Sunday, November 21, 2004


I have got a bridge to sell you

No, really. It ain't exactly the Brooklyn bridge, but a 10-tonne, 115-year-old bridge isn't something to be sneezed at. I didn't steal it myself though, I'm acting as the, um, fence.

The way the cops know it wasn't a local job? The thieves were wering industrial boots, whereas locals would wear thongs (as jandals / flip-flops, not as in G-strings).

Oh, and Atlantis has been found.

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International crisis centre puts brakes on thought

I'm a bit late with posting this, but it's just so stupid that I couldn't leave it alone:
Puritanical form of Islam puts brakes on terrorism.

Far from promoting violence, the teaching of fundamentalist Islam in Indonesia may be a barrier to the growth of terrorism.

Just days after the bombing of the Australian Embassy, the International Crisis Centre issued a report arguing that a puritanical form of Islam, known as Salafism, is more likely to act as a brake on terrorist groups and finds organisations like Jemaah Islamiah anathema.

"Salafi" is another word for "Wahhabi". One prominent Salafi/Wahhabist is Osama Bin Laden.

What next, arguing that national socialism puts brakes on invading Poland?

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Clean smell of success

Australia is making a clean sweep with its soaps:
The world has a serious problem with Australian soaps. It just can't get enough of them. Whether it's the allure of eternal sunshine or fly-screen doors that are never locked, it seems we've cracked the code for serial dramas that hit the cross-cultural spot.

Home and Away, now in its 17th year of production, is distributed to more than 48 countries (and can be seen in as many as 120 countries due to the satellite footprint). Subtitled or dubbed (in Lithuania, one person voices all the parts), Home and Away is an international hit, watched by more than 60 million viewers daily. It's loved in Britain, but is just as well received in Botswana, Kenya and Dubai. Neighbours, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, is seen in 12 countries and has a worldwide daily audience of 120 million.

British viewers continue to be the biggest consumers of our soaps. In 1988 a peak of 18 million tuned into Scott and Charlene's wedding on Neighbours and both Neighbours and Home and Away still attract daily audiences of more than 6 million viewers. Neighbours consistently rates No. 1 in its daytime slot.

That peak figure of 18 million in 1988 is equivalent to Australia's 1995 population.
Dr Mike Minehan, head of communication at Insearch, University of Technology Sydney, says the cross-cultural appeal is not surprising. "There is a sense of freedom and the new world about Australia that the older world looks upon with some envy. They watch our soaps and think that everybody lives in a beautiful home, everybody is young and attractive, everybody goes to the beach, and that it's always sunny. That's what our soaps play on. It's a bit like a dream they would like to live."

So much for people only wanting local voices telling local tales. Free trade is a two-way street. If we want our programs exported to the world, we should accept overseas programs being allowed to screen here.

Besides, if it weren't for trade in tv programs, Xena wouldn't have screened in Australia. That would have been a bad thing.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004


National Shocker

Some regard Hollywood as dominating idotiarianism, but we have our own achievers:

Pitcairn men were following custom: McCullough

Not to be confused with the favourite excuse of "just following orders".

The best-selling author Colleen McCullough has joined the debate on the Pitcairn Island rape trials, saying the men convicted of the rapes should have been allowed to follow their "custom" and have sex with young girls.

She joined the debate, and left planet earth.

"They are as much Polynesian as anything else," she said. "It's Polynesian to break your girls in at 12."

So it'd be UnPolynesian to not "break" "your" girls at 12?

"The Poms have cracked the whip and it's an absolute disgrace.

Ahh, railing against an evil hedgemon. Very popular with the intelligentsia.

"It's hypocritical, too," she said. "Does anybody object when Muslims follow their customs? Nobody's afraid of 50 Polynesians, but they are very afraid of a million Muslims."

That's a bit closer to the mark than I'd like to admit, but some have objected when bad things are done under the guise of "customs". Heard of Theo Van Gogh?

The trial deeply divided the community, with some arguing that sex with young girls was part of the island culture.

But the Pitcairn public prosecutor, Simon Moore, said the trials had sent a strong signal to a society in which men had abused young girls with impunity for decades.

To quote Mark Steyn in "Multiculturalists are the real racists":

A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing.

How terribly judgemental.

Pitcairn Islanders are descended from HMS Bounty mutineers and Polynesians, and about a third of Norfolk Island's 1800 residents trace their ancestry back to the 194 Pitcairners who settled the abandoned penal colony in 1856.

They make us Aussies look good by comparison.

McCullough is visiting Melbourne this week to promote her new novel and 16th book ***** ****

Maybe she isn't crazy, but just wants to create controversy. I guess she'd be following in Greer's footsteps in talking about child sex.

If she's one of the 100 Living National Treasures of Australia, I'm glad I'm not one.

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Monday, November 15, 2004


Bombs not bongs

Terrorists face a sentence reduction of up to six weeks to celebrate Idul Fitri, while alleged Australian marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby faces execution.

Someone once noted that in Iran, adultery is treated as a criminal matter while murder is treated as a civil matter. It seems Indonesia is similarly getting its priorities the wrong way around.

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Planet Earth calling Mr Trad

From the Sydney Morning Herald: Carr preaches tolerance, attacks US adventurism

[Carr] also said Australians must bear down on acts of prejudice directed at Islamic people and institutions.

Tolerance is a two-way street, Bob.
A Muslim community leader, Keyser Trad, described John Howard and George Bush as warmongers and said their re-elections were a setback for Australian Muslims during a year of "atrocities against Muslims".

Since September 11, 2001, two schools and four mosques had been set on fire or vandalised and race-based attacks continued against Muslim Australians in an "atmosphere of Islamaphobia and intolerance".

And now for Keyser's attempt to combat intolerance:
Mr Trad said Mr Howard was steering "our great nation away from our ethos of fair-mindedness towards the fearful neo-conservatism and total dependency on America and Israel for direction".

The VP of the Lebanese Muslim Association making claims about the USA controlling Australia wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but titty little country Israel? Half-way around the world? Population less than 7 million (assuming Palestinians aren't conspiring to control Australia)? How would it put pressure on us? Threaten retaliation once it becomes eligible for UN security council membership?
Likening Mr Bush to a modern-day Pharaoh, Mr Trad said he had displayed a reckless disregard for human life in US policies and military campaigns in Iraq and Palestine. "He rules the world with one eye and rampages with one horn, like a rhino amongst a flock of lambs."

Haven't you read your Moir cartoons? Howard's the one with one eye.
The Islamic cleric Sheik Shadi Suleiman, of the United Muslim Association, said Islam had been maligned. "It's a mistake for those who ever think Islam is terrorism. It is a mistake to believe that Islam accepts the killing of innocent women and children."

Islam doesn't kill innocent women and children, people acting in its name do.

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