's mind in paragraph two:

The soldier, a member of the Third Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), died while maintaining his gun (my emphasis) inside his barracks in Baghdad on Friday afternoon.
Ok, cleaning is maintenance. However, by the very next paragraph, Milne decides neither are dramatic enough:

The gun accidentally exploded (my emphasis), shooting him in the head.
The journalist and his sub-editors are apparently satisified with this hyperbole because they stay with it in the caption of the accompanying photo:

Accident ... gun 'exploded', shooting soldier in head
Unfortunately, the completely misleading photo shows a soldier with a rifle and the dead man was cleaning a pistol, as Milne and the lazy slack-arsed subs know very well since Milne's next paragraph states:

It is unknown whether there was any fault with the weapon, believed to be the standard issue 9mm Browning pistol.
If it exploded, you can bet there was a fault with it. But what actually happened is it discharged, a much less emotive word used in a later quote from Defence Minister Brendan Nelson:

"The soldier was simply handling his weapon and maintaining his weapon as soldiers are required to do and, for some unexplained reason, the firearm discharged and the bullet unfortunately entered the soldier's head," Dr Nelson said.
Kudos to Nelson for announcing that:

...the man's wife would be involved in drafting the terms of inquiry into the death so that she would be "absolutely comfortable" with the process.
and hats off to the soldier's widow who stressed:

...her husband "loved being in Iraq and loved his job".
where he was a sniper.


-- Nick

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's Hard Enough Just To Keep Up

The Gold Coast Bulletin's positioning statement is 'Catch Up...' as if reading the rag will somehow get you up to date.

But, as frequently happens, it's the paper itself that's lagging seriously behind.

Witness this Saturday morning's GCB website, captured here in screenshot, and contrast the date of the news with the actual date in the bottom right.

-- Nick

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sailing Close To The Wind

On the subject of cruising, shortly before our departure Today Tonight did a hatchet job on Brisbane-based Pacific Star.

Although Nicky and I didn't see the story we were keenly aware of the affect it had on other passengers and the crew.

From what we learned, hidden camera footage was taken of young people drinking and partying.

The story inferred that Pacific Star was little more than a floating hellfire club.

First time passengers we spoke to were understandably nervous after seeing the report, more experienced travellers were angry - what was shown on screen bore no resemblance to their previous journeys. Indeed Today Tonight acknowledged that some of the footage shown was faked.

For the crew, this was the first cruise since the story broke. Tentative jokes made by the cruise director at the sail away party were met with enthusiastic shows of support and from there the mood lightened.

After a little further investigation by the redoubtable Nicky discovered the extent of ill-feeling towards Today Tonight and the depths to which the show plunged in order to get its piece of sensation.

First of all, the self-selecting nature of the cruise means that the standard behaviour of the guests is generally higher than the typical nightclub. Indeed despite reputations as bon vivants, staying out after 2am is a novel experience for Nick and I. Yet despite this, there was no air of hostility or underlying violence that one recalls from youth.

The truth of the matter is events on cruise ships are carefully organised.

Yes people imbibe, certainly more than usual, however they are on holidays and they are certainly not short of food to eat. Contrast this with a typical night on the town of your average twentysomething.

In fact if a staff member feels that a person is drunk, their cruise card (their onboard ID and 'cash card') is restricted to non-alcoholic purchases only for 8 hours. Highly visible security staff are attentive and friendly yet we did not see them have to use their authority at all.

Everyone onboard, including the rather engaging skirt-chasing young men whom we befriended, were uniformly well-mannered.

What we did learn is security had their eye on the Today Tonight cameraman. The unnamed male, aged between late 30s to early 40s, had been noticed hanging around people 15 to 20 years his junior until 5am each night of the cruise. This man did not drink but spent most of his time filming the youngsters.

Certainly suspicious behaviour but nothing which can be done without a complaint.

Of course pleasure cruising is newsworthy particularly in the light of the Dianne Brimble inquest and from all account P&O have put a number of procedures in place since the woman's unfortunate death in 2002.

The question is what procedures do the media have in place to ensure fair, honest and accurate reporting?

M&M cocktail recipe
1/2 oz hazelnut liqueur (frangelico)
1/2 oz creme de cacao
Serve straight up in a shot glass.
For a longer drink blend ice, milk and M&Ms, add frangelico and creme de cacao. Finish with whipped cream and some whole M&Ms.
-- Nora

Williamson's Delusion

Isle Of Pines, April 2006. Photo by Nick Charles
Australian playwright and self-confessed 'elitist' David Williamson delivered a controversial speech in September criticising what he considered to be the ignorant and self-indulgent 'aspirational' Australians he was forced to mix with on a South Pacific cruise.

Having just completed that route ourselves leads Nicky and I to the conclusion that Williamson has lost touch with the real Australia and worse still, lives in a rarefied world befogged by his own arrogance that any contribution he might have to offer to public discourse founders on its own irrelevance.

While a mere 20 of 2000 may have joined Williamson on the tour of Renzo Piano-designed Tjibaou Cultural Centre, perhaps he may have learned more about Noumea, its history, culture, lifestyle and people had he and his wife rubbed shoulders with the many hundreds of their fellow Australians who took the 90 minute Le Petit Train journey from the Harbour up to the Ouen Toro Lookout and the monument dedicated to the Allies that defended New Caledonia and the South Pacific from Japanese invasion.

Perhaps if Mr and Ms Williamson had stepped out of their air conditioned tour bus to actually walk around Noumea itself they will have seen another group of aspirationals - Noumean locals, predominantly Melanesians, who were walking around the city block street markets buying and chatting about their purchases, just as the white Australians tourists were doing.

It seems Williamson is too ignorant to appreciate the egalitarian nature of commerce. Perhaps he is too ignorant of history to know that every great leap in cross-cultural understanding is transacted in the free and frank exchange of goods and services - just ask the good people of Port Vila, Mystery Island and Wala.

If travelling broadens the mind, it seems to have shrunk Williamson's to a palmnut.

His narcissistic, insular beliefs don't embrace people, it keeps them at arms length. People are there for his amusement or fodder for increasingly bitter and depressing plays.

One of our fellow travellers is a person that Williamson would undoubtedly hate.

He doesn't know Rubens from a Renoir, a John Fowles from a John Steinbeck. He's never heard of David Williamson, let alone seen one of his plays, but as a keen veteran AFL player this man might appreciate The Club.

But in parting with some of his filthy lucre for a pleasure boat ride with one of the locals on Mystery Island, he learned that two years earlier (a mere 18 months after Williamson's cruise) that 200 of the 1000 inhabitants of the nearby islands had died of malaria.

As we caught up with him for dinner each night he shared with us what he had learned on each of the island stops - the cannibalism may have stopped but the young men still get themselves into serious internecine fights, a young woman with a bracelet on her upper arm is married, Walans face a sustainability crisis if their permanent population swells to 500 from its present 300.

Williamson obviously spent so much time looking down his considerable proboscis to have learned anything of this.

One of our National Living Treasures wonders about the concern for 'the Indonesian and Filipino crew members who were away from their families on low-wage contracts for up to 10 months, or queried why they had one kind of lifestyle and we had another.'

Perhaps if Williamson had actually participated in conversation with his fellow cruise passengers he might have learned as we did, our table waiter Hermies has a young son that he hopes to see in a few months time, that he has worked for the cruise company for four years and loves his job, not just the money it brings.

Maybe there was a Neilen he might have bumped into from a previous cruise who had been promoted from drinks waiter to table waiter who has his eyes set on a further promotion to an even larger ship.

If he had spoken to one of the Australian crew, he could have learned that the assistant cruise director Ellen had completed her Master degree in Tourism and Hospitality and is considering a PhD in the subject.

But no.

The truth of the matter is Williamson, like all cultural elites, are misanthropes at heart.

Cocktails Mr Williamson? Here's one especially for you:

Midori Illusion
1 oz Midori melon liqueur
1 oz vodka
1 oz Bacardi white rum
1 oz Cointreau orange liqueur
1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
pineapple juice
Pour the Midori, vodka, Bacardi white rum, Cointeau, blue curacao and pineapple juice (to taste) into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well. Top with lemonade, stir again gently, and serve.
-- Nora

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bon Voyage

Blogging at The Thin Man Returns will be non-existent as Nicky and I enjoy a nine-day cruise around the South Pacific.

Waving from the balustrades with glass in hand, the cocktail is, of course a

Bon Voyage
1 shot Gin
1 shot Tequila
1 dash Lemon juice
1 dash Blue Curacao
Add the shot of tequila and shot of gin over ice in a cocktail glass. Mix a dash of lemon juice and dash of blue curacao over gin and tequila. Stir lightly. Best when drunk with a straw.
-- Nora

Space: The Fiscal Frontier

And Australia's own astronaut Andy Thomas is leading the charge for a tourist spaceport to be built in South Australia's Woomera.

Dr Thomas said Australia should follow the lead of the U.S. state of New Mexico, which has just allocated $150 million to build a facility for space tourists near its White Sands missile range.

"It will need something of that magnitude," he said.

"I think that's something that Australia needs to get on board with.

"One of the best places in the world to run commercial space flights is Woomera."
Inspired choice.

Woomera has a long connection with the space race.

-- Nora

Cow Tipping Goes Xtreme!

SLAUGHTERED cows and buffaloes are being airlifted into hungry NT communities cut off by floodwaters.

The carcasses are strung underneath helicopters and dropped into remote communities near Katherine.
What a moooving story.

-- Nora

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

History Repeats

Oh no! Little islands in the Torres Strait are disappearing according to The Courier Mail.

PANICKED island communities threatened by rising sea levels in the Torres Strait have demanded action before their homes are washed into the sea.

More than 2000 people from at least six separate communities could lose their land and livelihoods as global warming pushes the shoreline ever closer.
It must be global warming.

Saibai Island chairman Jensen Warusam said the flooding of January 27-28 frightened locals, though the island had experienced massive flooding in the late 1940s which led to partial evacuation.

Or perhaps there is another reason.

Jeff Callaghan from the Queensland weather bureau confirmed the sea was encroaching on low-lying islands in the Torres Strait...

..."I can't say global warming is responsible, but I can say the weather patterns that we experienced in the period 1948 to 1976 are returning to the area," he said.

Normal weather. Interesting.

If there is an on-going problem perhaps it lies with natural coral compression.

Let's raise a glass to the coral reef:

Coral Reef
1 shot Avocaat
2 shots pineapple juice
1 shot lime juice
Shake with cubed ice. Strain into an ice-filled high ball glass.

-- Nora

Weakness Of Conviction

NSW police were plenty tough on Cronulla rioters but hung back from enforcing the law with the same vigor when Middle Eastern gangs went on the rampage.

Now they're showing again show how soft they are on ME crime gangs:

CHARGES against six Middle Eastern revenge attackers from the day after the Sydney riots have been dropped on legal advice. In a major setback for the investigation into the riot aftermath, police have been told there is insufficient evidence to secure a conviction for the charge of riot and affray against the men...

It could also mean others in the sights of police for being part of the violent mob of revenge attackers at Brighton-Le-Sands could now escape charges. The group of six whose charges have been dropped include three 18-year-olds from Fairfield, Picnic Point and Punchbowl, a 20-year-old from Auburn, a 21-year-old from Punchbowl and a 22-year-old from Heckenberg.
It makes this week's announcement of a blitz on ME gangs a poor joke and only invites accusations of uneven application of justice.

-- Nick

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

For Whom The Bikini Atolls

How difficult it is to keep one's mind in work mode when there is but 36 hours to 'Anchors Aweigh!'.

Nora has been researching essential South Pacific information such as this while oneself has been researching elsewhere.

Oh, and here is a recipe for another type of bikini:

Bikini Cocktail
1 oz white rum
1 twist lemon peel
2 oz vodka
1/2 oz milk
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Shake rum, vodka, milk, sugar, and juice of lemon with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Decorate with a twist of lemon.

-- Nick

Reconcile This

If ever you had wondered about Islam - this from is not so much amusing as tragic:

A MAN who accidentally "divorced" his wife in his sleep has been ordered to separate.

Aftab Ansari uttered the Urdu word for divorce, "talaq", three times in his sleep, prompting his worried wife to discuss the matter with her friends, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Under Islamic law, a husband need only say "I divorce you" three times to secure a permanent end to his marriage.

Muslim leaders in the couple's village in West Bengal state found out and decreed that Ansari's unconscious utterances constituted a divorce.

The religious leaders said that, before remarrying, the couple would have to be apart for at least 100 days and that the wife, Sohela, would have to spend a night with another man and then be divorced by him.

But 30-year-old Ansari said he had no intention of leaving his wife of 11 years.

They have been ostracised because of their refusal to abide by the decision of the village leaders.

-- Nora

Well Uh, Like Duh

SEXUALLY charged music, magazines, TV and movies push youngsters into intercourse at an earlier age, perhaps by telling them that everyone else is doing it, a study shows...

...Youngsters "may begin to believe the world view portrayed and may begin to adopt the media's social norms as their own", it said. "Some, especially those who have fewer alternative sources of sexual norms such as parents or friends, may use the media as a kind of sexual superpeer that encourages them to be sexually active."
At least someone has noticed.

Sex and expressions of sexuality are wonderful between adults (especially between married couples ::giving Nicky a comehither look::), but it is certainly not appropriate for 16-year-old girls walking around with the Playboy Bunny emblazoned on their baby doll T-shirt.

There's time enough to explore the complexities of human relationships and to learn that sex should not be a commodity. Give the kids a chance to grow up first.

-- Nora

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Muslim Cleric Speaks Truth

On the vile subject of female circumcision.

Dr. Muhammad Wahdan: I have no relation to reality.
-- Nora