Saturday, September 30, 2006

New planet discovered?

Image by Jacob - Click to Enlarge

Spotted in the shopfront signage at Ivan’s International Deli in the Dandenong Plaza Shopping Centre, this depiction of an earthlike planet reveals breathtaking detail of alien landmasses.

Note the marine abyssal trench just below the center, which can be clearly seen from space. The topographic design can only be by the master himself, Slartibartfast. All in all, another opus deserving of the highest award!



Oops. Silly me! The above picture is in fact intended to represent our Earthly home viewed from the North Pole. Compare the following Google Earth image:

What bamboozled me was the unearthly disproportion of some of the land masses in the Ivan’s Deli artwork; particularly Greenland, which resembles more a spectacular bug strike on a car windshield than the Danish island dependancy. Oh, and Iceland appears to have merged with Greenland.

So perhaps the Ivan’s Deli artwork is Slartibartfast’s Earth Mk II?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Goat Friday

click to enlarge


For Goat Friday, here's a little more humour from Stephen Colbert’s address to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner...

Though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

Don’t pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job the President is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he’s not doing? Think about it. I haven’t.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in “reality”. And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

I think I would have made a fabulous White House press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these journalists. I know how to handle these clowns.


Previous Goat Friday:
The ‘Charles Atlas’ of Goats

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Commitment to long war reaffirmed

The Australian Government has today reaffirmed its absolute commitment to the ‘war on amphetamines’.

White House press corps addressed

The Media Report on ABC Radio National this morning reprised part of Stephen Colbert’s address at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner back in April. Very amusing, and always well worth another look.

As excited as I am to be here with the President, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America. With the exception of Fox News.

Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the President’s side and the Vice President’s side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking? Reporting on NSA wire-tapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason; they’re super-depressing. And if that’s your goal, well, misery accomplished.

Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times – as far as we know.

But listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: The President makes decisions, he’s the decider, the press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down: Make, Announce, Type.

Just put them through a spellcheck and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you’ve got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the Administration? You know, fiction.

Colbert’s full routine is available in transcript here, or audio here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cut-and-run defended

The Australian Government has defended its decision to pull Australia’s 200-strong Special Forces contingent out of Afghanistan, at a time when the security situation there is deteriorating.

“We have to be careful that we don’t ask our Special Forces to carry all of the burden all of the time,” Mr Howard is quoted as saying.

Fair enough, but the NATO command in Afghanistan is desperately pleading for thousands more troops in order to contain a renewed Taliban insurgency.

So, with the security situation in Afghanistan spiralling out of control, as in Iraq, it would appear that Australia hasn’t the capacity to back up with action its expressed commitment to the ‘war on terror’.

And what’s this from the Australian Foreign Minister?

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday the Government was concerned that the situation in Afghanistan had become more dangerous since the Taliban began its offensive in the northern summer.

“It’s a very dangerous and a very difficult environment,” he said.

“The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in the past six months.”

Well yeah, we know. It’s a war!

So the response of the Australian Government is to ... cut and run? Is this a political decision to avoid the prospect of electorally unpalatable combat casualties? What did those ninnies in the Australian Government think they were signing-up for when, after the attacks of September 11 2001, they committed this country to unqualified support for the US-led ‘war on terror’? Did they think it would be a boy scouts’ jambouree?

As I write, there’s still no meaningful response from John Howard’s Government to the US National Intelligence Estimate assessment that the war in Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism, and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the September 11 attacks. The Prime Minister has told ABC Radio National’s The World Today that he welcomes the de-classification of parts of that National Intelligence Estimate, and will read it avidly.

I won’t hold my breath for Mr Howard to actually learn something from his reading of the document.

Masculinity exposed

Earlier this week former Federal Labor leader Mark Latham lamented the emasculation of the Aussie male. Now Treasurer Peter Costello has cast aspersions on Latham’s masculinity.

“It’s all right for him to throw off at metrosexuals and how men have gone wussy. (But) I might take his criticism more seriously if he donned a tool kit on his belt and went out to a construction site every day,” Mr Costello said.

“He stays at home to raise his two sons — which is very metrosexual.”

Mr Costello stressed there was nothing wrong with stay-at-home dads.

But “if you’re a stay-at-home dad, don’t go out and attack men for losing their masculinity”.

Hmm, maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be some equivocation in Costello’s affirmation of stay-at-home dads. Have I got this right? There’s nothing wrong with stay-at-home dads, but Latham is one, so he shouldn’t hold forth about others’ masculinity. Check.

Well whatever, but anyway I propose that Costello and Latham be brought together on national television and made to whip out their respective members. Australians could then decide in a more traditional manner who is the real man.

That would put this little ‘debate’ at just about the level it belongs.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Google obscura

[ Click to Enlarge ]

Gee! What a bummer if you happen to live on Jericho Court, in Narre Warren, Victoria, Australia.

Excitedly, you download Google Earth onto your computer ... install ... zoom in to your little corner of the globe ... your neighbourhood ...

Only to find the view of your Colorbond roof has been obscured by one of the very few clouds in the sky at the time whenever the satellite image was captured.


My own neighbourhood was one of 99.9% of neighbourhoods that were not obscured by scant cloud cover at the time. I live in the area just above the place-name ‘Narre Warren’.

In the top-left quarter of the image can be seen the sprawling Fountain Gate shopping complex. A place to be avoided wherever possible, but which sadly was not obscured by that scant cloud cover.

‘Brokeback effect’ observed

A recent study has found that 10% of men in New York City who identified themselves as heterosexual have had sex with other men, it’s reported here.

Compared to men who say they are gay, these men were less likely to use a condom and less likely to have been tested for HIV.

They were also more likely to belong to a minority racial group, be foreign-born and have a low level of education.

Seventy per cent of the men were married. ...

The study’s authors said the results had significant implications for medical treatment and public health programs.

The journalist who wrote this article has, for some reason, elected to “call it the Brokeback Mountain effect”, obviously with reference to the film of that name exploring the relationship between two gay cowboys in the Old West.

But why “call it” that? Has public exhibition of the film caused otherwise heterosexual men to manifest homosexual behaviour? No, as a matter of fact the New York study makes no reference whatever to the film.

So perhaps the journo merely wants to underscore the tendency of life to imitate art. Or of art to imitate life. Or something.

Well, before dismissing this as a lazy nod to Hollywood iconography, consider that the men in the study often, like the two heroes of Brokeback Mountain, live in a millieu where it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify as anything other than heterosexual. Hence the Brokeback Mountain reference is probably very apt.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Osama bin martyred?

Recent unconfirmed reports that Osama bin Laden has died of typhoid have been welcomed in the West with much relief, and something very much like glee.

Ding-dong, the witch is dead!?

Well, perhaps the death of bin Laden, if true, is less than ideal in the circumstances. Hold that glee.

He should have been caught – by now surely, ferchrissakes! – and held up to the world’s scrutiny by being put on trial and made to face his victims, or their families. That would have the potential to show him for what he is, or was, in the cold, hard light of day.

Instead, dying as a fugitive and martyr, the legend just rolls on.

Osama the hunted! Osama the martyred! Osama the immortal!