Sunday, October 28, 2007
SANTA KNOWS WHO'S BEEN NAUGHTY
Pledge week highlights:
• Donations range from $1 to $1,000.
• Among local readers, Western Australians are impressively over-represented.
• Chile, Portugal, Iceland ... none of these places have thrown in so much as a lousy cent. Readers in Japan, Greece, the US, Canada, Sweden, Abu Dhabi, and the UK are much more generous.
• Reader 1.618 donated possibly the finest t-shirt ever designed (pictures soon).
• Most surprising contributor: an entertainer whose politics you may have assumed were closer to Peter Garrett’s than to mine.
• Several lawyers have donated, which is a welcome reversal of the usual journalist/lawyer financial trend. Plus a couple of diplomats. And a genuine cattle baron.
• I still have at least 150 personal thank-you emails to write. Please bear with me.
• To get a general idea of donations received so far, simply take Sir Donald Bradman’s batting average, add the goals kicked by Peter Daicos in 1990, multiply by A.J. Foyt’s victories in the Indianapolis 500, add the number of commenters registered at this site, divide by the corrections Media Watch has offered in 2006-7, and multiply by double the number of wickets taken by Terry Alderman for Western Australia against the MCC in December 1974. Round it down and you’ll be close.
• Thanks to all who contributed, and for all your kind notes. Next week: new stuff is bought, and this site moves into the bold new world of 2007.
THIS ABOUT SUMS THINGS UP
Lumberjack’s Law: Anything bad that cannot be directly linked to George W. Bush will be blamed on global warming.
UPDATE. Reader Salydog reports from global-warming afflicted California:
We’ve enjoyed a nice, slow rain all day here in San Diego. It cleaned the air, and now the sky has lost that sick pallor of the fire, a dull pinkish-gray that reminded me a someone a moment away from heat-stroke. Tonight we enjoyed a marvelous, bright yellow-orange sunset, with all the attendant hues of mauve, rose, deep purple. The air smells of sweet fresh rain.
I blame Bush.
Who, by the way, might not be such a Mr Spendy as often described.
Martin G. emails:
I downloaded some protect-your-kids net-blocker software that the Australian Government has offered free to Australian netizens. The one I downloaded was called Intergard.
I then went to enjoy your blog and, to my horror, discovered that you are now classified as violent.
I am sorry, but I cannot ever visit your site again because of the physical or psychological trauma that may ensue.
THUS NATURE BALANCES ITSELF
Sad news from Rich Stadnik:
The quill may eclipse the sword, but alas, it’s no match for time. Poor old Spike was found dead today, fifty-odd feet from the barn. The cause of death appears to have been natural, and not traumatic. Over the last few days, he did appear to be ailing.
Tonight, please join me in raising a glass to Spike.
Happy news from Chris S.:
Data about the endangered fairy penguin colony at Manly in Sydney’s north has found they are the fattest and healthiest in Australia.
Kyoto is toast, according to a piece in Nature magazine:
In the new Oct. 25 issue, Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics and Oxford interdisciplinary social scientist Steve Rayner argue that it is—to quote the headline—“Time to ditch Kyoto."
Everybody needs good neighbours ...
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I run six news-related blogs out of Sydney, and thanks to the Technorati search engines, I can average 4000 to 8000 visitors a day, with no adveritisng and virtually no promotion or publicity. My best day was 27,000 visitors, the circulation of a small city newspaper.
That was written back in April, before Darryl - also known as Stan Lorne, Max Dreswell, Sam Lowry, Ferris Fremont, PitchMaster, and Leftie Latte Lover - had his mind blown by huge readership growth ”in the past six months”. It would be fascinating to follow this phenomenon by more reliable means than Darryl’s word, but he declines to hook up a public hit counter.
I recommend Sitemeter.
Marcos Ambrose fastest in Memphis.
No, no, no, I was scratching … All I can say is, I think my hair style was bad then and it’s bad now. But I think what you’ll find is that I’m scratching …
Scratching for an excuse. More from the UK Telegraph’s Sam Leith:
Mr Rudd’s adventures with earwax have somehow brought the Australian election campaign alive. People around the world have been brought together by this footage ...
At a stroke, a microsecond nibbling earwax threatens to eclipse a lifetime of hard political graft. Is this fair? Is this reasonable? No.
Is Leith correct? No. Rudd’s earfeast, weird though it is, won’t alter many votes.
DAY OF THE GOBLINS
We goblins will still have the numbers:
The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.
GREETINGS FROM VERMONT
Daniel F. emails:
Greetings from the supposedly chromatically-challenged banana republic of Vermont.
It wasn’t a great year for color, but that will happen. Things are pretty much all on the ground now up here near the Canadian border, but on Monday evening I got this last flickering of yellow on one of the popples (aspens) in the dooryard.
Of course, the moment you have a warm October, the ecochondriac munchkins all come out to dance. Methinks that they must have slept through their statistics classes (or avoided them) since there’s nothing particularly bizarre about a few Octobers falling on the warm side.
Of course, now that Al has won the big prize, the Gore effect may go global all at once. Preparations (Gaia-stomping, of course) for that catastrophe are under way. More on that in a few days.
Hit those links for some fantastic Vermont views.
RANDI VS TRACEEEE
California vs Victoria! Blackwater vs Bracks water! Yes, fight fans, we’ve got ourselves a leftoid paranoia battle between American Crazy Randi Rhodes and Australian challenger Terrified Traceeee Hutchison. Who will claim the title of Dumbest Media Blonde of the Week? Show us what you got, Randi:
I started just doing Google searches to try and figure out. You know, arson, arson, it was like crazy trying to figure out why is that being downplayed? Why is that, you know, just a small part of the story? And you know, every time I look for it what comes up, believe it or not, is that Blackwater wants to move to San Diego and build this giant complex in San Diego right where most of the evacuations are taking place and you know.
Yes. And you know. Now over to Traceeee, who sees all manner of conspiracies emerging in Melbourne:
I’ve been mulling this over for a while. That and the increasingly large freighter ships coming out of China heavily laden with steel made from Australian iron ore. The kind of steel one imagines might be useful in making bloody big warships ...
It just made me scratch my head and contemplate what on earth might be going on. And it made me ponder whether all this manoeuvring and attempted fast-tracking of the channel-deepening project had anything at all to do with getting things done within a certain time.
It just spooks me, I can’t explain to you how creepy this whole thing is that you know, you’ve got these fires. Some of them are thought to be the work of arsonists and in the same breath you’ve got a community that’s on fire that just recently protested Blackwater West. Just recently said no to Blackwater and apparently you don’t do that.
And it made me wonder why it looks like state Planning Minister Justin Madden is being pushed into approving the channel-deepening project ...
I mean, I don’t even know what to think. You know, nobody is saying Blackwater set the fires, that is nobody that doesn’t want their house burned down. Nobody is saying that, but it is all so bizarre that this is America and you have to sort of sit there and wonder ...
The pair are almost inseparable at this point, trading blow for paranoid, evidence-free blow. Breaking the “wonder” deadlock, Traceeee now takes things to the next level:
And then it occurred to me that all of it put together had the creeping, yet unmistakable, odour of an unwanted paper mill in the Tamar Valley.
Can Randi match her? Can she counter Traceeee’s perfectly-deployed “and then it occurred to me” delirium? Oh, yes. Oh, yes, she can:
And then you find out that some of the guys that used to work for Blackwater are now in Schwarzenegger’s administration.
It’s all so creepy.
Clear win to Rhodes. Should the contest have gone to a tie-breaker, Randi’s vertebrae-snapping compassionate head tilt would still have seen her over the line.
*PLEDGE WEEK* Now in its final days! Kick in some dollars, Traceeee fans, and let’s see if the decision can be reversed.
A car rear ends another in heavy traffic on Sydney’s Parramatta Road, creating traffic chaos. One of the drivers involved is a small businessman who voted Liberal in 2004. On the other side of the world, in New York City, a dog barks savagely at a man in a dark suit and turquoise tie. The dog might have seen Kevin Rudd the night he went to a strip club because the dog was living in NYC at the time. In Afghanistan, a roadside bomb tears apart a bus, killing all on board. The bus is similar to one used by a mysterious Liberal candidate in a Victorian rural electorate. The candidate knows the local party branch chairman, who knows the state director of the Liberal party who talks regularly to the party’s federal director who in turn has links to the Prime Minister himself.
Is it just me and Traceeee or can others see the pattern?
“The Canberra Times has buried the lead,” emails Dave M. “Canberra may never see rain again!” So it seems:
This could be the dam that saves Canberra ...
The old Cotter Dam is small and was built almost a century ago. Soon it will have a soaring 80m wall and will hold 20 times as much water: 78 gigalitres if it rains, of course.
UPDATE. Canberra’s Alex Robson emails: “We already had a good amount of rain this week.” You know, this innovative “dam” concept might have a future.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Menzies led the Liberals to defeat in 1941 ...
• There was no election in 1941 (Menzies won in 1940).
• The Liberal Party did not exist in 1941 (it was founded three years later).
• Menzies wasn’t the leader of the UAP when it ceded power to Labor in 1941 (he’d resigned months previously).
Oh, well. At least his spelling has improved.
UPDATE. Sheil replies:
I know the history.