April 30, 2006

Birth Control


For most intelligent people, this would be a natural and 100% effective conception preventative.

Not so for Britney Spears, allegedly pregnant – again – to the guy with the corn row hair.

Mumps, Pumps and Yelps

If you thought our local newspapers are amusing … er, okay, they’re not – but the Denver Post has its moments – many of them.

Blogsitting at Drunka's Place - Mumps, Pumps and Yelps

Tosser

Britain’s The Sun newspaper has published photographs showing Peter Doherty injecting a substance into his own arm, however, being a gentleman, he firstly and allegedly injected drugs into the arm of a female fan, who is seen in the photograph lying unconscious on a kitchen floor. The picture was supposedly taken at Doherty’s home at some time during the last several weeks.

[No links that I could find.]

Perhaps now one of the generous judges in Britain will stop releasing this low life revolting cretinous piece of scum on bail for a multitude of other drug charges and finally send the pasty-faced little piece of shit to jail.

There is a degree of squawking on some blogs that insist on defending Doherty as “a creative genius” and his drug use as irrelevant, citing lists of other musicians with "drug problems". I’m not buying it.

He’s just an ugly, unwashed, selfish, indulgent, junkie – none of which requires creativity or genius to pull off.

April 29, 2006

Blog Sitting

Now don’t laugh, this is very serious, plus you have to help do your bit.

I’m blogsittingno, I’m not trying to be funny or anything – I rooly trooly am blogsitting.

The Drunkablog finally found something better to do – well, for a couple of weeks – so I’m babysitting his blog.

I have promised to keep his blog fed and watered, and filled with posts, just as though a real blogger was still there, fully in attendance; so that blog-nappers don’t take advantage of the situation, and so that the blog doesn’t hurt itself without adult supervision.

My first blogsitter post is over at Drunka’s place – come on everyone, off you go to have a look!



April 27, 2006

Miss Harvard Gets a Lesson

Teenager and Miss Haar-vaaaard undergraduate, with a half-million dollar book deal under her belt has been caught plagiarizing, in her very first novel. Apparently she had difficulties coming up with her own plot lines … and words.

Read a summary here, and look out for witty quote from an English Professor at the end of the piece.

Each of the three books involved in this little fracas are obviously aimed at teenaged girls, so it’s not as though we’re examining hoity toity literature or anything, but it’s still fascinating to see how the plagiarizing Miss Haar-vaaaard takes the original crisp and well paced text and mangles it into something ponderous and awkward.

For a few shinny moments Miss Haar-vaaaard had a shit load of money, the world at her feet and her entire radiantly successful life ahead of her. Ooops, where did the world go?

Stooopid girl.

Update: the book by Miss Haar-vaaaard has finally been pulled off the shelves, however:

“Little Brown (publishers) has said the book will be revised as quickly as possible.” (The Weekend Australian, 29-30 April 2006)

Huh?

By whom, we wonder:

It would seem that Miss Haar-vaaaard may not have been the only person to have verbatim “internalized” two entire books by another author. A “book packager”, going by the new name of Alloy Entertainment, helped Miss Haar-vaaaard to:

“conceptualise and map out the plot. Although there has been no suggestion the actual writing was done by anyone other than Viswanathan, it is highly unusual for fiction to be packaged this way, suggesting that the author was regarded as a marketing opportunity as much as a writer.” (The Age, 29 April 2006)

No suggestion that “the actual writing” was done by anyone else, and yet, for reasons not explained by anyone, the copyright for the book is held jointly between Miss Haar-vaaaard and the President of Alloy Entertainment, Leslie Morgenstein. Now that’s an unusual copyright arrangement.

April 25, 2006

Pay the man!


"A man who would only identify himself as a hitchhiker from New York sits on a street corner, Saturday, April 22, 2006, in the Georgetown section of Washington. "

Via Defamer

April 23, 2006

Disturbing Things

Grrrrrr. I should be able to link to at least one of these pieces, but nooooo, The Weekend Australian, doesn't have their page one feature article linked on their own bloody site!

First disturbing thing:

From small article: Shrinks prove forgetful in disclosing drug links:

“Mental health experts who developed international guidelines for diagnosing mood disorders, schizophrenia and depression all have financial ties to drug companies that are not disclosed in the book of the guidelines.

More than half of the 170 specialists who worked on the manual used by health professionals around the world to diagnose mental health conditions failed to detail financial links to the pharmaceutical industry.

It includes all of those who wrote the sections on schizophrenia and mood disorders.”

If you’re thinking that’s “no biggie”, consider these examples:

“…Although agoraphobia does exist, “the presence of that disorder in the manual came from the fact that drugs were found to treat it.”

Likewise, the inclusion of other panic and anxiety disorders was driven by the fact of a new class of drugs becoming available, allegedly effective in treating those disorders.

One of the researchers (from Tuft University, Massachusetts) began her investigation:

“after discovering that five of the six panel members studying whether premenstrual problems were a mental disorder had links to Eli Lilly & Co, which was trying to market the anti-depressant Prozac to treat the [PMT] symptoms.”

The accelerating medicalisation of our existence, of all human behaviours, is insidious, dangerous, and wrong. Oh, nearly forgot - it's also corrupt.

Update: Captain, newly returned from Tokyo, kindly provided a link to a related piece on the USA Today site, it's well worth reading.

Second disturbing thing:

I really wish I could find link to this long article, as I would like everyone to be able to read the whole thing, but in lieu of a link, and with only limited time, I can only provide you with selected quotes.

All material is taken from an excellent piece, published in The Weekend Australian, April 22-23, 2006, Inside the mind of a brutal zealot, by Matthias Kadluntzel. [The article was first published in The New Republic]

I cannot even begin to do justice to the background introduction to the story, which starts off detailing the way in which Iran used children as young as 12 years in the war with Iraq in 1980, so I won’t attempt to convey that picture to you. The central purpose of the piece is to outline the mindset of the man who is now the President of Iran – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Basiji is the mass movement that was created in Iran in 1979. Ahmadinejad reportedly served as a Basij instructor during the Iran-Iraq War.

The following are discontinuous extracts from the article:

“The sacrifice of the Basiji was ghastly. And yet today it is a source of national shame, but of growing pride.”

“A younger generation of Iranians, whose world views were forged in the atrocities of the Iran-Iraq War, have come to power, wielding a more fervently ideological approach to politics than their predecessors.

The children of the revolution are now its leaders.”

“Since Ahmadinejad became President, the influence of the Basiji has grown. In November, the new Iranian President opened the annual “Basiji Week”, which commemorates the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War.

According to a report in Kayan … nine million Basiji – 12 per cent of the Iranian population – turned out to demonstrate in favour of Ahmadinejad’s anti-liberal platform.

As Basiji ideology and influence enjoy a renaissance under Ahmadinejad, the movement’s belief in the virtues of violent self-sacrifice remains intact.

During this year’s Ashura festival, school classes were taken on excursions to a “martyrs’ cemetery”. And since 2004 the mobilization of Iranians for suicide brigades has intensified, with recruits being trained for foreign missions. A special military unit has been created bearing the name “Commando of Voluntary Martyrs”.

According to its own statistics, this force has so far recruited about 52,000 Iranians to the suicidal cause. It aims to form a “martyrdom unit” in every Iranian province.

The Baiji’s cult of self-destruction would be chilling in any country. In the context of the Iranian nuclear weapon program, however, its obsession with martyrdom amounts to a lit fuse.”

“Ahmadinejad … is predisposed toward apocalyptic thinking. In one of this first TV interviews after being elected president, he enthused: “Is there an art that is more beautiful, more divine, more eternal than the art of the martyr’s death?

Bizarrely

“In September last year, he concluded his first speech before the UN by imploring God to bring about the return of the 12th Imran. He finances a research institute in Tehran whose sole purpose is to study and, if possible, accelerate the coming of the imam.”

A politics pursued in alliance with a supernatural force is necessarily unpredictable. Why should an Iranian president engage in pragmatic politics when his assumption is that, in three or four years, the saviour will appear? If the messiah is coming, why compromise?”

I have been vaguely following the coverage and commentary around Iran’s newly acquired ability to enrich uranium, for energy, and potentially for nuclear weapons. I didn’t particularly see any compelling reason to get hysterical about it all, at least not just yet. After all, if American has no problem with Russia, or China, or Israel, and a whole bunch of other countries having an arsenal of nuclear weapons, then, really, where do they get-off giving “permission” to some countries, but not others?

Well, I think I’m a tad less blasé about it now.

So, what time does the bombing start?

April 20, 2006

I. Obstruction of Truth


Photograph taken by Aussie, now US resident, Harry Heidelberg, at the site of ground zero, last weekend.

Any sensible person with a modicum of intellect would look upon the events of 11 September 2001 as being so inherently unimaginable as to require no further embellishment, and certainly sufficiently quelling to defy any compulsion to dream up more colorful versions of the events that unfolded in America on that date.

It has taken nearly five years, but the conspiracy theorists have built up quite a library of “evidence” to disprove the official version of events.

All of the film footage, even the mobile phone calls from some aircraft and the buildings, were a fraud. We have been deceived by our own eyes and ears – oh, and by the US government – so we are told, with a snowballing amount of material being produced by a large number of, possibly, otherwise sane normal people sporting clean hair and trimmed finger nails.

I’m loath to give these fanciful stories any oxygen, and I haven’t delved deeply into the available material, but having read a number of the briefer articles I do feel compelled to examine the deadly serious material, which is proffered as proof of the falsity of the official version of events.

It’s notable that these people have collectively anointed themselves the “truth movement”, rather than the less preening “Alternative Loopy Opinions Movement”, for example.

It’s equally notable that they very carefully and deceptively choose their words to claim that their focus is on disproving the “official version of events”. The latter is important, since their claims are, supposedly, against the officially documented version of events and against the US government, in particular. By taking this pedantically defined approach they seemingly avoid – but only by the barest brush of the hair on their chinny, chin, chins – debasing every person who died, every family member who received a phone call, every rescue worker, the tens of thousands of eye witnesses in New York, not to mention every person on earth who has viewed the available real-time film footage.

What the “truth movement” want us to believe is that much of what happened was impossible, and therefore, we cannot and should not believe any of the factual and clear evidence. They assert that a “root cause” is hidden in the rubble and the broken lives; some “root cause” – anything, it would seem, other than the bleedin’ fucking truth.

We should have known this would happen, of course, because 11 September contains thousands of elements, all ripe for the picking. It’s not as if there was simply one naked, perfumed dead blonde and an empty bottle of pills; or just a car traveling at dangerously high speeds crashing in a tunnel – not a great deal you can do with so few elements; you can try, but it’s difficult. The existence of a grassy knoll, on the other hand, and some brief footage of a President being shot in the head (which is the correct direction for a person’s head to loll – exactly – when they’ve been shot in the head?) provides amble grist for conspiracy theorists.

Compare those events, and many others, all with simple and clear elements, a gun, a few bullets, a fast car out of control, an empty bottle of pills – not much to see here folks – compare, compare, compare, with the myriad of elements that constitute 11 Sept 2001. It’s a piggy-heaven smorgasbord, a scared landscape of pickings for a seemingly ubiquitous lunatic thinking.

The proliferation of the “truth” about 9/11 continues at an unseemly pace, and the articles under examination for the purpose of some future posts (yes, yes, this is just a precursor – you’ll have to wait for installments) are the result of unplanned and random link-clicking. One was selected because the title assured me that simple mathematics could be applied to disprove the official version of events – well, I wanted to see that! A second article was selected purely on the basis that it was written by the author of the maths piece. In other words, there’s nothing special about the writer or the articles, other than that I have read them. They may or may not be indicative of the rigor of other material.

One preliminary point of guidance first (others to be included in future posts):

Am I the only person in the blogosphere who wants to scream every time they see a comment, or even a post, accusing someone else of making “nothing more than an ad homian attack, blah, blah, blah, blah…”, as if this is a crime, and as if no decent living human would ever countenance doing such a thing, and most especially not in ‘polite society’?

This isn’t reserved for the left of politics either, although they are particularly fond of tossing the term around with hyper-indignation; however, the right has also adopted it with a little too much relish.

See, the thing is, when I was growing up, and all through numerous university degrees, and – well, for many decades in fact – this term didn’t exist, at least not in the sense that anyone used it in real life. It’s only in recent years that you see people throwing it about in every second comment, and in MSM opinion pieces, because, apparently, they can’t come up with an augment themselves, but desperate to prolong the combat, they resort to the “ad homian” blustering nonsense.

If any of the commentary in future posts appears to be offering-up nothing more than an ad homian attack, then yes, I probably am, and I do so with no shame whatsoever, and with zero intellectual cringing.

For all this, and I’ll be up front about my conclusions ahead of time: the material being produced by the affiliated individuals of the “truth movement” stands quaintly naked in all its’ dressed up pseudo-intellectual clap trap glory.

Vox Pox

From The Onion:

Donald Rumsfeld is under pressure to resign, first by a cadre of retired generals, now by Senior Democrats for his handling of the war. What do you think?

Danielle Bennet, Daycare Provider

"As a daycare provider, I sympathize with Rumsfeld. 2,500 kids die on your watch and suddenly you're not qualified to do your job?"

Ruth Malhotra, a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, sued the institution over her right to speak freely against homosexuality in accordance with her religion. What do you think?

Louis Neprud, Systems Analyst

"If we don't protect freedom of speech, how will we know who the assholes are?"

Scientists have cloned pigs that are engineered to contain omega-3 fatty acids, which produce healthier pork. What do you think?

Mary Keller, Librarian

"Can't they put some of that omega stuff in cigarettes?"

A 1,700-year-old papyrus document called the Gospel of Judas indicates that the apostle Judas betrayed Jesus to the Romans at his request. What do you think?

Rick Fender, Electronics Salesperson

"First Mary Magdalene's not a whore, and now this. I'm sick of changing my entire belief system every time they find a scrap of papyrus in the middle of the desert."

According to an article by Seymour Hersh in this issue of The New Yorker, the U.S. has drawn up plans to preemptively attack Iran to stop their nuclear program, including possibly using tactical nuclear weapons. What do you think?

Lynette Cobb, Grocer

"At least we won't need an exit strategy."


April 18, 2006

Blogging Musack – II

Buying take away coffee at new coffee shop down at the local shops:

Large latte thanks”, I say.

We don’t have large; we only have small and regular”, shop person replies.

Okay, regular will be fine thanks”, I say.

Next visit to same coffee shop:

Regular latte thanks”, I say.

That’s a large one [waving prop cup in the air as a visual aid for simpleton customer]; or did you mean a small one?”, shop person replies.

The large one will be fine thanks”, I say.

The above conversation alternates with each visit, on an endless tape loop.

I notice.

None of the shop persons do.

UPDATE:

Latest visit to the coffee shop went like this:

Two regular flat whites thanks.”

Shop person commences coffee making process; comes back over to collect money. I hand over $6.00. She insists that it’s only $5.

Oh, did you want large?” she asks.

Uuummm, yes”, I mumble; suddenly finding the ordering of a simple cup of coffee confusing & draining.

They’ve just changed the sizes”, explains shop person.

What are they called now?” I ask, with trepidation.

The small one is now a regular and the larger one is now a large”, she explains patiently.

Okey dokey.

Blogging Musack

While I’m still in a blogging-funk, despite my spruced-up site:

It is still legal in the English city of York for citizens to use a bow and arrow “to shoot any Scotsman discovered out and about after sunset”.

However, while you’re hanging around waiting to see a Scotsman shot with a bow & arrow, have a wander over to Mount Augustine, a rather photogenic volcano in Alaska.


April 16, 2006

Stupid Things

Phillip Island's iconic fairy penguins have been renamed "little penguins" in Queensland to avoid offending the gay community.”
Apparently no-one has ever complained about the “fairy” credentials of these penguins, least of all the gay community. No, Queensland’s Sea World has taken this preemptive initiative to rename animals because:

“…someone thought it could be seen as offensive so we decided to change it to little penguin instead.”

Isn’t it great to know that big business acts upon any old dumb thought that passes through “someone’s” tiny little mind? A very slow working mind too, since fairy penguins have been around for, oooh, a really, really long time, and the gay community has been out & about for quite a while too.

“…Queensland's gay community described it as ridiculous and unnecessary.

"If they were called poofter penguins or something more direct, it might be a problem. But I don't see the name fairy penguin as a mickey take.”

Poofter penguins? Catchy.

In Melbourne, the home of the fairy penguin, Eureka Tower nears it’s destiny as being the world’s tallest apartment building at over 300 metres. With construction almost complete, a proposal has been mooted to add a sweeping bridge structure to the top of the tower – imagine a half circle stretching 50 metres from one side of the building’s roof to the other side – the intention being to create a tourist destination and activity. (Sorry, no link to the article, or artist’s impression). In a vox pox by the Herald Sun (16 April, 2006), when asked “Do you think building a 50 m skywalk above Eureka Tower is a good idea?” – one 42 year old woman allegedly responded with:

“It’s novel and anything that encourages physical activity is good.”

Up until now I hadn't considered that a leisurely 50 metre stroll, even at 350 metres above the ground, was exactly an aerobic workout. Nor had I considered that thousands of office workers might be trotting across a Eureka Tower skywalk during their lunch hour in lieu of a visit to the gym. See just how limited is my imagination?

Bunny Time

April 14, 2006

Flight 93


In an unpublished post (yes, yes, I have started many an unpublished post – pathetic, eh?), I have been having a rant, of sorts, about the self-anointed and ironically named “9/11 Truth Movement”.

In the very few pieces that I’ve read from this “movement” there is nary a mention of Flight 93 – a real plane, carrying real people, with many known real mobile phone calls in the last hour prior to passengers storming the cockpit and the plane crashing into the ground.

The Smoking Gun has published a court submitted transcript of the last minutes of the Flight 93's flight recorder. You'll notice the numerous mentions of Allah. There appear to be no government officials orchestrating anything – they must have been too busy blowing up buildings, eh?


April 12, 2006

Imagine this

Dear Hiring Manager

Thank you for your letter of April 12.

After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me a position in your department. This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite your companies' outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Sincerely
Interviewee


I am confident that numerous of our regular visitors to Avatar Briefs would do an outstanding job of writing their own versions of this charming and innovative idea. I wish I’d thought of it, I really, really do, but I didn’t. I found this published at a blog called Grand-pa.

April 11, 2006

Can someone make them stop?

Who amongst us would have picked the biblical theme now emerging from the Paltrow – Martin mating?

There we all were, thinking fruit salads, then along comes Moses to clarify the situation, and just in time to keep Apple company at Easter.






In case anyone is wondering
: yes, I have been a failure in the posting stakes lately; feeling all wooly-headed and not at all inspired to say much of anything. I have piles of topics to write about, yet motivation is elusive. Big *sigh*.

April 6, 2006

Priorities


Proportion of surveyed Germans who rated having a good qualification as their most important aim in lifeahead of love, money, and having children – 90%.

(The Age magazine, GoodWeekend, 25 March 2006)

April 4, 2006

We are amused

Laughing is good for us – seriously!

Lee, of Loma Linda University (tee, hee), provides us with a luminous and lofty lesson on laughing:

"We believe the results suggest that the anticipation of a laughter eustress (positive stress) event initiates changes in neuroendocrine response prior to the onset of the event itself. From our prior studies, this modulation appears to be concomitant with mood state changes, and taken together, these would appear to carry important, positive implications for wellness, disease-prevention and most certainly stress-reduction."

April 3, 2006

Raspberry awards for bad, bad, bad sports!

Sometimes winners are disqualified, in accordance with recorded rules, and they forfeit what could have been theirs, but can’t be and won’t be, lest the rules be waived, unfairly, just for them. It happens at every international sports event. It’s not an aberration. In such circumstances the disqualified individual or team has to cop it sweet; end of story.

Today, the English and Australian women’s 400 metre relay teams from the recent Commonwealth Games are running neck and neck for who deserves the most raspberries for being very, very bad sports.


The English team won the Commonwealth Games event by a country mile – well, by a good 10 metres – ahead of the Australian team. It was a decisive win. As soon as the race was over Australian runner, Tamsyn Lewis, went straight to the officials to lodge a complaint. After some waiting, the British team was disqualified.


We can confidently hypothesize that the race officials may have reviewed the race and made the same decision of their own volition; or, equally probable, one of the other teams – perhaps the team that came in fourth, for example – may have lodged a complaint. There are any number of paths via which the British team could have been, and likely would have been, stripped of their win. For anyone to believe that Tamsyn Lewis was the only conduit, without whose actions the Brits would have retained their win, is a nonsense. Lewis acted promptly at the end of the race, but there is nothing significant in that fact, other than that she would seem to be a runner who knows her rules & she was confident of the validity of her actions.


Jana Pittman, in all her glorious wisdom and superiority over her team mates, and over the Game officials, has written to the English team to offer them her gold medal. So, far, there is no mention of whether she wrote, at the same time, to the second and third placed teams to ask them to also pass their medals along to those whom Jana has determined, all on her own, are the rightful owners and deserving recipients of medals that have already been awarded.


Let’s be clear on this: if Jana disagreed with the official ruling and the disqualification of the race winners, she should have had a chat to the officials herself – hell, she could have lodged an appeal on behalf of the British team! Nothing stopped her from this action. Her time for speaking up was prior to the medal award ceremony. Would her appeal have succeeded? No, because the disqualification was valid. Period.


But looky here, the British team are still stewing, and they want *their* medals. They want acknowledgment for a win that will be forever recorded in the sports records as a disqualification. Their head coach has strongly implied that they WOULD take the gold medals, but ONLY if all four members of the Australian team are prepared to hand over their medals.

Why would the Brits even want to have a set of gold medals that were neither won nor awarded to them? “Here ya go, you can have mine”, is not equivalent to standing on the dais and having your name written into the books as the winner. Even contemplating acceptance of this gesture speaks to a British team’s bitterness and willingness to embrace the inglorious vacuity of Pittman’s offer. How this will salve their wounded pride is anyone’s guess.


To the Brits
: five raspberries, one for each of the runners, and one for the head coach, who seems ignobly supportive of the acceptance of, not only the freely offered-up Pittman medal, but all four of the gold medals that were awarded to the Aussie runners.


However
, the British runners and their head coach would never have been placed in a position of displaying their total lack of grace if not for that door having been opened by our own Jana Pittman.

Here we have Pittman, she of the “oh poor me, I am so misunderstood”; she of the “I am not a drama queen, no, no, no, not little me”. Benefit of the doubt has been freely given, right up until now, but the gig is up. The hand that wrote the letter is the provocateur of drama, the “look at me queen”, both on and off the track; the snarky miss who can’t let go of a bitch-fight with Lewis, yet squawks her innocence at every turn.

Pittman made her offer to the British team in full knowledge that giving her gold medal to them would be a vacuous gesture; in full knowledge that her team mates are not prepared to do the same, and nor should they; in full knowledge that the country, names and winning time of the Commonwealth Games records are already set in stone; in full knowledge that if all four Australian’s handed their medals to the Brits, there would be no flow-on, with the second placed team surrendering their silver medals to the Australian team; in full knowledge that her formal written offer would be made public; in full knowledge that the implication of her meaningless, smarmy gesture is that she, somehow, possesses a superior morality to that of her teammates; in full knowledge that the disqualification would likely have occurred without Lewis going to the officials.


Jana Pittman is the deserving winner of at least a dozen raspberries for this latest and worst of her misguided, misjudged, insolent, irrelevant, attention-grabbing, self-centered, and self-created dramas. No sport: your cover is well and truly blown to cinders this time.

UPDATE: The Lewis camp has now suggested that Lewis & Pittman jointly approached officials after the race, which changes nothing about the raspberry awards, but does put an even worse spin on this tawdry little matter, if true.

On a more amusing note, Lewis' manager has suggested that Pittman was motivated by the desire for some much needed upbeat PR. (Although why, having won two gold medals at the games, and been warmly cheered, and then getting married only a couple of days ago, Pittman is clawing for any PR is a mystery. This woman seems to have NO idea when the going is GOOD. I do hope her real motive was something other than pure spite in her on-going clash with Lewis.)


"I think Pittman's trying to get some PR brownie points - that's from my point of view. She's received so much poor publicity in recent times she's probably looking for something positive."


April 2, 2006

Let’s share this around


Reality is a mistake, we must rectify it.” So says a Muslim cleric as he explains the benefits of female genital mutilation.

The above link is provided via Nora’s blog (The Thin Man Returns). This really should be published far and wide; on as many blogs as possible.

Of the comments, 'obscured by clouds' offers this thought “…where are the faminists (sic) when you need them?

I guess they’re scrambling all over each other to pull out the last of Maureen Dowd’s red hair; or off in a board room somewhere acting exactly like one of the boys – only worse.

If you’ve never read about the intricacies of so-called female circumcision, do some searches, so that you understand the nature of the barbaric practice and its lifelong consequences. While the practice offers a range of vile and violent options, look up "infibulation", by way of example. Most of the web content is fairly clinical, so you won't faint or anything. Reading first hand accounts from women who have been subjected to genital mutilation, on the other hand, does make for genuinely harrowing reading.

Whether male or female, if you've ever wondered how you might adapt and how you might fare under Muslim rule watch that footage a few times, or just read the quotes over and over. Try to remain sane while you're doing it.


Who?

I find this happening a lot lately: I pick up a trashy magazine, or I’m perusing the daily newspaper ,and whether an article or a photograph, I’m stumped, along the lines of – “who the hell is that; never heard of them”.

If you’re thinking this can’t be much of a problem, you’re right, of course, but it sure takes away any vicarious fun involved in, for example, going through photo’s of the best and worst dressed “stars” – if you don’t know who any of them are it’s no more fun than looking through pics from the next door neighbors school formal.

Right now, as I type this, I can hear the F1 cars buzzing around Albert Park, as we play annual host to this event, which comes and goes in the blink of an eye. A short while ago, reading the Sunday papers, there was an article about the “celebrity” race that is held as part of the supplementary “entertainment” component of the real racing, the article commences: TV STAR Kim Watkins will battle it out with…” blah, blah, blah. Who the hell is Kim Watkins I wondered in astonishment. I gazed at her photograph willing some recognition, but none came. I had to look her up on the Internet, and yes, she has beamed from on our (local) teevee screens since the precocious age of 12. So, she has clocked-up more than a couple of decades under her stardom belt, go figure.

Several months ago, Graeme Blundell – a local theatre, film, and television actor, who has also created a writing career for himself – mentioned another non-entity “star” in one of his columns. This particular woman calls herself, for reasons best known to her “Jackie O”. Blundell wrote: “…Jackie O is a celebrity because she refuses to believe she isn’t one”.

That’s probably not verbatim, but it’s as best I can recall. It was a momentary and searing skewering of self-anointed stars and celebrities everywhere and the multi-layered delusions of importance and grandeur that accompany these strange folk, who, in the Land of Oz, are “celebrities” all the way from their own front door to their mail box.

On the matter of “real” stars, Gawker.com has been given quite a few inches of press space in which commentators have discussed the wrongs of their somewhat creepy, and, I would venture, entirely superfluous, newly added star stalking feature. But, for all the bellicose bleating, from both the MSM and the stars, the new feature is innocuous, and provides exactly the same brief, forgettable and irrelevant content that every weekly trash mag prints in their regular gossipy columns, and have done for decades – you know the type of stuff: Ange spotted buying baby booties…ooh, ah”, or “Jen carrying groceries as she leaves - gasp - a supermarket”. This is the bread and butter of weekly mags, so while the posts on Gawker may be somewhat more timely, there’s nothing new here, and it would take a very fleet footed stalker to take advantage, particularly as most "spotters" are probably sending a quick tag line about their close encounter to Gawker some time after the moment. Have a look for yourself to see why there is nothing to be fussed about & then scratch your chin wondering why the MSM gave this harmless bit of non-sense such grim and serious coverage.