smile, you’re on…   30/6/2003

Thanks to the King of Country and Western Suburbs Music, Dave “High in the Saddle” Dawson, for forwarding this essential information for motorists in the State of Victoria, soon to be entirely underwritten with revenue from speeding fines.

Locations of fixed and elapsed time speed cameras around Melbourne.
Most important are the speed and red light combination camera types
that are very active –
* Cnr Orrong and Dandenong Rd Caulfield
* Alexandra Pde
* Smith St Fitzroy, just before the Eastern Freeway
* Stud Rd And Wellington Rd cnr. Rowville.
* Swan St Bridge and Alexanrda Ave opps Myer Music Bowl

New permanent speed cameras in Melbourne –
* Monash Freeway, 600m before entering the tunnel heading towards the city.
It’s hidden behind an overhead road sign.(80kph). Even though this one is
openly publicised by the media and the state government, it continues to
catch over 700 drivers per day!

Westgate Freeway – Princes Highway.
* On the top of the Westgate Bridge.
* Hoppers Crossing overpass
* At the first Werribee exit.
* At the Little River exit.
* Point Cook overpass.
* Point Wilson overpass.
* At Corio Just before you arrive at the Waterslide in Geelong.
Note: These are elapsed time trigger cameras, they estimate your
average driving speed between checkpoints. So slowing down before
each overpass will not fool them. All these cameras are positioned in both
the inbound and outbound lanes and tricky to see.

Western Ring Road.
* Boundary Road – Laverton North.
* Western Highway – Ardeer.
* Calder Freeway – Keilor East>
* Tullamarine Freeway – Tullamarine.
* Pascoe Vale Road – Glenroy.
* Widford Street – Glenroy
* High Street – Thomastown.

If you did 10kph over the speed limit all the way from Melbourne to
Geelong, you can expect up to $125 fine on each one and the loss of 1demerit
Each camera is able to book cars doing even 5k’s over the limit.

* Eastern Freeway – 5 more cameras.
* Monash – 5 more.
* Calder Freeway – 9 more cameras, from Keilor to Kyneton.
* Hume Highway to Albury – 11 cameras.

Other Highways on the proposed list are as follows –
* Western Highway – Ardeer to Ballarat.
* South Gippsland Highway – Dandenong to Phillip Island.
* Goulburn Valley Highway – Seymour to Shepparton.
* Princes Highway – Pakenham to Traralgon.

Also being considered are Mount Alexander Road, Nepean Highway,
Dandenong Road, Burwood Highway, Sydney Road, Springvale Road and
Ferntree Gully Road.

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A stickler for the Groucho Marx position of not wanting to join any club that would have me as a member, I’m not about to send my membership application off to the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party of Australia.
But if I were to join a political party, according to Yobbo’s political rating test, the LDPA is where I should hang my hat.
After answering Yobbo’s quiz I’m told my economic freedom index is 15, and my social freedom index is 13. Which makes me a bleeding heart compared with Professor Bunyip (19-14)

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pretty plants   

Before moving on to the next inconsequential to grab your blogster’s fancy, this here’s a spider orchid, the type of which can be found in these parts. As mentioned in the comments box further down, the coastal heathlands around here are rich in native orchids, which are beginning to appear now.

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über-mediocrity, indeed   

For put downs, this scorcher by P.J. O’Rourke is Olympic gold by the length of the straight. The Peejer lets his bile talk after having to wade through Hillary Clinton’s 800 pages of tripe.

However, it says something unflattering about our era that prominent political figures–who used to write declarations of independence, preambles to constitutions, Gettysburg addresses, and such–now use the alphabet only to make primitive artifacts, like the letter-inscribed tablet that Charlemagne is said to have put under his pillow each night, in the hope he’d wake up literate. Conservatives, including most of the Founding Fathers, have always worried that the price of a democratic system would be a mediocre nation. But George Washington and William F. Buckley Jr. put together could not have foreseen, in their gloomiest moments, the rise of Clinton-style über-mediocrity–with its soaring commonplaces, its pumped trifling, its platinum-grade triviality. The Alpha-dork husband, the super-twerp wife, and the hyper-wonk vice president–together with all their mega-weenie water carriers, such as vicious pit gerbil George Stephanopoulos and Eastern diamondback rattleworm Sidney Blumenthal–spent eight years trying to make America nothing to brag about.
Has he ever said anything better?

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SUCCESS   29/6/2003

Delight on the decking. For five years now, we’ve been spoiling an orchid rotten in the forlorn hope it would bring us splendour. At one stage it was better fed than me. We got one flowering shoot last year and I decided bugger it, from now on it could fend for itself. This week it began producing 12 magnificent flowers on two shoots.
dads birthday 021.jpg

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FIZZER   28/6/2003

Oh dear, seems I got a little over-excited about the drop kicks from Critical Mass and their blockade last night of the Burnley Tunnel.
A few hundred cycloanarchists turned up for their ride through the tunnel, causing it to be closed to gas-guzzling traffic for 45 minutes.
No doubt because of widespread media coverage throughout the day, regular traffic appeared to make other arrangements. The Age reported that VicRoads traffic controllers said the event did not seem to have caused congestion in other parts of the city, suggesting motorists had kept their distance.
Seems then, that if Critical Mass’s aim was to disrupt dreaded carbon-burning commuters, they failed miserably and for their efforts got lungs full of residual diesel and petrol wastes.
Opposition Leader Robert Doyle got stuck into the Victorian Government for letting cyclists — normally banned from the privately operated tunnel — stage such a demo, branding the closure “political correctness gone mad”.
Doyle suggested Critical Mass sounded like the anarchic activists behind anti-globalisation demonstrations, he said. “This has the smell of a professionally organised S11/M1 type protest,” he said.

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CITY CHAOS   27/6/2003

A mob of bike riding anarchists, Critical Mass, aided and abetted by Australia’s increasingly least competent copper body, the Victoria Police, is set to creat chaos tonight by blocking Melbourne’s main north-south thoroughfare during peak traffic hours.
Critical Mass, which claims to be promoting public transport and bike commuting, has gained permission to ride the Burnley Tunnel section of City Link private tollway for two hours from 6.30.
Bikes and pedestrians are usually banned from the tunnel, the usage of which costs motorists about $7 a trip. City Link estimates it will miss out on revenue from about 7000 vehicles during the protest.
The blockade of up to 2000 cyclists will seriously disrupt traffic flows at the busiest period of the week as commuters head home from the city for the weekend and football fans descend on Melbourne for the Geelong-Essendon game at Telstra Dome off City Link. Forecasted rain is expected to aggravate the situation.
Interruptions to City Link traffic flows in the past have logjammed traffic back to Geelong, 90km away.
Melbourne talkback radio waves have been crackling with listener anger since officer in charge Superintendent John Manly said the demonstration had been allowed for “democratic reasons”. Victorian Police Minister Andre Haermeyer has refused to go on radio 3AW and explain why a gang of anarchists has been permitted to create pandemonium.
Supt Manly couldn’t provide radio presenters with a contact name of number for a representative of Critical Mass, who describe themselves as ”a disorganisation — an organised coincidence”.
A truck driver told 3AW he was considering arranging for a group of truckies to block the tunnel before the bikeriders entered, tying up police resources further.
As I’ll be heading off to work about 3.30pm, I’m hoping Tony the Teacher — who lives just up from the Burnley Tunnel — can post more on this tonight.
Judging by the anger of rational residents, commuters and footy fans there’s every chance of trouble in the city tonight.
UPDATE: Andrew Hairdryer has spoken. He’s not happy with the demo but says he didn’t want to breach the separation of powers convention with the coppers. Supt Manly says permission was given because anti-war demonstrators have been allowed to have demonstrations recently in the streets.
Supt Manly has not commented on the fact that the streets are free public thoroughfares in which bicycles are permitted. The Burnley Tunnel is privately operated and bikes are banned.
Motorists booked for going 3km/h over the limit by revenue chasing Victorian wallopers might consider protesting by blocking the entries to Coles Myer’s city store for two hours during a peak shopping period. According to Supt Manly, it’s their democratic right.
Tony the Teacher says his neighbourhood is unaware of the demo: “Local residents don’t seem to know anything about it. No flyers, nothing in the local rags. I was just talking to a couple of cafe types in the local milkbar. ‘Protest? What protest?’ Either they’re in on it or they don’t care.”
Jack Hoystead says Critical Mass demos are regular events in Sydney: “About once a month they disrupt peakhour traffic by riding in large groups through our already congested streets. Not every amusing if you are doing the child care pick up rush.
It does seem as if these green groups are given a lot of license by the cops.”
Supt Manly personifies the drastic change in police culture over a generation. Back in the 60s-70s, his dad, Sgt Jack “Sailor” Manly, was the nemisis of any
young buck in the Warrnambool district who even considered stepping out of line. Get a bit boisterous in the street Saturday night and Sailor would appear from nowhere. Backchat and it was a clip on the ear or a kick in the arse. Anything worse and it was a visit to your old man with firm instructions to bring you into line.
Only fools crossed Sailor. But he was fair. He only booked crooks.

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Yobbo has been pondering one of the great mysteries of modern life:
Say you do the right thing by Allah, and blow yourself up, killing X number of Jews/Christians/etc. You get to heaven and WOAH! 72 virgins!
Sounds great I know, but when you think about it, how long is 72 virgins gonna last? Assuming you want one every day, you are going to run out of virgins in less than 3 months!
I mean sure, they were virgins when you got there, but after a million years or so, they are gonna be worn out old hags.

Yobbo’s alternative is infinitely more preferable.

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Pen this in your blogger-spotters diary. David Morgan is to appear on “Who wants to be a Miyyionaire” on Monday July 7. How Dave’s going to prepare for the quiz while caring for 1-y-o Rosie could be problematic. He should consult the guru of tot distraction, Lileks.
Dave has posted a heartfelt eulogy to his mother Noela. It’s a nice read.

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Dammit, I work in the media and should have said this yonks ago. But I couldn’t put it as succinctly as The Wog:
Oz Citizens’ ability to speak – and be spoken to – the democratic freedom of speech referred to – has never been and is not controlled by media or media owners. Media is a mere part of that speech. Oz citizens consume that media and engage in a discourse about it. And who owns the media is a freakin’ irrelevance to me and my thoughts and just about everybody else. Some Canadian guy? Do not care. Some former Oz guy now American citizen? Could not give a stuff. Some Brit tabloider? Not interested. My eyes and ears are firmly on the content. End of story. If one bloke on the whole planet was the employer of every single journalist on the planet, there would still be a variety of views getting published. Know why? Cos there’s a variety of consumers and they are not sheep and they wanna consume different stuff. And the guy is in the game to make money and that means selling the variety to the consumers who want it.

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Bloody crims, you can’t trust them. Following the execution last weekend of Melbourne gangster Jason Moran and his bodyguard Pasquale Barbaro, the Herald Sun has told its classified advertising staff not to give credit to anyone placing bereavement notices. It’s either credit card or cash. Seems that when Moran’s brother Mark was offed a while back, the Hun incurred a shipload of bad debts from mourning mobsters. They ignored their final notices and no debt-collecting agency was prepared to knock on their double-barred doors.

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Forget Kerry Packer and a bag of money, the most dangerous place in Australia is between a teacher and a holiday. Chalkies have a keen knack of sticking their noses to the breeze and sniffing the chance of an extra day off when the rest of us can only smell the grease and sweat of the saltmine. Case in point are student-free days, in-training sessions or whatever the latest edu-babble name is for days when the only kids in school are the slobs who don’t have a uniform code, ie, the teachers. They have these days at the Catholic school up the road from our place. My kids attended there and teacher-only days were invariably on the Friday or Tuesday of a long weekend, usually the Friday. In many cases these necessated special care arrangements or a sickie by parents. Any suggestion to the school that perhaps these days could be arranged during the generous holidays that teachers already enjoyed was met with the sort of hostility chalkies normally reserved for concerned parents who point out that Jason can’t read or write yet he’s being promoted to Year 11. So all a contrarian parent can do is adopt guerilla tactics and point out to other parents how the teachers’ car park is chokka block in the mornings of student-free days but in the afternoon as bare as a teen’s knowledge of Australian history.
Thus, it was a knowing ear that turned to the report from a caller to Jon Faine’s program on 774 this morning. A parent was justifiably cranky that his kid’s school — St Mary’s in Ascot Vale, a suburb of Melbourne — had yesterday announced the school would be closed next Friday. This was due to the funeral in the church next door on Friday of Pasquale Barbaro, a gangster’s bodyguard who was murdered with his boss at the weekend. School administrators thought the attendance of Melbourne’s underworld and the accompanying media circus would be too disturbing for the little cherubs of St Mary’s. Pig’s arse. Apart from the fact that most sub-teens would be thrilled — and perhaps be encouraged to want to know more — at the opportunity to see crooks, their molls, their kids, undercover cops watching proceedings and the inevitable TV cameras recording the whole shebang, a murdered crook’s one-hour requiem mass is no reason to give a day off school.
But by heck, it’s a good excuse for something more lively than a funeral. You see, Friday is the last day of the school term. And the teachers won’t even have to turn up in the morning.

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Hate to think what the Washington Post. regards as a loss for affirmative action.
A six-justice majority of the US Supreme Court has rejected, as too mechanistic, the University of Michigan’s undergraduate affirmative action program, under which members of these “under-represented” groups get an automatic 20-point bonus on the 150-point scale used to rank applicants.
In an accompanying case, a slender five-justice majority upheld the University of Michigan law school’s approach to enrolling a “critical mass” of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, under which the school considers each applicant student individually and sets no explicit quota.
Now it seems to me that the court has ruled against a racist policy that rated a B black student equal to an A white student.
Yet the Post describes the judgements as “a qualified but resounding endorsement of affirmative action in higher education”. That’s got to be the dumbest appraisal of news since “Mr Hitler is a force for progress in Germany”

JAMES TARANTO at the Wall Street Journal has a more reasoned take on the judgements, referring to a “substantial but not total defeat for racial preferences”.

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I’m still getting the hang of posting pix, so must practise. This is my daughter Erin with Eamonn Murphy, son of good friends Debbie and Noel.


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Benched buffoon   

I don’t believe NZ beak Judge Michael Lance is corrupt. But he’s a fool and I have no doubt time will reinforce that view.
This judicial joke yesterday allowed one of Australia’s most notorious drug barons to escape a New Zealand prison sentence because a 12-year-stint at Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison had caused him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder and had contributed to him bashing a man during a pub brawl.
Darryl Leigh Sorby, once the head of the notorious Mr Asia crime syndicate in Australia and known in criminal circles as Mr Midnight, was recently convicted in an Auckland court of trying to launder $NZ400,00 ($A350,000) earned through the sale of ecstasy and of the vicious assault of Donald Hunan at a New Zealand hotel six years ago.
Sorby is a horrible piece of work who ran the heroin industry in Victoria in the 1970s and can take a great deal of responsibility for the overdose deaths of scores of users, the corruption and subsequent disbandment of the Victoria Police Drug Squad and an unparallelled crime wave that accompanied the introduction of large scale supplies of the drug.
In 1984, Sorby, a former merchant navy officer, was sentenced to a then record 23 years in prison by the Victorian Supreme Court for conspiracy to traffic $10 million of heroin.
It was the first successful prosecution of criminals involved in the Mr Asia drug syndicate, which controlled most of the heroin trade in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s. He was released after serving less than half of his sentence in 1995 and deported to New Zealand.
After assaulting Mr Hunan, he spent six years hiding on a yacht before he was arrested by police investigating ecstasy rings in 2001.
Stupid Judge Lance accepted expert opinion that Sorby’s violent behaviour might have been a result of the trauma he experienced in Pentridge and that he had developed a “post-traumatic stress disorder” as a result.
“My reasons are that you spent 12 years in prison in Australia in some institutions that are regarded as the toughest in the world,” Judge Lance told the court. “I have expert evidence from a clinical psychologist… that after serving that sort of period of incarceration, and drinking, (it) might well trigger an automatism-like reaction.”
Suppose the ”automatism-like reaction” defence is worth a run next time Sorby’s before the bench. You’ll get only odds-on it will be within a year.

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You’re a f—ing dog, mate, you’re going to die, you f—   

This headline demonstrates just how out of touch are left broadsheets like THE AGE.
Screaming Bali survivor confronts Samudra, the Spencer Street Pravda’s web site hollers.
The story is about a rolled gold, 100 per cent angry Aussie, Jake Ryan, who paid out yesterday in an Indonesian court against the murderous vermin behind the bombing that killed hundreds, including 88 Australians.
Blokes like Ryan don’t scream. They mutter, they curse, they shirtfront you and if they’re your mate, they’ll go all the way for you. And if some cowardly maggot blew their mates into pieces for no other reason than their racial and religious origins, they’ll give that bottom dweller no end of verbal grief. But they don’t fucking well scream.
Ryan, 22, rushed towards the accused and shouted, “You’re a f—ing dog, mate, you’re going to die, you f—” after Samudra raised his arms and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).
Samudra is accused of being the field commander of the October 12 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people and injured hundreds at the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar in Jalan Legian.
Ryan lost his teammate Billy Hardy, his right heel, had other people’s bones embedded in his legs and shrapnel pierced his abdomen. He was on crutches for four months.
“When he started shouting, I thought, ‘you f—ing smart arse – I’ll have you. I got a bit of a rush.”
Tim Blair is organising an apt tribute to this great young Australian — an electronic tarpaulin muster, so we can all buy beers for Jake and his mates at the Southport Footy Club. Go to the Blair hovel now.

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Thanks to Angry Anderson for direction to this rundown on the new Governor-General Michael Jeffrey’s take on things.
G-G Mick’s opinions are going to send what Matthew Hayden calls the ”Fluffy Wuffies” into a collective fit. But if they respond in their usual hating, spitting, snobbish frenzy, they’ll only alienate themselves further. For the G-G’s values are much the same as those held in 90 per cent of households nationwide.

Says family life holds the key to many of our social problems. “The ideal family, the one with the greatest potential for happiness and success is the traditional one – mum, dad and the kids.”
“If we decide to pump heroin into our veins we have to accept responsibility for that outcome.”

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GAGSTERS   23/6/2003

Jay Leno: Al Gore is looking for backing for a liberal cable TV and radio network to counter Fox and conservative radio shows. Gore says there is no outlet on the air for liberal or “progressive” viewpoints. You know, besides ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, HBO, Bravo, BET, Showtime, the Lifetime Channel, MTV, IFC, Oxygen and National Public Radio … other than that, there is no place for liberal expression.

Here’s a fascinating story. Paleontologists … I said that without screwing it up … Paleontologists in Africa have unearthed three human skulls believed to be over a 160,000 years old. And right next to the ancient skulls, they found sharp objects that may have been crude weapons. They found weapons. Today Bush said: “See, I knew we’d find weapons, we just have to keep looking! They’re down there, just keep searching!”

David Letterman: Doctor Phil is coming out with a book on how to lose weight. Hey, do you want to know how to lose weight? Get off your ass and stop watching Doctor Phil in the afternoon!

Hillary was on the show last night. She’s everywhere. She’s on TV, she was here last night, and this weekend she’ll be back at Barnes and Nobel to sign autographs of the new Harry Potter book.
Her book has sold over 200,000 copies. She’s making so much money on the book that Bill wants to sleep with her!

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The Age introduces a veritable freak show of bizarre deep-sea creatures, including these

Deep-sea sharks, stingrays, rattail fishes and invertebrates (creatures without backbones) are among species discovered, while blobfish, prickly dogfish, giant sea spiders and other things not on a fish’n’chip menu were also caught in the nets.
Scientists on the month-long Australian/New Zealand voyage, on the research ship Tangaroa, also found extinct volcanoes as they mapped the sea floor during the 10,000-kilometre trip.

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SIMPLY MAGIC   21/6/2003

Bill Whittle loses a leprechaun, atomises UFO myths, and celebrates real scientific achievement in his mesmerising essay, Magic. Oh, and he also defines heuristics. Take off half an hour, grab your preferred beverage and revel in Bill’s work. Every sentence is a perfectly made brick building an unassailable wall of reason. Brilliant.

Right up into the late 1950’s, when Sputnik lit a fire under science and technical education, US public schools performed magnificently. Now I’m not a professional educator, but I suspect this might have had something to do with the fact that we were more interested in teaching history, science, writing, literature and math than we were about raising self-esteem, discussing birth control and indoctrinating political and environmental beliefs. There were specialized people who taught these things way back then, and they were called “parents.” The only “soft science” taught in those days was “citizenship,” a class that sounds so dated and quaint today that we can only lament how far we have fallen. The idea that we would teach people how the system works, rather than telling them what to think about it, has long gone. And we continue to pay the price for it.

Anyway, some time in the late 1960’s Sauron gets the Ring and along comes the Hippie movement. Their entire philosophy was summed up succinctly in a slogan from the times: if it feels good, do it.

This sounds simplistic and childlike. In fact, it is: but it is also extremely subtle and pervasive, and as a personal philosophy it has enormous seductive power. It frees you from the constraints of discipline, study, responsibility and ethics, not to mention relieving you of the burden of making choices based on evidence, reason, logic or fact.

Now those Hippies are college professors, and post-modernism is their Grail.

You know the drill: No objective reality. All truth is relative. You can believe whatever you want, when you want. You can be descended from Atlantean Priests! You can have Mental Powers to move objects, read the future, and speak to dead people! Even better, you can save six billion trillion tons of silicon, nickel and iron in the third orbit around the sun – a sphere that has endured 5 billion years of asteroid impacts, volcanoes, ice ages, and having its core knocked out and into orbit — by holding up a piece of wood with some lettered cardboard on one end and by marching down the street chanting two-line political philosophies!

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