Rocks off   31/7/2005

As promised, here’s a pic of the remaining Apostles by the Great Ocean Road. It was a bleak day with a bitter south-westerly blowing in the type of Scotch mist that soaks an Irishman to the bone.

rocks

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Tough talk   

French advertising mogul Maurice Lévy has an unpalatable message for his countrymen:
Lévy said France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants – “losers”.
For good measure, he described the 35-hour week as “absurd” and the wails of complaint that followed Paris’s loss of the Games to London as “pathetic”.
Mr Lévy said the French had only themselves to blame for losing the Olympics, and that the country needed a wake-up call. “We have narrowed and stunted ourselves and we paint ourselves as losers, and no one wants to be among the losers. It’s time we opened our eyes wide, took an icy shower and looked reality in the face: we are in decline, going down a slippery slope.
“The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry has reminded us of our [public] debt and the fact that we are living beyond our means. We knew the figures, yet no government for the last 20 years has wanted to draw a conclusion from them. The figures that attest to our decline are known to all.”

Euro-socialism, ain’t it grand?

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Pro tour   

Here’s a Sunday smirker:

A man walks into his bedroom and sees his wife packing a
suitcase.
He says, “What are your doing?”
She answers, “I’m moving to Sydney. I heard prostitutes there
get paid $400 for doing what I do for you for free.”
Later that night on her way out the wife walks into the bedroom
and sees her husband packing his suitcase.
When she asks him where he’s going, he replies, “I’m going to Sydney
too, I want to see you live on $800 a year”.

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They’re at the barrier   30/7/2005

Back from the bush just in time to post tipster Charles’s fancy for the gallops today. Charles has a fine tale to tell about an encounter with a woman of faith.
Readers of Slatts News probably heard of Sister Philomena of the Sisters of No Mercy, the committed nun who taught Bernie his tables and the elements of English grammar, in an era when nuns devoted a good part of their lives to making absolutely sure that Catholic children had the grounding of basic knowledge to get them through life, often dealing with classrooms of up to eighty pupils. This week I was given the chance to visit her.

They don’t make nuns like Sister Philomena anymore. The industrial strength nuns of the past have been replaced by a watered-down, wishy-washy group of guitar-strumming, soft lefties who teach their pupils more about the ‘environment’ than the Catechism, and who think that Benedict XVI should ‘rethink the Church’s position on birth control’. In a sense, I was going to visit living history.

The Convent of the Sisters of No Mercy is as sedate and lovely as ever, even though these days it is practically empty. I was ushered up to a white-washed room, where Sister Philomena awaited me in a wooden chair with a hand-tapestried cushion, possibly a gift from some of her girl pupils in the past.

On a nearby table was a heavy wooden foot ruler with ‘McAlpin’s Flour’ printed on it – reminding one of the time when rulers were frequently used as a medium for advertising.

“A memory of my teaching days,” explained Sister Philomena, who seemed as bright and intelligent as ever, even at 97.

She had not let the ‘reforms’ of Vatican II disturb her faith, and noted that the new pope “seems to be a young man made of the right mettle.”

I asked her about Bernie.

“Now let me see…Slattery, you say his name was…ah, yes – Bernard? I remember him. Second row, sixth desk from the front. A mischievous little imp, he was. But with a lot of spirit. If you are in touch with him, ask him to visit me some time. I always like to see my old pupils.”

Like many Victorian nuns of the pre-Vatican II era, Sister Philomena had a strong interest in the turf, and a fanatical devotion to the Collingwood Football Club (although such interests were never revealed to her young pupils, of course). In fact as I entered her spare and simple cell I had noticed on one end of the mantelpiece a statue of St Therese of Lieseux cradling a bunch of plaster roses, and at the other end, as tall and as black-and-white, a proud and defiant plaster magpie.

“That was one of the best things about being a nun in those days,” she mused, enjoying her memories, “it gave one a chance to wear the club colours.” Her smile and the glint of her glasses were almost challenging – as anyone of Bernie’s age will confirm, the old nuns were practically mind-readers, and she had probably guessed that I was a Hawthorn supporter.

Her sporting interests were part of my reason for visiting. I needed a good football question for Bernie’s column, and a tip for the Valley on Saturday. I handed her a copy of the Herald Sun form guide, and she could not get her reading glasses out quickly enough.

“Dismissal looks good in the sixth…my goodness, where do they get the names of races these days? It must make the racecallers blush just to say them. It wasn’t like that in the days of Joe Brown and Jim Carroll.

“So…Dismissal, two units each way. Let’s splash out. Your punting is much too conservative…so like a protestant, if you don’t mind me saying so.

“As for a football question, I’m happy to oblige. The Collingwood Football Club has always been famous for its brothers. Name any four sets of brothers who played for Collingwood. So there you are. And give my fondest good wishes to young Bernard.”

As I walked in the shade of the ancient peppercorns that lined the convent driveway, I glanced up to see her at her window, waving her walking stick in farewell.

Moonee Valley R6 (3.30pm) No 5, 2 units each way.

I nearly forgot – last week’s answers. The only grand final where the winning team scored less goals was 1968, Essendon versus Carlton, and the only grand final in which the premiers were outscored in three out of the four quarters was 1989, when Hawthorn built up a big quarter time lead against Geelong, and then had to withstand a hard and blistering comeback by the Cats for the next three quarters.

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Brrrrrrr!!   29/7/2005

Here we are in sunny er, wet, windy Warrnambool after a bracing journey down the Great Ocean Road. Will post some pix tomorrow.

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No Slatts?   28/7/2005

Bernard has gone off on holidays for a few days. Sadly due to the server move, he was not able to mention it.

Won’t be posting here until Saturday morning as the beloved and I are heading down the Great Ocean Road to check out the 12, er 10, er 9, 7? Apostles and other attractions.

Cheers,
Slatts

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Ridiculed   27/7/2005

This, from The Australian today, should be the last word on the disease of postmodernism in secondary English education:
Your editorial argues that students need “the basic tools of comprehension and written expression”. Defending critical literacy, the President of the NSW Professional Teachers Council says that “Luke Slattery clearly advocates for the dumbing down of our students”. Advocates for? Looks as if it is the teachers who need the basic tools of grammar.(My bold)
Graham Simpson
Stratford, Qld

Unfortunately, lefty humanities teachers are generally not the sharpest knives in the drawer, so it’ll probably go straight through to the keeper. Ah well, a generation of illiterates guarantees continued employment for middle-aged sub-editors.

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No thappy beloved leader   26/7/2005

The North Koreans are staging their own version of the Margoid’s Webdiary.
Indignation meetings were held in different parts of Korea, resounding with yelling “Let us resolutely smash the Japanese reactionaries’ hostile policy and moves for reinvasion against the DPRK!” and “Let us take revenge on the Japanese militarists hundred and thousand times for imposing all sorts of misfortunes and sufferings upon our people!” and so on.

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Serious journalism   

Bush’s nomination for the US Supreme Court must be a cleanskin.
All that a sniping bitch at the Washington Post could nail him on was, fergawdsakes, the clothes his kids wore.
Separate the child from the clothes, which do not acknowledge trends, popular culture or the passing of time. They are not classic; they are old-fashioned. These clothes are Old World, old money and a cut above the light-up/shoe-buying hoi polloi.

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Bulgarian booty   

Nothing gets the interest antennae quivering like the discovery of ancient treasure.
SOFIA, Bulgaria – Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,400-year old golden treasure in an ancient Thracian tomb in eastern Bulgaria, the director of the country’s History Museum said Monday.

treasure

The most impressive finds included a golden ring and wreath, finely crafted silver rhytons, or horn-shaped drinking vessels, and many golden and silver pieces of armor and horse trappings, Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“This was an extremely rich funeral, suggesting that the buried man could have been a Thracian king,” Dimitrov said. “Although he was not buried according to Thracian traditions, all objects of art bear Thracian imagery.”
The king’s body was laid in a huge wood-paneled pit together with two horses and a dog, while Thracian kings were usually buried in vast stone tombs under huge earth mounds.
The Thracians lived in what is now Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Romania, Macedonia and Turkey from 4,000 B.C. to the 8th century A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

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Illuminated lefties   25/7/2005

Finally, the decent Left are speaking out. Writers, commentators and thinkers who in other times would lambast Bush and Howard at every opportunity are declaring there are far worse enemies than the Centre-Right of liberal democracies. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is among dozens of lefty luminaries to have logged on to Unite Against Terror. And he’s not reticent about right-wing leftists. Other signatories include Times columnist Oliver Kamm, author Melodie Johnson Howe, the Observer’s Nick Cohen and of course, Christopher Hitchens. Phat Phil and his ilk must be feeling lonelier.
Here’s Tatchell:
We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left-wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called ‘resistance’ in Iraq. This ‘resistance’ uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi – stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn’t care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.

Hat tip to Special Sauce

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On the move   

Mine capitan, Patrick, is moving the Observation Deck to a new server, so there could be a hiccup or two at this site over the next day. I’m sure it will all turn out OK.

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Medico castration would have been useful   

General practitioners are, or try to be, wise, compassionate, tolerant types. Usually. But a doctor in Sydney’s west who fathered four sub-human rapists has shown that even the noblest professions can be tainted by monstrous filth. Miranda Devine profiles Dr Disgusting:

Dr K has maintained his sons’ innocence all along, even after viewing in court one of the videotapes police found inside their rented Ashfield house. It showed a comatose 13-year-old girl, drunk or drugged, and the brothers performing degrading criminal acts on her body.
During one of his sons’ trials, Dr K revealed his views about Australian girls to a reporter: “What do they expect to happen to them? Girls from Pakistan don’t go out at night.”
In court Dr K complained his sons, “did not know the culture of this country”.

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Over-bidding   24/7/2005

Definitely worth no more than 12 cows and 20 goats:

chelsea

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Apemen   

SCIENTISTS have been warned that their latest experiments may accidently produce monkeys with brains more human than animal.

Old news. How do you think Carlton got their supporters?

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Worth a squizz   

If anyone in Australian television programming had a skerrick of smarts they would be screening My Son the Fanatic in prime time. Repeatedly.
It’s a lovely little yarn about a Pakistani father and husband’s quest for a peaceful life and success for his son in their adopted English homeland. I stumbled across the film on Foxtel in the early hours last week.
What makes it so topical is the teenage son turns his back on his parents ambitions and takes up with a mob of mad young Muslim extremists.
The upshot is that bumbling but tolerant Dad finds unexpected love while the doted-on son heads off in the direction of hate.

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Saved from the saviour   

Stablemate Mirko Bagaric offers a hitherto unfielded justification for invading Iraq: to free the people not just from the Saddam, but from the UN’s clutches.
Bagaric mounts a plausible case:
The sanctions lasted for over 12 years. It has been estimated that between 227,000 and 500,000 children under five died as a direct result of the sanctions. These are not dodgy figures produced by Saddam sympathisers. At the high end the source is UNICEF. The low end is respected Columbia University Professor, Richard Garfield.

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Bolt guity of Marrder   

The “blame Iraq” media left are getting skittled like the Poms’ mid-order.
On Insiders (not updated yet) this morning, Bolta was clearly out to nail sissy sook David Marr’s hide to the wall.
The SMH-ABC’s sultan of smarm couldn’t get any backing for his pathetic “let’s ask why they hate us” hackneyed line, and was already smarting when Bolta asked him to name one Australian Muslim leader who had specifically denounced Islamic terrorists.
Sooky-pants tried to change the subject and waffled about a spokesman for some Imam being helpful, but Bolta kept gnawing.
In the end all Marr could come up with was the stock-in-trade insipid lefty’s response to rationale: He accused Bolt of racism.
And the best part of it was that the half-smart, self-obsessed Marr knew he had come across as a stupid prat. A joy to behold.

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Pretentious teachers   23/7/2005

Yes, it’s a given that some things are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.
So who’s left with post-modernism after the deservedly ridiculed humanities departments are forced to dump cultural and moral relativism and deal with the undeniable truth that many of their students are illiterate?
That would be the next species down the stupidity chain, the teachers, many of whom caught post-modern infections from the aforementioned university intellectuals.Our tenth cousin removed, Luke, explains:

Twenty years after postmodern theory stormed university humanities departments, it is working its way into Australian classrooms, politicising the study of books, films and emails, now grouped under the catch-all of “texts”.
The culturally relativist theory, which teaches that there is no such thing as objective truth, has largely fallen out of fashion on university campuses.
But the new lease of life it has been given in secondary education, under the guise of “critical literacy”, is a trend Mem Fox finds “engraging” (BS: I think it should be “enraging”.)
“It just drives you mad, it really does,” she told The Weekend Australian yesterday.
“You’d have thought academia had moved on from this … I don’t think people are as stupid as that any more, to tell you the truth.”
For Australian academics John Stephens, Ken Watson and Judith Parker, compilers of the manual From Picture Book to Literary Theory, the story of the Three Little Pigs is really about “the virtues of property ownership and the safety of the private domain” — both “key elements of liberal/capitalist ideology”.

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Bon jour? No for Paul   

This is quite possibly John Howard’s ultimate triumph over the dumb, leftwing, conformist media pack. That’s probably why it is impossible to find online at any of the Australian majors websites. Keep it safe for reference when the next whining appeaser moans, “they’re paying us back for Iraq”. I guess they need a new mantra. As spiralling petrol prices reflect world shortages, “it’s all about the oil” sounds more and more stupid. Here’s (Scroll down to 1.49pm) Johnny making the pompous, but transparently lightweight, Paul Bongiorno look an utter dill:
PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don’t want to add to what the prime minister has said. It’s a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it’s given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia’s involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn’t have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq — a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations — when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don’t know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can’t put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I’ve cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

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