Wheel dropkicks   30/8/2006

I’m a keen cyclist and try to get at least 100km a week under the saddle. But as far as I’m concerned those lycra-clad, shaven-legged poseurs aboard $5000 machines who insist the road is theirs and theirs alone do nothing but damage the noble pursuit of pedal pushing. Like the dickheads who participate in Melbourne’s Hell Rides in which riders hijack a public road for unapproved races in which traffic regulations are ignored. An elderly pedestrian died at the weekend when hit by one of these cowboys.
DOZENS of speeding cyclists failed to help a dying man knocked down by a rider during a dangerous bayside race.
Witnesses said up to 50 cyclists continued their 60km/h charge in the so-called Hell Ride after the elderly man was struck.
Cyclist Justin Heitman told the Herald Sun yesterday how he cradled 77-year-old James Gould as he lay on Beach Rd.

Justifiably, outrage has greeted the prospect that the responsible cyclist may incur only a $300 fine for ignoring a red light. Do that in a car and you’re up for culpable driving and a generous spell in the slot.
Douglas, at Mangled Thoughts, rants righteously about this tragedy.
Similarly, outrage erupts whenever a mob of arseholes who call themselves Critical Mass use bikes to regularly disrupt peak-hour traffic in Melbourne. Yet the pathetic Victorian plods let them get away with it. Presumably because many of the pseudo anarchists are from the inner burbs and full of socialist moral superiority about non-polluting conveyances and advancement of public transport. Which makes them fellow-travellers of the fat slag and comrades at plod headquarters.
What amuses me most about “look at me” bike riders is that most qualify emphatically for the old adage of “strong in the legs, weak in the head”. A couple of years back I endured the most unpleasant experience of the Great Victorian Bike Ride. Imagine seven days on the road with 8000 riders, queuing for hours daily for tasteless food, stinking portaloos and cold showers. Jeez, I went to Sunbury in the 70s and have had my ration of discomfort amid masses of smelly stupidoes.
Anyway, one image from the ride is embedded: This conceited goose in lycra and aboard a graphite frame pedalling up and down a steep hill three times to show the puffing plodders just how good he was.
Later my pal and I came across him trying to impress a couple of women with a lecture on the importance of diet and preparation for biking performance.
The silly prick was still wearing his Tour De France lycra shirt he’d had on earlier when performing his tricks. The stinking garment was emblazoned with the Gauloise brand, quite possibly the most unhealthy product ever produced for human consumption. Dumb prick hadn’t a clue.
Anyway, time for a ride. Better get out the old baggy T-shirt, boardshorts and sandshoes.

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McZealots   29/8/2006

There was a time when the Scots were regarded as humourless, intolerant, lawbook-brandishing, bible-bashing wowser bastards. Well, that was the opinion of my Hibernian ancestors.
Not a lot has changed, it seems.
Richards appeared to light and smoke a cigarette during a Stones concert in Glasgow – an act now illegal in Scotland.
It may have been a characteristic act of rebellion – or an understandable lapse of memory – but Richards seemed unaware of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places, which was introduced in March.
Now Glasgow City Council is investigating Friday night’s incident. “This has been brought to our attention and we will be looking into it. Glasgow City Council takes its responsibility for enforcing the smoking ban very seriously,” the council said.

Presbyterian plonkers!

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Round-up   28/8/2006

Tell me something I don’t know.
TEACHERS are not as smart as they were 20 years ago, an Australian-first study concludes in a finding that will reinforce concerns over declining classroom standards.
An analysis of literacy and numeracy tests confirms the standard of student teachers has fallen substantially and that dwindling numbers of the nation’s brightest students are choosing teaching as a career.

You read it here first.
SMOKERS and cigarette sellers are going to extraordinary levels to avoid graphic new tobacco warnings.
Retailers are displaying packets upside down so the explicit health warnings are not visible to customers.
And smokers are requesting specific packs, which have statistical warnings rather than gruesome images of smoking-related illnesses.
Other are buying cheap plastic cigarette packet covers or transferring their smokes to “retro” glo-mesh containers.

Can Nicole Kidman explain her movements this morning?
A WIG-wearing BMX bandit robbed a Commonwealth Bank in Melbourne at gunpoint this morning, riding to a local park to make his getaway.

He’s a good boy and doesn’t want to upset his mum.
Madin Azad Amin, 29, of Skokie, was stopped Aug. 16 at O’Hare International Airport after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.
When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.
He later told officials he’d lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn’t want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

The Times observes the tide has turned:
That multiculturalism really is officially dead and buried can be inferred both from Ruth Kelly’s comments last week and, indeed, from the title of the commission that the government had convened in the wake of the July 7 terrorist attacks last year and to which her observations were made.
In fairness, Kelly, the communities and local government secretary, merely posed the question as to whether the creed had resulted in division and alienation. “Have we ended up with some communities living in isolation from each other?” she asked. That she was speaking wholly rhetorically is evident from the title of the commission: the Commission for Integration and Cohesion. You don’t get either of those things with multiculturalism: they are mutually exclusive.

Of course, it’s all a bit late for Ray Honeyford:
It has all been a long time coming. Some 22 years ago Ray Honeyford, the previously obscure headmaster of Drummond middle school in Bradford, suggested, in the low-circulation right-wing periodical The Salisbury Review, that his Asian pupils should really be better integrated into British society.
They should learn English, for a start, and a bit of British history and a sense of what the country is about; further, Asian (Muslim) girls should be allowed to learn to swim despite the objections of their parents (who did not like them stripping down even in front of each other). Muslim kids should be treated like every other pupil, in other words.
For these mild contentions, Honeyford was investigated by the government, vilified as a racist by the press, ridiculed every day by leftie demonstrators outside his office and was eventually hounded from his job. He has not worked since.

I’m sure the Left, which is always at leaders to apologise for past wrongs, will be queuing up to say sorry to Honeyford. And Porcine Airlines is cleared for landing.

A lovely fellow departs far too early.

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Not interested, perverts   

Good Lord, for the past few days this site — and WordPress — has been blitzed with porno spam. Any other Observation Deckhands copping it? Is it beatable?

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Job’s a pain in the …   26/8/2006

What gene is it that causes us to laugh like drains at unfortunate peers when something excruciating occurs to their nether regions?
Responding to a call from the very entertaining Richard Stubbs on ABC radio yesterday for tales of painful misfortune, a bloke rang with a story about his skiing mate somehow spearing his scrotum to his leg with his ski pole. The “pal” and the ski rescue crew all thought this was hilarious and didn’t try to hide their amusement from the human kebab.
Here’s another tale of accidental woe down there sparking much mirth among acquaintances. It’s from my brother, Tim, in Perth.
Next time you have a bad day at work… think of this guy. Rob is a commercial saturation Diver for Global Divers in Western Australia. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to a radio station in Perth, who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest. Needless to say, she won.

G’day Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you’ve been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it’s not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It’s a wetsuit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to
keep warm is this:
We have a diesel powered industrial ‘water heater’; this $20,000 piece of equipment sucks water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a hose, which is taped to the side of the suit. I’ve used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wetsuit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It’s like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my arse started to itch. So, of
course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my arse started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was already done.
In agony I realized what had happened. The machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don’t have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn’t stick to it. However, the crack of my ar –e was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my arse. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His
instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all in fits of hysterical laughter. I was then instructed to make three agonizing in-water compression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my arse as soon as I got into the chamber. Yes the cream put the fire out, but I couldn’t poop for two days because my a -se was swollen shut. So, next time you’re having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your bum.
Now repeat to yourself, “I love my job, I love my job, I love my job”.

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Lucky lad   

OK, I’m cynical enough to know this won’t hurt someone’s career one little iota.
But softie enough to smile at the chutzpah, pride and pleasure involved.
And media hard-arsed enough to know a ripper story when it hits the desk.

YOU could call Daniel Dibley the luckiest kid in Australia.
When his mates ask him who he is taking to the Year 12 formal he can, without a word of a lie, tell them Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins.
In a victory for studious kids nationwide, the 17-year-old Bathurst High School student yesterday became the coolest dude in school after Hawkins answered his letter of invitation – and said yes.


“When I saw the letter from Daniel, I thought `that’s cute’, he went to that effort and he was nice and I’ve never been to Bathurst,” Hawkins said.
“I didn’t have anything in my diary for that day and I love doing random things – and school formals rock.”

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Wowsers whacked   25/8/2006

Nothing sweeter than thwarting the health and safety nazis. And in the process seeing nice little earners accrue to hobbyists and old stall-operating hippies at craft markets. One of the biggest sellers at markets and tobacconists are leather and metal cases for carrying cigarette packets. The containers have swamped the market in response to the nanny state’s decree that ciggy makers must adorn their packets with ghastly photographs depicting the results of smoking. A diehard Marlboro mate has even gone to the trouble of pasting and lacquering a classic Marlboro pack to the outside of his metal case.

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Fooled again   24/8/2006

I suppose it’s a comfort to Terry Lane to know he’s not the only media dupe. But really, it’s a concern that so many journalists publish whatever they get because, like Lane, it’s what they want to believe.
Via the Bolta, the latest fabrication to fool the fourth estate.

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This could Kostya   

Operation Wickenby, the joint federal investigation into suspected tax dodges that was mentioned here yesterday, has snared a couple more big names in its web:
TRIPLE world boxing champion Kostya Tszyu was an unwitting pawn in an offshore trust structure allegedly used by promoter Glenn Wheatley to create an illegitimate $400,000 tax deduction on the proceeds of one of his fights.

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Mishing link   

Could this be a first? Identification of the geographical source of a contemporary colloquialism.
My sister-in-law arrived to pick up her daughter from secondary college in Warrnambool in Victoria’s southwest. The 13-year-old was unimpressed that the family Holden was missing a hub cap.
“That is so ‘mish’, Mum,” she declared.
“Mish” in the local teen argot is an abbreviation of “commission”, referring to housing commission estates where presumably hub caps are a dwindling commodity.
The girl’s English teacher was intrigued by the expression and has told the class that neither she nor colleagues were aware of its usage elsewhere.
I ran the word past colleagues and it was a newie to them.
So, has any reader come across “mish” as a variation of bogan or westie?
I recall an old workmate on the Queensland rail used to refer to his home town of Cherbourg as “the mish”, but that was because it was an Aboriginal mission site.

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At last   

Early nomination for Australian of the Year:
THE founder of Australian mobile phone giant Crazy John’s has attacked “self-appointed” Muslim leaders, accusing them of destroying his community’s progress, and questioning their allegiance to this country.
John Ilhan, one of the nation’s most successful Muslims, yesterday blamed many first-generation community members for being opposed to Western ideals and cultural diversity, and accused them of “conditioning” their children to follow in their footsteps.

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Campaign trail riders   23/8/2006

Looks like they’re starting to take Kinky Friedman seriously in his run for the Texas governor’s job.
And he’s got some capable riders in his posse:
Friedman: I can charm the pants off these legislators much better than he can, and I will bring in people. Willie Nelson is ready to go with biodiesel coops, farmers’ coops all over the state to make a biofuels industry, to lead the parade not follow it. I admire Lance Armstrong because he’s managed to irritate the French for seven years in a row. Lance and Willie will never have their hand in Texas’ pocket, nor will Kinky Friedman. So I think what I’m saying is, get the politicians out of politics and then we’ll get somewhere.
NPT: Politicians seem almost a necessary evil, like rich people.
Friedman: I don’t think it is; there’s always some crooks in there. Right now if you came up with a good idea it wouldn’t get implemented; there’s just the Crips and the Bloods. There aren’t people involved who just care what’s best for Texas. We need a good shepherd.

And how does the Kinkster view himself ideologically?
Friedman: I’m not a liberal, believe me. I’m a compassionate redneck, far more conservative than I am liberal. I’m 61, too old for Medicare, too young for women to care. A liberal I’m not. I do ask the question, who would Jesus deport? My basic immigration policy is remember the Alamo. If we can’t guard the border better then we’re doing forget it. Organized crime and syndicates are trafficking people and drugs and guns and they’re sophisticated and have no regard for human life.

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The master’s voice   

Thanks be to Allah, it’s not just me. For years I’ve argued with my geetar-thrashing son that record production is crap these days. It’s as if postmodernism is all the go now in the studio with every instrument accorded equal volume regardless of what the piece suggests.
Well, a fella who knows a bit about these things, agrees.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bob Dylan says the quality of modern recordings is “atrocious,” and even the songs on his new album sounded much better in the studio than on disc.
“I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really,” the 65-year-old rocker said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Looks like I’ll be buying RS for the first time in decades.

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Anyhow . . .   

For months now, The Australian has been hinting at startling revelations to unfold from a joint probe by the Australian Crime Commission, Federal Police and the Australian Taxation Office into investment practices involving prominent Australians, including some from the entertainment industry.
Well, the first troupers to come under the Operation Wickenby spotlight are none other than those quinessential Aussies, Hoges and Strop.
Seems that with the help of Sydney accountants (the 21st century version of Sydney sporting identities?), the Harbour Bridge painter and his taciturn sidekick have discovered the esoterica of Swiss banking opportunities.
PAUL Hogan and John Cornell are being investigated for allegedly holding $40 million in secret trusts and offshore companies administered in Switzerland and not declared to the Australian Taxation Office.

UPDATE:
John Cornell is well, stroppy, with The Australian:
“I have paid millions in tax and millions more in gifts to charities. No money has ever been sent from Australia and turned into non-taxable income offshore on my behalf – ever,” he said.
“I am being subjected to trial by media leak. Money is not placed in a Swiss bank but ‘stashed’. Normal procedures are suddenly ‘secret’.
“Even honourable trusts are made to look ‘shady’.

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Hezbollocks   22/8/2006

Bolta’s blog has the latest fauxtography from Hezbollah. And the lying beggars have involved the Royal Australian Navy.

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Waddabout me? It isn’t fair   

Phat Adams didn’t attend Mark Steyn’s Sydney speaking function. But that hasn’t stopped the dunnylane despot from opining on the learned visiting commentator’s wit and wisdom. Unfavourably? Of course. With noodle-strength rhetoric? Goes without saying. With humour? Oh yes, unintentionally so.
Boo-hoo, someone left the commissar of Oz culture off the mailing list:
Thus RSVPs are received from the VIPs and RIPs of the Right – the likes of John Howard, Peter Costello, Alexander Downer, Nick Minchin, Santo Santoro, Janet Albrechtsen, Tim Blair, Keith Windschuttle and the editor of this page – while my invitation went missing in the mail.
Here’s a tip for lard guts: Pay for your own ticket and if you must, claim the cost on expenses when you deliver your review. That way you also have greater claims to objectivity, not that that’s ever been a great concern.

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They certainly don’t   

Editorial in The Australian warns Jihad Jack fans to think long and deep:
For those who cheered Mr Thomas’s release last week skirt the edges of a dangerous hypocrisy. Were a home-grown jihadi to successfully pull off a terrorist attack, many members of this same group would be among the first to blame the Howard Government for failing to prevent it.

But it’s the leader’s topper in the print edition that wins my headline of the day award:
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK

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Home, sweet home   21/8/2006

Back home after an enjoyable week in mainly sunny Sydney and four days in wet and windy Port Fairy.
We did all the touristy things for minimal expense in the harbour city, thanks to the Transport Department’s travel pass. These neat little swipe cards cost us only $41 each for the week and entitled us to unlimited rides on government trains, buses and ferries.
We enjoyed several cruises across the harbour, tasted the nightlife of rapidly de-sleazing Darlinghurst and King’s Cross, had a day in the Blue Mountains and went to Taronga Zoo (Regrettably, no lions or elephants, but the gorilla and seal feeding sessions were enthralling.) We toured The Rocks and enjoyed scenic walks through the parklands and terraces of the inner east.
Our base, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, could be described as the centre of the gay universe with no shortage of colourful characters and rowdy nightlife. A marked absence of threatening behaviour makes it a great place to wander around at any hour.
A highlight was meeting US National Guardsman, Ralph Strickland — enroute home from his second tour of Iraq — and his wife Billie. Tim Blair has details.

Always full of surprises, Sydney farewelled us with the heaviest hail storm I’ve witnessed. In the inner west, roads and parklands were completely blanketed in white.

The opera house from the harbour never fails to elicit a gulp:
gulp:

Here’s the beloved looking very European in The Rocks:Rocks:

The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains:
sisters

Another view of the opry house, this time from the bridge:
house

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Bound for Botany Bay   8/8/2006

Blogging will be patchy and long distance for the next week. The beloved and I are off to Sydney for a week. We’re staying in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, which should be interesting. Harbour cruises, trip to the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury cruise are on the agenda. Any suggestions?

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Media whitewash   

By the length of the Flemington straight, the Terry “Macbeth” Lane scandal is the biggest media wrongdoing story of the week.
The upshot of it all — a message to scribes that you can publish unadultered bullcrap in the “quality” media and keep your job — is certainly worthy of investigation and debate.
It’s the sort of subject Media Watch should be all over like blowies on a steamer.
Surprise. No appearance, your worship.
No surprise. The Illawarra Mercury got a going-over.

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