Brain graze



With it bucketing down, we're looking for mudlarks to win at Moonee Valley today and of course Magpies elsewhere. Magic Mick, only wants victors at the Valley. True to his Richmond roots, Mick is not offering false messages of Magpie support. Here's his mail:
Moonee Valley maybe a mere distraction for you but here are some tips. I am would like to say good luck this arvo but I won't because it would be the most insincere thing I have ever said.
At the Valley try RUSSIA HOUSE (Race 1, No.3) to win, KOALA (Race 4, No.5) each-way and LET'S WENT (Race 6, No.1) to win.



From way down south-west in Koroit where all good shaggy dogs bury their bones, comes this yuk-yukker from Duncan McKenzie:

Subject: A dog named Mace.

A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace. Mace had a bad habit of eating all the grass on the mechanic's lawn, so the mechanic had to keep Mace inside.

The grass eventually became overgrown. One day the mechanic was working on a car in the backyard and dropped his wrench, losing it in the tall grass. He couldn't find it for the life of him, so he decided to call it a day.

That night, Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the backyard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench glinting in the sunlight. Realizing what had happened he looked toward the heavens and proclaimed,

[Are you ready?]

[Are you sure?]

[Okay, you asked for it]

[You know the melody!]

"A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me!"


It's the fans, stupid. That's why Collingwood will win the Granny. This picture painted at ONE BLOG IN SEPTEMBER reveals all:

Every last one of them from eight to 80 had the “nobody home” glassy stare of complete fanaticism. You couldn’t get a shot of any Collingwood fan after a goal where they weren’t giving the familiar “two beers, thanks” gesture to their nearest Adelaide counterparts, except when it was a “one beer” order, or they betrayed their ethnic background with the more comprehensive, but equally familiar, Mediterranean gesture involving the use of both arms. "

Yep, that's our tool of annihilation -- the Collingwood Army -- an awesome weapon of mass dysfunction.


It's easy to miss things when tracking a running story on the Net. Two weeks ago I first issued a blog-call for any contacts with Jeffrey Scott Shapiro who last October broke a story about a Palestinian-American kid in Brooklyn who predicted the 9/11 crash five days before hand.
My hunt was prompted by a reference to the piece by Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph.
I later Googled and found that Shapiro had form as a tabloid writer with the Globe, pulling off some shonky deals to get breaks on the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.
I then found an MSNBC piece by Jonathan Alter published on the heels of Shapiro's October piece which verified the kid's forecast to his teacher. I have since had email contact with Shapiro who outlined his story and referred me to his most recent interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox. O'Reilly declared he would pursue FBI files on the kid through Freedom of Information.
Now, I find out courtesy of John Quiggin, who holds a healthy scepticism, that on September 16, two days after I launched my original appeal for info on Shapiro, that the reporter had another piece published in Insight magazine. This recapped his efforts and added that sources had told him the kid had also predicted the crash of Flight 587 in suburban NY, killing all on board. Quiggin suggests that if this were true it means the kid is either clairvoyant or Al Qaeda has been extremely sloppy. He's not prepared to accept either eventuality. Predictions revealed after the event, are to Prof Q, rather like Sam Goldwyn's verbal contracts: not worth the paper they're printed on.
However, all agree that it is true the kid did tell his teacher that in five days the World Trade Center would no longer be standing.
Going on that, I reckon a full story is yet to unfold.



The story of the ''pyschic'' kid who predicted 9/11 just won't go away. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, who filed the original report, was interviewed a few days ago on Fox News by Bill O'Reilly.
O'Reilly says he's filing for Freedom of Info from the FBI. Meanwhile Shapiro says he's working on another story embracing other reports of predictions. This yarn's got legs.


Crusading from Yarpturk in the wild west of Victoria are assorted members of the Schack clan, on a quest to honour the demigods of Collingwood before Saturday's Grand Final.
Patriach Michael "What came first, manic depression or barracking for Collingwood?'' Schack is leading the charge. He reports from the road:
Hello all
We have completed the first leg of our epic journey. Along the road we met
many fellow devotees displaying sacred emblems etc. There was a particularly
attractive Magpie tattoo on the arm of an employee at the Colac post office,
and the KFC staff bestowed an extra can of diet Pepsi on us on the basis of
our flag. Today we venture further into the Holy Land for the final training
session at McHale Stadium, before tonights tribunal appeal for the
persecuted Jason. Joe Cocker's appearance at the Rod Laver stadium and
tomorrow's procession of men/deities through the streets of the capital
We are hoping to secure relics such as turf from Victoria Park or Holy Water
from the tap outside the old change rooms.



Hee-Haaaawww! The Lone Arranger, Dave Dawson, elaborates on the rockabilly knees-up planned for the West Toorak Bush Inn on October 5.


A loud and resonate bell rang while reading Jeffrey Shapiro's account -- two posts below -- about his gutless politically correct publishers sacking him for writing and promoting a story that was too "sensitive'' and which could have caused an incredible "backlash'' and ''outrage''. Now, that sounded familiar to me.
Back in the late 1990s when Pauline Hanson's One Nation juggernaut was putting the public back into Australian public policy, the media-academic elites suffered near-teminal vapors when La Hanson, in her rough and ready working class way, opined that one of the shortcomings of traditional indigenous culture was the practice of cannibalism. Well the goatee-strokers went ballistic and all the fellow-travellers in the churches, universities and broadsheet blats wrung their hands and wept buckets of crocs. It's the most vile form of racism, they lamented. As if any noble primitive beings could do such a thing.
Meanwhile the sensible people figured that probably at some time every culture resorted to getting by on a little of dead granny's thigh. It was known to happen in the Scottish highland clearances and the Irish famine. As recently as 1942, Japanese troops on the run from the Kokoda Diggers were found cannibalising their dead comrades.
At the time, I was writing a lot of material drawing on social history from Geelong and the Western District. And the matter of Aboriginal cannibalism tinkled a tong. I did some research and this is the article I presented to my editor, stupidly thinking he would be impressed at such a studied angle on an issue that, thanks to the stupid elites, was verging on the hysterical. I was wrong. It was not published. A former editor said he was astounded and encouraged me to have it published elsewhere. I chose not to.

THE Methodist Church -- forerunner of the Uniting Church -- was prompted to build a
mission station at Birregurra by reports of frequent cannibalism and infanticide among local
Aboriginal tribes.
Reverend Joseph Orton, the church's Victorian founder, established Buntingdale Mission
by the Barwon River in 1839 in a bid to stem further physical and spiritual deterioration among
the tribes.
Orton had earlier reported to church leaders that he was shocked to learn Aboriginal tribes
practised cannibalism of an ``inconceivably appalling nature''.
``They are frequently in the habit of devouring their own offspring,'' Orton reported after
interviewing natives, using escaped convict William Buckley as interpreter.
``When they have a second child unable to walk, from the great inconvenience of carrying
them in the course of their wanderings, sometimes one will be sacrificed and eaten by the
parents,'' Orton wrote.
In the book, A Century of Victorian Methodism, by former Church leader the late Sir Irving
Benson, Orton warned that unless the natives were provided for ``they will become dissipated,
pilfering, starving mendicants, and after enduring incalculable miseries and abuses will pine
and die away, leaving an eternal blot on the character of a Christian Government''.
Last year, Deakin University historian Jan Critchett used lack of evidence to reject the
notion of widespread cannibalism.
An associate professor of Australian Studies and author of a study of Western District white
settlement, A Distant Field of Murder, Ms Critchett said she was unaware of evidence of a large
number of acts of cannabalism in the Western District.
``Any mention of actual cases are very rare,'' she said.
She accepted that many people believed that cannablism occurred. ``But that's quite a
different thing to it happening,'' she said.
Orton arrived in Australia with a history of support for the victims of colonialism. His
previous posting was to the West Indies where he was jailed after fighting slavery on coffee
In 1831, he was posted to Sydney and in 1836 transferred to Hobart as chairman of the
church's Tasmanian council.
He visited Melbourne the same year and was the first ordained minister to preach beside the
In 1839, Orton accompanied missionary Francis Tuckfield to Birregurra which was a
rendezvous site for the Wathaurong, Kolijon (Colac) and Barrabool tribes.
By 1840, a number of missionary houses had been built and Aboriginal populations of up
to 150 periodically visited the mission.
The tribes were encouraged to cultivate crops, erect fences and dig vegetable gardens.
Tuckfield reported that he looked forward to ``when the wanderer of Australia shall become
a cultivator of his own soil''.
A school was established and children were encouraged to participate in prayer sessions.
The church's conversion efforts were in vain, however, and the tribes' visits were only
The colonial government regarded the mission as a failed experiment and in 1848 had the
land surveyed for sale.



Dontja just love it. The perfect descriptor for the likes of Phatty Adams, Terry Lane and Kerry O'Brien. And although David Marr has been at Auntie for only a few weeks, he has mastered that simpering, unbalanced, stupidity-masking style of an ABC veteran.
We have Uncle at ABC WATCH to thank for this fine gift to the language.


Paydirt with Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, the NY reporter who wrote about a Brooklyn kid of Pakistani descent who predicted the World Trade Center attack to his teacher four days beforehand.
Shapiro contacted me over the weekend to verify his account of the disturbing prediction.
For those who came in late, this is part of a report by Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph that first put me onto Shapiro's astonishing story:

Among the more interesting Muslim items this past year was a story that appeared last October 11 in the Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper. It concerned a student in a Brooklyn high school, who, on September 6, 2001, stared out of the window and told his teacher: "See those two buildings? They won't be standing there next week."

In his weekend e-mail, Shapiro says there are still mysteries to clear up:
I interviewed the boy's brother who seemed very straightforward. However, when I compared some of his answers about his age and grade level, they didn't correlate to what law enforcement and school sources told me. I would like to re-interview him. In many ways, he seemed like a nice young man who was able to hold his temper. He was annoyed about my story, but he restrained himself. However, this was the boy's brother -- not the boy who made the comments, who apparently, is much bolder and more intense. I still long to meet the boy who made the actual comments. I would have returned to the home for a second interview, but the police had legitimate concerns about the father's anger over the story and were worried about my safety.

Just after Shapiro's story appeared in the suburban Journal News, Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter pieced together events and wrote the following which appeared on MSNBC's web site:
It’s that context that makes the story of the Pakistani freshman so strange. I can’t tell you who filled in the details for me; the heat is on and the FBI is particularly jumpy. Both teacher and student have, with the help of the school, successfully ducked all efforts to contact them. But here’s what I’ve pieced together:
On September 6 — five days before the attack — Antoinette DiLorenzo, who teaches English as a second language to a class of Pakistani immigrants, led a class discussion about world events. She asked a freshman (his name has been withheld): “What are you looking at?” The youth was peering out the third floor window toward lower Manhattan. After he made the remark about the World Trade center not being there next week, the teacher didn’t immediately think much of it, though it stuck in her mind.
On September 11, school was canceled after the attack and again the following day. On Thursday September 13, a clearly agitated DiLorenzo, saying she had been afraid to come forward, reported the incident to the principal’s office. “It scared the hell out of everyone,” according to a source at the school.
The police and FBI were alerted and twelve NYPD officers entered the school and secured DiLorenzo’s classroom for three hours, locking the doors with the students inside. While the students were brought lunch and a movie and told to be calm, the youth in question and his older brother, a sophomore, were taken to be interrogated by the FBI, stationed at the police precinct nearby.
DiLorenzo, the key to the believability of this story, was also questioned. She was described by school officials as having a superb and unblemished record in the New York school system. A police source described her as “100 percent credible.”
Moreover, according to police, the youth confirmed having made the September 6 statement about the towers. At the moment he did so, his older brother elbowed him, said he had been “kidding,” and the youth in question agreed. The younger brother seemed upset and said he was “having a bad day.” When asked why, he said that his father was supposed to come back from Pakistan that day. Further details of the interrogation are unclear, in part because the FBI is not discussing it.
Because of the suspension of air travel, it took the father a few days to return. About a week after September 11, the father visited the school and angrily asked why his sons had been interrogated by the authorities. He said that his family’s constitutional rights had been violated.
Having done nothing wrong beyond spreading a rumor that turned out to be true, the student was returned to his classroom. He remains in the school.
The FBI placed the boy’s family under surveillance but, according to sources, does not see a connection to the plot to blow up the towers. The case remains under investigation, but with thousands of leads, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Alter's involvement in the story got Shapiro the heave-ho, demonstrating that it's not just the Australian broadsheets that regard political correctness as more important than a ripping yarn. Shapiro told me:
I was officially terminated because I called Jonathan Alter from Newsweek to tell him the story had been buried on 7A the night before it was published. I felt I needed advice from a more experienced, senior journalist that I admired and respected. Alter was so excited by the story however, he called my editors to offer them the chance to promote the story on MSNBC with Brian Williams. They declined and instead reprimanded me for trying to promote a story that was too "sensitive," without their permission. Gannett is famous for their inclinations toward political correctness. The next day I was told the story could have caused incredible "backlash" and "outrage" and that they were going to terminate my employment.

Shapiro is on the Al-Qaeda hunt and suspects the whole WTC operation may have been controlled from Brooklyn. He is also suspicious of a number of air crashes since 9/11:
i American Airlines Flight 587, Air China Flights 129, 112, 611 and the Egypt Air Flight that crashed in Tunsia may be indications of further sabotage. Egypt Air Flight 990 still does not sit well with me. Both China and Egypt have significant al-Qaeda presences. In addition, JFK International Airport has a history of unexplained airline crashes. I am also intrigued by the number of train derailments in the US since the attacks. This is all speculative of course, but I think it would be irresponsible to write all of these incidents off as accidents.

MTC (hopefully)



A deafening silence is emanating from the west. SCOTT WICKSTEIN is fulminating on the Muddle East, Phatty Adams appearing at an Adelaide gab-fest and how Tim Blair has got up his schnozz for some reason or other.
But Scotty has tapped out nary a syllable of how the mightiest force since Moses parted the Red Sea -- the Collingwod Collosus -- roundly smote (the Prof's favourite word) Wickers' beloved Crows.
Not sulking, are we? Say it ain't so, Scotty.
BLAIR isn't. With some justification he is lauding his own predictive powers. Might lasso him in to be a guest racehorse tipster.
And now for the big one next Saturday against Brisbane. Go Pies!!!


No luck with Mick's tips on the neddies Saturday, although a few locals in the know cleaned up with Homecoming Queen ($3.00) in the fourth at Sandown. I did my hard-earned on Star Flight in the fifth at Geelong. Part-owned by Daryl Craven and Mick's colleague in race writing, Robert Windmill, it followed the favourite home to pay $1,70 the place. Course, I've backed it on the nose. All round, a stinker day on the punt. Hopefully better fortune today (Sunday).