Good Golly, Ms Molly   31/5/2007

My daughter has been advised to increase her superannuation commitment. Seems that longevity is in the genes. Here’s my great-aunt Molly at her recent 100th birthday celebrations. I’m told that like most attractive women, she wasn’t too pleased about her age being a matter of public discussion.

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Later in the morning   26/5/2007

When nature gets perverse, no one’s safe. Not even the leader of the free world.

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Michael Moore look-alike shot   

Good Lord, the offspring of Philip Adams and Rosie O’Donnell. And just as deserving of suspicion.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Hogzilla is being made into a horror movie. But the sequel may be even bigger: Meet Monster Pig. An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.
Read more about Big Pig here:

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On the droll   

On the subject of Irish jests, my daughter tells me this was voted Best Irish Joke of the Year:

A teacher asks her class to use the word “contagious”. Roland the teacher’s pet, gets up and says, “Last year I got the measles and my mum said it was contagious.”
“Well done, Roland,” says the teacher.”Can anyone else try?”
Katie, a sweet little girl with pigtails, says, “My grandma says there’s a bug going round, and it’s contagious.”
“Well done, Katie,” says the teacher. “Anyone else?”
Little Sean jumps up and says in a broad Dublin accent, “Our next door neighbour is painting his house with a 2 inch brush, and my dad says it will take the contagious”.

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Myth migration   

Just as a good Irish joke in Australia becomes a good Polish joke in the US, it seems a bizarre urban myth can cross cultures
We first heard this preposterous claim last year courtesy of Tim Blair.
But then came the clincher, he recalled. “The imam told the students that the Jews were putting poison in the bananas and they should not eat them.”
The imam was told to ease up on the inflammatory language after staff objected.

Well, the poisoned bananas yarn has headed north, and although no one’s yet getting the blame, it’s more likely to be a commie plot than a Zionist conspiracy.

A rumour spread by text message has badly hit the price of bananas from China’s Hainan island, state media say.
The messages claim the fruit contains viruses similar to Sars, the severe respiratory illness which has killed hundreds of people worldwide.
Producers in Hainan say the resulting price slump is costing them up to 20 million yuan ($US2.6m) a day.

I just hope this doesn’t lead to a surge in Aussie nana exports. The price is heading north again and I don’t think I could put up with another bananaless six months

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Cheeky wetbacks   

I can only put it down to politeness from the interstaters. Otherwise they’d be telling the Victorians to go jump with their opposition to the Feds’ plan for a reformed, rational Murray Darling Commission. Neither of the mighty rivers enters Victoria — the state’s northern border is on the Murray’s southern bank, therefore it’s NSW’s river up to the SA border and the Darling enters the Murray at Wentworth, NSW. We’ve got the Goulburn and the Loddon and a few other piddling tributaries, but basically Victorian Murray Valley irrigators are consumers of NSW, Queensland and SA-bound water.

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Secret wives’ business   24/5/2007

This is called Kevvy grief.
A COMPANY owned by Kevin Rudd’s wife put workers on individual contracts that stripped them of key award conditions.
A common law contract, obtained by the Herald Sun, removed penalty rates, overtime and allowances for an extra 45c an hour.

Lots of heads down in the trenches and a few fingers to the wind on this one. Kevvie’s office said he would deliver a response this morning. He didn’t. No truth to the rumour he’s crouched under his desk, bawling his eyes out, thumping the floor and whimpering ”this is just a bad dream, isn’t it?”
“Ugly” Joe Hockey is keeping his powder dry but he made one salient point when quizzed by the ABC:
CHRIS UHLMANN: Of course there is another question and that question goes to the way that the Labor Party leader is being handled at the moment, and he is not available to speak this morning and no one from the Labor Party is available to speak to this morning.
What would be the reaction do you think if this was a company run by Janette Howard?
JOE HOCKEY: Well, very different obviously. You could never stop the Labor Party from commenting about other people businesses and they do it without consulting those businesses. They’ve waved around contracts and AWAs in parliament.
They’ve certainly never held back in giving comment on other people’s businesses. I would hope and expect that they would have an opinion on this as well.

Still nothing new. However, 774’s 1pm news reported that two southern right whales had been spotted off the coast at Warrnambool. I’m about to send them a scoop about three sparrows in my backyard.
More grief for Kevvy, I suspect.
Twice on 7.30 Report he referred to the Spotless company as an alleged AWA abuser. The alleged offender is Spotlight. No doubt Slander and Caughtem are working the phones furiously to keep Spotless stain-free. And delight their new shareholders with a taxpayer-provided settlement from the producers of 7.30 Report.
Here’s why Kevvie can’t employ the Houdini of “it’s her business, not mine”:
The missus — “What I know is that Kevin and I — this is a partnership,” she said.
“It’s been a partnership since the beginning; it’s been a partnership of equals since the beginning.

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UN is a bad joke   22/5/2007

Keep this piece by James Allen in mind the next time an anti-democratic bully cites international opinion and treaties as reason enough for over-riding our legislature.

How about the UN Commission on the Status of Women? At its 2007 annual conference, when surveying the plight of women around the entire world, what countries did it single out? Saudi Arabia, maybe, where women aren’t allowed to drive and are liable to be stoned to death? Or big chunks of Africa? Or Afghanistan? Nope. Apparently the only country that warranted a resolution for violating women’s rights was, wait for it, Israel.
Does scepticism really need to be made of sterner stuff?
Or how about this? The UN Commission on Sustainable Development, which is charged with economic development and the environment, just elected as its chairman Zimbabwe. Yes, Zimbabwe, which has annual inflation of more than 2200 per cent and whose economy is contracting by more than 5 per cent a year.
Or what about the UN’s Disarmament Commission? Iran was just elected to serve as vice-chairman, with Syria as rapporteur. Even George Orwell couldn’t satirise that!

It would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

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Memory Lane   19/5/2007

Some might consider it unkind to revive Terry Lane’s blunder at every opportunity. It probably is, but what the hell.
There’s a new chapter in the story of Jesse Adam Macbeth, whose bulldust tale Lane fell for and republished without carrying out the most rudimentary of checks.

SEATTLE — A man who tried to position himself as a leader of the anti-war movement by claiming to have participated in war crimes while serving in Iraq is facing federal charges of falsifying his record.
Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, formerly of Phoenix, garnered much attention on blogs and in some alternative media after he began claiming in 2005 to have been awarded a Purple Heart for his service, which he said included slaughtering innocents in a Fallujah mosque. His story was contradicted by his true discharge form, showing that he was kicked out of the Army after six weeks at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2003 because of his “entry level performance and conduct.”
A complaint unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle charged him with one count of using or possessing a forged or altered military discharge certificate, and one count of making false statements in seeking benefits from the Veterans Administration.

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Julia Gillard was born in Wales and grew up in South Australia where they say things like “men prarnce arownd in pink shorts at the darnce”.
She went to Adelaide University where pommified Australian is the prevailing accent.
She practised law in Melbourne where plums in mouth are most common.
So why the hell does she sound like a Woolloomooloo fishmonger’s wife, circa 1948? If her affectation is meant to make her sound more like an Australian worker, it only goes to show she knows begger-all about that particular species. Why do the words ignorant and hypocrite spring to mind?

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Far from the Madden crowd   17/5/2007

Justin “Harry” Madden was one of the least talented footballers to ever pull on a guernsey in the major league.
He was over-sized, played ugly and was effective only because he got in the way and when on the forward line could be seen from a long distance.
So, what a hide:

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden has outraged his constituents, slamming their “McMansion”-style homes as water wasters.
Mr Madden, an architect who lives in a two-storey heritage-protected home, wants more small homes on new housing estates.
He said big houses found in suburbs such as Caroline Springs and Tarneit often suffered from “housing obesity”.

Harry has always given the impression he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, a perception his supporters have credited him with manufacturing.
Hmmm, maybe the first impression is accurate. Caroline Springs is in his electorate.
Whatever his possession or otherwise of smarts, Harry has revealed he’s just another insufferable luvvie snob.
And like so many of his middle class socialist ilk, he’s a rolled-gold hypocrite.
Mr Madden, who recently applied to Heritage Victoria to add a family room and two bedrooms to the back of his own home, said housing obesity was defined by the size of the household relative to the house size.
Via Andrew Bolt.

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Wharf fare   16/5/2007

A matter attracting much comment this week, particularly in The Australian, is the ABC’s two-part series on the 1998 waterfront war, Bastard Brothers. Work and a bung eye prevented me viewing the program, but after reading learned comment from both sides of the political divide, it sounds like a one-sided piece of hack work.
I spent a day back then at the docks covering the stoush between wharfies and their union comrades on one side and those intent on reforming the waterfront on the other. There was a great deal of black humour, passionate nostalgia and seething anger from those on the “MUA here to stay” side. There also was a palpable sense of the jig being up and this was the last and only chance for an honourable defeat.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of guerillas around the edges committed to taking the fight on and elsewhere and their tactics were disturbing. On the wall of one of the picket line tents was a list of about a dozen male names indentified as “scabs” who had contracted to the waterfront-reforming Patrick organisation. I was told that information was being gathered on these individuals and they and their families could expect unpleasant reprisals.
To digress temporarily, that reminds me of the other topic of much discussion this week, bullying.
Anyway, I was studying the names and trying to comprehend how it would feel to be on that list, when the scruffy mob of wharfies and mates parted to allow entry to the tent of a definite stranger to these parts.
She was slim and stylishly dressed in a dark suit and sporting sharply cut, short blazing red hair. She walked up to the list of “scabs” and a union rep explained something to her, inaudible to me, pointing out different names on the list.
Now it was clear the wharfies weren’t about to invite the listed names to a friendly old knees-up and I’d bet the middle-aged union reps were trying to impress the smart young political adviser with their plans for the “scabs’ when tracked down. I’d imagine their fate would be most unpleasant if not downright painful.
The young woman did not just smile in polite agreement with the union thugs’ plans for their foes. No, she laughed out loud and it was unnerving.
Jeez, I thought, she’s one hard nut, the sensitivity gene had been bred out there.
So, I’m not expecting much hand-wringing from Julia Gillard over the bullying issue. It would be pretty hypocritical, even by Gillard’s middle-class socialist standards, to get all emotional about bullies ganging up on less powerful individuals.

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Tanner’s hide   12/5/2007

Opposition finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner comes across usually as one of the more rational Labor frontbenchers, borne out recently by his “butt out” message to failed, bitter and irrelevant ex-PM Paul Keating.
But Tanner has shown on the ABC’s Latteline (originally a typo, but I’m keeping it that way to brand the Friday edition hosted by Virginia Trioli) that he’s just another party hack without a clue when it comes to what really matters in the economy — the successful provision of ever-improving goods and services.
According to ABC news reports this morning (no Lateline transcript available yet), Tanner claimed that increasing the number of full-fees paying students at Australian universities would mean higher fees, lower standards or less access for HECS-paying students.
Er, pardon me?
Seems Tanner claims that if say, Harvey Norman, has a rise in cash payers, the chain will have to hike prices, offer inferior goods or restrict the number of customers who sign on for credit payments?
This is the type of thinking you get when you fill a political party with shiney bums who’ve never had to risk the sack, let alone do business successfully.
No wonder Sportsbet has the Coalition back as favourites for this year’s election. And I doubt whether this fellow can turn things around.

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Slappy chappies   11/5/2007

In the end, footy is just a game; 36 strong young oafs chasing a pigskin around a paddock. Thank Whitten there are still clubs around like local bush outfit Modewarre who accept this tenet and realise the sun will rise again tomorrow regardless of numbers on the scoreboard.
In a fine piece of regional journalism, the Geelong Advertiser’s Jason Shields reveals that the Warriors reacted to their loss to premiership favourites Newcomb last week by giving each other a good bottom spanking in the showers after the game.
Modewarre president Chris Ovens said the bum-slapping exercise was a “soft version of a good kick up the backside” and was laughed off by the players at a post-match function.
“The team went into the showers suggesting they do something to remember the loss by. Someone went whack and then it was started by a couple of players,” Ovens said.

The Warriors have a history of putting a kink into a straight run of losses. In 1993 players dressed in women’s clothing for a training session after an unsuccessful stretch in the manly game.
Despite its offbeat approach to the game, Modewarre can claim to be up with the best in preparing young players for the game’s stellar heights.
Geelong’s burgeoning young forward star, the painfully shy Nathan Ablett, played his junior football at the club, learning the basics from bush veterans instead of travelling the AFL’s youth career path. Many experts believe it was the perfect grounding for that particular player.

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Let’s swap them Leunig   9/5/2007

Early this century I stumbled across blogs. And thank the fates, I then came across James Lileks.
Scaringly talented and astonishingly prolific, Lileks has a bowerbird approach to modern culture, the icons of which he displays just on the edge of balance so that you sense here is the fitful sleeper’s American dream.
He writes like Whitman and Twain but I sense at home there’s a blend of Dagwood Bumstead and Gyro Gearloose.
Where Lileks hails from they have twin cities and a lot of drawn-out names for things, including the newspaper that employs him. So I can never remember that blat’s masthead, but like hundreds of thousands of other gluttons for fine, topical writing I’ve remembered Lileks’ brand from day one.
After decades in the newspaper game, not much from press management could surprise me. But this news from Lileks this week — via Tim Blair’s blog — floored me.
As it happens, they’ve killed my column, and assigned me to write straight local news stories.

I immediately fired off this objection to the paper’s readers’ rep.

Are you people mad assigning the brilliant Lileks to the news desk? If you were horse breeders you’d have the Kentucky Derby winner pulling a plough. In case it’s escaped your attention, newspapers worldwide are experiencing declining circulations and the only thing that will restore the profitability this drop has cost is innovative, knowledgeable and talented online presentation of news, opinion and entertainment. Lileks has all this and more in spades. In 30 years of newspapering I’ve seen some bizarre management decisions, but this one takes the cake.
Bernard Slattery,

I’d be surprised if their email box is not backclogged to outer cyberia, thus a prompt reply is not anticipated.

UPDATE: Here’s a report from the front by the master himself:

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Anyone for a round of hypocrisy?   7/5/2007

Much anger, indignation and vitriol issued from the opposition, the media and the perpetually aggrieved over Senator Bill Heffernan’s foolish comments, first made more than a year ago, about the fecundity or otherwise of Labor Minister Julia Gillard.
The oafish remarks rang a bell, however, and I’m not referring to the fact that Heffernan first made them well in the past; comments that were simply regurgitated in The Bulletin last week and swooped on by a lazy media that has no shame in beating up a story they missed first time around.
No, I had an inkling that something similar had been uttered by someone on the other side of the political divide and was allowed through to the keeper by the biased and hypocritical commentariat.
So, thanks to Piers Ackerman for satisfying my suspicions, although you can bet your boots the permanently outraged will be as silent as a well about this vile, sexist attack from the socialist side of politics.

It’s a pity neither the ABC nor The Bulletin bothered to tell the full story, or to ask Rudd why he hadn’t been offended in 2006 – or even went the further yard and looked at the history of political attacks on single women candidates.
If they had opened the files, they would have found that John Williams, the Labor candidate in the Victorian seat of Indi in 2003, was highly critical of his rival, Liberal MP Sophie Panopoulos, suggesting she was incapable of representing the area properly because she had no children.
Panopoulos, now Mrs Sophie Mirabella, and still the MP for Indi, dismissed Williams’ remarks at the time, saying she found them “quaint and unfortunate’’.
She raised it with several Labor women in Canberra who shuffled and looked a bit uncomfortable but, when Julia Gillard campaigned for Williams in the electorate four months later after his attack, she didn’t bother to address his remarks either.
In fact, no one from the ALP in Canberra said anything, nor did anyone from the local ALP.
There certainly wasn’t a peep from Julia Gillard.

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Slotted   5/5/2007

Wouldn’t mind betting that right now Big Bertha in cell block 13 is strapping on the Steely Dan.
THE endless party that is Paris Hilton’s lifestyle was gatecrashed by the law today as the socialite was sentenced to 45 days in prison for a parole violation.

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Nanny state of rest   4/5/2007

Much sadness by the Horn of Africa with the passing of one of Sudan’s most famous residents. A creature you first read about here.
The best-known goat in Sudan has died months after being “married” to a man in the South Sudan capital, Juba, the BBC has learned.
Local elders ordered a man found having sex with the goat, later called Rose, to “marry” her last February.
Rose, black and white, is believed to have died after choking on a plastic bag she swallowed as she was eating scraps on the streets of Juba.

The line at least goes on. After the marriage, Rose gave birth to a male kid – but “not a human one”, stressed the editor who originally broke the story.

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Legally damaging   

Bill Heffernan’s an oaf and a fool. If he really wanted to damage Julia Gillard’s reputation among the politically uninformed, all he had to do was report the facts: that before she was an MP, she was a lawyer with Slater and Gordon. To the average punter, that’s down there with octopus droppings, journalists and used car merchants.

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Luddites with kryptonite equals . . .   

Doyen of Australian columnists Frank Devine finds Krudd’s concern for Australians’ spare time either hypocritical or ignorant. Devine quotes Kevvie: “to hold themselves together, cherish their weekends. They cherish the fact that they can take the kids out and play junior cricket. You can get them involved in the junior rugby league or rugby union, the Australian football, the soccer. Look, whatever, netball. It is part and parcel of the fabric of Australian community.”

Then by suggesting some of the other places Australians might go at weekends, Devine deftly demonstrates just how out-of-touch Krudd is:

Supermarkets that stay open (though increasingly staffed by wogs, notorious for having no respect for weekends); professional sports, backed by stadium workers and TV crews; newsagents thumping the papers on to the front veranda (or into the branches of the fig tree); shopping malls; cinemas; theatres; pubs; brothels and casinos; cafes and restaurants, especially McDonald’s and pizza places that home deliver; hospitals and pharmacies; doctors on call; fish markets where the barramundi hasn’t grown wizened since Friday; trains, buses, aircraft, ferries and taxis; army, navy and air force on duty; police; gas, electricity and mains water; provisioning trucks that keep rolling into our cities, 24/7.

Watch out for the Kruddites; they want to smash the weekend machines.

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