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Friday, February 08, 2008


“There have been too few songs about women whose hearts have been broken by treacherous and irresponsible dredging,” emails Clive James:

Can I point out that the assertion “I did it my way” is begging to be transformed into “They’re dredging my bay”? The way is open for someone to write a Traceeee lyric. I make a present of a punch-line to the potential winner of, and all the other contestants in, a competition to write the rest of it. Alas, my own skills failed after I got my first line: ”I gave my trust”.

You heard the man; get lyricizing!

Posted by Tim B. on 02/08/2008 at 10:34 AM
(95) CommentsPermalink


Kevni considers a nation’s most brilliant ideas in this column from the future - illustrated by Super Dave Follett:


Posted by Tim B. on 02/08/2008 at 10:17 AM
(39) CommentsPermalink


A Somalian gets stabby above New Zealand:

Two pilots have been praised for landing a plane safely in New Zealand after being stabbed by a Somali woman in the cockpit during a mid-air drama on a domestic flight.

A woman stabbed two pilots and threatened to blow up a plane during a harrowing mid-air drama on a New Zealand domestic flight early today, police said.

An Australian witness says the attack was an attempted hijacking:

Mr [Halden] Boyd said he had talked with airport management who were able to give him only limited details about the incident.

"Being a pilot I managed to get a few things out of them and they said that the pilots are ok, they’re in hospital, they can’t give out too many details but it was an attempted hijacking.

"They wouldn’t tell me where the woman wanted to take the aircraft to."

Sydney, probably, if the woman shared typical New Zealand attitudes. Which doesn’t seem likely.

UPDATE. Our stabbish Somalian did have some traditional Kiwi impulses after all:

Police say a Somali woman charged with trying to hijack an Air New Zealand flight this morning wanted the plane taken to Australia.

Too bad Australia is beyond the range of that particular aircraft. Meanwhile, some media outlets seem anxious to avoid mention of the woman’s background. Here’s a Canadian report:

A woman stabbed two pilots and threatened to blow up a plane in mid-air on a domestic flight in New Zealand earlier today ...

The passenger also claimed there was a bomb on the plane ... a 33-year-old woman was taken into custody by local police.

And Al Jazeera:

A passenger on a New Zealand commuter flight has been arrested after stabbing both the pilots and threatening to blow up the aircraft ...

Police arrested a 33 year old woman when the aircraft – a 19-seat Jetstream 232 - landed in Christchurch. The woman had reportedly claimed to have placed bombs on board ...

Most evasive of them all, CNN:

A 33-year-old New Zealand woman was in police custody Friday after she allegedly attacked two pilots of an Air New Zealand charter plane ...

Dog squad police boarded the plane and apprehended the suspect, who was believed to be from Blenheim.

UPDATE II. TVNZ reports:

The woman at the centre of the mid air drama on a flight from Blenheim to Christchurch is named Aisha, which is her muslim name according to sources in the Blenheim Muslim community ...

The 33-year old Somalian woman from Blenheim at the centre of the drama is well known to the Blenheim Muslim community although they vehemently deny she is a practicing Muslim.

"She’s definitely not part of our community,” says Zayd Blissett, Blenheim Muslim Community spokesman.

Read on. She sounds more like a nutjob than a terrorist; splitting hairs, I know.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/08/2008 at 12:01 AM
(125) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Dredging is underway in Port Phillip Bay - or, as Traceeee Hutchison calls it, “my bay”:

The controversial channel deepening of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay has started.

Dredging began in the the southern end of the Bay in waters off Rye this morning.

About one dozen protesters on kayaks and surfboards were on the water while another 20 people voiced their opposition from the shoreline.

The Blue Wedges group says rough conditions on the Bay limited the number of protesters.

Their ability to spell is limited, too. The war over Traceeee’s Bay is all about milk; here’s dairy farmer Max Jelbart:

"My (milk) gets used in butters and cheeses and milk powders that go out to more than 40 countries,” he said. Deepening shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay would mean bigger ships could come to take his produce overseas. “The sooner we do this, the cheaper it will be to send them."

Opposing Jelbart is fisherman Andrew Horne:

"It just shuts my business down,” he said yesterday. “Sediment from dredging will be like tipping a pint of milk into your bath every night. People will not be able to go fishing within the bay."

Fishermen used to be known for their patience.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/07/2008 at 11:30 PM
(36) CommentsPermalink


Cleanse newspapers of conservative columnists! Jail warmening unbelievers! Cull malls! But, on the other hand ...

Cave in to sharia law!



She’s angry about shops.

UPDATE II. Murph, an Australian in the UK, writes:

And Williams and his co. pinko-poofo-commo-greeno mates wonder why their flock is disappearing. They wonder why, for the first time in 400 years, their are more Catholic churchgoers than CofE in England.

I received a leaflet in the post two days ago from my local CofE vicar, one Rev. Cranfield of Blackheath parish. It had nothing about true spirituality or morality; instead it was filled with bullshit about global warming.

UPDATE III. Melissa M. emails: “That is one ferocious head tilt. It’s actually a rarely seen variant -- the backwards head tilter.”

Posted by Tim B. on 02/07/2008 at 10:08 AM
(178) CommentsPermalink


Front collision, rolled, collision then fire, sandwiched, struck by falling object (!), burned ... it’s a whole world of smashed Priuses:


Tough winter, I guess. My favourite is the damaged 2005 Prius - attacked by a tree, apparently - that was subsequently turned into a convertible. So driver and passengers can enjoy the warmening ...

(Via Dan F.)

UPDATE. Speaking of winter ...

Posted by Tim B. on 02/07/2008 at 04:01 AM
(52) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Tuneless Australian band The Cat Empire become Geothermic popsters:

Last year - inspired by Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers and a speech by Australian Conservation Foundation president Professor Ian Lowe on global warming - Riebl, 26, wrote a song called No Longer There explicitly addressing his concerns about climate change.

He began corresponding with Professor Lowe, and when Al Gore came to Australia in 2006, Riebl was one of the 85 people selected by the ACF to join his climate workshop.

Riebl began writing No Longer There soon after, coming up with the vocal hook: “What would you leave behind, if you’re no longer there?"

Answer: despite Tim Flannery’s predictions, a hell of a lot of water. And yet more still arriving:

Six weeks’ worth of water has been dumped into Sydney’s dams over the past seven days, the Sydney Catchment Authority says.

While its official figures, released each Thursday, are not due until 3pm, the authority predicts dam levels will hit about 63.5 per cent - a 2.5 per cent increase over last week.

More impressively, that figure is up from 36.9 per cent last year - in the month Flannery predicted the dams might be empty. There’s probably a song in that.

UPDATE. Further north - in a region Flannery last year claimed would see only temporary water increases - rainfall has been so abundant that restrictions will soon be lifted:

From Saturday, Gold Coasters will be able to wash cars, boats and houses, water gardens, fill children’s play pools and top up backyard pools on any day they want.

Sunrise ecogiggler Melissa Doyle - “my three-year-old has never played under a sprinkler” - ought to move there. Let the children play, Melissa!

(Via Skeeter)

Posted by Tim B. on 02/06/2008 at 10:54 PM
(95) CommentsPermalink


• Attention, Craig Mc - the beer is here. Oh, yes. But not for long. (Will post a label image soon.)

UPDATE. The glorious beer:


Click for embiggening.

• “The Anglicans here in this country claim to care about the environment,” writes Christopher S. Johnson. “So guess where the church’s Executive Council is having its upcoming meeting? Over the Internet in order to reduce their carbon feetprint deals? Nope. Ecuador.”

UPDATE: “Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano shot columns of ash miles into the air on Wednesday, as officials ordered the evacuation of 3,000 villagers living near its slopes ...”

• An old song to make lefties smile. Don’t say there’s never anything at this site for you poor people.

• If Marian Wilkinson were reporting from China, what would she write?

• Knock, knock, knocking on Britain’s door ...

• Mike D. tracks down a secondhand copy of the wonderful They’re a Weird Mob - for $US149.

• One ball of the day ... that’s something. But two balls of the day? Unbeatable.

• At 85, San Mateo’s John Waggy might not be this site’s oldest daily reader, but if there’s one who’s older, well, I think John could probably beat him up. Look for John, who recently sent me a very kind card, to show up shortly in comments.

• The red-headed stranger is becoming stranger by the day.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/06/2008 at 10:18 AM
(96) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


From Peter Roebuck’s Saturday column:

Yes, India has its castes and colours. It is imperfect. But it has also had in recent years a Sikh president, a Muslim prime minister and a white, female, Catholic divorcee leading its main political party. Other nations should be as lucky.

A white, female, Catholic divorcee? Sonia Gandhi is Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, but has never been divorced. You’d think an apology would be due. But one day after publication, the Sydney Morning Herald version of Roebuck’s column was sneakily changed instead:

But it has also had in recent years a Sikh prime minister, a Muslim president and a white, female, Catholic widow leading its main political party.

Clearly caught out - blogger Street Car noticed the original error - Roebuck and his team have resorted to blatant tampering. Peter Roebuck must be sacked.

UPDATE. Alert reader RR emails: “There is another mistake in that very same sentence—two mistakes, in a way. In recent years India has had a Sikh Prime Minister and a Muslim President, not a Sikh Prez and Muslim PM as Roebuck has it. Manmohan Singh, the current PM, is Sikh. And A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, was President between 2002 and last year. He was actually India’s third Muslim president and well-loved mostly for his role as a scientist in developing India’s nukes program. Anyway, point is that Roebuck got three things wrong in a single sentence. He’s a repeat offender!”

Three things wrong in a single sentence? He’s another Chris Sheil!

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 07:51 PM
(86) CommentsPermalink


A superb beclowning committed by Iowa Democrat Mike Gronstal:

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, dismissed the concerns of the global warming doubters.

"They should move to Australia,” Gronstal said. “Ostriches put their head in the sand."

And a fine response from Iowa State University College of Design associate professor Michael Martin:

Noted climatologist Mike Gronstal says global warming doubters “should move to Australia,” because “ostriches put their head in the sand."

In related news, a spokesman for the Ratite Anti-Defamation League said Mike Gronstal “should move back to grade school,” because “Senate Majority Leaders put their foot in their mouth” when they perpetuate long-discredited myths about animal behavior.

Or when, while heaping ridicule upon others, they make ridicule-worthy statements. As any fourth-grader knows, ostriches are native to Africa.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 11:03 AM
(65) CommentsPermalink


Detailed state-by-state predictions from Election Projection for both parties on Super Duper Tuesday. Or, as it’s known in Australia, “Wednesday”.

Might be a big time for Makaniak. Full coverage at PJM.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 10:14 AM
(40) CommentsPermalink


Late yesterday two attractive female friends dropped by to check on my recovery. One said I looked “good”. The other, after only a brief pause, politely agreed.

Being shallow - it’s a lifestyle choice - I was so delighted by this I entirely forgot my scheduled painkiller intake for the rest of the night. In other news:

• Thanks to kind family and friends, I now own a stylish walking stick (note to self: conceal from physiotherapists), a small plastic male nurse figurine, a Lindt chocolate bear (cheers, Dan and Mrs Dan), a brilliant DVD player, and many excellent books (including two out-of-print classics and Amy Sedaris’s I Like You).

• My doctor asks that I direct readers here. Happy to oblige.

• Best floral gift from a straight male currently serving in Afghanistan:


• Overconfident, a few days ago I attempted to take a bath. Unable to haul myself out - no exit strategy - I was forced to call on the only other person in the house: my dear old mother. During an intensely awkward bath-extraction pas de deux, it was silently agreed that we must never speak of this again.

• The level of cancer with which I was diagnosed: T3. Not the worst.

• Weight before surgery: 82 kilograms (180 pounds). Present weight, after several days on solid food: 75 kilograms (165 pounds).

• I’m informally banned from driving lest sudden braking cause sudden breakage of slow-mending abdominal wounds and subsequent hilarious organ spillage. My mother - a former nurse - once saw this happen.

• Cards arrived today from an uncle and aunt in remote Douglas, Victoria (look it up on Google Earth) and from Rebecca H. in even remoter Ohio. Thank you very much.

• Most unusual gift: a pen fashioned from merged bullet cartridges.

• Best telephone greeting, from a News Ltd colleague in Darwin: “Hey, cancer boy!”

UPDATE. Nobody has given me a Mr Potato Head, but if they did, I would defend it with every tentacle I had.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 07:56 AM
(82) CommentsPermalink


Our friend Michael Leunig - mentioned in passing just a few posts ago - submits to questioning from his Iranian overlords. He doesn’t hold back:

I am an Australian newspaper cartoonist and columnist, and am published regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, I am also a poet and painter and have collaborated with musicians, film makers and theatre companies to create a wide variety of productions in Australia and abroad.

I have published more than twenty books and have been declared a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia and awarded three honorary university degrees.

In spite of this I see myself as a happy ‘outsider’ ...

A 62-year-old who actually bothers listing honorary degrees and mentions he’s a National Living Treasure without cringing. He’s outside of something.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 07:08 AM
(47) CommentsPermalink


He’s finished his reading, and now comes the verdict:

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has given his final approval for a $1 billion channel deepening project in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

The project to dredge the bay can start as early as tomorrow ...

Oh no! Tomorrow is dredging opponent Traceeee Hutchison’s thinking day!

UPDATE. “Ding”, “bong”, or “ping”?

Posted by Tim B. on 02/05/2008 at 02:33 AM
(47) CommentsPermalink

Monday, February 04, 2008


Via reader Yarran (among several others), Dick Smith spokesmuppet Andrew Craig responds to concerns over Smith’s raging gullibility:

Dear Yarran

We will forward your correspondence onto Dick.

However, you might like to think about a few things:

So might Dick.

Dick does not have anything to gain by suggesting that David Hicks should have had a fair trial.

Who said anything about his trial? At issue is whether Hicks was a supporter of terrorism.

He is only reporting the results of a meeting that he had with David Hicks (one of the first people to have had a discussion with him) and how it affected him.

No, he’s claiming Hicks is a “decent Australian” who was only “trying to help independence movements”.

Not buying Dick Smith Foods products (he sold Dick Smith Electronics to Woolworths 26 years ago and has nothing whatsoever to do with them) will not hurt Dick at all.

Forgive us; we’d make more of an effort to hurt Dick, but there are limits to our militancy. We aren’t the Taliban, you know.

It was set up to help provide jobs for your fellow Australians, by using Australian owned companies to produce foods using Australian sourced and grown ingredients. This kept the taxes that these companies paid here, as well as the profits, rather than allowing the multinational companies to repatriate their profits and to import their products and utilise transfer pricing mechanisms to avoid paying taxes.

How does Dick feel about someone leaving Australia to join a multinational terrorist organisation?

Any profits from Dick Smith Foods have been used to further Dick Smith’s philanthropic pursuits, such as providing wheel chairs for the disabled, donations to the Salvation Army etc.

I donate to charities directly, thus avoiding any Dick-related shenanigans. Readers of this site, a generous and charity-inclined group, likely do the same.

Ultimately the hundreds of people who are involved with the production and sales of Dick Smith Foods products will thank you for choosing not to buy them as they contemplate their futures. Those charities and disabled people will also be forever grateful to you as well, as their supply of funds diminishes.

Oh, nice! Here’s another way of looking at things: Dick Smith himself has caused problems for his employees and chosen charities by expressing views repugnant to many Australians. If he’s going to use his high profile to promote food sales, he should take care that his profile not be repellent.

But, Dick Smith, the real target of your proposed action will be totally unaffected, apart for feeling sorry that he can no longer help as many Australians as he has in the past.

If Mr Smith wishes to suggest a more direct means by which we can affect him, he’s welcome to get in touch.

Kind regards

Andrew Craig
Dick Smith Foods - As Australian as you can get!

UPDATE. Steve T. emails:

For years, people in the professional aviation community have been trying to tell everyone else that perhaps Dick is not the little Aussie battler, all-round good guy, and president-in-waiting that the public seems to think he is. Rather, he is an attenion-seeking menace with too much wealth and influence for his own good, and a pathological inability to accept any viewpoint other than his own.

I’m sure he genuinely means well, but can only wish he’d just find some way to quietly spend his money instead of trying to remold Australia’s airspace to suit himself, and supporting halfwit helpers of ‘independence movements’  (FFS!!).

Posted by Tim B. on 02/04/2008 at 10:47 PM
(70) CommentsPermalink
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