Perfectly Frank   30/10/2006

This fellow of Italian descent is pretty powerful in our town. Yet his biggest crime is to be supremo of the Pussies. We know him as The Grandfather.

GEELONG Football Club president Frank Costa was forced to co-operate with a multi-million dollar mafia-run extortion racket after death threats to him and his family.
But Frank Costa refused to take the threat lying down. “I said ‘You go back and tell him that if one hair of any of my family is touched at all, he will get double that back in return to his family — whatever that might be’.
“Now I wouldn’t know where to start finding somebody to go and do that sort of thing, but he doesn’t know that. It worked. He backed off.”

He sure as hell wouldn’t find anyone to “do that sort of thing” down at Kardinia Park.
A thoroughly delightful — and courageous — bloke.

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An unreal beauty, a Mexican cutie   

Thanks to Jimmy Buffett for inspiring our headline of the day above this world-shattering story:

Miss Mexico shared a nervous emotional hug with first runner-up, Mr. Prativia Monticallo from Philippines, moments before the winner was announced, then clasped her hands to her mouth in amazement as her name was called. She had a smile from ear to ear as the crown was placed upon her head.

Jeez, it’s bad enough to be only first runner-up, but to get branded “Mr.”! In the words of another famous songsmith — “Why are people so unkind?”

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Hard to pick   28/10/2006

Picking the winner of today’s W.S. Cox Plate is — to borrow from Forrest Gump — like surveying a box of expensive chocolates: every time you go to make a selection, your fancy changes.
Apart from a lacklustre last start third, El Segundo’s form has been superb with wins in the Memsie and Underwood stakes this time in. Apparently he has been working brilliantly. The odds don’t do Pompeii Ruler credit, so he goes in the multiples. Who could leave out former Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh, trying for his fourth placing in a race said to be the true test of equine excellence? There’s your boxed trifecta, 2, 4, 11.
I like No. 3, Cenotaph, each way in the third.

The only certainty in punting is that good luck don’t last. But boy, it’s fun while it’s around.
So, a big night was had by all at Sippers, celebrating my beautiful girl’s birthday with funds provided by the TAB.
For those who came in late: After jagging last week’s Caulfield Cup winner at the beyootiful odds of 22/1, your blogtipper came out yesterday and selected the Cox Plate trifecta (in order, I just realised — could have saved $5!). My only regret is that I didn’t go border hopping with my $6 investment. It paid $877 in Victoria, but more than $1400 interstate. Ah, that’s racing.
As a commenter suggested, the pressure’s on me now for the remaining Spring Racing Carnival events. Derby deliberations later in the week but I’m sticking with Tawqeet and Pop Rock for the Melbourne Cup.

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They’re racing!   25/10/2006

The Geelong Cup beckons today and I don’t have the confidence of last Saturday. However, I’ve done the study and listened to Sam the smarty from the milk bar — who had $100 each way on Tawqeet in the Caulfield Cup — and will venture forth to Breakwater with hope and currency.
In the Cup I’m going for Metropolitan third place-getter Vanquished with late fancy Siamun. For the odds, I’ll have a saver on David Hayes’ Defining.
Sam tips Race 4, No. 6 Xsparkx, a locally trained 5yo that should be double-digit odds.

Vanquished! That’s how the bookies and the TAB have left this humbled punter.
One miserable collect all day and that was little more than money back for Vanquished’s flying second in the Cup. I departed the track after race 4, fed up with heartless hoofed dogmeat and inebriated youngsters stumbling through the throngs, spilling drinks and holding up queues. Memo for Spring Carnival cups organisers: construct a huge outdoor cage somewhere near the home turn for the confinement of anyone under 25 intending to have more than three drinks for the day. After the last race, losing punters could wander down the straight and find amusement in watching the animals at play.
I’ll include Vanquished in my Melbourne Cup trifecta, along with the previously endorsed Tawqeet and Pop Rock.

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Early and often   24/10/2006

Kinky Friedman has cast his first vote — for himself, of course — in the Texas gubernatorial election and has urged young voters to follow his lead:
“Listen you young little boogers, if you’re old enough to fight in Iraq, you’re old enough to help us fix Texas,” he said.
How can they resist?

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One-eyed fan   23/10/2006

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ABC Operatunity series in which several would-be opera stars are coached to a sing-off with the winner performing in a work at the Sydney Opera House. My eye was hurting dreadfully last night so I didn’t see it all clearly. But my vision was good enough to pronounce judge Antoinette Halloran the sexiest woman I’ve seen in media this year. She has so much passion for opera she cries when singers can’t quite hit the note. Imagine, a big baritone is a fraction short of perfect and her eyes well and her lip trembles. What a woman!

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Black, bitter and dangerous   22/10/2006

Former Geelong journalist Daniel Fogarty has been searched at the US-Canada border for a prohibited substance.
What did the Feds suspect decadent Dan was smuggling? Crack cocaine? Dirty plutonium? Midget porn?
Nah, in a disturbing development that could set US-Australian relations back decades, the US has whacked a ban on, yabetterbelieveit, Vegemite.
Dan told the Sunday Herald Sun: “The border guard searched our car and asked us if we were carrying any Vegemite.”
“I was flabbergasted.
“The official said Vegemite wasn’t permitted in the US.”

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They’re off!   21/10/2006

Australian racing’s second biggest event, the Caulfield Cup, is raced this afternoon and after lengthy deliberation and the advice of canny Sam at the milk bar I’m going for No. 9 Tawqeet at the way too generous odds of 20/1 to beat Japanese star No.11 Pop Rock. I’ve got a good feeling about this.

Well, I hope some of you read this before 4pm and took my (and Sam’s) advice. Tawqeet greeted the judge and paid the biggest dividend I’ve ever collected on — $23.10.
Thank your mum for the rabbits. If it pulls up OK, Tawqeet will also give the Melbourne Cup a gawdalmighty shake.

Tawqeet’s trainer David Hayes is most upbeat about the former English stayer’s chances in the Melbourne Cup.
“He’s got what it takes and he can quicken at a vital part of the race and he can race inside horses.
“We could not be more excited. He’s big and round and he’s still got plenty of improvement left in him.”

That’s good enough for me. I’ll stick with him for the double. And my Caulfield Cup quinella tip is worth another flutter at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Here’s hoop, Damien Oliver:
OMSHIROI! That’s Japanese for amazing and it best describes Pop Rock’s performance in yesterday’s Caulfield Cup.
It was an extraordinary run, given nothing much went right for Pop Rock, but he still finished only about 1 1/2 lengths from Tawqeet.
Flemington will suit him much better and he will appreciate the 3200m.

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On the money   20/10/2006

This blog has been like a broken record on this subject over the past few years. So now I can express that sweetest of all phrases: “Told you so.”

Social researcher Mark McCrindle says for years media and marketers have been dismissive of what may prove to be the most significant group of consumers to evolve: cashed-up, debt-free thirtysomethings and older who have one thing in mind – making the most of their financial freedom.

Instead, the clever media and marketing chiefs, many of them urban “sophisticates”, having little contact with the vast mainstream, reckoned the pot of gold lay with the yoof market.
Wrong again, we learn.

“I guess the point is that people always want to be on the cutting edge so over the past couple of years it has all been gen Y, genY,” McCrindle says. “It has been a phenomenal situation, but people are now sitting back and taking note and saying: OK, if you are into popular music or trying to attract them to a social networking website that is fine, but as for getting them to spend money, when it needs to be justified people are taking a few steps back. Generation Y has no spending power.”
The statistics don’t lie. Australia’s ageing population is cashing in its equity in real estate and investment and indulging in luxury. Figures published by advertising agency Evergreen show that between 1998 and 2004 there was a 24 per cent increase in the number of households aged 55 to 64 and an 11 per cent rise in those with occupants aged 45 to 54. The number of homes with people under 25 dropped by 12.2 per cent.

Here’s some more unfamiliar sayings for the marketing dills: “Blind Freddy”, “common sense” and “watch the money”.
And on your way out don’t forget your reality TV, celebrity non-news and saturation “sex sells” cynicism.

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Maggoty act   17/10/2006

Might be time to lose three letters from the nickname — “The Grubbers” — carried by this football club from my neck of the woods.

A JEWISH man was racially abused then bashed in front of his two young children by a busload of country footballers drunk after a day at the races.
Police are investigating the savage attack on Menachem Vorchheimer, 33, by players from the Ocean Grove Football Club.
About 20 footballers had just left Caulfield racecourse in a mini-bus.

I hope someone has the sense to make every one of those involved spend time at the Holocaust Museum and hear the tales of survivors.
Club-enforced match bans would be suitable punishment, too.

Hmmm, perhaps it’s not just “rednecks” who read this blog:
COUNTRY footballers who racially abused and punched a Jew should visit the Holocaust Centre, Jewish leaders said yesterday.

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In the morning he’s sober   14/10/2006

This is a bit rich from the mortician’s work in progress:
Comedienne Joan Rivers says Mel Gibson deserves death for the anti-Semitic remarks he made during his July drunk driving arrest.
“He is an anti-Semitic son of a bitch. He should (expletive) die!” she declared during an interview with Celebrity Week.

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Between the lines?   

What’s with Paul Keating’s strategic media pronouncements and appearances lately? Surely not chasing a recall? Anyway, the old reptile let go of a gob full of cryptic venom in his letter to The Australian today. Whatever could he mean?
I remain a very strong supporter of the US, but I’m a critic of this administration’s policy of exceptionalism. A little reflection on America’s changed habits and jerky movements might add some subtlety to Sheridan’s journalism.
P. J. Keating
Potts Point, NSW

This letter elicited a chuckle:
The Kudelka cartoon about the glass being half empty (13/10) reminded me of the classic engineer’s response. When presented with a half-full glass and being asked whether he considered it half full or half empty, the engineer replied that the glass was twice as big as it needed to be.
Martin Graville
Kallaroo, WA

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Out of line   12/10/2006

You can’t stop me. I’m from Hollywood. Get it, I’m a higher being.

Actor Alec Baldwin tries to pass a police cordon near the site where a small aircraft crashed into a high-rise building in New York.

Whoo-hooo, the conspiracy theorists are out. A commenter here reckons “pysops for sure” because 9/11/01 becomes 10/11/6 if you flip it 180 degrees.
Ace knows a ‘spiracy when he sees one.

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Child abuse   11/10/2006

Lefty thinktank the Australia Institute generally does little that is agreeable. But concerned thinking adults will congratulate the organisation on its brave attack on a particularly vile form of cynical marketing.
MAJOR retailers and publishers have reacted furiously to a new report that claims they are engaged in “corporate pedophilia” by using suggestive photographs of children in their advertising.
The report, by the Australia Institute’s Emma Rush, argues that department stores Myer and David Jones are contributing to the “sexualisation of Australia’s children” by stocking items such as bra tops for pre-pubescent girls, lip gloss for toddlers and skimpy underwear designed to be worn by children.

What a delicious irony from the retail giants in shooting the messenger over offensive marketing. And who was the marketing or PR nong that dug the hole deeper by convincing David Jones’ executives to take this ludicrously damaging step?
CLIVE HAMILTON: David Jones rang me this morning demanding that the Institute remove all references to David Jones.
He gave me two hours in which to do it and suggested that there would be serious legal consequences if we failed to act.
We’re not going to back down in the face of corporate bullying.

We’ve been invited to a posh wedding next month and I’m considering forking out a fair wad for a new suit. A mate recommended DJs for a quality “bagger”.
But any business that brings in legal parasites to stymie thoroughly justified criticism is not getting any of my hard-earned.
Memo to retail and media executives: there’s a huge demographic out there with lots of money, influence and power. And they are not single bimbos under 35; that’s just an over-represented demographic in your marketing departments. And among the most wealthy and powerful consumers are boomer grandparents who don’t want to see their 10-year-old grand girl decked out like a slut.

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Heaven waits   

The Australian today reveals a greens Garden of Eden that should have our planet savers swarming north in droves.
In this Utopia there is no rampant materialism, little conspicuous consumption (some digestive consumption of grass and tree bark, though) and no excessive power generation. In fact, the citizens of this wonderful place are in the dark 24 hours a day.
Note the peaceful non-greenhousing of North Korea compared with the global warming light-hog South Korea below.

Tree-huggers shouldn’t worry about being a drain on resources there. Plenty of natives would be eager to change places with them. Win-win all round, I reckon.

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And two tens make five . . .??   10/10/2006

Mine Host has a disturbing finding about the dumbed-down jetsam cast from Australian education systems:
It is almost beyond the comprehension of Mine Host that people can leave school and be totally & completely incapable of counting out $700 from a pile of cash.
This is pathetic. They won’t even make decent crooks.

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Sip right down   

OK, Melbourne night prowlers, trendsetters, grape garglers and hungry buggers, here’s the place for you.
The free plug for a place I’d normally avoid like tofu is on account of my darlin’ boy, Tim, getting a job there shaking cocktails, serving nosh and pouring pots. Fergawdzakes, he even tells me he’s a dab hand at latte ladling. Right little barista!
The beloved has been there and says it’s a jolly joint and the lads running the show are a friendly, helpful bunch. The food is good value and plentiful, she added.
It’s at 164 Rathdowne Street, Carlton.
Beware, it’s close to the heartland of the Mediocre People’s Republic of Brackistan.
Here’s your man of sustenance.

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Fidelling with kids’ futures   

Lefty teachers are the gift that keeps on giving to the forces of reason that wish to reinvigorate education.
From The Australian today:
A SOUTH Australian teachers’ union journal has praised the achievements of Cuba’s education system, saying class sizes are small, schools are free and teachers well-trained.

And someone’s ready for a student exchange program. Although I fear it would be one-way only.

The AEU also published a letter to the editor from student teacher and Communist Party of Australia member Craig Greer in its latest issue.
Mr Greer wrote that the federal Government “still can’t find enough money to mirror a fraction of what the Cuban Government has achieved”. “If Cuba is a dictatorship, then I’m ready to be dictated to.”

Hasta la vista, dickhead.

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Worrying development   9/10/2006

Bet there are plenty of furrowed brows and anxious debates in goatee-strokers’ newsrooms, arts faculties and the ABC in the wake of this disturbing turn of events.

NORTH Korea has carried out its first-ever nuclear test, the North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) said today.

Bush warned against it and no doubt Howard and Blair will condemn it. So how will the hating class blame this diabolical threat to world stability on Chimpmcbushhitler and Co?
I guess someone will just have to go out and dig up a few root causes.

Well, here’s an early comment on the test from The Age’s Your Say section:
The tens of thousands of US troops in SK gives Kim Jong-Il in NK heaps of his power – he tells his people what to do because he can say “look – you must be good citizens and do what you’re told, otherwise the Americans will not be afraid of us anymore and they will invade. See? They’re just over there, waiting, south of the border…”
If the US leaves SK, then Kim Jong-Il will have less power over his people, I believe, although I guess he could then tell his people that _he_ defeated the US forces, so that’s why they left.
However, if any imminent threat disappears, then maybe the people might eventually think to rise up. Or not – I guess if they still believe that the US destroyed NK during the Korean war and they do NOT know that the whole thing started when NK invaded SK, then I guess even if the US moves out of SK, Kim Jong-Il will have no problems in making sure his people still believe the US is still there.

Posted by: kim

Good to see The Age has its heavy hitters out.

This is more like it (Moonbat alert): None of this would have happened if the evil Yanks hadn’t fought the Cold War:
It bemuses me that the US groans and grumbles about Nuclear proliferation by so called “rogue states” (Iran, North Korea etc) and yet they: (A) Participated in a decades-long Nuclear Proliferation with the former USSR, amassing 1000s of nuclear weapons and (B) Invaded countries and begun confrontations several times in direct conflict with the United Nations.
These together, in my eyes makes the US the biggest “Nuclear Capable Rogue State” on the Planet.

Posted by: Rob Asselman

There must be some on the Left who get embarrassed at their fellow barrackers. It takes a certain kind of sick mind to weave anti-semitism into reflection on North Korean nuclear bomb tests. This is the most repulsive, ignorant comment I’ve come across at The Age’s Your Say site.
Ho Hum! More hypocrisy from the mighty US and its little Aussie chum! The so-called threat North Korea is far smaller than the threat Israel continually demonstrates to have over world peace and Middle East harmony! Where’s the world-wide condemnation of Israel’s vast nuclear arsenal? Too scared of being branded anti-semite?
Posted by: Dexter Bourke

And last. A flicker of sanity in the morass of madness at The Age’s Your Say:
Sounds like much ado about nothing…
North Korea, like Cuba and China, is a workers paradise, who could be angry or unhappy living under communism?
The nuclear test OBVIOUSLY is merely a reaction to fascist imperialism.
I think the answer is to educate the world on what a nice life can be had in a communist society.
An exchange program, all you aspiring communists should go there, and stay.
And all those unhappy with the current regime in NK can come over here, and tell us how dreadful our society is by comparison.
Can’t wait to hear them back up your views.

Posted by: Gee whiz…

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Looks like someone’s piled the much published and refereed lefty economist John Quiggin on to a heap of Dead White Males. David Williamson agreeing in parts with Howard’s cultural revolution:
Sir John must know in fact that business and economics courses are the dominant ones on campuses and that the last soft Left economist was seen there at about the time of John Maynard Keynes, but whatever, it’s a good ploy and he’ll go for it.

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